Hollywood loves to make sequels, taking something that has been successful and expanding it into another instalment is not only simpler than making something new, it is also more likely to be a success due to brand recognition.
There are countless terrible movie tie-in games that try to make a quick buck for the studios. Often these poorly made games will only copy the basic story of the film adding in interactive sections or more action sections.
But at times something different happens, you insert the game and experience something new, something that wasn’t in the movie but actually takes place after the big screen adventure making them a must play for fans of the movies.
Let’s look at some of these amazing examples.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Who ya gonna call?
Ever want to live in an alternate dimension where the original cast of the classic Ghostbusters movie made a 3rd instalment that was as good as the first two? As amazing as we are here at FinalBoss, I’m afraid we don’t have the tech to get you there but we do have a recommendation for the next best thing.
Originally released in 2009, twenty years after the 2nd film, Ghostbusters The Video Game released on multiple platforms, and unlike other Ghostbusters games that came before or since, this game not only features the likenesses and voices of the 4 original cast members (plus some of the actors from the films) but was also partially written by both Dan Akroyd (Ray) & Harold Ramis (Egon).
This game was set two years after the 2nd film and finds our team of Parapsychologists have become city contractors who are authorised and insured to capture ghosts in New York City. The team needs more help so recruits our silent player character who is lovingly called ‘Rookie’ by the team. Your main role is to support the team and to field-test their newer more dangerous equipment, we can’t risk Peter losing his hair in a gadget malfunction of course.
The crew fights off enough ghosts and other paranormal baddies to fill out a whole two extra movies and traveling to the Afterlife dimension (no connection to the upcoming movie presumably) the team saves the day but realise they are overstaffed. Instead of sending Rookie on their way to find a mundane desk job, they offer the chance of being the head of a Ghostbusters franchise in a new location.
What makes this game so great?
The simple fact is, the excellent writing and performances from the cast give the game the level of authenticity that fans of the films will be looking for. Harold Ramis had stated when asked that he considered this game and its story to be the 3rd film in the series, unfortunately five years after the game was released Ramis passed away leaving this as the last Ghostbusters project that features the four original cast members.
Luckily for fans of the series the game was available on multiple platforms and as of 2019 for the game’s 10th anniversary and 35th anniversary of the original movie was remastered on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch meaning you can even bust ghosts while on the go.
Back To The Future: The Game
Yes my friends, through the magic of video games you can experience a Back To The Future story set after the classic trilogy.
Picking up 6 months after Doc and his family left on the Time Train, Marty and his father George are sorting through Doc’s home as the bank is about to foreclose on the property. Suddenly a DeLorean appears outside the house with Einstein inside and a message from Doc saying the time machine would arrive there if Doc ever got into trouble.
What follows is a 5 part adventure from legendary narrative studio TellTale which takes Marty back through Hill Valley’s past to save his best friend with each episode ending with a shocking twist and a teaser trailer of what is to come next.
Is it worth playing?
Whether a fan of the films will enjoy this additional adventure is really down to the individual, if you are familiar with TellTale games from their Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us series you will know what to expect from the gameplay, lots of exploring 3D environments and interacting with NPC’s with some light puzzle solving.
This game came about as a licensing deal with Universal Studios and as such the movie trilogy co-writer Bob Gale (who also co-created and co-directed with Robert Zemeckis) and the studio even put out an online survey to ask where fans would be interested in the story going.
Christopher Lloyd reprises his role of Doc Emmett Brown and although Michael J Fox could not return, actor A. J. Locascio does a great job as Marty and Fox would return to voice some McFly descendants in the final episode.
Also of note is Claudia Wells returning to voice Jennifer Parker, she was the original actress to portray the character in the first movie before having to step away for personal reasons.
When the game was re-released for PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in 2015 for the 30th anniversary of the original movie Thomas F Wilson reprised the role of Biff Tannen re-recording the lines originally done by Kid beyond.
In 2018 the game fell to a similar fate as many other licensed titles and was removed from digital storefronts, meaning that physical copies are difficult to find and expensive to buy. From one BTTF fan to all the others out there I say give the game a go if you can.
(hot tip, if you had PS+ back in Jan 2012 you may still be able to download to your PS3 console)
The Amazing Spider-Man
With a great movie can follow a great video game.
2012 not only gave us our first superhero team-up movie with the MCU’s Avengers (or Avengers Assemble if you’re in the UK because we used to have an unrelated Avengers TV show) but we were also waiting to find out how a Spider-Man reboot was going to work following the successful Toby Maquire trilogy.
Of course as with those Spider-Man films, a video game tie-in was released but unlike the previous spidey movie games, something was different.
As you may have guessed the story of this game was set a short time after the events of the film. Peter and Gwen are investigating Oscorp as they believe the new Director Alistair Smythe is continuing Dr Connors’ cross-species experiments.
What’s great about this story is that because Spider-Man has such a large gallery of animal-based enemies, we get to see some excellent alternative versions of characters including Rhyno & Scorpion among others. Spidey even has to break out and work with Connors/Lizard to take on these villains as well as other enemies.
This story of course is non-canon as we did get an Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie and non of these events are tied into it, for example Felicia Hardy does appear as a version of Black Cat in the game but in the movie sequel she only appears as an assistant to Harry Osborn with her presumably being set up to return in future as the anti-hero.
Overall The Amazing Spider-Man game is a great tie-in to the movie as it bucks the trend of copying the story of the film and stuffing extra characters in to fill out the length. The story is worth playing through and Manhattan is excellent to swing around.
The game also had a DLC pack called The Stan Lee Adventure that allowed you to play as Stan Lee with all Spider-Mans powers and features missions made especially for Spider-Mans 50th anniversary.
Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son
PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift & HTC Vive
Watch that first step, it’s a doozy.
As was proved with the Ghostbusters video game, you can indeed make a video game sequel to a classic movie and it can be good. In 2019 Tequila Works the studio behind such brilliant titles as Rime & The Sexy Brutale took us back to Punxsutawney, this time in VR as Phil Connors Jr the son of Bill Murray’s Phil Connors.
As you may expect Phil Jr finds himself in his own time loop and must do what he can to help the residents of the town and figure out how to end the loop.
The game takes on a 3D cartoon graphical style for its rich-looking environments and features plenty of voiced NPC’s to interact with. The gameplay is puzzle-based as many come to expect from VR titles but it does also feature a Rockband-esqe guitar mini-game.
Like Father Like Son does have some issues with its gameplay especially when it comes to locomotion options limiting players to teleportation and click turning, but the game reviewed well back in 2019 and is really something all fans of the original movie should consider checking out if they have the right hardware.
Tequila lot of bad guys.
Don’t worry this is not a video game sequel to the 1994 action movie starring Jerry ‘Golden Boy’ Trimble, I wouldn’t want to inflict that onto our faithful readers. Stranglehold the video game is a sequel to the 1992 John Woo film Hard Boiled starring Chow Yun-Fat as Inspector Tequila Yeun.
Now if you’re an Asian cinema fan in the UK you may be thinking that Hard Boiled 2 already happened, however that movie has nothing to do with Tequila and was not directed by Woo. In fact Hard Boiled 2 was originally called The Last Blood in Hong Kong and when later released in the Philippines it was called Police Protectors. Movie localisations truly are a weird and wonderful rabbit hole to fall down.
Is it worth playing?
Stranglehold is a 3rd person action shooter where players take control of Inspector Yeun as he fights through the streets taking out gang members by using a variety of guns and using special moves. Inspector Yeun can shoot from behind cover and dive through the air but where things get really exciting is when you can slide down handrails or ride food carts across a room all while shooting your enemies in glorious Woo-esqe slo-mo.
As for the story, Stranglehold takes the sequel style of telling a new and unrelated story featuring a familiar character, much like how Hollywood handles a Die Hard movie. Inspector Yeun goes against his Chiefs orders to find a missing police officer all while three different Triad gangs are fighting a turf war, chaos and glorious gunfights follow.
Inspector Yeun was meant to return in another video game outing called Gun Runner, but due to developer Midway going bankrupt in 2010 this sequel was unfortunately cancelled.
Maybe we could one day see Inspector Yeun return as a DLC character in that little-known former Midway series Mortal Kombat.
Enter The Matrix
How deep does the rabbit hole go?
For our final entry, I decided to go with something a little different inspired by the recently released new Matrix movie.
This may be cheating a little, 2003’s Enter the Matrix doesn’t directly continue any of the film’s stories, but it does play an important part in the Matrix’s cross-media narrative which tried to do something very different at the time.
The game sees you taking on the role of Captain Niobe and her First Mate Ghost as they fight the machines and try to protect Zion alongside Neo, Trinity & Morpheus.
Ever wonder where Niobi gets the news that the machines are digging? Or why does Persephone kill her bodyguards with silver bullets? Maybe you’ve been wondering how Niobe managed to turn up in a car during the highway chase just in time to catch Morpheus? These answers and many more are in the deeper lore found within The Animatrix and this video game.
Is it worth playing?
Enter The Matrix works well as a companion to the movies and features fun gameplay using bullet time moves to run up walls and fight just like the characters in the film. At the time of release many were left disappointed at a Matrix game that didn’t let you play as the all-powerful Neo, luckily this would later be fulfilled by The Path Of Neo which allowed you to play the entirety of Neo’s journey with a slightly wackier ending.
The main reason that Enter The Matrix is worth playing is how it ties into and contributes to the story of the movies linking itself directly to the first episode of The Animatrix. Niobe and Ghost have to retrieve a tape from inside The Matrix left by the crew of The Osiris after they lost their lives getting news of the machines digging to the resistance. This immediately precedes the meeting from the beginning of Reloaded and sets up the story for the two sequels, if you’re a fan of the movies this is definitely worth experiencing.
These are just a few examples of some of our favourite films having their stories continued in video games and there are bound to be plenty more out there in the wild.
Hopefully this trend can continue if it can continue to be done well. But with AAA video game budgets ballooning over the years it seems less likely that a big studio would risk making a game tied directly to a movie, especially with the length of time a AAA game can be in development and the need for last-minute movie reshoots. But this could leave room for smaller studios to go out and put their own unique stamp on our favourite films stories.
What films would you like to see continued in a video game? Leave us a comment below!