?Today, it’s commonplace for video games to be filled with blood, guts, dismemberment, nudity, profanity and any other elements that might garner a R-rating for a movie to appeal to the ever-aging gamer. But back in the early days of videogames, they were aimed squarely at kids. So how come there were so many cartridges based on the kinds of movies kids had no shot of getting into?
Some of us used to think playing the game was just as good as seeing the movie (we were wrong) while others just wanted to blow shit up as a robot who was also a cop (a concept seemingly aimed at children now that we think of it). Oddly, the prevalence of video games based on R-rated flicks has decreased as the maturity level of the average gamer has increased, which sucks because we’d love to see an Expendables video game! Here’s a look at some of the strangest movie videogames from the Nintendo Entertainment System and how they stacked up against the movies they were based on.
This Rambo videogame is a strange beast. It’s basically a sequel to First Blood, which saw John Rambo using his cunning in a wooded town to avoid getting into trouble, yet the game — which is basically Contra or Amagon — immediately tells you not to worry about your ridiculous fighting skills and arms you with weapons then makes you karate chop snakes to get knives. Huhwha?
9) Dirty Harry
Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty” Harry Callahan was the guy on the force who got called in to do all the dirty work. He’d always get his man, no matter the situation and sometimes bend the rules to get things done. He did not, however, run around down shooting thugs left, right and center some of whom have bullets literally bounce of them, though that seems to be the premise behind the game, which seems to actually star the Terminator instead of the wry Eastwood. Also, what’s with the snakes?
8) Conan the Barbarian
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan portrayals didn’t result in the most dynamic action sequences of all time, but they shine like shooting stars compared to the awkward play of the NES game. Between awkward button combinations like having to press down to jump and three separate buttons just to pick up Conan’s trademark sword and an endless supply of enemies like skeletons and gargoyles, the game just sucks.
7) Die Hard
The Die Hard game isn’t so bad. Sure, it paints John McClane as a man who can literally outrun bullet sprays from machine guns, has that annoying overhead view and an even more annoying lighting scheme that darkens parts of the rooms you’re in, but it does involve lots and lots of shooting, which is always cool (see every successful videogame for PS3 or 360 for proof).
Here’s some facts about Platoon: Going into the movie, writer/director Oliver Stone had won an Academy Award for adapting Midnight Express. Stone would go on to win best director for Platoon the same year it won best picture. The film is packed with stars like Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Charlies Sheen, Tom Berenger, Forest Whitaker, Ketih David and others. Oh, and it has an NES game tie-in involving getting your ass lost in the jungle and trying not to get killed by the bad guys. We’re sure that last one’s pretty high on Stone’s list of achievements.
Like we said, the idea of a nearly indestructible robot punching and shooting his way through criminals seems perfect for the video game world. The appeal of Robocop has always been there for kids and the marketing people knew that as they pumped out cartoons, action figures and a slew of videogames. But why does he have to punch and shoot those dogs? One attempt at biting him and they’re realize the error of their ways. Aside from that and the awkward scale — the vehicles all look smaller than Robocop — the game was actually pretty fun, though, how does he know all these people are attacking him and not just out for a jog?
4) The Terminator
The Terminator game is surprisingly cool. You’d think that the video game makers would have latched on to the then-villainous Terminator character as the star of the game, potentially in an effort to hunt down Sarah Connor, but instead you’re Kyle Reese trying not to get killed in the future, then traveling back in time to protect Connor. The action’s pretty good and the animation is impressive because the characters aren’t as stiff as those from other games on the list.
3) Total Recall
The tiny-armed Arnold in the Total Recall game looks more physically imposing than his Conan counterpart, which is nice. So is his ability to punch bearded men all the way across the board. Unfortunately, his aversion to rats and steam makes him seem all the less cool and that’s just the first level. As kids, this one really confused the hell out of us.
2) The Untouchables
We forget how repetitive these old NES games were. Take the one based on The Untouchables, a film about G-men trying to take down Al Capone, in which you play Elliot Ness, a character who utilizes one of the first cover systems in video games as you keep popping into the alleyway to shoot mooks. That’s about it for the first part. Then you spend a lot of time rolling around the ground shooting at bad guys. It’s kind of the forefather of games like Modern Warfare. Maybe they should redo this one for modern times.
1) The Blues Brothers
Was the world really clamoring for a Blues Brothers video game for the NES in 1991, 11 years after the film came out? Probably not. They certainly weren’t looking for one with cartoony versions of our heroes Jake and Elwood Blues running around doing stupid shit like running through a shopping mall. The game could have been some goofy fun… if it didn’t bear the name of one of the greatest comedies of all time.