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When movies are adapted into video games, they usually fall into one of two categories: Those that have absolutely nothing to do with their source material and suck as a result, and those that try too hard to stay true to their source material, and suck as a result. There is, however, a third, much rarer category -- those that find a happy medium between retaining faithfulness to the original and creating fun and original gameplay. Though there are plenty of Enter The Matrix-es out there, titles like Tron 2.0 are so good, they're movie sequels in their own right.
The Warriors, based on The Warriors (1979)
Rockstar's adaptation of The Warriors may actually be better than the movie -- and I say that as a true fan of both. Where the movie focused on a single night in the Warriors' lives, the game delivers intensely satisfying, old-school beat-'em-up gameplay wrapped around a great deal of (surprisingly entertaining) backstory. When, for instance, (spoiler alert for a 30-year-old flick) Cleon gets killed after Cyrus's assassination, it actually carries more emotional weight in the game because you've seen him build the Warriors from the ground up. In the movie, he's just some dude we've never met who gets axed so Michael Beck can take over. We also get to see more of Ajax in the game, which is never a bad thing.
Aliens vs. Predator, based on Alien vs. Predator (2004)
To be fair, this game's place on the list may be a cheat: Both Aliens vs Predator shooters have nothing to do with the horrendous Paul WS Anderson movie or its sequel, Requiem, but instead tell completely new stories that just happen to take place in the same universe. The games also happen to be better than more than half the movies in both franchises combined. Where nearly every Alien or Predator flick focused on human protagonists, the games put the player into the shoes (and mandibles) of the Predators and the Xenomorphs, as well. (Who do you really root for when you're playing for all three sides simultaneously?)
Ghostbusters: The Game, based on Ghostbusters (1984)
Pitched as the virtual equivalent of a third Ghostbusters movie (until Dan Aykroyd revealed that a third Ghostbusters movie is actually on the way), Ghostbusters: The Game is a hit-and-miss affair. When it hits, though, it really hits. Trapping a ghoul in your proton blast and suddenly hearing Harold Ramis cautioning you against crossing streams... well, it feels right. Ghostbusters: The Game goes the extra mile in making the player feel like they're a part of a true Ghostbusters experience. There are a few downsides -- Bill Murray's lines are over-the-top, and the character models may have a foot or two in the uncanny valley -- but there's a lot to be said for being able to pick up a proton pack, bust some ghosts, and shoot the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the face while Dan Aykroyd cheers you on.
Tron 2.0, based on Tron (1982)
After watching the Tron Legacy footage from this year's Comic-Con, I found myself unimpressed. Not because the footage didn't look damned good -- it did -- but because I'd already experienced the perfect Tron sequel six years ago. Monolith's beautifully designed game puts you in the shoes of Jet Bradley, the son of Bruce Boxleitner's character. When a viral infection threatens to take over Encom's computer network, Jet is digitized into cyberspace to defend it. The game's charms can be explained in three steps:
1. Light cycle races.
2. Gorgeous graphics.
3. Frisbee combat.
Everything that was good about Tron is in Tron 2.0, only prettier and playable. Tron Legacy will have some serious work to do to surpass its interactive predecessor.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, based on X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
The Wolverine movie was pretty bad. The Wolverine game is pretty decent. Neither is really worth getting up in arms over, but the X-Men Origins game is notable for one reason in particular: Gore. Where the flick had to stay relatively tame in order to maintain a PG-13 rating, the virtual Wolverine doesn't just kill his enemies -- he obliterates them. Watch in horror and delight as a surprisingly accurate 3D version of Hugh Jackman impales a soldier on a tree branch! Squeal uncomfortably as he dismembers an entire squad of goons in a whirlwind of claws and crimson blood! I've never seen such a remarkable tonal disconnect between a movie and game -- and I love it. Wolverine the movie is fun for the whole family; Wolverine the game would probably get you kicked out of the reunion.