The Mother Brain Files: 7 Unproduced Movie-Based Video Games

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The Mother Brain Files: 7 Unproduced Movie-Based Video Games


By Mother Brain

When I recently had a conversation with the man known as Cos, I was surprised to hear that he had never heard of a Die Hard arcade game. Yes, back in 1996, Sega produced Die Hard Arcade which was originally made in Japan as Dynamite Cop only to be imported to the states with the Die Hard brand name. This conversation ultimately inspired me to write a blog on 7 movies that never had video game tie-ins. Now the track record for movie-based games have not been the greatest: Nintendo’s Total Recall, Nintendo 64’s Mission: Impossible, Sega Genesis’ Moonwalker, and of course the megabomb known as Atari’s E.T. just to name a few. Historical flaws aside, here’s the movies I would I have liked to have played as video games (In no particular order):

7) 48 HRS. (1982)

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The classic Walter Hill action comedy not only launched Eddie Murphy’s movie career but also established the buddy movie genre in the 1980s. An Atari game produced by Sega was initially in the works as a drive and shoot formula but never got past the prototype stage. I’d say after Rockstar Games faithfully adapted and expanded the universe Hill’s The Warriors back in 2005, I’d love to see that team put together with Streets of Rage-style gameplay approach having Jack Cates and Reggie Hammond battle their way past street thugs, prostitutes, and racist rednecks.

6) Se7en (1995)

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David Fincher’s breakthrough crime thriller would have been too sophisticated and dark for gamers in the mid-90s. In recent years, we’ve seen strong detective games such as Heavy Rain and L.A. Noir bring the experience of movies like Se7en in our hands. The only catch is that it should not be a straight adaptation of the movie. Instead, I see this either as a prequel involving Detective Mills or a non-canon followup emphasizing the next case of Detective Somerset.

5) Every Which Way But Loose (1978)

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The odds were stacked against this Clint Eastwood action comedy with the living legend engaging in bare knuckle brawling while traveling the South with his lovable orangutan, Clyde. Even though an Atari game would have been crap with fighting stick figures, that’s no excuse to have a rare kick-ass fighting game for the NES in the style of Pit Fighter or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters. Speaking of Mr. Eastwood…

4) The Gauntlet (1977)

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This gutsy Eastwood action thriller was screaming for a video game. The movie itself had Eastwood as an alcoholic cop traveling Sondra Locke’s prostitute witness across Nevada while evading dirty cops, helicopters, and motorcycle gangs. Action scenes ranged from car chases, motorcycle chases, freight train brawls, and gunfights on an armored bus. Why we got that terrible Dirty Harry NES game over this is beyond me.

3) Outland (1981)

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Sean Connery’s High Noon remake in outer space is an underrated sci-fi classic. It’s uneven mix of slow investigation scenes with frantic pursuits around a Jupiter mining post may have prevented it from getting adapted to video game form. Still it had the potential to be a cool maze-like Atari game or a third-person shooter like Space Harrier for Sega and having the player take on Connery’s Marshall character battling crazed drug addicts and space hitmen would have been a nice change of pace from all the alien shoot-em-ups of the time.

2) Police Academy (1984)

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For me, this one hits close to the vest. I remember reading an ad in GamePro back in 1990 which showed a Police Academy game set to be released for the NES by Tengen. It was based on the short-lived cartoon series and used the Super Mario Bros. 2 engine. Former game developers at Tengen had admitted that the game tested well initially until the failure of the cartoon series (and the diminishing returns of the movies) canceled its release. As wacky (and as most hated) as Police Academy was, I still yearn to get my hands on that very game.

1) Escape From New York (1981)

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Like The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China, John Carpenter’s post-apocalyptic action thriller had all the makings of a potentially great video game: A badass anti-hero in the form of Snake Plissken, colorful allies and villains, amazing production design, and a wide variety of action sequences that all felt different from one another. The closest that a game was made was in the early 2000s when Namco licensed the rights with Kurt Russell set to reprise his iconic role in voiceover form. Plans for this as well as an anime remake of the film were unfortunately canceled. In recent years, various elements of the film had been ‘borrowed’ for smash hit games, most notably the Metal Gear Solid series. Besides that, we can only dream of what could have been…

With millions of others that I didn’t list, what would YOU have like to have seen in video game form?

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