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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Sons of Celluloid: The 11 Best Movie-Based Video Games

Posted on Thursday, July 1 @ 16:43:24 Eastern by Chris_Hudak
We see you sitting there, clenching those gamer-glutes as you prepare to read this. Relax, man. Nobody—least of all one of your humble Game Revolutionaries—wants to strip you of your God-given right to bitch and piss and moan and hate on movie-based video games in general. It's a fact-turned-cherished-tradition that the majority of movie-based games suck rocks, and the Truth will never be able to take that away from you. Some of the worst transgressions are hard to even talk about without shuddering, and not in a good, shivery way (and oh yeah, I'm glaring sullenly at you, Ju-On: The Grudge Haunted House Simulator).

But sometimes... sometimes, the universe (and the games industry) treats us okay. Sometimes, we cringe as a release date approaches, flinching as if from yet another expected kick squaw in the nuts... and instead, we get an okay movie-based game. Or a genuinely good one. Or even a great one, sometimes. Not often. But sometimes.

Here's to when things go more or less right. They are not in any particular order.


1. Goldeneye 007


The single-handed super-spy hero of N64 first-person gaming.


Tense first-person action, great audiovisual presentation, and of course, a chance to be James Bond (even if was 'Brosnan Bond'—and from a movie that had already damn-near dropped off the pop-cultural radar at the time, to boot). First-person games were coming and going even in those creaky days of N64 yore, but it was the accumulation of little touches that made GoldenEye 007 a good game: The lulling tinkle of bland muzak as one level begins in an elevator—suddenly bursting into the rousing, spy-thriller score when the elevator doors open and the real action begins. It had gadget-laden, multi-objective-based missions, and it was the four-player, split-screen beanbag-fest that paved the way for the calm, collected, Bond-style smackdown on your console-gaming friends.

2. Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay


A startlingly high-quality atmospheric first-person shooter for the Xbox 360, it shamed other movie-based games into admitting that they sucked by comparison.


Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay did avenging justice, and then some, to the notion of a movie-based game experience, and managed to masterfully combine elements of first-person shooting, puzzle-solving, stealth, melee combat, story-telling, and even survival-horror-worthy levels of dramatic tension—and all delivered without a cluttering HUD. Best of all, this was one of the titles that showed us just how closely and effectively Hollywood and the gaming world could (not) work together to deliver a kick-ass, no-compromises product.

Butcher Bay cheated, like any good con would do with a shank made from a toothbrush, and it was not based on the pile of garbage it was named after, but rather as a prequel to the previous good film, Pitch Black.

Plus, Vin Diesel's gravelly, murderous voice... I mean, brrrr.

3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine


The X-Men franchise tie-in game made for gamers who, on the whole, wouldn't otherwise have given a rat's ass about the X-Men franchise.


X-Men Origins: Wolverine wasn't an industry-shaking title and quite frankly didn't bring anything new to the table... but it was a solid, engaging third-person brawler soaked in enough over-the-top gore to easily make one forget about its derivative nature. One standout mechanic that never seemed to get old was Wolverine's always-satisfying ability to suddenly lunge at enemies halfway across the current arena/chamber, hurling himself upon them in a murderous fury. The game didn't do such a good job of cinematically setting up, for players unfamiliar with the universe, exactly who all these guys were, and why you might want to rip their guts out—but the levels of action basically made you forget all about such questions fairly quickly.

4. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy


A cute, kid-friendly, surprisingly-entertaining toddle through the films of the Star Wars Trilogy. The real Star Wars trilogy.


Despite—or perhaps because of, we're still not really sure—the cute kiddiefication resulting from fusing the world of Lego and the original Star Wars trilogy, this relentlessly feel-good action/adventure game just worked. And not just for kids, either. Mechanically, nothing had changed from the earlier Lego Star Wars game (based on George Lucas' second batch of Star Wars flicks, Episodes I-III), but there is definitely something to be said for better source-material.

Further, Lego Star Wars II put a notably greater emphasis on different kinds of vehicles than did its predecessor, and opened up the ability to create necessary items out of Legos to basically all characters (not only Jedi). Meanwhile, the brilliant and charming humorous overtones kept the experience entertaining from start to finish, whether one was playing as a little kid... or simply with one.

And hey—I mean, Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon.

5. Spider-Man 2


A Spidey-flavored, GTA-esque free-roamer, offering players the ability to web-sling freestyle across a huge city that looks great and manages to maintain a rock-solid framerate.


Even with its faults—and there was definitely a number of them scattered throughout the title, although none of them were especially game-killers—Spider-Man 2 really captured the reckless, seat-of-your-red-and-blue-pants feel of being Peter Parker, cranking off lines of web-fluid and swooping from skyscraper to skyscraper in search of bad guys. The rendered, free-roaming city itself really stole the show in this game, and the effortless, crazy-balletic swinging through the municipal jungle just about exactly made up for the game's inherent repetition, not to mention the fact that fighting most of the enemies wasn't much more than a button-mashing endeavor.

Spider-Man animated extremely smoothly in action, and other main characters from the film actually looked like their motion-picture counterparts. The sprawling, convincing-looking city was in fact so huge that it could often feel somewhat underpopulated, but fans of the movie got a decent translation of the movie experience for the console of their choice. And this time, the web-lines they shot off actually attached to in-game objects, rather than magically attaching to the sky. Now will somebody please invent some evil robot arms for me?

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