reviews\ Oct 8, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Superman: Shadow of Apokolips - PS2 - Review

When everyone was a child, they had many different daydreams. One of the most prominent daydreams was being a super hero, soaring through the skies, and impressing all your friends with your super powers. Everyone had a different fantasy, but where did all of these dreams come from? The majority came from comic books that told the tale of valiant people defeating archrivals that had similar powers, and usually had a very mysterious past and a secret identity. One of the most renowned superheroes is Superman. He could fly through the air, has laser/heat ray eyes, freezing breath, and many other powers. Now gamers get to chance to get much closer to their dream by controlling him.

Superman: Shadows of Apokolips story line is as follows: scientists have been kidnapped all throughout Metropolis, and to make matters worse he is constantly confronted with super robots. As in any comic, the story line goes much deeper than that. Players soon find out that Lex Luthor, multibillionaire head of Lexcorp, has conspired against Superman with another of his arch nemesis Darkseid. The technology for the robots came from Darkseid, to use against Superman. The scientists were used in order to understand the futurist technology to assemble these Inter-Bots (robots) of mass destruction.

It is a third-person action/adventure game. The game has an intelligent camera that never gets in the way! Players might be facing a lot of enemies in a small room, but the camera will never become an obstacle, which will be a peace of mind to many players! There are three unique ways players can fail a mission: Superman health goes to zero, if innocent bystanders get injured, and obviously if you fail to accomplish an objective.

Once players get familiar with Superman's control scheme, they will have to defeat hordes upon hordes of mindless robot drones. It is obvious that Infogrames spent a lot of time perfecting Superman's trademark moves because they all fell very coherent. After the first few minutes players will find out what the entire game is all about, beating up hordes upon hordes of robots! This is such a shame, because the license offers a considerable amount of super villains, but instead of that players get to face oodles of mindless drones!

What is nice is players get to do a little bit of convert ops missions, as Superman's other ego Clark Kent. This makes the game thus more realistic as the animate series going around finding important clues, without the horde of robots to forcefully dismantle. The mission structure is set up like this: destroy millions of robots, timed mission, saving innocent bystanders, and a few other types. Plus players will have the option to go in head first, or take a more conservative route in, and this draws players to think like Superman, in situations like this. These missions help bring the game alive, and make the players feel that they are in the red and blue tights of Superman!

The controls are Left analog stick and directional pad: on the ground will let gamers walk, run, and turn directions; while flying Superman will climb, dive, and bank. Right analog stick: on the ground will let gamers hove, land, and strafe; while flying Superman will loop, barrel roll, and go in reverse. L1 and R1 buttons are the target lock. Holding the L2 button will bring Superman into first person mode. R2 button will make Superman fly. Triangle is how to use heat vision, circle is freezing breath, square is super-speed dodging, and x button let's players punch, lift and throw different objects. While in first person mode, press the circle button to use x-ray vision. While flying hit square and x button to do a missile attack, on the ground will let superman do a tornado like spin, and while hovering is will force Superman to the ground and produce an earthquake like punch.

Superman: Shadows of Apokolips is rated E for Everyone and contains mild violence.

Gameplay: 6.8
The game is really easy to pick up and play. The first few missions will provide tips on how to use each of Superman's powers to their maximum efficiently. Within a matter of minutes players will be playing like a pro. The game does a good job of capturing the true sensation of superman and what it feels like to be him. The controls are tight and respond accordingly. Players have access of his powers from the get go, they include: flying, x-ray vision, heat seeking vision, super speed, and others. The downside is the game gets redundant quickly and players will get bored with beating up a group of people over and over again. A little mission variety would have been much more effective!

Graphics: 7.0
The game looks exactly like its animated cartoon series counterpart. If someone came in while the gamer is playing it, they would almost get the impression that it was actually the TV show. That is until they had a closer look. Even though it has huge outdoor environments to fly around in, the textures and cell shading are very bland on specific things, like cars, bystanders, and some of the buildings.

Superman on the other hand is animated greatly. All of his signature animations are there: raising arms forward to soar through the air, the way his cape glides as he moves up and down, and myriad of other things fans will recognize once they begin to play. The major enemies in the game look like the cartoon counterparts and are also nicely animated and textured. But the overall use of textures on anything but the main characters is not up to par.

Sound: 7.5
One thing that is really nice about the game is that the developers obtain all the original voice cast of the TV show to play the same roles as they did in the cartoon. This further gives players the impression that they are playing in one of the episodes of the cartoon. Even Superman's "one-liners" are thrown all through the game to make it seem much more authentic. The downfall is the music and sound effects are sub par at best, and get repetitive.

Difficulty: Easy
Superman is extremely easy to play. Once players get adjusted to the control scheme on how to fly and use all of Superman's powers with efficiency, they will beat the game in no time. An average player can beat the game in less than 12-15 hours.

Concept: 7.0
The game is hardly original, but it follows suit with the animated cartoon series, using the same voices and animation style. Plus this time around, players have access to all of Superman's powers instead of being the ultimate hero, with little, if no powers at all, which never made any sense.

Overall: 6.9
Super hero games have been developed since the birth of consoles, and it has only been with in the last few years that it has actually succeeded. To put it bluntly the past Superman games have been nothing but garbage, and make this awesome comic book hero look like is wearing a suit laced with Kryptonite! To be fair this game does succeed in making the cartoon come to life, and is fun to play, while it lasts. The game should have been tested a little bit longer, to prevent repetitive missions, other than that it is the best Superman game available on the market. Since it is so short Superman: Shadow of Apokolips ends up being a perfect rental game!

Above Average

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