Crucified: Big games murdered by the critics

You may be aware that tomorrow is Good Friday - the time of the year when Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary. And how better to commemorate this holy day than with a feature about the games that arrived as saviors draped in expectation, only to be met by Old Testament-style wrath from the critics. Sure, it's tenuous, but since when has that ever got in the way of a good sermon?

While the games we've picked might not have been cast into the most sinful depths of Game Rankings purgatory for all eternity, they were metaphorically nailed to the cross, each one failing to ascend to the heavens as their optimistically penned press releases had prophesied...

Superman Returns: The Videogame (PS2, PC, Xbox, 360) | EA | 2006
The virtual antics of superheroes traditionally offer some of the most craptacular gaming experiences around. And poor old interstellar immigrant Superman seems to suffer worst than most at the hands of developers (are they, in fact, agents of evil looking to manipulate our respect for the Man of Steel through atrocious game design?).

EA's stab at the kryptonite-fearing fly boy was meant to erase the sour memories of earlier abominations, such as Superman: Shadow of Apokolips, Superman: The Man of Steel and the truly terrible Superman 64. And with some genuinely tasty looking teaser trailers and screen shots we were suckered into thinking that, yes, at last, this would be a game worthy of the Metropolis hero.

And then we played it, and we could almost hear the distant, nefarious laughter of Lex Luthor as Clark Kent ripped open his starched shirt to reveal - somehow - another complete Superman catastrophe.

Above: The view looks pretty good, but just a few minutes of play crushed any hope that this would - at last - break Superman's gaming curse

And EA did shout from the mountaintop...
"Superman Returns: The Videogame will create the ultimate open-world super hero experience... This is not just another movie-based game. This is the Superman game you've always wanted to play. Utilizing more than 60 years of rich history, Superman Returns: The Videogame is the ultimate Superman experience for players."

Lo, the critics were sad and did spit fire and brimstone...
Eurogamer: "Superman Returns is so criminally lacking in any inspiration, though, and is such a dismal waste of the licence that you'll want to curl up and rock yourself into a trance."

GamesRadar: "It must be frustrating to be the most iconic superhero in the known universe, yet still be a laughing stock amongst the video game world. But just like every Superman game before it, Superman Returns is a Kryptonite sandwich. How exactly is the Atari 2600 Superman game still the best one ever?"

GamesMaster: "Everything goes on far too long, with very little variation between attack waves of fast robots, strong robots, weird lizard things and combinations of the three. In short, being Superman sucks."

Xbox World 360: "Superman Returns, we admit, sounds alright on paper... which is where it should have stayed, as you'd have more fun guiding Superman through a primitive maze using the blood from your severed finger than you would with this diabolically inept excuse for a game."

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  • isipisi - December 26, 2009 7:39 a.m.

    dammit u just had to quote gamesradar didnt u. thats so lame, but otherwise good article
  • killemall - May 13, 2009 7:02 p.m.

    Actually i did have a lot of fun playing as a demonhog in sonics latest adventure so i have to say that sonic might make a comback yet...
  • wolfwing187 - May 12, 2009 3:52 p.m.

    i have played sonic the hedgehod and personnaly i think its ok. not great but ok. me and my stepsister just like to mess around in the co op levels. AOD, i have. it my dads and well neither of us really like it. he thought it was too hard and i never liked tomb raider.
  • JohnnyFirebird - May 13, 2009 2:10 a.m.

    I've actually paid money for Driv3r twice... the first copy of my game got lost. But, I dunno, I... I kinda liked it. The graphics were much better than any other game out at the time, and the on foot sections were generally pretty easy. The driving, when it didn't glitch out, was nicely weighted and more on the drift side - it's no surprise that GTA IV takes this driving physics model lock stock and barrel. It also took the create-a-movie director mode, too, something which was sadly removed from Driver Parallel Lines. The Getaway suffered from similar problems, though the writing was at least sharper in this series. Driv3r ranks as having some of the worst cutscenes of a big budget game that I've ever seen. Long, gabby, boring. Good voice talent rambling on about a dull plot no one, even the writers, cares about. Still, I've got my money's worth out of Driv3r. Don't regret buying it. Here's hoping the PS3 will get a Getaway... one day.
  • crossed23 - May 11, 2009 10:57 p.m.

    Driver 3 sucked so bad. I played that garbage for like maybe an hour and thank God my friend was a store manager of the store I bought it at and got to swap it out wihtout loosing any money.
  • Morning Ninja - May 11, 2009 10:32 p.m.

    I bought Driv3r because the back had a IGN preview that gave it a good review. I god ripped off, scrated the disk on purpose and sold it back to the store. Then, I felt better.
  • Xplosive59 - May 11, 2009 6:18 p.m.

    woot i love gamesmaster got a subscription and everything
  • pimlicosound - May 11, 2009 1:37 p.m.

    reCaptcha: "Amsterdam purchase". Hm, I wonder what that could be...
  • Danomeon - May 11, 2009 12:27 p.m.

    Whenever anyone brings up that Sonic's fallen on crappy days, a massive sonic fan usually calls them, "Fags" or "idiots" or "ignorant." I wonder if he will ever actually succeed to make a better sonic game...