Ghostbusters, Justice League, and Other Franchises That Deserve Better Video Games

There's been a disappointing string of bad licensed games over the past few years, and these franchises in particular deserve far batter. 

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Video games are a powerful marketing tool, which is why so many blockbuster movie and TV franchises often release in tandem with a game adaptation. The unfortunate reality, however, is that short development cycles often lead to less-than-desirable end products, as we’ve seen so often with video games. That a licensed game is bad is a foregone conclusion at this point; it’s more surprising and newsworthy to hear of one that is actually good.

This is only made worse by adaptations whose very template should pave the way for a brilliant game, whether it’s an action cooperative shooter or a point and click adventure game. While there are many, many more examples, here are eight franchises that deserve so much better than they’ve had in video game adaptations.

Ghostbsuters

A Ghostbusters video game practically designs itself. Four people, one common enemy with any number of variations in their attacks and design...it’s the perfect template for a cooperative shooter and allows for the inclusion of horror and comedy elements in its storytelling.

Sadly, the Ghostbusters license has been used to churn out some half-baked and downright boring experiences in the past decade. An especially egregious usage, considering the opportunity they could have had to create something great on the heels of the recent Ghostbusters reboot.

Ninja Turtles

The Ninja Turtles continue to be a sore spot for me. All four of them have such personality and allow for many different styles of combat, and yet, they’re commonly thrust into milquetoast and bland run-of-the-mill action games.

We’ve had great TMNT brawlers before, but the past few years have been nothing but a continuous lull of weak action games with ninja turtle skins stretched over empty characters. It’s been a constant barrage of fan service, a collection of sharp elbow prods tempting the player’s nostalgic nerve. The heroes deserve so much better.

Marvel's Avengers

Marvel’s epic superhero team is especially deserving of better video game treatment, if for no other reason than aside from Marvel Heroes on PC, their current offerings are little more than free-to-play cash-ins meant to tempt opening wallets.

Or worse, the decent Avengers games are re-released as shoddy, poorly-conceived ports for new platforms, as we’ve seen this week.

The Avengers could be a fantastic narrative-drive, squad-based action game, whether it would allow the player to inhabit different heroes or give them the option of constructing a squad to roll with on missions a la Mass Effect. A good place to start would be to bring Marvel Heroes to consoles.

Jurassic Park

We’ve been in a bit of a dinosaur dry spell in video games. They used to be easy to find alongside other 3D games, whether in arcades or on home consoles.

Dinosaurs work well in games. They’re big, impending, and dangerous, justifying the need for people to work together strategically to bring the dinos down. Considering Jurassic World’s overwhelming success at the box office, how has it been years since we last had a proper Jurassic Park game? There are so many side stories and opportunities to craft something special from a JP licensed tie-in, leaving room for everything from a third/first-person action game to a park management sim. Just no QTEs, that’s all we ask.

Justice League

Just like the Avengers, we’re long past due for a good Justice League game. We’ve seen DC do good things with Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham games, and with the upcoming release of an all-new Justice League film, there’s never been a better time to introduce the Justice League into a proper action game that isn’t an Infinite Crisis moba or a cynical movie tie-in.

Watchmen

Much like The Wolf Among Us, Watchmen would make for a pretty great adventure game filled with a moody, dark atmosphere and compelling character exploration. It’s also a license we haven’t seen all that much of (although what we did get was not really worth mentioning), but if we can adapt older comic book series, we can certainly give Watchmen the game it deserves.

James Bond

What happened to you, Bond? You were once a benchmark, the height of the first-person shooter on consoles that proved what was possible in local (and eventually online) multiplayer.

Now you’re a shell of yourself, a beat-by-beat movie adaptation starring knock-off Daniel Craigs and Pierce Brosnans in poorly rendered and bland spy missions. Considering the video game Legacy of Bond, things have fallen hard and fast for the british agent. Which is especially discouraging, considering the potential it has as a great stealth action game or first-person shooter.

Legend of Korra

She’s only had a handful of game adaptations, but the level to which the main Platinum Games' Legend of Korra adaptation was botched demands a re-do. Korra has everything a video game needs to be great; relatable characters, excellent narrative, and a wealth of powers and abilities ripe for complex, layered combat.

And yet, we got a soulless, lifeless game filled with little more than fan service and empty character shells, much like the Ninja Turtles. Korra’s letdown of a video game is especially painful when one considers their prowess as an action video game developer.

Back to the Future

It’s had a handful of adaptations, but Back to the Future’s promise far exceeds what we’ve seen of it in the video game space. Somewhere, deep inside of Back to the Future’s makeup, there’s a great open-world, time-traveling action game in which Marty and Doc have to travel to different places in time, taking side quests, using neat future gadgets and seeing the sights of America’s yesteryear. I don’t know where that game is, but it’s certainly not in the weak platformers or so-so adventure games we’ve seen.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
    • reply
      July 29, 2016 3:25 PM

      Star Trek deserves better video games. There have been some for sure but most of the good ones were from the 90's

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        July 29, 2016 4:59 PM

        I was surprised to really enjoy Raven's Star Trek games because they spun out of Voyager and I hated Voyager.

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          July 29, 2016 5:55 PM

          It was actually Raven with the first game (and expansion) and Ritual with the sequel.

          RomSteady even worked on Elite Force II, if memory serves.

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        July 29, 2016 6:22 PM

        Totally agreed. There have been some phenomenal Star Trek games, but not for quite a long time. The last really memorable one was Bridge Commander from 2002.

        Actually, Star Trek Armada 3 (the Sins of a Solar Empire mod - play it if you haven't http://www.moddb.com/mods/star-trek-armada-3 ) is easily the best Trek game of the last 15 years or so, but it's a mod so I'm not sure if that counts or not. It does make me wish for a legit Armada 3 - I loved the previous two Armada games. Hell, the second one had some pretty stand out mods itself, like the best Star Trek vs Star Wars mod I've ever seen.

        I also miss games like A Final Unity and Birth of the Federation. We need more Trek games like those.

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        July 30, 2016 6:46 AM

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U57gfgL4L0g

        Loved this game. For some reason we were much more imaginative back in the vector days. I expect it's because our minds filled in for the lack of filled polygons.

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        July 30, 2016 6:54 AM

        Klingon Academy was the SHIT, back in the day.

        I put so much time into those games. I'd love to see a complete remaster w/ today's tech.

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      July 29, 2016 4:58 PM

      Hey, the 2009 Ghostbusters game was pretty good. I'd say the teammate AI was garbage and the game was nigh-impossible on harder difficulties (due to shitty teammate AI) but it had some great moments, good action and really made you feel like you were the Rookie.

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        July 29, 2016 5:58 PM

        It had a pretty great feel to the proton pack.

        Wish they would make more along those lines, rather than the really poorly made Gauntlet-Like and F2P mobile games that have come since.

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        July 29, 2016 6:00 PM

        Yeah it was a good game. I replay it every so often.

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        July 29, 2016 7:26 PM

        I picked this up on Steam forever ago on the cheap. I need to find some people to play it with.

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          July 29, 2016 9:04 PM

          The PC port lacks multiplayer :(

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            July 29, 2016 9:42 PM

            No way really? Had no idea. I wouldn't have bought it had I'd known that!
            Ugh!

            Thanks man

            • reply
              July 29, 2016 9:48 PM

              It looks like I can still refund this game after all this time, but I bought it for 3 bucks. Doesn't seem worth it.

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                July 29, 2016 9:51 PM

                So after over a year I requested a refund.

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                July 29, 2016 9:55 PM

                Nah don't bother. The SP is good shit, it's the closest thing we'll ever get to a proper Ghostbusters 3 with the original cast.

                Yeah it was a big stink because the PS3/360 ports got MP and the PC port didn't. To be fair the PC port was about $20 or so cheaper as a result. Also I don't think I ever heard anything about anyone playing the MP so it may not be much of a loss.

                Yeah if I recall:
                PS3/360: definitive versions of the game, content-wise
                PC: SP portion of PS3/360 games, with the graphics boost that better hardware can provide
                Wii: Strange pared down version of main game with near-cartoon quality graphics. Not sure but I think it had the same or at least similar plot, may have shared some audio assets. May have also featured motion controls since the Wiimote was a natural fit
                PS2: Wii version without motion controls
                DS: Strange top-down variant. Was like Chinatown Wars but way shittier.

                Whole thing was kinda bizarre.

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        July 29, 2016 7:56 PM

        Would love for this to come on xbone bc

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        July 29, 2016 9:07 PM

        It was but in the time since we have had a shitty arcadey game (Sanctum of Slime), a shitty recent full price game based on the 2016 movie that came out of nowhere, and multiple shitty f2p mobile games.

        They spent a ton of money and effort on the 2009 game and then the games since then have been wet farts.

      • reply
        July 29, 2016 9:56 PM

        Yeah, I remember enjoying it, but because the friendly AI was so obnoxious, I had to drop difficulty to finish it. Still lots of fun though and really captured the spirit (lol puns) of the movies.

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      July 29, 2016 5:50 PM

      Still waiting for a good Superman game.

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        July 29, 2016 7:27 PM

        I seriously wonder if that's possible. The guy is an indestructible quasi god.

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          July 29, 2016 9:56 PM

          The Superman Returns game sounds like it maybe had some good ideas but completely screwed up the execution. You're indestructible but Metropolis isn't and you're trying to protect the city. I just don't think he's very interesting as a video game character. There's good Superman stories but they aren't about how strong he is.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman_Returns_(video_game)

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            July 29, 2016 9:58 PM

            Well shit, how about that.

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            July 30, 2016 10:34 AM

            It's an interesting concept, and makes tons of sense for the character. However in practice the game became a giant escort mission.

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          July 29, 2016 9:57 PM

          I think the trick to Superman would be about not making him susceptible to anything in particular, but requiring accomplishing tasks to make sure that people and things that are susceptible to damage/destruction, were not damaged or destroyed. Alas, I think this would also lead to a lot of annoying escort and timed missions, but it could work. It wouldn't be about the life and safety of Superman, but of Metropolis itself.

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            July 30, 2016 12:18 AM

            Open World like GTAV with criminals putting in work. OOO! Just drop asymmetric MP with Supes (and maybe up to 2 other JLA Heroes ) into existing GTAV MP.

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          July 30, 2016 5:58 AM

          You just make the main enemies Kryptonian or magic users. Give me a Arkham style game where the plot is a Zod or Braniac or Darkseid invasion. It would kick ass!

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            July 30, 2016 10:37 AM

            I think the total sum of that game would be less than what the Batman Arkahm series had to offer.

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        July 29, 2016 7:40 PM

        After superman 64 they're all good

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        July 29, 2016 9:54 PM

        I'd settle for a good Telltale version haha.

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      July 29, 2016 7:42 PM

      WB has to stop giving the DC license to Boon. Those shitass MK games are fucking garbage.

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      July 29, 2016 10:05 PM

      In my opinion the Bond franchise suffers from two issues:

      - Goldeneye 007 on the N64 was a fluke. It was awesome don't get me wrong but seeing what games came after it and even what Rare would go on to do it was like lightning in a bottle. The tacked-on multiplayer was a master stroke by accident. It had all kinds of flaws that games would go on to avoid for years but when everyone is in the same room it made for a lot of fun. That it used the vast history of Bond villains didn't hurt either. No other game ever recaptured that, not even the remakes of the same game.

      - EA got the license and floundered with it. Lackluster games rushed out to coincide with the movies, bizarre choices like a direct Goldeneye sequel that didn't even actually feature James Bond, switching the next game (Tomorrow Never Dies) from a FPS on the N64 with multiplayer to a third person PSX game with no multiplayer, and a really shitty racing game. It was bizarre. And then when Activision got it even their decent entries like 007 Legends no one was buying Bond games anymore because they got burnt so often.

      Kinda like two sequels and a reboot of RoboCop just never really worked, all the Bond games since Goldeneye on N64 just missed the mark. There were some decent entries in there, and even original storylines, but the license pretty much just went to pot.

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      July 30, 2016 6:40 AM

      The tick!!!

    • rms
      reply
      July 30, 2016 7:19 AM

      Trespasser 2! A sequel could be fantastic. Survival & exploration on a dino-inhabited (not infested mind you, but living normally) island in los Cinco Muertes: I'm ready!

    • reply
      August 2, 2016 10:47 AM

      Hey man, that Jurassic Park game in the 90s on PC was pretty sweet. I remember playing that shit on a 486 lol