Much like the idiom “the book is better than the movie” is often true, so too is “the movie is better than the video game”. Unfortunately, video games based on movies don’t always turn out so stellar. In fact, they’re usually pretty shitty. These games that are allegedly based on the movies we love often times have nothing to do with the movie they’re based on.
Luckily, we already know how these movies go. But what if we didn’t? What if LJN was our only window into the cinematic world? Here are movie plots based on LJN games.
Friday the 13th (NES)
Camp counselors walk through yellow brick roads in green fields as they hunt down Jason Voorhees. In the meantime, the counselors throw rocks at scare crows and collect keys and lighters. Thankfully, Jason beeps loudly so the counselors can consult their maps to see where they need to meet Jason (that is some Marauder’s Map shit before Harry Potter existed). When Jason shows up in a dapper purple jumpsuit, the counselor gets into a fist fight with him. After three separate rounds, a floating head kills all of the counselors. Roll credits.
True Lies (SNES, Genesis)
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a homicidal maniac shooting his way through a normal office environment. With every civilian Arnold takes out, Tom Arnold yells at him (because he is such a moral character). Arnold travels to shopping malls, ships, and subways shooting even more people. The bodies pile up on the ground while Arnold jumps into a jet and shoots out trucks. Arnold must watch out for grenades and flamethrowers… and conveyor belts.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (NES)
Bill and Ted roam around a less exciting ToeJam & Earl world to locate historical personalities that have been displaced by time-space rebels into incorrect time periods and return them to the correct time periods. If this isn’t accomplished, Bill and Ted will miss performing as Wyld Stallyns at a concert that would launch their careers. Bill and Ted read a phone book and travel through pipes. When they arrive at their destinations, they lob exploding books at innocent bystanders. A not-so-excellent adventure.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (SNES)
Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives nakedly and reenacts the opening scene from the first movie, which makes no sense for Judgement Day. Although this would normally signify him as the “bad” T-800, he’s clearly the “good” T-800. T-800 is on a mission to find John Connor and on the way to do so has a long pointless country drive. T-800 collects “future objects” like a Wizard collecting goddamn Muggle knick knacks. T-800 melts T-1000 into that Scream painting in a vat of molten lava and then has to shoot at the lava, all while John Connor runs around like a child. T-800 then disappears much like he arrived, swirled around in garbage, as a slideshow of low-res photos pop up on screen like a bad Power Point presentation my boss made me put together.
Back to the Future (NES)
You really don’t need to see the Back to the Future movie to appreciate this game’s creative new story line. Players get to live the exciting action as they navigate Eric Stolz, in his iconic black t-shirt, down the back alley streets of Hill Valley on a skate board. Along the way, Eric encounters macho men, hula hoopers, and bees. His only form of defense? Bowling balls! Collect all the clocks to keep the pictures of Beetlejuice from fading away. Seriously, Universal, why are we still waiting on a movie adaptation of this game?
Speaking of Beetlejuice… Some guy who looks like a cross between Bruce Wayne and the Joker has escaped prison and is on the loose in the neighborhood! The twist? Players are controlling the striped suit fugitive instead of a prince charming hero! The game starts off with a party right away, as Beetlejuice jumps on clouds and bugs to collect keys so he can break into a disco party at an abandoned warehouse. The 80s had the best parties. There’s even a water level!! Hey, at least it’s closer to the movie than the animated series was.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (NES)
Was Who Framed Roger Rabbit a remake? Because the game appears to be a combo remake of the first Ghostbusters and TMNT NES games. Guide detective Roger Rabbit through town as his badge at the top of the screen constantly reminds you of his name. He might have a side gig selling watches from his coat. Private eye Roger enlists the help of an unnamed sidekick bunny at some point who offers pretty obvious advice. Eventually, Roger loses his marbles and goes all out and punches an old man off the back of a dump truck. Our detective friend keeps cheese, whistles, meat, spring shoes, and garbage cans in his coat pocket but that’s surprisingly not the gimmick of this story. In this one, everyone is animated!
Back to the Future Part II & III (NES)
The movie trailer for this game makes it look so cool!
It was kind of stunning to discover there was a sequel to that amazing time travel game! Back to the Future Part II & III took sort of a different direction from the bowling ball plot of the first story. It’s kind of confusing as to why the game is titled Part II & III when there is only one game. The plot’s focus this time is instead on grammatical errors and achieving pizza. You must navigate Eric Stoltz, who is blue clad now, into buildings to play Burgertime. Also, some 1980s millionaire dropped his trophys which is causing a disturbance in the force or something. On top of that, Eric keeps jumping out of a floating Porsche 944 to plant trees. There’s even a cliffhanger ending that involves driving off an actual cliff, but the story never resolves before the car gets struck by lightning. Or the before someone comes to repair the cracked windshield. It’s really hard to tell with the graphics if it’s lightning bolts or cracks. Agh, this game really makes no sense. They should’ve just stopped while they were ahead with the whole bowling thing.