Superman Returns

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it an over-muscled bloke in tights?

You first take control of Supes as he defends Metropolis - the unluckiest city in movie history - from a meteor shower shortly before he flies off to find himself in space. Essentially a training level, you are presented with an enormous city to defend, Metropolis, a great spread of tower blocks set in a curiously empty countryside. You are immortal, invulnerable and can fly superfast; all you have to worry about is getting really tired - though your stamina recovers fully after a few seconds - and Metropolis itself. If the city's health bar decreases to zero, you're told unconvincingly, "Metropolis has been destroyed!" even though it's still standing.


In this early section, you're gradually taught how to use all your superpowers, from heat vision ( it burns up enemies), to cold breath (it freezes enemies) and super-breath. Each has a further extra-super mode, which requires you to have maximum stamina to use. Your powers are weak initially, but as the game goes along, you level up and the effects increase, though it's not visually noticeable.

The next section is also a training mode. Shoe-horned into the storyline, Superman has to change into a fetching grey Tron-style body-suit and fight aliens in a gladiatorial arena ruled by Mongul. Here you get trained in fisticuffs. Essentially it's a combo-based punching system combined with your powers, flying and the ability to pick up and throw almost anything. It's entertaining, but there's nothing new. The rest of the plot follows the film's story, and avoids getting too involved.

The game doesn't really develop from that point, save for set-piece boss battles involving Metallo, Bizarro and the like. From then on you're bashing various robots, giant lizards and zooming through the streets of Metropolis - the flying is easily the most fun element - trying to keep the city's health up by rescuing injured civilians (which is hugely boring), while cutscenes tell you what Lex Luthor's doing somewhere else in the city.

The verdict


  • Enormous roaming city
  • Satisfying flying and exploration
  • Few new ideas
  • Generic button bashing combat
  • Irritating repetitive missions
Xbox 360
EA Games
EA Games
Action, Beat 'em Up