Usually, when someone stamps a movie license onto a video game, it goes downhill rather quickly, as the developer puts less focus into the game content and, instead, makes sure that all the stars look like their realistic selves. From there, the publisher pretty much has no choice but to sell the title by name power alone, even though most folks think it's pretty lukewarm. Just look at most of the drivel that Acclaim produced in the Genesis/SNES days and you'll see what we mean.
However, there are those rare gems that stand out, games that not only do justice for the movie they're tied in with, but create sweet experiences in themselves, something for players to come back to. With that, we've chosen ten games based on movies that turned out better than expected. We're even playing a few of them these days, even while the movies have faded into cult status – and our Blu-Ray collection.
Here are the games!
The Warriors (Rockstar Games/Xbox, PlayStation 2)
"Warriors! Come out and play-eyay!" Back in the late 70's, The Warriors provided a startling image of the near-future, with street gangs fighting for survival and one group in particular trying to stay a step ahead of their enemies. We're happy to report that Rockstar Games has stayed faithful to Walter Hill's cinematic classic, even enlisting a few actors from the film and recreating the pure tension of taking on rival gang members while trying to figure out who killed their cultural leader. NOTE: Do NOT confuse this game with Paramount's licensed Warriors game for Xbox Live Arcade. It's not the same thing.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Atari/Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)
If there's something weird, and it don't look good…who you gonna call? Why, the Ghostbusters, of course. This game serves as an actual third chapter in the series, which will probably be better than the forthcoming movie since Bill Murray is actually involved, and follows the quartet as they battle a new supernatural enemy. Featuring writing by the original film's masterminds, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, and plenty of supernatural situations to fight through alone or through co-op, Ghostbusters is one of the better movie-based efforts of this generation. You can find a copy for pretty cheap these days, around $20 or under.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay (Vivendi/Xbox)
Vin Diesel will soon be stepping back into the shoes of the sneaky killer Riddick for a third movie, but in the meanwhile, we suggest checking out Escape From Butcher Bay, which is actually two great games in one. You'll utilize his stealth abilities and kill with a vengeance, all through wonderfully reconditioned visual set-ups and plenty of narration from the bad-ass himself.
Spider-Man 2 (Activision/Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube)
The recently released Amazing Spider-Man is a very good game for this generation, but if you want the definitive web-slinging experience, your best bet is this 2004 sequel, which features plenty of free-flowing combat, hours worth of missions to complete, and some great (for the older generation, anyway) graphics that really bring New York City to life. It's better than trying to tackle Spider-Man 3, that's for sure.
Star Wars: The Arcade Game (Atari/arcade)
We could've easily mentioned Star Wars games like Battlefront or TIE Fighter on this list, but if we have to point one out that's SPECIFIC to the original film, we have to go with the Atari arcade classic. You'll make the classic trench run through the Death Star and obliterate TIE fighters (and even Darth Vader!) like a bandit, all through the magic of beautiful vector graphics and great controls. This game could definitely use a re-release on the digital front.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Ubisoft/Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)
Honestly, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a movie that should've performed better. It was loaded with umpteenth levels of awesome. But at least the game, produced by Ubisoft, fared a little better, as you and up to three of your fellow players take on enemies galore, including Ramona's nearly unstoppable evil exes. It's a tough game, but certainly a welcome return to the classic days of arcade beat-em-ups. Plus the music ROCKS.
Disney's Aladdin (Sega/Sega Genesis)
At the time of the animated film's release, two Aladdin games were produced – one for the SNES by Capcom, and this release for the Genesis. Both are fun, but if we had to choose between the two, we'd go with this one. Produced by David "Earthworm Jim" Perry and featuring animation taken straight from Disney's studios, Aladdin just comes to life better on the Genesis, and features plenty of the film's trademark humor.
Batman Returns (Konami/Super Nintendo)
It was a toss-up between the original NES Batman from Sunsoft and this game, but, honestly, this game just has more style to it. Konami was able to successfully channel the energy from the Tim Burton film – and the Danny Elfman soundtrack – into this beat-em-up, and has you facing everyone from demonic clowns to the powerful Penguin. The use of power-ups is brilliant (gotta love the test tube bomb) and the graphics are among the best we've seen on the SNES.
Goldeneye 007 (Nintendo/Nintendo 64)
The Activision reboot that came out a couple of years ago for Wii is quite good, but if we had to recommend one version of Goldeneye, it HAS to be the one that started it all. Goldeneye defined the age of first-person shooters on consoles, doing so lavishly with a four-player split screen mode and missions that were truly dedicated to the Bond fan in all of us. We still play it on occasion, especially in paintball mode.
X-Men Origins Wolverine (Activision/Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
We have to give the nod to Activision on X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What could've been a watered down action game (along the lines of, say, X-Men Destiny) is instead a gritty God of War-style bloodfest, where Wolverine lets loose and destroys, well, EVERYTHING. He even lays a Sentinel to rest, plowing through its skull like a bullet. This is one you should check out if you haven't already.
What are your favorite movie games?