Lets face it, the Man of Steel didn't have much
success in the game universe during the 90's and no other comic book hero faired much
better. Thankfully, many of these heroes, (namely Spiderman and Batman) have returned and
triumphed on today's current generation consoles. Like the N64 cart bearing Superman's
name, this game is based off the popular mid-nineties cartoon series brought to you by the
same geniuses behind Batman: TAS. As to which series you prefer is never an easy
question to answer.
Both cartoons share great storylines, superb animation, and an
awesome cast of villains. Therefore, it's no wonder why fans were downright peeved with
Supe's previous N64 shame, which not only tarnished Titus's name as a quality game
developer, but also left fans uncertain as to whether or not a Superman game
could be done right. Now that Atari (formally known as Infograms) has taken Superman under
their wings and released a completely new Superman title on the PS2 and Gamecube,
will he fly high and win back the respect of the fans he rightfully deserves?
The story behind Shadow of Apokolips is like a fresh new Superman
episode all on its own but nothing that'll put the word "awe" in your mouth.
Scientists have been captured throughout Metropolis and the Inter-bots are prime suspect.
Unbeknownst to Superman that his long time nemesis Lex Luthor is the one with controls
while Darkseid is the main man behind it all. There are a few minor twists along the way
as well as encounters with the revenge-stricken Metallo and other villain favorites.
When comparing the graphics in Shadow of Apokolips with the inferior looking N64
version, the cel shading looks extremely well done, but then compare It to the tremendous
look of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and they look a tad bit on the plain side.
Metropolis no doubt looks nice but lacks the bright color palate detail of the cartoon.
Superman is by far most notable as he moves swiftly with grace. The cut scenes do a smooth
job of tying each level together and each character looks right on with their cartoon
counterpart. In certain cut scenes, characters look unusually fuzzy from a distance and
their faces can sometimes vanish completely. What's most important is that the graphics
honor the look of the cartoon and these graphics get the job done all things considered.
The music suits the Metropolis atmosphere well and often changes to fit the mood of the
current situation at hand, whether it be soaring through the skies to save a crashing
plane or about to face off in a serious round bout, it all blends together smoothly. Voice
acting is superb, as each characters attitude remains intact in the game. Superman
spiraling in the air sounds magnificent and the explosions sound believable.
Super spin? Check. Breath blast? Check. Heat vision? Check. That's correct, all of
Superman's powers are here at for disposal, but not without a good ol' energy bar to
prevent overuse of one power to take out his foes. No worries here, the energy bar slowly
replenishes itself over time. Once the control configuration is down, controlling
Superman's dazzling moves is an absolute synch. Surface combat can be a little tricky at
times while air combat is a breeze thanks to the ability to lock-on to your enemies. The
camera tends to work in your favor and ease your troubles at getting around. Each power is
necessary to pull off certain tasks.
Overall, Shadow of Apokolips was very pleasant surprise. It really picks up the
slack the crap N64 version left behind. Fans of the series should feel right at home here
and there's certainly a lot to love, if you're a Superman fan. Even in that case
however, rental may the wiser route to take. The game length is on the short side and
action gamers should be able tear through it in a matter of a rental span. Once that's
done the only thing that gives this game the slightest ounce of replay value is the option
to view cut scenes a few times over. The Explore Metropolis feature is a nice touch, which
only the most die-hard Superman fans will be able to appreciate. Other hidden
features can be found through finding the Superman icons located in each level,
but don't count on going on a pilgrimage to find them. Still, these light issues are
nothing that should steer away anyone from experiencing the best Superman game to
date. A title that will either leave the player shouting, "Hooray they did it!"
Or thinking, "Is this the best they could do?"