The worlds of cinema and film are finally becoming synonymous with one another in ways we have not previously seen. In the past, they have occasionally crossed over to the other’s medium. Many of those movies can best be described as hilariously catastrophic (think 1993’s Super Mario Bros.). Now, however, we are being treated to games and movies that do each other justice in terms of quality production. While film has struggled the most with adapting material, video games have had much more success creating quality adaptations. These are the top ten movies made into video games.
Ten: The Godfather (2006)
The Godfather film released in 1972 and is one of the most well-known movies to date. Many have tried to imitate the film’s impeccable style and writing, but few have even come close to succeeding. Thirty-four years after the film’s original release, EA releases its adaptation of the film. Unsurprisingly, it captures almost none of the film’s genius and style. However, it is a lot of fun and lets you take control of a custom character that plays witness to a lot of what transpires during the film. The game stars many of the original cast, including Robert Duvall, James Caan, Abe Vigoda, and the late Marlon Brando, of which this is his final performance. The game was an open-world, Grand Theft Auto-style action shooter and was denounced by the film’s director because of it. It did, however, make for a fun video game centered around a familiar story.
Nine: Friday the 13th (2017)
Few game adaptations are able to capture the aesthetic and style of the film it is adapting. Even triple-A developers struggle to capture the magic and nostalgia we feel when we are watching one of our favorite movies. However, Indie developer IllFonic managed to do just that when they released Friday the 13th in 2017. Players take control of both counselors and the frightening Jason Voorhees in the game which features varying maps and randomized item placement. As the counselors, you fight to stay alive and escape the camp while being stalked by Jason. Jason is granted powers that allow him to be almost anywhere at any given time.
The game is both terrifying and hilarious, especially while playing with a team of friends. When taking the role of Jason, I recommend utilizing the proximity chat to frighten the counselors. There is nothing more intimidating than hearing George Michael’s Careless Whisper fade in from somewhere in the woods around you and knowing that Jason is growing near.
Eight: The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004)
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay has no business being as good as it is. The movies, which were moderately received when released, are your typical 2000s action fare. The video game, however, is a polished action/adventure that blends stealth mechanics with advanced shooting mechanics. If you were to play it today, it would feel less aged than your typical mid-2000s shooter thanks to how well the shooting feels. I can only imagine the relief that was felt by all who were assigned to review what should have been an awful video game. Escape from Butcher Bay proudly stands alongside other excellent games from 2004, such as Halo 2 and Half-Life 2.
Seven: Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (2005)
When King Kong released, it was the closest we could get to a quality dinosaur game. Based on Peter Jackson’s film from the same year (as you can tell by the lengthy title), King Kong was another game that surprised players. The game boasts varied gameplay, incredible set pieces, solid (although not perfect) voice acting by members of the original cast, and plenty of different enemies to combat. You’ll spear giant millipedes, shoot at massive bat creatures, and run from the fearful T-Rex lookalike, the Vastatosaurus Rex. You’ll also take control of the hulking King Kong himself. Kong can chew the heads off of creatures, swat natives away with the swipe of his paw, and battle dinosaurs by wrenching their jaws apart.
Six: Spider-Man 2 (2004)
The commercial and critical success of Spider-Man 2 was not a surprise. Yet, it was still a welcome entry into games that will live on in our memories. As the first Spider-Man game that truly lets you explore the full city, streets and all, Spider-Man 2 creates a playground of fun. It also retains one of the best traversal methods in gaming to date. Spider-Man’s swing in this game could not be rivaled by any game that followed it, save for the recent Spider-Man PS4. Nevertheless, it took roughly 14 years for a game to match the same level of quality for a Spider-Man game. That makes Spider-Man 2 one of the greats.
Five: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Fans have been dying for a loyal and worthwhile entry into the Harry Potter world for years now. Many of those fans remember how fun it was to play the original Harry Potter games, including Chamber of Secrets. Chamber of Secrets manages to capture the tone, feel, and (I refuse to say “magic”) magic (dammit) of the books and movies. Players take control of Harry and guide him through the story. You take classes, play quidditch, and explore the mysteries of Hogwarts castle and its grounds. Here’s to hoping a modern game can follow in its footsteps.
Four: Alien: Isolation (2014)
Perhaps no game is better at capturing the 1980’s horror/sci-fi tone than Alien: Isolation. Even at five years old its graphics are rivaled by very few games. Those graphics showcase beautifully rendered environments such as steel corridors, monitors, and panels that are loyal to the films. They also contribute to a truly terrifying alien with gorgeous animations. The AI of the alien is wickedly smart, making the game a challenge. However, each frustrating death is rewarded with an animation of the alien killing you, which is pretty fun to watch. My favorite moments in the game are when you are crouched under a table or in a locker, nervously watching your motion sensor as it detects movement nearby. Then, just before your eyes, the alien slithers out of the ceiling and thumps to the hard floor beneath as it attempts to stalk a prey it must suspect is very nearby.
Three: Shadow of Mordor (2014)
Shadow of Mordor is a truly inventive game in terms of new mechanics. The game’s Nemesis System is a genius way to keep players engaged and elevate the game above typical movie-based boredom. Players hunt through the ranks of the orc army; defeating orc leaders with randomly generated names, fears, and strengths. Shockingly, not many developers have adopted the system into their own games; although I suspect that it may still happen.
Two: Goldeneye (1997)
Goldeneye is among a legendary group of groundbreaking shooters; such as Doom, Half-Life, Quake, and Wolfenstein. It distinguishes itself from the others is that it showed that the Nintendo 64 was powerful enough to run games similar to the aforementioned shooters. In addition to a twenty-level campaign inspired by the game’s namesake film, Goldeneye introduced multiplayer matches that pitted you against your friends in contained levels. Sound familiar? This game was a major influence towards developers integrating competitive multiplayer into console shooters.
One: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
Star Wars is a massively beloved franchise with a fan base of all ages. Even that statement alone understates the emotions people feel for worlds, stories, and characters George Lucas created on the big screen. Since the dawn of the films, fans have been dreaming of taking up the mantle of a Jedi or Sith. We have all wanted to craft our own lightsaber and pick a side of the force. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic allows us to do just that.
KOTOR is a beautiful RPG created by Bioware that allows Star Wars fans to control their own path and choose their destiny in a Star Wars story. While its mechanics have aged slightly, and the AI is pretty wonky at times, KOTOR is still one of the best RPGs to date. This is almost entirely due to the freedom it allows its players to have in the Star Wars universe.
Any great games I missed? Let us know in the comments below!