20 of the best movie tie-in games

Star Wars (1983, arcade)

Ignoring all the preamble of Jedi, Tatooine and faffing about on the Death Star, the Star Wars arcade game got straight to the exciting bit of the film – the fighter attack on the Imperial battle station. First, you had to battle through waves of TIE Fighters, lovingly rendered in wireframe vector graphics (and inexplicably firing what appeared to be psychedelic snowflakes at you). Then it was down to the Death Star surface, where you fought your way through gun towers to complete the infamous trench run.

If you were really lucky, your local arcade had one of the sit-down versions, so you could pretend you really were Luke Skywalker. Until one of the bigger kids turfed you out, despite the stack of coins which clearly indicated you had reserved your spot.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure (1989, PC/Amiga/Atari ST)

LucasArts released two games to tie in with Indiana Jones' final on-screen adventure (shut up, that Crystal Skull thing was just a bad dream). Of the two – an action platformer and a point-and-click adventure game – The Graphic Adventure is the more fondly remembered. Making use of the SCUMM engine that underpinned the likes of Maniac Mansion and the later The Secret of Monkey Island, the game featured a clever "Indy Quotient" system that racked up points depending on how you approached the puzzles. The only way to achieve the maximum possible score was to play the game multiple times, taking a different route on each occasion.

More after the break...

Angry Birds Star Wars (2012, iOS/Android)

It was hard not to be cynical when we first heard of the irate avians' tie-in with Star Wars – expecting it to be just another poorly thought-out licensing deal. But we were wrong – as well as including some of the brilliant gravity-defying obstacles from Angry Birds Space, it adds in Star Wars-themed birds with lightsabers, blasters and force push powers. This adds a grin-inducing theme for Star Wars fans, and brings new depth to gameplay. It's been so successful that a sequel has just been released. Just beware the pork side… 

Ghostbusters (1984, Commodore 64)

Like all the best vintage games, this C64 effort from Activision kept things varied, with driving sections, ghost-trapping combat sections and a race against the clock to pay off your US$10,000 loan before New York City's PK energy hit 9999 and the demon Zuul puts in an appearance. Because keeping your finances in order is more important than the end of the world. Many a joystick was flung at the screen during the maddening bit where you have to dodge the Marshmallow Man.

Blade Runner (1997, PC)

A bit of a fudge, this one, as it isn't really an adaptation of the film – rather than playing Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard, you play similarly-attired Blade Runner Ray McCoy in a point-and-click adventure that runs parallel with the events of the movie. Westwood Studios admirably recreates the atmosphere of Ridley Scott's dystopian future, with McCoy encountering characters and environments from the Blade Runner film.

The game riffs on the film's themes of identity, too – each time you play, the game randomly determines which characters are humans and which are android replicants, and the ending changes depending on whether you treat the replicants with compassion or hunt them down.  

You have to login or register to comment.