Retro Monday – Action Movie Games

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Its commonplace now to see the latest big blockbuster film get a video game tie-in, but its a practice that seems to have been around forever. Long before we were cringing at the thought of yet another lacklustre piece of digital merchandising, we were having our childhood scarred in 8 and 16 bit formats, and even then Nintendo and Sega were making enough cash off of the sales to fill a swimming pool up to the brim.

But every now and then, despite their best efforts, publishers would let slip a movie based game that was actually fun to play, had something going for it, and made great use of its source material. Here’s a look at five such games.

Batman Forever

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The Dark Knight may be getting ready to shine his brand of fist-flavoured justice in November, but before then, he was cranking out all manner of games that encompassed his darker,grittier films, as well as his award-winning animated series.

Batman Forever, was clearly the result of a one night stand between the Mortal Kombat franchise and a prostitute with a bat-fetish. The end result was a bastard child with moves and combat inspired by the bloody brawler, sans the blood, and allowed for players to take on the worst that Gotham city had to offer, in either solo or co-op mode, while dispensing justice with a variety of gadgets and familiar combat moves.

Besides the fact that Batman Forever had a terrible control scheme that it never bothered to mention to its owners, it was still a unique and addictive take on the myths, and it stands tall as one of the more odd moments in Batman history.

Stargate

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Back when Kurt Russell was still one of the go to guys for action films, along came this gem of a movie. And with it, the inevitable tie-in. Hard as nails, frustrating and strange were just some of the words used to describe this game, but look past that, and you’d find a deep side-scroller action game that required some tactical thinking in order to survive.

The visuals were realistic,the environments captured the spirit of the film perfectly, and the local threats were varied and required some quick thinking to get past, while hidden stages and caves kept the title going for many an hour.

Add in some options as aerial dogfights and upgradeable weapons, and you had a game that was ahead of its time, while also sporting the official Kurt Russell seal of approval.

Robocop 2

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Chances are, if you grew up with a Golden China TV game console, then you most likely played this game. Another side-scrolling platformer, like 90% of the games released in that time period, Robocop was about more than just violently murdering traffic offenders and jaywalkers.

This was an anti-drug game, and it was up to players to get the titanium plated still body of Robocop into those hard to reach areas, so that he could destroy the canisters. Fail to destroy a certain percentage of the vile drug containers, and the game shipped your shiny metal ass back to the Police Academy for some target practice on the range.

While not the greatest game to ever be based on a movie franchise, Robocop 2 will still be remembered for its polished gameplay and adherence to its source material, and the bloody fights that would break out whenever it was someone else’s turn to play.

Demolition Man

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It wouldn’t be a proper list of action film games if Sly Stallone wasn’t included. While the character of John Spartan may have had the catchphrase of “send a maniac to catch a maniac”, the game developers obviously had one of their own, namely “use some maniacs to design a maniac game”.

Demolition was a run and gun game, but a title that had obviously had some crystal crack sprinkled on its processors. The action was ridiculously fast, and players would easily find themselves racing to the end of a stage in no time flat, while certain action sequences had to tackle certain top down sequnces that upped the gunplay ante to ludicrous heights.

Having ditched most of the comedic elements from the film, a few dry quotes and in-game references managed to survive intact, while new scenes were added for the game that made full use of the futuristic content that had inspired it.

Terminator 2: The Arcade Game

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There were very few first person games back in the nineties, but among them, the arcade version for Terminator 2 was a shining example of what the genre could accomplish. An on-rails shooter, players were thrown neck deep into the war between mankind and the robotic legions of Skynet, working to fight through and protect the remnants of humanity.

The visuals were amazing for its time, no matter which platform you were playing it on, and featured destructible environments, hidden power-ups, a variety of enemies and enough hectic gameplay to awaken a coma patient, making this the only game to ever be rated “R” for “Righteous”, true story.

Do you remember a game from this time period that captured the above spirit, and was left out? Let us know below in the comments which game made your childhood.

Last Updated: September 19, 2011

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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