When it comes to video game adaptations of movies, the general gut feeling is the it’s just a money-seeking cash grab, trying to capitalize on the popularity of the film. In most cases, they pretty much suck. This goes double for a video game adaptation of a bad film.Except, that’s not always the case. As it turns out, there are a couple of games that are actually better than the films they’re based on.Grab your controller and check them out.
Let’s start off with the best, shall we? On any and every list of the greatest James Bond games of all time, this will be the top choice; hands down. This game was brilliant, an amazing first-person shooter and pushed the boundaries of the N64. Everyone’s got memories of multiplayer death matches, the immortal Oddjob, and the quest for the golden gun. Plus, that sniper rifle was amazing.Too bad the movie that it was based on wasn’t so great. I’m not going to say it’s horrible, but the Brosnan Era is my least favourite of the franchise. Frankly, it was too safe and timid, and wasn’t really the kind of Bond film we were hoping for after such a long hiatus.
As far as the sequel goes, Predator 2 was an interesting experiment. It made sense to take the ultimate hunter into the urban jungle of Los Angeles, but it just wasn’t enough to bring Arnie back into the franchise. Plus, it really was a product of the times; it was tone deaf, full of racial stereotypes, and had some random cameos that didn’t fit.The Genesis game, however, was a nice surprise. Graphically it was innovative, taking the top-down approach that worked well with Smash TV. In it, you play as Lt. Harriagan, and you have to rescue hostages, while being stalked by a Predator. It’s delightfully gory, deliciously fun and a good time all around.
I’m still not sure how a guaranteed blockbuster property like Wolverine, could have been fucked up so much by Fox. This movie was not the Logan we were hoping to see. It was far too catered to general/family crowd that it missed the fact that Logan was supposed to be a badass weapon.The game, on the other hand, is the perfect Wolverine game. The combat system was surprisingly complex allowing you to customize your own feral Canadian. The boss fights were challenging and epic, and there was even a Tomb Raider type of vibe for the parts of the game that was about puzzle solving.Plus, Hugh Jackman put in a far better performance in the game, than he did in the movie.
It figures that they’d take the best part of the worst episode of Star Wars and make it into a game. While the film itself was too much politics and exposition, it had one redeeming feature; the pod race.This 1999 game had you join Anakin behind the levers of his pod racer and gave us a challenging racing game, that was surprisingly addictive. It’s insane how much skill is required to actually play the game and race those jet powered machines around the track.Thankfully, Anakin and his annoying “Yippee!” are left out of the game.
The Chronicles of Roddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
While the film might have a cult following and the franchise is mildly entertaining, the game based on it, is fantastic.In the game, you play as Riddick, who has to escape several high security prison wards. There’s a whole social hierarchy to navigate, melee combat to master, some incredible fight choreography, and you pretty much feel as badass as Vin Diesel in those movies.
While Demolition Man is widely praised for it’s future-facing premise and predictive powers (predicting the rise of fast food restaurants, internet porn and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to politics), it was an okay film at best. It tried for both action and social commentary, and just did enough to qualify as fun, Saturday afternoon film.The game, however, was one of the best of the era. The 16-bit graphics were insanely impressive, and it had both a dark, noir-ish visual style and a top-down Smash-TV type of look, that made it gorgeous.So, at least as a game, it succeeded.
This game is actually based off of the 2017 disaster The Mummy with Tom Cruise, yet, it has very little to do with that film.Instead of playing as a character from the movie, this “Metroidvania”-style game is a retro throwback to the late 80’s/early 90’s games. While it might seem like a strange adaptation, critics loved the format, the beautiful pixel art and the endless scores of zombies, bats and, of course, mummies.
Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
Sure, it’s a long title, but the game’s worth it. This might actually be one of the best movie tie-in games of all time. While the movie tried to be gritty and a spectacle (and failed), this game nails it.You play the game as both the journalist Jack Driscoll and King Kong himself. You get to explore a surprisingly detailed Skull Island, and encounter all sorts of creatures there. If you find one you don’t like as King Kong, you kick the shit out of it. For 2005, this was a pretty advanced and welcome gaming experience.
Aliens vs Predator 2: Primal Hunt
While both Alien vs Predator and it’s sequel were obvious cash grabs, you’d suspect that they’d fuck up the video game adaption too, right? Not so. This game was actually critically lauded for it’s amazing sound design, and the innovative idea that you could play as a Predator, an Alien, or a Colonial Marine stuck between the two sides.While your marine character worked as an average FPS player, the Aliens offered some super fast and stealthy moves, while playing as the Predator gave you some sick high-tech weapons.That made multiplayer even more interesting.
There was just something about Stallone films in the
80’s and ’90s. They were either kinda decent, or completely terrible. This film, was ok, but not because of anything Stallone did. I was a huge fan of John Lithgow’s performance as the baddie. Plus, the over-the-top stunts were pretty sick.So, I guess it makes sense that such an action-oriented movie would get turned into a video game. But not just any video game; a beat ’em up for Sega and the SNES that was kind of like Streets of Rage meets Contra.Good times all around.
When Wanted came out in 2008, fans of the comic enjoyed it for what it was, but it wasn’t a great film. The effects weren’t new or amazing and it seemed more of a The Matrix rip off, than a new idea.The game, however, wasn’t half bad. The developers took an extra couple of months to work out the kinks, so the game came out well after the film in 2009. As it turns out, the extra development paid off and the game was a high-octane first person shooter that really embraced the franchises bullet-bending action and mythology.The only downside to the game is that it’s far too short.
Enter the Matrix
This game was developed alongside the second and third films in the trilogy. While both failed to live up to expectations and the high bar that the first film set, the game actually did surprisingly well.Far from a perfect game, it does flesh out the universe of The Matrix, better than most tie-in games. You play as Ghost and Niobe, and the game unfolds concurrently with Reloaded, as you go to fight against the forces of the machines, before they take over Zion.Overall, it was a genuinely fun game.
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Who knew that there was a video game based on the worst film of all time: 1959’s Plan 9 from Outer Space?Developed in 1992, the game is self-aware and hilariously self-deprecating, and has the player as an unnamed film assistant who has to go on an epic quest to find the film. Apparently it’s been stolen by Bela Lugosi’s double, who wants to colourize it and re-edit it to have more of himself in it. It’s up to you to find all the missing reels. Sure, it’s cheesy, but it’s also really, heckin’ entertaining.
Honestly, for as simple and childish as they may be, I do love the LEGO video games. They manage to make a franchise fun and hit all the high notes of the property. So while the first LEGO Indiana Jones dealt with the events of the first 3 films, this one had only scraps and the Kingdom of the Crystal to play with.It really turned the most disappointing entry in the franchise, into a fun few hours of gaming and whip-cracking.