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Gaming Non-Star Trek Gaming

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Old October 26 2011, 11:05 PM   #1
Mr Silver
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The problem with Superman games

I got Arkham City a few days ago and I can safely say that it's the best superhero game ever made. No other DC video game has managed to come close, particulary the poor Superman games.

The obvious problem with Superman games is his invulnerability, since Superman is basically invincible - there cannot be a health bar under normal circumstances. I think it was Superman 64 that introduced a health bar based on damage to civilian property or civilians themselves and if that drained the game was over. It could also be argued that Superman's full range of abilities would be too much for a video game and thus render any challenge too easy.

I propose that the next Superman game attempt should follow the example set by Matrix: Path Of Neo. Lets say that Superman loses all his abilities as a result of the big bad and has to gather them back throughout the game by defeating enemies and gaining experience. Superman's invincible nature (and the full potential of his game breaking abilities) would only be returned to him following the defeat of the final boss and the end of the game. You'd start off with super strength (with the usual limits because "Superman doesn't kill") and a rechargeable bar that gives a short burst of super speed ("Clark time") that allows you to do things like dodge bullets, gain the position advantage when facing enemies and whatever else the ability usually entails.

Thoughts?
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Old October 26 2011, 11:28 PM   #2
Broccoli
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Re: The problem with Superman games

Not a bad idea, but I would argue that Superman's ability to fly is probably his most recognizable (partly why it was the last ability he gained in Smallville). Not having that to start with could potentially disappoint gamers.
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Old October 27 2011, 12:13 AM   #3
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Re: The problem with Superman games

Perhaps a better idea would be to take the Earth One approach. Instead of starting off with a fully powered and established Superman with a pre-made roster of villains (like the Arkham games) beginning the game as Clarke Kent with some basic abilities (speed, strength...maybe flight) and develop/upgrade his powers over the course of the game.

The real problem of course is the kinds of enemies you'd face. Part of what made Arkham Asylum so enjoyable (I haven't played Arkham City yet) was the combat system. It was fun and visceral and really gave you feel of being able to go to town. Supes can't go to town on humans without mulching them so you're pretty much restricted to aliens and robots...and that gets old pretty quick and would probably involve some contrived scenario. I mean a whole game where you fight wave after wave of Lexcorp/Intergang mechs and parademons? That'd get old fast.

What I'd like to see is more of a focus on the detective side of Supes. I know he's no Bruce, but people often forget Kent was supposed to be an investigative journalist before he wore a cape. Add to that he has enough types of supervision to have his own inbuilt "detective mode."
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Old October 27 2011, 12:17 AM   #4
Kelthaz
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Re: The problem with Superman games

Nah, I think that's getting too gimmicky. The only problem with Superman games is that the license keeps getting bought by a shitty publisher. When you farm Superman out to companies like Atari you're not going to get a good game regardless of how Superman's powers are approached. The only decent Superman game was the SNES game developed by Blizzard. Coincidence? I think not.
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Old October 27 2011, 12:44 AM   #5
Mr Silver
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Re: The problem with Superman games

Team Broccoli wrote: View Post
Not a bad idea, but I would argue that Superman's ability to fly is probably his most recognizable (partly why it was the last ability he gained in Smallville). Not having that to start with could potentially disappoint gamers.
Well flight could come later on in the game, albeit in a limited form. The game could start off with Superman being able to perform super leaps, replacing the Arkham system where Batman uses grapple hooks to reach high places.

Detective mode could be based upon Superman's abilities to see the EM spectrum, etc. I agree with what Reverend said about Clark Kent being an investigative journalist, solving puzzles would be key to the game. As for enemies, perhaps Lex Luthor could release an entire population of supergoons/meteorfreaks upon Metropolis?

In fact, if they could make a Superman game based on the Arkham system, it would be pretty successful.
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Old October 29 2011, 11:11 PM   #6
Base_Delta_Zero
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Re: The problem with Superman games

I could never get into the Superman comics or cartoons simply because he is so overpowered that there is no reasonable threat to face him with and you therefore get alien invasions, reborn elder gods and other supermen threatening Earth every other day, in between some villain stumbling across another of the super-rare Kryptonite meteors and slapping him around for a bit before fucking up and dropping it down a lead well.

It's BORING. He's basically a god. Ever play Doom on God Mode? For about 30 seconds, its novel and entertaining. Then you realize there's no point to playing, since you can't possibly lose, the maps might as well be empty and the final prize just given to you now to save time. Now imagine God Mode multiplayer, cause that's what Supes facing other insanely powerful, world-destroying badguys would really be like. Lots of destroyed scenery and collateral damage and one super or the other getting bored and quitting.

Take away any of his powers and make him like Batman and you're just playing Batman with a Superman skin. What's the point? That's not Superman. And that's why all of his games suck ass.

There's those video shorts online with Batman, Superman and various other superheroes sitting in a diner drinking coffee and whatever they discuss, it always comes down to Superman could have solved the problem in seconds, while the other supers (let alone batman) are no where near as powerful as him and have to struggle with challenges. They're funny because it's true. Other than writer fiat, nothing can stop Superman.

He is invincible, he can fly so fast he travels back in time, he has infinite strength, a billion types of vision, doesn't need to breathe. His one weakness to space rocks can be stopped with the smock dentists put on to take x-rays of your teeth and they're supposedly really, really rare, anyway.

Which makes me wonder why Supes doesn't wear his super suit over full-on lead plate armor? He's as strong as plot, so it's not like he couldn't handle the weight. I mean, yeah, it could be blown off, but even just cruising around with a block of lead stashed in a backpack would give him the resources to counter his own weak point. A little heat vision, a little hand-smoothing and and oila! Lead shield!
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Old October 30 2011, 03:38 AM   #7
Mr Silver
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Re: The problem with Superman games

Superman's biggest weakness is arguably his need to protect others. Batman is first and foremost a vigilante, he doesn't kill but he doesn't interfere constantly because he is more focused on bringing criminals to justice. Sure he saves people often, but he's not like Superman in the sense that he won't let a bad guy kill another bad guy.

Most of Superman's enemies use his humanity against him, he is ridiclously powerful and is nigh invulnerable, but his insistance on solving as many of humanity's problems as possible often serves to give his enemies an advantage.
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Old October 30 2011, 05:37 AM   #8
Kelthaz
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Re: The problem with Superman games

Admiral M wrote: View Post
Superman's biggest weakness is arguably his need to protect others. Batman is first and foremost a vigilante, he doesn't kill but he doesn't interfere constantly because he is more focused on bringing criminals to justice. Sure he saves people often, but he's not like Superman in the sense that he won't let a bad guy kill another bad guy.

Most of Superman's enemies use his humanity against him, he is ridiclously powerful and is nigh invulnerable, but his insistance on solving as many of humanity's problems as possible often serves to give his enemies an advantage.
Playing a game where you can't die, you're in a constant escort mission, and you have to prevent bad guys from killing bad guys? I think I'd rather play Superman 64.

I think limiting Superman's powers (and especially his invulnerability) for gameplay reasons is perfectly acceptable. Superman 64 was a horrible game, but the concept was spot-on. Well, except for those levels where you fly through giant rings, but other than it was perfect. Just do that again, but, you know, competently. Or just go with another 2D Beat 'em up like The Death and Return of Superman for Xbox Live.
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Old October 30 2011, 06:40 PM   #9
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Re: The problem with Superman games

The problem with the suggestion in the opening post is if you do that are you really playing a Superman game? If he has few of his abilities for most of the game, then its going to leave players feeling short changed.

One of the only things 'Superman Returns: The Game' did right was to use Metropolis as Supermans health bar. Let supes be invinciblie, let him have his powers, but if you screw up the city gets damaged and ultimately destroyed, let players see the results of their failure to live up to the legend.

Put that feature in a game thats made just to be a game and not a movie tie in and i think you could end up with a pretty decent product.

The main reason why superhero games tend to suck is due to their being rushed into production by design studios who dont care about the actual characters involved.
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Old November 5 2011, 02:45 AM   #10
Mr Silver
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Re: The problem with Superman games

You are already limited in any Superman game anyway, so why not have a few more limitations to create more of a challenge?

When I say you are limited anyway, what I mean by this is the fact that you can't just fly off into space to supercharge yourself by getting closer to the sun. Why can't Superman just run around stopping all the bad guys in Metropolis at the high speeds he's capable of? Why doesn't one light punch from Superman not KO any regular human enemy and neccessitate several combos?
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Old November 6 2011, 11:11 PM   #11
Silent_Bob
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Re: The problem with Superman games

Admiral M wrote: View Post
You are already limited in any Superman game anyway, so why not have a few more limitations to create more of a challenge?

When I say you are limited anyway, what I mean by this is the fact that you can't just fly off into space to supercharge yourself by getting closer to the sun. Why can't Superman just run around stopping all the bad guys in Metropolis at the high speeds he's capable of? Why doesn't one light punch from Superman not KO any regular human enemy and neccessitate several combos?
Why should any potential future games involve those limits? With the current technology available in game production there is nothing stopping a developer using everything you describe.

With clever game design you can give Superman his full gamut of abilities, and still have a challenge. It's just not as easy as churning out a Spider-man 2 reskin with a few clips of a movie shoved in.
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