Superman 64 is a game based on Superman: The Animated Series. It was released on May 31, 1999 for the Nintendo 64 and was developed and published by Titus Interactive. The game is notorious for its overwhelmingly negative reception from critics.
The game opens with Lex Luthor kidnapping Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Dr. Emil Hamilton. They're placed into a virtual recreation of Metropolis, so Superman must enter this world to rescue them. At the beginning of the game Luthor states, "If you want to save your friends, solve my maze!" The "maze", however, consists of hoops scattered about the virtual world that Superman must fly through before time runs out. If the player strays too far from the hoops, time will be deducted and the player will fail the level.
Superman's powers and speed have been greatly diminished from the canon of the show, which the developers explain as "kryptonite fog" (actually the fog hiding the draw distance coloured green) limiting his powers. The player must fly through several sets of the aforementioned rings to reach an objective such as defeating a set number of thugs or picking up cars. Failure to complete the ring courses under the time limit will force the player to start over. If successful, the player can enter the action segments, with simplistic, one-button combat. Superman's powers such as ice breath or heat vision can be used, but they must be acquired as pick-ups and can only be used for a few seconds.
The game also contains multiplayer; a deathmatch mode and a race mode. In deathmatch, the players play as various Superman characters as they pilot ships such as the ship that delivered Superman to Earth. Players fly around in an attempt to shoot each other down in a mode similar to Star Fox 64's multiplayer. Various power-ups are scattered around the map that players can use to take down other players such as lock on missiles, as well as shields that offer invincibility.
As for the race mode, one player places rings around a track and the other players must go through them to be victorious. This mode however can also be won by shooting down every other player, turning it into a deathmatch, and rendering it pointless. The multiplayer can be played with up to four players.
Superman 64 was universally panned by critics. Common complaints included the overly sensitive flying controls, the poor graphics and animations, the poor use of superpowers, and the repetitive nature of the game. One common complaint was the thick kryptonite fog. The prevalence of thick fog is not uncommon in Nintendo 64 titles due to the hardware's draw distance limitations, but on top of all of the game's other technical and design issues, it seemed absurd for Titus to attempt to explain away the fog as a power-inhibiting haze inside of a virtual world.
The game went on to collect "worst game of the year" awards for 1999 from multiple publications and has gone on to garner a reputation as one of the worst games ever made. In 2008, it was made the subject of an episode of the internet game retrospective series The Angry Video Game Nerd. The show's host, James Rolfe, reviewed the game due to popular demand. In the episode, he brought specific attention to the game's poor collision detection, character animation, and lack of checkpoints. He capped the episode off in a sequence that depicts him as flying off into outer space like Superman and flinging the game into the sun.