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Unless you want to be murdered by zealous fans, your adaptation of a book/movie/etc. had better keep certain things intact. Sure, you can cut a scene here or tweak a character there, but in the end, Harry Potter still has to defeat Voldemort, and Katniss still has to win the Hunger Games. Deviate from the plan, and fans scream bloody murder.

But not when it comes to video games. Video game makers don't give two shits about canon, even if the game is based on an all-time cinema classic. They'd tack on a different ending to the freaking crucifixion if they thought it'd make the level play better, and nobody cares. So, let's take a moment to celebrate some of the most awesome and/or insane liberties games have taken with famous plots ...

6
The Empire Strikes Back -- Luke Kicks Vader's Ass (and Isn't His Son)

In the Movie ...

Some of you are too young to remember how goddamn depressing The Empire Strikes Back was when we saw it for the first time. First the Rebels get the shit blown out of their igloo base. Then, despite the fact that Yoda (literally the wisest being in the entire universe) specifically tells him not to, Luke Skywalker zooms across the galaxy to confront Darth Vader in Billy Dee Williams' Colt 45 Sky Fortress and gets about 13 years beaten off of his life.


"What, did an arthritic old man and a midget train you to sword fight? Oh ... right."

Vader chases Luke through the facility, operating his light saber in full-on baseball bat mode and using space magic to throw a bunch of random shit at the young Rebel, until finally cornering Luke at the end of a bridge and chopping his goddamn hand off. Vader then reveals himself to be Luke's supposedly dead Jedi father, to which Luke responds with mewling shrieks of terror-sadness and then leaps into the cavernous pit below. Thanks for coming, kids! The next movie will be out in a few years!

But in the Game ...

When they sat down to make the NES game in the early 1990s, they decided they were going to get rid of all this depressing shit and write the movie Lucas should have made. So, instead of getting tossed around like a child, Luke arrives at Cloud City to greet Darth Vader with a howling explosion of furious ass-whoop. He sprints down the spindly chasm bridge and pummels the Sith Lord like a jazz drummer cracking open a pinata with a pair of nightsticks, until Vader simply collapses under the weight of his own embarrassing failure and falls off the fucking bridge.


He just shit in his robot suit, and now he has to smell it all the way down.

However, the greater departure from the film's storyline comes after Luke beats Vader in 10 seconds like he was late for a meeting. Once Vader is defeated and sent hurtling down the inexplicable sky abyss/twinkling future slide, he delivers this message:


"Next time, Skywalker ... NEXT TIME!"

That's it -- a generic bad guy rant about "meeting again" spat out by Shredder, Skeletor, and countless Scooby-Doo villains over the years, with absolutely no mention of being Luke's father. The most iconic moment of the entire film (and one of the most famous moments in cinema history) is just kind of skipped right over for no discernible reason. To be fair, we understand the omission -- Vader would probably rather divulge that information while looking a bit more dignified and powerful, instead of screaming it over his shoulder while rocketing headfirst down a giant elevator shaft.

5
Peter Jackson's King Kong -- Jack and Ann Save Kong

In the Movie ...

No matter which of the Hollywood adaptations of King Kong you're talking about, the story is always a tragedy: The giant ape finds love in the form of a beautiful human woman, then dies and falls off a skyscraper.


Hey, we've all been there.

So, near the end of Peter Jackson's CGI-fest, the titular monkey lord steals heroine Ann Darrow and carries her to the top of the Empire State Building, because he's a monkey and can only think so far ahead. Mustering up what little remains of his dignity after being forced to whimsically scoot on his butt across a frozen pond and make countless pouty sad faces into the camera, Kong makes one final stand against all of the douchebags who kidnapped him from his island kingdom. He fiercely battles wave after wave of fighter planes until he sustains a fatal wound and plunges 102 stories to his death in the crowded streets below, where he is eulogized by Jack Black, because the universe clearly hates him.


"He told me he wanted an all-kazoo version of American Idiot played at his funeral."

But in the Game ...

If you earn enough points playing through the video game Peter Jackson's King Kong, you earn the privilege of playing an alternate final level wherein Jack Driscoll and Ann Darrow manage to save Kong from the final skyscraper shootout and return him to Skull Island, despite the fact that this outcome requires such a monumental suspension of disbelief that they might as well have had Superman swoop in and lob the mutant gorilla back to his homeland like a giant supersonic baseball.

Half of the level has you controlling King Kong as he swats at fighter planes:


"Monkey RAAAAAGE!"

While the other half puts you in control of Jack Driscoll as he zips around in a plane, shooting down the other fighter pilots to provide Kong with enough cover to escape.


"Treason is a small price to pay to hit on Naomi Watts!"

Jack literally murders U.S. soldiers trying to protect their country from a rampaging Gorilla Hercules so Kong can haul ass back to the tropics. Somehow, Jack and Ann manage to get him away from the assembled military forces and onto a freighter bound for Skull Island, which is explained by a single shot of a boat pulling out of New York Harbor. How did they find a giant monkey-hauling steamer on such short notice, or get Kong on board without being spotted? How did they plan to make it across the ocean without being run down by the Coast Guard? Don't worry your pretty little head about it.


"Well, gang, we made it! Boy, it's a good thing all of that other stuff happened."

Then, we see Jack and Ann circling the highest peak of Skull Island, which for some reason is Pride Rock, while Kong roars triumphantly to celebrate his total not-deadness.


Presumably to a soundtrack by Elton John.

Continue Reading Below

4
Beauty and the Beast -- The Beast Hunts Gaston Down and Beats His Ass

In the Movie ...

Muscle-bound narcissist and future Ed Hardy customer Gaston, who goes from comic relief to cold-hearted villain in about as much time as it takes to cook a Pop-Tart, storms the Beast's castle to stab the hell out of him and claim Belle as his own, because apparently that's how marriage worked in 18th century France. The Beast is in a depression worthy of a Smiths mix CD over Belle's apparent rejection and is resigned to let Gaston kick the shit out of him. However, Belle returns in the middle of the melee, and Gaston suddenly discovers that hulking gorilla wolf demons have super strength.


Who knew?

But the Beast chooses to spare Gaston, who returns the favor by immediately sticking a hunting knife into his back. Gaston then clumsily falls off of the castle, because he has the situational awareness of a hamburger.


"I should've waited until I had both feet back on the balcony to stab yoooooooooou!"

But in the Game ...

Video game Beast doesn't give one hairy horseshit for compassion or mercy. In the 1994 SNES edition, when Gaston and his cronies lay siege to the castle, the Beast bellows out a resounding "Fuck you" and carves a path of destruction through his own palace, stalking Gaston to the outer towers and flinging the bastard off with his own meaty paws.


"You'll be fine, just flex really hard right before you hit the ground."

The Beast doesn't waste time moping in the dark over Belle's departure -- he gets shit done. He stomps Gaston's ass through nine floors of stone and out into the black embrace of eternity. Then he turns back into a prince and dances with Belle, presumably whipping out some vintage Stallone quip about taking out the trash.

3
The Godfather -- Sonny's Assassins Get Whacked

In the Movie ...

Sonny Corleone, heir to the Corleone family empire, blazes out of hiding to avenge the black eye his sister was dealt by her husband, Carlo. Unfortunately, this domestic violence episode was merely bait meant to lure Sonny out into the open, and he gets boxed in at a toll booth and shot with every bullet that had ever been manufactured up to that point in American history.


Who was aiming at the clock?

When Michael Corleone takes over at the end of the film, he has everyone responsible for ordering Sonny's murder carried into the next world on a carriage made of shotgun blasts and garroting wire. However, the actual assassins who pulled the trigger (a lot) on Sonny are never dealt their share of the retribution.

But in the Game ...

When EA Games made The Godfather: The Game in 2006, they wanted to ensure that they captured the essence of the classic film. So, they retooled Sonny's death scene to add a backup driver who witnesses the assassination and chases the gunmen down to an abandoned warehouse, where he stomps them out of existence with a righteous mix of gunfire and Molotov cocktails. Because that's the essence of what happened.


Although as Sonny's bodyguard, he's probably still going to get a stern performance review.

Rather than having the hit men simply disappear after clipping Sonny (the movie never even clearly shows their faces), the game sends you barreling through the city after them like The French Connection until you ultimately storm their secret hideout and kill every last one of them in the face with hate bullets.


Press "X" to fist-bump Don Vito.

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2
Pinocchio -- The Child-Enslaving Coachman Gets Tossed Off a Cliff

In the Movie ...

For those of you who have never seen it (or, more likely, forcibly removed the memory from your brain to prevent yourself from growing into an adult with an irrational fear of leaving your house), Disney's Pinocchio has some of the most terrifying, child-predacious villains in the history of cinema. Possibly the worst of them is the Coachman, a burly human walrus in a Rosie O'Donnell coat who uses alcohol to lure young boys to a place called Pleasure Island, because nobody in the Disney boardroom saw a problem with that sentence.


Just ... just wow.

Employing some magic that is never explained, he turns all of the children into donkeys, packs them in cages, and sells them into a lifetime of slavery.


He has a very specific set of customers.

Pinocchio manages to escape only half-donkey, but he has to abandon all the others in the clutches of the Coachman. And he never comes back for them. The Coachman, a grotesquely evil human trafficker specializing in little boys, doesn't get any form of comeuppance whatsoever. Instead, he gets to ride off into the sunset with boxes full of slave children like he just won a raffle at Gary Glitter's house.

But in the Game ...

When Sega Genesis released its adaptation 56 years later (to satisfy a demand that cannot possibly have existed), they decided to include a sequence wherein Pinocchio scales the craggy peaks of Pleasure Island, forces the Coachman into an ultimate showdown, and beats his ass right off a goddamn mountain.


Via devastating shin-fu.

The Coachman barely even puts up a fight, seemingly knowing that he deserves what's coming. He just stands there looking fat and evil, taking incredibly slow, telegraphed swings with his riding crop until Pinocchio finally delivers a whirling Patrick Swayze Roadhouse kick and sends the bastard flying off the cliff into oblivion.


"Revenge is a dish best served by soulless puppets."

Pinocchio stands there motionless with a creepily earnest smile on his face, listening to the Coachman's rapidly receding death howl as it fades into the churning ocean below. Then the Blue Fairy appears to give him his next mission.


"Pinocchio, you have remained truthful and unselfish, and ... um, did you just murder somebody?"

1
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King -- Frodo and Sam Beat the Piss Out of Gollum

In the Movie ...

When Frodo and Sam finally reach Mount Doom, Frodo gets completely taken over by the One Ring and refuses to destroy it, slipping it on to turn invisible and leaving Sam sweating chubbily in the dust. However, before Frodo can run off into the wastes and live out the rest of his days in gibbering lunacy, Gollum leaps onto his back and bites his freaking finger off, reclaiming the Ring with murderous glee. As Gollum hops around doing an "I just ate a man's finger" end zone dance (as one does), he loses his balance and falls into the boiling heart of the volcano, taking the Ring (and 12 hours of our lives) with him.


Peter Jackson preferred to avoid CGI wherever possible, so Weta just shaved a drifter and dropped him into a real volcano.

But in the Game ...

In the 2003 game, the scene plays out pretty much the same up until the finger biting, but rather than have Gollum mirth-twirl his way into his own destruction, Frodo comes back to his senses and teams up with Sam for a cataclysmic final battle.

Gollum doesn't go gently, either. He races around the edges of the cliff like the Amazing Spider-Man, leaping out to deliver emaciated missile dropkicks that send the two hobbits reeling on the precipice of scalding liquid ultra-death. Meanwhile, fireballs of lava explode all around them, heightening the already desperate situation to an absurd intensity.


"... uh, this is getting pretty serious, maybe we should go get Gandalf."

They finally manage to beat Gollum enough that he loses his balance and topples over, barely catching the rocky platform. Frodo stabs the absolute dicks out of him one last time, sending Gollum and the Ring sailing off into fiery nonexistence.


Ironically, this is also how we wish The Good Son ended.



Drake Marsh's spell check now proudly recognizes the words "light saber," "Corleone," and "Gollum." Catch some of his terrible old parody news headlines (and post some of your own) at The Leaky Wiki.



For more on why video games will always kick ass, check out 6 Moments That Make Video Games Worth It and The 5 Ballsiest Easter Eggs Hidden in Video Games.

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