Gamers everywhere probably share the same hesitations when it comes to bringing a great movie or an awesome TV show into video game development. In the past we have seen more ghastly failures than noteworthy successes. In case you don’t remember, here is a list of some…let’s call them mistakes. There was a period I remember, where seeing a film or TV licensed video game would automatically bring me to skip over to the next option, ignoring its existence entirely. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some really great games out there that stem from our favorite cinematic stories. Off the top of my head, here are some that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Spiderman 2 (PS2, GameCube)
This game represents a serious turn in the superhero game genre. Up until this point, pretty much every attempt at making a decent superhero title was met with swift and bitter disappointment. Just look back at Superman 64; need I continue? Spiderman 2 is based on Fox’s second Spiderman film (who could have guessed) and loosely followed the same plot line. While this is usually the first place for error, it proved to work well with the layout of the game. Since it’s an open world sandbox game the player is permitted to swing around New York city as they please, taking on side objectives and collecting things, until they felt the need to revisit the current story mission. This turned out to be the perfect setup that when combined with smooth controls, a rich environment, and fun combat.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (PS2, GameCube)
This is still one of my favorite Co-op games to date. The game consists of levels that took place or would have taken place during The Return of the King, allowing you to play as Samwise, Aragorn, Legolas, Gandalf, Gimli, Frodo, Faramir, Merry, and Pippin. Each character has unique skills and combat styles, which can be upgraded as the characters level up. There are only about 12 levels in the entire game, but they’re really fun to replay. You can take different approaches to each skirmish, and find interesting secrets that you may have missed during the first playthrough. Going co-op with a friend is definitely the best way to play this game. Obviously the core purpose is to help each other and demolish orcs together to get to the end of the level, but after a while it always takes a more competitive turn, similar to Gimli and Legolas’ score keeping in the film.
.Hack//Infection (Playstation 2)
This is a rare case where I find the video game to be more entertaining than the show it’s based on. .Hack simulates an MMORPG in that it adopts the round based combat system, and a story that is literally about characters playing an MMORPG. While the show was a serious snooze fest, the game was actually pretty interesting. Storyline came much faster than it did in the anime counterpart, and the interactions with your friends in the game was well executed. The dungeon crawling system was challenging and rewarding at the same time. I recommend checking any of the four entries in this series if you still have a PS2.
Harry Potter 2,3,5,6 (GameCube, PS2, PS3)
Sometimes being a die-hard fan of a series can have quite the effect on how much you enjoy the game. Somewhere in the back of my mind I probably know that the Harry Potter games are mediocre, but they clearly did enough right to let me ignore those feelings and get swept away in sweet sublimity. Having read the book series during my adolescence, and every year of my life since, I was always ready to take a first hand leap into the wizarding world. The Harry Potter games deliver a close story adaptation, but also grant the player the freedom to explore the environments from the films. At the end of the day this is what every Harry Potter fan wants. There were a few duds in the series, mainly part 1, part 4, and both episodes of part 7. Most of them are built with similarities to the Zelda formula, granting you upgrades and new spells (tools) to complete challenges or dungeons.
Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles (Playstation 1)
Since I don’t consider KOTOR to be a game derived from a movie, and the Battlefront series is the obvious option, and Rogue Squadron– okay I have no specific reason for settling on this LucasArts gem other than the fact that I find it to be less on the radar. I’m a fraud. Happy? So Jedi Power Battles was a difficult game, but managed to keep pulling you in with the fun combat system. It was one of the first Star Wars games to incorporate actual lightsaber combat, and even included six different Jedi’s to play with. This was a great addition to the PS1 and a rehashing of the game would be very welcome.
Mad Max (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360)
This was a surprising diamond in the rough in 2015. Rather than taking on the plot of Fury Road, which was also released in 2015, it introduced a new premise with a different Max to travel the wastelands with. Mad Max is an open world, action adventure that includes a nifty vehicle mechanic and an Arkham series style combat system. The game can lean towards repetition, but manages to keep you enticed with beautiful scenery and a challenging objectives.
DBZ: Legacy of Goku 2 (GameBoy Advance)
Last but certainly not least is one of my favorite handheld video games of all time. Similar to Star Wars there are a multitude of video games centered around the DBZ universe. While most of these are fighting games, The Legacy of Goku series creates a unique take on the sagas of the Z Fighters. For the most part I enjoy all 3 games in the trilogy, but number 2 takes the cake. This game is basically what would happen if DragonBall Z was transported to a 2D Zelda world. We get to punch and blast our way through the entire Android and Cell Sagas with dialogue that is taken directly from the show. On top of that the game also offers a number of side quests, 5 playable characters with different moves, and a fun leveling system. It’s a great way to relive the show without having to watch hundreds of episodes.
So there you have it. Some great games based off of films and TV shows. Next time i’ll be spouting off my ideas for TV shows and movies that should have games based on them.