The Scott Pilgrim vs. the World film celebrated its tenth anniversary two weeks ago (or in the case of Ireland, it’ll be next week) and it got me thinking about the Ubisoft game and how much fun it was. Sadly, the game is no longer available but hopefully this’ll change someday. I then started to think about other games that were based on films. Film games tend to have a bad rep. Any one who has watched the Angry Video Game Nerd is well aware of the LJN licensed games and how poor they were but there are some absolute classics. Below are some of my favourite video games based off of movies.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game
I might as well start with the game that inspired this post. Technically the game is a tie-in for the books and film but it’s a damn fine game so I’m including it here. You take control of Scott or one of his friends as you battle your way through 16-bit levels to take on Ramona’s seven evil exes. The game is a side-scrolling beat-em up that can be played with up to three other players. The sprites look impressive and the music is excellent. As you battle through the level and defeat enemies, you gain money that can be used to purchase different items such as food. It’s important to use the shops in order to progress through the levels as they can make all the difference. I really enjoyed it, especially with friends. There’s nothing quite like having friends over and playing into the early hours of the morning. Sadly, the game was never released physically and is no longer available digitally so the only way to play it is with an account that downloaded it before it was removed.
It’s hard to describe the impact of GoldenEye 007. At the time video games based on films had a poor reputation, it was released 2 years after the film it was based on and first-person shooters weren’t as popular on consoles as they were on PC. Yet Rare challenged our preconceptions and produced an absolute masterpiece. The game sees you take control of James Bond (well duh) as you attempt to stop Janus. The levels follow the film and their objectives are tailored to the difficulty you’re playing on. Where the game really stands out is in multiplayer. You and up to three friends can compete in a variety of deathmatch modes across well-designed levels. I used to bring the cart around to a friend’s house and we would adjust the settings or use cheats to build our own deathmatch types such as “Robocop” or “Predator”. The game, like a lot of those from that generation, hasn’t aged well. It suffers from poor draw distance (N64 fog), the graphics are incredibly dated and playing with one analogue stick is strange in an era with dual sticks but it is still a blast to play, especially in multiplayer.
There was a time when Disney had some excellent games accompany their films. In fact, this list will have a few of them (spoiler). Aladdin not only produced one great game but two (I haven’t played the Master System version so it could well be three!). The SNES and Mega Drive have different play styles and art work. I once tried to describe the difference to my wife as “Aladdin has a sword in the Mega Drive version”. The Mega Drive version was developed by Virgin Games and the sprite animation is amazing and no wonder, it was done by the Disney animators. The music is everything you’d expect from a Disney film. The levels follow the movie well and look stunning. Game-play wise, it’s a solid platformer that provides a decent challenge. The SNES version was developed by Capcom and like a lot of their other Disney titles, is a well produced platformer. While not using Disney animators, it still looks bright and colourful. The level design is different from the Mega Drive version as it relies less on combat but it still follows the movie rather closely. I’ve always found this version more challenging but its nothing a little trial and effort won’t solve. No matter what version you pick, you’ll have a blast.
Disney’s Action Game Featuring Hercules
This is the second Disney game on our list and, yes, that is its actual title. I know, odd. Hercules is a 2.5D platformer where you take the son of Zeus from a zero to a hero. You’ll start off in hero training before making your way to Mount Olympus. It follows the film but also expands on some areas to create new levels and boss fights. An example of this would be the Medusa fight that requires you to learn her pattern quickly to beat her. The combat is fun and fluid, with Herc being a joy to control. The game features voice acting, which can range from great to annoying (cough, Phil, cough). The game has a good difficulty curve but it never becomes too challenging. It’s also one of the few PlayStation games to have aged well thanks to its animation style. It’s well worth picking up, even if you aren’t a fan of the movie.
Batman: The Video Game
Based on Tim Burton’s 1989 masterpiece, Batman: The Video Game on the NES sees you control the Dark Knight as he takes on the Joker. It’s loosely based on the film (and I do mean loosely) but it is an excellent game. As you progress, you’ll pick up weapons that’ll help you work your way through the levels, and believe me, you’ll need them. For an 8-bit game, it’s incredibly detailed. It captures the gloom of Burton’s film well. It has five levels, each with its own boss. While not a lot, they are a challenge and will require a lot of trial and error (and patience) to get through. Batman controls well so when you die, it’s more a case of you being unprepared than it being cheap. Stick with it and you’ll eventually make your way to the top of the Cathedral for an epic final encounter, and hopefully a well earned victory.
Die Hard Trilogy
Based on the first three films in the Die Hard franchise, you take control of John McClane as he shoots (and drives) his way through terrorists. Each of the three films has their own unique style. The first game is a third-person shooter where you make your way through Nakatomi Plaza, clearing each floor before moving on. There’s not really much else to it but yet it’s surprisingly addictive and challenging. The second is an on-rails shooter as you blast your way through the airport and runway. I was never a big fan of this one because I’m not really a big fan of on-rail shooters but I did find it fun in short bursts. I spent a lot of time inputting different codes and editing my route through the levels, which is an excellent little feature. In the third game, you drive around New York City (and other locations) as Zeus barks at you. This was my favourite of the three games. I loved exploring New York and trying to find the many secret cars dotted around. Also, how you switch car is amazing.
Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
I thought I’d pick a game from the Lego series and what better one to pick than the original. Lego Star Wars: The Video Game sees you play through the prequel trilogy. Each film has six missions based on events from the film. They’re also peppered with charming cutscenes that tell the story using props and expression as there’s no voice acting. There are a good bit of collectables and characters to obtain. It’s not on the same level as later games in the series but it’s a nice start. The game encourages repeat playthroughs to unlock everything as certain items can only be obtained in Free Play mode. It might not have the massive hubworlds of Lego The Incredibles or Lego The Hobbit but it is a nice distraction on a quite Sunday afternoon and it’s made better by playing with a friend. Sometimes simplicity is best.
Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventure
From one George Lucas creation to another, Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventure has you play as the exciting archaeologist. Similar to the Super Star Wars series (but less punishing), the game is an action-platformer that also makes use of the SNES’Mode 7 graphics. Instead of being split out across three games, the trilogy is contained on one cart. This means that it doesn’t dedicate as much time to each film as, say, Super Star Wars, but it does manage to include some of the films’ iconic scenes (the boulder scene, anyone?). Graphically, it looks great, even today. Control -wise, Indy handles really well. This means it’s an absolute joy to play as you jump, whip and demolish your way through each film.
There are other movie games that have received high praise such as Spider-man 2, The Thing, The Warriors and the Super Star Wars series but I haven’t had the chance to fully experience them yet. There’s also some other great Disney games like The Lion King and Toy Story 1-3 but I felt I’d included enough Disney franchises. What movie games did you enjoy? Let me now below.