All computer games that are movie tie-ins are sh*t. It’s a universal truth. Usually rushed in development to coincide with a cinema release I defy anyone to think of a good one. Here are six of the worst...
Now, I liked Total Recall. So much so I named my beer-gut Kuato and would often daydream about the fantastic possibilities of having a conjoined twin, an extra arm or a girlfriend with three breasts. It was only fair and right that I expected big things from this game when Acclaim converted it to the NES, even if it was always likely the content would have to be toned down for a young audience. Instead of being toned down however, it was butchered and then its corpse was dragged through a manure silo filled with excrement from a group of particularly camp bulls. For some reason Arnie was now having to fight off seemingly invincible midgets, who wore pink leotards and attacked you by doing a can-can dance. If they didn’t get you there was always the wall of fists (presumably enjoyed by the dwarves when they were out of costume) that would punch out at you as you tried to pass it. Of course, neither of these were to be found anywhere in the fucking film and it left me and most players wishing the Recall centre was real so we could have a false memory implanted called “saving your money”.
When the people behind the popular and vegan friendly Ecco The Dolphin announced that they would be creating a game for Steven Speilberg’s Jaws, it was big news. What could be better than playing a malevolently intelligent super-shark, swimming through the sea and causing open ended mayhem? Well, it seems that reenacting the torture scene from Casino Royale with your mother swinging the cable would be if this was the alternative. Playing like an aquatic Grand Theft Auto, just without any of the good bits, the game was horrific for all the wrong reasons. Repetitive, pointless and easy, the game consisted of swimming through the most boring rendering of underwater that has ever existed (“Think we need a bit more 2D blue here John”) eating the odd swimmer, and sinking the odd boat. A massive let down, this game made you wish they’d adapted Amistad instead.
Street Fighter: The Movie
Remember when Hollywood was running so dry of creative juices that it started turning every best selling video game into a film? The legacy of that era is pap like Mario Brothers – an all time low for Bob Hoskins – and of course the Street Fighter movie. “What if” wondered one drug addled executive “we converted the film back into a game? Surely it would retain everything good that it had in the first place and would inherit some of the film’s charm…” Or it might be like the result of a Cajun honeymoon, producing some sort of Cyclopean, webbed monstrosity that has to be drowned in the nearby lake lest it achieve a taste for human flesh. This awful gaming chimera saw badly rendered sprites of the actors who played the characters in the movie – you know, Kylie and that Spanish guy from The Addams Family that everyone pretended to respect after he died – performing two or three standard moves in a button bashing blur of b*llocks. The only good thing about the game was it enabled you to punch the actors in the face.
Now I want you to ponder on that for a moment. Michael Jackson. Rescuing. Kidnapped. Children.
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker
Remember this one? Well what a humdinger it was… Using the power of dance you, playing as the prince of pop, have to rescue kidnapped children, while also playing through a variety of weird sub games that make little sense. Now I want you to ponder on that for a moment. Michael Jackson. Rescuing. Kidnapped. Children.
Picture the scenes:
“Hey Kid, looks like you’re going to be set free”
“Why, who’s rescuing us”
“Oh, it’s Michael Jackson…”
“Any chance you guys could hide me when he gets here?”
As totally preposterous as it later became hilariously inappropriate, Moonwalker was as truly dreadful as it sounds. A smart bomb that would destroy all on screen enemies was a dance routine to Smooth Criminal. Even Bubbles, his pet monkey that he would alarmingly dress up as an infant, would crop up in the game from time to time. A soul destroyingly awful game, from a soul destroyingly awful “film”, it at least enjoys some comedy value today. Now that he’s dead.
OK, it was the eighties and all games from that era would have a hard time standing up to today’s standards (actually not true at all but something I’m just saying to keep you youngsters on side) but this game is so excruciatingly bad it beggars belief. It seems to consist of moving a sprite around that is the colour of a new born baby’s first bowl movement and you have to build a phone so the titular alien can “phone home”.
The game suffered from the makers having only six weeks to put it out there to coincide with the movie’s release and it shows. For some reason there’s green sprites to eat, grey sprites to dodge and perhaps most importantly of all holes in the ground to avoid. The plot itself isn’t entirely clear and it’s doubtless anyone has ever played it long enough to complete it, or even if the game can be completed.
It was so bad it spawned an urban myth about Atari having to dump 2.5 million copies into a Mexican landfill, although this has never been verified. Still, the game remains a stupefyingly awful piece of clag that continued the Spielberg curse of sh*t games. (See Raiders of The Lost Ark for further evidence.)
Perhaps the biggest crime of all is taking a film that is a meditation on the nature of machismo, our adherence to consumer culture as a society and the hopelessness felt by many generation X-ers that have now had to grow up, and turning it into a piss poor Tekken rip-off. That was sold as a movie tie-in to make money ironically enough. Overlook the fact that if ever a film should reject the idea of merchandising and it should be Fight Club, but this game is just terribly made.
What’s worse than the collision detection, the contrived narrative that ties the fights together and the glitchy graphics? Probably the fact that if you complete story mode you unlock Fred Durst as a playable character? The yelping cretin was clearly too white to fit into Def Jam Vendetta. Of course, on a rare upside, there’s Abraham Lincoln too in the game. Seriously.
The first rule of Fight Club? Don’t play Fight Club?
Guess what the second rule is.
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