Ah, the good old movie tie-in…
There’s nothing better than the cavalcade of lunchboxes, action figures, T-shirts and now apps, ‘second experiences’ and of course video games that come with a big movie release. As well as making money from cinema tickets and DVD / Blu Ray / Streaming releases, movie studios are quick to create as many additional revenue streams as possible just in time for the movie release.
Movie video games become a staple since the first consoles and PCs hit the market, and they stretch way back to the early 1980s. We’ve had some great games over the years, as well as some absolute horror shows, and the next generation of movie video games are always a good way to enjoy further escapism even after the movie has ended. Here are a few of the biggest and best franchises over the years to have spawned a video game or two, and how they shape up in terms of quality, replay value and of course fun.
It doesn’t get much better than GoldenEye
When James Bond made his big screen debut back in 1962, video games weren’t really a thing, and it took a while for the world’s most famous spy to get his own series of games. Aside from a series of games called Shaken But Not Stirred released on the Spectrum, the first Bond game to get both recognition and critical acclaim was of course GoldenEye for the N64. Basically setting the standard for the FPS, GoldenEye became a fan favourite and is still viewed by many as the best Bond game of all time.
Since then, we’ve had some direct movie tie-ins for The World is Not Enough and Tomorrow Never Dies, but the left-field titles that are Rogue Agent, From Russia with Love, and 007:Legends have provided a more refined set of Bond games that have brought James into the 21st century. You’ll still never beat GoldenEye however, and the Nintendo Wii re-release in 2010 (which was also very good) just goes to prove it.
Clash of the Titans
You’ll enjoy the Clash of the Titans slot game way more than the console game…
Millions of gamers enjoy pitting Greek Gods and monsters against each other, and the 1981 original and 2010 remake were action packed, with plenty of incredible special effects. The latter movie even garnered its own console title, with Clash of the Titans: the Videogame rolling out on Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and even Blackberry. Unfortunately, the game suffered from the classic formula that befalls certain movie game tie-ins. Rushed to market to coincide with the release of the film and obviously developed with a tight budget, the one-dimensional hack and slash gameplay, poor graphics and storyline that doesn’t do the movie justice earned the game 41/100 on Metacritic, and generally unfavourable reviews.
Luckily, the Clash of the Titans slot game has fared a lot better than its bigger, uglier cousin. This well-designed virtual slot game has a great theme that follows the looks and feel of the movie very closely. The gameplay features action-packed animations, spectacular graphics and immersive sound effects. Each symbol represents one of the titans, or one of the main characters. The other big bonus is that you pick up some decent winnings from this version of Clash of the Titans, instead of wasting money on the console version. You can even go head-to-head with other players. If you like the sound of Clash of the Titans, you might enjoy this leading online casino’s range of quality slots too.
Lord of the Rings
The scale of the Shadow series is way more impressive than previous LOTR games
Peter Jackson’s epic series and the follow-up based on the Hobbit changed epic cinema completely, so it’s no surprise that an epic, action-packed game series should follow. Back in the 2000s, when game-tie ins often suffered the same fate as the previously mentioned Clash of the Titans console game, the first couple of PlayStation 2 / Xbox games were pretty unashamed hack ‘n’ slash platformers, with appearances from the main characters and copy-and-paste enemies that made gameplay pretty boring pretty quickly.
Luckily, game studio Monolith jumped on the LOTR franchise in 2014, just as the Hobbit movies were renewing interest in the series, and created two sublime games in Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War. With sneak-em-up, RPG and FPS elements all rolled into one game, the Shadow series has created gameplay, which does justice to the complexity and depth of both the books and movies.
Much like the extinct stars, the ultimate dinosaur movie series has just been brought back to life with Jurassic World and its 2018 sequel, and there’s a great opportunity just around the corner for the series to be given a great game, instead of a few good ones. Previous Jurassic Park games have been either side-scrollers that allow you to be either a dinosaur or a human, but the character development and depth has certainly been lacking since the decent Lost World game in 1997.
That is, until Jurassic World: Evolution rolls out this summer. The game allows players to build their own Zoo Tycoon style Jurassic Park, complete with break outs, corporate espionage and disasters that will certainly make gameplay fresh and exciting, and hopefully create a Jurassic Park with more replay value than ever before.
The first Star Wars game was great, but it hasn’t aged well…
The ultimate sci-fi adventure series frequently tops favourite movie ever lists, and the newest trilogy has certainly broken a few records, but Star Wars is known for its merchandise almost as much as for its films and TV shows these days. Its creator George Lucas practically invented the action figure.
Star Wars lends itself naturally to video games, with plenty of action and story development, easy to follow dialogue and plenty of lasers and explosions to keep things fast-paced. Back in 1982, Parker Brothers (yes, the Monopoly guys) devised the first ever Star Wars game for the Atari 2600. Severely outdated now, the Empire Strikes Back video game saw players control Luke Skywalker’s Snowspeeder in a battle against a giant AT-AT. The gameplay was considered cutting-edge at the time, but it just doesn’t hold up to the most recent titles in the Star Wars saga.
Despite Knights of the Old Republic holding the Star Wars video game crown for a long time, the Battlefront games for the latest generation of consoles and PC have changed the movie tie-in game completely, but not in a positive manner of late. Battlefront II may have initially done well, but the blowback from the horrible implementation of the pay-to-win incentive and general gamer reaction is not only less than enthusiastic, it’s outright rage and I can’t blame them. So, nothing is perfect in the world of movie magic video games. Hopefully, lessons are learned from the decent debacle with what could have been an amazing milestone in Star Wars gaming history, but ended up as a a social media nightmare due to pricing strategies meant more to pay off extravagant costs of production instead of garnering actual gamer enjoyment.