Games of films definitely used to be a thing, I haven’t imagined this.
It doesn’t seem like there’s as much of a need in the industry to release a tie-in game for every big movie that hits the cinemas these days. I’d love to pretend this is due to a higher standard in gaming and less focus on making money at the expense of quality, but I love you too much to lie to you like that.
Spider-Man for PS4 is not technically a movie-licence game, appearing to be based on the comics rather than needing to rely on Tom Holland’s excellent turns in the Avengers cinematic universe. Is the movie licence deader than MCU’s Spider-Man, or is it ready for a revival, also probably like the MCU’s Spider-Man? Either way, lets reminisce with some of the better and worse attempts.
Die Hard Trilogy
Ignore every personality test you’ve ever seen. Do you want to know how to gauge everything about a complete stranger? Then ask them what part of the Die Hard Trilogy game was their favourite episode.
The first part is a no messing third person shooter, fairly sparse looking now but wonderful in it’s simplicity as you herd civilians out of a skyscraper, who remain remarkably calm despite being given shouted orders by a sweaty man in a vest with a machine gun.
How about episode two, Die Harder? Perhaps a vain attempt to stop the G-Con 45 gathering dust, this was nevertheless a capable light gun shooter as you blast your way through Dulles International, presumably because you’ve just found out how much a Burger King meal costs at an airport.
And finally, it’s time for the driving bit. Not only was this a super chance to terrorise pedestrians before GTA (or before the good GTAs, anyway), but you could also call ambulances and then tail them as they haphazardly bash traffic out of the way, probably causing more injuries than they’ll ever fix.
Truly something for everyone, unless you don’t like Die Hard or video games, in which case you’ve got bigger things to worry about.
10/10: Yipee ki-yay, Mother Hubbard
Star Wars: Battlefront
The first reboot of Battlefront was sort of a good game but also sort of half a game. I mean, there’s no denying that what is there is wonderful; in terms of reproducing the feel of everyone’s favourite overrated movie franchise *runs and hides* it’s exactly what you need. Throw in aerial dogfights over the battlefield, fleeting but hard-earned appearances from iconic characters and faithful reproductions of Lucas’ universe and you’re laughing. Since release, however, EA have admitted the release was rushed out to coincide with the release of Episode 7 at the cost of a single player mode. And they say the Empire are the evil ones. Luckily, EA took all this on board and really nailed it with the sequel and…. Oh. They did what? Oh. Oh dear.
5/10: half a score for half a game, maybe if you buy a loot box it’ll have a higher score in it
The Lion King
Sort of like Toy Story, The Lion King movie licence drew its strength from its variety. Not only that, but you essentially got to use three different characters as you saw Simba grow from golden fighty kitten to roaring Matthew Broderick. Features renditions of the Elton John/Tim Rice collaborations that brought the film to life and the infamous Stampede level, which is basically separation anxiety distilled into a MegaDrive.
9/10: Circle of Strife
Charming yet impossibly hard, like Jason Statham. Also an interesting remnant of the days when games would be completely different on competing consoles; step forward Jurassic Park, a side-scrolling shooter on the Mega Drive and an isometric RPG on the SNES. Imagine if they did that today; people can’t cope if a game has slightly better shading on one console than another, let alone if it’s an entirely different experience. Anyway, yeah. Aladdin was good.
8/10: very good but not Jurassic Park
The best Spider-Man game, for now. It’s odd that none of the games following this did as good a job as perfecting the web swinging movement of Spidey. Admittedly, the webs didn’t actually attach to anything substantial but just shot up to the sky, but still. The combat also stepped things up a notch, with a great combination of tight melee moves, web firing and incorporation of the Spidey sense into counters. Sadly missing Chad Kroeger’s power ballad and the rest of the emo-heavy soundtrack, for anyone who forgot that Peter Parker’s alter ego is solely responsible for superheroes having feelings now.
9/10: needs more emo bangers though
Every Lego Game
Look, I know these are popular with most people but sit back and think about it. These games are getting lazy now. I mean sure, they’re quite charming and funny, but how action-based can a game be when you’re controlling characters that only have 4 moving parts? Not to mention that every game is pretty much the same with different character skins. If Lego’s fuel for your imagination just buy the cheapest Lego title you can find and pretend it’s literally any of the others.
2×4/10; Cute but forgettable
The most salvageable thing from the Brosnan-era besides that film when he had an invisible car but was still using a flip-phone. Again, another popular title that passed me by somewhat. I mean it’s basically fine, but it’s hardly groundbreaking. The choice of characters may have been nice, but dull environments and clunky multiplayer meant this always felt some distance off a classic title. Either way, everyone else seems to reach climax over it so what do I know?
(00)7/10: Movie-licenced to thrill
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Playstation)
Technically the second appearance for a JP game on this list but look; I just really like dinosaurs. Notable for the sole reason it let you control a T-Rex in the later levels. I couldn’t even tell you about the rest of the game, I just used a cheat to get to the Tyrannosaur bit.
10/10 for dinosaurs
Widely acknowledged to be the worst video game ever, this sold so badly most of the manufactured cassettes ended up propping up several tonnes of sand as landfill. In doing so it probably provided homes for lots of things like sand ants and sand worms, so was still marginally more useful than No Man’s Sky’s original release.
3/10: Extra Terrible
So there you go, even though the games industry is now more profitable than films because streaming games illegally is hard as fuck and also because Michael Bay has nothing to do with it, it still can’t convert enough products of Hollywood into decent titles to fill out a whole list. Die Hard wins. Viva la vest.