Television and movie licensed games are always a hit-or-miss. Most of them are mediocre, it’s never a surprise when one is terrible, and a good one is as rare as a health potion during the first two hours of Skyrim.
A few of us got together to share our worst experiences with TV licensed games. The games we list are just about as bad and poorly thrown together as the feature photo for this article! None of our participants this week had anything to say about movie licensed games, but don’t let that stop you from sharing your pain with us!
Starting us off is James, who took a different look at the situation and listed what most of us can agree on as the worst movie adaptation of a game.
James Seda – Social Media Manager
Mario Bros is a definite first. Before watching it, just look at the cover and you begin to understand why it should rank #1. The story, music, acting, effects and costumes just destroyed my childhood love of Mario and the mushroom kingdom, but not as much as Captain Lou Albano did ;-(
Rachel Leigh – General News Editor
There are a lot of video games that come from great television shows or movies, but not all of them are good. Most of them actually fall short, at least in my opinion. But I’d have to say the worst one I’ve ever played has to be CSI: Hard Evidence. I wasn’t much of a gamer back in those days when that game came out, I gamed casually, once in a while, and I didn’t completely know better than to trust a video game that is based off a TV show. But, I loved CSI, and I loved video games, so I thought, “what harm could it be.”
It was actually the first game I got with my Xbox 360 at the time, and I was excited. The excitement soon wore off. Frankly, the game was boring. The graphics sucked, there wasn’t much to do, and there just wasn’t too much to the game to begin with. I pictured something a lot more fun and exciting than what I got, but I was wrong.
Still, I pushed through to complete the game. After all, I’d just gotten it and didn’t have many other games for my console at the time, so I continued to play it. The case files were uninteresting and the gameplay itself wasn’t much to make me stick around.
Though I still haven’t learned from this experience. I’ve tried many other TV/Movie based games and most of them have fallen short. But, CSI: Hard Evidence takes the cake for me.
PP1MT – Editor
More than a decade ago, South Park had its first video game made. If you haven’t heard of it – you’d probably be glad that you didn’t. The game was ingeniously titled “South Park” and was an FPS released on the PC, N64 and Playstation1, way back in 2000.
Back then, it was all the rage to have your movie or your film franchise to be converted into a video game. Consequently, we saw a volcanic eruption of the worst, foul-smelling abominations on the shelves of gaming outlets. For the record: “South Park” wasn’t the worst of them all, but it is fondly recalled whenever you start thinking of the worst games you’ve ever played.
In the cringe-worthy opening sequence of the game, a narration tells of an impending meteor strike – a force of evil that no amount of good can stand against. As it approaches Earth, South Park spirals into chaos as it is besieged by a variety of enemies, including rabid mutant turkeys and alien visitors. The 4 main protagonists of the show – Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman takes up the mantle to defend the town.
The game received negative responses from notable critics on its Playstation and PC release, citing its poor level design and inane storyline. The voice acting, done by the original creators of the show, was criticized for being repetitive and stale. While not an unplayable mess, “South Park” comes off as a half-assed attempt at game design. Although, given the background and general tone of the original series it warrants some sort of leeway, but it’s insufficient to salvage the title from being absolutely diced across the board. South Park is an empty husk of DOOM or other FPSes of that time period and fails badly in the humor aspect of the American comedy series it was based on.
A decade later, the advent of South Park: The Stick of Truth received generally positive reception across the board. The game was considered a successful adaptation of licensed material to a video game, with critics describing it as one of the most faithful video game adaptation ever.
Brad Austin – Xbox Editor/Youtube Manager
Lost: Via Domus is the perfect example of a licensed game that only hardcore fans of the original content could even hope to enjoy. I watched all six seasons of Lost when it aired, and I loved (and hated) every moment of it. When I found out there had been a video game, I made playing it a priority. Finishing it, however, became very much optional.
Via Domus had everything a real Lost fan would expect: the iconic “Previously on Lost,” introductions, authentic Lost music, sequences of characters being punched and beat up by other characters you didn’t recognize, the whole nine yards. Some of the new characters were interesting and I wanted to learn more about them, and the mystery of uncovering my character’s past was a cool idea. The game seemed solid enough when I first started, but it soon lost its charm.
The game is full of terribly linear map design, bad voice acting, awkward photography sequences that you can’t opt out of, annoying puzzles, and laughably poor instructions. I understand giving the player some leeway, but there were times when I had absolutely no clue what to do, and I died many times because of it. Most of the time it was because the game took an unfaithful turn from the television show. The moment I decided I just couldn’t continue playing was when my character was stuck in the hatch, and it was time to push the buttons. Being a huge fan of the show, I instinctively typed in 4,8,15,16,23,42 and expected the machine to reset the clock like it always had. Apparently this time I was supposed to type in something completely different: the words “via domus.”
Things like this, plus an awful travel mechanic where you traverse a cave in which the black smoke resides, were what ended up making this game so horrible. In these cave sequences, you had either a torch or a small lighter, and you had to keep yourself in light, or else the smoke monster would kill you. But there are bats and waterfalls that can make your light go out, and they all take forever to relight.
Only a hardcore Lost fan would consider playing this game, and it would take a truly devoted fanatic to finish it.
What did you think of the games we chose? Have you played any of them? Tell us what the worst TV licensed game you’ve ever played was in the comments. We don’t want to feel like we’re the only ones here who have felt the pangs of disappointment!