In the ’80s and ’90s if you were a kid then the question on the playground was always “Are you Nintendo or Sega?” Only the coolest of kids could say, “Both.” While there were other battles on who was cooler, Mario or Sonic, kids just wanted more and more games. Over the years the games may have gotten better and better but one thing that was always a risk was a movie adaptation.
Sometimes they hit the nail right on the head. Others were forgettable. Some were so terrible they buried the leftover copies in the desert. I’m looking at you Atari E.T. Even The Lawnmower Man got a video game adaptation. For shame. The following are some of the best adaptations that kept the spirit of the original movie while still being fun to play.
Released on Sega Genesis, SNES
This movie was made for a platformer video game. You play as the title character as you run through the streets of Agrabah as you run from guards. Eventually, you end up in the Cave Of Wonders where you meet Genie. In the end, you face off with Jafar who becomes a giant cobra.
The gameplay of this game was so fun and helped capture the spirit of the movie. The game developers worked with Disney animators to help replicate the character movements and were helped along by versions of the music from the film. Alas, not every version was as good as the Sega Genesis version. The SNES version was altered from the original game and didn’t even have all the levels.
I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who hasn’t played GoldenEye007. For a movie that was kind of mediocre, the game became a pop culture phenomenon. One of the original first-person shooters, it allowed up to four people to hunt each other down on various maps as different characters from the film. You could change up what weapons were available but the ultimate battle was setting it to slappers only and it became a melee war with only one victor.
While other releases tried to mimic this idea it never seemed to work as well until Call Of Duty and Halo would bring that gameplay to the forefront. Just about every dorm room at that time, you could find a group of guys huddled around a Nintendo 64 chasing each other through mazes and yelling obscenities when one of them would get picked off by Oddjob.
Friday The 13th (2017)
Released on Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC
No not the NES one. While some do have a love for the old 8-Bit Jason from the old school Nintendo Friday The 13th Game, the franchise didn’t really get a proper Friday The 13th experience until this game was released in 2017. Originally thought of as a rip-off video game called Slasher Vol 1: Summer Camp the game company IllFonic started to work on it when Friday The 13th Co-Creator Sean Cunningham met with the company about possibly working together on a game. This caused them to switch gears and transform their game into a Friday The 13th Licensed game.
In the game, you along with 7 other people enter into various Friday The 13th related maps. One of the players will end up as Jason while the others will be camp counselors. The goal then is to try to escape the map via a couple of vehicles, call the police and wait for them to come rescue you, or last until morning. Of course, as Jason, your goal is to kill anyone you can in the most gruesome ways imaginable.
There are various versions of Jason representing the different forms of him throughout the movie series. The maps also highlight classic locations from the films. Visit the Jarvis House from Friday 4, hang out at the Higgin’s Haven cabin from Part 3, or even find Jason’s rundown shack from Part 2 and steal his mother’s sweater to control him for a short time. It’s a bloody good time.
Released on NES
Before the Arkham series put Batman on the map as one of the best video game characters this adaptation of the 1989 Tim Burton film had video game fans ready to put on their cape and do their best wall jump. It has a few changes from the movie but the added gameplay elements made up for it. The player fights through 5 levels to get to the top of the Gotham Cathedral Bell Tower to have a final battle with The Joker.
A version was released for the Sega Genesis but that game ended up being an almost entirely different game altogether. In that game, Batman has a grappling hook and more closely resembled the plot of the film while the NES took some liberties to introduce other characters from the DC Comic Books. It’s said that this game is one of the more difficult games ever released on the NES but fans seemed to greatly enjoy it.
Alien: Isolation (2014)
Released On Xbox One, XboX 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC
While not a direct adaptation of any Alien movie it does act as a sequel to the original 1979 film. Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley, begins to investigate her mother’s disappearance 15 years earlier. When she finds out the flight recorder from the Nostromo was found she gets onto the space station where it is located. Since this is an Alien game of course one ends up on the giant space station and begins to run amok and killing everyone it comes in contact with.
Most video games center around the idea of facing a monster and trying to kill it. In this game, the idea is to run, hide, and do everything you can to avoid the lone Xenomorph as it trudges through the space station. If you see it in the hallway then your best bet is to hide in a locker somewhere until it goes away. Interestingly the game also has some downloadable content that takes the player back to the original movie and even features some of the original cast recording their voices for these campaigns. A great hide and seek game.
Lego Dimensions (2015)
Released on Xbox 360, XboX One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, WiiU
So this one is definitely a cheat. It’s not really based on a movie but is FILLED with movie properties. After the release of The Lego Movie, this game came about where our hero characters (Batman, Wyldstyle, and Gandalf) can travel to other famous properties to stop a new foe who wants to destroy all dimensions and make them into one singular dimension. The thing about this game was that you had to buy certain lego figures and place them onto a gamepad that came with it to play as those characters.
One thing this game did though is brought together lots of fandoms and let you mix and match what characters and vehicles you used. You could have Batman riding a hoverboard from Back To The Future II, Doctor Who (all 13 at the time) ride around in the DeLorean, or maybe Gizmo wanted to drive around in K.I.T.T. from Knightrider. The possibilities are endless. It was a lot of fun if not costly as the figure packs were a little pricey. The game ended up canceling the last wave of figures they had planned and the ones that were released are becoming harder and harder to find.
What are your favorites? Talk back below!