Though we stand behind our first tribute to snow levels, we realize we overlooked a bunch of really great ones. So here's part 2! Enjoy our second tribute to the greatest wintery levels in videogame history. And if we missed one, maybe we'll make a part 3!
But don't count on it.
Few games seem so easily adaptable to the videogame world as Scott Pilgrim probably because Scott Pilgrim itself was so deeply influenced by videogames. Whether you think the Michael Cera film version was awesome or the awesomest (it's actually a little of both), it's hard to deny how great this throwback, beat-em-up game was and this level was a pretty fantastic introduction. It's games like this that make me wish my girlfriend had evil exes for me to defeat. And that people I beat up would turn into coins, instead of assault charges.
Ice Man may look like a relatively nonthreatening, slightly-deformed, neckless eskimo, but looks can be deceiving in the world of Mega Man. His stage is one of the most challenging in the original much moreso than the barely-not-copyright-infringing Bomb Man or the effective-against-Paper-Man Cut Man. The most challenging aspect was that nagging question: Why are there frozen-over palm trees in the background? Was it a bold statement about climate change, or did Capcom just try to lazily re-use some beach level sprites? You be the judge.
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
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.
A MacGuffin was originally a film concept, defined as "an element that drives the plot of a work of fiction." Basically, they are cheap ploys that make a hero want to do something, and they've never enjoyed more prevalence than in the video game industry. Why do you want that princess, star, or weapon you can't even use? Because you do, you benighted controller monkey! Here's our tribute to the MacGuffins that deserve recognition for being awesome, terrible, ironic, or just confusing.
6. Triforce (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
The Triforce was left behind by three goddesses (supposedly) and has the power to grant wishes, but only to a person with equal measures of courage, power, and wisdom. This seems to be one of those built-in after school special messages, as someone who already has all three qualities wouldn't have any trouble getting anything they wanted. Or even if you just had power, that's probably enough to put you on the road to success sans a set of wish-granting golden triangles. Of course, if you have no wisdom, power, or courage, presumably that's still equal measures, so we can only guess that Link is forever on a quest to prevent stupid, cowardly, unimportant people from touching the Triforce.
What would have happened without it: Ganon would have been forced to ruin lives by some other, less elegant method, like forming a standing army of desert people who are not so afraid of Master Swords, pretty ponies, and wind instruments. This situation would be moderately less difficult to navigate than the Water Temple.
Somewhere down the line, game developers decided they weren't satisfied with just making games. They wanted to put games in their games. Miniature games. Some of them break up the single player experience, some of them add multiplayer and some of them are just something to do when you're bored (but not so bored that you want to turn the system off, go outside and meet other people). On rare occasions, minigames can be even more fun than the games they were packaged in. This is a tribute to the minigames that shamed their macrogames.
6) Original Pitfall (Pitfall: The Mayan Adventures)
I was alive in 1994, so I remember when there was only one videogame genre: platformer. Back then it wasn't a videogame if you weren't jumping over death pits to move the screen right. Pitfall: The Mayan Adventures didn't bring anything new to the table. It was full of cliches like jungles, vine swinging and runaway mine carts. While not a bad game by any means, you'd pretty much seen everything there was to see by the third level. The developers must have realized this because that's where they snuck in a secret portal to the '80s, one that stripped away all your bits and let you play the classic Atari version of Pitfall. It's still got the cliche vines and pits, but that's only because it invented them. Pitfall was the game that defined the genre. For better or worse, every platformer that came afterwards owes a lot to the original Pitfall, none more so Pitfall: The Mayan Adventures.
Videogame advertising should be almost impossibly simple: all anyone needs to hear is that it's a videogame, it's fun to play, and that's it. "Videogames are fun, you should buy this one because look how fun it is!" Nothing more is necessary. But maybe it's because of the utter simplicity needed that marketing for videogames gets so weird to set your videogame apart, maybe the ad should be a surreal journey into a bizarre, trippy, nonsensical world?
The answer to that question is "no, really you shouldn't do that, that's just confusing", but don't tell the gaming industry that, because they're pretty committed to it. Here are the worst videogame commercials of all-time.
20. Sega CD
You know when you're watching TV and a guy comes on and starts berating you about something and you have an IQ of 35 so you're incapable of speaking other than grunts and well, relatability is probably not the goal here. The goal is to show how the weird, bad graphics of the Sega CD will cause a wind tunnel in your home and briefly turn you into a skeleton and finally turn you into the Joker. "Sega CD" is a pretty disappointing answer to how he got those scars.
Life. Death. For all things, there is a season. Now you bask and frolic in the light of the sun, but in time, you, too, will be commended to the earth. Unless you're in a comic book, in which case, you'll probably just take a quick dirtnap and get back on your feet in no time, so long as yours is a commercially viable series (and sometimes even if it's not). For superheroes, returns to the world of the living range from triumphant to shockingly dumb to outright ridiculous. Here are the 7 most ridiculous resurrections in comic book history.
7. Aunt May
In the Hitchcock film Psycho, mild-mannered Norman Bates lives alone in an old motel with his elderly mother, who commits horrible murders. By the end of the film, it's been revealed that Norman's mother has been dead for a decade, and the 'Mother' committing the murders is actually an aspect of his fractured psyche; he dresses like her, carries on conversations with her, and stole and preserved her corpse so she would never truly die. This is not unlike Peter Parker's relationship with his Aunt May, who has been very nearly murdered so many times it's a miracle she never built up an immunity. Most recently, she was shot in a failed hit by the Kingpin. Seeing his aunt dying again, Peter literally made a deal with the devil: In exchange for the life of an old, old woman in perpetual danger, Peter agreed to retroactively give up his marriage and entire romantic history with his bombshell supermodel wife. Time was turned back, allowing Peter to spend many more blissful years with his aunt's embalmed corpse. Of course, this is only slightly more ridiculous than the last time Aunt May died, at which point she turned out to have been a surgically-altered actress all along, because that's a thing that happens.
The entire concept of having animals evolve into insanely-powerful beast monsters by beating the crap out of others in battle (or by being exposed to stones, being traded, etc.) is pretty ridiculous in and of itself. But it's not too difficult suspending your disbelief when the end result is a fire-breathing dragon who remains loyal to you (despite the fact you're forcing it to fight a bird who shoots lightning). But there are some specific evolutions that are extremely weird, even in the already-weird field of Pokemon evolutions. These are the 10 weirdest evolutions in Pokemon.
10. Cubone into Marowak
Cubone's life kinda sucks he's so upset at the death of his mother (remember, this is an entire species of Pokemon, meaning they all are bereaved over the deaths of each of their individual mothers), that he literally wears her skull, which may not be the most emotionally-healthy coping tactic. Then again, in some deeply, deeply messed up way, his mother is still protecting poor little Cubone since her skull now acts as his helmet. It's definitely indicative of some kind of creepy Norman Bates/Mother relationship, but it's mostly harmless.
Where it gets weird is when Cubone evolves into Marowak. Essentially, Marowak's just a bigger Cubone, which isn't all that weird. What is weird is that Marowak is defined by having gotten over the death of its mother (remember: AS A SPECIES, Marowaks have ALL gotten over the deaths of their individual mothers), but still wears a skull on its head. But it's specifically NOT its mother's! Meaning Marowak found some random dead Pokemon's bigger skull and is wearing that now? Something tells me Marowak hasn't quite reached the closure it claims to have.
All heroes of nerdy franchises become more powerful over time. They start out as rookies, then eventually become masters by training with a wise sensei or being corrupted by a cursed sword; you know the drill. The transformations are rarely realistic, but at least they offer some kind of explanation. Here's our tribute to six characters that got major upgrades for no apparent reason.
6. Claire Redfield (Resident Evil: Code Veronica)
Through Resident Evil 3, the main characters of the series were above-average survivors with a lucky streak. They had a slightly greater skillset than their idiot comrades and survived by utilizing teamwork and well-timed saves. Claire's first appearance in Resident Evil 2 painted her as the naÃ¯ve, but tough, little sister of Chris Redfield. She was by no means a damsel in distress, but definitely wasn't outrunning helicopters or killing 50 armed guards with a single bullet. Until Code Veronica, that is.
And the trend didn't stop there. By later games, Leon was dodging lasers like a Matrix character and Chris looked like he'd been shooting horse steroids directly into his dick after every meal. And don't even get me started on Wesker. I miss Barry.
Most videogame antagonists are pretty one-dimensional: they're content to twirl their mustaches, tie the hero's girlfriend to the tracks and drink milk straight from the carton. But every now and then a villain comes along whose motives run a little bit deeper. Maybe these "evil" characters are just misunderstood heroes with bad PR. Or even a true-blue villain who repents and hitches his wagon to the good guy caravan late in the game. We love these guys especially, because villain-turned-heroes are awesome: They dress better, they don't take any crap, and they still have that aura of lingering badassery that a Mario or a Crono is never going to achieve. In honor of our one-time enemies that fought alongside us, here are our candidates for the prestigious Vegeta Award For Excellence In Being Less Evil Than You Used To Be.
The jury's still out on what exactly an echidna is, but if they're at all like Knuckles in Sonic 3, we can assume they're a race of pointy-fisted animals that occasionally flip switches that make you fall off waterfalls. Then laugh about it. A lot.
As it turns out, Knuckles isn't actually that much of a dick. He had been tricked by Robotnik into thinking that Sonic was trying to steal the Master Emerald. And as the last surviving Echidna on Angel Island (thank you, Wikipedia), it was his sworn duty to protect it. Eventually he grew wise to Robotnik's evil ways (the army of robot slaves didn't tip him off initially) and joined up with Sonic. Nowadays, Knuckles is one of Sonic's greatest allies, even earning a title credit in the follow-up game, "Sonic & Knuckles," after only one appearance. See, this is why Tails drinks.