Top 10 Unlikely Movie Game Villains
Something a little bit different for today, I take a look at 10 random enemies that appear in retro game adaptations of popular movies and explore just how out-of-place they are in those particular settings.
For some reason, retro games allowed programmers to take a lot of liberties back in the day when making games based on movies. And boy do I thank them for it because otherwise, I’d have nothing to make fun of!
Without further ado, let’s check out my Top 10 Unlikely Movie Game Villains, you’ll notice many of those are games I’ve already reviewed here on 1MoreCastle, with a couple of surprises thrown in.
Let’s start with…
Whether you like LJN’s take on The Berg’s classic movie Jaws on the NES or not, you gotta admit that the ocean suffers a lot from your mad quest to destroy that pesky shark.
You can call it collateral damage but there is a sense that murdering all these innocent jellyfish and stingrays could have been avoided somehow. I don’t recall Richard Dreyfuss being this cruel…
The goals in this game are all over the place: are you a shell collector, a fish killer or are you out to destroy Jaws?
This is multi-task: The Game!
If… ridding the ocean of all its sea-life can be called a “task.”
GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH (NES)
This one’s low on the list because of how goofy that movie was in the first place. Literally ANYTHING could have happened during Gremlins 2 and we would have pretty much accepted it. I remember a lot of weird stuff from that one: Gremlins in drag, electric Gremlins, Christopher Lee…
But bouncing killer tomatoes?
Not so much.
Or, they could be not well detailed strawberries, I’m not sure.
Gremlins 2 on the NES is a fun game with one of the catchiest 8-bit scores around and I would definitely recommend it. It does live up to its wacky source material, though, so be warned: surreal stuff ahead.
BACK TO THE FUTURE (NES)
If you know one thing about this Back To The Future game on the NES it’s that it’s kinda terrible.
When you think about how awesome that movie is and how well it holds up to this day, that game’s pretty insulting. The graphics, the controls, the difficulty level: all over the place. It really felt like they took a nameless, generic game where all you’re doing is dodging random enemies and collecting clocks then splashed the words ‘Back To The Future’ on it and tried to make it relevant somehow.
Needless to say it doesn’t work.
One of the most annoying enemies in the entire game are these giant bees that come out of nowhere and follow you around. Not only are they extremely irritating but they have literally nothing to do with that franchise. Remember the scene in Back to The Future where Marty wears a black T-shirt, skateboards around ballerinas and people carrying big pieces of glass as he collects clocks and battles bees?
BATMAN FOREVER (GENESIS)
As a Batman fan and as someone who actually enjoyed Batman Forever back in the day, imagine my face when The Riddler, in the Sega Genesis game based on the movie, morphs into that abomination.
It was both awesome and messed-up.
I wasn’t sure how to feel about it, to be honest. On the one hand, it was hilarious but on the other: what the hell?! Now I know that at the end of Captain America And The Avengers you face Mecha Red Skull and it’s pretty surreal but, for some reason, in an Avengers game you buy it. As goofy as Batman Forever gets, it never really goes all out, it never leaves Gotham; so when Big Riddler shows up, I’m sitting there shocked and confused, wondering if I missed something in the movie. I guess at the end, when Batman foils his plan, Jim Carrey’s Riddler looks a bit weird but…
Not THAT weird!
TOTAL RECALL (NES)
Total Recall: a movie in which robots drive taxis, mutants from Mars are running around everywhere with one too many breasts, Arnie’s head almost explodes…
Literally the ONLY thing missing from Paul Verhoeven’s film was a scene in which Arnold Schwarzenegger beats the crap out of a cat before punching a dog in the chest. In the days before everything was CGI was huge (see the Recall remake, if that’s your thing) they would have had to use a puppet like Salem from Sabrina The Teenage Witch or something to make that work. Would have been classic!
Then comes the NES game to make all our dreams come true.
Except our dreams of getting a good Total Recall game, that is…
Honorable mention goes to that Rambo NES game where most of your time is spent punching snakes and other jungle creatures in the face really hard.
I say “Snowmen” but really I could have picked ANY of the bosses in this game and it would have been valid. Hell, forget the bosses: some of the sprites you battle during the meat of the game include table cloths and cups for crying out loud!
The game technically takes place between the events of Ghostbusters and its sequel but looking at the enemies the guys face during that time… I’m pretty disappointed that Ghostbusters 1.5 doesn’t exist because it would have been one hell of a surreal movie. Not only do you fight evil snowmen but Audrey II from The Little Shop Of Horrors and a whole range of weird-looking things.
Ghostbusters on the Sega Genesis is a good game anyway so you should definitely give it a go but get ready for some truly random, and impressively creative, enemies.
THE WIZARD OF OZ (SNES)
Everyone’s take on the merry old land of Oz has been different but this one takes the cake…
Oz is a strange place, of course, but it’s no Wonderland and only in the latter would a chair attacking you not feel like too much of a weird development. In Oz, however, it’s a bit out-there, I gotta say. Then again, I think they jumped the shark when they put angry eyes and mouths on every lemon in that game. AVGN was pretty spot-on when he compared Oz in this game to Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
I do like the idea, however, that somewhere, maybe even over the rainbow, way up high, there’s a version of The Wizard Of Oz with a scene in which she walks into a room only to be cushioned to death by a giant, LIVING pink chair with bad breath.
Lions and tigers and chairs, oh my…
STOCK HALLOWEEN CHARACTERS
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (NES)
You’d think that Freddy Krueger would be enough, as a character, to be the main villain of a Nightmare On Elm Street game and yet, in this one, he gets a lot of help from just about every cliched Halloween-themed animal/monster around.
You could say that Freddy IS the main villain throughout since, as we all know, he can morph into just about anything in order to freak people out in their dreams, whether it’s beds, phones, televisions, cars, big giant heads… you name it, he can become it. So him turning into giant spiders really isn’t all that far-fetched, in that world anyway. Skeletons, bats, ghosts, big snaky things, it’s all there and I’m guessing it’s Halloween and the game is celebrating Freddy style.
I’d say the game gets a pass if all the weird stuff happens during the dream parts but no. A lot of it happens when it’s meant to be the real world, it just gets slightly stranger when your character, I’m guessing, falls asleep.
Honorable mention goes to Wolverine on the NES which boasts an odd, Halloweeney level also.
Speaking of which…
Can’t explain this one, really…
Of ALL the enemies that Wolverine could have faced, they had to go with bubbles. Quite probably the least threatening things in the universe. Hell, even in that new movie, The Wolverine, he fights Yakuzas, big robots, ninjas, atomic bombs, old men, it’s a respectable list which, I’m sure you’ve noticed, does not include bubbles.
You’d think the fight would last half a second: Wolverine touches bubble, bubble pops. And yet those bubbles follow you around and are surprisingly annoying to get rid of. You can use your claws to make it easier but that just drains your life and bubbles aren’t worth it, to be honest.
It’s like making a Spider-Man game in which Spidey spends a good chunk of it headbutting clouds.
PSYCHO (COMMODORE 64)
I can’t get over this one.
Here you have a game based on Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho and it has ghosts in it. Not just ghosts but ghost dogs! That frankly blew my mind and even thinking back to it captures my imagination. The idea of a Psycho film where, not only is Anthony Perkins going around being crazy, but the ghosts of dogs that may or may not have died in his house roam its various rooms Casper-style is pretty amazing, if not quite in keeping with Hitch’s style.
With A Nightmare On Elm Street, you can at least see what they were going for but here, as with Wolverine’s bubbles and Marty McFly’s bees, it’s all pretty inexplicable. Now, here’s the thing: if I ever actually saw a ghost dog, I would probably genuinely freak out, I won’t lie. But if we’re sticking to the world that the 1960 film has set up, the ghost dog scene would definitely be the part of Psycho that loses me as a viewer.
By the way, if there are ghost dogs, it means that dogs not only have souls but that there is, indeed, a ‘Doggy Heaven’ and that Beetlejuice might very well exist in that realm.
Wait… what was Psycho about again?
I encourage you guys and gals to comment below and let us know what YOUR favorite unlikely movie game villains are, I’m sure I’ve left out about a thousand of them.
In the meantime, I’m off to play Mystic River: The Game, I hear Sean Penn rides an owl at one point…