Great Film, Bad Game

Great Film, Bad Game

These ill-advised video games put the sin in cinema.

In a world torn apart by uncertainty, one lasting truth unites a generation of gamers:

Games based on movies suck.

Okay, maybe that's overstating it. Often the films that wind up getting video game translations aren't exactly Citizen Kanes to begin with (*cough* Fantastic Four *cough*), so we don't expect these merchandising efforts to really pay off as awesome interactive experiences.

Sometimes, however, a game developer gets it in their head that an undeniably great film -- perhaps a classic, even -- deserves a digital makeover, and that's where things really cross the line. Take, for instance, poor Iron Man. Even his unbreakable super-suit couldn't protect him from the piercing glare of game critics, who tore apart the video game (50% on gamerankings.com) based on the critically-lauded film (B+ on movies.yahoo.com).

Lucky for Tony Stark, the armored hero is hardly the worst culprit. We've scoured the cutting-room floor and glued together nine other bad games based on otherwise brilliant movies. Roll film!


Alongside a shoddy port of Pac-Man, the ghastly Atari 2600 version of Steven Spielberg's spectacular family film is often credited with contributing to Atari's epic downfall, and, in turn, the great video game crash of 1983. Don't believe it was that bad? Then you obviously haven't experienced the thrill of repeatedly falling into pits and trying to levitate out while searching for three scattered pieces of a makeshift intergalactic walkie-talkie -- presumably the same one the developers used to phone in their work. We may never truly know if Roswell, New Mexico is rampant with aliens, but we can now verify that, in a nondescript landfill a few clicks down the road in Alamogordo, lies about one million smashed carcasses of this otherworldly waste of space. May it rest in (Reese's) pieces.

E.T.: The Extraterrestrial at Yahoo! Movies

Fight Club

The first rule of Fight Club is don't, under any circumstances, play the Fight Club video game. Based on the stylish film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's riveting novel, this backroom brawler deserves a black eye for its awful controls, lousy gameplay and bizarre decision to feature Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst as an unlockable character. If that doesn't make you want to punch yourself in the face, consider the fact that it has nothing to do with the fantastic, mind-twirling plot of the film, effectively desecrating Tyler Durden's anti-consumerism raison d'etre by turning into just another shelf-cluttering piece of misguided merchandising. I am Jack's seething hatred of bad games, and you are, too.

Fight Club at Yahoo! Movies

Planet of the Apes

Evolution took a turn for the weird and prosthetic in 1968's wonderfully hokey sci-fi masterpiece. Classic performances by Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall, Oscar-winning makeup and one of the most iconic final scenes in film history led to four sequels, a television series and 2001's mediocre big-budget remake. That very same year, Ubisoft uncaged this monkey of a PC game. Licensed in the far more affordable world of the novel, it was an obvious ploy to cash in on the marketing muscle of the Mark Wahlberg film, yet was so marred by ugly graphics and rote gameplay that not even our ape overlords would have enjoyed it. Save us, Dr. Zaius!

Planet Of The Apes at Yahoo! Movies

Jaws: Unleashed

You're going to need more than a bigger boat to handle this oversized flounder. Released some 20 years after the astoundingly bad Jaws IV, Majesco's fish tale towed gamers back to Amity Island for another encounter with the massive great white shark. This time, though, they got to play as the toothy terror instead of the obsessed sheriff, cruising the open sea trashing boats, snacking on sushi and scaring the daylights out of swimmers. But in building a free-roaming world, Majesco forgot to populate it with stuff to do, turning Grand Theft Shark into a criminally boring kiddy pool. Worse yet were the inaccurate controls and inane mission goals (throw barrels at the oil refinery using your mouth?), making this fearsome predator go belly up faster than a carnival goldfish.

Jaws at Yahoo! Movies

Reservoir Dogs

Considering its bloody reputation, Quentin Tarantino's 1992 gangster drama is surprisingly light on hardcore action. That didn't stop Eidos Interactive from promoting it to video game status years later, but we sure wish it had. It ostensibly serves as a companion piece to the film by explaining unanswered questions surrounding the botched diamond heist, but without the support of the cast (only Michael Madsen lent his voice), it wound up playing like any boilerplate third-person action romp with weak graphics and lame gameplay. Note to Steve Buscemi: We don't want to be Mr. Pink, either.

Reservoir Dogs at Yahoo! Movies

Our look at lousy movie tie-ins continues. What other monstrosities has Hollywood spawned?

Napoleon Dynamite

Gosh, they made a handheld game based on 2004's quirky cult-classic? Heck yes they did! Except unlike Pedro, it definitely wasn't a winner. Mysteriously released three years after the film, this collection of bland mini-games was as awkward as its eponymous star, but way less cool. The plot was dumb, the gags were recycled from the movie and the perplexing absence of audio or video ruined all the jokes. They didn't even let you chase down llamas as a Liger. Yeah, it's pretty much the worst Napoleon Dynamite thing ever.

Napoleon Dynamite at Yahoo! Movies

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

With its sweeping, romantic plot, balletic choreography and revolutionary action sequences, Ang Lee's high-flying kung-fu epic seems like a video game no-brainer. And that's exactly the kind of effort Ubisoft put into this kick to the head of a game. Released three years after the film, it featured a relatively decent fighting system but forgot to include relatively interesting opponents. Instead, virtual Li Mu Bais hacked through thousands of incompetent, poorly-rendered dummies in the most undercooked martial arts experience since Gymkata.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at Yahoo! Movies

The Great Escape

We're not sure what's worse: Gotham Games' bizarre decision to craft an adventure game based on the greatest escape movie ever made some 40 years after it was culturally relevant, or the broken down, boring mess of a game itself. Wait, we just answered our own question. In the film, an all-star cast of super-cool POWs (including his highness Steve McQueen) create a brilliant, elaborate plan to bust out of a Nazi prison camp and flee Germany altogether. In the game, you sneak around in the dark looking for items, then sneak somewhere else, drop off the items, save your game, and sneak around some more in search of more items. For like, 10 hours. Not cool.

The Great Escape at Yahoo! Movies

Enter The Matrix

Atari chased the red pill with some Wachowski-flavored Kool-Aid when they agreed to pump out this buggy tie-in to The Matrix Reloaded. They certainly went big, creating a legitimate side story focusing on the exploits of secondary characters Niobe and Ghost in an effort to complement the plot of The Matrix Reloaded film. A noble concept, to be sure, but good ideas don't mean much when the gameplay sucks, the framerate stutters and all the really cool moves are handled by in-game FMV instead of the players. If this is reality, please plug us back into the machines, thanks.

The Matrix Reloaded at Yahoo! Movies


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