According to conventional wisdom, most video games inspired by popular film licenses make Gigli look like Citizen Kane. See: 1982's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which almost single-handedly sunk Atari; 1995's Street Fighter: The Movie, starring a digitized Jean-Claude Van Damme; and 2006's Jaws Unleashed, wherein you play the shark, natch. But as a recent spate of current and upcoming Hollywood adaptations aims to prove, it's not all stale popcorn and watered-down soda for today's couch potato.
Chief amongst them is Ghostbusters. Picking up where the films ended, and featuring an original script penned by series alumni Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who also make cameos, it's the franchise's first true sequel in two decades. You can't beat the premise either: As a new team member, players join familiar faces such as Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson (OK, poor choice) to battle Slimer, Gozer and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Initial impressions are positive between the game's comprehensive voice-acting cast and action-oriented, proton-pack-heavy play. But while we wait for the title to ship in June, here's hoping an inadvertent mid-production change of publisher from Vivendi Universal to Atari hasn't resulted in any crossed streams.
In the meantime, piggybacking on the silver-screen blockbuster's unexpected success, Fast & Furious for the iPhone offers surprisingly good miles per gallon. Never mind featured 3D rubber-burning activities though, which run the gamut from checkpoint races to competitions wherein cars serve as wagers. The title's most compelling feature by far is actually integrated YouTube support, letting wheelmen upload and share videos of their top performances.
Building on the success of seminal first-person adventure The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, follow-up Assault on Dark Athena also proves a satisfying diversion. Remixing the original prison break tale in high definition, the package further includes a standalone sequel that's set immediately after the initial outing's events. Despite introducing new stealth combat sequences and multiplayer options though, some may be disappointed with the latter's repetitious setup and tendency to favor more traditional run-and-gun mechanics.
Similarly, The Godfather II is also a game of two halves. Although the title successfully apes its predecessor's (and Grand Theft Auto's) freeform 3D kneecapping approach, it additionally tacks on an overarching strategic mode that sees you battling for turf and building rackets. Needless to say, the engaging tale goes heavy on the spaghetti sauce, but won't be to every aspiring Don's taste.
However, for those who favor mindless fun and spectacle over intricate wiseguy antics, Wanted: Weapons of Fate makes a satisfying alternative. Although curving bullets and slowing time loses its charm after a few hours of brain-dead, trigger-mashing mayhem, let's be honest. There's definitely something to be said for instant gratification, as battles aboard freefalling planes can attest.
Sadly, to this day, none can claim to match classic celluloid staples like Raiders of the Lost Ark's rapacious charm, or Lost in Translation's sheer emotional impact. But if pure escapism's your goal, we're confident that these cinematic gems are at least worth the price of a ticket.
Movie games a great ideas, and usually just supplant a movie release, which is why i'm looking forward to the independent video game Ghostbuster's because it doesn't coincide with a movie release, so they clearly put all their efforts into making a storyline which will be fun to play not just watch. Since most of these movie titles are rushed out to open the same day as the movie they usually seemed unpolished and unoriginal.
To me movies are just the tip of the iceberg though. Some of my favorite games are those with a literary aspect, based on old myths and stories - particularly the game God of War which includes so many aspects of Greek mythology and ties in well with the stories of Homer.
Chief among them is X-men Origins:Wolverine. Early reviews are touting it as a possible game-of-the-year contender.
Video games based on movies are unpredictable. If the movie bombs, that's just another factor a good video game has to overcome.
In addition, trying to mimic the likeness of an actor can be problematic, and not having the actual actors for the voice acting can really hurt the game. Movie video games also have a bad habit of relying on the success of the movie to be successful (remember how bad the Matrix game was?). The same can be said for movies based on games (can anyone say Doom? I cringe thinking about WoW and Halo movies, as cool as seeing Master Chief on the silver screen would be).
That said, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the X-men:Legends I & II games and can't wait for the new Origins.