Superman for the N64 is considered by many to be one of the worst games of all time. But, fortunately for Superman, it wasn’t the Kryptonian’s last appearance in a video game.
Superman 64 is bad. It’s really bad. It’s so bad it’s kind of fun, but not really, because it’s so, so bad. He’s headlined games of similarly mediocre quality since then, but his best appearances have been thanks to the fighting game genre. And last week, Nether Realm Studios brought us the next iteration of those games: Injustice 2, which came out to stellar reviews and solid sales.
To illustrate the vast difference and incredibly long path Superman has come since the N64 release in 199, we’ll compare the experience of both games.
Spoilers: They’re super different.
Story and Characters
Injustice 2: You play through a coherent story mode that works within the Injustice Universe.
Superman 64: You have to open up a menu and click on something called “Story and Controls” to read a nonsense plot summary about a virtual reality world where you must fly through rings to save your friends.
Injustice 2: Very few glitches when interacting with objects and environments.
Superman 64: Sometimes, when a mission calls for you to lift up a car, the car starts to fly away from you. Sometimes when you go underwater you fly smoother than in the air, and other times you start gesticulating wildly, not moving at all. Sometimes you fall through the floor, get stuck on a building, and die while the game is ostensibly paused. Or an enemy disappears, you clip through the whole level, and the menu screen crashes. Who knows!
There’s a ten-minute challenge involving flying through rings. The flying controls are so terrible, it feels glitchy as hell. It’s like driving a busted stick shift with an N64 controller. You now hate flying, and you especially hate rings.
Injustice 2: Superman can walk.
Superman 64: Superman has incredible difficulty walking. You’re better off using the terrible flight mechanic.
Graphics and Animation
Injustice 2: There are more colors in the environment than just green.
Superman 64: The environment has almost only the color green and its various shades. Indoors, outdoors — green is your color.
Injustice 2: The animations are gorgeous, lifelike, and based on each character’s particular style. It’s so cool to play as a Superman that looks and feels so much like the Man of Steel.
Superman 64: When Superman stands still, his cape flows in this really weird way that makes it look like he is convulsing. He doesn’t have a face in the traditional sense, either. His animations are clunky, floppy, or non-existent, depending on the maneuver you’re trying to pull off. Put shortly: Playing it feels terrible. Most of the characters look and move like cardboard.
Injustice 2: Has customizable gear that not only impacts your stats and unlocks new moves, but looks cool and is fun to mix and match with, too.
Superman 64: You look like some kind of humanoid smear approximating Superman, and you can’t change that. You don’t have stats.
Injustice 2: No rings.
Superman 64: May be entirely composed of rings and ring-based challenges. All you see are rings — endless, endless rings across the quiet expanse of virtual Metropolis.
Injustice 2: Superman is evil, which isn’t great, but is interesting for the narrative.
Superman 64: This game is not capable of anything, including being evil.