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



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


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

8 Nintendo games we’d pay a premium to see on iOS



The 8 Nintendo games we'd love to see on iOS

As crazy as it may seem, this year marks Nintendo's 125th anniversary, from its origins as a playing card company back in September 1889, to its status as a gaming powerhouse today.

As much as we love Nintendo, however, it has been pretty reticent about embracing the world of mobile gaming; refusing to port any of its core titles to iOS and forcing the takedown of emulators that have tried to provide this (slightly illegal) service. True gamers that we are, though, we hold out hope that one day Nintendo may see the light. With that in mind, here's our list of the 8 Nintendo titles we'd love to see on our iPhone screens.

Scroll through our gallery to see which ones made the cut.


Okay, so this month saw the announcement that the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is coming to iPad, but the Pokémon game players really want to see on iOS is the classic series of RPGs that made the Game Boy a must-have console.

While the first-generation games were all well and good (and by “well and good” I mean that I personally pumped hours into each one) it was with the follow-up trifecta of Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal where the series really took off. For the first time, day and night cycles were incorporated in a meaningful way, with certain Pokémon discoverable only at specific times.

There was also a Friendship/Happiness system, which meant that Pokémon became increasingly devoted to specific trainers. Throw this game into the App Store, and we’ll be clued to our iPhones pretty much non-stop.

(Picture: Nintendo/Samit Sarkar)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda series started all the way back in 1987, but it took another 11 years -- when the franchise appeared on the N64 in 1998 -- for it to really hit its peak. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time sold 7.6 million copies in all, and is arguably the best game that appeared on Nintendo’s 64-bit console. Tantalizingly, the game has already received a touch screen mobile port — in the form of 2011’s 3DS update, which also added better graphics. Still, to date there has been no sign of Zelda on iOS.

But look on the bright side: Zelda-hungry fans can at least download the mobile exclusive Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, which takes the Zelda formula as far as it can go without the official Nintendo seal of approval. Check it out if you haven’t already.

WWF No Mercy

What can I say? I’m a wrestling fan, and despite having well over a decade to catch up, the WWE 2K franchise (formerly the Smackdown series) has never been able to match the brilliance that was AKI’s wrestling games.

Of these, 2000’s WWF No Mercy was arguably the greatest: adding ladder matches, an enormous roster, and a surprisingly fun story mode to what was already a near-perfect game engine. There’s little to no chance we’ll ever see this ported to iOS on account of the difficulty of securing the rights to the WWE roster circa 2000, but this would be my personal pick of the bunch.

So long as a touchscreen (or an MFi game controller) were able to replicate the deep control system this would be iOS perfection that is!

(Picture: AKI/Gamefaqs)

Super Mario Bros.

Forget about Retina display, impressive 3-D graphics and pixels-per-inch for a second, and bask in the ambience of the greatest Nintendo platformer to ever grace our consoles. Released in 1985, Super Mario Bros. is the oldest game on this list, and the one that many fans would still pay a premium to see on iOS.

Nintendo is hardly making millions from the original Super Mario Bros. these days, so why not open up the vault and allow an official port for iPhone and iPad players? The fact that iOS gamers are still denied this game is a crime so wicked it can only have come from Bowser.

(Oh, and give us Super Mario Bros. 3 while you’re at it!)

(Picture: Nintendo)


Super Mario Bros. may be the most iconic side-scroller Nintendo ever put out, but Metroid surely runs as a close second. An action/platformer that puts you in the space shoes of galactic bounty hunter Samus Aran, Metroid is an immersive world-building experience that never goes easy on players. It’s levels weren’t linear, there were plenty of dead ends, and the villain unveiling at the end is to video games what Darth Vader’s Empire Strikes Back revelation was to movies. We’d dearly love to see this game grace our iPhone screens.

(Picture: Arstechnica)

Super Mario 64

Unlike so many other 3D games of its era (Crash Bandicoot, for instance) Super Mario 64 really was a game in which players were able to explore the vast 3D world which had been created for it to take place in. A 2004 Nintendo DS port added new playable characters like Yoshi, Luigi and Wario, and showed that the game worked just as well without the N64 controller that was specially designed for it.

With ten years now having passed since that port, it would be wonderful to see a re-release show up on iOS to wow a whole new generation of players.

(Picture: Wikipedia)


Mario Kart 8

As with many of the franchises mentioned here, there are some great games in the Mario Kart series, which makes picking one a real challenge. With that said, I’d love to see Mario Kart 8 make an appearance on iOS, just to show the karting pretenders (Angry Birds Go! I’m looking at you!) who’s boss. The game featured the same core ingredients we’ve loved since 1992, but it added some innovative touches like anti-gravity strips, which tweaked an already spectacular formula. The graphics are also top-notch.

GoldenEye 007

The Modern Combat games have shown that first person shooters can work surprisingly well on iOS. Why then can’t we have GoldenEye 007, the pitch perfect James Bond game that was 90 percent of the reason that most teenage boys bought the N64 back in the day? Throw in an online multiplayer mode for good value and watch the dollars roll in. The premium price would be worth it for the Facility stage alone…