Video Games have had a bit of a strained relationship with Hollywood. A lot of movie tie-ins have been met with a lukewarm reception at best. Some properties are just pawned off to a random studio to get a video game release on the same day as the movies like just another toy out of the box. Others suffer due to low budgets and time constraints. It’s not a pleasant environment to work in, with most shots being called from outside the industry, and yet somehow, a few games made it and went on to be successful. We’ve rounded up 5 of the best movie franchise to video game adaptations since the turn of the 21st century.
5. Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
Before you rush off to light your torches and grab your pitchforks, allow me the chance to explain myself. King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie first launched back in 2005 for the PC, PS2 and as a launch title for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, I first played the game around 2007 and so would have only had been 8 at that particular time, but even at such a young age what I got from this game was incredibly immersive to me. The sheer fact that by default the game had no reticle or life bar meant it really felt as if I was wondering around Skull Island in constant danger.
Not only that but also getting to wreak havoc as King Kong himself was some of the most outrageous fun I had in a video game at that time in my life. I remember picking up King Kong last year purely for its achievements on Xbox 360 and quickly found myself forgetting that I was playing it for the shameful love of gamerscore and just begun having fun with it once more. Moments of fighting against a terrifying T-Rex felt so fun to me as a child and still has the exact same effect today. Having that feeling of being in frequent danger with absolutely nowhere to hide is something we don’t see a lot of in games, it’s both exhilarating, scary and exciting at the same time. So whilst I’m sure there are other games that could take this spot, to me this game deserves it.
Additionally, Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of The Movie went on to score very nicely across all platforms, reaching 82% on Metacritic for both PlayStation and Xbox.
4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Just for one second can we try to forget the fact that this was the movie to ruin the fantastic Deadpool, make absolutely no sense and just be downright awful? Because what came out of that catastrophe of a movie was a surprisingly great game. Sure, I am being a bit lenient in the sense that “technically” this is “based” on the movie. Whilst the game does include a lot of moments from the film it also has a lot of moments that are just not at all related to the film in any way shape or form, and that means that you just get to enjoy it.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn’t score amazingly well with critics after its 2009 release on multiple platforms, with a 75% on Metacritic for Xbox 360 its high point. The game took the form of a standard hack and slash title, which to be honest suits the Wolverine character down to the ground. Being able to launch yourself across wide open gaps to take out enemies with an array of crazy combo and special moves made the game incredibly fun to play. With way too many developers playing it safe these days, X-Men Origins: Wolverine essentially said a big f*** you to the source material and just has a tonne of fun with the film’s iconic character.
3. Ghostbusters (2009)
Technically Ghostbusters (2009) is not a direct adaptation of either of the two much-loved eighties films but follows the team two years after the events of the somewhat poorly received Ghostbusters 2 (1989). After the release of this year’s arduous cash grab that was Ghostbusters “the top-down shooter” and the poorly received female Ghostbusters reboot, the franchise had obviously seen better days however, back in 2009 Ghostbusters fans worldwide were treated at long long last to a great Ghostbusters video game.
With die-hard fans of the franchise crying out for a third film what we got instead was a fantastic Ghostbusters experience of a different kind. Players assumed the role of a new recruit, working alongside Venkman, Stantz, Spengler and Zeddemore in a game that truly captured the essence and feel of the first two films with excellent gameplay. Along with a great campaign, Ghostbusters also boasted an online co-op mode for up to 4 players, adding further excitement to proceedings. It has also been said that the release of the 2009 game was essentially the third movie in the franchise with many fans of the original films happy with its release because of the way developer Terminal Reality captured the actual feeling of being part of the iconic team…hang your head in shame Activision and FireForge Games.
2. Spider-Man 2
Where do I begin with Spider-Man 2? The game is near and dear to me, much as Spider-Man was before it, sadly the game itself was not so amazing, merely an exciting time waster. You may remember earlier in the article I mentioned how we don’t just get to have fun in video games that much anymore? well back in the era of the PS2 Call of Duty developer Treyarch’s Spider-Man 2 allowed me to have about as much fun as I could possibly have while playing a video game. I found myself excitedly flying around the city of New York, beating up its many criminals, enjoying the games excellent swinging mechanics while saving citizens in distress, sadly this is the only real excitement the Spider-Man 2 offered, and there was a story.
While there was a story to be told and the game rated highly with Metacritic, I found that just swinging around all of the time was so much more fun than the actual game itself or its story. Spider-Man 2 was an outstanding superhero movie but the game adaptation was pure unadulterated fun without ever being outstanding. With its fantastic swing mechanics, players could achieve just about anything the webbed adrenalin junkie could muster. Able to swing around at your own free will felt amazing and kept me entertained for hours on end, at the end of the day that is all I need from a game. If a game can keep my attention for a great length of time and still be fun then by my standards it is deserving of its spot on this list.
1. Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
What? A list that doesn’t include Goldeneye? I know it is unheard of for sure. And this game might just be as well. Chronicles of Riddick deserved a fantastic game and it got just that when in 2004 we received what I believe to be one of the most underrated video games based on a movie franchise ever.
Set before the wonderfully brilliant Pitch Black film came Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, a game far ahead of its time upon its release in 2004 with an excellent gameplay combination of stealth, all out action and side quests that could be accessed by speaking to fellow prisoners inside the prison that Riddick is tasked with escaping from. Whilst this may come as a surprise to you Escape from Butcher Bay rated incredibly well post launch with both Eurogamer and IGN scoring the game highly. Currently, Escape from Butcher Bay stands at 90% on Metacritic for PC and 89% for Xbox, not too shabby for a movie adaptation.
I remember playing the game on our family computer and while it didn’t run so well I loved it regardless. Every moment of the game was fun with Starbreeze doing an excellent job of balancing out the games many aspects with transition between moments of action and stealth seamless (this is how to do it, Rogue Warrior). Escape from Butcher Bay brilliantly captured the idea of being Riddick and that’s what sets it aside from other video games taken from movies, they allow players the chance to become the character you see on the big screen and long may that continue.