Saturday, 5 January 2013

Top 10: Licensed Games

Licensed games have a bad rep of being subpar. But there are some good ones out there.

Here's a top 10 list of licensed games that I personally consider decent. Feel free to comment and add your own.

01. The Lion King (Genesis/SNES)

The Lion King is one of the proofs that good, even great movie licensed games exist. The animation is stellar in this game and it looks excellent for a 16bit title, even today and the controls feel tight and precise as well. The music is great renditions of the classic soundtrack and there's a lot of great level design in the game, inspired by the movie. If you like Disney's The Lion King as much as I do, give this game a try. You won't regret it. It might be a bit difficult at first (especially the monkeys stage), but once you play it a few times, you get through it.

02. Back to the Future: The Game (PC)
TellTale Games really know how to make good adventure games and this game, based on the awesome movie trilogy, shows that deriative games don't have to suck. Featuring excellent voice acting by AJ Locascio (who mimicks Michael J. Fox perfectly here) and the always awesome Christopher "I WAS FROZEN TODAY!" Lloyd, it's a fun and exciting game that is worth playing at least twice.

03. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time (SNES)
Known to us Europeans as Teenage Mutant HERO Turtles (ninja was a bad word apparently), most of the Turtles games were great beat'em-ups that really captured the spirit of the time well and were all fun to play, though the fourth game is definitely my favourite of the bunch as it has some of the best graphics and sound on the SNES and it actually surpasses the arcade game in quality, something few ports manage to do at all. On the Genesis there is a similar game called Hyperstone Heist which is also worth checking out!

04. Aladdin (Genesis)
While Capcom made a great SNES game based on Aladdin (known to me internally as Super Aladdin), the Genesis game is my personal favourite and one of the best games on the Genesis period. Great music, great graphics (it was animated by the people at Disney themselves) and tight platforming controls makes this a great 16bit gem that reminds me fondly of Prince of Persia, though in this case, it's the Prince of Agrabah.

05. Duck Tales (NES)
While Capcom made a ton of AWESOME Disney licensed games on the NES and SNES, Duck Tales is one of the most memorable. Still fun to play today, this platformer puts you in the shoes of Scrooge McDuck in the search of more money across the world. Great level design, great graphics and excellent music (Moon Theme in particular) makes this a true 8bit classic that, unlike other licensed games on the old toaster oven, doesn't reek of old shit.

06. X-Men (Genesis)
One of the best games on the Genesis, X-Men is worth playing because of the great graphics, tight controls and excellent sound for the system. Clearly worth a shot if you're into 16bit games and love the X-Men.

07. Blade Runner (PC)
Westwood's game based on the legendary 80's movie by Ridley Scott comes an entire decade and then some after the movie but it's still a pretty good title. The game is a real-time adventure game where you have to do detective work like Deckard in the movie, however you play an entirely different character and the game has its own story that takes place in real time as you play the game, something groundbreaking for the time. Another groundbreaking thing was the graphics, they look simply superb with all the cyberpunk environments from the movie recreated as 3D scenery. The only bad thing are the character models which are made of blocky pixels rather than actual 3d models, but I guess for the time this was truly high tech shit. A great game based on a great movie that is highly recommended if you like adventure/detective games ala Gabriel Knight.

08. Terminator 2: The Arcade Game (Arcade/SNES/Genesis)
Being ported to both the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo (both using their respective lightguns), this little gem is actually one of the best lightgun titles on both systems and it's pretty fun to play if you like these type of "Operation Wolf" games. The goal is simple: Shoot the terminators, save the humans and gather ammunition. The game can get quite hectic and the 2 player mode is excellent, and it even supports the SNES mouse. A great arcade game all in all.

09. Super Star Wars (SNES)
While it is only loosely based on Star Wars Episode IV, Super Star Wars set a pretty good standard for movie licensed games and it's one of the best games on the SNES, being a classic 16bit platformer with awesome graphics, great music that does a good job mimicking the original soundtrack's orchestral quality (something the SNES excelled at) and tight controls that really makes you feel like a Jedi. The only bad thing about it really is the difficulty, which is through the roof and might scare some players away. May the 16-bit force be with you.

10. 007 GoldenEye (N64)
It is often dubbed "the only good movie licensed game" and for a good reason. Rare did a splendid job doing a game based on the hit James Bond movie and it has since become one of the most popular games on the Nintendo 64 as a result. Mostly because it not only broke ground for movie-licensed games but also for first person shooters. It follows the movie's storyline perfectly and also uses characters and dialogue from the movie but makes it feel like a natural part of the game play and it was the first game to really make you feel like Bond. Introducing the concept of actually having to reload your gun as well as 4 player local deathmatch and a ton of cheats and fun stuff added to the game, it's a must-have on the N64. Although I think Perfect Dark was a better game which used the same engine, Perfect Dark was not movie licensed.

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