Movie to game adaptations—and vice versa—should generally be approached with great caution, as they tend to suffer the transition from screen to screen. While there are exceptions to the rule that games based on movie licenses, for lack of a better word, suck, these are few and far between. The Godfather from EA was a surprisingly serviceable video game extension of the classic movie franchise and Goldeneye 007 is nothing short of a classic console shooter. However, as 2007 was regarded among many as possibly the best year ever for gaming, its movie licensed gaming fodder was historically terrible.
From godawful schlock like Balls of Fury for the Wii and Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer for just about everything to phoned in barely adequate fare like Beowulf and Ratatouille, it wasn’t a banner year for movie licensed games. Some, like Transformers and 300 for the PSP, performed just well enough to not be embarrassments for buyers, but 2007 was filled with missed opportunities that could have made great games out of great movies.
I’ve picked five of my favorite candidates for Missed Movie Licensing Opportunities Of 2007, all of which are after the jump.
28 Weeks Later
Zombie movies are an easy choice, but 28 Weeks Later places for its emphasis on tense action and the series’ trademark lightning fast infected. It may have been cinematically inferior to its predecessor, suffered from the inclusion of precocious kids and cheesy virus resistant citizens, but it also features the best pre-credits zombie chase scene arguably ever. A game that is in parts zombie killing and parts weaponless survival horror could help to provide a nice alternative to Capcom’s zombie monopoly.
King of Kong
How to turn a documentary on the subject of playing video games isn’t an easy task, especially when the movie in question isn’t exactly a blockbuster, but someone’s already done it. King of Kong: The Video Game cries out for a WarioWare style mini-game collection that pits players against hot sauce mogul and hairy game expert Billy Mitchell. Fortunately, Namco seems to be making the equivalent real-life version of the game that will never be with Video Game Training DS.
This Korean horror film was actually released in 2006, but didn’t make its way stateside (save for a few film festivals) when Magnolia Pictures distributed it in limited release and on DVD in 2007. It may suffer from Jaws syndrome, a singular enemy plot device that doesn’t make for many combatants, but the vague “virus” and spectacular monster design could certainly be fleshed out for a few more scary underdwellers. It’s metaphorically political, to boot, something we could use more of in games.
Again with the zombies? Yes. Again. As I watched the first half of Grindhouse in the theater, I couldn’t shake the notion that Robert Rodriguez’s ode to comedy gore played out like a video game. Leg mounted rocket launchers, complete with rocket jump, and regular Joes versus hordes of undead and a team of special forces is all the excuse someone should have required for a video game adaptation. Plus, as in 28 Weeks Later, zombies are dispatched (read: turned to rotting salsa) by helicopter blades. Fun!
Children of Men
Oh, escort missions suck and the game’s dreary setting has already been explored to some degree in Half-Life 2, but a side story in the world created by director Alfonso Cuarón would just be hellishly heavenly. Children of Men is in the most danger of being artistically shat upon by a video game adaptation, but the bizarre and untrustworthy cast of characters would make for great FPS fodder.