Movie Games I Love I have loved movies for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are watching VHS copies of Superman the movie & Star Wars that my Dad had rented from the local video shop in the early 1980’s. These memories even predate my love of video games
Once the British computer game industry caught on to licencing the rights to produce movie tie in games this produced a perfect combination to pull me in & take my pocket money when visiting the likes of WH Smith’s, Woolworths or even Boots (those were the days). In my time I have brought some fantastic movie based games & some real duds too. I won’t dwell on the duds (Big Trouble in Little China on the C64) but share some of my favourites that I still own today.
I have mentioned this many times before but there are two games that pulled me into gaming as a young kid. One was the absolute classic Atari arcade game that was Star Wars. The sit down cab was an experience I’ll never forget & a great game too. Back in the 80’s I had the home conversion of the game for my Acorn Electron & I still have a Hit Squad copy for my Commodore 64. The arcade version is of course the best & it is always great to get the chance to play it again when it is at an expo. The other game is Ghostbusters which was a movie that I would get my parents to rent weekend after weekend from the local shop. It would probably have been cheaper for my Dad to have just brought a rental copy the amount he must have spent overall.
Ghostbusters the game is special as it was the first video game that made me go wow! The speech & music on the title screen grabbed my attention straight away let alone the vehicle set up section & then the actual gameplay that really made up the game. This game also made me fall in love with the Commodore 64 as it was a friend who was lucky enough to have both the system & the game. From this point on I wanted a Commodore 64. This would have been around 1984 & I wouldn’t get my C64C until 1989 as I got the Electron first (in 1986) but one of the first games I purchased for my Commodore was Ghostbusters.
The copy I brought was a budget label release of the game which was on Mastertronic’s Ricochet range & I still have that copy today along with the original Black Clamshell release. Ocean Software are famous for their use of licences especially movies; Platoon, The Untouchables & Rambo First Blood Part 2 spring to mind. Once I got my C64 though there were two titles I had to get based on my love of the films & the games being pretty decent too. These were Robocop & Batman which were both successful titles for Ocean & very popular movies amongst my group of mates.
Batman was massive in 1989 in a time when super hero movies didn’t come along very often (not like today) & I love the C64 version from Ocean. I can fire this game up just for the cool load screen on its own with the Ocean Loader blasting out of the TV speakers it’s an experience in its own right. The levels aren’t easy but follow the plot of the film nicely from working your way through the Axis Chemicals level to driving the Batmobile, to the puzzle level then flying the Batwing & onto the Cathedral level it is a very testing but fulfilling experience. Sadly I only have the original cassette from back when I had the big box release but I do also now have the Hit Squad release as well. Robocop was a different movie experience to Batman in that it’s extremely violent & you had to get someone over 18 to rent it on VHS for you.
There was a few copies floating around back then amongst my mates & I eventually managed to get my Dad to buy me a copy from Woolworths when he wasn’t paying attention & my Mum was off somewhere with my younger brother (probably looking at Thunder Cats or Turtles toys). The game is kind of similar to the fantastic arcade game but on the C64 it is rock hard but having played it round a mates & what with all the fuss surrounding the movie I had to get it. I still enjoy playing it now but usually using a cheat mode & have a big box copy on display in my games rooms (poster included). The follow ups never matched the magic of the original release but when Robocop Vs Terminator (based on a comic) on the Megadrive eventually came out it Murphy was back on form & gunning for Arnie.
The 16 Bit console era was memorable for me for movie tie ins mainly because as a teenager Star Wars was making a comeback in video game form. I’ve always been a big Star Wars fan & in the early 90’s it was great to have a bit of buzz around the classic trilogy again. I had borrowed a copy of the NES platformer version of Star Wars from someone & it was a really good game. It was large, tricky & pulled me in as a fan but it was also expensive so I never got it myself but Super Star Wars was a completely different beast with a memorable Mean Machines cover, fantastic looking graphics & the other movies to follow it sold itself to me straight away. I have all three of the SNES trilogy in my collection & although The Empire Strikes Back is my favourite Star Wars movie out of the SNES games I normally go for Super Star Wars or Super Return of the Jedi for my 16 Bit fix.
Yes the games are very challenging but a lot of retro games are & time is needed to get somewhere with these titles. I love the whole experience of these games as a Star Wars fan & really must go back to the 8 Bit NES Star Wars titles again & give them another go. I got my original PlayStation in 1996 a year after it was released & to be honest I didn’t buy another console until the GameCube was released. This was because in 1996 I turned 18 & was out with my mates a lot either in a pub or out clubbing & it was my younger Brother getting the consoles whilst I stuck with the PS1. It was my Brother that wisely got an N64 with Goldeneye & when I was at home I would play it loads. Again I loved the movie which was the big comeback for the Bond Franchise & the game as you all know is fantastic especially when played with others.
I had never really had any James Bond games before although there was a few for the Commodore 64. This was a great game & one I still play today. It takes you through the plot of the film in single player mode so well in fact if I haven’t played it for a while it makes me want to watch the movie too. It is usually set up for multi-player at my local retro gaming night in Cambridge & is always popular which says it all really. Finally a game that I have only owned just recently but captures the atmosphere of the film it is based on so well is Batman Returns by Konami for the Super Nintendo.
A superb scrolling beat em up which I would have loved back in the day but honestly never played it. If you haven’t played this game give it a go as the graphics are great with the various villains taken from the Tim Burton movie a particular highlight. I have struggled with the Megadrive version of the licence & the SNES version is different & vastly superior. It’s a great game which I enjoy playing when I get chance. So there you have it some of my favourite movie based games. To be fair the older games here have the most magical memories for me as everything was newer & more exciting then or perhaps it’s because I was younger & more excitable?
Give a me a go on a Star Wars arcade machine or load up Ghostbusters on a Commodore 64 & I’m a child again. Load Batman or Robocop & I’m nearly a teenager again trying to get hold of 18 certificated action film on video for me & mates to watch. Super Star Wars games were exciting as the franchise had disappeared a bit a lot like James Bond in Goldeneye although when I was playing that I was probably had a big night out planned that same evening. Games movies & memories all rolled up into some awesome nostalgia.