It seems that the jump from film to video games, and vice versa, isn’t quite the smooth transition many of us would love for it to be. Although both cinema and video games are visual artforms they do have their staunch differences which makes one product leaping to another often a cause for anger and derision amongst fans of the original property. However, there are a select few video game titles that I feel deserve recognition as being great video game adaptations of films, and even in some cases surpassing these films in some aspects. Below are a list of five video games that I believe show that one medium can be successfully adapted to another, and doesn’t always have to result in bludgeoning oneself with their controller.
Number One: Goldeneye 007
This game is highly regarded as one of the most important First Person Shooters of the 90s, and its an adaptation of a movie! What Goldeneye gets right is that it gives players everything they love about the James Bond films franchise and places it within the game. Goldeneye is fast paced, the levels are well designed and the music really helps to create the atmosphere and excitement of being on a secret mission for her Majesty’s secret service. However, it is through the game’s multiplayer that it gives players something more that they can only experience through the medium of video games, amping up the excitement by being able to interact with friends in tense gun fights.
Number Two: Alien Isolation
Not strictly an adaptation, but definitely a game based on a cinematic property that more than deserves to be experienced. Alien Isolation provides players with a unique story and new characters not experienced in the series, but nonetheless provides players with an experience which is unmistakably Alien. Aesthetically this game does an incredible job capturing the look and style of the original Alien movie, with touches such as the “70s idea of futuristic computers” making the experience all the more special. The game also ramps up the levels of suspense and fear that Ridley Scott’s classic Sci-Fi movie gives audiences by putting the player in control. This is how an Alien video game adaptation is done, sorry Colonial Marines.
Number Three: Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis
Similar to Alien Isolation, The Fate of Atlantis succeeds in giving players the atmosphere, the wit and the adventure of an Indiana Jones movie through a whole new tale that can only be experienced in video games. This Point n Click classic from Lucas Arts excels in giving players puzzles and mysteries to solve across various locations in a story that I genuinely believe would have worked well for the big screen (and definitely a better fourth film than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull turned out to be). This low-key classic is definitely worth looking into for fans of the adventuring archaeologist and his exciting cinematic adventures (again, excluding the fourth film of course).
Number Four: Spiderman 2
This game is really 50% adaptation of the movie, and 50% lots of random, cool stuff that the developers decided to add to make the game even more fun. By putting characters and situations in the game that do not appear in the actual movie, players can experience something separate from the movie and still feel surprised and excited. Also, the feeling of being able to swing around New York in this game felt as fresh and exciting as one could hope it would be.
Number Five: Disney’s Aladdin
This Mega Drive classic is quick paced and action packed and while perhaps not being able to boast the same wit as its cinematic counterpart, definitely makes up for it with its unique level design, strong gameplay and action oriented style. This was released in 1993, the year after the film and also during what many consider the sidescrolling heyday, yet still stands out as being one of the best games to own on the Sega Megadrive.
Of course there are many games other games based on cinematic properties, these are five that I find worthy of being considered some of the more enjoyable adaptations. What these five games all share, despite being released in different periods and being different styles of game, is that they all give players what they enjoy so much about the original film, but also understand that video games and films are two entirely different mediums. In understanding this, the developers have also given players a new way to experience characters and stories that we enjoy and making the interactivity of video games key to enjoying it. Like I say, there are many other games that do get this right, so feel free to mention in the comments section what your selection would be for a worthy adaptation.