Some of the most exciting upcoming video game releases such as Gotham Knights, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed and even Hogwarts Legacy all benefit from the success of their movie counterparts, there are a lot less true movie tie-in video games than there used to be. That’s a good thing.
Movie tie-ins are notoriously some of the worst and most disastrous video games of all time, such as the Atari 2600’s legendary-for-all-the-wrong-reasons E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. With more recent decades bringing panned Catwoman and Ghostbusters video games, it’s easy to see why companies aren’t so keen on the concept anymore.
10 Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
It might not be the worst Alien game — Aliens: Colonial Marines saw a far harsher critical reception — but there isn’t a worse game in the franchise in terms of direct movie tie-ins. Like the critically panned movie of the same name, Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem set a new low when it was released for the PlayStation Portable in 2007.
The game promised to deliver on the power fantasy of playing as the Predator in a third-person action experience but poor graphics, terrible AI, and the fact that the entire game was way too easy for anyone old enough to play it meant critics were left unimpressed by the whole thing.
9 Alvin And The Chipmunks (2007)
The 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks movie didn’t receive a strong response from critics either ,but this rhythm-based video game tie-in was even more negatively received. Though it has some redeeming qualities, not least a solid pop soundtrack to match its Rock Band-style gameplay, it suffers from a similar problem to the movie.
That’s that it assumes it can get away with a lot more because of its young target audience. It attempted to exploit the popularity of the movie as well as the trend of band-based video games that was taking over at the time, but critics agreed that it was so sloppy in its attempt that no one but the most easily impressed children could enjoy it. Bad controls and lazy details make it an impossible game to like.
8 Catwoman (2004)
It would have been more surprising if the tie-in game for Catwoman had been good, but its failure to deliver a technically polished game meant it couldn’t do justice to one of the strongest female DC characters either. The game’s action-platformer style that loosely follows the plot of the movie had some promise, however.
If there’s one single element that ruins the experience, it’s the in-game camera that’s almost obnoxiously bad. It was singled out along with the game’s clunky controls for criticism. Even the most die-hard Catwoman fan couldn’t enjoy playing as the feline anti-hero when it’s made so awkward.
7 Battleship (2012)
Though the attempt to turn the board game into a blockbuster movie ended up being a massive box-office failure and one that most people would be happy to forget, Battleship also produced not one but two separate video game tie-ins of the same name. While one, a turn-based strategy for handheld consoles, wasn’t too bad, an FPS tie-in for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was a mistake to rival the movie.
Though some critics were able to see its potential, pointing out how the game tied together sea and ground battles in quite a unique way, most felt the two elements didn’t blend together at all well. Even worse though, the presentation of the game was so uninteresting that it’s a hard game to get through despite only being a few hours long.
Many movie tie-in video games fail, but few fail so hard that they do massive damage to the video game industry as a whole. E.T. the Extra-terrestrial can make this claim, though, being one of the most-documented failures in the video game industry. An attempt to cash in on the massive market for tie-ins as well as the success of the movie, it stands as proof that a game needs more than a popular title to sell.
A lot of what makes it seem unplayable now, including the basic graphics and repetitive gameplay, may seem due to age, but critics at the time had the same complaints. Though it’s perhaps not as awful to play as its reputation might imply, there’s little to redeem E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
5 Fight Club (2004)
Fight Club is a movie that fans often claim is misunderstood and it seems whoever commissioned this over-the-top conventional fighting game didn’t quite grasp the film’s nuance either. Released a whole 5 years after the movie, it’s hard to say who the game is for, but it didn’t go down well with critics or fans.
Some interesting ideas, like a Hardcore mode where injuries are carried over from each fight as the player tries to rise through the ranks of the club, can’t hide the awkward and dated mechanics that underpin its 3D combat. Sloppily executed and full of strange details like an appearance from Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, Fight Club is bizarre even by bad game standards.
4 Ghostbusters (2016)
Though the 2016 movie that inspired it has its fair share of fans, it’s unlikely that even that much can be said in defense of the Ghostbusters video game. Though an action game set after the movie and centered on a whole new group of four Ghostbusters could have been interesting, and even the core mechanics are solid, the execution struck critics as particularly uninspired.
The game has players endlessly clear out ghosts in linear and repetitive levels while its poor writing means even the story can’t help make things less of a slog. With a price tag of $50, many felt that the game couldn’t have more obviously been a lazy cash grab.
3 Antz Extreme Racing (2002)
There are some great racing video games outside of the Mario Kart franchise but Antz Extreme Racing goes down as one of the worst entries in the genre. Based on the 1998 movie, this tie-in didn’t release until 4 years later and, if there were any die-hard Antz fans left, even they would have been disappointed by this poor effort.
With only six characters and a generic premise of needing to rise through the racing ranks, the game wasn’t promising in the first place but ugly graphics and bizarre level design lets it down anyway. Critics panned the title and suggested that even the youngest kids that formed its target audience shouldn’t ever touch this game.
2 Bad Boys: Miami Takedown (2004)
It’s rare for a movie tie-in game to be better than its film counterpart but it does happen. Unfortunately, Bad Boys: Miami Takedown couldn’t even look like a worthy effort even next to the critically panned Bad Boys II. A two-player co-op mode could have made the game fun, but it oddly chooses to alternate between the two main characters throughout the levels.
The gameplay is chaotic and action-packed but its attempt to be a serious shooter only puts more emphasis on how lackluster it is. Even critics at the time felt the game was very far behind the times in terms of graphics, gameplay, and even voice acting. It hasn’t aged well since then, either.
1 Charlie’s Angels (2003)
With an average score of 23 out of 100 on Metacritic, Charlie’s Angels is in a league of its own even among other poor attempts at movie tie-in games. A 3D beat ’em up, the game puts the player in control of the Angels as they proceed through stages and defeat every last enemy until invisible walls disappear allowing them to progress.
That’s excruciating alone but critics were able to find no redeeming features in the game’s terrible graphics, clunky controls, awkward camera, and its glitchy levels either. Though the 2000 movie wasn’t well-received either, it still doesn’t deserve to be associated with the worst video game movie tie-in in history.