Movie tie-in games have almost become a thing of the past, but the success of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga proves that there is still some market for them. Despite a typically negative reputation, movie tie-in games used to be everywhere.
Ranging in quality from the immaculate Goldeneye 007 to the abysmal Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game, tie-in games are a large part of the video game landscape. Some of these tie-ins flew under the radar, whether they deserved to or not. Whether they were buried under a mass of other tie-ins or were barely publicized, fans may not know these movies even had tie-in games.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
With a new Netflix series out, the 2004 film with Jim Carrey is no longer the only adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Even those who remember the original movie may not know about its tie-in video game, which was surprisingly great.
Playing through the events of the movie and first three books, players could invent new gadgets to help them, explore the eccentric locales, and fight against Count Olaf’s henchmen. While certain sections could get tedious, and the later levels could get aggravatingly difficult, A Series of Unfortunate Events was a surprisingly fun game many fans may not have realized existed.
Over The Hedge
Since seemingly every children’s movie from the 2000s got a tie-in video game, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Over The Hedge was no different. What was somewhat of a surprise is that the game was actually a lot of fun, despite what critics might say.
Over the Hedge definitely had its issues, with repetitive gameplay and some impossibly dark sections, but it also featured some fun levels like an abandoned amusement park and Vincent’s cave, a plethora of collectible hats the characters could don, and some riotously enjoyable mini-games. It is somewhat of a shame that Over the Hedge fell by the wayside.
White Men Can’t Jump
Basketball video games can be hugely popular, one only has to look at the NBA 2K franchise. Games based on ’90s movies about Woody Harrelson hustling people in basketball evidently are not. White Men Can’t Jump was a fun sports comedy, but unfortunately the game was not so successful.
While a basketball tie-in game is possible, White Men Can’t Jump was probably not at the forefront of many people’s mind when adapting movies, and unfortunately the gameplay did not do much to prove them wrong. Both the gameplay and graphics were panned, but White Men Can’t Jump was one of the first Atari Jaguar games to feature four player capability, so at least it has something.
Being a film set in a video game, and made by Disney, it was probably inevitable that Tron: Legacy would get a tie-in game. In fact, it got a few decently popular releases. Tron: Evolution was a decent success, but has sadly faded into obscurity since.
This is a shame, because Tron: Evolution is one of the most criminally underrated licensed games of recent years. Telling an engaging prequel story to the film, Evolution also had fun free-running exploration, varied combat, and some phenomenally gorgeous visuals. It also had a detailed multiplayer suite, but sadly the game has become so obscure it has been essentially shut down.
World War Z
World War Z was very different from its source novel, but the zombie flick did go on to be huge success. What did go relatively unnoticed was the tie-in shooter game that game out several years later in 2019. The game followed the book more than the movie, but it is set up as somewhat of a spinoff for the film.
World War Z’s game adaptation was a four player survival shooter that pitted players against hordes of zombies. Unfortunately for World War Z, it was often compared to the Left 4 Dead series, and compared to the glut of other zombie games did little to set itself apart. Sadly, World War Z is a solid and entertaining game, but it couldn’t quite stand out.
The elephant in the room about adapting 2012’s Battleship into a video game is that Battleship is already based on a game. A board game. Battleship actually got two tie-in video games, one oddly enough a first-person shooter, and the other a slightly more faithful turn-based strategy.
Unfortunately, neither Battleship game performed terribly well, with the FPS version reviewing and selling poorly, although the strategy variation was received slightly better. Much like the movie they were based on, both incarnations of Battleship were quickly swept into the dustbin of history.
John Wick has cemented his place as one of the biggest names in action over the last several years, and the guns-blazing fight choreography of the John Wick movies seem perfect for a video game adaptation. That said, the only true tie-in game so far has received so little fanfare it is likely that many did not even know it existed.
John Wick Hex is not the typical shoot-em-up one might expect from a John Wick game. Hex is actually a very unique strategy game where players must use clever tactics to maneuver John through grid-like levels and clear out enemies. John Wick Hex‘s unique play style may be one of the reasons it is so overlooked, but it is also one of the main reasons to check it out.
Francis Ford Coppola’s immortal The Godfather has gone down in history as one of the best movies ever made, and for good reason. With its legendary status, one would think a video game adaptation would have been a much bigger deal than the admittedly successful 2006 tie-in was.
The Godfather video game set players as an original character in the Corleone crime family, working his way up the ranks and having a hand in several of the film’s biggest moments, like the infamous horse head scene. With a detailed open-world and many of the film’s stars reprising their roles for the voice cast, it is amazing that The Godfather is often overlooked in the genre.
Another contender for one of the greatest movies of all time, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai was a landmark film. Full of layered characters and spectacular set pieces, Seven Samurai continues to influence action movies to this day.
If fans did not know that Seven Samurai had a video game tie-in, it is likely because Seven Samurai 20XX has almost nothing to do with the film. Set in a futuristic Japan, 20XX pitted players against cyborgs and mutants in a plot that only very loosely resembled that of the film. Reviews of the game itself were mixed, although some of the criticism may be due to the difficult challenge of living up to the movie.
Plan 9 From Outer Space
From the best movies of all time to what is often considered the worst, Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space is so unapologetically terrible that it has garnered a cult following for its cheesiness. Such a universally panned film was either the best or worst choice for a tie-in game, but it got one anyway.
Plan 9 From Outer Space is a point-and-click adventure game where players actually have to track down and save the original film from being edited. The game embraced and poked fun at the terrible reputation of the movie, and was also poorly received, although for a true adaptation it couldn’t have been any other way.
NEXT: The 10 Most Surprising TV Shows That Got Video Game Tie-Ins