5 Video Game Adaptations That Missed the Point of the Movie

#2. Doctor Who: Dalek Attack, In Which the Doctor Murders Everyone

In Doctor Who: Dalek Attack, the Doctor has to fight Davros, who has an evil-sounding name, and that's all we need to know. Hey, if you didn't want your kid to eventually be murdered by a man with a strong jawline and a penchant for puns, you shouldn't have named him shit like "Davros" to begin with.

Also, stop breeding. You're pretty ugly.

So Davros is a dick, and now it's up to the good Doctor, our charming protagonist who solves every problem using only his wit, love, pluck and a screwdriver, to deal with this crisis the way he does best ...

How the Game Missed the Point

... by strapping himself onto a flying Segway and arbitrarily laser-blasting and grenade-chucking his way through an army of aliens.

You probably thought we were kidding about the Segway.

For those of you not intimately familiar with the show, the entire point of the character is that he's a pacifist action hero. His defining character trait is to avoid violence at all costs. Hell, some of the biggest problems the Doctor's ever faced could have been completely avoided if he had just shot his enemy in the face, and yet he's at his happiest when everybody lives. The show is out to prove that you can have fun, be entertained and beat the bad guy without losing your collective humanity.

By way of contrast, here's the Doctor straight up murdering a guy.

But hey, why draw up decades of awesome mythology (this show's been around for a while) for your game when lasers are a thing, and can go through other things that used to be alive? Even though you could easily go around enemies or, since the Doctor in the game has infinite health, just ignore them, the levels place endless living beings right in your path, forcing you, the Doctor, to callously mow them down without a thought.

Somewhere, K-9 is downloading tragic_disappointment.exe.

Seconds later, the Doctor shoots him dead.

#1. The Hunt for Red October: Just Blow Up Goddamn Everything

As badly as the last two items on the list botched their source material's anti-violence message, The Hunt for Red October somehow takes it to a whole other, apocalyptic level.

Nobody gets to see Montana.

In the film, Sean Connery plays a Russian submarine captain who has decided to defect because he believes the Red October, a prototype stealth sub carrying nukes, was built with the intention of starting a war -- a war he wants to avoid at all costs. Connery really stretched his acting chops here, both in pretending that he didn't want to solve every problem with his penis and/or karate chops, and in almost thinking about trying to disguise his Scottish accent a little maybe (but not really).

"I'm doing thish for freedom and Mom'sh apple piesh."

Connery's character has to contend with both the Russian military, which wants to stop the October from falling into American hands, and the U.S. as well, because the Russians have misled them into believing that Connery is actually a rogue soldier out to nuke Washington, D.C.

The situation is a powder keg, so the goal of basically every character in the movie is to prevent war. And they are successful: In the end, Connery isn't killed and everything is resolved peacefully. Only one submarine actually fires a torpedo in the whole movie, and that submarine ends up blowing itself up.


How the Game Missed the Point

By now you can guess that for the official movie tie-in game, the designers decided that we needed way more explosions, because there just weren't buttons for "terse dialogue" and "beards." So as with Platoon and Doctor Who, the result is a game where every problem is solved in exactly one way: killing the shit out of it. In the first level, you navigate the Red October through a gigantic underwater military labyrinth, nuking absolutely everything you see. Underwater laser cannons? Explode that shit! Other submarines? BOOM! Dolphins? BLA-DOW!

Screw you, wall!

The SNES version is somehow worse, where the Red October's defection starts by basically sinking the entire Soviet sub fleet. The first level has the player obliterating about 25 subs, which would mean killing about 4,000 of the defecting Soviet captain's friends and comrades.

"I never liked you, Steve!"

Then the level ends, and a new mission objective comes onto the screen:


Wait, what? OK, so apparently you made it safely to America, and now are a mercenary boat for hire? That's what the rest of the SNES version of the game is like -- sailing all over the world, using your secret super submarine to explode every vessel in the seven seas. Until the final level, where you are told:


Wait, we're supporting the rebels, right? This game is set in 1984, at the height of the Cold War ...

... and by this point you've destroyed a trillion dollars' worth of Soviet naval vessels. You're certainly not going to show up and offer help to your former government. So, you're there on behalf of the insurgents, and you proceed to destroy a fucking Soviet aircraft carrier:

Er ....

That's the end of the game. So ... how do you think the Soviet government of 1984 would have reacted to Ronald Reagan ordering a former Soviet sub to go destroy one of their carriers and the 1,500 crew on board?


Yes, a movie about a desperate attempt to prevent World War III gets turned into a game where your actions almost certainly trigger it. The message is clear: America, this is what happens when you trust a Russian.

J.F. Sargent is the managing editor of PCulpa.com. He also teaches poetry to youth that have been charged as adults in Washington, D.C. jails, and you can read his students' work here.

For more on video game failures, check out The 15 Most Annoying Video Game Characters (From Otherwise Great Games) and 8 Horribly Misguided 'Futuristic' Video Game Controllers.

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