What: Lackluster superhero game. Details: For the most part, videogames based on superheroes are pretty lame, and this one is no exception. Lex Luthor and Brainiac have kidnapped Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen and spirited them away to a virtual-reality version of Metropolis, and it's up to the hombre of steel to go rescue them. Darkseid, Bizarro, Metallo and a host of other enemies not worth mentioning also show up to try and pull on Superman's cape. There are 14 indoor and outdoor levels to endure in this disappointingly generic game; players have access to all of Superman's powers, such as heat vision, freezing breath and X-ray vision, but these powers fade away and you have to keep finding power-ups to maintain them. What really makes Superman so frustrating is the control -- executing moves and flying is a graceless and frustrating activity here. What's more, the cameras are generally pointing in the wrong direction, so players end up falling off platforms and taking leaps of faith that prove fatal. Bottom line: This one's a pocket full of kryptonite for the Superman franchise.
-- Tom Ham
Nintendo 64, $60
EUDORA PRO 4.2, Qualcomm
What: E-mail toolbox. Details: The upgrades and additions in this new version (a free download for owners of version 4.0 and up) include auto-completion of e-mail addresses, on-the-fly spell checking, a much more flexible find function, the ability to send mail from multiple accounts at once and some tweaks to ensure that your correspondents won't see ugly line breaks in your messages. Eudora can even speak a sender's name or address when mail from that special someone arrives. (The program's name, incidentally, is in honor of Eudora Welty, who wrote a short story named "Why I Live at the P.O.") But some of the new features have a ways to go yet -- the new find feature still doesn't top the functionality provided by the third-party add-on EFind
-- Alan S. Kay
Win 95-98/Mac, $50 ($10 mail-in rebate), http://www.qualcomm.com
What: Tool for chatting with fellow Web site visitors. Details: Feeling lonely as you roam across the vast Web-verse? Gooey might be the answer -- someday. The software lets you set up an instant chat room to talk with other Gooey users visiting the same Web site as you. After you download and install this small program, it runs automatically whenever your browser launches. The GooeyBox displays the site you're on, as well as the nicknames of Gooey users who are also visiting it; to find other Gooey-ites across the Web, open the "Hitwave" pop-up box to see a list of the top 20 Gooey-inhabited sites. Not surprisingly, high-traffic sites like Yahoo top the list. But even though roughly 60,000 people have downloaded Gooey since its release in June, too few people are using this to make it enjoyable. It feels like being the only person with a phone -- you can reach out, but you probably won't touch anyone. Bottom line: Not enough users yet to make it stick.
-- Sacha Cohen
Win 95-98, free at http://www.gooey.com