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Movie Tie-Ins

king kong pic1

Hi, PS4 fans!  I’m Matt Thompson; a new writer for the site.  Like many of you, I’m passionate about gaming and likewise, writing, too. Writing for the site is a privilege, as this opportunity combines my two passions into one.  I hope to provide informative, entertaining content for you all to enjoy – I won’t disappoint!


Game developers have made numerous attempts at effectively porting the movie world into the gaming universe. The question is, however, are these attempts worthy ones?

When we think of a movie that we adore, we don’t remember it as ‘just a movie’. We take notice of the intricate parts and features of it; the features that make it what it is.  In order to create a successful game of this movie, developers would need to capture these intricate parts and features; merging them with the game’s mechanics to give it an identity and to make it a good game in its own right, meaning that people who haven’t seen the movie on which it’s based can still be attracted to the game.

Believe it or not, the criteria have been met, by some.  Successful movie tie-ins are on the market, with the most famous ones being the ‘LEGO’ franchise… although, these are arguably semi movie tie-ins.  This is because the LEGO games feature no dialogue, and replace or alter elements of the movies in order to allow for more of the LEGO games’ signature humour to shine through.  LEGO games took the world by storm, and more specifically, the ‘Star Wars’ titles.  Multiple variants have been released; incorporating the Star Wars look and feel into a humorous, fun and LEGO-filled universe.  All the characters we know and love (or hate… I’m looking at you, Jar-Jar Binks) are included in this mini-universe of comic wonder, but have not been created without conserving their personalities.  ‘Chewie’ still roars, and rips the arms from startled Stormtroopers.  Han Solo is still unbelievably complacent.  As we derive that LEGO Star Wars is… well, Star Wars, we actually like this movie tie-in.  It hasn’t ruined the monumentally iconic franchise we grew up watching, but remained intrinsically Star Wars at its core.

LEGO Star Wars is an extremely successful franchise

LEGO Star Wars is an extremely successful franchise

There have been four versions of this game, with ‘Star Wars: The Complete Saga’ being the renowned one; combining ‘LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game’ with the ‘Original Trilogy’.  Published by LucasArts, and developed by a duo consisting of Traveller’s Tales and Robosoft Technologies, this variant received positive reviews.  An average score of 80/100 was given by Metacritic, with other aggregators giving similar scores.  Publishers such as GameSpot gave 7.5/10 for Xbox 360 and PS3. IGN gave 8/10.

Besides ratings, the statistics were fairly positive, too.  In April 2009, the game was the fourth-highest selling on the Wii.  By May 2nd 2009, sales exceeded 3.4 million units.

It is games like LEGO Star Wars that define what movie tie-ins should be in video game form.  Similarly, games like ‘King Kong’ also conserved the movie’s charm and personality.  You acted out the horrific experiences that the valiant explorers braved through, you were freaked out by the gigantic insects, and you felt a sense of relief when escaping from them.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it), from that point, you spent the rest of your time dreading the return of these freaks of nature.

‘Spiderman 2’ was highly praised for its enthralling web-swinging experience.  You really felt like you were Spiderman… as if you were acting out the movie, inside the mind and body of Spiderman himself.  I was thrilled, as I saw myself swinging through New York City effortlessly, ferociously searching for ‘bad guys’ to beat up.  This is what movie tie-ins should really be like – you should be immersed in the movie; feeling like you’re in it.

Spiderman 2 is arguably one of the best movie tie-ins of all time

Spiderman 2 is arguably one of the best movie tie-ins of all time

However, as we all know, there aren’t good ones without bad ones.  We have to undergo terrible experiences, too.  A prime example of this would be ‘Fight Club’.  The developers did not create this game in the way it should be created, but merely for commercial success; to milk the success of the story.  The fact that these developers created the game with this in mind was obvious, after most were disgraced with their experience.

Shocking reviews were given, including a few critics stating that it copies too much from other fighting games.  It isn’t a Fight Club-based fighting game; it is just a fighting game called Fight Club.  Its reception was so atrocious, that it was placed at number 10 for the ‘Top Ten Fighting Games We’d Like to Forget’.  Similarly, ‘Catwoman’ (developed by EA, Magic Pockets and Argonaut Games) received equally bad reception.  Average scores of around 5/10 (50%) and under undoubtedly revealed how bad it really was.  This 2004 release featured terrible combat controls, and a diabolical camera system.  Guess what that means: a dysfunctional, difficult experience that leaves you frustrated more than anything else.  Did this feel like the Catwoman movie?  No.  That being said, did you really want it to?  No.  The only way this could’ve been made worse, is if it actually felt like the movie (seriously, I wish I’d never seen it).

Games like this bring shame to the movie tie-in world.  Consequently, the game sold little over one million units.  Developers need to learn from the likes of Treyarch, Ubisoft, and any other developers that really do have a passion for the games they make, and respect for the original movies they base games on.  After all, we don’t want any more games like Fight Night, or Catwoman.  Rather, more like Spiderman 2 and the LEGO games.


What are your thoughts on movie tie-ins?  Which did you like/dislike?  Comment in the box below, or over on our Facebook page.

Matt Thompson
Matt Thompson
I live in the U.K, go to sixth form college, and have a passion for English, writing, and gaming. The three combined is perfect!

1 Comment

  1. steven says:

    Nice article. I never had the pleasure of playing Fight Club… haha… maybe I should go find a copy.