Marketing teams have realized the branding potential of video game tie-ins for decades. Forcing developers to create a whole game with little budget and ultra-short development time is a recipe for disaster – I mean, that E.T. video game tanked so hard it brought the whole video game industry crashing down. So, considering how rare great movie-based games are, we think we’ll celebrate the few times Hollywood got it right with this list of 4 awesome movie-to-game adaptations.
The Warriors video game, much like the film that inspired it, is an underappreciated cult classic. The 1979 film of the same name was too ambitious for its budget and its concept too grand for its director’s humble talents. This cheesy attempt at an inner-city retooling of Xenophon’s Anabasis become best known for its cringeworthy one-liners and garish costumes.
Fast forward 20 years to the Rockstar offices where some creative visionary who deserves a raise would watch the late-70’s film and come to the inevitable conclusion that, hey, hammy one-liners and stupid, impractical costumes are what video games do best! And that’s probably how one of the Playstation 2’s most underrated curiosities was born.
The Warriors game is a 3D open-world beat-em-up developed around the Bully engine. While it does follow the general plot of the film, the game gives us the chance to really get to know all the members of the Warriors gang. It also offers a closer look at some of the film’s many inner-city gangs, each with their own gaudy uniforms. For fans of the cult film, The Warriors video game isn’t just a damn great brawler, it’s also the only official source for some critical lore.
Goldeneye was a game that helped define a generation. Even hearing the name evokes memories of Saturday winter mornings sat in front of a TV with our N64. In fact, the game was so popular that a lot of the kids who played Goldeneye 007 when it originally came out grew up never knowing that it’s based off a campy ‘90’s James Bond film.
Goldeneye was a fantastic shooter for its time, though perhaps not as great as nostalgia would have us believe. It came out in the golden era of local multiplayer, when all you had was four controllers and a single TV to play the game on. You could only hope your friends wouldn’t peek at your quarter of the screen – or that they wouldn’t catch you doing the same.
Much like The Warriors, The Godfather isn’t content with just rehashing the tale of the Corleone family in video game format. With the freedom of the video game medium – and the lack of a strict time limit – you get a window into the private lives of not just the Don and Michael, but secondary characters from the films.
You also get to participate directly in some of the illegal activities only hinted at in the films. As Michael, you can shake up business owners for protection money and run gambling rackets in their attics. There’s also a dynamic gang war system at play and you’ll find yourself constantly competing with rival families for control of territories and businesses.
Blackmailing mom and pop shops and raiding enemy factories is so satisfying that you’ll find yourself jumping in now and again long after the game’s story has concluded.
Was there any doubt? Spider-Man 2 is likely the first game that came to your mind when you read the title of this article – and for good reason.
Spider-Man 2 is the first game to really get the hero’s swinging down and there’s all of Manhattan for you to explore. That sensation of flying past skyscrapers, under bridges, or up over and around iconic Big Apple monuments was so amazing, so difficult to nail right, that it would nearly 15 years before another Spider-Man game would get it right.
The combat is criminally underappreciated. It’s a proto version of the counter system that the Arkham games would become associated with. Spider-Man 2 is not just a fantastic movie-to-game adaptation, it’s genuinely one of the greatest games of that console generation.
The practice of creating movie-to-game adaptations has produced enough stinkers to fill a mountain (or landfill), but there’re still some hidden gems if you’re willing to dig deep enough. What other movie-based game do you think deserves a shoutout?