15 classic movies with craptastic nes video game adaptations (RETRO)

There are plenty of awful movies based on video games out there, but today I thought I’d switch it up a bit and put together a list of great, classic films that got crappy video game adaptations. As I looked back at many of the games, I realized how bad some of them really were. I owned and played several of these games growing up, but as bad as they were, I still had fun playing many of them. I was a little kid growing up in the 80s – I didn’t know any better!

These are games I got because of how much I loved the movies they were based on. A lot of the time I spent playing these games was full of frustration because many of them were practically impossible to beat. I don’t recall beating any of these games! These were all made in the infancy of video games, but that’s no excuse for making games that were bad and ridiculously hard to play. There were a lot of cool games being made at the time, too! So we know it wasn’t impossible to make a great game with good gameplay mechanics. But this list shows that you can still sometimes have fun playing a bad game, just like you can have fun watching a bad movie.

Back to the Future (NES 1989)

This game was so bad that screenwriter Bob Gale called it “one of the worst games ever,” and even encouraged fans of the movie not to buy it. This game should have been so much more than what it was. The gameplay was terrible and they used a sped up version of “The Power of Love” which looped throughout almost the whole the game; it made me hate that song.

Friday the 13th (NES 1989)

This is considered by many to be one of the worst video games ever made. The gameplay was incredibly frustrating, and it didn’t carry any weight of fear or horror at all. Let’s face it: none of the kids wanted to play as a camp counselor trying to kill Jason. They wanted to play as Jason trying to kill the camp counselors and kids. That’s the truth of it, and that’s what they should have done for a game based on a R-rated horror film.

Ghostbusters (NES 1988)

I played this game a lot more than I should have. I hated this game as a kid, but for some reason I just couldn’t stop playing the damn thing. I always made it to the battle with Zuul, but could never freakin’ beat her! The ending in the NES version was also full of spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes that I think are funny.

“CONGLATURATION !!!
YOU HAVE COMPLETED
A GREAT GAME.

AND PROOVED THE JUSTICE
OF OUR CULTURE.

NOW GO AND REST OUR HEROES !”
— End of game message.

In the 2009 Ghostbusters: The Video Game, they actually have that ending shown on a computer in Egon’s Lab Area.

Jaws (NES 1989)

This game is loosely based on Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, but it’s more in line with the fourth and final film in the franchise, Jaws: The Revenge. In the game, the player basically pilots a boat on the ocean looking for Jaws. When the boat comes across something, a diver is released in the water so he can battle various creature such as a jellyfish, sting rays, and smaller sharks. Of course the main goal is to hunt down Jaws and kill it, which takes forever. The game was sloppy, repetitive, and just plain boring.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (NES 1989)

The controls for this game were awful, especially in the overhead driving levels. Then there was the boss battle at the end with Judge Doom, which was unreasonably difficult. How in the hell were kids supposed to enjoy playing this game!? There was one cool aspect in which the player could find a 1-800 toll-free phone number (1-800-232-3324), and if you called it, the number it would play a recorded message of Jessica Rabbit offering tips for the game. This is one of the things she would say:

“It is shocking the way some neighborhoods are getting. You practically can’t walk anywhere without running into stray dogs, cats, and other animals. It makes you wish you carried a piece of meat, a fish bone, or a piece of cheese around with you. The weasel that is guarding Judge Doom’s warehouse is the one called Stupid. I’ve heard that the only thing that’ll get him to leave is a quick game of softball. Know anyplace where you could get a baseball in a hurry?”

It didn’t make playing the game any easier though.

Totat Recall (NES 1990)

Apparently, this version of the video game was supposed to have stuck closer to the spirit of the original short story by Philip K. Dick than the movie adaptation. The developers said that it “read more like a platformer.” All I know is that it was funny watching Douglas Quaid epically punching people across the screen. There’s also a moment in the game where he walks into a movie theater to watch the credits of the game. This thing got terrible reviews.

Dick Tracy (NES 1990)

The objective of this game was to solve mysteries without accusing the wrong person or shooting too many unarmed bad guys and killing them. What’s the fun in that!? You drove around town following clues about where to go. There were fifteen of Tracy’s crazy weird villains featured in the game. What I hated about this game is that it was extremely hard to beat and it didn’t have any extra lives or continues if you died. Whenever Tracy punched a person, he would ridiculously spin and slide on the ground and bounce off of walls for some reason.

Lethal Weapon (NES 1992)

In this side-scrolling video game, Murtaugh and Riggs battle it out with criminals around the city of Los Angeles. The only way they know how to resolve the conflicts they come up against are through fists, guns, and grenades. The game wasn’t easy to play and it was pretty frustrating. I thought it was ridiculous that it was easier to take down bad guys by punching them rather than shooting them.

The Karate Kid (NES 1987)

There are only four levels in the game, and it encompasses the first two movies. You basically play through the major events of the films such as Daniel LaRusso competing in the All Valley Karate Tournament. After that, he goes to Japan, where he has to beat up random thugs who are causing trouble. He even has to do this through a typhoon at one point. This game wasn’t really all that bad. I had a lot of fun playing this one. I always enjoyed the challenge scenes where he has to catch flies with chopsticks and karate chop ice.

Wayne World (NES 1993)

This game was just all-around completely awful, and it made absolutely no sense. Players used both Wayne and Garth in different levels of the game, and each had a different weapon. Garth used a laser gun and Wayne went around kicking things. I don’t know why, but they were fighting instruments, records, and fat people throughout the game. The graphics sucked so hard!

The Hunt for Red October (NES 1990)

The game featured deep sea submarine combat, and the object was to eliminate bad guys and try not to get killed. This was just a bad idea for a game and the execution of it was lazy and terrible. It was also impossible to beat unless you were a wizard of gaming. The movie was freakin’ awesome, but it didn’t need this crappy game to go along with it. This is one of those games that you never need to play.

The Terminator (NES 1989)

This went into development under Sunsoft in 1989 under the name Journey to Silius, which was going to be a game based on James Cameron’s film. While they were making the game the Terminator license expired, and it had to be released as another game with altered graphics and story. The Terminator game was eventually picked up and developed by Radical Entertainment, and you can tell that it was a rush job. Gamers play as Kyle Reese, and he goes around killing Terminators. The music was atrocious and it just played the same 5 second loop over and over again.

Home Alone (NES 1991)

This game was ridiculous as the player had to avoid being caught by the Wet Bandits for 20 full minutes while they are chasing him around the house. You can set up traps using various items around the house to keep them from catching you. If you get caught, it was an automatic “game over” and you had to start over. If you can last the full 20 minutes, you win the game. The problem was, most people could barely last 5 minutes. The mechanics of the game pretty much make it a hopeless battle. The concept for the game sucked – it was repetitive and just incredibly boring.

Top Gun (NES 1987)

I used to play this game all the time. I loved it, mostly because when I was a kid I wanted to be a pilot. There were two main points of gameplay. You would take off and go out on a dogfight mission, and when you were done you had to land the aircraft. Landing the plane was always so damn hard! I died so many times trying to land that damn plane. The player had to control both the speed and angle of aircraft to land it just right. I remember getting pissed off at this game so much because of how hard it was to land the stupid-ass jet.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Video Game Adventure (NES 1991)

It really wasn’t all that excellent. Players could play as either Bill or Ted, depending on the level. The goal was to search for the stranded historical figures’ various worlds throughout history and return people to their rightful times. Once you found the historical figure, you had to gain their trust. To do that, you had to find items called historical bait hidden within each world. The only problem was, they were so hard to find! I remember walking around forever trying to find some of these items only to never find them. This game was definitely more of a bogus journey.

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