Facing super problems
I've really been looking forward to this opportunity to become the biggest hero in popular comics. Writing plots for a character who has ultimate power normally, but none at all in the presence of green kryptonite is tricky on paper. But the limitations of the game screen help to solve the problem.
In the various game sections you have access to some of the great hero's super powers - flight, heat vision, super breath and super strength in the form of apunch - and each problem is solved by using certain abilities, but only one combination at a time.
The game occupies more than 300k so the 40 track version comes on four sides and you are prompted to change discs as needed. On booting up the first side you are treated to the jealously guarded copyright notices and an animated Tynesoft logo similar to the sort of thing film companies put on their productions.
Then you move to the start of the comic strip: In a series of panels the plot is revealed by the editor of the Daily Planet Perry White. It seems that Darkseid and his parademons are attacking and you have to stop them.
You then flip to the playing screen where a small area of the right hand side shows Superman flying into the screen and the baddies coming towards you, while the left gives energy level, score, time taken, how far through the level you are and which super power is in use.
Darkseid and his cronies emerge from a strange opening in the sky and fly down at you. Using super breath you can blow them backwards, but only a few hefty punches or zaps with heat vision disposes of them for good. Of course, they don't just hang around to get blown away, but shoot energy-draining bolts at you. A bigger ship which fires two shots at a time comes down a little later. As far as I can tell, the only way to move to the next level is to kill the opposition fast. If you are too slow, they just keep coming.
Another comic strip relates how Lois Lane and the state governor have been captured on board the SS Atlantis, so off you go to rescue them. This time, the playing screen scrolls horizontally as you run down the ship's corridors meeting seemingly endless robots firing fireballs and dropping bombs. Heat vision comes in very useful here.
After the next bit of storyline you find yourself protecting a space shuttle from a meteor storm let loose by Lex Luthor. You are invulnerable, but the cunning villain has mixed green kryptonite asteroids with the others, and you must avoid getting hit by them at all costs. Heat vision (most useful) and super strength are available in this vertical scrolling section.
Now it turns out that Lex Luthor has re-programmed the on-board defence robots of the Star Lab satellite and you have to fight yourway through them in a slightly more vicious version ofthe SS Atlantis conflict.
The next battle involves further asteroid storms, this time directed at the Star Lab. And after that it's even more meteors, with the inclusion of rather unpleasant mini-droids protecting the LexCorp satellite. Having disposed of the outer defences you enter a satellite station for an encounter again similar to the SS Atlantis fight - horizontally scrolling with a much bigger selection of baddies until you finally reach the centre and annihilate the Geodisrupter.
In a way, this is a compendium of games with a single theme linked by comic strip pages. It mimics a Superman story quite well, and there is a plot. It's certainly an impressive piece of work and very well implemented. My only criticism is the rendition of the Superman theme which should have been done better or left out.
Superman isn't easy to play, but it's great fun.