For this list, I’m using some flexible rules. Basically, I’m allowing video games that are based directly on a Movie or TV show as well as games that only use those licenses. Some of these also originated as comics, but I’ve allowed them so long as the games are pulled from a Movie or Television adaptation or if the comic came after the film or show.
Not on the Podium: Little Nemo: The Dream Master, The Goonies 2, Aladdin, Spider-Man, X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, The Lion King
8. The Simpsons: Hit & Run (PS2/Xbox/GCN)
I haven’t spent much time with a GTA game, but my understanding is that this is basically GTA: Simpsons Edition, and that is fine with me. Featuring a story by the show’s writers and voice talent from the show as well, Hit & Run finds you in the shoes of the Simpsons as you walk and drive your way around different sections of Springfield. While I’ve staled on the show in recent years, I still found that this game really felt like you were in the show and wandering around Springfield. While there is a plot to follow, I had my most fun simply exploring the area and finding all of the hidden collectibles, essentially only completing each Chapter when I had to, not because the story was weak, but because I found exploring this game just to be that much fun.
7. Robocop versus the Terminator (SNES/Sega Genesis)
Based on two movie stalwarts (and a comic book series), Robocop versus the Terminator places you in the shoes of Robocop as you investigate a person out to kill you and why the Terminators want that person dead and you, as Robocop, to stay alive. The story takes you from the familiar streets of Detroit to an apocalyptic future ruled by the machines, which you, as Robocop, unwittingly helped create and make sentient. This game features multiple weapons to use as well level variety. Also, this game can get extremely hard, but is rarely unfair. Bonus points for the humorous credits that run if you know the code to enter…assuming you can get to the credits.
6. Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (Xbox 360/PS3/Wii)
For anyone that prefers Star Wars, you could probably replace this title with Star Wars and it would still work. I’m an Indiana Jones fan, and this title just edges out the Greatest Adventures SNES game as my favorite Jones game. Combining the charm of the Lego games with scenarios from all three of the original movies, Lego Indiana Jones is both familiar and new at the same time. As with all Lego games, there are many secrets and unlockables which work to provide quite a bit of replay value. I will admit my bias and say that the main draw for me to this game was the licensed property, but it does speak very highly of the game that it reminds me so much of the films. It treats its source material with respect and adapts it perfectly to the Lego World.
5. Addams’ Family Values (SNES/Sega Genesis)
I’d wager that this is the least known game on this list, and I can understand why. Just based on seeing it in store, I’d ignore it too, but a Nintendo Power feature lead me to pick this game up, and I’m extremely glad I did. Addams’ Family Values puts you in control of Uncle Fester, who has a lightening attack, in a top down perspective as you roam the Addams’ estate in search of Debbie and Pubert. The game plays quite a bit like a Legend of Zelda title, having you explore different lands and dungeons while gathering new items that aid you in different ways. The game is open world and does have you back track to explore new areas. The only knock I have against this game is the save system. It is password based, but you must find Grandmama who is not in a convenient area to reach. Other than that though, this game is quite the hidden gem.
4. DuckTales (NES)
Do I really need to even say why this game is here? It’s an extremely well designed platformer based on a beloved cartoon & comic series. This is another game given to us via an agreement between Disney and Capcom that lead to some very good licensed games. Of those games, I consider this one to be the best. You take control of Uncle Scrooge as he explores five different land areas, chosen Mega Man style, in search of valuable treasures, and with each having a boss at the end. Each land you visit is a bit open world, offering up multiple paths for you to explore, as well as many hidden treasures to be found, some hidden quite well. I also have to take this time to give special notice to the music of this game, some of the best you’ll find on the NES.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES)
Based mostly on the cartoon (itself pulled from the original comics), I’m basing this ranking on the NES port. A beat ‘em up in the vein of Double Dragon, TMNT II is one of the highlights of the original NES. The character models are surprisingly detailed for the NES, matching their cartoon animations quite well. The gameplay, while like most “defeat enemies, move on” games, manages to stay fresh with varying enemies and hazards for you to deal with. The levels help keep this freshness by taking you through different locales and, in one level, putting you on a motorized skateboard while you fend off enemies. For anyone that loved the cartoon, this title was about as close as you could get to taking control of those characters.
2. Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360/PS3/Wii/PS2)
This might has well of been called Ghostbusters 3. Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and featuring nearly the entire cast of the original two movies, this game is worth playing for the story alone. That said, the gameplay is extremely well done and a ton of fun. The game uses a traditional third person shooter set-up, except you are attempting to wrangle ghosts instead of killing human enemies. Surprisingly, this game also has some scary moments. You’ll find yourself alone, separated from the other members of the team, facing some spooky stuff and it can be a bit intimidating. It would have been easy to slap Ghostbusters on the box and attempt to sell something shoddy off of the name, but it is nice to see that the developers made a game they can be very proud to stand behind and one that more than lives up to its namesake.
1. Goldeneye (N64)
As with Ghostbusters, it would have been easy to phone this in on the power of the name, but instead, Rare crafted an FPS title that still stands strong today, and worked as a pioneer for future console FPS titles. Goldeneye takes you through the movies main areas, giving you a main goal, but also giving you supplemental requirements to be completed based upon your chosen difficulty. The game played so well that it almost managed to make an escort mission enjoyable, which in the realm of escort missions, is a major win. Complimenting the very strong single player campaign was a robust multiplayer mode allowing up to four players to fight one another via split screen and using weapons and characters not only from Goldeneye but also from past Bond films. For both the high quality of the game as well as what it did for future console FPS titles, Goldeneye is #1.
Brandon Nicholson is a blogger for TMRzoo.com and the founder of Just Another Video Game Blog and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3 and PS4, Microsoft XBOX One and XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Brandon provides his readers with reviews, previews, release dates and up to date gaming industry news, trailers and rumors.