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7 Worst Video Games Based on Movies


When a new movie is a big hit at the box office, game studios everywhere can’t wait to cash in on it by giving fans control of the main characters in an accompanying videogame. Sometimes the result can be great, like multiplayer classic GoldenEye 007 for the N64, or the platforming perfection of Disney’s Aladdin on the Sega Genesis.
For this list, we’re looking at the worst games ever made, based on movies.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

In the year 2000, Ang Lee’s seminal wuxia-revival movie was released (itself an adaptation of the fourth novel in the Crane Iron Pentalogy by Wang Dulu) and become an undeniable classic. Known for its powerful yet graceful martial arts choreography broken up by its mixture of dark, somber and romantic moments, the movie is every bit as thrilling as it is beautiful. You would think the combination of cinematic beauty and action-packed fights and chases would translate well onto the Playstation 2 as some kind of stealth/action adventure akin to Prince of Persia or Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven, perhaps even expanding on some of the backstories and off-screen adventures of the characters in the movie. What we got instead is a very moderately paced beat ‘em up game, which offers some intricacy in sword, punch and kick combos, and a decent evasion system for one-on-one fighting, but no real excitement when it comes to multiple-enemy combat, which is what the game forces you to do.
The interaction with scenery is limited and flimsy, despite roof-running’s prevalence in the movie, and the constantly changing camera angles don’t exactly help you to sail gracefully from building to building. Had the levels been designed in a way that makes the platforming elements fun and engaging, the game overall would feel like less of a chore. Overall, this is a perfect example of a game attempting to capture every single element of its source material, and failing to really hone any single one to make it worth playing.

Universal Soldier

80s sci-fi action movies were often turned into video games, as the home computer market was booming, and game developers were quick to snatch up movie titles to sell their game. And that’s about all there is to it in the case of Universal Soldier for the Genesis. The name and box art, which featured a rendition of the movie’s poster, are the amongst the few elements actually based on the film. This is mostly because the game was a rebrand of the work-in-progress sequel to Turrican, Turrican II, with some generic war-related sprites and scenery substituted in when the developers attained the rights to create a video game spin-off of the movie. By all accounts, the game is actually pretty good, but the laziness and lack of imagination involved in creating this quick cash-in is just inexcusable.

Fight Club
We all know the first rule of fight club. Chuck Palahniuk is a fantastic writer and those lines are ingrained in all of our brains, and David Fincher’s film adaptation compliments the novel’s complexity with his gritty, surreal, insanely detailed style, which completes the grimy Fight Club aesthetic we know and love today.
There is a story mode, featuring an original character who seeks out Tyler Durden by winning fights and earning promotions in Project Mayhem. It features scenes based on the film, in lazy slide-show style cut scenes with voice-over narration. Winning Story mode also unlocks Fred Durst as a playable character - the lead singer from Limp Bizkit – in an utterly bizarre display of total disregard for the source material.
The game takes on the familiar format of fighting games like Tekken and Mortal Kombat, which strips out every level of complex social and political satire that made the film actually great, failing to realize that neither the book or film are really just about fighting. They could have made a home-furnishing game based on the Ikea apartment tour sequence, call it Fight Club, and it would probably cover more of the film’s meaning than the poor excuse for a blood bath the Fight Club turned out to be.
It goes without saying: do NOT make a game about Fight Club!

Star Wars (1987 Famicom)

Remember the part in the movie where Darth Vader turns into a giant scorpion? Well that’s ok, because the developers of the 1987 Famicom game Star Wars do. Enough said? NO!
This adaptation is one of the most baffling on the list, being a completely original game (not a reskin or rebrand), with its own mechanics and its own ideas about the Star Wars universe and story of Luke. It’s also extremely difficult and relies on a lot of patience and grinding to get through each level unscathed, whilst offering only three lives to support your frail OHKO Luke Skywalker. It was only released in Japan though, so perhaps some of the subtleties of this adaptation have been somewhat lost in translation? We doubt it.

Back to the Future Part II (ZX Spectrum)

The Commodore 64 and Sega Master System versions of Back to the Future Part II were at least decent, but the ZX Spectrum version maybe should never have happened. The sticky controls make the hover boarding sequences a chore, and to jump requires the player to hold down two buttons at once, which isn’t slightly helpful.
The overcrowded, monochrome graphics offer no depth perception to help you judge your isometric movements, and are occasionally migraine inducing. What’s worse, is that this version was ported directly to the Amstrad PC. If you can pick up the Commodore 64 or Master System version instead, do.

Total Recall

Featuring 2D platformer style gameplay and some top-down racing; Ocean Software’s videogame adaptation of Total Recall was released for 8-bit home computers Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC, as well as 16-bit home computers Amiga and Atari ST.

The Amiga version of the game starts with an advert for the movie, soon to be released on VHS at the time of the game’s release, plus some almost unreadable on-screen text to give the backstory and setting.

The gameplay itself is not good. The hit detection is poor. The damage and healing is inconsistent. The mutants which played a key role in the film’s aesthetic seem to be replaced with cats and men with hats and boomerangs, and the plot of the game only loosely alludes to the movie from which it gets its title and copyrighted characters. The research and writing of the game is so lazy that when you die, you’re treated to a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s face captioned ‘I’ll be back!’, which isn’t even the right movie.


Every Harry Potter Game Ever

It started with the mundane, repetitive, glitch-ridden puzzle-solver Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by EA, for PC, in 2001. The follow up to this atrocity was released in 2002 to coincide with the release of the Chamber of Secrets movie.
There were plenty of improvements in the quality for the releases on home consoles like Game Cube, as Harry is controlled similarly to Link in the N64 Zelda titles, but is still much more clunky and less reliable, making some platform segments frustrating – not good for a game that forces you to platform.
On the PC release of Prisoner of Azkaban, a new mechanic for learning spells was introduced that made the early stages of the game frustratingly challenging, as you must press the correct arrow key at the exact right moment, and is generally unforgiving – quite an off-putting way to start the game.
The open-world Hogwarts was a great feature that allows players to explore the exciting, imaginative world of Hogwarts, and was probably the most promising thing about this early handful of games. However, despite praise for this specific feature, all that potential was thrown away when the Goblet of Fire was released featuring traditional level-to-level progress. The scenery is good, although almost all of the game takes place outside of the school itself, and the constant forward-motion combined with the enforced camera angles doesn’t allow the player to appreciate the improved graphics and more wholesome art style.
This installment was set to be one of the most action packed, given that the book and movie both center very much around the Triwizard Tournament, however the coverage of the tournament in-game is surprisingly lightweight.
Deciding to go back to the open-world setup, Order of the Phoenix is reminiscent of Rockstar’s Bully¸ but much more family friendly. However, the key feature of open-world games that make them engaging and fun is definitely the side-missions, and the certain amount of freedom the player has to feel like they are shaping their environment through their actions. This game has only a handful of out-of-mission activities, like a few spell-castings in order to fix various broken objects around the school. The map is also so vast, and the game forces you to jog so slowly to every destination, which is often on the other side of the map, that the result feels like a linear game with a terrible case of back-tracking. When you get to your location after ten minutes of leisurely jogging, there may only be an item to collect or a cut scene to witness, and nothing more. What a waste!
Deathly Hallows Part 1 features the least intuitive control and camera system of all the games, which seem to be going for an over-the-shoulder shooter style, like Gears of War and Grand Theft Auto, except completely uncomplimentary to the gameplay. Enemies constantly appear at your flanks throughout the game, and yet the close up, over-the-shoulder camera completely obscures your view. For a combat based game, the selection of spells is unbearably slow, and the spell-flinging itself is one dimensional.  Part 2 remedies some of these flaws, giving the player access to one spell per button, but retains most of the flaws of Part 1.
It's 2016! Why isn’t there a Harry Potter MMORPG yet?

Are films based on video games better?

Traditionally, these have also been bad. The best of video game movies is general considered to be Mortal Kombat collection of film adaptations, which is overall quite bad but somewhat fun to make up for it. At least it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
But with game themselves becoming more and more cinematic in scale, story, and visual appeal, is there potential for some decent video game movies based on more recent games?
Some games in the past have been criticised for being so cut scene heavy that they should have just been movies in the first place. Then there’s Hellraiser director Clive Baker’s video game debut Undying, and the follow-up Jericho, which contain some great horror movie visuals, wasted on mediocre games. Seeing some of these ideas manifest in movies would surely turn out great, as they came from the mind of a horror master.
The Warcraft movie set to be released June 2016, and based on the trailer and history of its director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code), it could actually turn out to be a good political war story, filled with tension between humans and orcs in the Warcraft universe.
On top of this, the new cut scenes from Destiny: The Taken King are more than reminiscent of the opening of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - maybe Destiny has the potential to become the next great video game movie? All things considered, a safer bet would be to focus on the next Destiny update.
So where do we go from here? Is it time to end all attempts at movie based video games, and vice versa, to focus our efforts on making both great games and great movies? Or is a bit of cashing-in acceptable, for the sake of dollars and a bit of fan service?
If we’ve missed some terrible games from our list, and you’re still mad about them, add them in the comments!

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The Movie Bit: 7 Worst Video Games Based on Movies
7 Worst Video Games Based on Movies
The Movie Bit
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