5 video game movie adaptations we love, and 5 we’d love to forget

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When movies become video games...

Thanks to larger budgets, improved graphics, and more pop-culture respectability, video games are catching up with movies in the blockbuster stakes. However, while we’re closer than ever to the merger of cinema and video games, movie tie-ins can often leave a bad taste in your mouth.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the arrival of some truly superb new titles based on classic movies, we thought it was high time that we scraped through our gaming archives to find the games of the movies which truly did justice to their big screen counterparts.

With that in mind, trawl through our gallery to see the best movie video game adaptations of all time… and the worst.

Photo: LucasArts

The best: Alien Isolation

Any gamers who prefer Ridley Scott’s 1979 original movie over James Cameron’s action-packed sequel have, at some point, likely thought about how great a survival horror game based on the Alien franchise would be. Alien Isolation is that game. Right down to the authentic sound cues and retro-future look, it captures everything that made the original Alien so terrifying.

Forget hordes of aliens running blindly into your path as with the awful Aliens: Colonial Marines. Here, it’s just one alien, a handful of survivors, and some very big scares. Superb!

Photo: Sega

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The only arcade game on the list (although it was later ported to home consoles), this title was a childhood favorite of mine.

A gun-based game, it managed a spectacular job of compressing the movie’s best set pieces into a frantic shoot-‘em-up. The graphics may, unsurprisingly, have aged over 20 years, but Terminator 2: Judgment Day still impresses in this capacity — largely due to the scanned sprites used. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Patrick, and Eddie Furlong all reprised their roles for title, which adds an extra bit of authenticity. This remains the best Terminator game of all time.

Photo: Midway

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Set two years after Ghostbusters II, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was described as franchise creator Dan Aykroyd as “essentially the third movie.” He’s not lying either. In addition to using ideas originally designed for the never-made third film, Ghostbusters: The Video Game features a cast reunion including Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson — along with supporting characters like Max von Sydow as Vigo the Carpathian.

The gameplay is pretty outstanding too, with the ghost-trapping feature really putting you in the shoes of everyone’s favorite ghost hunters.

Photo: Atari

Spider-Man 2

Not to be confused with the mediocre game that was The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the adaptation of Sam Raimi’s 2004 sequel was everything you could want in a Spider-Man title. Essentially acting as Grand Theft Spidey, the title gave gamers a fully-realized Manhattan to swing and run around — letting everyone's favorite Wall Crawler explore everything a fully realized NYC, down to the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park.

Frankly, it was a dazzling achievement for its time and remains impressive today: following the plot of the movie, but also opening up the world to be more than just a playable version of the scenes you’ve already watched on the big screen.

Photo: Activision

GoldenEye 007

Even in an age of far more advanced First Person Shooters, GoldenEye 007 remains one of my favorites of all time; not just a great movie adaptation, but an almost perfect video game in its own right.

Level designs are varied, controls are great, and the number of unlockables ups replayability considerably. Oh, and it’s got one of the most fun multiplayer modes ever. Xbox Live and PlayStation Network might have taken this idea and run with it, but there was something unmatchably amazing about packing your friends around the same TV for some splitscreen death match fun.

Photo: Rare

And the worst: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Yes, that snot-green pixel block is indeed supposed to be loveable alien E.T!

Like GoldenEye 007, E.T.’s appearance on this list was inevitable — albeit for very different reasons. While GoldenEye stands as a benchmark for everything video games based on movies can get right, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is an ode to all that can go wrong. Granted, it came out in 1982, when video games were still in their infancy, but that’s no excuse for something which feels this lazy, broken, and mindless.

Critics at the time hated it, and it’s now widely considered the worst video game ever made. To underline the point, Atari made way too many copies of the game, and wound up burying most of them in a New Mexico landfill site. True story.

Photo: Atari

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The Crow: City of Angels

City of Angels was a lame movie sequel to a flawless original, so it stands to reason that its video game adaptation would suck, too. However, it’s also the only official The Crow video game there’s ever been, so whether you’re a fan of the original James O’Barr comics or the Brandon Lee 1994 classic, you’re going to wind up playing this ungodly Sega Saturn, PlayStation and PC title from 1997 if you're dead set on playing a game version.

This is truly awful in every conceivable way — from the ugly color pallet to the repetitive bad guy sound bytes (“Hey clown face”), to the uninspired level design, shockingly bad action, and horrendous hit detection. The only thing that can be said vaguely in favor of this game is that its never-ending awfulness presumably does a good job of evoking the same horror that would accompany unwillingly being brought back from the dead.

Photo: Acclaim Entertainment

Starship Troopers

I’m a massive Paul Verhoeven fan, and couldn’t wait to pick up this video game adaptation of his underrated 1997 film Starship Troopers, back when it arrived on PC in 2005. Following in the wake of stunningly innovative FPS titles like HλLF-LIFE and Halo: Combat Evolved, could Starship Troopers give us a compelling action recreation of the movie’s epic bug hunts, while also incorporating some of the trademark Verhoeven satire?

In a word, no. All your fellow Troopers look the same, none of them can shoot properly, and they all repeat the same dialog over and over. On top of that, the graphics are ugly as sin, the weapons are weirdly balanced, and the title is the textbook example of dumb run-and-gun actioners. Which may be some kind of meta-joke, but I doubt it.

Photo: Empire Interactive

Pacific Rim

How do you go wrong with a game about giant robots fighting huge, undersea creatures? Try repetitive missions and clunky brawling that feels like you're playing Tekken in treacle while wearing oven gloves. The mech customization features are kind of cool, but they’re not enough to save a title that could have been epic amounts of fun, and fell far short.

Photo: Yuke’s

Kinect Star Wars

Missed opportunities are rife when it comes to video game adaptations of hit movies. Perhaps no more so, however, than Kinect Star Wars. Fans have been waiting for a motion control game that lets them handle a lightsaber since 1977, which is why this title was so endlessly frustrating. Rather than recreate the most memorable scenes from the movies, instead there’s a generic plot, featuring only a few of the best-known Star Wars characters — none voiced by their original actors.

Controls are inconsistent at best and downright awful at worst, and the whole thing just reeks of not giving a damn. Then, just when you think things are at their worst, you get the "Galactic Dance Off."

Because who needs a good lightsaber battle when you can have ridiculous dance-based mini games?

Photo: Photo: LucasArts

Celebrate Ghostbusters‘ 30th birthday with ghoulish Fruit Ninja update

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The messy way to make fruit salad. Photo: Columbia Pictures
The messy way to make fruit salad. Photo: Columbia Pictures

It’s not just the Macintosh which turned 30 this year. Another beloved franchise many of us were introduced to as kids, Ghostbusters, also ushers in its fourth decade with… an update to Halfbrick’s fructose-slicing iOS game Fruit Ninja?

That’s right, the game which we first reviewed all the way back in 2010 has received a ghostly update which enhances the already fun title with some neat new visual effects and a great haunted soundtrack.

Instead of a ninja blade, the update means your fruit chopping is now carried out using the Ghostbusters’ proton packs, while true to the movies there’s even the possibility of “crossing the beams” to create an explosion that will turn every melon, pineapple and orange into instant fruit salad.

9 sci-fi movie blockbusters begging for sequels

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To be continued...

Sometimes a movie's so good that you walk out of it begging to see the story picked up in a sequel. While Hollywood's sometimes guilty of churning out tired follow-ups that make us forget what we loved about the original film, that's certainly not a universal rule.

With that in mind, here's our list of the 9 sci-fi movie blockbusters we'd love to see sequels to. Scroll through our gallery to find out which flicks made the cut.

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Independence Day

There have been reports of a sequel to this 1996 aliens-invade-the-world blockbuster going back years. Roland Emmerich even has a cutesy name for it: ID4-EVER. But will we actually see it? Amidst plenty of conflicting reports it’s still looking like a toss-up, although it would be great fun were it to happen.

Taking place two decades after the original alien invasion, this sequel could be a fun bit of speculative sci-fi about how the world would react in the aftermath of interstellar beings arriving to blow us all up. The original’s special effects still stand up today, but there’s no doubt that 2014-era CGI could help take everything to the next level.

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Unbreakable

When people talk about M. Night Shyamalan’s precipitous decline after The Sixth Sense, they’re forgetting the greatness that was 2000’s Unbreakable, a real-world take on the superhero movie about an ordinary joe (played by Bruce Willis) who discovers he’s endowed with unparalleled strength and healing abilities.

The movie ends (SPOILER ALERT!) with Willis having a sense of where he fits into the universe, his apparent friend Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) having revealed his true colors, and the stage set for a colossal showdown. Trouble is, it never happened. But we’d love to see it if it did.

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures

Jumper

Telling the story of a young man capable of teleportation, 2008’s Jumper wasn’t blessed with the best critical reviews, although it nonetheless carved out a good chunk of profits at the box office. While the original, based on a 1992 sci-fi novel by Steven Gould, definitely had its fair share of problems, it was still an intriguing premise — and seemed to hint at a possible franchise we’ll apparently now never see.

20th Century Fox

Ghostbusters

The messy way to make fruit salad. Photo: Columbia Pictures

RoboCop

What’s this about a sequel for RoboCop? No, you’re not reading an article from 1989 — we’re referring to a follow-up to the much-better-than-everyone-thought-it-would-be 2014 reboot. Star Joel Kinnaman had a sequel option in his contract, and it’s one that I’d dearly love to see the studio take him up on. Which is something I never thought I’d say before watching the reboot. Let’s just hope they don’t descend into the kid-friendly buffoonery of the original series’ sequels.

Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Columbia Pictures

Hellboy

During a Reddit AMA event, Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro recently acknowledged that a Hellboy III is unlikely to happen on the basis that no studio wants to front him the cash to make it. While neither Hellboy nor Hellboy 2 set the box office on fire (no pun intended), they were still great adaptations of Mike Mignola’s cult comic book, and truly felt like they were aimed at fans. While there’s definitely a line of thought that says the not all-that-prolific del Toro shouldn’t be wasting his time with a sequel, it would still be awesome to see the Hellboy trilogy finished off in style.

“The [first] two movies were really set up to have this unbelievable resolve,” star Ron Perlman has said. "Everything that was done in both movies was leading up to this destiny, written in stone, of what Hellboy has been summoned to Earth to do. To not do it, particularly in light of the scope that Guillermo is thinking of for the resolve, would be in my mind a little bit of a shame.” Not just in your mind, Ron: a lot of us want to see the story brought to its satisfactory conclusion.

Photo: Columbia Pictures

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Mystery Men

Starring William H. Macy, Ben Stiller, and Hank Azaria as a group of less-than-impressive superheroes, 1999’s Mystery Men was sort of the anti-Avengers in style. With characters like Mr. Furious, The Shoveler and The Blue Raja, it was nonetheless a pitch-perfect send-up of the superhero genre — and that would be more relevant than ever here in 2014. In a world where no-name heroes like Guardians of the Galaxy can become box office smashes, it’s definitely time for a reunion of the heroes of Champion City.

Photo: Universal Pictures

Dredd

One of the best action flicks of 2012, Dredd sadly proved a flop at the box office, signalling the second time Judge Dredd has failed to make much of an impact on movie audiences. Who knows why, though, because this version of the futuristic lawman was every bit as grim and gritty as the successful comic it’s based on. With 40 years worth of stories to pick from, it would be great to see the Mega-City One universe expanded with a sequel or nine.

Photo: Lionsgate

Iron Giant

There was an ecologically-themed sequel to Ted Hughes’ original short story, The Iron Man called The Iron Woman, but as of yet it’s not been turned into a movie. 1999’s The Iron Giant was a colossal box office bomb but a critical darling. In the years since, it’s gone on to become a cult classic, while post-Pixar movie studios have gotten increasingly comfortable with the idea of smart family movies.

With director Brad Bird now being one of Pixar’s go-to directors, there’s a good chance he wouldn’t want to return to Warner Bros. to make a sequel to a film that was so badly mistreated the first time around, but we’d love to watch it if he did.

Photo: Warner Bros.

What the cluck? 15 weird mascots dying for a Subservient Chicken-style reboot

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This creepy, creepy chicken is getting ready to dance again.

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Long before Microsoft recruited Cortana to be its Siri clone, Clippy was bugging the living hell out of Windows users, earning it a nod as one of the worst software design blunders in the annals of computing. Reboot it: Make the new Clippy more like HAL 9000.

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If and when Ghostbusters 3 finally comes to theaters, there's only one monster we're dying to see again: the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Reboot it: We'd love to see what kind of damage his squishy muscles could inflict against the Pillsbury Doughboy.

mascot-Reddy Kilowatt

Starting in 1926, Reddy Kilowatt was the power industry's bright red ambassador, charged with wooing rural residents who hadn't yet embraced the wonders of electricity. Reboot it: Mad scientist Elon Musk supercharges Reddy to promote Tesla charging stations.

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To highlight its 30-minutes-or-less delivery skills, Domino’s Pizza created The Noid, a physical manifestation of everything that can go wrong in the race from oven to hungry customers’ doorsteps. The Noid reached deep into pop culture with appearances on shows like Family Guy. Reboot it: Hire actor Tom Hiddleston to give Noid 2.0 a mischievous edge.

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The Taco Bell Chihuahua yapped its way into our hearts between 1997 and 2000 with his Spanish catchphrase, "¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!" Gidget, the petite pooch that starred in the popular commercials, died of a stroke in 2009 at 15 years of age. Reboot it: Make the new Taco Bell hound a pit bull with a penchant for hot sauce.

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"Dude, you're getting a Dell" used to sound as cool as "OMG you're getting a Mac!" thanks to Ben Curtis (aka Slacker Steve), the character who advised prospective buyers about all the perks of owning a Dell. The ad campaign ran from 2000 to 2003 while Steve Jobs was still working on Apple's comeback Reboot it: Colorado cannabis companies could use Dell Dude 2.0 to pitch high-tech vapes.

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Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign slammed us with laughs at Microsoft's expense from 2006 to 2009. Starring Justin Long as the Mac and humorist John Hodgman as the PC, the ads became some of Apple's most popular. Reboot it: It's the commercial battle every fanboy wants: iOS versus Android, starring Tina Fey as iOS and Amy Poehler as Android.

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Taking office in 1971, Mayor McCheese ruled McDonaldland while wearing a top hat, a diplomat's sash and a pair of spectacles. The incompetent mayor managed his office as badly as Mayor Rob Ford, but didn't get the boot until 1985. Reboot it: Get Christopher Nolan to stamp a gritty new vision on the ads. (The Hamburglar will steal the show.)

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At the height of the dot-com boom, Pets.com's sock-puppet pooch reached cultlike status thanks to a series of silly, street interview-style commercials. Reboot it: You'll know the next tech bubble is about to burst once the sock comes back as BuzzFeed's newest tech reporter.

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The Department of Transportation made crash tests fun in the 1980s with a series of ads featuring the antics of talking crash dummies Vince and Larry. Their slapstick jokes, along with the slogan "You could learn a lot from a dummy," propped up a popular campaign to teach kids about the dangers of not buckling their seat belts. Reboot it: Capture Vince and Larry's high-speed encounters in 4K super slow-mo. (Quips can be normal speed.)

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After appearing in a Quiznos commercial, Web wonders the Spongmonkeys' caught fire in 2004, making the odd tarsiers with their human mouths and oversize eyes one of the Internet's most popular memes -- before memes were even a thing.Reboot it: Just bring them back. Now.

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Budweiser's beer-loving frogs -- Bud, Weis and Er -- jumped into a pool of fame with the brewer's 1995 Super Bowl commercial, which has been recognized as one of the top five of all time. Reboot it: Shoot actual frogs in high definition, with or without beer. People love that Animal Planet crap.

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The most minimalist mascot ever created, Cool Spot was birthed from the red spot in the 7 Up logo as an anthropomorphized dot with arms, legs, a mouth and sunglasses. His might look boring, but Cool Spot's adventures were anything but. Reboot it: 7 Up would be drenched in cash if it brought Cool Spot to the App Store as a new endless-runner game.

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From 1964 to 1985, bow-tied fussbudget Mr. Whipple charmed supermarket shoppers with his love for Charmin toilet paper. Reboot it: Make the enforcer of the "don't squeeze the Charmin" rule a robot. Grab a Cylon off the Battlestar Galactica scrap heap and call it done.

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Nipper became a mascot legend in 1899 when his owner copyrighted his painting of the dog listening to a phonograph. The painting inspired the dog and gramophone logo used by Victor and HMV records before RCA adopted it in 1977. Reboot it: EMI & RCA Records should tag-team on a streaming-music app called Nipper.

Nothing sells like a sequel.

A decade after Burger King choked out Subservient Chicken, the bizarre fast food mascot is poised for a comeback. The wacky dude in a chicken suit, who magically submitted to the Internet’s commands in one of the weirdest and most successful viral-marketing campaigns ever, will return with a clucking vengeance Wednesday with a short film “chronicling the rise and fall of internet celebrities,” according to Advertising Age.

In some ways, it’s perfect timing: Sequels and viral magic have become staples of marketing and pop culture. But can the burger chain recapture the glory of its 2004 campaign, which racked up more than a billion views with its camgirl-inspired creepiness? While we’re waiting to find out, here are 15 bizarre brand mascots that demand a reboot.

This Week’s Must-Have iOS Apps: Ghostbusters, Vine, Tonido & More [Roundup]

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Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 09.27.19

For the first time, we’re rolling our weekly must-have apps and games features into one to make them a little easier to digest. Kicking off this week’s roundup is an awesome new Ghostbusters game in which you’ll be freeing New York City from some creepy spooks and spirits. We also have a brand new video sharing app from Twitter called Vine, a great little app that’ll help you pack for your next trip, and more. Read on for this week’s best iOS releases.