The Dorklyst: The 12 Greatest Videogames Based On Movies

By Alex Schmidt / November 16, 2012
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The immutable Laws Of Corporate Synergy (they're like the Three Laws Of Motion, but for money) require tentpole movies to have videogame adaptations. That's how we know Star Wars Episode VII will have no less than 8 games based on it (hopefully at least one about podracing). It's why Skyfall is already the jumping-off point for a through-the-franchise Bond game. And considering they're already doing The Great Gatsby in 3D, they might as well print some more money with The Sims: West Egg.

Now even though movie cash-in video games start life as an extra revenue source for a ruthless corporation, they're also the biggest project of any game developer's year. A lot of them turn out to be labors of love worth playing again and again, long after the film fades into obscurity as Saturday afternoon programming on TNT. Here are the 12 greatest videogames based on movies.

12. Ghostbusters: The Video Game

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A lot of videogame-to-movie adaptations are only good ideas because the cinematic source material is ridiculously great. Best example: this 2009 "shooter" (sort of) where you get to be a Ghostbuster in what's essentially the franchise's third movie. Sure, after some mediocre NES entries when the original movies came out, the idea of a good Ghostbusters game seems as crazy as cats and dogs living together – mass hysteria, right? Plus, the endless ghost-trapping is only sort of fun, there's no way to translate Bill Murray's brilliance into stilted cutscenes, but did you read that part before? You get to be a Ghostbuster. That's worth a rental just for the wander-the-Ghostbusters-firehouse experience you get in between missions. There's even a surprisingly hot NPC version of Janine Melnitz. Do your best Spengler and holla at her.

11. The Thing

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Now here's an unofficial game sequel that works much better, whether you're playing the (superior) console version or the PC game. Even though it's an older title than the Ghostbusters game (from the ancient year of 2002), and even though other games already offered the using-a-flamethrower-to-kill-an-alien-menace experience, this game has The Thing's brilliantly terrifying alien horror for you to clench your jaw and blast. Antarctica's not a friendly place, but Kurt Russell doesn't kick ass in friendly places, and neither should the star of The Thing II (which is you, and not Ramona Flowers in that The Thing prequel that no one saw).

10. Blade Runner

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Ridley Scott's sci-fi epic is an impressively dense thinker for being a Harrison Ford action movie about a robot hunter. After all, nobody's sitting around asking if Indiana Jones or Han Solo are replicants, right? (They're American slash Corellian heroes, period) But what's really daring about Blade Runner isn't the challenging movie script. It's the really challenging point-and-click detective adventure game that came out of it. While the idea of these kind of games (such as Sam & Max) has died out over the past couple decades, nothing quite compares to going around tracking dozens of clues, watching extended cutscenes for hints of where to go next, and facing off with AI characters who pursue their own objectives while you work on yours. It's basically LA Noire, set in the future, made in (by game design chronology) the distant past.

9. Disney's Aladdin (Genesis)

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A lot of love and care went into this 1992 leap-around-Arabia sidescroller…for the Sega Genesis platform. Virgin Interactive's version was made separately from a Capcom release for the Super NES, and got everything right by letting your Aladdin use a sword, kick ass to 16-bit "A Whole New World" and "Prince Ali" soundtrack music, and run through a world animated by the same Disney artists who drew the source movie. Plus the lava level has you flee big rolling boulders in a cave, which means this Aladdin game is also a stealth Indiana Jones game.

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