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Superman Returns to the NES
April 28, 2009 4:12 PM   Subscribe

A few years ago an old NES game called Sunman was discovered. Developed by a company called Sunsoft, it was clearly a repurposed Superman game, with the Man of Steel seemingly having been replaced at some point during the games development by a generic new superhero. This was likely done to avoid expensive licensing costs for a game that was due to be released around the end of the active lifespan for the NES (and would probably not sell well as a result) but this was purely speculation. Until now. For now a build of the original Superman game by Sunsoft has been found and you can download it for free here.

For those who want to play this but have never before dabbled in the emulator 'scene', you'll need an NES emulator to play this. Here's a good place to find one. Install, load the ROM and then "punch enemies out of existence and zap a helicopter with laser eye power!" Yikes!
posted by Effigy2000 (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, it's got to be better than Superman 64.
posted by box at 4:16 PM on April 28, 2009


The Atari 2600 version ruled then. It rules now.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:18 PM on April 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


For those, like me, who never encountered Superman 64, there's a youtube "review" of it here.
posted by Decimask at 4:23 PM on April 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hammering nails into your forehead is better than Superman 64. I still have nightmares about endlessly flying through rings.
posted by Rangeboy at 4:25 PM on April 28, 2009


Your favorite "from the vaults" NES ROM sucks *
posted by porn in the woods at 4:27 PM on April 28, 2009


How does research into these things get done? The old sunman was found for sale in a cartridge, but how did the superman prototype get discovered?
posted by fontophilic at 4:28 PM on April 28, 2009


I hate Superman, the most boring superhero concept imaginable. Strutting around with godlike power until he suddenly encounters yet another piece of the supposedly ultra rare kryptonite.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:35 PM on April 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


This is a neat find. I love it for the archeological value. I got to the part where the helicopter freezes up, is that the end? The gameplay is somewhat horrific, but it had potential.

There's something funny about Superman taking damage from punches (and even heat seeking missiles). Unless all the enemies keep some kryptonite in their pockets.
posted by knave at 4:37 PM on April 28, 2009


did you know? we are delving deep into video game history here. did you know that the original usa revenge on shinobi had spiderman, batman, and godzilla?

oh. that's right you did. plus, it is sega and therefore not nintendo; so, boo. in any case, i got your rom right HERE.
posted by the aloha at 4:41 PM on April 28, 2009


Neat!
posted by Nelson at 4:44 PM on April 28, 2009


I'm actually surprised this doesn't happen more often. I was working on a video game based on a big movie license, and at one point, the license was in danger of being pulled. And we were like, "Well, I guess instead of CharacterName and CharacterName, we could just re-skin the characters and call them NewCharacterName and NewCharactername."

Working on a game based on Aquaman, King of Atlantis? Well, now he's "Riptide," King of ... I don't know ... Watertown?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:44 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, they went ahead and made that Aquaman game.
posted by box at 4:49 PM on April 28, 2009


fontophilic, the rom dump was initially posted here, and it seems skrybe might not be the one who finds these, just the one who hosts them. This Lost Levels post talks about the earlier Sunman being found several months ago in a listing of several prototype NES cartridges for sale by a collector in Europe.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:51 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


In other words: I don't know how this one was found
posted by filthy light thief at 4:52 PM on April 28, 2009


is it as good as tecmo bowl i already know the answer to that because nothing is was or ever will be as good as tecmo bowl the end.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:59 PM on April 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


At first I thought this was going to be about the Kemco Superman. It was pretty neat in concept, but more than a bit quirky in execution. The characters all had an amusing boxy look to them. I don't think I made much progress in it. I'm looking forward to playing the Sunsoft one- I always liked the music in their games. The synths had a neat bottom end to them that was characteristic for the company.


it is sega and therefore not nintendo; so, boo.

Hush your face.
posted by Dr-Baa at 5:05 PM on April 28, 2009


I'm actually surprised this doesn't happen more often.

Outlander=The Road Warrior, sorta.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:13 PM on April 28, 2009


it is sega and therefore not nintendo; so, boo.

Hush your face.

i concur.
posted by the aloha at 5:21 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


(yes, i did tell myself to shut up.)
posted by the aloha at 5:22 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just came in here to say that Batman: Return of the Joker was a spectacular game.
posted by Plutor at 5:27 PM on April 28, 2009


Did anyone actually play this game? I did... that's 5 minutes of my life I'll never get back. I'm going to go play tetris now.

But this post is really neat.
posted by Simon Barclay at 5:46 PM on April 28, 2009


Wow, so that Lost Levels blog just devoured an hour I didn't have to spare. Thank you/damn you for sharing that!
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:19 PM on April 28, 2009


Alvy: Thank you for reminding me of the Outlander wikipedia entry -- it gives me a chance to link to this old version.
posted by infidelpants at 9:02 PM on April 28, 2009


Journey to Silius was apparently (quite clearly, they say) originally meant to be a Terminator game.

This is a very cool FPP.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:28 AM on April 29, 2009


Dr-Baa: At first I thought this was going to be about the Kemco Superman. It was pretty neat in concept, but more than a bit quirky in execution. The characters all had an amusing boxy look to them. I don't think I made much progress in it.

I have finished this game. My advice to you is to abandon your curiosity about it; it can only end in pain.

(Let's just say the ending is Miss Chibi Statue of Liberty telling Supes to fight on forever for peace.)
posted by JHarris at 2:38 AM on April 29, 2009


I hate Superman, the most boring superhero concept imaginable.

The concept is alright, it is the execution that is lacking in 99% of stories surrounding that character (type).

For some decent storytelling for this type of character see:
Kingdome Come is pretty good.
Alan Moore's run on Supreme won him an Eisner.
Supreme Power is another interesting take.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:36 AM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would argue that the concept makes for such a difficulty of execution. Unless you think 99% of all superhero comics are also lacking? I'll make an effort to track down those titles, but what intrigues me about a character is usually their weaknesses rather than their strengths. Kingdome Come sounds like it might play into that, if they focus on Superman sabotaging his goals by inflexible moral absolutism .
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:00 PM on April 29, 2009


What I meant by "it's the execution not the concept" is that conceptually it is very simple (one person that stands above all others), but the execution (make him invincible) has turned it into an unnecessary complexity (How do we hurt him?). Which in turn is a flaw of the authors story-telling rather than the story. I'm sure you are aware that Superman wasn't originally that strong, but I would say even a character that is all powerful could be made into an interesting story. Even The Tick who is nigh invincible makes for great reading, because the story is character driven (the weakness and strength reside there) and not just about his overbearing super-powers.

I agree with you on the part where I hate watching or reading about a character that is essentially unstoppable. It's stupid and boring. I would include anti-hero stories like Nightmare on Elm Street or the later Friday the 13th movies. Which reminds me, anyone watch the Serial Killer Sylar Show* recently? ...I mean Heroes?

*Yes, I know Dexter is a show about a serial killer, but that show is awesome and Heroes is not
posted by P.o.B. at 6:37 PM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman is quite good, too. And I'm not a fan of Superman or even superheroes in general.
posted by rifflesby at 10:49 PM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


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