This week Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
hits the theater and all of us who obsessively watched the show in the 80's
rejoice. Or cry ourselves to sleep. In any case, I'm actually more excited about the video game version of the movie, and the fact that I just typed those words is a little terrifying.
You see, as any gamer can tell you, most of the time the video game adaptations of movies suck big time. Usually if you check out a list of the least popular games in the world, a great deal of movie-based games will be on it. Why? I'm glad you asked.
Most of the time, the game is rushed for a due date, uncreative, and boring. The game has to coincide with the movie, and sometimes the game is pushed whether or not it is ready for launch. A lot of them could actually benefit from coming out a month later, giving them time to really get rid of the problems within the game. But that doesn't really fir the marketing plan, now does it? Plus, the game is usually based on the movie plot and follows it closely enough that it either A. ruins the movie or B. makes you go 'meh, nothing new.' Rarely do the companies take risks with these games, playing it safe all the way but in doing so providing nothing truly interesting or innovative. In an industry that's growing like video games, there has to be a draw other than a tie-in to the movie. And surprisingly, it has to actually be worth buying.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, Image © Atari
However, there are a few exceptions, and it looks like a few companies are starting to wake up and see the potential. GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 is still considered one of the best first-person shooter games ever made and sold over eight million copies. The Chronicles of Riddick, released in 2004, gained extremely positive reviews and great success, more so than the movie itself
. One company I've been keeping a close eye on lately is Activision, and it all started with the preview of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It was expected to be a moderate slasher just to fit the film
, and then something extraordinary happened: the game was great! It was fun and exciting, with great graphics and some excellent action-adventure. They also had a neat little version of Monsters vs. Aliens
that was pleasant for casual gamers and creative in design.
Now Activision is responsible for the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen video game, released this week, and it has gained attention on G4 and all throughout E3. First, this game looks beautiful.
The first Transformers game was not as well received, but it appears that all the criticisms were heard and morphed into improvements for the new game. The transformations between robot and car are instant and smooth, the fighting movement is more fluid, and there is a multiplayer. A freaking multiplayer. Omg. Sorry. You can choose which side to be on, the Autobots or the Decepticons, and follow the game from each point of view. The multiplayer has several different modes with Transformers to choose to represent you, and they did say that added content as time goes on is a possibility. A good multiplayer is the way to keep a game played for years at a time, and if it mixes the love for giant robots with the love for fragging one another, it could be a real success.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Image © Activision
That being said, I'm really hoping that this ushers in a new age of badass video games based on movies. Electronic Arts has G.I. Joe
coming out later in the summer, and it looks like a game both hardcore and casual gamers can enjoy. The fans of G.I. Joe will be pleased to know that EA researched heavily into the history of the franchise. Listen, I know that there are a lot of movie games, and that if they focus this level of money and attention on each one then it's a huge risk for the company. But honestly, making the bad games isn't exactly providing any reward, so why not be the developers we know you can be? The game industry is only getting stronger and more creative by the year. Is it our fault we expect better? I don't think so!
What do you think, everyone? What video games based on movies did you love/hate?
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle