Friday, March 18, 2011

Five Video Games Based On Existing Franchises That Were Actually Good!

Atari. Pac-Man. Still fun.
It's no secret that some of the worst video games ever made were ones based off movies, comics, and cartoons. Look at E.T. the Extraterrestrial for the Atari. It nearly killed the '80s video game industry.

However, video games have changed much since the days of pong. One would think that making a good game off an existing franchise would be a piece of cake. After all, the characters and their world are already established, right? Sadly only a handful of games based on their original source material ever prove to be worthwhile, and here are five of the best:

(PS1/Nintendo 64)
The first time a Spider-Man game lived up to its 'Amazing' namesake
Before 2000 most Spider-Man games had lacked a vital element that made our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler so 'Amazing' or 'Spectacular' (depending on whichever Marvel title you follow). They had each lacked the ability to incorporate Spidey's 'spider-powers'. 

Spider-Man appeared on nearly every gaming platform before 2000, ranging from Atari, NES, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, etc. Yet, in each of those games you were only able to do basic web-swinging, punching, and the occasional web-shooting technique, but that's where the fun ended. 

In Activision's 2000 effort, you can actually swing from building to building and, while not completely a sandbox-open-world-environment, there was an element of exploration to some levels - something every Spider-Man game until 2000 had been sorely missing. For the first time, it actually brought the gamer into the world of the web-spinner and gave them a chance to experience what it would be like to be Spider-Man. 

Does whatever a spider can
Activision didn't waste the Spider-Man license either, including a gallery of Spidey's most popular enemies, including Mysterio, Dr. Octopus, Rhino, Venom, the Lizard, the Scorpion, Carnage, and even a new enemy made just for the game - Monster Ock (a combination of Carnage's symbiote and Doc Ock). 

All of the most popular baddies show their ugly faces
Not only did the villains appear in force, but as did many of Marvel's greatest heroes, such as Daredevil, the Punisher, the Black Cat, the Human Torch, and Captain America.

Activision also included a What If? mode (based off the Marvel title of the same name) and tons of alternate costumes with enhanced powers. 

And if that wasn't enough, most of the voice actors from Spider-Man: The Animated Series were recruited for the game, not to mention Stan Lee's exceptional chapter narrations! Excelsior!!

(PS2, PS3, XBOX 360, Wii) 

The boys in gray are back
Who ya gonna call? Atari's Ghostbusters game (which was even written by Dan Aykroyd!) is a must-play for any fan of the films.While the game has a fairly short single player campaign (about 6 hours), it does feature interesting multiplayer missions to provide some nice replay value. The story is top notch and is truly a worthy stand-in for Ghostbusters 3, especially since Bill Murray plans on stalling the third film indefinitely.

Bustin' will make you feel good
Not only does the original cast return to voice their in-game counterparts, but everything a Ghostbusters fan would love is incorporated in this game. Ever wanted to take on the Stay Puft man? How about Slimer? The library ghost? It's all here!

Don't cross the streams
Between the detailing on the proton packs, to the  usage of the PKE meters, to using your ghost trap, this is a fan's dream come true! However, avoid the PS2 and Wii versions, they're far more 'cartoonish' and lack the polish of the PS3 and XBOX 360 versions.

(Gamecube, PS2, XBOX)
Join the RDF and take on the Zentraedi
Only fans of the 1980s anime series, Robotech, could appreciate Robotech: Battlecry's painstaking detail and sincerity to it's source material. Even the cel-shaded graphics were perfect, making the gamer feel as though they were just dropped into an episode of the early show.
Robotech fans that always wanted to pilot their own transformable veritech got their chance in TDK's 2002 venture. With the ability to change your veritech from jet fighter, to guardian, to battloid mode, Robotech: Battlecry delivered the goods in spades. 

A gripping 'untold' story that spans the Macross Saga
With Robotech's majestic musical score and the return of the original voice actors, a true fan couldn't ask for much more. The only, and I do mean only, thing missing were a couple Minmei songs, especially during the attack on the entire Zentraedi armada from the standout 'Force Of Arms' episode, which was recreated in the game.

Riding into the Danger Zone

(PS3, XBOX 360)
Now this should be the premise of a live-action Batman movie
Like many superheroes, Batman never received the video game respect he deserved - until 2009's Arkham Asylum, that is. Pitted against the Joker, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn, Bane, and the Scarecrow, gamers had their hands full - and wanted more! 

Those are some big gloves
With Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their respective rolls of Batman and the Joker from the '90s animated series, Arkham Asylum was already a step in the right direction. With the addition of tight-controls, fast-paced gameplay, and a breathtaking Arkham Island, this game was not only the best Batman game ever made, but perhaps the best superhero game ever made as well.

A nice, albeit minuscule, touch was the damage to Batman's costume as the game progressed. It's that kind of attention to detail that made Arkham Asylum a winner. 

Four-against-one? All in a day's work for the Dark Knight

(PS3, XBOX 360)

More than meets the eye
A game made by G1 Transformers fans for G1 Transformers fans. Ignoring the Michael Bay films, Activision settled on the classic '80s Transformers style, while still managing to revamp the character designs.

One shall shall fall
Throw in Peter Cullen's voice as Optimus Prime and G1 soundalikes for the rest of the cast, and you've got the've got the power. 

The controls were slick, allowing the player to transform from robot-to-vehicle with ease. Despite the somewhat short single player campaign, the multiplayer mode was even more fun, with tons of leveling-up options.
This is how a Transformers game should be made! Not to mention the brilliance of throwing a Stan Bush song in and adding loads of G1 cartoon references. 

Soundwave superior, Constructicons inferior

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