20 games not quite based on movies

14. Carmageddon = Death Race 2000

Carmageddon began life as a Mad Max license, but it didn’t take much rejigging to turn it into a tie-in for the then-planned Death Race 2000 sequel, Death Race 2020. When the sequel fell through, the game kept most of the Death Race trappings and went solo.

Carmageddon would become well-known for its attendant controversies: Britain and Germany banned the game, forcing players to subsist on B-list alternatives like Death Track. Death Race 2000, meanwhile, featured David Carradine in the lead, but our lawyers have advised us that no mention of the late Mr. Carradine’s own controversies will be funny or advisable until sometime in 2010. We did our best.

15. Battletoads = Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

When archaeologists dig up the stuff kids were into in the late ’80s/early ’90s, it’s hard to imagine what they’ll make of it. We’re referring, of course, to the period during which everything for the hip ‘n’ funky pre-teen was obliged to feature mutant animals, preferably of the amphibious and/or reptilian genus.

Now, we are well aware that the ’Toads were intended as a funky-fresh parody of Turtlemania. But if you make a game with characters called Zitz, Rash and Pimple, who battle evil pigs from Planet Ragnarok, you damn well better make it rubbish. Because if it happens to go down as one of the most badass challenges of its era, people are going to look back in 18 years and wonder what the hell you were on about.

16. Contra = Predator

Released within months of each other, Konami made the most of the similarities to Predator when marketing Contra. Promotional art depicts the characters resembling Schwarzenegger and Rambo star Sylvester Stallone; the NES version even places the action in Predator’s South American jungles.

Just as Predator progressed from guerrilla shenanigans to sci-fi laser battles, Contra ended up in the bowels of a freaky-deaky alien biofortress. But while Contra was followed by such sequels as Contra III: The Alien Wars and Contra 4, Predator fans had to make do with the decidedly patchy Predator 2 and AvP. Boo.

17. Donkey Kong = King Kong

History is unclear as to how Shigeru Miyamoto wound up with his mischievous monkey’s manky moniker: a mishearing of “Monkey Kong”? Japlish for “stubborn gorilla?” A botched translation from Japanese slang to dodge American copyright? We just don’t know.

However, the similarities between Kongs Donkey and King is on record. Miyamoto stated the game was influenced by King Kong, among other tales, and in fact the game brought a lawsuit from Universal Studios (which Nintendo won by proving that Universal had no claim to the public-domain Kong). Where Donkey Kong differs, of course, is its star – Mario went on to become as iconic as any character in King Kong, including the big ape himself.

18. Sly Spy = James Bond

While 1989 saw Timothy Dalton’s attempts at reinvigorating the James Bond movie franchise faltering, Data East wisely sidestepped the thorny “who’s the best Bond?” discussion by amalgamating them to create Sly Spy.

Above: Yes, we had to settle on Roger Moore for the pic. We mean no disrespect to Connery devotees

Sly Spy had the toughness of Connery, the face of the one-shot Lazenby, and the natty dress sense of Moore. He also picked up lawyer-bait powerups like the “Golden Gun,” and fought favorite Bond baddies Jaws and Oddjob. And yet James Bond continues to draw the crowds, while Sly Spy will only ever be played by people who meant to pick up the game about that light-fingered racoon.

19. Smash TV = The Running Man

The basic idea of The Running Man – men forced to hunt and kill each other in the name of entertainment – is perfect videogame fodder. While games like Manhunt would revisit the idea, Smash TV had already distilled the formula into twitch-gaming bliss.

The killer-game-show formula lends itself readily to wiseass commercial commentary, but both The Running Man and Smash TV go light on the postmodern snark; if that’s your bag, try the original Stephen King story. But be warned, it contains a disappointing lack of double-point bonus rounds.

20. Tomb Raider = Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Lara Croft/Indiana Jones similarity is openly admitted by Toby Gard, the Core Design staffer commonly credited with creating the character. You might say the biggest difference between the two – joke approaching! – boils down to not one but two things.

Above: HA HA HA

Besides borrowing plenty of the lead character’s attitude, Tomb Raider recreates the Indy films’ rugged, swashbuckling take on archaeology, nefarious baddies and high-stakes treasure-hunting. Not to mention the diminishing returns on the sequels.

Apr 23, 2010

Long lost movie games 
Classic films totally ready for EPIC game adaptations 

The least faithful movie games 
Game not fun enough? Make stuff up!


  • Xeacons - April 27, 2010 7:02 p.m.

    Not to mention 90% of these movies have their game knock-offs anyways...
  • RedBandit - April 26, 2010 2:06 a.m.

    Is it just me or do about half of these have Arnold Schwarzenegger?
  • lovinmyps3 - April 24, 2010 7:49 p.m.

    Uncharted = Indiana Jones also. Which is a better game than Tomb Raider.
  • Cyberninja - April 24, 2010 5:12 p.m.

    tmnt is/was a old show not a movie.
  • hagelbreaker - April 24, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    Uuuh..... "Jacob's Ladder" and "Silent Hill" anyone?
  • Spocksjock - April 24, 2010 3:58 p.m.

    The skeletons were not in Clash of the Titans...just saying lol Jason and the argonauts for ya
  • NanoElite666 - April 24, 2010 3:21 p.m.

    This article is made of win for making a Land Before Time reference.
  • bamb0o-stick - April 24, 2010 1:51 p.m.

    "Capcom had already rejected Romero’s attempts to make a Resident Evil movie, calling his ideas “silly.” Wait, what!? That's pretty cocky of Capcom to turn down an offer made by the father of the freakin zombie genre!
  • philipshaw - April 24, 2010 12:07 p.m.

    Is it good that I know all these reference points?
  • Conman93 - April 24, 2010 11:44 a.m.

    I always though heavy rain was a bit like se7en
  • jmcgrotty - April 24, 2010 7:43 a.m.

    Give me a break. David Carradine jokes became funny exactly 37 seconds after his body was found.
  • garnsr - April 24, 2010 4:25 a.m.

    It's always weird to come across the British quirks in Tom's articles, when I see he's at GR US. I keep hearing about Indie's sequels lately, I still like Last Crusade best of all the movies.
  • Imthedoctor - April 24, 2010 2:52 a.m.

    Somtimes I wish I were a owl
  • GodofPS314 - April 24, 2010 1:46 a.m.

    Is it me or are there a lot of Arnold Schartaneiger movies used?
  • invadgir - April 24, 2010 12:02 a.m.

    Hey what happened to the new splatterhouse remake? i hope it didnt get cancelled.......
  • Link555 - April 23, 2010 11:55 p.m.

    i had battletoads for game boy color, it was ace wot about a remake for the ds
  • JamesT - April 23, 2010 11:50 p.m.

    Kayne and lynch always reminded me of a gritty retake on that movie "Bandits" that Bruce Willis was in.
  • Skykid - April 23, 2010 11:09 p.m.

    @Wriggly; sadly, only one Arny movie. And I saw that GR nearly commited SACRALEGE! Indy is NOT like Lara Croft. If id was like it, there would be Nazis Can't make a comparison without the dang Nazis.
  • Justadnauseumtogerballoons - April 23, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    I thought the skeletons were from Jason and the Argonauts, not clash of the titans???, i guess clash fits better overall tho...
  • Wriggly - April 23, 2010 9:43 p.m.

    Amazing how many of these lead to movies with Arnold in them.

Showing 1-20 of 22 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000


Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.