Not every video game that ties into a blockbuster movie has to be crap, destined to fill the bargain bins of your local electronics store. There are a surprising number of quality titles based on movies that belie the rather common conception of movie video games as fodder for kids and bargain hunters alike.
As we wait for Jurassic World to end up on the silver screen (with an appropriately awful tie-in video game likely to surface), here’s a list of the good ones: ten of the best film-based video game spin offs from the last couple of decades.
This delightfully colorful video game had kids throwing apples and leaping across dangerous bazaar stalls to re-enact some of the crazy scenes from the Disney animated movie of the same name. The title blended some Prince of Persia gameplay with the easy-on-the-eyes color palette of the Disney hit to create a very playable video game experience.
Spider-Man 2 (2004 - Playstation 2, Xbox, GameCube)
Here's one of the only video game adaptations of Marvel’s web-slinger that actually captures the true joy of swinging from rooftop to rooftop in New York. Sure, the side missions are a bit repetitive, and it took some grinding to get to new story chapters, but this Activision title is worth seeking out just for the city roaming alone.
This game was less tie-in and more franchise-based, but it surely brought the braininess of the original story — full of political and social intrigue — to the forefront, rather than sticking with David Lynch’s weird adaptation for the silver screen. You get to build the army of one of the three houses from Herbert’s sci-fi epic, and then command and conquer the rest of desert planet Arrakis.
Perhaps the only Bond game worth noting, GoldenEye holds a special place in every gamer's heart from the era. While the graphics are dated beyond belief at this point, GoldenEye might be that one game that introduced everyone to the idea of multiplayer death matches in style.
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (2005 - PlayStation 2, Xbox 360)
Strangely compelling, this pixel-based spin-off from the celluloid film of the same name had bargain-bin written all over it. Until you played the game and realized that it was a challenging, well-conceived romp through the jungles where a giant ape can fight a big old T-Rex. Hats off to Ubisoft for making something good out of something that could have been absolutely awful and still have sold some copies.
Sure, this is mainly a kids’ game, but being able to beat up other martial arts animals while controlling a giant panda is one of the great joys in life. The animation is fantastic, as should any video game based on a Dreamworks animated feature, and the difficulty curve ramps up nicely as you progress through the game. It’s a fantastic time with younger nieces or nephews who really shouldn’t watch you own noobs in Call of Duty.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007 - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Also available on Mac and Windows, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga launched an entire series of games that took the concept of toy bricks re-enacting entire genre movies to a whole new level. You'll thrill and laugh as you guide all your favorite Star Wars characters from all six films through their respective storylines, with a large does of humor thrown in for good measure.
Just because it's a kids game doesn't make Virgin Interactive's The Lion King any less compelling, especially when it came out in the early ‘90s. You’ll get to leap, run, dash, roar, and attack Simba’s enemies at each stage of this fun game on the Sega Genesis or Super NES. This one came out at the height of the 16-bit revolution and just hows off the fun to be had with a simple side-scroller themed with the hit movie’s lions.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004 - Xbox, Windows)
I have to be honest: the movie this game is based on is one of the two films I've ever walked out on in my life. I just hated it when I saw it in the theater. Imagine my surprise, then, when the reviews of the game came out that said what a masterpiece it was. Vivendi Games somehow created a stealth-based video game (with Vin Diesel's help, we hear) that transcended its own source material. Hooray!
While Disney's movie Tron doesn't quite hold up these days, what with its rudimentary green screen and awkwardly tight LED unitards, the video game still holds a special charm for those of us who remember how cool it was to launch our light bikes across the master computer grid while feeding quarter after quarter into the hungry machines at the local arcade. It's like the movie was made to be a video game, or something.
Chris Pratt seems concerned. Photo: Universal Studios
The fourth movie in the Jurassic Park series is slated to terrorize movie screens a full year from now. In order to drum up some excitement for Jurassic World, then, Universal has created this tiny trailer to advertise yet another trailer for the upcoming blockbuster.
The new trailer for a trailer shows very little, with some dinosaurs, a bubble car, an inquisitive Bryce Dallas Howard, and megastar Chris Pratt looking determined. Check it out.
Universal has a lock on monster films, but will the new action-adventure ones be as “classic” as the originals? Photo: Universal Studios
Now that Universal Studios has decided to go the Marvel route and create its own cinematic universe built around its classic monsters like Frankenstein and The Wolf Man, we thought it might be a good time to reach back into the archives and re-watch the originals.
As the new Universal monster movies will likely be more action-adventure-oriented, it’s good to look back to see what made the original features so great, and which of the old oeuvre were just stinky cash-grabs meant to pad the studio’s bottom line.
With that, let’s get into the best and worst of the genre.
“Who got you into comics? Was it your mom, you sister? ” Photo: Buzzfeed
“So, what do you cosplay as?” asks this geek girl in the comic book shop. “Slutty Hawkeye? Slutty Thor? Slutty Iron Man?”
The video below is one of those “funny because it’s true” situations, as many women who love superheroes and comics hear the same kinds of questions and face the same sort of dismissive candor from geeky men who can’t seem to realize that everyone loves comics and superhero movies.
Check it out and see how annoying it would be to face this kind of discrimination.
All the Apple news and views we can fit, right here. Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Another week, another full docket of great stories at Cult of Mac, so we’ve put together yet another special Newsstand issue just for you, with all of the best news stories and features compiled in one place to easily read on your iPad or iPhone. This week we’ve got some great stuff: Jony Ive’s design secrets, some sexy slim cases for your iPhone 6, quick tips for OS X Yosemite, the best Black Friday deals (so far), and a hot tutorial on making GIFS on your Mac. All that and more, like we do, in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine.
Simply beautiful. Photo: Andrew Walker/599 Productions
Not all of us have the chance to head to Europe, what with the cost of airfare these days.
Luckily, we’ve got the Internet, and amazing videos like this one from filmmaker Andrew Walker at 599 Productions. He filmed the various time-lapse images while exploring Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic last September using a Canon 5D Mark III and several Canon and Ziess lenses.
Check it out, and be sure to strap on a pair of high-end cans or route the audio through your huge Bluetooth speaker to hear the epic soundtrack.
If you got one of those amazing new iMacs with the crazy 5K pixel resolution, you’d be crazy not to watch this stunning animation of the sun by YouTuber James Tyrwhitt-Drake. You can gaze at the star at the heart of our solar system for a full eight minutes, using YouTube’s new 4K resolution setting and that killer new Mac.
This timelapse covers about 16 days of solar activity, focusing on the largest sunspot in the last 22 years (about two solar cycles), which is cleverly named AR 2192.
That lazy eye is always such a bother. Photo: Olivia Muus/Museum of Selfies
We’ve all taken our fair share of selfies, those ego-stroking quick snapshots of ourselves and others engaged in the most fun moments of our lives, right?
What would it be like, though, if various figures from historical times, like, say, the Renaissance, had camera phones? Would they take photos of themselves?
Olivia Muus at the Museum of Selfies Tumblr blog thinks they might, and set out to prove it with her series of portraits as above.
“This is a project that started when my friend (aka. my right hand) and I went to the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen,” she writes on the blog page. “I took a picture for fun and liked how this simple thing could change their character and give their facial expression a whole new meaning.”
Apparently it caught on, because in addition to her original four photos, more and more folks are contributing their own “museum selfies” to the blog. Check out more of these fascinating portraits below.
Sometimes all a penguin needs is love, says the new Christmas ad from British department store John Lewis.
There’s a young boy with a real penguin. The penguin, named Monty, loves playing with the boy: swimming, sledding, building with Legos. but there’s one thing the boy cannot provide for poor Monty, and that’s a life mate.
Watch the full ad below and be sure to stick around for a delightful Calvin & Hobbesian moment at the end.