It’s commonly accepted that film adaptations of video games are on the whole a bad idea and a complete waste of time. Can you name one good film that was adapted from a video game? Whether it was Tomb Raider, Super Mario Bros. (yes, it does exist, and Dennis Hopper’s in it!) or Far Cry, they all pretty much sucked, whatever end of the spectrum their budgets were.
Thankfully, the same doesn’t apply the other way around. Sure, there are some terrible video games that are based on films or TV shows (like The Sopranos or Reservoir Dogs), but there have been some pleasant surprises too. Some of the following are classics that any passionate gamer should have played at least once and some of them are pleasant surprises that may have evaded your attention.
It doesn’t feel good to admit it, but the sad truth is that GoldenEye, which came out on the Nintendo 64 in 1997, is terribly out-dated now. This seems hard to believe if you were someone who owned an N64 back in the day: GoldenEye was the party game of the 90s.
If you never had GoldenEye sessions with a bunch of your friends, you clearly haven’t lived. This first-person shooter was a massive critical and financial success and was one of the first successful FPS games for single and multiplayer that wasn’t a PC game.
Available on Wii at: GAME
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Sure, there have been way too many Star Wars games to even count, but this old-school classic ranks as one of the best. Rogue Squadron was an arcade-style action game that had players take the role of Luke Skywalker as he leads several different flying missions against the Empire.
Critics praised its complex flight controls and technical achievements. This game promised hours and hours of frenzied air attacks on military outposts, giant AT-AT Walkers and armies of the Empire. We want to see a next-gen update!
Available on N64 at: Ebay
Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
This was easily the biggest gaming surprise of 2004. Critical reception to the film was largely muted, so no one really expected the video game tie-in to be worthy of attention. It turns out everyone was wrong: Escape from Butcher Bay earned critical acclaim for its mechanics, visuals and combat.
The game had unexpected expert implementation in all areas, which was, and still is, a rarity for a film tie-in game. It was favourably compared to Half-Life, Far Cry and Metal Gear.
Available on Xbox at: Amazon
The Godfather: The Game
The first game to be based on The Godfather franchise, this video game adaptation was publicly denounced by director Francis Ford Coppola as an attempt to profit from his original work. The game pleased fans by featuring a large portion of the actors from the original films, like James Caan, Robert Duvall and Abe Vigoda. The game allows players to relive the film through a character not present in any of the original canon. Witness Luca Brasi’s murders, get revenge on their assassins and even hide Michael Corleone’s gun in the toilet!
Available on Xbox 360 at: GameStop
It’s not surprising that we’re seeing less video game and film tie-ins as time goes on. But the truth is that sometimes, developers get it right. We can only hope that this will happen for the next-gen consoles over the coming years.