Superman: Shadow Of Apokolips
Based on the former Kids WB! animated series featuring the Man of Steel, Shadow of Apokolips places Superman on a Sony system for the first time. The multifaceted story pits Supes against the likes of Metallo, Livewire, Parasite and Lex Luthor, whom Darkseid has granted his planet Apokolips’ advanced weapons technology. Infogrames lets you fight for truth, justice and the American way this fall.
Download Superman: Shadow Of Apokolips
Ask Rob Smith, the senior producer at Infogrames Sheffield House, about his thoughts on past Superman games, and he's quick to the point. "It's irrelevant. We've moved on," he says confidently, obviously inferring that Shadow of Apokolips should stand as its own game on its own merits. And he's right. Despite many gamers' instinctual desires to compare Apokolips to Titus' infamous Nintendo 64 Superdebacle (which was the lowest-rated game in EGM history until Mortal Kombat Advance), it's already obvious that the only commonality shared by the two is the source material: Superman: The Animated Series.
A quick look at these screens and you'll immediately notice that Apokolips' graphics admirably realize the look of the late-'90S Kids WB! cartoon. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the nearly 60 cutscenes that advance a plot in which Darkseid (the all-powerful ruler of planet Apokolips) lends his advanced technology to Lex Luthor for their common goal to rid the universe of Superman once and for all. Villains like Metallo, Parasite, Livewire and Kanto only further the mayhem and, as with every other character in the game, are all voiced by actors from the series itself--that makes for 16 total voices contributing to the dialogue, including Tim Daly, Dana Delany and Malcolm McDowell.
Superman moves gracefully through the sky, cape flapping in the wind as he performs loop-de-loops, barrel rolls and strafe maneuvers. Though his powers can expire if used in excess, Supes always retains the ability to use most of them, whether he chooses to cool off a fire with his ice breath or take out a hostile Interbot using heat vision. Particularly devastating is the superspin move, similar in result to a Spider-Man web dome. X-ray and telescopic vision help in solving puzzles, with superstrength, superhearing and more always handy. And don't go looking for power-ups. "We're staying as true as possible to the Superman universe," Smith explains. Fans will recognize many of the huge areas, especially Metropolis, where you can fight a villain at street level or fly atop the highest buildings. One particular edifice, the LexCorp tower, is the site of a stealth mission with you in the guise of Clark Kent. To sum up. Smith states, "I'm a huge Superman fan--and this is the kind of game I want to play."
Superman fans have waited long enough. Finally, after years of uninspired even downright offensive video-game interpretations, the Man of Steel is ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound in a game that, while not without its faults, should do an admirable job of shaking the indelibly horrible memory of Titus N64 Super-embarrassment.
Just playing the opening level of Shadow of Apokolips makes this apparent as you realize that developer Infogrames-Sheffield House has done all it can to make this the Supes you know and love straight from the Kids WB! cartoon series of the late 90s. Although the inclusion of virtually all his powers helps accomplish this, the team has gone beyond simply including the likes of heat vision, cooling breath, X-ray vision and superhearing (visualized as radar) the game also allows you to put your powers to use in very cool ways. For instance, Superman doesnt just lift heavy things with his superstrength, he also uses this power to deliver particularly punishing blows from above, or to rip pipes from walls and use them as devastating weapons. And he doesnt just fly, he whisks through the air at varying speeds with maneuvers like barrel rolls and loop-de-loops that prove themselves as useful in dodging attacks as they are stylish.
Of course, pure heroism plays a large role as well. In addition to the Last Son of Kryptons overall goal of stopping the combined forces of Lex Luthor and Darkseid, his more immediate concerns center on saving individuals in peril, whether by lifting them to safety or merely by beating the crap out of the Intergang robots terrorizing them.
At this point, the key gripes gamers might have with Apokolips involve its camera and difficult-to-master controls. But to most Superman fans longing for a decent game, these issues certainly wont offer a lethal dose of Kryptonite.