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Weekly Musings

Weekly Musings #1 - Do movie-license video games all suck?
Author: Michael Ahlf
Date: June 12th 2004
Page: 3
Well, the market had rebounded, the SNES was thriving, and the Genesis was a contender. Atari was vanquished, but nobody seemed to much care. What was next? Well, for the 16-bit consoles, lots and lots of tie-ins.

Addams Family

Both the SNES and the Genesis were given games - very similar in gameplay - based on the movies The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values. What did we get? Games in which we explored the Addams mansion, hunting for items. In the second, run-and-jump turned into Uncle Fester Does Zelda, with running around and hunting for items being the order of the day.

Were they bad? No. Were they good? not really. In the end, both titles were rather indifferent, but not on the level of "suck."


If there was a game that broke the "movie games suck" stereotype in the 16-bit days, Aladdin stands a good chance of being it. While the SNES version wasn't as smooth as the Genesis version, both were solid, both were fun, and both were highly addictive platform jumpers.

And, as funny as it sounds, the game managed to be this fun while still sticking pretty close to the movie storyline, which is again something of a rarity. Ultimately, this would definitely be one of the games that people remember as good, not bad, for movie tie-ins.


Batman got a horrid treatment in the 16-bit days, somewhat worse than he'd gotten even in the rather abysmal Batman games in the NES days. Why? Mostly because he was the perfect target for bad Final Fight clones (Batman Returns), horrid side-scrolling beat-em-ups (Batman on the Genesis), and really, really crappy motion-capture setups (Batman Forever).

If you're looking for an example to "prove" that movie games suck, Batman's a perfect ongoing license to bring up.

Lord of the Rings

No, these have nothing to do with Peter Jackson's version - the SNES edition was based partially off of the books, and partially off the 1978 Ralph Bakshi animated/liveaction-hybrid movie versions. Did they suck? Not really. Were they something you'd want to run out and buy? Not at all. But given that the three tie-in movies for the recent Peter Jackson movies have done quite well (though the Hobbit game, frankly, did indeed suck) I thought this version worth a mention.

Toy Story

Yes, both the Genesis and the SNES got to do a treatment of the venerable Pixar movie, Toy Story. And by "treatment" I mean the thing you don't want your pet dog to do on the rug - because compared to the movie, they were just relatively-pathetic sidescrollers with horrible faux-3D graphics.


Don't ask me how, but the bizarre movie Toys, starring Robin Williams, somehow managed to get a game tie-in on the Genesis. As predictably mediocre as the movie was, what might one expect from the game? More of the same, pretty much.

Star Wars

The SNES was happy, one can assume, to be the ongoing home of Star Wars titles through 1995 (more or less) - all in all, it got Super Star Wars, Super Empire Strikes Back, and then it received an exclusive title, Super Return of the Jedi. What was so great? Well, unlike the NES titles, they were FUN, had great controls, and - best of all - incorporated a lot more lightsaber fun. Super Return of the Jedi was easily the best of them, but all three were far superior to their NES cousins.

And as bizarre as it sounds, there were actually less movie tie-ins on the Genesis and SNES, than there were on the NES. Why? Partially because of the backlash, partially because they did in fact have a shorter reign (the NES owned the market pretty much from release until 1992-1993, evne though it coexisted with the SNES from 1990 on - and the Playstation was released in 1995 and the N64 shortly after in 1996). And partially because... well, the whims of fate.

Still, what have we next? The days of the Playstation, and the Nintendo 64.

Weekly Musings 1: Do Movie-License Video Games All Suck?

Added:  Sunday, June 13, 2004
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf

Page: 3/6

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