Best Movie Tie-In Games: Top 10 Games Based On Movies
Writing about the best movie tie-in games may seem like an oxymoron because of how many poor efforts there are, but believe it or not, some video games based on films are actually somewhat decent. In fact, there are even a couple that could be considered downright good. Crazy, right? You've probably already played the games for your favourite films, but here are the top 10 best movie games of all time.
Note that for this list, we're going for games directly based off movies, not just in the same franchise or inspired by. The game must retell the events of the movie.
- Looking for something to play with friends or family? Check out our list of the best party video games
Best Movie Tie-In Games: Disney's Hercules (#10)
Platforms: PS1, PC
Also known as Disney's Action Game Featuring Hercules because... reasons, Disney's Hercules probably wouldn't stand the test of time today, but when it launched it was one of the best 2D side scrollers of 1997. It's as simple as it gets, but the basics are absolutely done right, with Hercules having two attacks, sword and punch, plus three different difficulty levels and various weapon power-ups that can let the character shoot lightning or fireballs.
Rather impressively, the game also featured audio and voice lines from the movie. Each level has a series of HERCULES tokens to collect, which allows the player to start at the next level, along with four vases to smash which reveal a password for the current level. The game works by being one constant run, so if you die on your way to the final boss, you have to start from the very beginning without these crutches.
Best Movie Tie-In Games: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (#9)
Platforms: PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2
It isn't always the case that a video-game movie tie-in is actually better than the main film itself, but that was exactly what happened with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This third-person slash-em-up brought all the blood and gore that the mainline movie franchise could never attain. You can brutally hack and slash your way through countless enemies, and watch as your wounds heal in real-time - or as you are blasted back to your Adamantium skeleton.
With Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, and even Will.i.am voicing their characters once more, this brought an all-star cast to this movie tie-in. And while the story largely recounts the same beats of the movie, at least there are fun gameplay moments in-between and the most brutal Marvel game we've had to date.
Best Movie Tie-In Games: Enter The Matrix (#8)
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC
Hope for a new Matrix game may have sparked once again thanks to The Matrix Awakens Unreal Engine experience, but we're here to say that there is already a fantastic movie tie-in in the form of Enter The Matrix. Running in tandem with The Matrix Reloaded, you play as Noibe and Ghost, both characters that feature in The Matrix trilogy.
You will be interacting with characters before and during the events of the second movie, expanding the narrative and world. This third-person shooters combined the martial arts, gunplay, and slo-mo physics bending of the movies to create one utterly awesome Matrix experience. It even features tracks from the official soundtrack, so you can feel especially awesome as you proclaim that you know kung-fu.
- Got a Nintendo Switch? Check out our list of the best Switch games
Best Movie Tie-In Games: Die Hard Trilogy (#7)
Platforms: PS1, Sega Saturn, PC
The Die Hard Trilogy game wasn't afraid to take risks, which resulted in an experiment that we'd never seen before, and have hardly seen since. Since it's a trilogy, of course the package is split up into three games, but they're not all cover-based shooters or stealth games like you might expect. Instead, each game is an entirely different genre.
Each one follows the plot of its respective movie, which means Die Hard is a third-person shooter set in Nakatomi Plaza. Die Hard 2: Die Harder, on the other hand, is an on-rails shooter where you need to stop the terrorists who have taken over the airport. Meanwhile, Die Hard With A Vengeance is a driving game, letting you hurtle round New York City in a variety of vehicles, finding and defusing explosives. Eat your heart out, The Orange Box.
Best Movie Tie-In Games: Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay (#6)
Platforms: Xbox, PC (re-released on Xbox 360, PS4)
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay served as a prequel to the first Riddick film, Pitch Black, and stood as an early example of a quality move tie-in video game. It sees the titular character attempting to escape from a maximum security prison, with gameplay elements of first-person shooting combat, stealth, exploration, and social interaction.
The variation of content over the course of its campaign kept it fresh, and it always conjured new ways to make you feel trapped. For its time the graphics, and particularly the lighting, stand out, adding a real depth to the oppressive prison environments.
Best Movie Tie-In Games: Peter Jackson's King Kong (#5)
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, GameCube
Turok, eat your heart out; Peter Jackson's King Kong is the true champion of the dinosaur-killing genre. It plays out as a first-person shooter and at the time, sold itself on its immersion because there is essentially no HUD, no reticle, and no health bar. Sure, these can be enabled, but them being disabled by default means King Kong is tense and atmospheric as you slay the dinos.
Interspersed between the first-person missions however, are sections where you get to play as the titular character. You'll leap and swing your way across Skull Island, defending Ann from other monsters, brawl-style. Go into fury mode, and you can wreak total havoc. Plus, there's even a secret ending which sees Kong get saved and transported back to Skull Island, instead of the bitter end he'd otherwise face.
- Fancy a fight to the death, last-man-standing style? Here are the best battle royale games
Best Movie Tie-In Games: Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King (#4)
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube
Such an iconic series of movies deserved the greatest games to go alongside them and that's exactly what we got with Return of the King. Following directly on from The Two Towers (because duh, of course it does), Return of the King was a third-person hack-and-slash game where each and every character had their own weapons and abilities.
Each level sees you graded on how efficiently you've slaughtered enemies, whether you're playing as Gandalf, Gimli, Frodo, Faramir, or someone else in the legendary roster of characters. Each level is open-ended and much less linear than its predecessor too, with interactable environments and objects such as catapults and cauldrons.
Best Movie Tie-In Games: The Warriors (#3)
Platforms: PS2, Xbox (re-released on PS4)
Video games based on movies usually come out around the same time as the film, if not slightly after, but Rockstar-developed The Warriors was released a whole 26 years after the original film. Despite this, the third-person beat 'em up that sees you play as the eponymous gang in the streets of New York even had some of the original cast return to voice their characters.
You play as a range of characters from the gang, with each mission focusing on a specific person like Cleon, Swan, Ajax, etc. With numerous gameplay mechanics like levelling up attributes at The Warriors' headquarters, melee combos, and the ability to mug people and spray graffiti, The Warriors still holds up today on the PS4 re-release.
Best Movie Tie-In Games: GoldenEye 007 (#2)
Platforms: N64 (re-released on Wii U)
In 1995, Martin Campbell managed to breathe new life into the sexist, misogynistic, dinosaur that was James Bond. Two years later, GoldenEye 007 did the same for the video game world. Although a pixelated likeness of Pierce Brosnan and Izabella Scorupco might look a little dodgy by today’s standard, GoldenEye 007 brought the FPS genre to home consoles.
Levels like Dam and Train are still icons in their own right - as Rare captured the magic of the movie. If that wasn’t enough, GoldenEye 007 even took the story beyond Alec Trevelyan’s demise thanks to bonus levels in Mexico and Egypt. Who didn’t love putting rivals in their crosshairs with the Golden Gun?
If it wasn’t for this plucky N64 game, it’s doubtful we’d be playing Call of Duty: Vanguard and Halo Infinite in 2021. Sadly, rights issues between Rare, Nintendo, and Microsoft mean a truly modern remaster has never come to pass. Here’s hoping it ends up on the N64 Switch Expansion.
- Got a VR headset? Take a look at this list of the best VR games
Best Movie Tie-In Games: Spider-Man 2 (#1)
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC
While the recent Spider-Man game on PS4 may be Peter Parker's best outing (until the Marvel's Spider-Man 2 release date, anyway), what came before was an utterly outstanding Spider-Man game. Still praised today for its swinging and web mechanics - which had to be pointed at actual surfaces to swing on - it's one of the best superhero games to date.
Various abilities of Spidey's can be upgraded, the map of Manhattan was colossal for the time, and the variety of side missions involved delivering pizzas and saving people from falling off buildings. Combat required precisely timed punches, kicks, and dodges, which may seem commonplace now, but was revolutionary at the time. It even featured a never-seen-before villain: Calypso.
Now you know all of the best movie tie-in games, why not check out the best PS5 games?