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The most heavily-delayed movie licenses ever made

Most movie licenses, the accepted wisdom goes, are crap because they’re rushed out to reach a timely release date in keeping with the film that spawned them. Some movie games don’t have that excuse. Some are released so ludicrously long after the movie – decades in some cases – that they have no justification for being anything other than amazing.

But are they? Fresh from the news that bloody Apocalypse Now might be currently being groomed for the game treatment, we decided to look back on some of gaming’s other cinematic latecomers and see if they justified their delays.

Blade Runner

Delayed by: 15 years

Worth the wait?

Absolutely. Westwood Studios’ Blade Runner game is an under-rated classic. Wisely taking the point-and-click adventure approach to the movie’s densely-layered noir drama, it deliberately chose not to follow the movie’s plot, instead providing another story within the neon-drenched hell of Blade Runner’s futuristic LA.

It was particularly noteable for playing out in a non-linear fashion, the player carrying out detective work across the city rather that solving puzzled along an A-B route. It also had a massively malleable plot, which randomly designated members of the cast as secret Replicants every time you started a new game. You could even turn out to be one yourself (though you may never know if you didn’t follow the right plot thread), and however you chose to deal with the secret synthetic was entirely up to you.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Delayed by: 25 years

Worth the wait?

Mostly. While there had been Ghostbusters games back in the ‘80s, the tech limitations of the era meant that we’d never had a real, playable translation of the movie’s iconic visuals and brilliant writing. Though to be fair, we did get a sing-a-long version of the theme tune, and back in the ‘80s that was amazing.

In Terminal Reality’s HD Ghostbusters game, we nearly got the perfect translation. With the original cast back for voice-acting duties and Dan Akroyd supervising the script, everything was set for this to essentially be the third movie. While the eventual script wasn't quite as sharp and clever as the original films, Ghostbusters was still a more than solid shooter which dripped with atmosphere, and with the original team and musical score at hand, was as authentic as game adaptations come.

Evil Dead: Hail to the King

Delayed by: 19 years

Worth the wait?

Not really. Evil Dead should have made the ultimate shclocky action game. Shotguns. Chainsaw arms. Bruce Campbell one-liners. On paper it was video game gold. In practice though, it was just a sub-par survival horror game. Essentially a more combat-heavy Resident Evil, it was marred by an overabundance of enemies and some utterly crappy fighting mechanics. It contained all the requisite Bruce lines, but you could get bootleg versions of those in Duke Nukem 3D and actually play a decent game to boot.

Scarface: The World is Yours

Delayed by: 23 years

Worth the wait?

Yes. While many were aghast that Brian DePalma’s study of tragic criminal excess was being turned into what looked like just another GTA clone, the actual game was a great deal better than expected. The whole thing was a great big ‘80s-tastic hoot, with explosive gameplay, more than plausible voice work (despite Pacino himself not actually being involved) and a cracking period soundtrack totally suiting both the era and the movie. Oh, and it had a swear button. What else do you need?

The Warriors

Delayed by : 26 years

Worth the wait?

Does a beat-‘em-up based on a cult movie famed for its controversial violence, ‘70s kitsch and surreal visual excess sound good to you? Does it sound even better when Rockstar is making it? The Warriors wasn’t a bad game at all, updating the classic Final Fight gameplay model better than any other game has ever managed in 3D, while simultaneously staying faithful to the movie’s unique look and ambience while adding half a game’s worthy of back story to its plot.

The Godfather

Delayed by: 34 years!

Worth the wait?

It was alright. It was another open-world crime game, but at least it took a cool and interesting approach to the source material, telling the story of a rising street thug in parallel to the events of the movie. It did a good job of portraying and fleshing out the movie’s world and had some excellent combat and customisation mechanics for the time, but naturally the overall experience paled massively compared to Coppola’s all-time classic cinematic inspiration. And the director himself didn’t like it one little bit. He'll probably self-detonate if the Apocalypse Now game ever comes to fruition.

16 comments

  • lukeskywalkertakingadump - April 22, 2010 9:44 p.m.

    Ghostbusters was ok, I beat it then promptly sold it and I love Ghostbusters.
  • DriveShaft - April 17, 2010 9:24 p.m.

    I played all of them except Blade Runner and Evil Dead HTTK (but I played the other 2 Evil Dead games), they were all surprisingly good.
  • EricBratcher - April 16, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    Actually, it's not that we didn't know about Mean Girls. It's that we aren't yet ready to actually call it a game. To quote this very comment's recaptcha, "Supreme disdains"
  • adamasunder - April 14, 2010 3:02 p.m.

    Although not as late as the others I remember Goldeneye on N64 coming out a couple of years later than the film.
  • philipshaw - April 14, 2010 12:18 p.m.

    I really enjoyed the Ghostbusters game for the reasons you said in the article
  • Cyberninja - April 14, 2010 12:31 a.m.

    @CH3BURASHKA i dont think it was reviewed yet so they dont know at the moment
  • johnnyd2 - April 13, 2010 11:10 p.m.

    in terms of crap movie games that came out way late, Dirty Dancing for the PC, the OFFICIAL game of the movie.
  • CH3BURASHKA - April 13, 2010 10:55 p.m.

    How is possible that you write an article about delayed movie license games the SAME WEEK that "Mean Girls" was announced, and you don't even mention it? Did you honestly not know, or...?
  • Camoxide - April 13, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    The nightmare before Christmas.
  • Abe504 - April 13, 2010 9:33 p.m.

    The Godfather was pretty good, but the Godfather 2 was excellent. Now that was an open world crime filled game, with a lil sprinkle of strategy.
  • CreeplyTuna - April 13, 2010 7:03 p.m.

    i like the godfather games, and the moives. maybe its just me but gta clones are (usually) much more fun than gta 4.
  • frmonth - April 13, 2010 6:19 p.m.

    Man I think I need to get my hands on that Blade Runner game, although I have never played a point and click game before I am such a fan of the movie, btw the visuals look awsome.
  • EricBratcher - April 13, 2010 5:45 p.m.

    Two more for the completists: The Italian Job, a PSOne budget title that Rockstar released back in 2002. It was based upon the 1969 original, not the 2003 remake. Oh, and the Rocky game from back in 2002 - 25 or so years after the 1976 film. I suppose any Star Wars game based upon the original trilogy would qualify as well, wouldn't it? Weird. I have such vivid memories of seeing the films for the first time, it's hard to imagine it was that long ago.
  • DustyRooster - April 13, 2010 5:42 p.m.

    Oh my God, I loved that Warriors game! Spent soooo many hours forming gangs and having epic battles with my roommate! And the single player rocked too!
  • oryandymackie - April 13, 2010 4:59 p.m.

    Sh'up. I love the Evil Dead games.
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - April 13, 2010 4:46 p.m.

    <3 Blade Runner

Showing 1-16 of 16 comments

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