10 Video Game Tie-Ins That Missed The Point Of The Movie

Some games just wanted to cash in, they never paid attention to the story.

Return of the Jedi Famicom

The urban legend goes that, after E.T. was rushed to the Atari system, unsold and returned copies were buried in the Alamogordo landfill in the Nevada desert. This has largely become a matter of fact, though the company had them steamrolled and covered in cement, preventing anyone foolhardy enough to go searching for artifacts. This incident latterly became a symbol of one of the video game industry's darkest periods: the downfall of the home console market.

Merchandising tie-ins with major motion picture releases have always been a part of the industry, from T-shirts and pins to comics and cartoon shows, but few have suffered a worse fate than film-to-game. Whilst most aren't quite as catastrophic as E.T., there's a sizeable quantity that did their source material a complete disservice. LJN is the easiest to point a finger at. Throughout the '80s, they regularly rushed out products to coincide with a film's release no matter the quality.

But there is plenty of blame to go around. Here is just a small sampling of games that completely misunderstood the point of the movie.

10. Darkman

Return of the Jedi Famicom
Ocean Software

When Sam Raimi couldn't afford the rights to the old radio show The Shadow (later adapted by Russell Mulcahy), he set about creating his own superhero. The resulting film, Darkman, brings the same high-camp energy that the director lent to the The Evil Dead trilogy. It also features early roles for Liam Neeson as the titular character and Frances McDormand.

After Dr. Peyton Westlake is horribly burned by the mafia and suffers nerve damage that prevents him from feeling pain, he sets about continuing his research on perfecting synthetic skin. Only rather than cure those that would otherwise suffer painful skin grafts, he takes to copying the identities of his assailants, exacting revenge and wreaking havoc. The catch? The skin can only last in sunlight for 99 minutes.

The game basically follows the plot - with platform jumping and other side-scrolling tropes thrown in for good measure. It even has levels that require you to take photos of the next target who you want to duplicate. But it doesn't last 99 minutes. In fact, seconds after starting the level, your disguise is gone and you're just Darkman.


Kenny Hedges is carbon-based. So I suppose a simple top 5 in no order will do: Halloween, Crimes and Misdemeanors, L.A. Confidential, Billy Liar, Blow Out He has his own website - thefilmreal.com - and is always looking for new writers with differing views to broaden the discussion.