Video games based on movies are, more often than not, nothing more than cash cows and the resulting products are usually stale at best. When it comes to producing a video game based on the latest blockbuster, gamers are typically treated to glitchy, uninspired and often boring failures of games.
After a slew of disastrous movie-inspired video games, producers seem to be moving away from video game promotions for films. Summer tent pole films like the Avengers and the Dark Knight Rises did not have tie-in video games and the upcoming Star Wars video games are not set to be movie tie-ins either. Electronic Arts has said it will not try and replicate any film storyline in the upcoming Star Wars video games, and Marvel is waiting to find the right developer instead of rushing into a movie-based tie-in for any of the upcoming Avengers movies. Instead, original games based on characters in these films (like the Arkham game series featuring Batman) are being made.
However there have been a few video games, based directly on movies, that broke the mould of disastrous screen-to-game interpretations. The games on this list span decades and numerous platforms, and they’re all based on movies. These movie-based video games have been met with critical and fan acclaim. Some were popular, while some are undiscovered gems. Here’s a look at the ten best video games based on movies.
10. Disney’s Aladdin for Sega Genesis
Developed by Virgin Interactive, this side-scrolling platformer was one of the first licensed games to get things right. The game was released in 1993 shortly after Disney’s massive animated blockbuster film, which came out in 1992. The Aladdin video game still looks stunning to this day thanks in part to the fact it was worked on by actual Disney animators in collaboration with game developers. Fans praised the gameplay as smooth, exciting and challenging, but never frustrating. Electronic Gaming Monthly named Disney’s Aladdin the best Sega Genesis game of 1993. UK magazine MEGA named it the 12th best Genesis game of all time and it was scored 8/10 on gaming review site IGN.
9. The Lost World: Jurassic Park arcade game
This exciting light gun arcade game gave players the feeling of scurrying through Jurassic Park and shooting at attacking dinosaurs. The goal was to make it to the other end of Jurassic Park to rescue Ian Malcolm and Sarah Harding. The game featured the infamous mommy and daddy T-rexes, and it also featured numerous Velociraptors and Compies. New dinosaurs like a Carnotaurus, with camouflage ability, and an aquatic Deinosuchus were introduced in the game. The arcade game was developed and published by Sega in 1997 to coincide with the film of the same name. The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s popularity led to rumours of a port for the Sega Dreamcast, but it never materialized.
8. Terminator 2: Judgment Day arcade game
Complex magazine ranked Terminator 2: Judgment Day the 18th best arcade game of the 1990s, and this Midway-developed shooter was praised by movie and video game fans alike. Gamers got to experience what it was like to be a T-800. The use of digitized film footage of Arnold Schwarzenegger and other T2 actors gave the game a realistic look at the time and the game’s popularity led to a home console port for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.
7. X-men Origins: Wolverine, Uncaged Edition for PS3/Xbox 360
The difference between the quality of this game and the quality of the movie it is based on is astounding. The game’s rating was a contributing factor to its critical acclaim; the movie was PG-13, but the game, allowing for more daring content, was rated M for mature. Fans gravitated towards being able to play a hack and slash game where Wolverine actually showed how dangerous and violent he could be. Ol’ Canucklehead’s healing factor was on full display in the game, and after taking a beating his bones would even be showing as he was still impaling enemies on his claws. X-men Origins: Wolverine, Uncaged Edition won two Spike Video Game Awards in 2009.
6. Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader for Nintendo GameCube
This game is the follow up to the highly successful Star Wars: Rogue Squadron for the N64. Released as a launch title for the GameCube, Rogue Squadron II let players shoot down Empire scum as an X-wing pilot. Gamers also got to control numerous other Star Wars vehicles like the Snowspeeder and Millennium Falcon. The game has a score of 90/100 on Metacritic and won the Game Critics Award for Best Action Game at E3 2001.
5. Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay for Xbox
Vin Diesel not only reprised his role as Riddick for this video game, but he was involved in the game’s development as well. Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is a stealth action game made by Starbreeze Studios, which serves as a prequel to the Pitch Black and the Chronicles of Riddick films. Game Informer gave Escape from Butcher Bay a 9.5/10. A sequel to the game titled Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena was also reviewed favorably.
4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game for PSN/XBLA
The highlight of this retro beat ‘em up game is undoubtedly it’s amazing chiptune soundtrack. Based on the Scott Pilgrim comics and film, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game featured just as much Canadiana as the film and comics it was inspired by. It was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and was awarded Best Adapted Video Game at the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards.
3. Ghostbusters: the Video Game for PS3/Xbox360
With the passing of Harold Ramis and Bill Murray’s adamant refusal to star in another Ghostbusters movie, we are never going to see Ghostbusters 3 with the original Ghostbusters cast. However, the movies’ legacy gave us this gem of a video game. Along with Ramis and Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson provided their voices and likenesses to the game. Players acted as a fourth Ghostbuster and worked along side the original cast to capture ghouls throughout New York and save the city from a demon uprising. PlayStation 3 Magazine gave the game a score of 85/100 and Bill Murray was nominated for a Spike Video Game Award for his voice work.
2. Goldeneye 007 for Nintendo 64
The multiplayer action in this first-person shooter has made this Bond game a classic. Developed by Rare and exclusive to the N64, Goldeneye 007 was the third best-selling N64 game of all time. It’s popularity lead to a sequel and numerous remakes and re-releases. GameSpot gave the game a score of 9.8/10, while N64 Magazine graded it with a score of 94%. It even took home a coveted BAFTA award.
1. Spider-Man 2 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube
This is perhaps the first time that both a video game and the movie it was based on were met with almost universal acclaim. Developed by Treyarch, Spider-Man 2 incorporated an open world gameplay mechanic, which was similar to what had been done in Grand Theft Auto III just a few years before. Gamers experienced swinging through Manhattan as Spidey in an open world environment, and almost every Spider-man game since has used the same open world style. IGN gave Spider-Man 2 a 9/10 for the Xbox version of the game, and it was included in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.