With the recent unveiling of Super Mario Bros. movie trailer, fans are surprisingly confident that this movie can finally correct course when it comes to bad video game movies. However, there is another well-known stigma about video games attached to movies, namely that most games based on movies are trash.
This is not always the case, as some movie-based games manage to either match or even surpass the quality of the source material. That said, there are a handful of video games that are pretty good, despite being based on movies that have gotten some pretty scathing reviews.
The Punisher (2005)
While it has its fans, the 2004s The Punisher received a critical overhaul for its script, direction, and the confusing decision to set the film in Florida as opposed to New York City. While it’s a half-hearted attempt to translate the then-recent Garth Ennis comics for a mainstream audience, its most positive aspect, which was the casting of Thomas Jane as Frank Castle, was given a chance to really shine in the video game.
With a screenplay written by Ennis, Volition’s Punisher the game was highly controversial for its violent gameplay and execution mechanics, but the game is now regarded as a cult classic that perfectly sets the dark comedic tone Punisher comics were known for at the time. Jane also reprises her role, and his somber voice mixed with the game’s brutal dialogue shows what the film could have been.
Ghost Rider (2007)
Released one year before the MCU started, Ghost Rider feels like a carbon copy of Blade, just without any cool factor. At its core, while surprisingly faithful to the comics, the film is a fairly humdrum origin story, with the only thing going for it is an outstanding performance from Nicolas Cage.
The video game tie-in also copies a more popular piece of media, this time God of War, but unlike the film, it does so very successfully. Although it won’t win any awards anytime soon, Ghost Rider is a solid hack-n-slash game with surprisingly fun racing mechanics.
A View To A Kill (1985)
With death in sight, Roger Moore’s final film as James Bond, is not the MI6 agent’s finest hour. The addition of young talent like Christopher Walken and Grace Jones only serves to make the 57-year-old Moore look even older, with the film leaning a little too hard into the ridiculousness of the franchise.
It might seem strange to praise a text adventure game, but for a piece of 80s nostalgia, A View To A Kill’s video game tie-in is a solid bit of fun, presenting a fun, interactive narrative that enhances the action of the film. While it might be a bit of a struggle to play the game now, anyone with access to an old computer from the 80s owes it to themselves to try this out.
Judge Dredd (1995)
The minute that Sylvester Stallone is Judge Dredd had the character removed his helmet, fans of the comic knew that the people behind the movie didn’t care about them. Not only is the film a slap in the face to fans of Judge Dredd, but it is also considered a mediocre action film in its own right. Not to mention, as funny as it is, the movie has the weakest puns of Stallone’s career.
Even if it is based on the movie Judge Dredd the game, a side-scrolling run-and-gun game, has an art style and narrative that feels more in line with the comics of the same name. Although criticized at the time for its difficult boss fights, the game is a much better Dredd experience than the movie, especially the SNES version.
The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay (2004)
After the success of Pitch blackseries shepherds David Twohy and Vin Diesel rushed to get the character into one Chronicle of Riddick sequel. While it has since gained a cult following, The Chronicles of Riddick was panned by critics at the time, with the biggest complaints being that the film went too hard to make the character an action hero instead of an anti-hero.
The film’s video game tie-in, Escape from Butcher Bay, not only returns to the character’s more sinister roots, but is among the most underrated stealth games of all time. After Riddick, years before Pitch blackas he attempts to escape from a maximum security prison, the game nails the atmosphere of the franchise and Diesel nails his vocal performance.
Ratchet & Clank (2016)
Ratchet & Clank has been a beloved video game franchise for decades, but when the iconic duo debuted on the silver screen, it left a lot to be desired. When it was released in 2016, critics panned the film for its recycled plot and its prioritization of celebrity voice actors over the title characters.
The release of the film was accompanied by a remake of the original Ratchet & Clank the game, once again developed by Insomniac Games, and thus the game was the special spark that was missing from the film. The remake set the standard high for Ratchet & Clank game in terms of mechanics, graphics and feel, some of the latter Rift Apart was able to.
The Room Tribute (2010)
The room is a film that ages well and badly at the same time, and is considered one of the best worst films ever made. The sheer ridiculousness displayed in Tommy Wiseau’s magnum opus is so staggering that there is no comment The room can avoid discussing it, something the developers of The Room Tribute was aware of.
Strange, turn the completely strange events around The room into a retro RPG makes sense, with the developers even finding ways to fill the gaping plot holes in the movie. The Room Tribute has received praise from many people, most notably Mark actor Greg Sestero, who went out of his way to praise it in his book The Disaster Artist.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine should have been a slam dunk of a movie, with the character’s newly unveiled backstory mixed with his history with Weapon X offering a great blueprint for a cinematic narrative. Alas, the X-Men’s most famous member’s solo film is one of the worst things to happen to Wolverine, with the script and direction receiving the most criticism.
The biggest disappointment with the film is that it was cartoonish and too scared to go bloody, which the video game tie-in delivered. Again taking signals from God of Warthe game manages to make the film’s silly elements work with its more violent direction, with Hugh Jackman once again delivering a strong performance as Wolverine.
Alien Resurrection (2000)
Alien resurrection is seen by many fans and critics as the low point of Alien franchise, with its weak script and cartoonish direction sending the quadrilogy off with a whimper. While it should be commended for its ambition, the film left a sour taste in the mouths of fans, especially when the franchise needed a win more than ever.
Although generally disliked at the time, not only is the video game based on the film that much better, but the controls proved revolutionary. While most FPS games on consoles were stiff and unresponsive, Argonaut developer games developed a smoother, more responsive control scheme that would become the standard for all FPS games today.
Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Severus (2002)
There have been many achievements in film, but the only one that has been awarded Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever is that it is the worst reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes. More action-packed than a Thanksgiving turkey, but with far less flavor and substance, the film’s 0% rating is justified, as most reviewers felt it’s so bland that the action leaves the mind as soon as the credits roll.
A more memorable one Ecks vs. Sever experience can be found in the GBA game of the same name, which is so divorced from the film in both story and quality that it functions as its own thing. The execution of the FPS mechanics, especially for the GBA, is incredibly impressive, making the game a true hidden gem.
NEXT: 10 Best Video Games With Multiple Protagonists