Hollywood keeps trying to tap the video game market to concoct the next hit movie or movie series for audiences, while movie based video games are all but extinct these days. For a while they were huge, while in the late eighties and the entire decade of the nineties were filled with video games based on movies. From “Dirty Harry,” and “Lethal Weapon,” to “Robocop,” “Robocop 2,” “Robocop 3,” “Robocop vs. Terminator,” The Entire “Terminator” series, the “Die Hard” trilogy, “No Escape,” “Congo,” “Stargate,” “Independence Day,” the list can go on. There was even “Street Fighter” the game based on the movie, which was based on a game. There are still games based on movies that I never knew existed.
In honor of the dying breed of good movie based video games, here are ten of our favorite video games based on movies. What are your favorite games based on movies?
Friday the 13th – NES
Sure, it may not be what you’d call a classic game. Or a good game. Or even a playable game. Or one you’d devote more than five minutes to. But when I was a kid, “Friday the 13th” was a fun time to be had, and I didn’t even give a crap that Jason Voorhees makes up about five percent of the actual game. Rather than playing as the killer, you’re instead one of a group of random camp counselors.
The entirety of the game is spent navigating through confusing woodlands (with a map that offers no help), dodging zombies and wildlife that you fight off by throwing rocks at them. Eventually you run in to the disembodied head of Pamela Voorhees, and then Jason Voorhees who is tough to beat. Especially with his blue tint and odd motions. By virtue of nostalgia, this deserves at least a mention.
Aladdin – Genesis
As nineties kids know, Disney delivered endless amounts of entertaining games in the eighties and nineties. From Duck Tales, to Talespin, right down to Chip and Dale Rescue Ranger, Disney offered fans side scrollers that had variety and packed in the entertainment.
“Aladdin” is arguably the best of the Disney sidescrollers, where you can play as Aladdin, fighting guards, evil warlocks, and possessed statues, all the while roaming through the scenes from the movie that double as difficult game stages. “Aladdin” is a fun game with great action, wonderful animation, and gameplay that’s absolutely addictive. The Genesis version is easily the better of the pair.
The Lion King – Genesis
Another of the many entertaining and addictive Disney side scrollers, this game featured many of the familiar scenes from “The Lion King” except they doubled as immensely difficult stages. You play as lion cub Simba, as he navigates through the wildlife, using his ability to stomp on animals and bugs, while roaring them away.
Simba gets older as the game progresses, and the game uses many of the iconic scenes as stages. Simba has to bounce on animal heads in one stage reminiscent of his “Can’t Wait to Be King” musical number, and he has to run through a large stampede without being stomped on. The Genesis version is the best by far in either format. It’s a wonderful game.
Batman Returns – SNES/Genesis
Batman has a great run of video games that are fun, engrossing, and interactive, and “Batman Returns” is one of the best. Based on the movie of the same name, in the Genesis version, you can play as Batman as he travels along rooftops of Gotham, and the streets, fighting random thugs, beating up clowns and circus freaks, driving the batmobile, and fighting the major villains of the film, including Catwoman, who is absolutely difficult to fight.
The SNES version is very similar to “Final Fight” where Batman goes along the streets fighting various enemies, and enlisting his skills to bring down various difficult foes. In the first boss fight you have to tear the wall out from behind the stun gun clown much like the movie to take away a good portion of his health. Both versions have their merits and are a blast to play. “Batman Returns” is a highlight of the Batman game repertoire, and it’s a highly addictive beat em up.
Felix the Cat – NES
Felix The Cat was a big screen icon for a short time before Disney ripped him off with Mickey Mouse. Essentially, Felix is a lot weirder and his cartoons are much more creative. His side scrolling platformer for the NES is a simple but very fun version of Mario, where Felix is able to go through a gamut of villains, while using his bag of tricks and ability to coast around a surreal world of obstacles.
With power ups you can upgrade Felix’s mode of transport that become much more powerful, from a glove, to magician’s wand, right up to a car, and then a tank. You can also be a submarine and hot air balloon. With some great graphics and animation, along with smooth gameplay, this is a cinematic adaptation worthy the time that makes great use of its format.
LEGO Indiana Jones – Nintendo DS
Sure, it was released for many platforms, but I mainly played LEGO Indiana Jones for the Nintendo DS and spent two months incapable of putting it down. Playing as a LEGO version of Indiana Jones, you spend the majority of the game going through his first three films, jumping along obstacles, fighting bad guys, and building LEGO versions of guns and weaponry to get to the next level.
Much of the game is insanely complicated, and I spent weeks on one or two areas having a tough time figuring out certain puzzles. Especially in the underground catacombs of the museum in “The Last Crusade.” But in the end it’s a great LEGO adventure with a fun cameo from an Ewok, mid game.
Super Star Wars – SNES
Super “Star Wars” is an incredibly tough side scrolling shooter and beat em up, and one of the few “Star Wars” games I enjoy. I’ve never been a fan of the FPS’s, or the galaxy shooters, and I hated “Masters of Teras Kasi” from the second I began playing it. So “Super Star Wars” and its sequels are a fun alternative where you play as Luke Skywalker and have to travel through various stages of Star Wars worlds to save your friends and build your powers up.
The game is tough and unforgiving, but it also is addictive and utterly entertaining. You can play on all sorts of the major sequences from the first three “Star Wars” movies and thanks to smooth gameplay, it’s never monotonous or boring. It has the same atmosphere of the “Star Wars” films, and never detracts from what made the original trilogy so much fun.
Batman – NES
Loosely based on the Tim Burton “Batman” movies, this is a Batman game that’s addictive and tough to beat, thus it will inspire many a replays from its players. Batman is allowed a series of various weapons and can bounce off walls, all while fighting various villains with their own weapons and assorted difficulty.
Enemies get tougher and tougher, but Batman remains a great playable character with his own variety of hand held weapons that make the game entertaining and memorable.
Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures – SNES
This is probably the best Indiana Jones video game I’ve ever played, and that’s because it doesn’t just channel the best and most harrowing moments from Indiana Jones’ original three films, but it’s one of the most entertaining sidescrollers ever made. Save for Contra.
And Mario. You know what? It’s a great sidescroller, let’s settle on that. Indiana Jones gets his whip very early in the game, you can also get grenades, and hand guns, you have to outrun the giant boulder, you have to fight evil tribesmen, and snakes. Every level is just an unforgiving bit of land after the next, and it’s fantastic.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie – SNES
There’s just something about beat em ups that we love. We can’t help it. We love characters running across screens and beating the crap out of enemies coming in at all sides. Surely, “Power Rangers The Movie” game may not be in the top five beat em ups of all time, but it really is one of the most entertaining we’ve ever played.
The SNES lacks the megazords, but it really has a good style to it, as well as an addictive series of stages and difficult enemies. I also really really enjoy the original “Mighty Morphin” game for the SNES which is a basic beat em up, much in the same vein. The Genesis version of a fighter like “Street Fighter.” The SNES “Fighting Edition” is a fun one on one fighter for folks in the mood to battle as giant robots or monsters.
Alien Versus Predator – SNES
Another of the many entertaining beat em ups for the SNES, “Alien versus Predator” centers on a Predator warrior battling all kinds of alien hybrids and species. With a kick ass combat system, he battles different classes of Xenomorphs, some of which can spit, and others take many hits to go down.
You’re given his spear to attack the xenomorphs, as well as his deadly disc you can toss at various enemies. The bosses are absolutely impossible to beat at times, but that is only a part of the fun that is this film hybrid. It’s a damn shame the movies weren’t this fun or action packed.