7. Condemned: Criminal Origins = Se7en
While the gritty atmosphere of 1995’s Se7en left its mark on plenty of games and movies, it wasn’t until Condemned: Criminal Origins that an entire game would be based around Se7en’s formula of “decaying tenements plus sudden moments of bowel-loosening terror.”
Se7en is a serial-killer thriller set in a nameless city torn apart by selfishness and isolation. Condemned: Criminal Origins is a serial-killer thriller set in a generically named city torn apart by crazy homeless guys. They’re basically the same thing, right?
8. Splatterhouse = Friday the 13th
While there had already been a game made of Friday the 13th, it suffered from a lamentable double-bind. To wit: letting kids play as a demonic, inhuman serial killer would be commercially ill-advised, so Jason Voorhees, the star of the show, was relegated to occasionally popping up and “scaring” the player – who assumed control of some anonymous punk kid. Until Splatterhouse.
Splatterhouse had the idea that you could
play as the aforementioned personification of terror – as long as your enemies were even more terrifying. So finally players got to control a machete-wielding psychopath, so long as they were trying to save his girlfriend
– think about that one for a moment – and put up with some bunkum about Mayan sacrificial hockey-masks and skinless demons and so on. Fair enough.
9. Street Fighter II = Bloodsport
While the international-cast-of-brawlers motif had already been explored in films like Enter the Dragon – not to mention the 1987 original Street Fighter – according to Edge magazine, it was Bloodsport that served as direct inspiration to Capcom programmers looking to start work on a new fighting game.
Street Fighter II’s international cast, each with their own distinct fighting styles, owes a strong debt to Bloodsport – whose hero, Frank Dux, is actually a real person who also inspired Mortal Kombat’s Johnny Cage. Van Damme would go on to embarrass himself by starring in Street Fighter: The Movie; not long after this, he sank into a decade-long drug-fueled stupor. We’re sure the two are unconnected.
10. River City Ransom = The Warriors
While the Japanese original, Downtown Hot-Blood Story, can be filed in the bizarrely capacious “Japanese High School Students Beat The Shit Out Of Each Other” genre, the American localization made some tweaks to sprites and character names to reframe the whole thing as an against-the-odds trek across a town filled with hostile and colorful street gangs, much in the style of cult movie The Warriors.
Itself a loose adaptation of the classical Anabasis
(no, really), The Warriors was finally turned into a video game in 2005, but publisher Rockstar’s efforts lacked much of the chaotic violence and over-the-top characterization that both the movie and River City Ransom were famed for.
11. Fatal Frame = Ring
In the early 2000s, Japanese horror movies could do no wrong. Led by Ring’s Sadako, an army of waterlogged, revenge-obsessed little girls with long black hair shambled their way into our hearts and nightmares. But before getting their international passports, the original Japanese novels and films inspired Fatal Frame, a survival horror game in which a young girl fights angry ghosts using only a camera.
Fatal Frame recreated Ring’s creepy atmosphere and camera-obsession, before spawning a host of copycat sequels that added little but muddied the continuity to no end; the original Ring novel spawned three sequels, five films, two remakes, two TV series and a radio drama. It’s sort of like The Land Before Time with walking corpses.
12. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City = Miami Vice
Tommy Vercetti’s neon-lit escapades borrowed liberally from no end of pics: the game is basically Rockstar North’s love letter to 1980s action cinema. But without sizeable lifts from Miami Vice, it’s hard to imagine how it’d all fit together.
While the game’s Scarface weapon set and Platoon mission sequences add variety, the gang politics, dodgy fashion sense and toothache-inducing color palette are pure Vice – not to mention pairing a gruff, stubble-faced wiseass with a jive-talking brother who could really find less embarrassing friends.
13. ESWAT = Robocop
This futuristic, urban reworking of Altered Beast never found the same cult appeal as its furry forebear. That’s odd, because it shamelessly rides the coattails of the then-enormous Robocop; then again, it’s not all that odd, because ESWAT is shit.
Robocop’s protagonist is brutally murdered and rebuilt as a near-invincible law-enforcement machine with a conscience; ESWAT’s hero is a dork who collects powerups until he’s an ugly, clanking hulk of metal. Said hulk has the power to absorb marginally more damage than he did as a human, but is still a dork.