10 Genuinely Good Videogames Based on Good Movies

By Matt Wilson in Daily Lists, Movies, Video Games
Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 8:05 am
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I don't really need to tell you that virtually all videogames that come out as promotional tie-ins for movies are awful. Even the ones that should be no-brainers. Like, Iron Man games? Those ought to be great. They are anything but. Games based on franchises from Friday the 13th to Jaws to Robocop have all been atrocious. And there's a reason for that. People are going to buy games based on the movies they like, whether they're playable or not.

Which is why it's amazing when some enterprising developer actually puts some effort into their movie-licensed game and churns out something worthwhile. Below, we provide 10 examples of just such products.

10) Goldeneye

It's hard to admit, but the truth is, Goldeneye -- the original Nintendo 64 one from 1997, not that remake from a couple years ago -- hasn't aged very well over the past 15 years. (In other news, Goldeneye is 15 YEARS OLD.) Characters move super-slowly and the mechanics have been upstaged by virtually every first-person shooter of the past decade-plus. But let's not forget what Goldeneye really accomplished. While hardcore PC gamers had Quake for their multiplayer FPS fixes, Goldeneye was the first real party game of the genre for console owners. And did they ever party. If you were in a basement and had, N64 and weren't feeling like Mario Kart, you were playing Goldeneye, and loving it.

9) Tron

Before developers knew all movie games had to be bad, there weren't any rules that said they had to be. The arcade game that came out alongside the Tron movie in 1982 is in every way an old arcade game: four mini-games repeated a dozen times, at increasing difficulties. Any semblance of a story certainly takes some interpretation, but the games are reasonably fun and it was cool to see an replication the light cycles. There's a reason Disney trotted it back out online when Legacy came out.

8) The Warriors

If Tron was a good example of how you take a movie and make a game out of it with no story, Rockstar's 2005 videogame adaptation of Walter Hill's 1979 classic The Warriors shows how to do it with extra story. Only the last few stages of this Xbox and PS3 brawler (and really what else would it be) cover the events of the film. Everything leading up to it precedes the huge meet-up that kicks off the movie. The brawling is deep, the spray-paint tagging is more fun than it ought to be. It's a game worthy of The Warriors.

7) Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Let's ignore for a moment how cool it was to blast hundreds of Terminators with the light gun attached to this 1991 arcade game, with all its awesome feedback. Let's not talk about the fact that, when you fought the T-1000, you were really taking on the image of Robert Patrick. Let's not even compare this arcade classic to all the other games, all of them terrible, with this movie's title on them. Let's just consider this one piece of information: On the title screen, the game is rated R. For Righteous. Come on!

6) The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

Consider this: How often do you hear someone complaining about a videogame adaptation of a movie being too short? Often, any end is a merciful one, but not-enough-game gripes were most players' problem with this 2004 effort, an Xbox and PC tie-in to The Chronicles of Riddick and Pitch Black. Developer Starbreeze smartly crafted a prequel to the movies and did it with real panache. This was no by-the-numbers FPS; it added stealth and puzzle solving to the mix in a really appealing way. Having Vin Diesel do a bunch of voice work as the character he played in the films probably helped, too.

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