Mat Langford’s Gaming World – The Worst Movie Tie-In Video Games

After writing my piece last week, I got to thinking about how awfully bad some of the movie/TV-tie-in games are.

The main problem with the majority of these games is that they’re usually just a cash grab, quickly developed and produced to launch with some of the biggest blockbuster films or newest TV trends. While it’s worked in some cases (see: Spider Man 2 or GoldenEye 007), it usually results in an extremely poor experience, as well as a severe case of gamer regret after dropping the money on the hefty price tag usually associated with these games (though now, every gamer should know to read reviews of these tie-in games before buying them…just saying).

So, without further adieu – and in no specific order – here is my list of the worst movie tie-in games ever…after the jump.
LOST: Via Domus:

Now that you know what you're dealing with, no one should play this game.
Now that you know what you’re dealing with, no one should play this game.

I was a HUGE fan of Lost. HUGE. I won’t get into the ending controversy here, but I’ll just say that I enjoyed the entire series immensely and was satisfied – albeit a little underwhelmed – with the finale. That being said, when I heard they were releasing a game associated with it, I was pumped. Wow, was I ever wrong. Let’s list the things that were terrible about this game, shall we? First, the game holds your hand the entire way, showing you everything you have to do and outlining the way to the end practically every step of the way. SO fun. Secondly, your character never existed on the show. You were a made up person, who basically played out an unknown storyline that co-existed with the main one in Lost. You saw and interacted with the main characters for portions of the game, but never, ever, feel connected with the show or its main players. Last but not least, none of the actors on the show voice their characters. Not a single actor from the show wanted to be a part of this game. So when you meet Locke or Sawyer, you get a somewhat lackluster impression of them instead of the real-deal. Take my advice, stay away from this one.


Looks just like a real city block!
Looks just like a real city block!

Wow. It’s hard to even know where to start here. First of all, you start the game moving around the city not as a character, but as the Ghostbusters logo. Yup, the logo. When you finally get through the initial confusion of the map screen and figure out what to do, you end up driving to the store to buy your equipment, which already doesn’t make sense seeing as the busters make their own equipment. Also, you can RUN OUT OF GAS on the way. To get through this needlessly awful game, you need to enter the flashing building and capture ghosts – which all look exactly the same – until you’re instructed to enter the Zuul building. Once their you need to climb what seems like 100 floors to get to the top and fight a boss. You climb the stairs while tapping the A button, and can’t use your proton pack during the climb. It’s probably the worst part of this already bad game. And that’s it. After that it’s game over. Also, you may hate the theme song after playing this game, because it’s on an infinite loop throughout. A hard thing to do considering how epic that song is. Such a waste of time and money. Again, stay away.

Space Jam:

McDonald's even sponsored it!
McDonald’s even sponsored it!

One of my favourite movies, one of the worst games I’ve ever played. There were so many good basketball games out there, you’d thing that making a game about a basketball movie would be a cakewalk. Nope. Not only is the basketball gameplay terrible, but you’re thrown into these mini-games in between quarters that have you running around collecting items that allow you to continue playing! When did that happen in the movie? Awful.

Superman 64:

No, I don't.
No, I don’t.

Regarded as not only one of the worst movie-games but also one of the worst games of all time, Superman 64 was a mess of bad controls, shoddy graphics and terrible gameplay. From the start you’re thrown into a race against time where you have to fly through rings in order to not let Lex Luthor “win”. Win what, exactly? I’m not sure, but it’s one of the most frustrating pieces of gaming ever. The flight controls are shaky at best, and you’re constantly missing rings. The catch? If you miss more than a few rings – which all but the most patient gamers will do – you’re sent back to the beginning to try again. Even if you get to the last ring, and miss the one before it, boom, back to the start for you! Once completed, you need to pick up two cars and throw them, but you’re only given about 3 seconds of instruction and then left with a 5 or so second timer. If you missed it and don’t pick up the cars, you go back…TO THE BEGINNING OF THE RINGS! *throws controller*. The graphics are terrible as well. The ground is a flat picture, and your objective pieces are modeled on top of it – think of the mats back in the 80’s where everything was drawn on to them, and you would run your toy car across it along the drawn-out roads and buildings. Exactly like that.  Also, the Superman theme song was nowhere to be found. Just awful.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

The image in my nightmares.
The image in my nightmares.

I’ve talked about this one in previous posts. This game was not only a terrible franchise tie-in, but also one of the hardest games ever. It’s frustratingly difficult stages gave you the magical power that allowed you to sort out which of your friends were liars. If they said they beat this game, they were lying. The underwater bomb-defusing level required such patience and accuracy that many player spent HOURS just trying to get through the first few bombs. Jumping off the open fence on top of the dam was akin to jumping into hell. Also, there’s a jump in an earlier level that requires such accuracy, it was usually the point where I stopped playing and went outside to do something else. I never even saw the final stage until I was 25 years old. Also, there was a lack of ANYTHING from the movies – aside from the characters. But even then, it was already doomed.

And finally, the worst game of all time – as well as the worst movie game of all time:

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

A telephone piece! Yeah...still not worth it.
A telephone piece! Yeah…still not worth it.

Released on the Atari 2600, this game is widely regarded as the most atrocious crime against an intellectual property ever. It was initially one of the most anticipated games of the holiday in 1982, but would soon be the bane of gamers everywhere. It was a top-down adventure game that had E.T. collecting pieces of an intergalactic telephone, as well as Reese’s Pieces candy – used to restore life. Frustrating controls, terrible gameplay and random glitches made this game nearly unplayable. The crazy part? This game was so bad it was the catalyst for many gaming store return programs and cost Warner Brothers nearly $100 million in market value. The best part? According to Wikipedia, “truckloads of Atari boxes, cartridges, and systems from an Atari storehouse in El Paso, Texas were crushed and buried at the landfill within the city. Atari officials and others gave differing reports of what was buried,but it has been speculated that most unsold copies of E.T. are buried in this landfill, crushed and encased in cement.” Yeah, that bad.

If you’ve played any of these let us know what you thought!

4 Replies to “Mat Langford’s Gaming World – The Worst Movie Tie-In Video Games”

  1. I have a copy of E.T. for the 2600 on my shelf right now. Years ago, I could not believe that it could live up to the hype of “worst game ever”, but you only need to play it once to become a believer.

    The first Ninja Turtles game was also pretty bad. Wrote about both of them on my blog, which you can check out if you like:

  2. Ugh, Space Jam was such a let down! I remember renting that as a kid and thinking that a basketball game with Michale Jordan in it had to be excellent. It was that day I learned what disappointment truly meant.

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