8 Best Movie Licensed Video Games Of All Time –
Everyone knows that games based on movie licenses are generally pretty awful. Though the practice of making a video game version of a given movie has gone by the wayside recently, many will remember when just about every major blockbuster was accompanied by an atrocious tie-in.
Most of these have been totally forgotten, and plenty of budget-savvy players will be familiar with the slog of sifting through endless used copies of terrible titles based on Shrek or Harry Potter. Things have gotten so bad that used game stores now refuse to stock these old titles, as they almost never sell.
That said, it wasn’t all bad. We may have been inundated with shlock like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The Crow: City of Angels, there were a few notable diamonds in the rough.
Nobody wants to search through never-ending torrents of half-hearted movie-based junk, of course. For those looking to get their film fix without risking their sanity, we’ve rounded up some movie games that are actually worth the time it takes to play through them.
8. Alien Isolation (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC)
Alien: Isolation isn’t a movie tie-in in the strictest sense, as it didn’t actually accompany any movie release, but it is still an excellent game which reproduces very faithfully the thrills and scares present in Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror classic Alien.
The triumphant follow-up to Aliens: Colonial marines, a game which may go down as Gearbox Software’s greatest failure, Isolation takes what made the original trilogy great and amplifies it.
Series fans have long marveled at the horror of deep space and the dread associated with being locked in a confined environment with an unknown hostile being. This concept is at the very core of Sega’s 2014 digital masterpiece. In fact, one segment of the DLC is a scene-for-scene re-enactment of the final act of the original movie.
Many segments of the game feature little more than the player, an escape route, and a horrific Xenomorph standing in the way. Without any truly lethal means of defense, players must keep their wits about them in this tense, wonderfully creepy survival horror experience.
7. The Thing (Xbox, PlayStation 2, PC)
The Thing may sound like a property not well suited to video game adaptation: much of the horror of the film stemmed from the unpredictable nature of the movie’s titular extraterrestrial, not from any elements that would translate all that well into gameplay.
Yet, 2002’s The Thing manages to reproduce that same sense of dread and confusion which made the original film so famous. A magnificently devious third-person shooter, the game tells the story of a special forces team sent in to find out exactly what happened in the Antarctic base featured in the 1982 movie..
It takes a few cues from games like Silent Hill in that enemies don’t actually show up for the first half hour or so of gameplay, which helps to craft a tense and downright horrific atmosphere. Though it is otherwise a relatively forgettable title in terms of mechanics, the audacity of the team behind this little gem definitely deserves some praise.
There aren’t many games based on The Thing or many other films of its ilk, so this is a variable must-play for fans of John Carpenter’s work.
6. Spider-Man 2 (Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube)
Despite its age, Spider-Man 2, an adaptation of the famous Sam Raimi film sequel, is widely considered to be one of the best Spider-Man games in existence. Making its way to the sixth generation of home consoles back in 2004, this movie tie-in game took plenty of Spidey fans by surprise during a time in which Marvel heroes weren’t quite as celebrated as they are today.
In many ways similar to the PS4 exclusive Spider-Man title, Spider-Man 2 allowed players to web-swing from building to building and wrap up baddies a full fourteen years before the current generation game.
Unlike most games based on the fictional character, Spider-Man 2 succeeded in allowing players to feel like Marvel’s famous red-and-blue web-slinger. With the freedom to travel around New York City and tackle missions in a non-linear fashion, this game was far better than anyone would have suspected—a fate not common among similar video game releases.
That is not to say that all other hero-based games are of a lesser quality, but 2004’s Spider-Man 2 still remains a shining example of the potential of video games based on Marvel properties.
5. Lego Star Wars: The Video Game (Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube)
The first of an absolute litany of Lego games based on George Lucas’ famous interstellar sci-fi property, 2005’s Lego Star Wars: The Video Game was much more fun than it had any right to be.
Aside from Nintendo’s long series of classic E-rated titles, video games developed primarily with younger audiences in mind have a tendency to be overly-simplistic, repetitive, and boring. This could be said about some of the lower points in the Lego Star Wars series, but, for the most part, the series’ first entry is a fun, hilarious, and endlessly entertaining recreation of Lucas’ prequel trilogy.
Opting to leave out any form of dialogue, a simplified version of the Star Wars space opera is relayed through a quirky brand of slapstick humor, which is nothing short of great. The gameplay is a simplified yet amusing approximation of in-universe combat, and the dozens of unlockable characters on offer will have players returning for years to come.
It may not quite compare to something like the first Star Wars Battlefront II game which was released a year later, but it’s a cute, comical little romp that every franchise fan should check out.
4. The Lion King (SNES, Sega Genesis)
Disney’s The Lion King is remembered by those who grew up with it as one of the greatest animated films of all time. However, the property is also celebrated as one of the best SNES games of all time… that being a slight exaggeration. The Lion King game has a modern-day cult following, though it deserves some additional attention.
1994’s The Lion King is something of an underrated classic: a great action platformer which was perhaps more faithful to the movie than should have been possible on hardware of the era, players will navigate through ten 16-bit recreations of famous scenes, all the while jamming along with an amazing chip tune rendering of the film’s legendary soundtrack.
The Lion King game is best remembered for it’s punishing difficulty, which must have frustrated plenty of younger SNES and Genesis players back in the mid 1990’s. Those who persevered, however, no doubt hold fond memories of this relatively overlooked Disney title to this day.
Loose cartridges of this game typically go for as little as a five spot, and avid collectors would be wise to snap this title up should they come across it in a used game bin.
3. Toy Story 3 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)
Most people would assume that loose copies of the Toy Story 3 video game would be better used as coasters than as actual games, but, surprisingly, that isn’t the case. Releasing at a time when movie-based shovelware titles were overcrowding the market, this overlooked budget title proved to be a diamond in the rough.
A surprisingly competent action platformer which featured dialogue provided by some of the film’s actual voice actors, there’s more substance here than first meets the eye. Though the first few areas areas are a bit of a slog, the pace of the game soon quickens.
It has a bit of a Banjo Kazooie vibe in that it harkens back to the days of classic 3D platformers. Plus, rather than trying to adhere to the movie’s script, the game does its own thing and focuses on what the toys get up to when nobody is around.
Sure, Toy Story 3 probably isn’t for the most grizzled hardcore gamers out there, but it offers a certain appeal and heart that isn’t easily found in many movie-based games.
2. GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64)
It’s mind-boggling to think that a game based on a movie would ever grow enough in popularity to eclipse the film on which it was based, but that’s exactly what happened with Rare’s uber-famous GoldenEye 007.
Often heralded as one of the premier Nintendo 64 games and usually credited as an instrumental part of the early console FPS market, GoldenEye 007 proved just how much fun stepping into the shoes of James Bond could be.
The game was perhaps most famous for its couch co-op arena modes in which four players could all huddle around the same TV and blast each other to bits. It may seem overwhelmingly rudimentary by today’s standards, but, given that the advent of online connectivity is slowly destroying these face-to-face gameplay options, it’s a great thing to return to in 2018.
GoldenEye 007 is far from a forgotten gem, as just about everyone and their mother has heard about it at this point. Though it doesn’t quite live up to expectations over twenty years after release, it definitely deserves a place in the annals of gaming history.
1. Disney’s Aladdin (SNES, Sega Genesis)
What was famous Japanese video game auteur Shinji Mikami up to before the release of Resident Evil in 1996? Why, developing the video game adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin, of course!
That may not sound like an overly-illustrious job, but 1993’s Disney’s Aladdin was nearly as solid a release as any first party entry into the SNES or and Sega Genesis libraries. Before the survival horror craze swept the gaming populace, 16-bit platformers were all the rage. Though he isn’t remembered for his contributions to the genre today, Mikami definitely knew what he was doing when it came to these games.
Nearly a scene-for-scene recreation of the animated feature film, Disney’s Aladdin is everything fans could want in a game based on the property. The incredible misadventures of everyone’s favorite street rat were perfect for a digital adaptation, and Capcom totally knocked this port out of the park.
With a Disney-sanctioned live-action re imagining due to hit theaters sometime next year, there has never been a better time to give this underrated masterpiece a playthrough.