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5 video games based on other pop culture media that are actually amazing (and 5 that are not worth the money)

Evil Dead, Alien: Isolation & PUBG are some video games inspired from pop culture (Images via Saber Interactive, Sega, and Krafton)
Evil Dead, Alien: Isolation & PUBG are some video games inspired from pop culture (Images via Saber Interactive, Sega, and Krafton)
Sidhartha Deka

Video games and pop culture have gone hand in hand for quite a while now, with many games being inspired by successful franchises and spawning their own video game titles. The number of tie-in video games based on some kind of pop culture media is almost endless, starting all the way back since the early 1980s.

While games based on famous pop culture IPs like Star Wars or Marvel and DC offerings tend to resonate with the audience, this is not the case for other media franchises. Games developed for such franchises have a lower budget and thus do not reach the level of AAA releases.

Over the years, these video games have been a mixed bag, where some landed on their feet while others stumbled so hard that they sustained fatal injuries. Here are five video games inspired by other pop culture media, which were actually great to play, and five more that disappointed.

Note: This article reflects the writer's opinions.


5 video games from pop culture which are incredible

5. Evil Dead the Game

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Evil Dead is a horror movie franchise that has a TV spin-off featuring protagonist Ash Williams as he deals with various supernatural threats (as well as his own possessed disembodied hand) through the films. The franchise has seen much love from the fans, even spurring other forms of media such as comic books and a musical.

While there have been multiple Evil Dead video games, the most recent one was released on May 13, 2022. Titled simply as Evil Dead: The Game, this offering was a survival horror game, featuring both a multiplayer and a single-player story-based campaign.

This video game is an asymmetrical multiplayer game, wherein up to four people can play as survivors who take the form of Ash and his friends from the movies, while one person plays as the opposing supernatural demonic entity trying to kill them.

The survivors need to work together to find items and destroy the demon. The demon, in turn, can try to kill them using various abilities and summons at their disposal.


4. Blair Witch

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One of the more harrowing horror movies ever made, The Blair Witch Project tells the story of a group of campers who go out into the woods, only to realize that they are being stalked by some kind of supernatural entity. The movie was released in 1999 to critical acclaim.

While a trilogy of video games inspired by this original movie exists, it is Bloober Team’s game released in 2019 that soaked the player in the original movie’s tone and feel. Let loose into a forest all on their own, players take on the role of Ellis Lynch, who is out in search of a missing boy.

The game lets players have a dog as a partner, which only adds to the immersion, with instances where the dog reacts to something in the distance that the players cannot yet see. At times, the game takes the dog away, giving players the fear-inducing experience of being alone in the dark.

Aside from a few repetitive sequences, this horror game is the best experience if one wants to experience an encounter with the Blair Witch.


3. Jurassic World Evolution

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The latest and quite successful game based on the Jurassic World and Jurassic Park movies, Jurassic World Evolution is a management simulator video game. While the premise might sound boring, fans of the movie franchise will have the best time with this game, designing their very own park full of dinosaurs.

The video game has a story campaign that tasks players with building and maintaining many parks across the timelines, which includes incubating various dinosaurs and creating proper enclosures for them to live in. Once a park is ready, visitors will start streaming in, for which other facilities need to be created, like snack bars and restrooms.

One of the more fun parts of this game is the temperament of the dinosaurs, as when they are not satisfied within their given homes, they break out and possibly eat a visitor or two. Players need to act quickly in this case, deploying a ranger team to sedate and relocate the rouge animal. Who knew dinosaur management could be so taxing?


2. Alien: Isolation

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It seems that horror franchises have this part of the list, with Alien being another horror movie that started a craze for the space sci-fi genre like never before. Following Ellen Ripley, the movie follows the story of an alien life-form getting aboard the spaceship USS Nostromo and killing nearly all of its crew. This movie, directed by Ridley Scott, is now a staple of the horror sci-fi genre.

Alien: Isolation is a video game developed by Creative Assembly, which tells the original story of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley, who ventures out on a mission to look for her missing mother. She ultimately finds her way onto the Sevastopol space station. This is ultimately a bad turn of events, as it turns out that Sevastopol is overrun with Xenomorphs.

Perfectly capturing the horror survival elements of the original Alien movie, this video game has players encounter the Xenomorph at various sections of the game’s story, where stealth and running away are the only two options to deal with the predator.

The Alien’s AI was one of the best in any stealth game, as it is able to learn and adapt to its environment as long as the game does not reset upon player death.


1. PUBG: Battlegrounds

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If it surprises people that PUBG is on this list, then they should buckle up for a history lesson. PUBG, or rather the concept of the battle royale genre, actually comes from a lesser-known movie, and no, it is not the Hunger Games.

A more direct link is the Japanese movie titled Battle Royale, which sees a group of people dropped on an island equipped with random weapons, a map, and supplies to survive. The goal is simple - be the last one standing.

The movie served as an inspiration to the mod known as Battle Royale for the game DayZ back in 2013. This mod was created by Brendan Greene, who later worked as the creative director for Bluehole, the developers who later released PUBG as the first standalone Battle Royale video game.

Since then, PUBG has inspired numerous competitors who have taken on the Battle Royale formula, with the first and most notable being Fortnite. Yet, even after five years since its launch and hundreds of other Battle Royale games later, PUBG still sits amongst the top five most played games of its genre.


5 video games based on pop culture that are not worth the money

5. Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines (Image via Sega)
Aliens: Colonial Marines (Image via Sega)

Colonial Marines stands as a highlight of how two games based on the same media can have a diverse reception. Whereas Alien: Isolation captured the fear-inducing and claustrophobic feel of being stalked by the iconic alien from the movies, Alien: Colonial Marines takes a different route.

With a more shooter-like take on the franchise, the game sees a group of marines arrive on the scene after the Aliens movie, hoping to find survivors. The premise seemed promising, while possibly stepping away from the survival element of Alien: Isolation. But even after a long development period, Colonial Marines was riddled with bugs and other problems.

With clipping issues and ill-timed voiceover dialogues, the most jarring concept to wrap one’s head around was the enemy. Appearing in large groups, the aliens were supposed to be the apex predators of the movies. But they did not even come close, with their glitchy AI resulting in Xenomorphs running around in circles or simply abandoning the vicinity and scampering away.


4. Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim (Image via Yuke's)
Pacific Rim (Image via Yuke's)

Guillermo del Toro brought to life the dream of many a gundam and power ranger fan with his movie Pacific Rim. Featuring giant robots being piloted by humans, which were used to battle Kaijus on the oceanfront, this movie delivered action unlike any seen before.

Action-filled blockbusters are generally picked up for a video game tie-in, and Pacific Rim was no different, due to arrive for the PS, Xbox and PC in 2013.

Taking the stage as a fighting video game, this tie-in didn’t even come close to the scope of the movie. The core gameplay revolved around doing one battle after another to earn points and achievements. None of the rewards mattered, as the game itself was anything but fun to play.

The gameplay, however, was not the most despised aspect of the game, as micro-transactions also plagued this poor attempt of a cash grab. Characters and customizable options were locked behind paywalls, even though it was a full-priced game. It eventually made the jump to Android and iOS, where it received similarly negative criticism.


3. The Incredibles

The Incredibles (Image via THQ)
The Incredibles (Image via THQ)

One of Pixar’s more popular animated movies is The Incredibles, which tells the story of a family of superheroes who balance normal life and their responsibility as people who wield super powers. The movie was a huge success back in 2004 and got a video game release or two in the same year.

The first of these saw some praise as many actors reprised their roles in the game, and every character had a different style of gameplay. However, the game was considered just too unforgiving, with there being no proper checkpoints, which would result in players having to replay long stretches.

The game also saw a lot of repeated sections, resulting in a boring gameplay loop. In addition, the platforming was unfairly structured, to the point of requiring the player to display pinpoint accuracy, at a time where game controls were hardly as precise as they are now.


2. Enter the Matrix

Enter the Matrix (Image via Shiny Entertainment)
Enter the Matrix (Image via Shiny Entertainment)

The Matrix was a cult phenomenon during the early 2000s, with the concept of people living in a fully digital world created by machines ruling people’s minds. Despite this gimmick, The Matrix trilogy is still regarded as one of the best action-adventures to be released on the silver screen.

Thus, this movie franchise also got two video game releases, the first of which clearly lacked proper vision. While the movies followed the story of Neo, the game dropped people into the shoes of Niobe and Ghost, who were side characters.

While the game did feature original video footage featuring much of the cast from the films and was directed by the Wachowski sisters themselves, it was still not enough to redeem the game’s misgivings. The controls were awkward, as was the camera, while the graphics were subpar at best.


1. Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game

Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game (Image via Capcom)
Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game (Image via Capcom)

The premise for this entry is as ridiculous as the name of the video game it is about. Street Fighter was already a successful video game franchise, having received a live-action movie release in 1994. Yet someone had the brilliant idea to make a game based on the movie, which was, you guessed it, already based on a game. Someone either got a promotion or promptly fired at Capcom after the video game was released.

Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game was a cheap reskin of the already existing game, i.e. Street Fighter II: Turbo. The fundamental difference was that all the characters were made to look like real-life actors from the movie, while all other assets of the game remained the same as Street Fighter II: Turbo. The result looked like a Frankenstein-ish mashup between Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.

The visuals were not the only problem, however, as the game had performance issues as well. Featuring frame rate drops, unreliable hit recognition, unresponsive controls and, quite frankly, appalling voice acting, this game seemed and felt like the cheap cash-grab product it was.


live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Do you enjoy games based off of pop culture?

Yes I do

I prefer original IPs

44 votes so far

Edited by Saman

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