5 Decent Video Games Based on Movies

Back in the 90s and 2000s, game publishers often collaborated with major film studios for console or PC games that were based on their movie projects. Electronic Arts was one such company that attempted to deepen its ties with Hollywood by producing games based on BatmanHarry Potter, and other similar titles. Based on the majority of releases though, it seems movies and video games tend to not go particularly well together. Films based on video games have often been terrible, and vice versa. Still, there are a few movie tie-in video games that were actual gems. In fact, a number of them managed to redefine the genre they were in. Let’s take a look back at the movie tie-in video games which were – and still are – adored by players worldwide. 


1. Disney’s Aladdin


While many of Disney’s retro games were great experiences, few of them hold a candle to Aladdin on the Sega Genesis. This 16-bit platformer has excellent level designs that were heavily inspired by key moments in the film. Fans would fondly remember scurrying through the streets of Agrabah or hopping through the cave of wonders. The game’s animation was also highly commended for its fluidity, making it incredibly satisfying to watch Aladdin jump onto the camels’ humps.

At the time, the success of Aladdin proved that there could still be quality games on a console that was already well into its sunset phase. In fact, Screen Rant stated that Aladdin is the third-highest selling game on the Genesis.

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Return of the King may be one of the finest film-to-video game crossovers to date. Not only did it feature intense, cinematic levels, it also had a great combat system that can be truly enjoyed when played via co-op mode. Playing it felt like you were reliving the best sequences of the critically acclaimed movie, such as the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. What’s more, the game provided movie extras which players could unlock as they progressed. If you wanted to hear the thoughts of the LOTR cast when they played the game itself, you could watch their clips in the game’s bonus features. 

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Eight Harry Potter video games were released under EA, but the second title, Chamber of Secrets, still tops them all in terms of gameplay and design. Players can explore Hogwarts in an open world fashion. They can take different classes and obtain new spells, with each serving a particular purpose in solving puzzles or defeating enemies.

There are also mini-games that add a variety to the gameplay. Another great thing about the Chamber of Secrets is that it offers additional details from the Harry Potter books that weren’t highlighted in the movie. For instance, Peeves the Poltergeist, who did not appear in the films, served as a recurring character in the franchise’s video game counterparts.

4. GoldenEye 007


Aside from being a movie-game that did not stink, GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64 made revolutionary impact on several aspects of gaming. At a time when first person shooters were exclusive to PC, GoldenEye 007 proved that the FPS genre could also work on consoles. Additionally, the game took things to the next level by introducing local multiplayer, where four friends can share one screen and battle one another. In fact, it’s this multiplayer aspect that made GoldenEye 007 such a memorable and timeless title.

5. Spider-Man 2

Many Spider-Man video games have come out in the past, but Spider-Man 2 may be among the best ones, because of its fluid gameplay. The 2004 title on the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox is often revered for its excellent web-swinging mechanic that requires you to actually shoot your web on building surfaces, unlike previous titles where you only shoot webbing to the sky. Let’s hope Insomniac Games’ upcoming Spider-Man title brings a similar mechanic to the table.

Nowadays, fans rarely get big budget movie tie-in video games. Wired pointed out that it’s because game studios have made great strides in creating brands that are as good as movie licenses. Because most games based on movies performed poorly, the demand for such projects waned.

Of course, that’s not to say the trend is entirely gone, because movie studios can still release games as part of their marketing. But considering a console video game tie-in takes a significant portion of a project’s budget, the majority of developers opt for mobile and browser editions, which are notably cheaper to produce. Examples of such games include Minion Rush, an endless-runner type game that uses material from Despicable Me; and Pirates of the Caribbean: Master of the Seas, developed by Disney Interactive. Foxy Bingo’s game repertoire also features movie-based titles, including Planet of the Apes and A Nightmare on Elm Street. As originally intended, these titles promote the films they’re based on while also serving as fun games in their own right. And just like Return of the King, they typically have added features that give extra information about the movies.

All things considered, video game studios now have the power to create franchises that are just as good (or even better) that film series. The number of movie tie-in video games may be fewer today, but they’re still guaranteed to attract players as long as their film counterparts have avid fans.

Tony Marinilli

Tony is a passionate and devoted gamer who studies, examines, and enjoys all aspects of games from narrative, script, and score, to character development, and of course, gameplay and graphical quality. He enjoys Action/Adventure and RPGs like Last of Us and The Witcher, respectively. He writes about a myriad of topics within the gaming community, including but not limited to: reviews, focus pieces such as sexism within the industry and general news surrounding gaming as a whole. If reading about hot topics and enjoy engaging conversations about games, Tony is your go-to guy. When he is not at work, writing, or eating, Tony can be found playing games.

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