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."

Matt Cundy
I don't have the energy to really hate anything properly. Most things I think are OK or inoffensively average. I do love quite a lot of stuff as well, though.