It’s a known fact that video games based on movies are just as bad as, well, movies based on video games – but regardless of this, there are still a few that manage to shine through the depressing dump of rushed and poorly executed movie-based games that we see each year. Here’s a list of the top 10 movie games that don’t suck, because with the summer blockbuster season in full swing, we are going to need a little reminder of the brighter side of movie games.
10 – Aladdin (Sega Genesis)
Kicking it off old school, Aladdin remains to this day one of the best side-scrolling platforming games of all time. Not only is it a solid game that holds up to this day, but it also manages to capture the atmosphere and humor of the movie. I mean, you throw apples and the bad guy’s pants will fall down. What’s not to love about a good depantsing?
To give the game the truest representation of the film imaginable , the vivid graphics were created by some of the same studio animators that worked on the feature film. It might show its age now, but for a game in 1993, it looked like the action was ripped straight from the big screen and into your Sega Genesis.
Oh, the music. My god, the music is perfect. That’s the main reason I am signaling out the Genesis version of Aladdin over the SNES version – as it features chiptune versions of all of the memorable songs from the movie, where the SNES version had all of those removed in favor of (boring) original music.
9 – Spider-Man 2
When asked the question, “What was the first superhero game you played that didn’t suck?” you will most likely answer with Spider-Man 2 for either the PS2, Xbox, or GameCube. Sure, there are other superhero games before it that weren’t that bad, but Spider-Man 2 blows them away and leaves them hanging upside down in an alley.
In 2004, Spider-Man 2 was the superhero game to play. It was the first open-world superhero game that really made you feel in control of the character you’re playing as. You are Spidey, and there are no hangups to prevent you from feeling in control of your favorite neighborhood web-slinger.
The terrific voice acting is also worth a mention, as many of the film’s cast reprise their roles in the game – including Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Josh Keaton. Oh, and as an added bonus Bruce-fucking-Campbell plays the narrator/tour guide.
8 – Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Okay, the 1989 game for Who Framed Roger Rabbit gets a lot of criticism. Sure, it has bad controls and an unforgiving end boss, but it’s the truest representation Who Framed Roger Rabbit has and will likely ever receive.
From a kids point of view, Roger Rabbit is a movie about a bunch of cartoon characters doing cartoon things. But as you and I know, the content is much darker than meets the uneducated eye. What the game for Roger Rabbit does right is capture the detective side of the movie by allowing the player to play as Eddie Valliant in an point and click adventure game environment.
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, you actually get to discover who who framed Roger Rabbit! If this game was released today, it would likely be a Wii-exclusive mini-game collection with no respect for the source material. Crap controls aside, it captures what the film is all about that’s what earns it a place on this list.
7 – Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
When he’s not being fast, furious, and/or a pacifier, Vin Diesel is playing one of the greatest convicts to ever grace the silver screen – as Richard B. Riddick of Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick.
Escape from Butcher Bay is not only a great video game based on a film series, but it’s also a great prequel to the films. I have a deep hatred for prequels, but Escape from Butcher Bay is a prequel that doesn’t suck! Hell, some may even consider it better than the films, and for good reason.
The story doesn’t suck and certainly doesn’t treat the player like a baby. Straight out of the gate, you know you’re in control of a murdering badass that is much deeper than the majority of video game protagonists at the time. He’s not out to redeem himself, he’s not out to save anyone, he’s only out for himself. He brings honor to digital convicts everywhere.
On top of that, the combat is the perfect blend of action and stealth, drawing influence from games such as Far Cry and Thief. The closest game to ever rival it would be 2012’s Dishonored.
6 – Peter Jackson’s King Kong
Sure it’s a launch title and ugly as hell by today’s standards, but back when the Xbox 360 launched King Kong was the most gorgeous and truest video game to the source material I’ve ever seen. Hell, all of the film’s cast members reprise their roles. Who doesn’t love a digitized Jack Black?
Much like the movie, it was less about the giant ape and more about the survival of the humans on the hostile island. This makes for intense action moments and stealth required to get by dinosaurs and the natives as screenwriter Jack Driscoll.
Sure, there are times where you do take control of Kong, and while those sure are neat, they pale in comparison to the gritty realism of Jack Driscoll’s campaign.
5 – X-men Origins: Wolverine (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
The Uncaged Edition was the definitive version of the game. It featured the violence you’d expect from a killing machine like Wolverine. The game made up for all of the film’s shortcomings buy supplying gamers with a game that made them feel like they were in full control of Wolverine, instead of just punching enemies with clawed fists and slapping his name on the cover.
X-men Origins: Wolverine plays a lot like God of War or Devil May Cry and supplies gamers with a high level of polish, depth, and gameplay options that are nearly unseen in most movie-based games. Instead of feeling like a cheap cash-in to coincide with the movie as it hit theaters, Wolverine feels more like a labor of love than anything else.
4 – The Warriors (PS2, PSP, Xbox)
If there was ever a movie that I didn’t think would receive a video game, it would be The Warriors. Sure, it’s iconic and fit for a brawler, but it was well past its time… at least until Rockstar stepped in and put The Warriors back into the spotlight for the first time since 1979.
The first 13 chapters take place three months before the infamous meeting in the film and the remanding five take cover the events that were in the film. There’s also “flashback” bonus levels that further pave the backstory for The Warriors.
A large chunk of the original cast returned to voice their video game counterparts. With the authentic world and compelling conflicts of the movie, The Warriors is quite possibly the bast game adaptation of a film in the history of video games.
3 – The Matrix: Path of Neo (PC, PS2, Xbox)
If you lost interest in The Matrix franchise after the two films, listen to me now – Path of Neo will make you a Matrix fan yet again. Everything Path of Neo does right more than makes up for everything else that was done wrong in the movie trilogy.
In Path of Neo, you play as Neo (duh) in what could be considered a “best of” montage of action sequences spanning the entire trilogy. Obviously, most of the levels were taken from the first film as it’s the only film worth a shit, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. Path of Neo even does the unthinkable and makes parts of Reloaded and Revolutions enjoyable!
2 – The Thing (PC, PS2, Xbox)
What’s the scariest thing about horror flicks? That’s right! Suspense! What’s more suspenseful than not knowing which of squad mates can be trusted? Nothing! Well… maybe a sequel to Norbit. Humans are the real monsters in The Thing, and thanks to the remarkable mechanics of the game, The Thing feels like a true horror movie.
In The Thing, players constantly struggle with control of their squad mates with the elaborate trust and fear systems in the game. If they encounter a scary corridor they might get afraid, refuse to continue onward, and even harm you in the process. If you believe they to be infected and you take away their guns, they might lose faith in you and even shoot you if they are desperate enough. Just like in the movie, paranoia runs rampant.
1 – Alien versus Predator (PC, Mac)
Both the Alien and Predator movie series have had their fair share of hits and misses… more misses, than hits, but the lore has always been deep enough to keep true fans believers. In the game of Alien versus Predator, players can play through three separate campaigns that really set the game apart from other first-person shooters at the time.
To give the best representation of the diversity of the creatures in the movies, players can play as an Alien, Predator, and human marine in the three independent campaigns. Humans shoot first, ask questions later in a traditional FPS format, Aliens crawl on walls and ceilings to ambush their prey, and Predators use stealth assassinations. It’s nice to be able to play as all three within the confines of a single game.
Do you feel like I missed an important game or have fond memories with any of the games listed above? If so, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you lovely Internet folk.