And the nominees are...
It’s no secret that video games based on movies get a bad rap – and rightly so. The majority of them are rushed, generic, uninspired cash-ins, used entirely as promotional material for their respective films, without naming any names of course… *cough* E.T. *cough*
However, once in a blue moon, we are graced with that rare game that completely annihilates our expectations and sometimes even turns out better than its cinematic counterpart. This list is here to celebrate those very games. So without further ado, I give you my personal favourites… Here are the first 6, listed completely at random… Why? Because it’s my article and I wanted to. Quit judging me.
Lets get the formalities out of the way first, shall we? Of course, GoldenEye 007 was getting on this list. When you think of games based on movies, this is the first one that pops into everyone’s mind. Yes, it might have aged terribly, rendering it almost unplayable by today’s standards, but that doesn’t make it any less special. This was the game that set the bar for first person shooters, and boy did it set it high.
Coming out when it did, GoldenEye 007 should not have worked. A console shooter made by an inexperienced team, in a genre totally dominated by the PC, based on a film that came out two years prior – but somehow Rare pulled it out of the bag.
The campaign went into even more detail than the film, creating a totally engrossing, cinematic experience. And if the single player didn’t float your boat, there was always the legendary multiplayer mode to keep you entertained for hours on end. All you needed were a few friends and a golden gun. There’s just one rule, no one’s allowed to be Oddjob.
I remember when my brother bought Spider-Man 2 for his Xbox, the first game was terrible and neither of us were massive Spiderman fans to begin with, so I was very sceptical. Thankfully, my worries were quashed immediately, as it seemed Activision had gone to great lengths to start from scratch with the sequel.
You can definitely see Spider-Man 2’s legacy in later successful open-world superhero titles such as inFamous and Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham City. The combat was wacky, over the top and really made you feel like you were Spiderman; the map had been converted into a living, breathing vision of the New York we see in the spidey films and finally you could web sling to your hearts content. To this day, there aren’t many moments in gaming that are more satisfying than the slingshot into the sky you get after casting that perfect web. I could do nothing but that for hours on end and never get bored. Forget the movies, it was this game that made me adore everyone’s favourite web-slinger.[yt_video id=”Zcs_ZaDLsVk”][/yt_video]
Small Soldiers: Squad Commander
I have already professed my undying love for this game in a retro reflection here on the site, so it definitely needs a spot on this list. A little known game, not to be confused with the Small Soldiers title on the PSOne, Small Soldiers: Squad Commander is a top down RTS game that was released in 1998 by Hasbro Interactive.
You control either the Gorgonites or the Commando Elite – the two rival toy factions from the film – and aid them in their quest for peace (the former) or world domination (the latter). Each campaign consists of 10 separate missions, during which your task is to either rescue a comrade or sabotage (destroy) the rival toy’s forces.
The charm in Squad Commander lies in its simplicity, all you ever have to do is point and click the mouse in order to move one of your toys or attack one of theirs, making it incredibly easy to get to grips with. There is, however, a certain element of strategy involved, as each of your team’s six ‘soldiers’ has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses: ‘Ocula’ has great vision for instance but very little health, whereas ‘Slam Fist’ packs a powerful punch but is incredibly slow. This is where your inner strategist comes into play, as you must pick the right toy for the right job.
The ideas at play here, all come together to create a glorious mix of fun and comedic gameplay and it’s full of nods to the film that started it all. I know it doesn’t seem much on the surface, but trust me, this game is infinitely enjoyable. I’ve replayed it probably over 30 times and even now, just writing about it has given me the itch to play it again. Also, it might have something to do with the soundtrack… It’s super catchy.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Uncaged Edition
This was definitely one of the more unexpected surprises on this list. Who’d have thought that Marvel would let Raven Software do a complete U-turn, with the increasingly “kid friendly” Wolverine, and take him straight into a bit of the old, ultra-violence? Not me, but I’m eternally grateful they did.
In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, you take control of Logan and guide him through the events during and preceding the film of the same name. But nobody gives a crap about that, because this game is so bloody that you don’t even notice there’s a story. All you can think about is how you are going to dismember the 50 guys in the next room, and how gloriously gory it’s going to be. Seriously, this game is brutal, like if Kratos had a lovechild with the entire roster of Mortal Kombat brutal.
Speaking of Kratos, the gameplay is not a million miles away from the likes of games like God Of War. There are light attacks, heavy attacks, special attacks and “Imma claw your face off and then stab it into your throat” attacks.
There is so much blood and guts in the Uncaged edition, it’s unreal. Even Wolverine’s healing powers get a graphic lick of paint; I kept purposely blowing myself half to death, just so I could witness his awesomely gruesome regeneration again.
Sure, this game is a bit of a one trick pony, but if that trick is “slicing bad guys into a million bloody pieces” then I’m okay with that. I mean, what more could you want from a Wolverine game?
This one was sheer luck on my part. Batman Begins actually came free with another game I bought at the time (though I can’t remember which), I didn’t particularly want it and thought it looked kind of awful – man, was I wrong.
Batman Begins closely follows the plot of the film, as the caped crusader learns his trade, cleans up the streets of Gotham and has a run in with Scarecrow and a certain Mr. Ra’s Al Ghul. It doesn’t really deviate at all, so you know exactly what you’re getting there. But what I wasn’t expecting was how well the core combat mechanics would be utilised, as dazzling acrobatic combos were seamlessly balanced out with the stealthier, more tactical approach – which kept you relying on one, just as much as the other.
It’s easy to see that this game laid the groundwork for the Arkham series everybody knows and loves today, even going into more depth with the fear system. There’s nothing better than scaring your victim so much, that he voluntarily jumps out of 7 story window, without ever laying a finger on him. This game definitely keeps the gritty, realistic atmosphere of the Nolan films, which makes you feel more like a predator, just like Batman should. Also, there’s Batmobile missions. Nuff said.
The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay
The Chronicles Of Riddick was a very tame film; it’s my guess that this was the reason that led to it becoming a flop at the box office. Developer Starbreeze Studios seemingly took notice when they created its deliciously violent, video game prequel Escape From Butcher Bay.
Set even before Pitch Black (the first Riddick film), Butcher Bay puts the player in the shoes of a Mr. Richard B. Riddick as he attempts to escape incarceration from the infamous Butcher Bay Prison, as the title suggests.
That is about all there is to know about the story (although you do get to see how he acquires his night vision – which is really cool), from here on out you must use the game’s ingenious mechanics to navigate your way through this living nightmare of a prison. On the surface, it looks like your standard first person shooter, but you soon realise that you cannot go out guns blazing, because you will die. A lot. Instead you must stealthily meander your way through the prison, lurking in the shadows whilst grisly dispatching people who get in your way. The minimal HUD does wonders for the game’s sense of loneliness and makes it that much more challenging when you don’t have a map to rely on.
So much work went into each and every aspect of Butcher Bay, the unique stealthy mechanics, the shimmering visuals and shadow effects as well as a stellar voice cast, including The Walking Dead‘s Michael Rooker and, of course, the big man himself: Vin “XXX” Diesel. Never mind games based on movies, this is simply one of the best games ever made.
What do you make of our first 6 choices? Let us know in the comments below! Stay tuned to Sumonix for the final 6 – Coming Soon!