There’s a perception that videogames based on movies don’t turn out so well, and that’s often the case. It’s hardly surprising, as these titles are often produced on strict deadlines, which can limit features and innovation. They’re sometimes even an afterthought, intended mostly as a way to advertise the movie they’re tied to. But every now and then, a game comes along that bucks that trend and turns out to actually be really good. These eight games are prime examples of that, showing how movie-based games can actually turn out great.
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Tron 2.0 is an anomaly: a videogame based on a movie that had been out for over two decades. There was no tie-in film, no reboot, nothing. There was just a game based on the classic Tron, but it did have one thing going for it: It was created by No One Lives Forever developer Monolith Productions. While its sales were a bit underwhelming, Tron 2.0 completely nailed the aesthetic of the film. It tells the story of Alan Bradley’s son Jet, who is pulled into the computer world while searching for his father. Tron 2.0 blends shooter and RPG gameplay in a world that hits all the nostalgic points for Tron fans.
Walter Hill’s 1979 cult classic had to wait 26 years to have a videogame based on it, but it turned out to be worth the wait. Rockstar’s 2005 adaptation appeared on both the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox, with a version releasing for PSP in 2007. The Warriors recreates the major scenes from the film almost exactly, and it also includes a new storyline that explains how the Warriors came together before the events in the film took place. It also pushed the boundaries of what beat-em-up style games had done by eschewing the single-path structure that so many games in the genre embraced. It also adds in side activities, like mugging people and stealing car stereos. All of that aside, the authentic world was the real selling point for The Warriors.
The point-and-click adventure game isn’t as popular as it once was, but it was the perfect medium for the Blade Runner game that Westwood Studios developed in 1997. Don’t expect to be replaying the movie, though. Instead, you’ll play as Ray McCoy, a “Blade Runner” who’s hunting down a group of replicants. The setting is the same, Rick Deckard, the main character from the film, appears in the game, and the events of the film are discussed by characters, but that’s the extent of the tie-in. Blade Runner was also technically impressive as well, being one of, if not the first, adventure games to use 3-D character rendering. It was also one of the first to have the game world progress in real-time, instead of waiting for the character to act.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
There were several attempts to make a great Ghostbusters game, but they all fell short until 2009. When Ghostbusters: The Video Game hit stores, we were all excited, because we could finally be a Ghostbuster! Not only did we get to wander the iconic firehouse between missions, but we got to relive some of the best scenes from the movie, including trapping Slimer in the Sedgewick Hotel. The authentic items, accurate voice casting, and attention to detail that Ghostbusters: The Video Gameoffered made it a game that every franchise fan should play.
Goldeneye wasn’t just a godsend for Bond films, it was a huge moment in video game shooters as well. Goldeneye 007 was really the first great console FPS, and more than any other game to that point, it let you be James Bond. If you didn’t get your fix from playing the campaign, the multiplayer would do the trick. Nothing beat sitting down to challenge your friends to a few rounds, even if there was that one guy that always ignored the “No Oddjob” rule. Rare’s work on both stealth elements and a more realistic shooter certainly shifted the landscape of gaming on consoles, while still staying true to the film.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
There have been a whole lot of Lord of the Rings games, and some of them have been real stinkers. Thankfully, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers isn’t one of those. It was a hack-and-slash adventure that put you in the shoes of Legolas, Gimli, or Aragorn, and let you play through the events of both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. At its heart, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a clone of games like Diablo or Gauntlet, except it’s got Tolkien’s lore all stirred up in the mix. While it might be a bit repetitive, it’s a great game for Lord of the Rings fans.
Probably no game has been more of a turnaround from a poor predecessor than Spider-Man 2, and the time was not wasted. The controls were easy to learn and use, you could transition from swinging through the air to fighting almost seamlessly. Best of all, the campaign didn’t force you from mission to mission. You could spend the whole day just swinging around the city streets if you wanted. While it’s no Grand Theft Auto, it did embody a really solid recreation of New York as a place you could explore, not just pass through. It’s easily the best Spider-Man game ever made.
Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Escape from Butcher Bay isn’t exactly based on a movie, as its plot hasn’t appeared on-screen, but it’s a prequel to Pitch Black and its less-than-stellar sequel. Instead, it focuses on Riddick’s escape from the ultra-max security Butcher Bay prison. No one’s ever escaped from there, until you pull it off. A mixture of stealth and melee combat, Escape from Butcher Bay offers up fluid combat, solid sneaking mechanics, and more. Filling the shoes of Riddick and learning his history (and seeing how he got those interesting eyes) as you play is a far more compelling experience than either of the movies that star the character.