Even when you 'beat' Superman 64, it's not fair

As part of my skankcore64 project, I want to take a little time to reflect on each game that I play. These will be a retro review, where I judge the game on its own merit for the time it appeared. I don't want to compare them to recent games, unless its a direct sequel or franchise continuation.


There's no need to write 600 words about how Superman: The New Superman Adventures for the Nintendo 64 is one of the worst games ever made. I don't think there's anyone that has held that trident controller but hasn't heard about WB and Titus Interactive coming together to craft the most hyped up turd that ever landed on a Babbage's counter. I remember pre-ordering the title as a teenager with money from a birthday after reading gaming magazine previews that most likely had some money under the table attached from the publisher. I felt the same disappointment as the rest of N64 owners and I definitely tried to play as much as I could stomach.

I maybe got about halfway through, and after now playing through the game on normal, I think I'm remembering a little generously. One thing I remember with perfect clarity however is the poll I put up for skankcore64 featuring a list of terrible games after completing Mischief Makers. I also remember that poll receiving more votes than any poll previously for the show, and I don't think the allure of Superman 64 was no small influence. If you promise misery on a livestream, the people will come, it's like streaming science or something. There is one thing I did not know about the game and was failed to be informed of during the initial Superman episodes. If you play the game on any difficulty other than hard, you can't actually beat the game.

That's right. Superman for the Nintendo 64 has three selectable difficulties, easy, normal and hard. It's not a shocking revelation, it's definitely not an uncommon occurence for games to allow users to tailor their experience to their skill level. Especially as video games matured into full three dimensional experiences, the feature wasn't everywhere but it certainly wasn't as alien as Kal El over here. Now, it's not unheard of for games to not allow players to see the ending or at least see the credits until they complete a hard playthrough. It's a commonality in some Beat-em-ups or arcade games, but by the time we were experiencing full 3D adventures in the comfort of our own home, it wasn't exactly a good idea.

This oversight has caused a wrinkle in my quest to complete all games released in North America. After successfully completing Superman 64 on normal, the game had the gall to inform me that I would not be able to save Superman's friends and experience the last mission unless I started over from the beginning on the hard difficulty setting. If I had finished the game on easy, it would have stopped at two missions before the last. By choosing what I assumed would be a default playthrough, I was actually setting myself up for 8 hours of the most tedious and grueling gameplay ever created, all to be told I had to do it all over again. And no credits, either.

I think it's fair that I decided enough was enough at that point. I wasn't going to let Superman beat me. Oh no, it is I who beats the game on skankcore64. That's the whole point, after all. Yet I can't stop thinking about the invisible asterisk that looms over the game counter on my stream layout. It's not my fault the worst game in the world also has the worst implementation of difficulty settings. However, I wouldn't be surprised if you see that blocky polygon superhero flying through pointless rings amidst the pathetic excuse that is Kryptonite Fog on the show again. It might not be anytime soon, but I want those credits, that's what skankcore64 is all about.

Review for
Superman 64

None of it.


All of it.

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