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The Best Video Games Based On Movies

MolotovCupcake
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Posted October 18, 2011 - By Brittany Vincent







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The Best Video Games Based On Movies

A licensed movie game doesn’t have to be a death sentence. That seems to be the case though, doesn’t it? Just like a great video game making the leap to film and failing miserably, it seems the opposite usually produces demon spawn as well. But that’s not always true. In fact, there have been several licensed titles over the years that do more than provide an adequate adventure – they’re just great games overall.

While they may be few and far between, there are still plenty out there to disprove the disparaging theory that any licensed title is doomed to fail. If you count kids’ games, they’re even improving all over the map. Don’t believe us? We’ve got solid proof with five of the better movie to video game adaptations and those titles inspired by movies out there. Grab some popcorn, a seat, and make sure to set all cell phones to vibrate.

The Best Video Games Based On Movies

GoldenEye 007

Ah, the quintessential movie game. The premiere choice for Friday night fragging at your house with three or four buddies crowded around you, the TV, and the Nintendo 64. While we look back fondly on GoldenEye as one of the best multiplayer experiences period, it’s also a movie adaptation, and a great one at that. Its stealth elements were exemplary for its time, the arsenal of weapons at Bond’s disposal were nothing short of impressive, and even single-player mode was a formidable contender in the first-person shooter realm.

Levels, rather than forcing players through one linear path, offered different pathways to the same objective, lending the game a more realistic feel than that of a licensed video game to exist only as a tie-in. Both its single player campaign and multiplayer shone brightly in a sea of other Nintendo 64 titles, and the game is widely considered to have opened the floodgates for later multiplayer-centric releases such as Halo and Call of Duty. Pretty impressive for a movie game, right?

The Best Video Games Based On Movies

The Thing

Technically this adaptation is a sequel to John Carpenter’s original 1982 film release, but as it is heavily inspired by the classic sci-fi horror flick, it merits inclusion. While not technologically or graphically superior to other first-person shooters in its class at the time, this survival horror/shooter hybrid was an impressive addition to The Thing’s ever-expanding universe (the prequel, also entitled The Thing, hits theaters today!). As Beta team soldier Blake, you’re tasked with investigating the disappearance of Alpha squad. As you delve deeper into the mystery (rife with government conspiracy and cover-ups) you’re soon faced with Things who quickly whittle down Beta team just like Alpha. I won’t ruin the adventure for newcomers, but despite tight controls, delicious atmospheric horror, and memorable scene,

The Thing incorporates a novel fear/trust system in which any NPC member of Beta squad can turn on you at any given time, culminating in mini-boss battles with Things that must be killed with different methods each time. You’re even provided with portable test kits to investigate which one of your squad members has possibly been infected. Talk about ramping up the mistrust level. But that’s what the first film was all about, and this game positively thrives on the same feelings: fear, mistrust, and uneasiness. This shooter, while not perfect by any means, did an admirable job of acting as an extension of the franchise rather than a cash-in, and it certainly deserves praise.

The Best Video Games Based On Movies

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Though fans clamored for a brand-new Ghostbusters movie, instead the 2009 video game served its purpose as an extension of the popular series well. Featuring the original cast of characters (minus the rookie, of course) with a completely new adventure, Ghostbusters: The Video Game took everything we loved about the spook –catchers and translated it into an imaginative, engrossing third-person “shooter” that offered a fresh take on the classic movies. Terminal Reality’s pet project was well-received by critics and offered plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the Ghostbusters world many of us grew up with: PKE meters, goggles, and the immortal proton pack.

Set in a post-Ghostbusters II world, the team adds Rookie to their line-up, showing him the ropes whilst investigating the possible birth of another Great Destructor (like Gozer from the original movie.) Taking cues from games such as Gears of War with cover mechanics and similar “roadie run” mechanics, the game offered quite the action-packed adventure whilst retaining all of the comedic timing and gags from the movies for extra fan-service. And if you play for achievements or trophies, a true Ghostbusters fan will find that most, if not all of them are related to a quote or specific scene from the movies or the game. It’s even got Dan Aykroyd’s seal of approval. That’s enough for me.

The Best Video Games Based On Movies

Blade Runner

The 1997 Blade Runner adaptation is a little different from the others on this list, as it’s a point-and-click adventure game. Westwood Studios brought the original film’s universe to life in (then) beautifully rendered 3D environments and, like with Ghostbusters: The Video Game, a story written especially for the game. The main events would even coincide with the beginning of the film, telling an alternate story rather than supplementing the classic’s chain of events. Players took up the role of Blade Runner Ray McCoy, a rookie detective out to capture a group of rogue replicants charged with committing the heinous crime of slaughtering animals.

Thirteen endings would depend on your actions throughout the game and offered different fates such as siding with the replicants, choosing to fight against them, or staying neutral. Notable for its time was the fact that other NPCs could uncover clues and go about their business just like McCoy and his allies in a “real-time” fashion, as well as the game’s full-3D character models. Rather than choosing to stay within the confines of movie tie-in conventions, Westwood went in a new direction that, like The Thing and Ghostbusters: The Video Game, captured the spirit and the essence of the original film world perfectly. It’s an oldie, but still definitely a goodie.

The Best Video Games Based On Movies

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay

From Starbreeze and Tigon Studios came one of the sleeper hits of 2004: The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay. Once again it went the route of the previous games and acted as a prequel with an original story rather than following in the footsteps of Pitch Black. Vin Diesel provided his voice and likeness for the return of Riddick, and delivered lines with the same detached gruffness (his regular demeanor, ha) as he did in the movie, lending an authentic feel to the property. The then-spectacular graphics are still impressive, and upon release were compared to the likes of Half-Life 2 and Doom 3. Tight controls and edge-of-your-seat gameplay wove a believably Riddick tale that just felt right. Astounding use of shadows and darkness practically made the experience, and it was easy to lose yourself in what was an extremely realistic representation of the mammoth prison.

Without multiplayer to muck up the experience and a decently long campaign, Escape From Butcher Bay quickly achieved the coveted status of “great movie game,” much to the surprise of jaded gamers (such as myself) everywhere. More recently, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena hit store shelves in 2009, including an HD update of the original Escape From Butcher Bay, and while it hasn’t bested the first game in terms of content, it still stands on its own as well as a formidable movie game contender.

Those are five of some of the greatest movie games out there right now – but we know you’ve probably played some great ones, too. Sound off! And if you’re wondering why we didn’t include Sweet Home, don’t worry. You’ll be seeing it again soon.

Brittany Vincent is a freelance writer who routinely eviscerates virtual opponents and tempts fate by approaching wayward Zoloms. A connoisseur of all things bloody and bizarre, she's available to chat via Twitter @MolotovCupcake, and is always ready to take on new projects. You can peruse her archived work at PfhortheWin.com

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