Login or Register

Sign in with Facebook

It's hard to adapt a movie to the world of video games. Diehard fans want an experience that accurately represents the source material, but the first level of Super Mario Bros. has a bigger body count than all of Die Hard. Usually game developers get around this problem with a weird boss fight here or an unusual story deviation there, but apparently they sometimes leave their early draft of the script in the wash, and can only loosely guess at the ending based on the shapes of the inkblots.

5
Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures -- The Wrong Grail Makes You a Supervillain

JVC, LucasArts

Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures is a Super Nintendo platformer that takes players through iconic scenes in all three movies (it was a simpler, less Crystal Skull-filled time). But then you reach the end of The Last Crusade, the one about the search for the Holy Grail, which will keep anyone who drinks from it alive. Unfortunately, it's hidden in a secret room full of fake grails that will keep you dead forever, and also Nazis are after it. In the movie, Nazi henchman Donovan chooses incorrectly and withers away into dust. But in the game ...

How the Game Missed the Point

JVC, LucasArts

Wait, what? He gets so scared that he spontaneously loses all his flesh? And instead of having the good grace to die of old age, Donovan goes on living as a sentient skeleton. He deserves major credit for how quickly he adjusts to what one would assume to be an awkward and painful transition, as he immediately begins leaping about with the range of an Olympic gymnast and uses his own skull as a lethal bowling ball against Indy.

JVC, LucasArts
Thus outing himself as Janeane Garofolo's father once and for all.

When you defeat him, he continues to defy logic by bursting into flames, despite being made entirely of bones and the fact that you've only been whipping him, not dousing him with gasoline.

JVC, LucasArts
This is why you always employ a safety word during S&M sessions.

From the Nazis' standpoint, they'd probably prefer to get their hands on more fake grails instead of the real one. Sure, immortality is great for the Fuhrer and his dog, but turning all of your foot soldiers into an army of intimidating skeleton monsters is going to be more useful in wartime. One bitchin' grail kegger later, and boom: The Allies are trying to beach in Normandy under a blitzkrieg of magical skull attacks.

JVC, LucasArts
"The only thing we have to fear is ... this, actually. Shit."

Continue Reading Below

4
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- Splinter Randomly Gets Better

Konami

Asking someone which Ninja Turtle is their favorite is like asking which deity is their favorite. But let's not forget Splinter, the wise teacher who instructed the turtles with all the dignity and grace that a stock character resembling a diseased Muppet can muster. Splinter's origin story varies, but the most well-known version is that he was a Japanese martial arts expert forced into exile by Shredder. He lived as a sewer hermit in New York City until he and his pet turtles were exposed to barrels of an oozing green mutagen, because hey, that's what you get for living in a New York sewer.

How the Game Missed the Point

The first TMNT game for the NES didn't have much of a story -- Shredder kidnapped April O' Neil, because that's what bad guys do, and you had to save her, which is what good guys do. Just choose a turtle and painstakingly fight your way through some of the most maliciously designed, death trap-filled, all-around bullshit levels you've ever seen in a video game. Good luck!

Konami
The little-known Tenth Circle of Hell.

The game was balls-to-the-wall impossible and hated children more than most clowns, so what did you get if you managed the Herculean feat of beating it? This:

Konami
"Hey, I bought you a beer."
"Thanks."
"I also saved the universe from unspeakable evil."
"Thanks."

Uh ... why exactly are you allowed to become human again? Did the Shredder in this version curse you like a miffed gypsy? Nope: Splinter still had his DNA mutated by ooze. But apparently you can undo genetic damage just by being super relieved. Also, why aren't the turtles affected? They're mutants for the exact same reason that he is. April, meanwhile, seems rather unfazed by the whole "miraculous recovery" thing, which is rather odd, considering that she's a frigging journalist.

Konami
"Pizza Hut's low, low prices are the real miracle worth investigating!"

To be fair, three panels of text with images is more of an ending than most NES games got -- many barely managed a "thank you." That actually makes this more impressive: They managed to screw up the entire mythos in only three measly panels. It took Lucas three whole movies to manage that.

Continue Reading Below

3
The Matrix: Path of Neo -- The Theme of Sacrifice Gets Replaced With an Insane Boss

Atari

Explaining the end of the Matrix trilogy would require an entire article, a doctorate in philosophy, and access to an alternate universe where we can understand why the Wachowskis thought that anything they put in the sequels was a good idea. What we do know is that they ended an action trilogy with an elaborately choreographed mud wrestling match, only to have Neo give up and let himself be killed. This magically defeats Agent Smith, because something Jesus metaphor.

Warner Bros.
Needs less subtlety.

How the Game Missed the Point

In The Matrix: Path of Neo, you win the fight against Agent Smith without having to play the savior card. After punching Smith in the face for a while, the game cuts to the Wachowskis themselves, where they explain what you're about to experience and, in doing so, suddenly turn their game into a Charlie Kaufman-esque bizarro meta-comedy.

Atari
Good to see the sprites from E.T. still working after all these years.

First they poke fun at the self-seriousness of their franchise, then they go on to explain that they didn't want to let gamers down with some boring and meaningful resolution to the core concept on which the whole trilogy is based, because gamers would rather "kick the crap out of some big badass boss." So instead of resolving the paradox of free will versus fate with Neo's choice, they set up "a little Hulk versus Galactus action." Then you fight whatever the hell this is:

For those of you who either can't watch the video or have no idea what you just experienced, hundreds of Smith clones Katamari Damacy random pieces of rubble and themselves into a giant figure resembling the agent, while Neo watches with all the concern of a man who's more interested in trying to remember if he made plans for Saturday night.

Atari
"Was I going to bang some supermodel, or count all my money while cackling with glee? Fuck it, I'll do both. Again."

Then, when the monster takes a moment to reach over and grab a conveniently located pair of gigantic sunglasses, you can't help but wonder if the Wachowskis are trying to insult the intelligence and integrity of all gamers ...

Atari
"Deal with it."

... or if they're just trying to atone for their past sins against storytelling. Seriously, this is way better than the tired Christ metaphor shtick. After winning, the game rewards you with a cutscene showing all that's left of humanity celebrating while, we shit you not, "We Are the Champions" plays. No way would we have angrily demanded our money back from an apathetic teenage ticket taker if that's how Revolutions had gone down.

Continue Reading Below

2
Alien 3 and Terminator 2 -- Heroes Don't Swim in Molten Metal

Arena Entertainment, Flying Edge

When it comes to heroic deaths, not much tops throwing yourself into a pit of lava to save humanity. We see this in both Alien 3 and Terminator 2. How the movies got to that point differs, but the scenes themselves are really similar, right down to the foundry setting. Long story short: noble hero sacrifices him- or herself to protect the future from a terrible danger held inside them. Sadly, neither sacrifice protected us from lousy sequels.

How the Games Missed the Point

The Alien 3 game ditched everything from the movie except Ripley's haircut and the name of the planet. In the game, Ripley wages a personal war against every alien ever, kicking so much xenomorph ass that the aliens probably have nightmares of a tiny baby Ripley bursting out of their chests. After her ruthless display of interstellar genocide, Ripley doesn't leap into a lake of molten metal. Instead, she slaughters the final boss, turns around to deliver some laconic one-liner, and ... that's it. We don't know how she gets off the planet. Maybe she builds a space-raft out of all the alien corpses.

Arena Entertainment
"Bitch all you want, at least our ending didn't lead to Alien: Resurrection."

Meanwhile, the developers of the Terminator 2 game decided that having the T-1000 knocked into an inferno just didn't make it dead enough. Because there's no kill like overkill, the T-1000 becomes a huge monster made of deformed faces and fire.

Flying Edge
We're pretty sure this is how Joan Rivers eventually goes out.

After you defeat the fire monster in a pit of fire by firing at it with your overwhelming firepower, the building spontaneously explodes on account of its structural integrity not being able to handle this much badass. So the T-800 just up and time travels away from there. No time machine required, no mind-bending branching timelines to keep track of -- you just shoot a dude until his very atoms explode and then hop on your chrono-hog and ride the hell out of Dodge. In a way, it's the perfect summation of Terminator 2's underlying philosophical message: There's no fate but what we make. Even if we have to make it by ignoring vital plot points in the source material.

Warner Bros.
Like how everything in T2 is now pointless because somebody wanted a Terminator with boobs.

Continue Reading Below

1
Star Wars -- Vader Is Everything but Luke's Father

Namco

The original Star Wars trilogy is the classic tale of a humble farm boy who learns that ... ha ha, kidding. You may not know your own phone number if put on the spot, but you know what Star Wars is about. You wouldn't be here otherwise. The Internet wouldn't let you.

How the Game Missed the Point

There have been countless Star Wars video games, but the 1987 Japanese NES game is easily the strangest. In it, Luke battles Darth Vader several times, only it turns out that Vader's a scorpion ...

Namco

... a shark ...

Namco

... and an ... Egyptian undead pterodactyl?

Namco
Still more believable than thinking a 70-year-old Harrison Ford could jump around without crippling himself.

According to the manual, these animal fights are "illusions" representing Luke's fears, and not at all lazy attempts to recycle character sprites from other games that the developers had laying around.

Namco
The original Animality.

Yet as silly as Animorph Vader might be, the plot is where the game really veers off the rails. Luke's mission here isn't to stop the sinister Empire, learn his destiny, or save his father: It's just to fly the Millennium Falcon from planet to planet (most of which look like they were ripped from Mega Man) and rescue R2-D2, C-3P0, Obi-Wan, Leia, Chewbacca, and Han, who have all been kidnapped. You eventually manage to get the whole gang back together, thanks to a little help from C-3P0, who convinces a whale to help you navigate the cold waters of the ice planet Tina.

No, seriously.

Namco
Too bad Disney put the kibosh on the extended universe. Tales from Planet Tina would've easily sold dozens of copies.

After befriending the space humpback, you do finally get to fight Vader and blow up the Death Star. Then the game really throws a twist at you and gives a medal to Chewie instead of Han. That's where your suspension of disbelief really falls apart.

Namco
It's like they never watched the movie.


Related Reading: Some video game adaptations had moments that improved on the movie. We've collected those scenes for you, along with these movie video games that just plain missed the point. We set our forums to the task of imagining the video game versions of classic films and we've also submitted our own request for the video games most in need of a MOVIE made in their image.

To turn on reply notifications, click here

426 Comments

Load Comments