Entertainment Lifestyle

The Best Movie-Inspired Videogames

Great Videogames Inspired by Films

Videogames are bigger than Hollywood, but the silver screen can still be a great source of ideas and themes for videogames. Here are some of the best that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for great movies.

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Spiderman 2 (PS2 era)

Spiderman is one of the big three superheroes, alongside Superman and Batman, and he’s also had the best videogame directly inspired by a movie in Spiderman 2, released a little while ago now for the PS2 (also on the Xbox, Nintendo DS, and GameCube). Despite its age, the game nailed the web-slinging mechanic by which Spidey hurtles between the towering skyscrapers of New York City, making getting from A to B a hugely fun part of the game. Not only that, diving off the tallest towers and slinging a web only at the last moment was some seriously heart-pounding excitement.

One of Spidey’s biggest strengths is how relatable he is, making it easier for players to put themselves in his shoes and appreciate his perspective. Lacking the bank balance of Bruce Wayne or the sheer invincibility of Superman, it’s a lot easier to see things through Spidey’s eyes. The game also incorporated web-slinging alongside good old fisticuffs into the combat, making use of our hero’s rapid reflexes to give him an edge over hordes of goons without making it so easy it diminishes the satisfaction of beating up a gang of hoodlums.

And that’s before we get to the story. Spiderman 2 was probably the best of the three movies starring Tobey Maguire as our hero and Alfred Molina as first his friend and then the antagonist (Doctor Octopus) in a compelling storyline reproduced in the game. The only real downside to the game was that some of the side quests could be a little repetitive, but overall it was an expansive and fun experience and a high point in the history of movie-inspired videogames. More recently, Marvel’s Spiderman and Marvel’s Spiderman: Miles Morales have also gone down very well with the gaming public.

GoldenEye (N64)

GoldenEye achieved a rare double of being a cracking movie and inspiring a fantastic videogame of the same name. Released back in the happy times of the 1990s, this Bond film was Pierce Brosnan’s first and best, introducing Judi Dench as M, and starring Sean Bean as the villain, alongside Famke Janssen as the delightfully vicious Xenia Onatopp. The film was great, but perhaps the videogame was even better, becoming one of the top 3 for the N64 in terms of sales (8 million).

GoldenEye put together a fantastic single-player campaign that closely followed the movie’s plot and also offered immensely fun multiplayer (with Oddjob especially popular as a character due to his diminutive stature actually reducing the size of his hitbox). It was a landmark game in developing the FPS style, proving that stealth could be successfully included, and allowing for a diverse array of gameplay styles. Nowadays, the graphics look very dated and the gameplay probably appears clunky. But make no mistake, GoldenEye was huge fun to play and marked a milestone in the history of FPS games. There were even plans for a remastered version in 2007 which ended up canned due to a dispute over rights.

Alien: Isolation (Xbox 360 era)

Alien Isolation (for the Xbox 360 and various other platforms) is not a direct copy of any particular Alien film but it’s clearly heavily inspired by the first, which mixed elements of sci-fi, horror, and suspense to amazing effect. The player stars, in first person, as Amanda Ripley, daughter of the movie franchise’s protagonist. Arriving on a space station, it soon emerges things are very, very wrong. Pretty much every human is dead. Amanda’s looking for her mother, but the first life form she encounters is of the terrifying xenomorph variety.

Unlike many games, the player starts in a state of extreme vulnerability and stays there for much of the game. The xenomorph is smart and has sharp senses (which might enable for distractions but can also mean messing up can spell your doom). The survival horror is immersive, and not limited to the xenomorph. Players also encounter androids who, as franchise fans may have guessed, are not friendly either (but a lot easier to deal with than the xenomorph, which remains a threat right through the game). It’s not for scaredy-cats, but if you don’t scare easily then this is a cracking videogame.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3)

This PS3 exclusive was the game that kicked off a bestselling series for Sony console players and had two obvious and massive influences. The first was Lara Croft, whose Tomb Raider series is one of the most enduring in videogame history (although occasionally hit and miss), and the second was one of the most popular stars of the silver screen: Indiana Jones. While not a direct copy (modern setting and no whip for the protagonist Nathan Drake) the inspiration is plain to see, and it’s worked a treat with multiple bestselling games across numerous console generations and a remastered version of two games soon to be released for the PS5 console.

What makes the games so good? Nathan Drake, like Indy, is a charismatic lead, capable but far from flawless. Another similarity is that he’s always jetting off to exotic locations in search of ancient artifacts, and quite often ends up staring down the wrong end of a gun. Fast-paced, light-hearted, and witty, the Uncharted series offers a wonderful sense of escapism from everyday life and is perfect for players who just want to relax and have fun. The game that kicked it all off was Drake’s Fortune, which sold over a million copies inside three months of release and was re-released as part of a PS4 collection.

The advances in the modern console and PC technology mean that it’s easier than ever to reproduce the atmosphere of movies, whether it’s the action of Spiderman or the tension of Alien, so there’s hope for even more great film-inspired videogames just around the corner.