Retro Review: The Death and Return of Superman

Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
The Death and Return of Superman for SNES and Sega Genesis is an old school classic beat’em’up game with a unique twist. This game follows almost the exact storyline of the 1992 DC comic The Death of Superman, a well-loved storyline in the Superman series, where Superman must fight the unstoppable Doomsday machine. This epic battle is a fan favorite in the comics and translates surprisingly well into the gaming world. The player is able to enjoy the game as five different playable characters, Superman, The Cyborg, The Eradicator, Superboy, and Steel. Unfortunately, the characters are already designated for the player depending on the level, but for any fan of the series it doesn’t matter much, as part of the fun is the simple fact that our favorite DC characters come to life on screen in a dynamic environment.
This game comes down to one simple thing, FUN! Button mashing, villain smashing, object crashing fun. The controls of the game are classically simplistic making it easy to control where your character moves and which character you’d like to knock the snot out of next. Projectile weapons can be dispersed with this same simplicity while either on the ground or flying through the air. That’s right flying, you know, the one thing any Superman game needs to get right. For some reason through the years of video games and up to this point in time Superman’s flying has been his greatest downfall. Flying and shooting projectile weapons properly? Now that would just be asking too much. Not with Death and Return of Superman! amazingly there are entire levels devoted to flying around and shooting projectiles at enemies, essentially turning parts of the game into a side-scrolling shooter. If this game had absolutely nothing else going for it except for the fact that the controls were amazing it would top every other Superman game in existence.
On top of the fact that the game is a breeze to control it has good visuals going for it too. The in-game play is stunning for its time, creating a dark menacing environment for the character and player to immerse themselves in. The cut scenes were my favorite part, however, creating a comic book panel feel with text bubbles for narration. Cut scenes stay true to the actual comic and have the feel of flipping through the pages of a Superman comic book which any fan of the series, or comics in general, can appreciate.
The downside I saw, or rather heard, was the music and sound effects. There are literally three songs that play during the entire game, which might be okay, if they were Super Mario quality catches. Instead we get dinging and clanging all through the game. It’s not surprising considering when the game was made, I can name several games right away with the same kind of awful music, it just simply doesn’t make it any more acceptable. on top of the music there are some questionable sound effects. the melee and shooting attack sounds are your normal everyday versions, but picking up items makes Superman sounds like he’s growing flowers for earth day. With the story line and atmosphere of the game being so dark and raw, it’s just disappointing the music couldn’t rise to the occasion.
Even with the downside of mediocre sound, this game is a must play, and in my opinion the best Superman game in existence. The Death and Return of Superman is what every Superman game has strived to be and somehow never quite got there. Superman has been a favorite in the hearts of children and adults alike for years and it was so nice to replay a game that keeps with the strong nature of the comic book. I can only hope that developers in the future look to this game as an example of what Superman can be in gaming. Even for a classic this game in innovative but more importantly extremely fun.
The Death and Return of Superman gets
out of five

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2 thoughts on “Retro Review: The Death and Return of Superman

  1. i agree TRL. It truley was so much fun to play it again. actually even after the review ive been playing it 🙂 the flying levels are my favorite.


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