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Superman 64 Returns!! (N64) - Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN)


(A sun's orb begins to blow out the evil N64 cartridge then it electrifies into a antennae-gold cartridge of Superman 64. The cartridge goes back into the earth with a space shuttle flying and the cartridge pops in the Nintendo 64 console. followed by the AVGN theme song.)

The Nerd: Time to do a super game! Super Mario 64! (The Superman 64 cartridge zaps the Super Mario 64 cartridge.) No!! That's right. It's back. I already played this game. I already showed you how bad it is. But it gets worse. Much worse.

The Nerd: First, a little background: I complained already, they should have used the Superman theme, y'know, by John Williams. But I didn't know at the time, this was based on the Superman animated series. It was the second in what's often called the Timmverse, or DC animated universe, which consisted of the highly acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, The Zeta Project, which absolutely no-one remembers, then finally, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, with a few features sprinkled here and there. Superman: The Animated Series helped bring a lot of the mythology from the comics to a whole new audience. Characters who were often excluded from previous TV or film incarnations finally got more attention, and have since gained popularity and shown up in other shows and movies. It was regarded as a great series, so it's surprising it led to one of the worst games ever made. Alright, enough of the history lesson. Let's get on with this shit.

The Nerd: So, here's an interesting detail I missed before: The story of the game is that Lex Luthor has hidden Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Emil Hamilton in his virtual world. That's right, this entire video game takes place inside... a video game. You'd think a genius like Lex Luthor would use his ability to create anything in a virtual world, and come up with some crazy obstacles or enemies for Superman to face. So what did he decide on? You know. Rings. (Superman flies over to the last bit of rings and then screen cuts to black.) Yeah. Not messin' around this time.

The Nerd: So pickin' up from last time, after another round of rings, I have to fight a few Shadow Men. Alright, I'm gonna land... and just punch 'em. Ah, I can't land 'cuz they're under me! Oh, a- and now I'm through the floor?! (stammering) And then- then- o- oh yeah, yeah of course, ah- yeah, I- I should have expected something like that. These guys are not hard to take out, but I can't land! When you're not flying at full speed... you just hover. I can't get to the last guy in time! Aagh, fuck!

The Nerd: Finally, I'm able to punch all 'em and get through another round of rings, and then I end up having to save three people from... tornadoes. This should be really easy, you should just be able to use your super breath! No! He has no super breath! He just blows! Oh, you have to collect your superpowers! Ooh, okay! So I get the super breath, I go to the tornado, but I can't slow down in time! By the time I activate my power, the tornado's too far away! And kills people! One time I was lucky enough to get both tornadoes in time, at the right point, and blow them away. But guess what? These tornadoes come back, (shows the PlayStation 2 Front Box Cover of Superman Returns) as the final boss in another Superman game!

The Nerd: Now I'm in sort of a dam! Goddamn dam. These levels are nothing but mazes full of backtracking. Y'gotta throw robots and cardboard boxes into lasers, find the keycard, go back to the beginning, flick a switch on a computer, blow up more robots, avoid a giant electric eel, drain the dam, and then a guy tells you to disarm some bombs before the clock runs out. Gee, where have I heard that one before. Luckily, you could pick up the super speed powerup. That should help. (Superman runs and wooshes in with a speed powerup then the Nerd gasps as it looked like a glitch.)

The Nerd: Ho-- oh dear. Uh-- where am I, the Phantom Zone? Hoo gee, and you have to start the whole level over, because there's no checkpoints! On the way to the bombs, you have a boss fight with Mala. She was like the cartoon's version of Ursa from Superman II. Alright, here we go! Get ready for this epic boss battle! (Superman punches Mala) Well, that was anticlimactic.

The Nerd: Y'know it's bad when the level enemies are harder than the boss. Let's see what's next! What could possibly follow that up?

Superman: Then there's no time to waste!

(The Nerd takes off his glasses and he began to shock.)

The Nerd: No... No way!

(The Nerd then laughs hysterically and he turns into sobbing and then weeping as the rings move.)

The Nerd: Oh no! They move!! Why do they have to move?! Ooh, wow! Yeah, they really change it up!

(Cut to a wrapping gift on a tree whereas the original Superman 64 cartridge opens up.)

The Nerd: You know what's a scary thought? What if this was some kid's first exposure to Superman? Maybe they got the game for Christmas or their birthday or somethin', they hear about this awesome guy who can do anything, and then they pop the game in, and it's nothing but FUCKIN' RINGS! This would ruin the character of Superman for anybody! If the rings weren't enough to do it for ya, this weird 3D face will. Well, this is the ugliest digital Superman face I've ever seen! (shows an image of Henry Cavill's digitized face from the Justice League 2017 film) Second-ugliest.

The Nerd: Alright, now I'm at this puzzle - yeah, a puzzle - where I have to use different computers to make these letters say LUTHOR. I'm sure there's probably some pattern or strategy, but all I did was keep clicking until it got solved. Not sure how I did it, and... I don't care. Now we get to Luthor's office, where we fight Brainiac, one of the most badass Superman villains! He let Krypton die, has knowledge from worlds all over the universe, can shoot blasts of energy from his hands, and once mind-controlled Batman! This is definitely gonna be a good boss fight! (Superman punches Brainiac many times and then Brainiac walks into Superman and Brainiac hovers over the shattered glass by a flying chair.)

The Nerd: Is it too much to ask for? Just to have one decent boss fight? I mean, th- the levels are so complex, I mean- don't you think a good boss fight would have made it all worthwhile? Somebody didn't think so. Hey, y'know what? At least it's not rings.

Superman: Then there's no time to waste!

The Nerd: Heh.. FUUUUUUCK!!!

The Nerd: You wanna know the worst thing about these ring levels? Right when you're getting the hang of it, the game will glitch, and send you flying across the map, for no god damn mother FUCKING reason! So y'have to backtrack or restart. The next level, you have to save Lois from Metallo. It's more of the same: Throw boxes, kill shadow people, fight robots, figure out bullshit puzzles. The hard part's when you have to escort Lois out of the level You'd think it'd be easy, just pick 'er up and fly, right? Heh... no. She has to run. Oh- oh, did I say 'run'? I wish! She sprints for a second, gets to a hallway, and then sloooowly strolls the rest of the way. Move! Move!! Oh c'mon, move!

The Nerd: You can't even run ahead, just a little bit, and take out some shadow guys before she reaches them! If you get too far away, a shadow guy will spawn in front of her. And I'm so sick of saying 'shadow guy'. So you're forced to watch her take every step toward the exit, which feels like it's 10,000 miles away! Okay, time to fight Metallo! A cybernetic creep with the brain of a mercenary and a heart made of kryptonite! Let's see how much of a challenge he is! (Superman punches Metallo, and then...) Again?

(...Cut into another different ring level)

Superman: Then there's no time to waste!

The Nerd: AGAIN?!

(The Nerd screams and is about to eat the camera)

The Nerd: So then you get to this parking garage stage, and it's a huge pile of ass! No, really, this thing is a shit behemoth! Really, it's like a moldy turd! I'd rather be impaled by a piss icicle! On top of that, there's a time limit, and kryptonite that's slowly killing you! Oooh, time to take on Darkseid! Now he's the strongest of Superman's opponents in the cartoon, so, let's see what's gonna happen here! Ooh boy, this is gonna be some serious shit!

(Superman flies in and holds up Darkseid as the level part began to glitch)

The Nerd: Glitched. Again? Now I gotta play that whole maze all over? Man, this game is such shit. I'd rather lick the asshole of a Thanagarian Snare Beast! So, rinse and repeat, here we go, Darkseid again! Oh wait, I have that heat vision, lemme try that... Okay, this is working... Uh- alright, I'm gonna have to use my fist here... Oh, okay, come ba- Oh, right, there he is! Alright, I got 'im! Oh, wait a minute... Huh. I have to drag 'im to the police now. Yeaaah! Darkseid, the ruler of Apokolips, commander of armies of Parademons, a new god who can shoot Omega Beams from his eyes...! is just gonna go to the regular police. Yeah, throw 'im in a cell with Bruno Mannheim. He'll be fine.

The Nerd: And then after another round of rings... yeah, y'know, I'm gettin' used to it at this point. I get to this level where I have to rescue Emil Hamilton from Parasite. This level is actually... pretty decent! The map is smaller, and the directions are more clear and precise! Also, you defeat the boss in a clever way! So all in all, it's a pretty decent level! There's only one problem. I keep fallin' through the map! Look at this! I broke the boundary! I'm on the outside of the game, looking in!

(A Big Rig Trucker guy then appears in a Superman 64 game set into an fake commercial-type rock music)

Big Rig Trucker: Break the boundaries of existence! Superior gameplay lets you exceed the laws of physics! Superman 64 is 64 times the awesome! (The Big Rig Trucker guy explodes.)

The Nerd: So after that, you do more rings... big surprise. And then we're at a subway. Not the fast food place, but the... actual subway. And it's the same stuff you'd expect: Flying around aimlessly, backtracking, yadda yadda. But then it turns into a real shitshow when you have to do ANOTHER escort mission. And this guy... is worse than Lois. When enemies are close, you have to make sure he doesn't get hurt. So how do you keep 'im safe? By using your super breath and encasing him in ice.

The Nerd: Well, I've seen Superman do lots of crazy things, but... putting them in ice?! Like... how do they breathe? How do they stay alive? Why am I asking you? Look at this shit! The guy gets to the exit, he thanks you, and you think that's it, but then he gets attacked on his way out and I can't go past the door! The only thing I can do is escape through the ceiling and hope the level ends before this guy gets killed!

The Nerd: So here it is. The final ring level. But it's the worst 'o them all! There's rings underwater that go below the map, there's moving rings, there's even multiple ring paths that lead to false exits! Now THAT is just cruel! In a normal game, this might be challenging, but not when the controls are so broken! (Lex laughs as the Superman fails to get the ring) Ugh, fuck! (Then another) Fuuuck! (And another) ASS!

(He grunts over the controller.)

The Nerd: I can't do it! I need help! I need guidance! I need to learn... learn to fly.

(The Nerd walks off the couch as the Skylar appears in an ice-type cave. Skylar talks in a low-toned phrase from Atari Jaguar's Cybermorph.)

Skylar: Where did you learn to fly?

The Nerd: Geez, that's a face I didn't miss.

Skylar: Where did you learn to fly?

The Nerd: Not from playing Cybermorph, I can tell ya that!

Skylar: Where did you learn to fly?

The Nerd: I dunno... Top Gun Academy?

Skylar: Where did you learn to fly?

The Nerd: I wish you'd ask Superman that. He can't fly for shit in this game!

Skylar: Where did you learn to fly?

The Nerd: Actually, when preparing for this review, I looked into when Superman first flew. Early in the comics, he couldn't fly, but instead jumped really high. The earliest appearance of him flying was in Superman #10, the artist working on the issue wasn't clear about Superman's powers and thought he could fly. So his first flight was by accident! It was quickly corrected in the next issue, and the next time the character flew was in the radio show. Finally, Superman would fly on-screen in the old Fleischer cartoon. In both cases, his power of flight was given to him simply because the people making them really wanted to!

Skylar: Where did you learn to fly?

The Nerd: I guess Superman never really DID learn to fly, it was just a combination of dumb luck and people wanting him to fly.

Skylar: Where did you learn to fly?

The Nerd: I know what you're saying... I don't really need to LEARN to fly through these rings, I just need to... want it, and hope for the best!

Skylar: Where did you learn to fly?

The Nerd: Well thanks for the encouragement, talking head from Cybermorph! Hey, I'm sorry I shot you with the Super Scope and called you an asshole that one time.

(The Nerd walks off from the ice-typed cave and Skylar talks her in a repeatedly low-toned phrase one more time.)

Skylar: Where did you learn to fly?

(The Nerd goes back into the game room as the four replacement guys sits in playing the Superman 64 game)

The Nerd: Alright... What the Hell's this?! (The four replacement guys look to the Nerd) I'm gone five minutes and already I have four replacements? Get outta here!

The Nerd: Yeah... there we go... There we go! (Superman gets into the last rings in a perfect shot and wins) O-hoo! I beat the rings! I beat the rings! No more FUCKING RINGS! But the nightmare isn't over yet. The final level takes place on Brainiac's spaceship, and it is the biggest pain in the ass you can imagine. I wish I could reverse the world's rotation and go back in time to destroy the computer this game was designed on!

The Nerd: You have to find 12 pieces of a machine scattered all over. And the whole time, you have robots, crab people, and little tanks trying to mess up your day. And if you find all the pieces, Brainiac sends you to a room full 'o teleporters. The goal here is to get the numbers to add up to 2000. And like the Luthor puzzle, I have no idea what to do, so I'm just gonna mess around. Sometimes I get the combination quick, other times the clock runs out and I lose. After that, y'have to escort Jimmy and Lois to safety. And these idiots just stroll into a room full 'o lightning! Y'have to freeze them again and push them to safety, but be careful, because you might push 'em off a bridge. After saving Lois and Jimmy, you have to fight Brainiac again! And if you were expecting something really exciting, well, you should know better by now. (The Brianiac grunts and Superman flies once more in the final boss.)

The Nerd: Once he's down, you destroy some bombs, and of course! (Cut to a Superman 64 Ring level) Another ring st-- just kidding. Superman brings his friends to the real world, and Luthor gets away. I am so happy to be finished with this, I'm gonna ignore that the camera is having a seizure. Y'wanna know somethin' else that's a real kick in the ass?

The Nerd: In recent years, a ROM of the game surfaced which was of the unreleased PlayStation version, and it actually looks... alright. The levels look unique, the bad guys look cooler, the controls... don't seem great, but it looks like they work! According to Tit-us, after all the changes they were forced to make for the Nintendo version, their license ran out and they couldn't release it. Instead we got this rancid anus tart of a game vomiting green rings in our face!

(The antennae-gold cartridge of Superman 64 begins to zap the Superman eyes as the Nerd looks at it and runs in fear as he grunts and groans thoroughly. He takes out the N64 console and zaps right through the good games.)

The Nerd: NOOO!! Please, don't! Don't hurt the good, innocent games!

(The Nerd takes out the Superman 64 cartridge from the N64 and then he breaks the cartridge in plastic. He sighs and cries out in despair)

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