The 10 worst movie tie-in video games ever made

When it comes to making a successful gaming franchise, brand recognition is half the battle.

So it doesn’t take a marketing genius to realize that if you adapt some of the highest-grossing movies into games, people the world over will already recognize the brand.

Movie tie-in games have a bad reputation for a reason.

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Movie tie-in games have a bad reputation for a reason.Credit: Electronic Arts

Unfortunately, years of shoddy work in this field have given movie tie-in games a bad reputation, and almost every self-respecting gamer knows to avoid them.

Even a franchise as wildly popular as Marvel’s Avengers hasn’t been able to land a huge hit, with the series’ landmark 2020 game getting average reviews at best.

It doesn’t help much going the other way either, as movies based on video games are often bad too.

Still, they could do a lot worse. Here are the very worst movie tie-in games that you should avoid playing at all costs.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2

Each Harry Potter movie got a corresponding game, and on average, they aren’t much to shout about.

There are some, like the Order of Phoenix game that do a good job of letting players explore Hogwarts and spend time with the characters, but most are sub-par.

The final two games in the series are by far some of the worst. These games roll through the events of the movie in the most boring ways possible.

Do you want to spend 10 minutes shooting magic out of your wand like a machine gun at identical enemies?

If you answered no, then you’ll be disappointed to hear that’s every single level in these games. It’s inarguably the worst possible way to experience the story of Harry Potter.

Let’s hope Hogwarts Legacy can do a better job later this year.

Charlie’s Angels

With a series full of camp charm and heavily sexualized stars, you’d think it’d be a sure hit for the world of video games.

Unfortunately, the Charlie’s Angels game is unrelentingly boring. The voice performances were dull, the combat isn’t even remotely engaging, and each level is a slog from start to finish.

fight club

In the PS2 era, a fighting game is a solid idea for a movie tie-in, as the genre was flourishing in a major way.

Fight Club has not gone down among the greats though. It struggled to find enough characters to fill the roster, and once you got into a fight, there was no meat on the bone.

Every strike, grab and throw felt weak and dull. You can pick any other fighting game on the market and have a better experience.

Kung Fu Panda 2

In truth, we could’ve stuffed this entire list full of action platformers based on kids’ films. They were all the rage in the Xbox 360/PS3 eras.

Every film that achieved even the slightest bit of success got one. The Chronicles of Narnia, Looney Tunes Back in Action, Bee Movie, and so many more.

Kung-Fu Panda 2 is the representation of this genre because it ticks all the boxes for how uncreative they are.

They vaguely follow the movie’s plot but have to add in weird detours and minigames to pad out the playtime, and once you’ve seen one level, you’ve seen them all.

ET the Extra Terrestrial

This game will forever have a place in history for being such a huge failure that it caused the 1983 video game crash.

It was rushed out the door in time for Christmas 1982, and consumers found it a confusing mess of a game.

They returned copies in droves, which lead to Atari’s downfall and a crash that the industry may never have recovered from if Nintendo didn’t come along.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

When it comes to the biggest video game disappointments, Aliens: Colonial Marines is one of the poster children.

This 2013 shooter had all the hype in the world behind it. The trailers were filled with the eerie atmosphere that made the Alien franchise so great.

One of the biggest problems was the awful AI of the aliens, which is bad enough, but in 2017 a hilarious and sad discovery was made.

A modder looking through the game’s code discovered a typo, and when they fixed it, the AI ​​of the aliens significantly improved.

catwoman

There’s not much to say about Catwoman, it’s the bog-standard trashy movie tie-in.

The voice actors sound like they’re half asleep at all times, the level design is repetitive and boring, and you’ll find a series of issues that never would’ve been allowed into an original title.

Street Fighter: The Movie

This is an interesting case because this is a game adaptation of a movie, which was itself adapting the original Street Fighter games.

It replaced all of the iconic Street Fighter characters with their movie appearances and made a wholly inferior version of every other Street Fighter game.

None of the series’ responsive and impactful combat made it into this title, and no one particularly cared for these versions of the characters.

Rambo: The Video Game

In 2014 an over-the-top military shooter could’ve been a big hit, but some baffling design choices were made.

Firstly, the shooting segments are entirely on rails, something you only find in light-gun arcade games in the modern day.

Secondly, all the other levels are just a series of quick-time events while poorly animated cutscenes play featuring various Rambo antics.

It’s a game that feels outdated in every possible way. Even the audio quality in the cutscenes is terrible.

Fast & Furious: Showdown

Fast & Furious is a franchise made for video games. Supercars going very fast and doing crazy cool stunts for unclear reasons sounds like an awesome premise.

However, every attempt at making a video game out of the franchise has been a failure, this being the biggest of the bunch.

On Metacritic, its userscore is 1.2 out of 10, making it the 8th worst-ranked game on the entire site. That should tell you all you need to know.

Written by Ryan Woodrow on behalf of GLHF.

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