Blockbuster movies draw people in, and game developers are the first ones to capitalize. Unfortunately, by the time the developers have had their way with the raw material, what’s left over isn’t always something to get excited about. Here are, in my opinion, some of the biggest movie to game adaptation fails.
Fail no. 1: Rambo: The Video Game (2014)
Rambo is the ultimate 80s action hero. On the big screen, he’s unstoppable, dodging bullets and surviving in the wild as others try hunting him down. Some might say he’s the action hero that others strive to emulate.
Unfortunately, Rambo: The Video Game does nothing to help his image. Published 3 decades after the original, the remake does no justice to the movie franchise. It looks terrible, the controls suck, and it’s left just about every Rambo fan who’s ever played the game completely disappointed. My only comfort is that the game covers all 3 Rambo movies, so at least we know we won’t be subjected to any sequels.
Fail no. 2: Lord of the Rings: War in the North (Windows 2011, Mac 2013)
Peter Jackson brought Tolkein’s masterpiece to life on the big screen, where millions of viewers gazed in awe at the epic story of Frodo, his friends, and the seductive power of the ring. The combination of staged fight scenes and the ever-popular fantasy setting made a game version seem like a sure bet.
As it turns out, the action RPG Lord of the Rings – War in the North uses the movie more or less as a template. To be honest, it takes the name, a few well-known characters and not much more. The connection to the novel is loose, at best. The controls are hit and miss, its glitchy, and for such a long movie and book, the game is really short. The (only?) highlight is the outstanding musical score.
- Download Lord of the Rings: War in the North for Windows
- Download Lord of the Rings: War in the North for Mac
Fail no. 3: James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game (2009)
Avatar is an undisputed king of the box office; with sales of $2.8 billion, it’s the highest grossing film of all time. The action-packed ecodrama set on the Earth-like planet of Pandora mixed special effects with real footage to excellent effect, creating new standards for 3D films. All this technical wizardry seemed to be begging for a video game adaptation.
James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game started strong, but ended up plain boring, with gameplay that involves running one mindless errand after another. The confusing camera work doesn’t help, and neither does the erratic distribution of action. The biggest downside, however, is that if you’ve never seen the movie, you’ll have absolutely no idea what’s going on.
Fail no. 4: Terminator: Salvation (2009)
Terminator: Salvation isn’t exactly a cinematic classic: in the 4th Terminator installment, our iconic hero, John Connor, struggles for survival against unstoppable machines and the Skynet. Even though the story’s pretty poor, it’s a solid action movie, which is a great starting point for any action game.
Or so I thought. The video game takes the “Terminator” part pretty literally. It’s far too short to do justice to the movie, taking an average film and making it into a below-average game. Players shoot away at the same opponents in an attempt to get more trophies, and that’s pretty much all there is to it. Disappointing.
Conclusion: treat game adaptations with suspicion!
A good movie doesn’t always make a good game. Even though the films above hold their own in theaters, when it comes to the small screen, they bomb. It’s a pity, because these games all had one thing in common – plenty of potential. It’s a shame it wasn’t better used.
If you’re interested in better games, check out some under-the-radar indie games set to be released this year.