Video games based on fictional stories that exist in other mediums have had a… well, let’s generously call it an “inconsistent” history. Many have been outright terrible, while others have been just bizarre. (You can take our Xboxes from us, but you’ll have to pry Sneak King out of our cold, dead hands! Or just buy it from us for the $3.99 we paid for it.) Of course, there have also been a handful of excellent licensed games over the years as well.
On March 4, one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year will hit the streets, when South Park: Stick of Truth debuts on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Does it deserve a place on this list? Check out our review on Tuesday to find out.
In the meantime, we got to thinking about our favorite licensed games throughout the years. Several members of the DT office got in on it, and at one point the discussion got heated and turned into a Nerf battle. Many a good dart lost its form that day. To be fair, most of our discussions turn into Nerf battles, but it did help us to build this list.
Check it out and feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below. Did we miss a few? Sound off!
Batman: Arkham City
You could make a legitimate argument for Batman: Arkham Asylum taking this spot, but Arkham City took a proven formula and made it better. Gotham is recreated in detail, using decades of Batman lore, and the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery appears in full force. Batman fans loved it, and so did everyone else.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Originally released back in 2004, Escape from Butcher Bay was one of the best, and, sadly, most underplayed titles appearing on Microsoft’s fledgling game console, the original Xbox. Thankfully, the game found a wider audience on PC, and then scored a remastered re-release on Xbox 360 featuring a completely new game, Assault on Dark Athena, along with it.
When Duck Tales originally came out for the NES in 1989, it perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the TV show. A recent remake tried to recapture the magic with limited success and the property itself is quickly fading from pop culture, but for a certain generation of gamer, this title will never be forgotten. Remember this?
If you talk to 10 people that played GoldenEye 007’s multiplayer on the N64, you may find nine that think they were absolutely amazing at it. The game hit that rare balance between being accessible and deep, amounting to a game that was fun for everyone to play. It’s still among the best first-person shooters ever made, and that is saying something given the sheer volume of competition that’s popped up in the years since.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
Comic book characters have had a mixed history when it comes to fighting games, but Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom series has consistently remained among the best. Everyone has their favorite, but to us, the second game in the series, released in the arcades back in 2000 (and then later on home consoles), was the pinnacle.
Sam & Max Hit the Road
No list would be complete without at least one obscure choice that most won’t remember, but a few will passionately appreciate its inclusion. Sam & Max have had several video game adaptations – including a series from the storytellers at Telltale Games – but the first still stands out. Based on the Steve Purcell comic, 1993’s Sam & Max on PC was developed by LucasArts during the height of its power. It was funny and imaginative, and may have even one-upped its source material.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic was not just a good Star Wars game and one of the best Xbox exclusives around when it was released in 2003, it was also one of the best RPGs as well. It still holds up too. Just check out the recent iOS re-release for proof of that.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Arcade Game
If you were a kid (or a kid at heart) in the late 80s and early 90s, there is a very good chance that some of your quarters made their way to this arcade game (which was later released for NES under the title Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game). It was colorful and fast-paced, and you could play it together with three of your friends. And all it took to beat the game was a near endless supply of quarters.
The Walking Dead: Season One
Telltale Games’ point-and-click (or tap-and-swipe, for you mobile players) episodic titles based on the Walking Dead comic (and therefore indirectly based on the TV show as well), caught people by surprise. The games were simple, limiting, and they came out in a nontraditional fashion. Yet they were also amazing, and promise to have a big impact on game development for years to come.