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Superman Returns is a video game loosely based on the movie of the same name, developed by Electronic Arts-Tiburon in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics. It features a story arc from the movie, which was released on June 28, 2006, and more than 60 years of comic book content. EA Tiburon, known for its Madden NFL game series, has claimed that the game combines strong creative vision and compelling new technology to deliver a powerful and emotional gaming experience to their consumers, and they will experience a real sense of flying while mastering Superman's superhero powers to save Metropolis.[ ]
In the game, Superman combats Metallo, who does not appear in the movie, as well as other classic villains as well as being able to play as Bizarro for a short period of time in one of the many minigames inserted into the game. The game was produced for the next-generation Xbox 360 as well as current generation platforms and handhelds although it was canceled for the PSP due to it not having enough power to support the game.[ ]
Electronic Arts and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment secured an all-star cast for the voices in Superman Returns: The Videogame. The game features the voice and likeness of Brandon Routh (Superman/Clark Kent) as well as the voices of Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor), Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane), Parker Posey (Kitty Kowalski) and Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen), all reprising their roles from the Warner Bros. Pictures film directed by Bryan Singer.[ ]
The game was released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The Nintendo DS also featured games based on the film, but they are fundamentally different from the console title. The games were delayed from their original release date (set to coincide with the theatrical release of the film) due to design complications and issues with polish on the console game.[ The handheld games were delayed in order to preserve a simultaneous release with non-handheld SKUs. The games were ultimately released on November 22, 2006 in the United States and November 30 in Australia, to coincide with the ]DVD release of Superman Returns.
The game has an 80 km2 free-roaming map, and Superman is able to fly into the stratosphere generated in the game though not into the depths of the ocean surrounding Metropolis. Superman's complete array of superpowers are at the player's disposal, and the player is required to 'master' Superman's powers, because Superman might cause harm to the city if his powers are used incorrectly.
The player is able to fly at different speeds, the maximum being 800 km/h, which is faster than the speed of sound. As stated above, each power has different levels of energy. Superman's x-ray vision is used automatically when Superman picks up an object. The object will be made transparent to the player so it will not obstruct the player's point of view during gameplay.
The player can't lose if Superman takes a certain amount of damage, instead the player can lose if the villains inflicts too much damage to the city, like hurting civilians and destroying cars. Superman has a stamina meter that depletes as he uses more of his power, but recharges quickly. If Superman is high up in the air, in direct sunlight, even an empty stamina bar will fully recharge almost immediately. Aside from villains, there are also disasters Superman must prevent, such as cooling off a burning building with his superbreath or preventing meteors from hitting Metropolis.
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The game was cancelled on the PlayStation Portable system. Contrary to popular belief and due to incorrect reporting by certain gaming news sites, a Nintendo GameCube version was never planned[ (Interestingly, video game retailer Game Stop showcased preview box art for a Game Cube version). ][ ]
The demo was released for the Xbox 360 on November 15. In the demo the player is restricted to the Industrial District of the city and one fight with Metallo.
The story begins with Metropolis suffering a devastating meteor shower. Superman uses his full array of powers, including his strength, freeze breath, and heat vision to destroy the deadly rocks before they can strike the city.
Following this incident, astronomers announce that they have discovered the remains of the dead planet Krypton. Superman flies to the distant galaxy in the space rocket that his father sent him to Earth in to investigate the ruins of his homeworld and to see if there is anything left. He finds only gigantic, asteroid-sized chunks of kryptonite, pieces of the planet that were irradiated by the supernova that destroyed the great civilization. Superman turns his ship around and heads back to Earth, but along the way he is intercepted by Mongul and forced to compete in gladitorial combat in Warworld. Mongul first puts him against an elite team of warriors known as the Plahtune, but the Man of Steel easily beats them. Next, he confronts Overkhast, an alien who can fire energy from his hands and who can also transform into a gigantic energy-based creature that can emit shock waves of power. After Superman overcomes him, Mongul himself steps into the arena to battle Superman. Though he is powerful and possesses great strength, Mongul is still no match for the Last Son of Krypton. At the conclusion of their fight, Superman picks up Mongul and prepares to deliver what would most certainly be a killing strike. Mongul taunts him, "Go on, Superman. You know you want to." Superman then throws Mongul to the floor and states that the fight is over. Superman then finds his ship and sets off for Earth, but Mongul vows that he will find him.
Superman's return to Metropolis is greeted with ecstatic applause by most, but Lois Lane seems somewhat hesitant to put her faith in him again. Soon after his return, however, Metallo attacks the city with an army of robotic beings. Superman is forced to fight both the supervillain and his minions. The lesser opponents are of little consequence to the Kryptonian, but Metallo is another matter. Superman and the robot go hand-to-hand, and Metallo transforms into a towering monstrosity that Superman cannot directly touch, because his kryptonite-laced body will cause the Man of Steel to temporarily lose his stamina. Superman compensates for this by throwing vehicles at the villain. Realizing that he is about to be defeated, Metallo fires a large missile to level the city, but Superman intercepts the projectile and hurls it into the stratosphere. Superman shows Metallo no mercy, gathering all of his powers and charging the villain, tearing through his body and ripping out his power source.
Unbeknownst to Superman, during his absence Lex Luthor broke into the Fortress of Solitude and stole the data crystals. Lex Luthor experiments with the crystals by adding a small particle to water, and the resulting city-wide power failure releases numerous villains and genetic creatures, including Bizarro. Bizarro begins a rampage throughout Metropolis, destroying buildings and attacking citizens. Though Bizarro is of equal might, Superman is a much more experienced warrior. In the end, Superman defeats Bizarro, but does not kill him because he knows that the poor creature is incapable of understanding his actions.
No sooner has he defeated Bizarro than an old enemy returns for a rematch. Mongul and his minions have followed Superman to Earth. Superman battles the Plahtune and Overkhast, and after beating them confronts Mongul once again. The fight is fierce, but as before the Man of Steel emerges victorious. Mongul admits that he is defeated and flees Earth.
There is no time to celebrate this victory, because Lex Luthor has put his diabolical scheme of creating a new world with the Kryptonian crystals into effect. Luthor plants the main crystal and an entire new landmass begins to form off the coast of Metropolis, which causes several tornados to form and tear through the city. Superman deflects the tornadoes and extinguishes the fires that have erupted throughout the city, then flies out over the water to investigate. He finds Lex Luthor's boat sinking, the evil mastermind having abandoned it after planting the crystal. Lois had sneaked onto the ship and is trapped as it is sinking, and Superman rescues her and takes her unconscious form to the coast guard. He then discovers the gigantic new island forming as a result of the crystal. Superman lands on the island, and discovers too late that he has fallen into a trap. The island is laced with kryptonite. Lex Luthor beats and taunts the Man of Steel and then kicks his powerless form into the ocean far below. But Lois arrives with the coast guard and rescues Superman, who flies into outer space to bask in the rays of the sun before burrowing his way under the ocean floor and lifting the landmass directly out of the water and throwing it into space.
Superman flies back to Metropolis to take care of the few remaining villains who earlier escaped him, and the game ends.
Superman Returns: The Videogame was not received very well by many critics, citing it as another example of the so called "Superman video game curse" (the fact that many Superman titles previously released were almost universally reviled, especially the 1999 Nintendo 64 title, Superman).[ The use of Superman's full set of classic powers, especially flight, were praised, but the story was considered weak and sometimes pointless ][, and the city of Metropolis, while large, was considered unimaginatively designed ][. The missions were also criticized by being repetitive and unoriginal ][, consisting mostly of battling endless waves of enemies, and the few original ones weren't received any better (as it was stated in an ]IGN review: "The final boss in Superman Returns: The Videogame is a tornado. Not Lex Luthor. Not General Zod, not that nuclear guy -- not even Richard Pryor. A tornado!"). Official PlayStation 2 Magazine UK gave the game an unimpressive 5/10, saying "They've got the man bit down but in no way is this super." OXM gave the Xbox version of this game the award of "Best Graphics... if They Were on a PlayStation 1" in the 2006 Game of The Year Awards. X-Play gave it a 1/5 for poor control, boring and bland enemies, and for featuring a tornado as the final boss.