The lights are on
Throughout the history of video games, the most consistently awful titles have been those based on films. From E.T. to Iron Man, film-based games are notorious for their near-perfect record of shoddy quality. Most publishers want the games to release around the same time as their movie counterparts, so development time is often rushed. Because of that, you end up with awful adaptations of Night at the Museum II, Jumper, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (not that those were great movies by any means, but you get the point). Hell, they'll sell a decent amount due to the occasional fanboy or uninformed parent whose kids "LOVED the movie," so why put time and money into making a decent game?Thankfully, there have been a few occasions where that mindset was abandoned. Here are five rare examples in which a publisher seemed to realize that they had a movie license with the makings of a solid gaming experience, and they put a competent development team behind it.(Keep in mind, these are games that are directly based on films. This is why you won't see games like Arkham Asylum or 007: Everything or Nothing)GOLDENEYE 007 (Nintendo 64, 1997)
James Bond's Nintendo 64 debut was single-handedly responsible for mountains of late homework and sleepless nights when it released in 1997. While the FPS controls seem downright archaic by today's standards, they were fantastic when compared to console standards of the day. Most importantly, the multiplayer is beloved for a reason - it was the first experience many of us had with a four-player splitscreen shooter. Back in junior high, there was nothing more fun than hanging out with three friends and fighting over the RCP-90 or yelling at each other for being cheap with proximity mines (or even worse...picking Oddjob). I even constructed a makeshift screen divider out of a cardboard box that I would attach to my television whenever I played against my stepfather. In addition to the addictive multiplayer, it featured single-player that adhered closely to the plot of the movie, utilizing the various locations of the film to stage some fantastic shootouts. Play it today and you'll be underwhelmed by the graphics and controls, but nothing could touch it back in the mid-to-late 90s.ALADDIN (Genesis, 1993)Even worse than the standard movie-to-game curse is the "kid movie"-to-game curse. Selling Night at the Museum II to an 8 year-old who loved the movie is a lot easier than selling Wanted to a better-informed adult consumer, so it's even more likely to get a shoddy product out of the former. Apparently no one got the memo to Virgin Interactive, because the Genesis version of Aladdin received almost universal praise. While it was released by different developers for various systems, the apple-throwing Genesis version was the best of the bunch. Developed by the team that would eventually form Shiny (including David Perry), the game delighted young fans of the film as well as seasoned gamers.SPIDER-MAN 2 (Playstation 2, Gamecube, Xbox, 2004)Half a decade before Arkham Asylum let us pounce from the dark as the Caped Crusader, Spider-Man 2 let us loose in Manhattan with the first title to really emulate the feeling of being the titular superhero. Web-slinging was intuitive, responsive, and most importantly, an absolute blast. In fact, it was so entertaining that many gamers spent more time aimlessly swinging around the city and exploring than they did with the comparatively less-thrilling story missions. Going on a quest to stop Dr. Octopus was alright, but it couldn't compare to diving off of the Empire State Building, only to shift into a ludicrously fast swing just before you hit the street.X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, 2009)Countless God of War comparisons have been made regarding this title, but they weren't all about crying "copycat!" Rather, many gamers gave praise to Raven Software for presenting them with their first true feeling of being Wolverine. It took the brutal, visceral tendencies of Kratos and gave them to a character who was long-overdue for a video game that did him justice. It can't compare to Sony's epic in terms of quality, but it's a masterpiece by film-to-video game standards.THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK: ESCAPE FROM BUTCHER BAY (Xbox, 2004)Before this game, the idea of Vin Diesel creating a development studio that could make a quality title sounded about as likely as Billy Zane helming the next Metal Gear Solid. As unlikely as it seemed, Tigon Studios (in association with Starbreeze) crafted a first-person experience that featured fully-fleshed out stealth elements and perhaps the best prison environment seen in gaming. Escape From Butcher Bay was atmospheric, violent, and intense, featuring everything from prison yard bare-knuckled brawls to an escape in a giant mech. Voice acting and graphics were top-notch, creating an experience more satisfying than the large majority of Mr. Diesel's films.