Sunsoft were kind of the DC Comics licensing company of video games during the early to mid 1990’s. They brought us Batman on the Nintendo Entertainment System, on the Sega Genesis and other platforms. They also brought us Justice League Task Force in partnership with Acclaim on the Sega Genesis. They were not going to pass up a chance to bring over The Death and Return of Superman for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.
You see, DC Comics were in a bind with the whole Superman comic series. How do you change things up for a character that is basically a god walking among mortals? Someone that is unstoppable by conventional means, if he ever chose to do evil. Simple. You kill him in one of the most shocking- we never saw it coming, moments in comics. Sure, there were rumors that leaked that DC Comics were planning a death with Superman but fans figured it would be a “dream” or some other cop out for DC Comics to get around Superman’s stupidly powerful abilities. We were all wrong.
While the comic story arc was drawn out and involved a ton of characters from the DC Comics universe, The Death and Return of Superman videogame was straight forward, featured no major characters outside of Superman himself and a few key villains. Fans of the comics were probably more than a little let down that they were not getting a more “sweeping” storyline in the game. What can you expect from a brawler though?
Sunsoft had to take some liberties with the license to make a decent game. Superman takes damage and can be stopped by the villains if not healed. Enemies can withstand several hits by Superman before expiring. Hey, what do you expect? An invulnerable Superman just walking over everyone? That would be no fun.
Some cool things in The Death and Return of Superman include keeping the ability to fly and throwing enemies into scenery causing damage to both. There are also cut scenes that tell a very abridged version of the overall story.