Video games based on movies have a well-earned reputation for being terrible. In fact, the Atari E.T. game was so bad that 700,000 unsold copies were buried in the desert. And this nearly destroyed the fledgling video game industry!
However, there are a few diamonds in the digital rough. Here’s a roundup of games based on movies that are actually pretty damn good!
Blade Runner (PC)
The Blade Runner movie is beautiful and mysterious. It has an equally beautiful and mysterious video game. Unfortunately, many people have never heard of it!
This 1997 PC game represents the height of the “point and click” era of adventures. While the gameplay (including solving puzzles and figuring out who is a replicant) is fun, most of the joy comes from the design.
In short, this is a beautiful game. The pre-rendered backgrounds came to life using special “voxel” technology. The end result is that this 1997 game barely looks its age. It even has a modern fan community trying to bring it back to the masses.
Super Star Wars (SNES)
Star Wars had been adapted into multiple video games before the SNES version came out. But if I’m being honest, most of them were disappointing. Everything from the classic arcade game to the NES game seemed to lack the magic of a galaxy far, far away.
But Super Star Wars changed all that, streamlining the first movie into a fast-paced sidescroller. Players alternate between using blasters and a lightsaber to cut down Jawas, Stormtroopers, and deadly droids.
You even get gameplay variety with levels that place you in a landspeeder and, later, an X-Wing. If you’ve ever longed to “bullseye womprats” like Luke Skywalker, here’s your chance!
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (PS2)
Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films brought a new generation of fans to Tolkien’s classic series. However, many of the video games based on these films are pretty lackluster, including a so-so Third Age RPG and the Battlefront knock-off Lord of the Rings: Conquest.
However, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and the sequel (Return of the King) truly make you feel you are in the movies. The games balance cutscenes with visceral action in which you kill orcs and goblins with increasingly complex moves.
Throw in the ability to level characters up and you have a recipe for repeat playthroughs!
The Nintendo 64 game Goldeneye is one that gamers speak of in hushed tones. It had an awesome and inventive campaign as well as amazing competitive modes. Many fans and critics credit this game with bringing the FPS genre to consoles to begin with!
Due to various licensing issues, the game has never been released outside of the N64. That means that your only legal way to play as Bond, James Bond, is to dust off your old system.
However, this blast from the past is totally worth it. And the 007 difficulty mode is just as challenging and rewarding as you remember!
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (NES)
When you think of “cool action game,” chances are that you don’t think about the campy horror Gremlins series of films. However, the NES game Gremlins 2: The New Batch may just change your mind!
You play as the Mogwai Gizmo, and you’re taking the fight back to the evil Gremlins. To do this, you put together a wild arsenal of mutated tomatoes, tiny bows, and a whole lot more.
The game plays with scale in a fun way, and each level is full of fun Easter eggs. This is one movie-based game that may be better than the movie itself!
Spider-Man 2 (PS2)
There have been many different Spider-Man games. And like the movies themselves, there seems to be a fair mix of good and bad adaptations of your friendly neighborhood webslinger.
Spider-Man 2 stands among the very best Spidey games. Why? It combines cool gameplay and movie adaptation with unique story elements.
The game plays out in an open world format in which you can either move the main plot along (stopping Dr. Octopus) or engage in fun side quests. And these quests let you interact with many characters outside of that movie, including Black Cat and Mysterio.
Whether you love Spidey, love the movie, or just love a good game, this one is worth playing.
Batman (Sega Genesis)
If you thought Spider-Man had a mix of good and bad games, enter the bat! For every cool game like Arkham Asylum, there is a Batman game you’ve already forgotten about (Gotham City Racer, anyone?).
However, the Sega Genesis adaptation of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie is legit. It has realistic graphics, tight gameplay, and some fun gameplay variety.
Just when you get tired of punching thugs, you get to drive the Batmobile or fly the Batwing. Maybe now you’ll finally be able to tell Joker where Batman gets all these wonderful toys?