Tuesday’s Top Ten: Movie Tie-In Games

Time for another installment of Tuesday’s Top Ten.  Each week we’ll go through a list of the top ten something-or-others relating to video games.  This week, we’ll look at the top ten licensed video games based on movies.  There have been a good amount, with some better than others.  Let’s get it started, shall we?

10. The Fast and the Furious
Released first as an arcade game and later brought to consoles, it was a racer tie-in to the film franchise.  The arcade version was an odd clone of Cruisin’ U.S.A., though with the “ability” to do tricks by spinning the wheel and mashing the pedals in certain ways that were, to anyone who’d played an arcade racer before, rather counter-intuitive.  Still, it was a fun enough game for the time.  It wasn’t Cruisin’, but it was fine enough.

09. Transformers: The Game
Though it wasn’t really received very well, it found some fans.  The plot was based on the film, more or less.  As far the game itself—well.

It appealed to two types of gamers: The die-hard Transformers fan, and the fan who can enjoy well-made models (and the models for the robots were visually wonderful) while causing destruction for its own sake.  For casual gamers that wasn’t the worst thing in the world.  You could transform into a giant robot and smash things, or transform into a vehicle and ram through other vehicles.  Simplistic, but fun enough.

08. The Rocketeer
There were two versions made, one for the N.E.S. and one for the S.N.E.S.  They were mostly similar, though the level designs were a bit different.  Being the age it was when the games came out, either version was incredibly difficult—to say the least.  But they were a fun tie-in to a fun movie, and none of them really got the recognition they deserved.

07. The Matrix: Path of Neo
The Matrix: Path of Neo followed up Enter the Matrix, where you played as Neo.  One interesting part is where it diverged from the story of the films.  For starters, in the beginning of the film, Neo is captured by the Agents.  In the game, you can actually evade them.

There were many possible diversions, the last is the very end of the game.  You battle against this giant—mega-Smith-thing.  It’s somewhat difficult to explain succinctly, but that section was also preceded by a short commentary by the Wachowskis, explaining why they changed it and what it “meant”, and so on.  It wasn’t a great game, but it wasn’t a terrible game.  Thinking on the Matrix films…

06. Enter the Matrix
Enter the Matrix was an odd game in its production.  It was written and footage (both for cut-scenes and for motion-capture) was filmed while filming the latter two films, which was nearly, if not, unprecedented.  It certainly helped retain a similar “feel”, which worked well to combat the negative opinions of the gamers: Low-resolution models, stiff animation, glitches, and more.

Still, it had a “hacking” mini-game of sorts, and you could unlock a one-on-one fight scenario so you and your friends could go against each other.  Like the movies, it offered a lot of “odd-but-cool” elements.

05. Spider-Man: The Movie
The game garnered pretty decent reviews, and for good reason.  On the one hand, it stuck to the tried-and-true model of three-dimensional Spider-Man games before it, where Spidey shoots his webs straight up and moves about similar to a languid airplane, and sticking to walls and such was automatic instead of intentional with a button-push as with later games.

On the other hand, it had Bruce Campbell lend his voice to the tutorial, and there was an interesting “B side” plot if you unlocked Harry to play as.  It wasn’t just Harry doing Spidey’s missions—he actually had his own plot, with him suiting up in a Goblin outfit complete with a glider.  Most of the missions did mirror Spidey’s, but with different reasoning behind them.  Combined with the cheats to unlock other skins to play through Spidey’s missions (playing as Mary Jane while trying to save Mary Jane was—interesting), and a mini-game or two, it offered a lot of different ways to play, making it a game to return to and just enjoy.

04. Jurassic Park
Specifically, the Genesis version.  It offered something that was rather surprising for the time—you could play not only as Doctor Grant, but as a velociraptor.  The missions—and even the levels themselves—differed dramatically based on which way you went.  Interestingly, since it was also based on an earlier version of the script, the end of Grant’s story saw him taking on two ‘raptors (it was a very late script-change that had the T-Rex come back at the end of the film) in the main hall.

It was exceedingly fun to play as the ‘raptor—so fun, they basically made the same game again but with a few tweaks and completely different levels.  And it sold rather well—for a reason.  It was a solid concept—hand kids the reins to the terrifying-yet-awesome machine of death they saw in the film.

03. The Godfather: The Game
This was one of those games that had to have been a risk—the movie it’s (loosely) based on is almost forty years old, and it’s not exactly known for being a movie well-beloved by the usual target demographic of video games.  But—it worked.  And worked well.

It retooled the plot a little to make the game’s protagonist fit, gave you a large world to run around with and the freedom to do whatever you want.  The game’s plot was simply fantastic, and told well enough to where you didn’t need to even know the movie existed to enjoy it.

02. Spider-Man 2
If you’ve read my review, you’d know that I think it was a darn fine game.  It had glitches out the tuchus, but those were irrelevant to what the game offered—pure, undiluted fun.  The game followed the story of the second movie, but only “more or less”.  It added a sub-plot with the Black Cat, took out a lot of the whining, and added in arguably the best factor—the web-swinging.  It was just fun to swing around that huge city.  That outshone every other aspect of the game, good or bad.

01. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Number one with a bullet—the bullet most gamers of that era would have loved to put into the heads of the people responsible—E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is number one on this list for one reason: It was one of the driving forces behind the infamous video game crash of ‘Eighty-Three.  It wasn’t the sole factor, nor did the crash really happen outside of the United States, but wow, was it a doozy.  The crash was also one of the factors that led to game designers getting more rights and recognition for their work.

It’s also number one on this list because it’s one of the few that really stuck in the mind of gamers—it was so frankly horrid that gamers to this day recall it, and not exactly with fondness.  No other game—whether a tie-in like this or otherwise—has engendered such unfettered anger in gamers since, which is probably a good thing.


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