Recently, I did a piece on why the new game, Jumper, based off the movie of the same name, will almost definitely blow the big Blimpie sandwich, and I’m probably right, it most likely will. The game, like most movie tie-in games, is being rushed to make sure it comes out around the same time as the movie, meaning we can expect glitches aplenty much like other cinema friendly crap like Enter the Matrix, and the biggest mistake in gaming history, E.T. for the 2600.
But not all movie-licensed games are horrific. In extremely rare cases, a movie tie-in game can actually, dare I say, be good. Below are a few of the games that actually made you want to continue the movie experience at home, and one game in particular that far surpassed the movie. Can we say video game sequel, anyone?
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Okay, so T2: Judgment Day the game was basically just Operation Wolf with robots, big freaking deal, right? Right! As the awesome gameplay really expanded on the horrors of living in a robot apocalypse in a first person perspective, which is the only perspective that could really sell it in the video game world at the time.
Two players, or just one wielding dual machine guns like I used to do back in the day, would blast robots from Skynet back to robot hell in this really dark, really dim forecast of the future. And the game was only enhanced, not brought down, by the characters from the movie making live, digitized appearances in the game, Mortal Kombat style. You really couldn’t find a better compliment to the already outrageous movie that totally revolutionized what SFX could do to cinema if used creatively in just the right hands.
Bad moments in Arnold’s gaming career: True Lies, The Last Action Hero, and, oh dear God, Total Recall, the game where midgets in pink jumpsuits reign supreme.
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Playstation 2, 2003
I think hack and slashers totally suck, every last one of ‘em. Except, that is, for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which is an exception to the “I slash, you die” genre made popular by the overrated Diablo. But while Diablo is more of what many would call a dungeon crawl, which is probably why I never really liked it, Return of the King is actually closer to a game like Dynasty Warriors, but still never really manages to fall into the cycle of being as boring or as repetitive as that series, which is no small feat.
You take on the roles of the primary characters from the book and film: Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Sam, Gandalf, and even Frodo once you finally beat the game. The main thing that makes it special is how wide ranged your attacks are. Instead of just hitting triangle over and over again to unleash nasty and, ultimately boring, combos, you instead have a unique combo system that isn’t really all that far from God of War if you think about it. It also featured a pretty interesting quest that added more to the movie than vice versa. A great game that was sadly overlooked by the masses.
Lame moments in LOTR history: The Lord of the Rings: Vol. 1 for Super Nintendo. Yech.
Die Hard Trilogy
Sega Saturn, 1996
Die Hard Trilogy much like the movie trilogy itself, is a very diverse experience with all three (yes, count ‘em, three!) of its games presented to you in one adorably sweet package. The first Die Hard represented in the game is very average as you take on John McClane in a third person romp that’s actually pretty boring when compared to the rest of the game.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder arguably the weakest of the films, is actually the best game in the package, working as an awesome on rails shooter where you take on terrorists with a light gun or the controller. And Die Hard 3: Die Hard With a Vengeance has you piloting a taxi around the city, rushing to diffuse bombs. It’s kind of like Crazy Taxi without the passengers. You want a really great compilation game? Then you’ll have a harder time finding one better than Die Hard Trilogy. It’s like The Orange Box of the 1990s!
Not bad, but not great moment for Die Hard: Die Hard Arcade. You could really do a lot worse than pressing the punch button at the right moment to initiate a slow mo sequence in the hallway.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay
Let’s be honest here. The Chronicles of Riddick sucked. Hard. Its storyline paled in comparison to the mystique of the first movie, Pitch Black and it seemed like a reckless venture into sci-fi territory that no one really cared to enter.
That said, Escape From Butcher Bay was, and still is, an excellent game. And I, for one, am actually a virulent hater of anything first person shooter like. The game acts as sort of a prequel to the movie and expands upon the story. But what really makes the game shine is how creepy and cerebral it is. I loved creeping up out of the darkness to deliver a fierce melee attack to an unsuspecting victim who didn’t see me coming. It made for very, Sam Fischer-esque moments that really expanded on the character’s lack of emotions and love of the darkness much more than I felt the movie ever did. And that’s what I want out of my movie-game tie-ins—an idea of how deep we can get into the character’s psychology by controlling them. Isn’t that what playing video games is all about in the long run, anyway? Bar none, The Chronicles of Riddick is one of my favorite games ever.
Lame Vin Diesel like Tie-in moment: The Fast and the Furious Arcade game. Pass. This game wasn’t quite rolling on diesel fuel, if you catch my drift…My Tokyo Drift! Ohhh! (I’ll stop now).