As watching Bob Hoskins playing a dungaree-clad Brooklyn plumber will tell you, films based on video games are, for the most part, abysmal.
This isn't true for video games based on movies, though. Often they’re as well-crafted as the film they're supposed to be helping to promote, and sometimes actually a class above.
So here are the ten greatest games that bettered their cinematic makers.
Image: Games Press
Pierce Brosnan’s best outing as 007 may well have been in Goldeneye, but he was ultimately upstaged by a perma-tuxedoed 64-bit version of himself in its gaming spin-off. Before the internet was available to consoles, Goldeneye was the king of multi-player gaming, a near perfect game and its only flaw was Oddjob, a player so small he's practically impossible to kill in death matches and doesn’t even throw his hat.
X-men Origins: Wolverine
When judged against other comic-to-screen adaptations, X Men Origins: Wolverine is highly entertaining. Its spin-off game, however, turned out to be one of the strongest comic book games ever to grace modern consoles. What’s more, it packed action that the film didn’t. Logan’s tussle with a deck-wielding Gambit is twice as meaty as the pithy display of handbags shown in the film.
Star Wars Racer
Excusing the ineffable Jar Jar Binks, The Phantom Menace did throw up a few interesting things: double-sided light sabres, a young Darth Vader who looked more akin to a member of Hanson than a space villain - and pod racing, a high-octane sport which became the focus for one of the all-time classic arcade racing games. And as DVD collections and arcades will attest, it’s the game that has survived the test of time.
Arabian street urchin and monkey companion steal apples while trying to avoid the Sultan’s guards? On paper it sounds like a poor man’s Prince of Persia, right? Yet in actual fact this tie-in game to smash 1992 film Aladdin was ingenious in its approach to the humble platformer, designing immersive, fun levels and still encompassing all the zany character quirks and recognisable Disney sketches. And while the film’s sequels went straight to video, the title’s evolution from Mega Drive to an entirely different game on the SNES was seamless.
Sure, it won a few Oscars and wasn’t a box office flop by any means, but three hours and eight minutes of colossal CGI ape can be a slog for even the most ardent zoologist. Less time was needed, however, to complete the video game, where we the audience could actually play as Kong himself. Tossing human corpses like Donkey Kong throws barrels never grew tiresome.
Alien vs Predator
Two years after Alien Resurrection spectacularly failed to replicate the horror of Ridley Scott’s original, and nine years after Danny Glover lumbered around an ill-fated Predator sequel, the video game Aliens vs Predator was a runaway success. It was originally out in 1994 on the Atari Jaguar, but the 1999 edition on the PC was such a tour de force of gaming that it spawned two movies – probably not entirely a good thing – they make Predator 2 look like Citizen Kane.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
While not strictly its own game (part of the Die Hard Trilogy that ruled on the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1996), this airport-based bullet-fest redefined the light gun genre: it made most of us put Point Blank in the attic, while Time Crisis would go on to mimic its blunt style, and we wouldn’t even blink at the ‘infamous’ airport level on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 eons later. The film, meanwhile, only managed to redefine the plot of the original.
Enter the Matrix
It’s common knowledge that no one enjoyed the Matrix sequels, but at least they gave us Enter the Matrix, a game written and directed by the Wachhowski brothers. The pair used it to chart the stories of two sub characters that the Reloaded and Revolutions couldn’t fit in. The result? More mid-air grappling, darker themes (vampires in some parts) and, thankfully, less acting from Keanu Reeves.
Terminator 3: Redemption
T3: Redemption was the first Terminator game that Arnie lent his voice to, and while there was none of the success that the Mega Drive’s T2 enjoyed at the dawn of the nineties, this relentless first-person shooter proved far more engaging than what was at the cinema. Then again, even Pong could have bettered the movie.
The Fast and the Furious
Revved-up motors with overly large spoilers and alloys shinier than Ross Kemp’s head in a scorching Afghanistan - a familiar scene outside Halfords on a Saturday night and in any Fast and the Furious instalment. This said, we did have our serious faces on when blasting the nitrous oxide to thunderously overtake a rival racer in downtown Tokyo on the 2001 arcade game based on the film.