It's as if the creators needed a ranged attack, forgot who they were basing the game on, and just made it up. But then, during the flying stages, heat vision mysteriously appears! What in the name of Krypton were they thinking? Wouldn't making two different animations for ranged attacks be more work? What's the rationale, here? I suppose there was none.
Here's another problem: Superman takes a lot of damage in this game. Standard level alien grunts can damage Supes by just punching him in the face. So can medium sized rocks and giant spiderwebs. It's as if he was called the Man of Wet Cardboard. Now, I realize that making him truly invulnerable would throw game balance out the window, but still, something else could have been done. Maybe the enemies could shoot red sun rays, or have Kryptonite gloves, or something. Say what you will about the video game tie-in for the most recent Superman film, but at least they addressed this issue nicely by tying in a life bar to the health of the city. Seeing Superman succumb to a lame wrestling move from some lowlife alien and fade into a Tron-like green wireframe death is a real shot to the gut of any true believer.
Speaking of the aliens: who are they? There is zero explanation or information given as to who these bad guys are. I've read comics for over 30 years, and they don't look a thing like any of Superman's enemies that I know of. What's that all about? Superman has a whole horde of villains that could have been used: Lex Luthor, Metallo, Braniac, Bizarro, Mongul, and more. Instead, we get rejects from a bad 50s sci-fi movie. These guys aren't really a threat to Superman, and neither are the bosses. These battles are so incredibly easy and unimaginative you'll be expecting the real boss to show up anytime. Strangest of all, in the last level, a new alien shows up: a very pink, very female humanoid rabbit wearing blue leg warmers. No, I'm not joking; the alien invaders appear to be led by a clan of 80's Easter Bunny succubi.
There's one more huge problem with the Superman arcade game though. As you are aware, we only talk about co-op games here, which means there is a Player 2 to think of. Admittedly, Superman is the best of the best, and there really aren't many who can keep up with him in a fight. But, there are other characters in the comics who have similar powers who could join Superman without changing the gameplay at all. The most obvious is Captain Marvel, the red-costumed wielder of Shazam's power. From the futuristic Legion of Super Heroes come Mon-El and Ulra Boy, both of whom are in Superman's weight class. In a pinch, Martian Manhunter or Green Lantern could fit the bill.