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You start out as Clark Kent, in a phone booth. Head east one screen, and Lex Luthor and his five henchmen will blow up a bridge and flee. Head back to the phone booth and change into Superman. You have two missions: Reassemble the bridge, and capture Lex and his men. Metropolis is represented as a 21 screen overworld, with a subway, a jail, the Daily Planet, and the phone booth. You fly around looking for Lex, his men, and three pieces of the bridge. If you spot a villain, pick him up and carry him to jail. If you spot a bridge piece, pick it up and carry it back to the river. Once you have put all six villains in jail, and reassembled the bridge, change back into Clark Kent, and head to the Daily Planet to file your story.
There are "Kryptonite satellites" wandering around the city. If one touches you, you lose the ability to fly and carry villains and bridge pieces. Depending on the right difficulty switch, Lois Lane will appear to heal you, or you will have to walk around the city until you find her. Touch her to regain your powers. There is also a helicopter flying around, picking up Lois and bridge pieces and scattering them around.
There is no way to die. Your objective is to complete your missions in the least amount of time.
Atari 2600 Superman provides examples of:
- Back Tracking: You'll do a lot of this as you wander around looking, and carrying stuff.
- Broken Bridge: Literally. But at least the Fetch Quest is logical: The bridge pieces.
- Flip Screen Scrolling
- The Golden Age of Video Games
- Gotta Catch Them All: Six villains and three bridge pieces.
- Hub Level: The subway.
- Instant 180 Degree Turn
- It's Up to You: It's understandable that you would be tasked with capturing Lex, as he's flying around. But his men are wandering the streets, machine guns in hand, and there are no police to stop them. There are also no city engineers on hand to carry the bridge pieces back, though (it's implied) they rebuild it once you've carried them all back.
- Palette Swap: Lex's men.
- Plot Coupon: Lex and his men.
- Plot Coupon That Does Something: The bridge. When it's rebuilt, you cross it to get to the Daily Planet.
- Side View: With an odd twist. If you fly up, instead of going into the sky, you go to another part of the city. Likewise when you fly down.
- Token Minority: One of Lex's henchmen has a brown square for a head instead of pink. This nameless villain may be the first African-American video game character.
- Video Game Geography
- Videogame Set Piece: Lex and his men blowing up the bridge.