Superman: Shadow of Apokolips Preview
Batman and Spider-Man won't be the only famous super heroes making their debuts on the PS2, because Superman: Shadow of Apokolips is in development, not very far in, but in nonetheless. Let's face it, though the Superman that hit N64 consoles certainly belonged in a pile of shi...err...list of "worst games ever", hope for a good new Superman title seems very slender. However, Superman is now being developed by a completely different company -- Sheffield House -- which makes the news a bit more comforting, as they hope to fix up Superman's videogame shortcomings.
The story will revolve around some of Superman's archest of foes -- Lex Luther, Parasite, and Metallo. Though, these (once horrible threats) are just mere pawns in Darkseid's, way more powerful, plot. Darkseid rules a planet known as Apokolips (hence the name) light years away from small planet Earth. Luther has discovered some alien technology, which will allow him to engender an army of robots, "Inter-bots", which will help him carry out all his dastardly schemes.
Cel-shading in video games has recently become more and more of an occurrence. However, Superman doesn't boast these same visuals just for the heck of it, or to try to be different. The fact that the game is cel-shaded is because, unlike most Superman video games, this one will be based on the popular animated series on the WB network. The result is quite impressive and convincingly mocks the look found on the cartoon, which gives the game more incentive.
Besides accurately representing the TV series, Superman's cel-shaded visuals also boast other impressive elements. Superman himself is comprised of roughly 5,500 polygons. His cape also animates genuinely, swaying around as Superman moves and casting appropriate shadows as well. In addition, Superman's use of superpowers also strive from the unique look. Among his various abilities, you'll find X-ray vision, heat vision, super speed, super breath, super strength, and of course the capability to fly. The X-ray vision will cause some objects to become transparent, and the speed dash will create a blur around you, helping to emphasize a sense of speed.
Thankfully, all of his intrinsic powers will be at your disposal from the start of the game. Though, you will have to use them with diligence because the utilization of them is limited, and these limited abilities are indicated by a solar power bar. The special powers so far come in handy and are definitely needed against the horde of minions that will oppose you.
Superman, since being based on the series and comics, will be story-driven, and will play-out with numerous cut-scenes throughout your furtherance -- 15 levels in all. Furthermore, there will even be an instance where you'll be able to control the mild-mannered reporter, Clark Kent.
Superman is currently scheduled to hit stores this fall, and with Sheffield House trying to revive the maligned series, they look to be headed on the right track so far. We'll keep you posted.
4/5/2002 Joseph Comunale