Recently, more games are making the jump to film than publishers are making movie games. But that wasn’t always the case. From the 90s to the late 2000s, we were blessed with some of the best movie video games after, what seemed like, almost every single mainstream movie theatre release.
King Kong, The Bee Movie, Harry Potter and Shrek are all but a few movie games that made the jump to consoles. Heck, even games for movies that were released decades ago such as Days of Thunder were ported into the games room. It was a joyous time to be alive.
However, the quality of movie video games has always been unsteady. Often made under a short deadline and low budget, not every movie game is worth playing. And so today, we’re celebrating 14 of the best video games based on movies (or at least inspired by!) 👇
Top 14 Best Games Based On Movies
From hall-of-fame classics to modern takes on blockbuster hits, there are hundreds of movie-inspired video games to choose from. So, if you’re itching to find out whether Shrek 2 for PS2 or one of your other childhood favourites made the cut, let’s get started!
Here are the top 14 best video games based on movies:
Release Year: 2010 Game Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 & Amazon Luna
In the film and in the comics, Scott Pilgrim’s main goal is to fight his girlfriend’s “seven evil exes”. Fittingly, the game is a brawler and the choices made by Ubisoft are fitting in general. Paul Robertson’s pixel art style and the chiptune-pop soundtrack by Anamanaguchi capture the retro-2000 aesthetic of the series quite nicely too.
However, what makes Scott Pilgrim vs The World one of the better video games based on a movie is that the comic’s creator, Bryan Lee O’Malley, went so far as to design the cutscenes and special attacks. It’s charming both as a brawler and a side dish to the film. Oh, a fun fact for you, O’Malley also got pitched a Walking Dead Style Point-and-click by Telltale Games, but declined due to the clashing styles.
Ratchet & Clank
Release Year: 2016 Game Developer: Insomniac Games Platforms: PlayStation 4
The funny, furry Ratchet and the calm, collected Clank are an iconic gaming duo. So how can Ratchet & Clank (2016) be based on a movie? Strangely enough, though the series began as 3D platforming games, they became popular enough for an action-adventure film which then subsequently lead to the Ratchet & Clank games today.
While you might prefer the legacy 3D platformer, modern-day Ratchet & Clank games use movie clips as cutscenes but are ultimately a remake of the first game. So it’s a game-to-movie-to-game adaptation/remake. And the game was more successful than the movie! Excelling at the series’ classic planet-to-planet adventuring, lighthearted fun, and wacky weaponry, there’s a bucket load of entertainment to enjoy with Ratchet & Clank.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Release Year: 2014 Game Developer: Monolith Productions Platforms:Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Linux & OS X
No surprise to see Shadow of Mordor on our list of best video games based on movies with the big draw of this open-world action game being the nemesis system.
Say you backstab an Orc named Garl King-Slayer and forget about it. Then, maybe you’re out engaging an enemy encampment, and it turns out that Garl cheated death and has tracked you down to return the favour.
“My skull still aches from our last meeting”, he says, and he’s sporting some new scars. As you kill or get killed by Garl, he’ll learn and change, but beyond that, he’s interacting with the orc hierarchy in the background. Maybe he beheads a war chief to take his place or makes a blood brother. As you play, you’ll amass a group of these unique orcs, both friend and foe, who organically change and interact with you and the other orcs.
The Chronicles Of Riddick
Escape From Butcher Bay & Assault On Dark Athena
Release Year: 2009 Game Developer: Starbreeze & Tigon Studios Platforms: Windows, PS3, Xbox 360 & Mac OS X
Rarely is a movie game able to get the film’s cast back for voice acting, but since Vin Diesel loved the Pitch Black film and character so much, he came back (twice!). Both games are beloved prequels to the film and must-plays for fans of both Vin and Riddick.
Butcher Bay was first released in 2004, but the remaster released with Dark Athena is the definitive version. Like the films, both games see the master assassin and ex-prisoner, Riddick, fighting for survival and escape while surrounded by killers out for his blood.
The games are worth tracking down for their anti-hero action and stellar voice acting, but you’ll have to buy physicals as they’ve been delisted from the Steam and GOG stores.
Release Year: 2014 Game Developer: Creative Assembly Platforms: Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One
1979’s Alien is a claustrophobic horror classic; A woman is trapped on a spaceship, with the perfect killing machine and (almost) nothing to do except hide and pray. It sounds less impressive when you picture the AI goons in most games, who consider standing behind a wall a daring escape.
But, trust me, Isolation’s Xenomorph AI is stunning.
It hunts proactively. It searches thoroughly. It can sense you and it learns from your actions. If you try to pull the same trick twice you’ll be treated to a gruesome death. If you’re bloodthirsty for horror-thrillers then Alien: Isolation is a must-play (even if you haven’t watched the movie).
By the end of the game, or even a level, you’ll be feeling rattled just like Ripley.
Release Year: 1997 Game Developer: Rare Platforms: N64, Switch, Wii, Xbox One & Xbox Series X
I don’t need to tell you about the movies or the game as, no matter how old you are, you’ll be acutely aware that GoldenEye was the best console FPS of its time. What you might not know, however, is that Goldeneye was among the first shooters with 3D models too!
It was massively successful for its multiplayer deathmatch mode and its varied missions. The secret unlocks, Bond character cameos and concise controls were a joy to behold in the 90s. However, whilst there is so much nostalgia with our secret agent, today, Goldeneye 007 is more of a display piece and something to fawn at from afar – even with its recent reboot on next-gen consoles.
Still, if you’re curious to see what all the fuss was about, you can play the game via Nintendo Switch Online, and thankfully they’ve added an online multiplayer mode.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic
Release Year: 2003
Game Developer: BioWare Platforms: Windows PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, OS X & Android
Before Mass Effect or Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian and Bioware worked together on Knights of the Old Republic. Among the most influential and fondly remembered Star Wars games, the choice system allowed players to have a firm influence over the characters and story, unlike any other Star Wars game.
Roleplaying as a Jedi or a Sith and choosing whatever lightsaber colour you like was rather cool back in the early 2000s. But that’s not where it ends. Along the way, you can accrue a motley band of companions and even do a little romancing if you like in between sabre battles. Basically, if you’ve been hungering for a (semi) open-world RPG in the Star Wars universe, this is your best shot until the remake releases.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Release Year: 2022 Game Developer: Traveller’s Tales Platforms: Windows PC, Switch, PS4, PS5 & Xbox One
The Lego games are consistently great fun and so to rank the top spot for a lego game that takes inspiration from the movie theatre is a tough pick. Maybe you prefer the Harry Potter or DC Lego games. Regardless, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the biggest and the best in my opinion.
All nine films have been remade in the cute Lego style, and you can start with whichever trilogy you prefer. You can also play as whoever you prefer, which doesn’t mean just members of the main cast, but practically any Star Wars character that’s ever appeared.
Yaddle, the female Yoda, and Jabba the Hutt’s monkey creature, Salacious B. Crumb, are all included. Then, it’s just a simple case of waddling and whacking your way through the series, enjoying the zany humour. Heck, why not bring a friend along for the ride too?
Release Year: 2015 Game Developer: Avalanche Studios Platforms: Windows PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 & Xbox One
True to the films, Max can never catch a break.
The game opens with a car chase that leaves Max, thirsty, bleeding and stranded in the desert. And in true survivor form, you claw your way up the food chain until you’ve geared up, reclaimed your car, and brought the local warlord to his knees.
An open-world survival, with mangy bandits and thundering sandstorms, is exactly the game you’d want for the series.
And, it delivers completely. I mean, raiding camps with a saw-off shotgun, or scouring for scrap like its gold is a splendid experience that depicts everything that we love about Mad Max the movies. The only downside is the sandstorms can have you sitting in a rickety shack with nothing to do and only a tire-and-armchair toilet as a companion. It might be immersive, but it’s also a waste of time.
Release Year: 1995 Game Developer: Capcom & Virgin Interactive Platforms: Sega Genesis & SNES
Today, few games from 1995 are played or even remembered. But somehow, the Aladdins games will make the cut of top-ranked movie games nearly every single time. And, I say games, as the Sega Genesis and SNES versions were made simultaneously but separately.
The SNES version had Shinji Mikami, the Resident Evil creator, as design lead as well as some of Capcom’s best artists (coming hot off of Street Fighter II Turbo). This means that it boasts better controls and map layouts. However, the Genesis version has animations by the very Disney team who made the film. Shinji Mikami even said if he hadn’t made the SNES one, he’d buy the Genesis one just for the animations (and because it has a sword).
So, depending on whether you prefer technical mechanics or visuals, choosing between the two Aladdin games boils down to simply that choice.
Toy Story 3
Release Year: 2010 Game Developer: Avalanche Platforms: Windows PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, OS X & iOS
Few video games based on movies will be quite as iconic as the Toy Story games. And, Toy Story 3 is a game where you’re spoilt for console choice too. With nine separate ways to play, it’s clear that Disney went big on this release, and it paid off.
Toy Story 3 is a solid 3D platformer, with collectables and cute levels that follow the film’s story. What really sells it though, is the voice cast. All actors except for one, with Tom Hanks tagging out to give work to his brother, Jim, the voice cast, are featured as voiceovers within the game.
Altogether it’s a charm, and if you’re having trouble choosing a console, try the PS3 version which has an extra playable character: Buzz Lightyear’s nemesis, Emperor Zurg.
Release Year: 2018 Game Developer: Insomniac Platforms: PS4, PS5 & Windows PC
The 2018 Spiderman game is not just one of the best movie games, but it’s also one of the best free PlayStation games too! What you want from any Spiderman game is two things: Swinging through the Manhattan skyline, and smacking baddies with speed and skill.
Insomniac’s take on the legendary movie franchise does both with savoir-faire. It’s part skyscraper parkour, part snappy beat-em-up, and served with a surprisingly touching story. Plus, the graphics are possibly some of the best that any Spiderman game has seen.
If that alone won’t satiate you, Marvel fans will also be pleased to see the return of their favourite characters and smartly dressed villains. The game and its DLCs star not just the Sinister Six, but Tombstone, Taskmaster and Silver Sable too.
Are your spidey senses tingling?
Tomb Raider (2013)
Release Year: 2013 Game Developer: Crystal Dynamics Platforms: Windows PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, OS X & Linux
Tomb Raider’s 2013 reinvention took Lara Croft from cocksure adventurer to a quick-learning survivor. It was a choice by Crystal Dynamics that refreshed the iconic character and the fanbase; trading dinosaurs and campy charm for gritty, grounded realism.
Lara and her team get shipwrecked on a mysterious isle occupied by criminals with kidnappings, stabbings, and lost comrades immediately immersing you in the danger. Only through skill, bravery and perseverance does Lara adapt to the blistering storms, biting hunger and danger lurking.
What’s more, the tension and mystery of Yamatai island make for an anxious and exciting treasure-hunting adventure that is true to the form of the movies.
Mortal Kombat 11
Release Year: 2019 Game Developer: NetherRealm Platforms: Switch, PS4, Windows PC, Xbox One, Stadia, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
The title says it all, and if you’re not intimately familiar with the series, but the title has you curious, you’ll surely love Mortal Kombat 11. Mortal Kombat is all about explosive style. It’s a video game blockbuster. If you win a fight, it’s not just a knockout, it’s a fatality. And saying “fatality” sells it short, it’s blowing their legs off and sending them to a battlefield to be executed. Over-the-top uber-violence.
Every sequel does it better, and the fighting mechanics only get tighter. Love it or hate it, it’s never boring. And one thing Mortal Kombat 11 does better than its predecessors is its bonus characters.
They know their audience wants to watch the biggest fights imaginable, so they’ve added the Terminator, Robocop, and Rambo, all with awesome one-liners, and fatalities.
A worthy addition to wrapping up this list of best games based on movies.
The Final Word
Some of these games fit the theme better than others, but most movie games aren’t even worth a mention. After all, who’s still playing G-Force for PS3? Or even watching the movie? Of course, there’s the other side of that coin, the rare game that’s better than the film (like The Mummy Demastered’s stylish pixels outshine the hundred-million-dollar flop buster).
But those treasures are often buried with their flimsy movies. Regardless, all the games on this list have something worth checking out and span multiple gaming genres. Be it great art direction, a story that builds on the film’s world, or just a chance to see how you’d fare in the hero’s place.
For movie-fanatics and lovers of well-crafted video games, there’s hundreds of hours of fun with these titles. So, take a step back through time and play out some of your favourite action-adventure scenes like you’re on the big screen yourself! Just don’t forget to bring the popcorn!
Did we miss any awesome video games inspired by movies?
Drop a comment below with your recommendations for us to play, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Once you’re done, don’t forget to check out some of my other roundups, game reviews and technology deep dives:
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