As you read this, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is racking up millions in box-office sales and dividing opinions left, right, and centre.
Had this movie hit screens a decade ago, you could be sure a huge video game adaptation would hit the market to coincide with its release. Before mobile gaming exploded to become the massive industry it is today, almost every blockbuster film was accompanied by a tie-in on consoles. Generally, these were hit and miss – for every awesome Spider-Man 2, there was a Minority Report (which was released weirdly late).
With mobile games, though, studios can commission tie-in titles with far less expense and less development time. Generally, the quality of film adaptations has improved now that developers can create smaller, more tightly-structured games which are either free or available at a far lower cost than console releases.
While a Batman V Superman mobile tie-in has been released, there’s obviously no console-based adaptation. As a result, any fans keen to play as the world’s most famous Kryptonian in his latest adventure have to make do with their mobile or tablet – unless, of course, they want to ransack the Man of Steel’s back catalogue of video games.
Whether he’s the main star or simply a playable character, Superman has appeared in many games over the years, some of which are absolutely abysmal (the notorious Superman 64 is regarded by many as one of the worst things ever to happen to home consoles). However, a fair few titles have actually been decent.
Here’s five games featuring Superman that are actually worth your time …
The Death And Return Of Superman
As fans will remember, Superman was actually killed off for a brief spell in the 90s. After the monstrous Doomsday broke free of his prison, he embarked on a wrecking spree across America, until he reached Metropolis. After heroically throwing everything he had at the villain, Superman appeared to die – a development so big it made the news at the time.
In his absence, multiple pretenders to his throne surfaced, including a cyborg, a guy in a steel outfit (called, funnily enough, Steel), and Superboy. This was a huge event, and a tie-in video game was produced for the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive and the SNES. The Death and Return of Superman is one of the better games based around the character, featuring the obligatory 90s beat-em-up structure.
With great graphics that still look decent today, nice use of Superman’s powers, and various characters up for grabs, this is worth a play for fans.
Superman Returns may have been a bit of a disappointment (to say the least), and while the tie-in game wasn’t exactly worth singing from the hilltops about either, it at least managed to bring some innovative elements to the virtual Man of Steel experience.
As an open-world game, Superman Returns allows players to soar through the skies above Metropolis in grand style, using impressive flight physics to capture a nice sense of speed. Superman’s cape billowing in the wind, and the sonic-boom effect, makes touring the city again and again endlessly fun.
While other games have given Superman a health meter (which only works when he’s facing super-strong enemies, as he’s not actually indestructible), Superman Returns instead used Metropolis itself as the measure of defeat. Whenever enemies unleashed their wrath on the city’s buildings and innocent bystanders, its own health bar would deplete. Superman could restore this by stopping the villains before too much damage was done, which wasn’t always easy when different groups of enemies attacked different areas at the same time.
While it’s not the most stunning game to look at, and certainly not the most fun, it does actually manage to capture some of the feel of being the character and will give fans an entertaining few hours. Worth checking out if spotted at a low, low, low price.
Justice League Heroes
After the success of the X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, DC took a stab at the action-RPG themselves with Justice League Heroes. This is a nice little title, featuring many of DC’s greatest heroes (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter etc.) in a huge variety of environments.
Players guide two allocated heroes through diverse levels, taking enemies down and using a variety of powers in their quest for justice. The graphics are gorgeous, the action is fast-paced and exciting, and the unlockable content (different Green Lanterns can be accessed, and multiple costumes allow for Golden and Silver Age thrills) makes this a must-play for fans.
Superman features heavily in this game, so for anyone with a hankering to don a red cape and boots, Justice League Heroes is worth checking out.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
From the makers of Mortal Kombat, Injustice is a stunning fighter with a massive roster of characters. Superman himself is the catalyst for the entire storyline: after a cruel trick by the Joker, Supes accidentally kills someone close to him and understandably loses his mind. In the aftermath, he becomes an all-seeing, all-knowing dictator – leading heroes and villains alike to unite against him.
The one-on-one fighting is super-fast, challenging, and incredibly exciting. Interactive environments, multi-tier stages, and a wide range of moves and costumes helps to make this a must-play for Superman fans. One highlight in particular is pitting the Man of Steel himself against Batman in his Fortress of Solitude – especially after watching Dawn of Justice.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
This precursor to Injustice: Gods Among Us may not be as slick and polished, but it’s well worth a play or two for fans of both franchises.
While Injustice has its own distinct look and feel, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe throws various comic-book heroes and villains into the familiar world of Scorpion et al. The result is a fun, challenging game, which allows players to brawl through separate campaigns or mix the two franchises together.
As good as the game is, the whole enterprise does feel a little … well, odd. Seeing Sub-Zero beat the stuffing out of Batman, or watching Sonya Blade take a slap or two from Catwoman, is something you never expected to see and can’t really get used to. Still, it’s great in two-player mode and has plenty of moves to master.
What do you think is the best video game featuring Superman (as you can see, they do exist!)? Let us know!