With tons of upcoming movies based on video games headed our way, we wanted to take a moment to recognize a handful of video games that flipped the expectation of "video game first, movie later."
As several movies often draw inspiration from a number of other mediums (like video games, comic books, or just regular books...remember those?), there are in fact a handful of great video games that were actually movies first...a rarity indeed. But alas, video games inspired by movies have not always had the best track-record. And have trust (here's looking at you E.T.: The Video Game), more often than not, a video game based on a movie just plain sucks. So which movies have overcome this stigma and have produced high-quality, memorable video games? Let's take a look:
"Aladdin" (Sega Genesis)
Released in 1992 by Virgin Interactive (Capcom developed a Super NES version around the same time), this is one of the few video games that captured the look and feel of the movie damn near perfectly. That's in large part due to the fact that the artists used for the game design were the same Disney artists from the movie. This was a side-scrolling adventure that didn't feel like a video game, really it was more of an interactive cartoon based on the fluid gameplay. Plus that music didn't hurt the authenticity.
"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (Arcade Game)
Also released on several computer platforms as well as NES, this was a masterpiece in adaptation for Atari, and anyone who was lucky enough to play this at the arcade remembers it well. It was the first Atari game released that featured digitized speech, from Harrison Ford himself, and also was helped out by John Williams original score. It contained several different levels, all with unusual and unique styles of gameplay, like the mine cart chase that mimicked the scene from the film. But how cool was it, at the height of Indiana Jones-mania, to get to whip bad guys, lasso over chasms and ride mine carts, all while listening to the voices and music from the film and reliving your favorite scenes? The answer, in case you haven't guessed it, is very, very cool indeed.
"Star Wars" (Arcade Game)
Speaking of getting in on the hype surrounding a movie, there was no greater joy than jumping in the cockpit of an X-Wing Fighter and trying to deliver that final blow that would take out the Empire's Death Star. "Star Wars: The Arcade Game" allowed you to do just that. Of the many aspects of "Star Wars," this game decided to focus on the flying and piloting aspects, and was basically a first-person shooter in space, featuring the sights and sounds from the movie.
"Star Wars: Battlefront" series of games (multiple platforms)
It would take several years for a Star Wars video game to feel perfect, but "Battlefront" finally arrived and became one of the best immersive "just-like-the-movie" experiences ever brought to an interactive game. The game puts you into several campaigns lifted and inspired by the movies, in sprawling battles in the air, in space, on land and at sea. he first few "Battlefront" games released offered amazing multi-player modes, especially offline multi-player modes (you know, it required you to actually play video games with your family or friends in the same room). Several other movie universes have tried copying the style of gameplay that "Battlefront" offered, but it remains one of the coolest game series based on a movie.
"Ghostbusters: The Video Game" (multiple platforms)
Who you gonna call? Well, you might actually turn your phone off completely once you get addicted to the 2009 "Ghostbusters" game, a game that allows you to be an actual Ghostbuster. You join the team as "The Rookie" and you get to trap ghosts! The game maintains the snarky comic tone of the original movie, and offers some pretty cool cooperative multiplayer modes where you can join other Ghostbusters online to track down ghosts together. Sadly, the online server was shut down a few years back on the PS3 version, but this was the rare movie-based game that actually felt like there was special attention paid to its fanbase.
"Goldeneye: 007" (Nintendo 64)
The grandest adaptation of all is not even a question: "Goldeneye: 007" is by far the greatest and most popular game ever made, that was based on a movie. It's still considered one of the best first-person shooters of all-time, and featured a single-player campaign mode, as well as a split-screen multi-player "death match" mode. It was an important game in many respects, pioneering many of the elements that are now standard in the first-person shooter genre, and ushering in other successful games such as "Halo" and "Call of Duty." It's also the third-highest grossing Nintendo 64 game of all-time (behind "Super Mario 64" and "Mario Kart 64"). Pretty much every movie that launches a video game hopes and prays that it becomes "Goldeneye: 007," but only one film franchise has ever hit such a complete bulls-eye.
"Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor," "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic," and "Blade Runner."
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