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"There are way too many great licensed games to be so fucking angry all the time. Cheers."
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It's widely known that there is a problem with most licensed video games. Quality tends to be low.

This is not always the case, though, especially for long established franchises that do not impose any unrealistic release dates tied to another work's release. These exceptional games are not mentioned as often as are the games with problems. They need more love, and that's what's the Sugar Wiki is for, so let's give them some love!♥


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Specific companies with their own pages:


Other examples, by license format:

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  • Action Biker was a game released as a tie-in promotion for the KP Skips snack food. You play as mascot Clumsy Colin, who was featured in advertisements around the time of the game's release. The Commodore 64 version was positively reviewed by Zzap!64 who thought it was one of the best Mastertronic titles to date and excellent value for money. It was given an 83% overall score.
  • Beetle Adventure Racing is a Nintendo 64 racing game made and published by EA in 1999 to advertise the Volkswagen New Beetle. The game is widely remembered for its expansive and detailed levels with multiple paths and shortcuts that reward players for exploration with fun setpieces and point crates needed for 100% Completion. It received universal acclaim, which made it stand out as the N64's library was nearly flooded with racing games at the time.
  • Burger King released three little Xbox games starring The Burger King. While two of them were forgettable, Sneak King was a surprisingly well-made stealth game, where you had to ambush people and give them their burger. Surprisingly, although they were originally intended to be just downloadable titles, they sold well enough to earn themselves physical releases.
  • Chex Quest was a well-received nonviolent total conversion of the original Doom that came free in boxes of cereal. It is still fondly remembered by many older gamers, often for being the first first-person shooter they were allowed to play, and was a fairly solid game in its own right due to having a strong base to work from. Two sequels were made, an HD remake is in the works, and the game won two advertising awards for how successful it was.
  • Cool Spot focuses on the 7-up Spot mascot. It was surprisingly well-received by critics, thanks to its challenging gameplay, crisp controls, impressive character animation, and a superb soundtrack composed by Tommy Tallarico. Its lesser-known sequel, Spot Goes to Hollywood, is also a decent game in its own right.
  • Darkened Skye for the GameCube and PC could go in either category, really, but we'll put it here because we're generous. An advergame for Skittles with box art that does a surprisingly good job of obfuscating the fact that it was an advergame (clearly the marketing department didn't expect people to actually be interested in it on its own merits, because it reveals almost nothing about the game, period). The pros: Genuinely funny writing and reasonably decent graphics given the time and circumstances. The cons: If the gameplay is any indicator, the programming team was just the writing team in front of a different set of computers.
  • Doki Doki Panic also qualifies, being a tie-in for Fuji Television's Yume Kōjō event (the Arabian family came from said event). Considering how Super Mario Bros. 2 was received, it's no wonder why Nintendo decided to adopt the Dolled-Up Installment and release in Japan later as Super Mario USA.
  • Gogurt released a tie-in online game to promote their new monster flavors. It was titled Gogurt Monster Tracker. It has you going around capturing monsters. It proved very popular.
  • Namco once made a Game Boy Advance game about Hachiemon, the mascot of Kansai TV. It's a nonsensical platformer set in a world where everyone has giant detachable lips. Hachiemon can use his lips to grab platforms to climb and slingshot himself or kiss enemies to distract them. By kissing ladies, they spawn baby 1Ups!
  • The early 90's Platform Games based on McDonald's characters are usually considered pretty good:
    • McKids was an NES platformer that even the Angry Video Game Nerd admitted in his review was alright.
      • This game was also available for other video game consoles and home computers under the name McDonaldland.
    • The Genesis/Mega Drive sequel Global Gladiators was highly praised in reviews at the time.
    • Another Genesis release, McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure, was developed by Treasure, and featured many elements that would be used in Dynamite Headdy and Gunstar Heroes.
    • Donald Land, released earlier in Japan only, has nicely varied mechanics and very good graphics for the NES/Famicom.
  • Boing! Docomodake DS, a Nintendo DS Puzzle Platformer starring the anthropomorphic mushroom mascots of Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo. You play as Papa Docomodake, who is trying to find the missing members of his family. Papa traverses a series of stages with the help of the "minis", small versions of himself that split off from his body and can do a variety of tasks. It's a fun little game, and although it falls a bit on the short side, you'll spend quite a while trying to get an S rank in all stages. Inexplicably, it was released in the West, even though the characters are entirely unknown outside of Japan.
  • Kaettekita Mario Bros. was a Japanese exclusive Famicom game which was a promotional gimmick. Advertisements of the Nagatanien food company are peppered throughout the gameplay; but it doesn't matter because it's the best damn version of Mario Bros. ever made. Hit-detection and control responsiveness are as good as they were in the Famicom Super Mario Bros. games, making the game much less frustrating.
  • Pepsiman is a fun little on-rails...er, runner. The gameplay is simplistic, yet satisfying, the game has a decent challenge, and it has some hilariously bad cutscenes of a beer-bellied man surrounded by mountains of Pepsi cans (the regular cutscenes are great too, with every stage featuring a set up by a character voiced a gloriously hammy voice actor) . The whole game has this air of self-awareness, and you can't help but get in a few chuckles while playing. Sure, it's blatant advertising marketed as a game, but it's a good example of how do do it the right way.
    • Also worthy of note is the game's level design. Unlike most games of its genre, Pepsiman's stages have a surprising amount of detail, which breathes a lot of life into the game.
  • Noobow is the adorable mascot character of a Japanese chocolate company, and in 1992, he got a game on the Game Boy also called Noobow. It was developed by the same company that made R-Type, and it's like a Puzzle Platformer mixed with a point-and-click game mixed with pure adorable. Noobow runs around solving puzzles by collecting items, stacking blocks to get around, and occasionally doing extremely mild platforming with the aid of a parachute. And it ends with Noobow Saving Christmas with the help of Santa! It was only released in Japan, which means it's pretty obscure, but it's a total hidden gem if you can find a copy.
  • Yo! Noid. Capcom somehow managed to make a game about The Domino's Pizza Noid and make it good (though the fact that it was concurrently developed with the Japanese Game Masked Ninja Hanamaru of which, Noid can be considered a great deal a localization of, helps). In fact, looking at all the other examples — all the Disney licenses, Little Nemo, Willow, etc. — perhaps the original rule should be amended to "licensed games are generally not very good, unless they were made for the NES by Capcom, in which case they're amazing."
  • UFO Kamen Yakisoban it's a beat 'em up featuring the mascot of Nissin's brand.

    Film — Animation 
  • Brave Story is a PSP game based on a movie based on a novel. (phew) It's considered a good RPG with a nice plot, unique battle mechanics, and great graphics. Hilariously, the setting itself is based on a typical RPG world.
  • While not as well known as the movie, Chicken Run for the PlayStation is also fondly remembered. The game's stealth mechanics allowed many to call it Metal Gear Solid with chickens.
  • The Nintendo DS adaptation of Coraline (developed by Art Co. Ltd) is regarded as a solid and fun Visual Novel/Adventure game that puts its own unique twist on the story instead of just re-hashing the movie all over again. It's mostly agreed to be superior to the PS2/Wii adaptation that sadly fell on the other page. The original soundtrack being a major standout.
  • Despicable Me: Minion Rush is a pretty fun endless runner game with Dave the Minion running through locations from the films to earn the title of "Minion of The Year". Plus there are tons of challenges, power-ups, Minions to hurt for points, and even boss battles. Not usual for an endless runner.
  • Kung Fu Panda: The Game is a surprisingly fun beat-em-up with a wide variety of playable characters and comedic writing on par with the film itself. The sequel's game...not so much.
  • The LEGO Movie Videogame has all the fun of any LEGO Adaptation Game (more on that below), with just enough ingenuity to make it stand out on its own. And while none of the original actors returned to voice their characters, the ones who were brought in do such spot on impressions that you can hardly tell the difference.note  Add a wealth of hilarious lines akin to the film itself, and you have a successful film-to-game translation.
  • Little Nemo: The Dream Master, another Capcom classic, was good enough to create Adaptation Displacement, at least with NES-playing children who were too young to remember the 1905(!) newspaper comic and missed the anime film (which, confusingly, was released a year before the game in Japan, and was even the basis for the game in the first place, but was not released in America until two years after the game.)
    • Capcom also made a fun, albeit simplistic, arcade game of Little Nemo.
  • The console and PC version of the first Madagascar video game can be fondly remembered as a fairly polished Action-Adventure game, due to the distinctive gameplay styles of the playable characters, the interesting levels and missions inside them, and various extras outside of the main game such as minigolf or shuffleboarding. The soundtrack wasn't half-bad either.
  • Open Season had an expectedly bland video game adaptation for all major consoles. Usually, these games got TERRIBLY crappy Game Boy Advance rushjobs and were even less appealing. The Game Boy Advance version of Open Season, however, was a very well-programmed and creative title by Ubisoft with a lot of Mega Man-esque elements (level select after an intro stage, wall-climbing VERY reminiscent of X, beating levels to get weapons with limited ammo, powerup shops by collecting items scattered around the levels in trickier places to get to a la bolts, etc) with a few of its own original ideas thrown in as well. The Konami Code is even included (and gives three extra lives) as a testament to the fact that the makers of the game legitimately cared about making it a good title enough to put something like that in a licensed game that likely had an incredibly strict deadline. The game is short (probably due in part to said deadline), but the two difficulty settings do give it some replay value, and it's dirt cheap.
  • The video game for Over the Hedge is also surprisingly good. It's a hack-and-slash with no real major flaws. It also has a lot of diversity in the missions. Also, unlike most movie licensed games, the story isn't a butchered retelling of the movie's plot. It actually acts as a sequel of sorts, and while the story is no masterpiece, it's good enough to keep you interested the whole way through.
  • The Peanuts Movie's tie-in game, Snoopy's Grand Adventure has been well-received by gamers as an above-average platformer that can be played by both kids and adults. It helps that the game isn't a re-telling of the movie.
  • The Rango video game has easy controls, pretty good graphics for a movie-licensed game (it actually looks closely identical to the film, and that is because the film has a short live-action segment!), and rather than awkwardly repeat the story from the film, uses a new plot and almost feels like a sequel to the film.
  • The Ratchet and Clank game based on the movie is a very interesting example. It's technically a tie-in to the movie, but said movie is loosely based on the original 2002 PS2 game, and when returning to places from the 2002 original, the 2016 game out and remakes the PS2 levels (just in the context of the heavily reworked movie storyline). What helps is that the 2016 game was created by Insomniac Games, who were still doing incredibly well as a studio. That they made the 2016 game is pretty much the best possible scenario for the tie-in game!
  • Angry Birds: Rio and Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots take the base games and add on some significant features, to the point where, even without seeing the movies, these games are easily acceptable as sequels to the originals.
  • Shrek 2 for the 6th gen consoles was a decently enjoyable 3D beat-em-up-style game with a 4-player co-op mode (By GameFAQs it got a 6.3 on GCN, 7.2 on PS2 and a 5.6 on Xbox).
    • Shrek SuperSlam for the same consoles. It's an engaging Power Stone-esque fighting game with destructible environments, 20 playable characters, catchy background music, and an addictive mission mode. It's even managed to find its way into competitive gaming thanks to the Shrek franchise's memetic status.
  • You know what is really kind of fun? The Space Chimps Nintendo DS adaptation, the last game published by Brash Entertainment, whose games otherwise belong to the other page. It has a nice little The Lost Vikings vibe to it, as you need to use each of the chimps to solve puzzles. Not bad for a movie that really stunk. Doesn't hurt it was developed by WayForward Technologies.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • There were two licensed games based on the 2010 Alice in Wonderland movie. The Wii version (a 3D action adventure) got fairly average reviews, but the DS version was hailed by many critics as an aversion of this trope. Even though it didn't follow the movie, reviewers were surprised by the stylized cartoon graphics and the 2D platform-puzzle gameplay.
  • Alien: Isolation is a very good survival horror game that takes place between Alien and Aliens. Known more for the Total War franchise, Creative Assembly realistically recreated the atmosphere of being relatively alone except for a big-ass Xenomorph who wants you over for dinner... as the main course. The Xenomorph itself was given an unpredictable AI, meaning it can be anywhere and show up at anytime. Luckily, you have a way to hack into locks and the ability to use found bits to create makeshift items to distract and disable Everything Trying to Kill You. And all of this is done in a first-person perspective. Most online reviewers and review sites have good reason to have this in their Top Ten games for 2014. In the eyes of many, after decades of Villain Decay, it successfully made the Xenomorph terrifying again.
    • Oddly enough, the SNES adaptation of Alien³ was a surprisingly enjoyable and atmospheric action-adventure game - something like a non-linear version of Contra - with a fine musical score.
      • Its Sega Genesis counterpart is also good, with many people preferring it gameplay-wise. It trades exploration for more fast-paced arcade action.
  • Aliens: Infestation is an excellent Metroidvania for the DS, doing a nice job of bridging the gap between the second and third films. It was made by WayForward Technologies, so the quality is unsurprising.
  • The Alien vs. Predator arcade game made by Capcom a decade before the films came out remains a favorite amongst Beat 'em Up fans.
    • And the Alien vs. Predator FPS on the Atari Jaguar, pre-dating the movie by a decade and the PC versions by half a decade, was critically lauded to the point where it was arguably the system's best original title.
    • The first two PC games were also of excellent quality, although for different reasons. The first PC FPS was notable for the sheer, pants-wetting terror experienced in the Marine campaign. The second PC FPS was notable for having a pretty good story, even if it did tone down the whole "terror" aspect. The third game, released in 2010, received more mixed reviews, but it's generally not considered "bad".
  • The Army of Darkness iPhone game is a rather fun tower defense game, and has fairly good reviews on iTunes.
  • While Avatar has its problems (namely repetitive gameplay, camera and framerate issues, a rather weak storyline that contradicts the film canon, and somewhat odd controls in places), it is generally a pretty fun game that looks great, has a good atmosphere, and allows you to side with either the Na'vi or RDA, supporting those who wanted the humans to win in the movie. And for those interested in the film's lore, the game also has quite a bit of interesting tidbits on the planet Pandora and its flora and fauna.
  • If Japan-only games can count, Super Back to the Future Part II for Super Famicom is a decent platformer that actually caused the AVGN to have a sigh of relief.
  • Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is a strange situation... the movie and the video game version started production at the same time, the video game being released a year ahead of the movie, and based mostly on an unused first draft of the script. The movie is terrible, while the game is one of the best and most genuinely fun First Person Shooters on the GBA.
  • Batman Returns for Super NES is generally considered the very best video-game adaptation of the 1992 movie, for several reasons. Chief among them is that the game wasn't released until 1993 - an entire year later - so the designers were afforded plenty of time to create a quality product. Both the programmers and the animators also must have studied the source material carefully, because the adaptation is so faithful that the game is almost literally like taking control of the movie itself: Danny Elfman's memorable score is synthesized, almost every major and secondary character shows up or is at least mentioned, and they even found opportunities to work in some of director Tim Burton's trademark subversive humor. The opponents are also very diverse, the boss battles are as challenging as they come, and the fighting moves are as brutal as you could expect from a game of the early '90s.
  • Batman (Sunsoft) for the NES. A platform game loosely based on the 1989 movie of the same name, is widely considered one of the first truly great licensed video games in a gaming era where licensed games were acquiring their infamous reputation. Fast-paced action, kickass music that pushes the NES soundchip, and very stimulating and challenging gameplay. It's on the hard side with insane jumps and hard boss battles, but is very rewarding due to its responsive and fluid controls.
  • The 1997 Adventure Game Blade Runner, developed by Westwood Studios. While obviously based on the film, it avoids the usual pitfalls of licensed games by having solid gameplay, a compelling and engaging plot which doesn't simply ape that of the movie, and not being rushed out to cash-in on the film's release (having come out a full fifteen years later). It chooses to instead focus on a character whose story runs in parallel with that of the movie, and further flesh out the Blade Runner universe.
  • Of the three The Blair Witch Project games at least the first one is quite good. The second one less so, but the third is all right. Thankfully none of the games have you playing as helpless kids stumbling around in the forest, but people who actually can defend themselves from the horrors in the forest. Each game delves far into the backstory of the film, rather than taking place in the modern day.
    • The aforementioned idea of setting a game in the mid 90s is similar to the latest Blair Witch video released in 2019. Said game is not that good, due to there not being a lot of danger and underwhelming ending. But there are some good psychological elements and many players grew an attachment to the dog Bullet. For the most part, it could be called a psychological horror puzzle game slash K-9 simulator.
  • The Bourne Conspiracy isn't exactly a standout game, but it's fun enough to keep you entertained for a weekend or so. The creators seemed to be very well aware of this trope as though the plot is directly taken from the first movie with a few additions in flashback missions, the title is different and it is called "Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy" tying it more to the novels, though it bares no resemblance to them at all.
  • The SNES Casper game is actually pretty fun and creative, playing like a modified version of A Boy and His Blob. Casper takes various forms to escort Kat through his house down to the Lazarus Machine, fighting off his uncles and Carrie along the way. Only problem is that it came out at the end of the SNES lifespan, so cartridges are rare and super-expensive.
  • While Captain America: Super Soldier, a game based on Captain America: The First Avenger is nothing more but a blatant clone of Batman: Arkham Asylum, the game itself isn't that really all that bad, and the satisfaction of wielding the Mighty Shield and kicking some HYDRA ass is as awesome as it sounds. While it lacks Batman's mandatory stealth sections (since a super-soldier has little need for stealth) it adds some tricks in terms of the combat that Batman didn't have: super moves that charge when you pull off a good hit or counter, a heavier emphasis on projectile throwing in combat via the shield (which controls very similarly to Batman's Batarangs), an incredibly badass blocking mechanic, whereby gunshots ricochet back at the enemy, and the ability to take enemies hostage and force them to fire their weapons at other enemies.
    • In addition, Chris Evans, who plays Cap in the film, again reprises his role for the game and does a pretty damn good job.
    • Even better, this actually had a positive effect outside of the game. When Chris Evans played it, he was so impressed by the gameplay, and the look and feel of the combat, that he felt that the next Captain America movie should takes notes from it. The Russo brothers agreed, leading to Captain America: The Winter Soldier having the most well-choreographed and highly praised fight scenes in the entire MCU, until Daredevil (2015) hit Netflix.
  • The first The Chronicles of Narnia game is a fun little adventure game with a fairly deep combat system and pretty good graphics. The second game isn't quite as good, but it's still okay.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, a prequel to the movie Pitch Black, received overwhelmingly positive reviews and several "Game of the Year" awards. This is particularly noticeable given the poor review received by that same film's sequel movie, The Chronicles of Riddick, which was released at the same time. Vin Diesel founded Tigon Studios, which co-developed the game, precisely because he was tired of this trope, being a gamer himself. Its 2009 sequel Assault on Dark Athena received a similar level of acclaim. In an amusing inversion of this trope, Tigon's first original game, Wheelman, was more mixed in its critical reception compared to the Riddick games, although has its own strong points, Licensed Game is not the place it belongs to. The other half of the development team, Starbreeze, went on to release an FPS adaptation of The Darkness to intense critical acclaim. It's probably better-known than the comic it's based on at the moment, though.
  • While an individual game for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes doesn't seem likely, Plague Inc., in co-ordinance with the creators of said film, released a specific plague called "Simian Flu." With the game already garnering approval from the CDC for its pinpoint accuracy to actual diseases, the result is an excellent recreation of evolving apes while devolving humans at the same time.
  • Days of Thunder. On the iPhone. Once you get past the fact that this is an iPhone game released in 2009 that's based on a movie released in 1990, you'll find it to be pretty good. The developers at Freeverse followed up with an iPhone game based on that other classic Tom Cruise movie, Top Gun, and came up with a pretty good After Burner clone that uses the license quite well.
    • There were licensed versions released for 8 and 16-bit computers back in 1990 too. Unfortunately, they weren't particularly well-received.
  • Dick Tracy (Sega) is a pretty well done Side Scrolling Action Platformer with Railgun elements. Strips the city exploration and interrogation-clue-puzzle game and generally avoiding the pitfalls from the NES counterpart.
  • Die Hard has had a few games worth mentioning that avoided suckiness:
  • The film adaptation of Double Dragon was pretty crappy, but the video game based on it, released for Neo Geo, is actually a fairly respectable Street Fighter clone.
  • The Eragon games for both Game Boy Advance and DS were both radically different from the horrible console/PC version, and actually pretty darn good games. The GBA was a classic RPG with turn-based combat and the DS was a 3-D adventure game, which was really rather good for the console.
  • The Fast and the Furious arcade games from Raw Thrills are pretty good despite the absurd stunts not present in the movies. The latest game, Fast and the Furious Drift, has some pretty interesting track designs as well. The home port of the arcade F&F game, though, qualifies as a Porting Disaster. Midway couldn't even get the movie license, so they used the Cruis'n name instead, which makes sense considering that the F&F games are pretty much Cruis'n with an F&F skin.
    • Meanwhile there was a pair of The Fast and the Furious games by Eutechnyx that was released in 2006 for PS2 and PSP. Unlike the Raw Thrills games, it plays like the later Maximum Tune arcade racing series, and despite average reviews, it's as good as you expect.
  • Amid its nasty track record with film-based games, Ocean did a Super Nintendo Entertainment System game based on The Flintstones, and although it wasn't as good as the Taito games, it was actually quite decent.
  • Gun Media and Illfonic's Friday the 13th: The Game is a wonderful adaptation of the slasher series. An Asymmetric Multiplayer online game, seven players control Camp Crystal Lake counselors attempting to survive the onslaught of the eighth player, Jason Voorhees. The counselors must try to find some way to escape the campgrounds, or against all hope, maybe even kill Jason. Jason, meanwhile, is tasked with killing them all, with various abilities at his disposal that allow him to get the drop on his prey and execute them in creatively gruesome ways.
    • Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle is also a solid and entertaining puzzle game, continuing the style of the same developers' previous work Slayaway Camp.
  • While never released outside of Japan, Gamera 2000 is a quality 3D shooter for the PS1, with the player piloting a ship to shoot down enemies while being able to call on Gamera to provide backup with homing blasts and his trademark spin attack.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd himself admitted that the Ghostbusters game for Sega Genesis was actually quite good... although it wasn't based on any one movie, despite a Boss Battle with the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Though he questioned why Ernie Hudson's character was absent.
    • Regarding the notoriously bad NES game and its ports: Like the Sega Master System version, the Commodore 64 version (which AVGN didn't review) was a fair sight better than the NES version, removing the gas station mechanic and "drunk drivers" entirely. Incidentally, years later a fan remake of the game was made that is a HUGE improvement over all the others, featuring a vocal song remix of the Ghostbusters theme, drastically improved graphics, memorable voice clips from the movie ("He slimed me!" and "We came, we saw, we kicked its ASS!") and, like the Master System verison, more than one type of ghost design.
    • The 2009 Ghostbusters game by Terminal Reality has received excellent praise. James Rolfe gave it a generous review As Himself rather than in the Nerd persona, telling the Nerd that his intervention is not needed since the game was neither old nor shitty. It is essentially Ghostbusters 3, as it features the original actors reprising their roles, and was written by the original staff.
    • The HAL version of Ghostbusters II for the NES (titled New Ghostbusters II) is a remarkable improvement over the rather mediocre Activision games, being a straightforward top-down action game where you pick any two of the five Ghostbusters (Yes, you get to play as not only Winston Zeddemore but Louis Tully as well) and take to haunted buildings, stunning ghosts with one buster and catching them in the trap with the other, all while following the plot of the movie as reasonably as any game would need to. Sadly, it only came out in Japan and Europe.
  • The PS2 tie-in game for Ghost Rider is basically a God of War clone with a bit of Devil May Cry and Road Rash thrown in, and the creators really know how to take the best elements of those games and mix it into one good licensed game.
  • The Godfather and Scarface (1983), both classic gangster movies that are at least two decades old, have seen their share of success by adapting the Grand Theft Auto style of gameplay.
    • Scarface: The World Is Yours scores extra points for not rehashing the plot of the movie, instead playing out a "What If?" scenario that starts after the end of the movie, with Tony Montana surviving the assault on his mansion.
      • As well as being one of the few GTA followers that GTA itself took notes from, adopting the ideas of a crew you can keep track of through your phone, a ring based notoriety system based on getting out of the law's sight, and over the hood aiming into GTA IV.
  • Godzilla Unleashed for the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 2. Like its predecessors (Godzilla Save The Earth and Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee), it's a simple yet fun beat-em-up game where you get to do what anyone would want to do in a Godzilla game-smash buildings and fight other monsters.
  • Sega's adaptation of New Line Cinema's The Golden Compass. While it had plenty of issues (mediocre graphics, cookie cutter gameplay) it also captured the heart of the source novel far better than the movie did and presented a more in-depth plot (it's also the only place so far where footage of the film's many deleted scenes can be glimpsed). In many ways it's like an interactive version of the book. Great for fans of the series, not so great for hardcore gamers.
  • One exception grew from a problematic game. A game was made out of The Goonies in Japan. It involved levels that followed the plot but was a rather uninspired platformer that involved Mikey doing kung fu kicks and other assorted silliness. Konami (the game's producer) didn't even try bringing it over (although it did appear in arcades in the U.S. on Nintendo's vs. arcade cabinets). However, it did well enough in Japan that they produced a sequel, and The Goonies II did end up being released in the US, and the action/adventure gameplay proved quite popular.
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch: The NES game adaptation by Sunsoft is fondly remembered for its active gameplay, its faithfulness to the movie it was based on and its amazing soundtrack as well as its advanced graphics. It was even nominated for several awards.
  • The PC-Engine shmup Gunhed is much more popular than the film it was based on, although the only things it had in common was the name and a picture of the titular robot on the title screen, and most of its remaining connections with the source material were wiped away when it was localized to the U.S. as Blazing Lazers.
  • EA has gone in two different directions with their Harry Potter adaptations — chapter-based play, in which one level naturally leads to another (Philosopher's Stone and Goblet of Fire) and a sandbox style where the player has to visit specific places in Hogwarts to advance the plot (Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix). The latter are about a squillion times better than the former (particularly Order of the Phoenix, which combines the layouts from each of the games so far with the layouts from each of the movies to create a definitive Hogwarts), as they combine a ton of mini-games with the main plot, plus they give you the opportunity to fly around Hogwarts on a broom or Buckbeak the Hippogriff. (Or even climb up pipes).
    • Don't forget about the RPG versions of the first three games, the first two on the Game Boy Color and the third on the Game Boy Advance, which were generally well-received by fans and game critics alike. Unfortunately, since then, EA has made all of the handheld versions just watered-down ports of the console versions.
      • The Philosopher's Stone was fairly mediocre, but did have enough good points to be considered a good game. Such as the faithful plot-line and large mini game collection. In particular, the plot of the game was based on the book rather than the film, and various plot points and locations not in the film (Neville going into the Forbidden Forest like in the book, the potion puzzle on the path to the stone, Professor Binns, Harry's Christmas gift from the Dursleys, Professor Sprout (who was essentially mentioned in only two paragraphs in the first book!), the Centaurs in the forest other than Firenze, etc.). Also, several references are made to Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire (the only other books released at the time), many of which never came up in the films—Moaning Myrtle's bathroom and the Divination classroom are both in the game as locked doors, you can enter the classrooms for Ancient Runes and Arithmancy (both taken by Hermione in the third year), the entrance to the kitchens from Goblet of Fire is visible in the dungeon (as is the vanishing door to the Slytherin common room), and you can find Witch and Wizard cards which reference things such as Azkaban and the Patronus charm. A lot of effort for a game on such a small system.
      • Chamber of Secrets in particular was brilliantly well done. From impressive graphics from the Game Boy Color, to outstanding music, incredible faithfulness to its source material that even added in extra content that you'd be forgiven for thinking was from the book and several ingenious cases of Gameplay and Story Integration. A truly underrated game for the Game Boy Color.
      • The third game was rather well done, with how it had branching dungeon paths with puzzles specified for each character you have, a nice soundtrack, and a few good dungeons. However, it still needed some more time for beta-testing, since there were a few random glitches that could crash the game, and a massive downgrade in graphics near the ending, it really did seem rushed.
      • Not to mention Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup, which has major Critical Dissonance, gaining decent reviews from the mainstream reviewers but being widely adored by fans and non-fans alike.
      • Chamber of Secrets deserves some extra gushing. It utilized challenging puzzles (the classroom segments), a Zelda-esque battle system (find the weak point on the boss), Scenery Porn, and a sandbox full of hidden secrets and sidequests that are impossible to find in one playthrough. It almost seems as though more time was spent designing this unique game than was spent on the film version of the story! (Given the movie's budget and filming times, this is saying something.)
      • Seconded about Chamber of Secrets. Starting with this game, the series gets gradually less action-based and a lot easier. Chamber of Secrets mainly focuses on fighting various monsters and platforming and is the only game to avert Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. You can fall down Bottomless Pits, which would force you to restart at checkpoints. By the third game, you can fall down them and immediately respawn where you were. You don't even receive a hit to your hitpoints unless you do it a few times. By the fourth game, Invisible Walls are erected and you can no longer fall and there ARE no pits in the fifth. By the fifth game, there are less than five action sequences in total and you're mostly reduced to fetch quests and sweeping the floor.
      • The boss fight sequences in Chamber of Secrets are especially rewarding, particularly the final battle with the basilisk. If the player is out of Wiggenweld Potions, and doesn't have full health, then they cannot get hit once. "White-knuckle" doesn't begin to describe it.
  • Would you believe that there's a Home Alone game that fits here? How about more than one?
    • First, there's the release for the Amiga and DOS. Let's see... good graphics and music for the time (1991)? Check, especially for the PC version. Fun gameplay? Yep. Oh, and to top it all off, the PC version has a Good Bad Bug that allows Kevin to fly.
    • Second, the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis version is worth checking out. The presentation is a little more goofy and cartoony than the source, while the gameplay is more complex than your bog-standard platformer: Kevin spreads traps across five houses in his neighborhood and assembles an arsenal of home-made weapons. Player/enemy health is abstracted by "loot" and "pain" meters; Kevin's goal is to cause enough harm to Harry and Marv before they raid all the safes in each house, keeping them from making a getaway until the police arrive.
    • Speaking of good Home Alone games, The sequel also got a good adaptation on the Sega Genesis. Its a more straightforward platformer spanning across levels based on locations in the movie, as Kevin tries to find his way back home. Not only does he have to fend off Harry and Marv once more, but also the denizens of New York as a whole. The game has tight controls, a wide variety of fun weapons to use, and a pretty awesome soundtrack.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction was widely praised as superior to the game based on the Ang Lee film that came out prior to it. It was widely considered the best superhero game by critics (until Batman: Arkham Asylum stole its thunder) for the simple fact that it let the player do exactly what they wanted — destroy a city as The Incredible Hulk. It eventually got a Spiritual Successor in [PROTOTYPE] (an original IP). Though the game wasn't actually intended to be based on the Ang Lee film, the timing was close enough that many critics and fans compared them anyway. Ironically, the later 2008 film with Edward Norton, The Incredible Hulk, got inspiration from Ultimate Destruction.
    • Including more than one Shout-Out. Remember that awesome bit in the movie where Hulk uses a car as boxing gloves, and pummels Abomination with them? You could do exactly that in-game!
  • James Bond:
    • Rare's GoldenEye (1997), based on the first Pierce Brosnan James Bond film, is one of the most successful First Person Shooters on consoles. It introduced console gamers to the FPS genre, and caused many of them to believe that it was the first of its kind, much to the confusion of PC gamers. Released two years after the movie, it turned out to be far more profitable. Seven years later, EA released GoldenEye: Rogue Agent in a blatant attempt to cash in on Rare's old game. In that game you are an MI6 agent that went rogue, and had an actual golden eye installed in his skull. Bond only appears for a cameo in a virtual reality mission. As you can imagine, it wasn't as well-received.
    • EA also released NightFire, which was a fairly solid Bond FPS (with a killer opening song), and Everything or Nothing, a really fun third-person shooter with truly lavish production values and loads of recognizable voice actors.
    • While we are on the subject of 007, The World Is Not Enough on the PlayStation and N64 turned out pretty well for a FPS on those platforms - it's not as good as GoldenEye, but it still has a lot of what made that game great. The shooting mechanics feel right, the weapon sound effects feel right, the levels rarely turn repetitive (stealth action, high speed chasing sequence, boss fighting, cool and interesting ways of utilizing Bond's gadgets), and last but not least, the visual are impressive for a console FPS of that generation. Downside? AI, character animation, short.
    • The Quantum of Solace tie-in game is kind of on the edge. It's a decent FPS with some neat minigames, and it does a decent job of adapting both Quantum and Casino Royale, but it's also incredibly short.
    • The 2010 GoldenEye for the Wii. It's made by the same developers as NightFire, is a remake of the classic N64 game and has a fun multiplayer like the original too.
  • Though hardly 5-star games, the 16-bit Jurassic Park games avoided this with fun side-scrollers. Notably, the Genesis version (which Spoony even said that was his favorite Genesis game) allowed the player to play as a raptor, and the SNES version, though principally presented in overhead isometric view, included some of the earliest FPS play (it was released only MONTHS after Doom.) If only there'd been more then 2 dinosaurs in the FPS levels...
    • The arcade game The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a Light Gun Game developed by Hitmaker (then known as Sega AM3), the same people behind Crazy Taxi and Virtual-ON, and is on par with the likes of Virtua Cop and The House of the Dead.
      • The Genesis version of Lost World, meanwhile, despite being largely overlooked given its time of release, could easily be considered one of the last great games for that console. It combined an isometric viewpoint, fairly open-ended style (allowing the player to choose which level to tackle first from the central hub), an appreciable amount of variety in the levels themselves, and boss battles that each used a different mechanic. It played fast and loose with the story for the most part, but it was for the benefit of a good game.
  • The video game adaption of the 2004 film King Arthur is actually a decent action-game (when you play co-op), just a bit repetitive and you have to have seen the film to get the plot.
  • Despite its ridiculous and long title, Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie was pretty good and successful. Of course, this may be because Peter Jackson personally selected Michel Ancel to head up the development based on his work on Beyond Good & Evil and collaborated on its production, after dissatisfaction with the uneven quality of licensed games based on his film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.
    • Of course, you can throw all of this out the window when talking about the DS version. Then you may throw said version out, too.
  • The Lord of the Rings film trilogy has garnered a lot of licensed games, several of which were top-notch in their genre.
    • EA's Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King were very popular and well-received for their top-notch hack-and-slash gameplay and faithfulness to capturing the feeling of the films, due in no small part to getting pretty much the entire cast to voice their characters and using Howard Shore's epic score.
    • The Battle for Middle-earth was a very good RTS with an Even Better Sequel featuring 6 distinct factions (with one more added by its expansion), elaborate base-building mechanics, a large roster of heroes, very mechanically detailed units with lots of upgrade options, a large array of special powers to spice things up (different between factions), custom hero creation, a lavish campaign, and a Total War style conquest mode.
    • There was also The Third Age, an RPG following a sort of B-team to the Fellowship, with truly fun JRPG mechanics (think Final Fantasy X's CTB system), an awesome 'Evil Mode' that lets you play as the bosses against an AI-controlled version of your old party and earn unique weapons usable in the main game, several fun battles where you fight with a major film character in some important battle (Legolas, Gimili, and Aragorn in three different battles at Helm's Deep, Gandalf against the Balrog and the Witch-King, Faramir in Osgiliath, and Éowyn against the final Witch-King), and an extremely customizable team, both in whom you fight with and in how their own skills are built.
    • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is considered the Arkham Asylum of Lord of the Rings, and the best LOTR game so far. Even if the combat is a cut-and-paste of Arkham Asylum's, it retains all the original's easy control. You can clamber around Mordor's ruins like in Assassin's Creed, picking out orcs stealthily to set up ambushes. Furthermore, the Nemesis system, the game's central feature, sounds overly ambitious (a wide range of powerful orcs — every one unique in abilities, personality, appearance, and name — that you can fight against, with them remembering your previous encounters and responding to your tactics), and yet is pulled off with an easy grace, to the point that it's easy to get attached to a particularly powerful captain.
  • Mad Max (2015), being in the Wide-Open Sandbox genre with a focus on driving & hand to hand combat (both of which were unusual in a genre dominated by shooters and fantasy sword & magic epics) and an RPG style customization & upgrade feature for both Max & his car could easily have been too ambitious to result in a good game. Instead, it was a very solid game that stood up well alongside to the AAA blockbuster titles that were released around the same time in that genre (Grand Theft Auto V, Far Cry 4 & Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain), and is generally regarded as a better game than Just Cause 3.
    • Casual observers remarked that the game would have been poor due to it launching around the same time as the film Mad Max: Fury Road and were expecting a cheap, rushed hackjob movie tie-in game. They were surprised at the high level of polish, lack of technical glitches, & overall care taken with the game. Unlike many other licensed titles that were developed to meet a tie-in with a film, this game had been in development for years.
  • The Mask for SNES. The game has good graphics, a good gameplay mechanic, catchy music, and the titular character has many abilities from the movie. The game follows the plot of the movie, while at the same time taking many liberties to work as a video game.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo was the opposite of Enter the Matrix, not being a buggy Obvious Beta and actually focusing on Neo instead of side characters. Action scenes from the whole trilogy are revisited with a combat system that incorporates the bevy of One powers, and there is even a Revised Ending to give a proper Final Boss battle ("Mega-Smith"!) rather than the metaphysical climax of the last movie.
  • The Mummy for Game Boy Color. a decent puzzle/adventure game, but where it really shines is the atmosphere and the soundtrack. Developed by Konami and likely a few Castlevania programmers as well.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians on the Nintendo DS was a surprisingly decent RPG. While the beginning was bizarrely hard and boring, the rest was quite solid and balanced. It even had a post-game where you could fight all the gods in their full power!
  • Power Rangers: Legacy Wars should, by all accounts, be godawful, being not only a video game adaptation of the Power Rangers reboot film, but a mobile game at that. Surprisingly, it's a fairly decent fighting game with a fair amount of tactical depth and controls that work well on a touch screen. The fact that it is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover featuring Power Rangers from across the franchise's entire history, plus a few choice villains and Cross Promotion with Street Fighter V, doesn't hurt.
  • The Punisher (THQ) game from 2004 was fairly well-received as a decent-to-good third-person shooter which made good use of the license; with all the brutality and gunplay you'd want from a Punisher game. Notably, Garth Ennis, largely considered the definitive Punisher scribe, wrote the story of the game, and Thomas Jane, who starred in the 2004 movie adaption, voiced the main character. A more recent PSN game has not fared as well.
    • The 2004 game was created by Volition, the same developers of Red Faction and Saints Row. In fact, The Punisher is on the same engine as the Saints Row series, and it shows. Like the gameplay of Saints Row 1 and 2 but also want to torture people and brutally kill them? Look no further!
  • The RoboCop arcade 2D platformer/shooter by Data East was quite successful, having some of the best graphics and voice synthesis of its time.
    • RoboCop Versus The Terminator on the Sega Genesis is also pretty well-liked.
    • The computer game by Ocean Software (not a conversion of the arcade game) was one of the biggest selling games on the ZX Spectrum, topping the charts for years.
      • The Game Boy game from the same company, being a port of the above, was fairly enjoyable itself.
  • Saw is a decent survival horror game where you play as former detective David Tapp from the first film. You meet characters from the films, and you see traps from them. The only real complaint about the game was the combat system.
  • The Scorpion King: Sword of Osiris for the Game Boy Advance is a surprisingly high-quality action/platformer, with fun gameplay that takes elements from Castlevania and Metroid and combines them into a Rock-solid experience. If you know how well WayForward treats its licenses this should be no surprise.
  • The A Series of Unfortunate Events game. It's incredibly fun, it features some of the best lip-sync seen in a licensed game, the voice acting is phenomenal, and it's overall a rather good game.
  • Similarly to the Ecks vs Sever example above, the terrible 2017 Russian superhero movie Защитники (Guardians) got a pretty enjoyable, although formulaic, mobile game.
  • Small Soldiers Squad Commander was regarded as a rather good strategy game that was easy to play. Unfortunately, it got drowned out by its better-known multiplatform big brother, Small Soldiers (the video game). Which positively sucked!
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a surprisingly good Jedi action-adventure and easily one of the best post-LucasArts Star Wars games. While the game does borrow the gameplay from the Uncharted and Dark Souls, the execution is competent enough that most fan don't mind. If anything, the game received better reviews than many of LucasArts's previous Jedi games.
  • Star Wars: Squadrons is well-regarded as a fun Star Wars space combat simulator. Not only is the gameplay well-regarded for its incredible depth, but also has top notch VR support, which, when combined with the solid sound design and graphics of the Frostbite engine, and the attention to detail in cockpit/interior designs, helps bring the classic starfighter fantasy to life. Many fans of the X-Wing and Rogue Squadron games found Squadrons to be a worth successor as space-combat Star Wars game.
  • Among CCG players, the Star Wars Customizable Card Game published by Decipher is considered to be an excellent system, despite or perhaps because of its Nintendo Hard nuances. The fact that a number of its cards broke the fourth wall didn't hurt. (Unfortunately, Decipher lost the license to Wizards of the Coast in 2001; the replacement, the Star Wars Trading Card Game, was much more typical and went under in three years.)
  • John Woo Presents: Stranglehold is a fun, gory and Stylish Third-Person Shooter that plays just like an interactive John Woo movie. In fact, both John Woo and Chow Yun-fat (who plays Inspector Tequila) collaborated in the making of this game, which takes place after the event of their movie Hard Boiled; the game is essentially Hard Boiled: Part 2. And the next movie they're making will follow the plotline of Stranglehold!
  • Street Fighter: The Movie. The arcade game is utter crap that belongs to the bad category. The home version? It has the same awkward graphics, but there's a twist. It essentially lifts its engine from Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and as such is a pretty decent fighter.
  • There's a little-known Japanese-horror movie named Sweet Home, released in The '80s, who had also a video game adaptation by Capcom for the NES and released together with the movie. The movie even starts with a commercial for the game, so you'd think they both suck, right? WRONG: while the movie is a little Narmish but still has a cool story and gives a few good chills as well, the game is a terrific RPG that loosely follows the movie plot, breaks many traditions of the genre (for example you can't raise characters' defense, you have very few ways to restore health and you can't revive those who die) and is absolutely TERRIFYING, so much that some of the game elements were recycled in another series... its name? Resident Evil. Now you know who's to blame for the creaky doors and the item management.
  • The Sega CD version of The Terminator, made by Virgin Games (the same people responsible for RoboCop Versus The Terminator and the Genesis Aladdin game), is quite decent. It even has an awesome Redbook audio soundtrack. The only notable blemish it has is its ultra-low quality video-captured live-action cutscenes taken from the movie.
    • The Genesis version of The Terminator is pretty good too, with great and moody synthy music that includes both a rendition of the Terminator theme and a remix (which was actually a first for console releases), tight controls, and levels and intermissions with stills from the movie itself that follow the plot of the film almost perfectly. Its only real drawback is that it is insanely short, being only four levels long.
    • Terminator 3: The Redemption was fairly well-received, certainly better than the previous Terminator 3 games.
    • T2: The Arcade Game was a very enjoyable Light Gun Game which benefited from simply being set in the Terminator universe and basically ignoring the plot for the first half of the game.
    • Terminator Salvation for the Arcade is another very enjoyable Light Gun Game and was much more well-received than Terminator Salvation for the PC/consoles. Its only drawback seems to be the unbelievably cheap shots that you will be taking.
    • Bethesda's First Person Shooters Terminator: Future Shock and SkyNet earned critical praise, though relatively little popularity.
  • The Thing (2002) video game, quite a solid Third-Person Shooter that features some interesting mechanics and the eerie atmosphere from the film. And also, it tells what happens after the vague ending of the film. Some disagreed with this assessment, though.
  • Thor: God Of Thunder is based off of the Thor film from 2011. The home console versions of the game? Absolute garbage. But the DS version is a charming 2D beat-em-up/platformer that decides to go for a loose adaptation of the story rather than directly retelling the exact plot. Not only that, but the sprite art is downright gorgeous.
  • While Top Gun on the NES falls on the other side of the spectrum, its sequel, Top Gun: The Second Mission, fixes all of the problems the first game had, with Awesome Music, much easier landing sequences, intense dogfighting, and no mid-air refueling.
  • Wanted: Weapons of Fate was delayed the better part of a year specifically so the developers could keep it from sucking. From most accounts, they did a pretty good job.
  • With The Warriors, Rockstar Games not only made a cult classic movie into a remarkably strong semi-sandbox beat-em-up that faithfully recreated almost every single moment of the film, it actually did a great job of fleshing out a whole new backstory for the characters.
  • The WarGames licensed game by Coleco (originally released for the Colecovision) was fairly well received.
    • The much newer - relatively speaking - PC licensed game was a relatively competitive Real-Time Strategy game; while not really bringing anything particularly revolutionary to the table it was well-made, enjoyable and featured a plot that was completely distinct from the film's.
  • Though not exactly a great game, Watchmen: The End Is Nigh is a pretty fun beat 'em up with decent visuals that capture the bleak atmosphere of the story, a strong combo system with both playable heroes feeling distinct, and a story that serves as a prequel to the movie featuring a look into Rorschach and Nite Owl's days fighting crime, with hand-drawn comic-style cutscenes to advance the plot. Also, both Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley reprise their roles from the movie. On the downside, it's fairly short, its level design leaves a lot to be desired, doesn't have much variety, and physical copies are pretty expensive.
  • The fantasy film Willow was adapted into an action-RPG by Capcom, which follows the script pretty faithfully, and also has great aesthetics.
    • The arcade version was one of the better examples of a 2D platformer. It shared similarities with another Capcom arcade platformer, Magic Sword.
  • The World War Z film had a mobile First-Person Shooter game tie-in, which is considered quite good, with it being stated that it "removes the hassle" of playing first person shooter games on touchscreens.
  • While not a brilliant game, the video game of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a fun, gory hack-and-slash with well-working gameplay mechanics, plenty of fanservice, and expanded plot points. In fact, much like Ecks vs. Sever] above, the game seems to be more well-received than the movie it's based off of! (As the developers worked on the also-very-well-received X-Men Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, the two most recent titles in the Star Wars Dark Forces Saga and Star Trek: Elite Force (mentioned above), this may not actually be surprising.)
    • Interestingly, it also ends on a cliffhanger/possible sequel hook that is completely unrelated to the film's plot. Here's hoping Raven Software will get to make another one to tie into the film's upcoming sequel.
    • There's also the X-Men Legends series, a very solid Action RPG which gameplay consists of various mutant super power that just beg you to Gotta Catch Them All and spend a long time experimenting each one of them. The possibilities in these games are just endless, not to mention a pretty interesting story.

    Literature 
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the NES tends to get savaged for it's weirdness and having little to do with the novel its based on (Tom Sawyer has a dream while at school), but at the same time, it's a perfectly solid platform game otherwise with good controls and nice challenge. The soundtrack for the game is simplistic and rather catchy.
  • The Living Books series of edutainment games were adaptations of popular picture books, including Arthur, The Berenstain Bears, and Little Critter. They proved to be immensely popular among children of the 90s for their ability to bring familiar books to life in a special way, and a few are still being sold for mobile platforms.
  • Below the Root for the Commodore 64 and Apple ][ is another example of a book-based game done right. It's a very inventive adventure game with a lot of features that were unique for its time but are taken for granted in modern CRPGs, including a choice as to the age, sex, and race of avatar, the NPCs reacting differently to you based on the age and race of your avatar, and certain game mechanics behaving differently based on your avatar. The game was good enough that a lot of people who played it didn't realize it was originally based on a series of books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, incorporating plot points, characters, locations and abilities from the books into a new story that could stand on its own. Even better? It was probably the first licensed game that was considered Canon for the material it was based on.
    • The same publishers came out with a brilliant The Wonderful Wizard of Oz text adventure that incorporated virtually all of the first book, about two-thirds of the second book, and a Shout-Out to the third. Seeing as the book is much less known than the movie, and the later books are even more obscure, they mixed and matched elements to present some clever challenges. Their Alice in Wonderland adaptation (from 1985) also used a highly-primitive version of Dialogue Trees to interact with the Wonderland residents.
  • The Berenstain Bears' Camping Adventure for the Sega Genesis is a surprisingly competent game. When thinking something like The Berenstain Bears, you'd expect something like an Edutainment Game or something, but this is not the case here. Camping Adventure is a well-designed, fun and addictive Platform Game where you choose between Brother and Sister Bear, or both at the same time in 2-Player Co-Op Multiplayer as they explore five unique levels, while everything in the forest wants them dead for some reason.
  • Betrayal at Krondor, a licensed game based on Raymond E. Feist's The Riftwar Cycle, was one of the best DOS-era PC RPGs ever made.
    • In fact, Feist then spun the plot from the game into the Riftwar Legacy trilogy of novels, the first (Krondor: The Betrayal) being a direct novelization of the game (and not surprisingly the weakest part of the trilogy).
  • Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, based on the book series by Spider Robinson. The game's designer, Josh Mandel, drove to Spider's house one day and played the game with him for eight hours, and Spider then wrote a glowing review of the game and praised Mandel's work in the prologue of The Callahan Chronicles.
  • Chaos Legion was a Nintendo Hard hack-n'-slash that received mostly mediocre reviews, but is generally favored by people that like repetitive hack-n'-slashers. It was based off some obscure Japanese novel that nobody really knew about.
    • The The Lord of the Rings Online massively multiplayer game is quite good.
    • Which may in itself be something that averts this and then some. Although Turbine obviously chose their release title to capitalize on the movie trilogy, the original name (Middle-Earth Online) was far more fitting to the scope, if not the detail the game goes into. Very little of the player's experience surrounds the plot of Lord of the Rings, but rather, as much of Tolkien's work as they can possibly get away with - even to the point of using alternate names for places or NPCs they depict, where their licence limitations come into play.
  • The Chronicles of Amber had a sadly-obscure illustrated Interactive Fiction game written for it back in the time before Windows, covering the Corwin Cycle in very Broad Strokes (essentially, it mostly followed the plot of the first two books, with options for weird side-tracks like assassinating Eric before he can blind you, but also had options to go off the track and get involved in the Brand plotline way ahead of schedule). It was actually an amazingly-deep (not to mention Nintendo Hard and cruel) political game that took several replays to figure out exactly who to ally with and how to do so.
  • Legend Entertainment's Death Gate is one of the best adventure games ever made. The story, the voices, the characters... but also the puzzles. Destroying a magical double by casting a mirror image of the "self immolation" spell to trick the double into casting the REAL self immolation spell? A-W-E-S-O-M-E. And with the exception of two or three infuriating Moon Logic Puzzles (and even these were clever) the whole game is awesome like that.
  • Dune II was a so-so adaptation, bearing a passing resemblance to the original novel, but it was an incredibly successful and popular game — verging on Adaptation Displacement for fans unfamiliar with the novel, and it is the progenitor of Command & Conquer and the entire Real-Time Strategy genre. It was pretty advanced for the early 90s, and is still playable today — provided you can find a mod that overcomes the "command each individual unit separately" problem.
  • Legend Entertainment's Gateway and Gateway 2: Homeworld, based on the Heechee Saga, are excellent games.
  • The Great Gatsby's Japanese NES adaption, Doki Doki Toshokan: Gatsby no Monogatari, is a completely bonkers platformer featuring Nick Carraway fighting through hordes of waiters, hobos, dancing girls, ghosts, and the giant eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg with his boomerang hat to get to the American Dream. Players have found it addictive. It can be played online here.
    • It's also entirely fanmade (its existence as an NES game is a hoax). Still a fun game though.
  • The Interactive Fiction The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984) was quite good (though often insultingly difficult), thanks to Douglas Adams's involvement.
  • The Hobbit (1982) is an action adventure and a stealth platformer which is very faithful to the source, gives some Adaptation Expansion, and makes Bilbo an Adaptational Badass.
  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, where Harlan Ellison not only wrote the expanded story, but also provided the voice of AM for the game - and did a surprisingly good job at both!
  • Interplay's 1991 The Lord of the Rings game was quite a nice Ultima-style RPG, managing to make up additions to the game that actually fit the Tolkien world. (Such as shops in and around the Shire that were owned by a "Sharkey", or meeting one of the rangers that Aragorn sets to watch the Shire)
  • The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring while overshadowed by the film adaptation Battle For Middle Earth games was still a decent RTS with gameplay comparable to Warcraft III.
  • Ukrainian game studio 4A Games made Metro 2033, a First-Person Shooter based on the ridiculously popular (in Russia) online novel of the same name. The game itself is actually beyond "decent", crossing over into the "downright good" category. 4A Games also released a sequel, Metro: Last Light, which, while written by the original author himself, has branched off into its own continuity.
  • The Nancy Drew computer games are almost always good, featuring lots of Scenery Porn, good music, complex stories, and a huge variety of interesting characters. Their appeal is really widespread: they're fundamentally kid-friendly, but the challenging puzzles (on multiple difficulties) and occasional scary bits endear them to older gamers, and fans of old-school adventure games in particular. They also have a lot of appeal for young girls and prompt many of them to get interested in gaming. They've won several awards and claim to have outsold Myst (although they also admit that it's basically law of averages; they've released 30 games as of 2014, whereas Myst has less than 10.) Their release schedule is also insanely productive. They've been releasing at least two full games a year since 2001, and best of all, they go for a fraction of the price of most big-time console releases.
  • Interplay made a much-lauded Neuromancer video game in the late 80s. You play as a hacker who may or may not be intended as Case from the first novel. The all-new plot begins with a vague mention of several hackers mysteriously disappearing from cyberspace. The real world segment plays like an adventure game where you talk to people (many lifted right from the books) and gather information and useful items. The real meat of the game is in cyberspace, where you break into databases in RPG-style combat with programs serving as your means of attack and defense. In addition to actually useful stuff, the cyberspace databases contain oodles of flavour text, some lifted from the books and some new world-building, which does a wonderful job in simulating the feeling of breaking in to a place you don't really know and digging through stuff you are not supposed to see.
  • Most people who played Parasite Eve were unaware that it was a sequel to a novel that was also adapted into a Japanese movie.
    • It gets better. It was basically a tech demo for the cutscenes used in Final Fantasy VIII, but it wound up proving itself a very good game, making it the beta for another licensed series.
  • The Rainbow Six games, based on the novel, pioneered the tactical shooter genre itself, and are regarded as classics.
  • None other than Sierra made an awesome adventure game based on Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama series, entitled simply Rama. The game captures the mystique of roaming around an alien world and slowly learning what everything in it does, and about the alien species that are stored in it. Not only does it feature some brutally clever puzzles, involving things like hexadecimal math, but it also is exactly as mean as you'd expect from Sierra. Plus, when you die, none other than Mr. Clarke himself appears to berate you for making such silly mistakes.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series of RPGs, which at this time may have more spin-offs than Mario, can be traced back to the NES game Megami Tensei, based on the Japanese novel Digital Devil Story.
  • Tales of Phantasia was actually based on a novel (Albeit unpublished) called "Tale Phantasia".
  • When Gravity Fails got a game made out of it by Westwood with the title Circuit's Edge. It is a adventure-RPG hybrid with an original story taking place between the first and second books. The main plot progresses by way of a satisfying mystery investigation, and the implanted personality chips from the books work both as a way of providing plain stat boosts and as a puzzle element. (Need to break into a warehouse and bypass the alarms? Plug in a burglar or secret agent chip!) The game doesn't shy away from the setting's numerous risque aspects yet it doesn't feel like gratuitous indulgence either. Among other things this includes prostitution, drugs, and transsexuals everywhere.
  • RIZ-ZOAWD, is a loosely adapted RPG for Nintendo DS, made by Media.Vision Entertainment (best known for the Wild ARMs series), is truly an enjoyable RPG for everybody. And let's not get started on the Awesome Music.
    • Would later be released outside of Japan as The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road.
  • The Witcher (based on novels by Andrzej Sapkowski). Despite numerous bugs in the first version, the game is actually quite good. And after having the bugs fixed and gameplay improved for the enhanced edition, it is very good indeed. Patch 1.5 and the Director's Cut patch just add more to the goodness. Oh Yeah! The Director's Cut and special edition changes being free downloads to owners of the original helped too.
    • The sequels were considered very good as well. The Witcher 2 was praised for its complex political story, branching narrative, and improved combat, and The Witcher 3 introduced the Wide-Open Sandbox to the formula, becoming a mainstream hit that's widely considered one of the best RPGs of The New '10s, to the point of being a case of Adaptation Displacement outside of its native Poland.
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    Live-Action TV 
  • The first console adaptation of American Idol unfortunately played more like Gitaroo Man and did not actually involve singing. Thankfully Konami stepped up to the plate and eventually fixed this with special American Idol versions of Karaoke Revolution.
  • The 2003 Battlestar Galactica game is a very good (if brutally difficult) space combat game with excellent production values.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the Xbox is a surprisingly good little title. Most other games within the franchise range from mediocre to abysmal.
    • Sequel Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds was also well received by fans, it featured the voices of most of the cast, minus SMG who by this point had divorced herself from the series and Alyson Hannigan who was unavailable at the time. It featured excellent gameplay and a good overall story arc since it was scripted by the main show writers and based on a lost episode of the series itself.
  • When Spike TV announced an Xbox Live Arcade game based on their show Deadliest Warrior, everyone expected it to suck. What we got was a fun fighting game that reminded some people of the PS1-era classic Bushido Blade, but with pirates and Spartans.
  • Dexter received an iPhone game based on season one, which had a lot of voice work rom the show's cast, and got an 8/10 on IGN.
  • Doctor Who Legacy has been getting 10/10 scores from hardcore fans and casual gamers alike, and is created by people who are deeply immersed in the fandom themselves. It's got an amazingly well-written plot and the gameplay is about as addictive and solid as can be.
  • The Doctor Who Adventure Games for PC seem to be getting fairly decent reviews. Not bad for a series of freebies.
  • Game Shows: Making the honor roll of home-board game adaptations:
    • Concentration. Besides' Password, perhaps the most faithfully-adapted version of a game show from television to home version. The game played exactly like the game on TV — match two prizes or action cards, or pair them up with a wild card, and reveal two parts of a rebus, which as it is revealed will lead the contestant to identify a person, place, thing, event, common phrase, etc. The only irritation was that, if two players played, the contestant who gave what turned out to be a wrong answer could have the game spoiled for both players if they accidentally revealed too much of the answer with the answer slidenote .
    • Deal or No Deal: The home board game. This was simply a matter of shuffling the cards, laying them on a table, picking the cases as spelled out in the rules (which were like the game show, e.g., six in the first round, five in the second and so on ...), deciding on banker's offers (which the rules stated could be determined at the host's discretion) and so forth.
    • Family Feud: Aside from playing just three rounds in the main game (two single games and a double), and being shown up to six possible answers for all Fast Money questions (all of them scoring at least two points), this was a successful adaptation of the TV game, through its Milton Bradley, Pressman and Endless Games incarnations.
    • Jeopardy!: Excepting for the omission of a dedicated "Final Jeopardy!" question — the game's rules stated that one of the "Double Jeopardy!" questions be used as the "Final ... " question — the Milton Bradley and Pressman home games played exactly like the TV show; only the Parker Brothers game issued in 2000 included dedicated "Final Jeopardy!" questions note . (The game's rules for all versions also stated contestants could never have a negative score, but players could agree to ignore this rule and play just like the TV show ... presumably because of the presence of play money.)
    • Match Game: The 1960s Milton Bradley adaptations only. Timeless questions, and all that are needed are two players (or teams of two players, if there's enough) to play. Questions are timeless, and made even more so by suggestion (of the game's rules) for the host to suggest "an answer other than" a popular response to a given question (e.g., "Name a color of the rainbow other than red").
    • Name That Tune: For its time – late 1950s, when two editions were published – Milton Bradley's adaptation of the guess-the-song game show worked ... but as a Bingo game rather than a straight "guess the song" contest. (Simply put: You were given a Bingo card, marked with the names of 24 songs in five rows (don't forget the free space). You'd then listen to a record, which was included with the game, and if you recognized the song title and saw it on your card, you'd mark it, just like in the parlor game. The first player to get five-in-a-row won.
    • Today, the trope is averted. While many of the songs were timeless – children's, holiday, religious, folk and tradiitonal, patriotic and classical music – just as many songs are now-obscure pop songs from the pre-rock era that rarely if ever have been heard by the target demographic (youths to young adults), making the game outdated and of little interest to anyone but collectors or people in their 80s or older.
      • In 2005, Imagination Games came out with a new DVD board game with all 1980s tunes ... to wit, songs people from teenagers and early 20s to those in their 50s have likely heard recently and putting that edition of NTT back into the "No Problem" category.
    • Password: Simple, easy game to play, with the core objective intact: Make the contestant guess the word using one-word clues in as few tries as possible. Aside from Milton Bradley's suggested rule to play each game to 10 words with high score winning (easily changable depending on taste), everything was identical.
      • Want to play the Lightning Round? Just pick up the "Fine" edition, which was essentially a deluxe version with more game cards and equipment to play the round.
    • The Price Is Right: While Milton Bradley's adaptations were generally faithful, it is the 2000s home game adaptations by Endless Games that earns this game's spot on the list. Developed by fans of the show, the game includes materials and rules to play 45 of the games on the show (the only things missing are a pencil and paper (to write answers and/or guesses) and a stopwatch for the Clock Game), plus a prize booklet listing all the prizes or grocery items, even going so far as to subdivide them by price class. (The games's rulebook lists which class of prizes to use for a specific game.)
    • Pyramid: Applies to the 1980s-onward editions, starting with the 1986 game issued by Cardinal games. Aside from all clues to a given category being visible to the clue-giver at the same time, the game is true to the TV version.
    • Wheel of Fortune: Virtually identical to the TV show. The 1970s Milton Bradley adaptations even went so far as to include prize cards to simulate the shopping experience; the elimination of prizes and non-inclusion of the bonus round for the 1980s-onward Pressman versions do not detract from the game experience.
  • Among Kamen Rider fans, some licensed games in the franchise avoided crappiness, like the SNES beat-em-up of the original series. There's also a fighting game series that includes the first show, V3 and Kuuga to Kabuto: most of these range to So Okay, It's Average to downright bad, but two great exceptions are Kamen Rider V3 on the first PlayStation and the Kamen Rider Kabuto fighter on the PlayStation 2. Kamen Rider Climax Heroes (and by proxy, the game of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight) are decent, but took their time to get decent enough.
  • The Lone Ranger has an excellent NES game, combining top-down, side-scrolling, and first-person gameplay sections and doing a solid job with all three. The challenge rises quite fairly (the first-person sections are quite Nintendo Hard, though), it's a fairly long game for the time, and it has great graphics and music to accompany the gameplay.
  • The 16-bit Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers games all tended to be pretty well made with good graphics, fun beat-em-up gameplay, and catchy original music.
  • Mission: Impossible for the NES is loosely based on the 1988 revival series. A stealth-action hybrid in a bird's eye view, it utilizes multiple characters, each with their own special tools and abilities, that you'll need to navigate its non-linear levels and solve environmental puzzles. It also has some awesome music, including an 8-bit rendition of the iconic theme. Just be forewarned, it brings Nintendo Hard to a whole new level.
  • Muppet Monster Adventure is a well-made game where you play as Kermit's nephew Robin, and you save the Muppets after they have been turned into monsters. It has solid controls, good graphics, and good music. It's also a decent case of Ascended Extra, as Robin was not really that important in the show.
  • The Murder, She Wrote hidden object games are quite good, with well-written stories and excellent voice acting. Finding the typewriter ribbon in each scene gives you an extra hint, which is a cute idea, as is needing to find the vowel keys (including Y) in order to fill in missing letters in the object list. The mini-games are decent if not overly challenging and they do a good job of keeping journal entries in-character. The only real complaint is an occasional bit of pixel-hunting.
  • Out of all things, The Prisoner got a good licensed game, which makes use not only of the setting but also maintains the source material's tendency to mess with the audience's heads. For example the game will give fake error messages, twenty years before Eternal Darkness employed similar methods. There are many apparent escape routes you can pursue, and the real way to win the game is... quite something.
  • Retro Game Challenge is the licensed game based on the Japanese show Game Center CX, which happens to be a show about Retro Gaming. Needless to say, a video game about video games based on a show about video games? How hard could it be to make one? Nintendo Hard apparently.
  • While most Star Trek games fall into the "problem" side, some have been quite good, including:
    • Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and its sequel, a pair of FPSes that received considerable praise.
    • Star Trek: Bridge Commander was quite a fun game. It had an innovative game set-up, original storyline, and had appearances of Picard and Data. Probably turned out so well because it was made by the same guys who gave us X-Wing and TIE Fighter.
    • Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and its sequel Star Trek: Klingon Academy are also fine games focused on starship combat. Both contain FMV cutscenes with some actors from the series, and the latter one is especially notable in that it takes place shortly before the sixth film and helps flesh out the brewing conflict within the Klingon Empire.
    • The Starfleet Command series was a starship sim/real-time tactics simulator that allowed you to wage battle in huge ships, firing broadsides at each other as if it were something out of the age of sail... and once you get past the confusing (yet stylish) HUD, and the steep learning curve, it's a lot of fun. Great soundtrack, too. This one may have benefitted from having its mechanics based on the long established tabletop game Star Fleet Battles.
    • 25th Anniversary and Judgment Rites, two excellent TOS based adventure games with the occasional starship battle (although the one at the end of the first game was nigh impossible to finish); to this day they are still reckoned among the finest of all Star Trek games.
    • Star Trek: Invasion, a PlayStation space combat game that is surprisingly good, featuring a thrilling, self-contained and original story in the Star Trek: TNG saga, a simple yet addictive gameplay mechanic, a somewhat Nintendo Hard difficulty (full-fledged Nintendo Hard if you choose the Lieutenant difficulty), excellent level design with Unexpected Gameplay Change, lush, eye-candy visual and excellent audio quality. The only things you can fault this game is the flawed control and... well, Nintendo Hard.
    • Star Trek Online, the Star Trek MMORPG, has gorgeous graphics, and at least intended to capture some of the feel of the original series. Additionally, the space combat is some of the most playable of any Star Trek game - having been compared favorably to the later Star Trek: Starfleet Command games.
      • Though its main (perhaps only) mistake was not exposing it enough when the MMO market was dominated by World of Warcraft and the upcoming Rift. There was not enough interest generated for it to succeed.
      • After going Free-To-Play, STO has been hailed as one of the best F2P models currently around.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine also got one good game in The Fallen, very loosely based on the Star Trek: Millennium trilogy of novels.
  • The Stranger Things app that appeared on the digital stores came out of nowhere, was made by an unknown company and was free, so everyone was quite wary of it. Those who downloaded it found a charming Zelda-esque top-down action adventure game where you can find and control most of the series' main characters, starting with Hopper. With cute 16-bit graphics, nice puzzles, several nods to both seasons of the franchise and loads of secrets, it's a great homage to the series as well as to old-school gaming in general, which still ties in with the retro-infused feel of Stranger Things. To top it off it's absolutely free with absolutely no microtransactions and the only ads in the game are a Netflix icon on the menu and a couple of trailers for the second season of Stranger Things, one of them is unlockable in-game.
  • 24: The Game is a relatively decent 3rd-person shooter that mixes in little mini-game sections that surprisingly aren't annoying, and even some driving segments, that while admittedly flawed, aren't unplayable (though there are driving missions that see you get chased that could really aggravate some gamers). It even ties in with the series by featuring an original story set between seasons 2 and 3 that, unlike so many other licensed games that feature an original story set within the same universe, is actually canon, features every single cast member from that point in the show reprising their role for the game, and uses the same musical score as the television series.
  • The Ultra Series franchise has more good games than the average Tokusatsu franchise. The Ultraman arcade game and the Ultraseven Super Nintendo game are very faithful adaptations of their series and have a decent pre-Street Fighter II fighting engine. The Ultraman Fighting Evolution series evolved from a Virtua Fighter clone into a lore-expansive Ultraman crossover that has been praised by fans and non-fans alike for their great fighting dynamics and loads of characters from the franchise (Rebirth, however, changed its focus from the original TV shows into its own style to mixed success, although the gameplay keeps the quality) — likewise, the eponymous Ultraman PlayStation 2 game is an almost-perfect TV to game simulation with engaging gameplay.
    • Also, most of the games focused on the human teams, Monster Hunter clone Kaiju Busters, Shoot 'em Up Ultra X Weapons and Super Robot Wars clone Ultra Keibitai - Monster Attack, have recieved good ratings in their homeland.
  • Yes, Minister had Yes, Prime Minister: The Computer Game released in 1987. The core of the gameplay is essentially a choose-your-own-adventure game where you play as Jim Hacker himself through just one week in politics and read through reams of text in policy meetings and choose your responses. Fortunately, the writing is very, very good and matches the series both in humor and commentary on politics. Though the core schedule of the meetings is always the same, there are no clear right or wrong choices and there are sometimes surprising follow-ups to your decisions, which leads to the game having plenty of replay value.

    Music 
  • DanceDanceRevolution actually started off as a game intended to promote Toshiba EMI's Dancemania album series. It has since become one of Konami's most successful and most well-known rhythm games.
  • The first two games in the Def Jam Series of video games are fun. The first game, Vendetta, is a servicable wrestling game, while the sequel, Fight for NY, is an brutal and fun brawling fighter with Character Customization. Sadly, the third game, Icon, is considered to be rather mediocre.
  • 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is the Surprisingly Improved Sequel, emphasis on "surprisingly", of 50 Cent: Bulletproof. It's a Third-Person Shooter with a fast pace, friendly learning curve, and a good variety of enemies that sophisticate the gameplay. Combined with a storyline that's So Bad, It's Good in all the right waysnote , bugs and continuity mistakes that are fun to laugh at but largely don't hamper the game, and, naturally, music and voice acting provided by 50 Cent and G-Unit, there's quite a bit to like with this one.
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood had a computer game loosely themed around the band's first album Welcome to the Pleasuredome, and especially the Commodore 64 version is considered one of the best games on the system of all time. The game itself is... abstract, to put it loosely: You play as the silhouette of a person from the band's logo, and your stated goal is to become a real person and then find and enter the Pleasuredome. This is accomplished by wandering around residential Liverpool, solving puzzles and playing minigames based on specific songs.
  • Guitar Hero had two titles focused on one band, Aerosmith and Metallica that worked really well, with the musicians providing close collaboration in motion capture, likenesses, and at times even re-recording tracks and bringing in guests (Run–D.M.C. for Aerosmith, Lemmy and King Diamond for Metallica), the songs by other musicians were chosen by the bands, and there were even band-specific gameplay aspects - Aerosmith chronicled the band's career, Metallica had a special mode to add an extra bass drum and emulate Lars Ulrich's kit closer.
  • Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA is a rhythm game series based on Vocaloid, and it's a pretty great game with fun gameplay and good music, even enjoyed by some rhythm game fans who aren't already Vocaloid fans.
  • Michael Jackson's Moonwalker for Genesis; with surprisingly good digitization of Michael's songs for the era and an appropriately surreal plot it managed to pull off the license very well, and even appeared on one of GameSpot's "greatest games of all time" lists. Unfortunately, it's a bit too easy, so you won't take very long to beat it. The arcade version was pretty good, too.
  • While the home ports of Revolution X are notoriously awful, the original arcade version is a blast to play, especially in multiplayer.
  • Similar to Guitar Hero, Rock Band went all-in in two band-specific games. The Beatles was packaged with instruments based on the Fab Four ones, and the game itself had detailed recreations of the band history and tracks remixed by George Martin's son. Green Day had three of the band's albums in full, recreated the band members and some venues related to them, and worked in their tendency for songs played in succession. Both games also give a focus on vocal harmonies.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • While not a great game, Garfield: Caught in the Act for the Sega Genesis is a solid platformer, with good graphics, control, and music. The premise is interesting - Garfield is Trapped in TV Land and is forced to make his way through parodies of movie genres, similarly to the Garfield and Friends episode "The Lasagna Zone", as well as The Garfield Show episode "Virtualodeon" (though the way Garfield enters TV land is different than both episodes). The only problems are an extremely hard first boss and a Game-Breaking Bug that causes the third boss to walk off-screen and not come back.
  • Snoopy vs. the Red Baron proved to be a competent enough flight sim with respectable use of the Peanuts license. Its sequel, Snoopy Flying Ace, went on to be praised for having exceptional multiplayer and was even labeled "the best dogfighting game of this console generation" in its IGN review.
  • The Popeye arcade game was one of the few licensed games made by Nintendo, and it even had work from Shigeru Miyamoto himself. The game features Popeye, Bluto (called Brutus here), Olive, Wimpy, and the Sea Hag. While not a great game, it does have good graphics, characters from the comics, a decent 8-bit rendition of the Popeye theme, and fluid controls.
  • The Smurfs received great reviews from players, who viewed it as a very fun game.
    • Another decent Smurfs game is Mission Vileaf, a Super Mario Sunshine-esque platformer with good controls and a pleasant soundtrack. If it has any weaknesses, they're that it's fairly short with the main campaign clocking in around 8 hours, and there isn't much variety to the levels or enemies, but other than that, it's a good romp for fans and non-fans of the franchise alike.

    Pinball 
  • Congo is a textbook example of a great game hobbled by a poor license. The movie was a Box Office Bomb and the pinball was Williams Electronics' worst-selling game of the year, but it is seen as an Acclaimed Flop by most players and frequently pops up on "Top 50 Pins of All Time" lists.
  • Video games emulating arcade pinball machines haven't traditionally done well in the past, due to limitations in computing power. This is no longer an issue due to more powerful hardware, and games like The Pinball Arcade and Zaccaria Pinball offer arcade-perfect emulation of the original tables.
  • Two of the most noteworthy titles in all of pinball are The Twilight Zone, currently the top-rated game by pinball enthusiasts on the Internet Pinball Database, and The Addams Family, the current record holder for highest selling modern pinball game (clocking in at just over 20,000 units sold, which is astronomical in the pinball industry) and an undisputed classic.
  • Pinball machines tend to avoid The Problem with Licensed Games trope, especially with most machines in recent times being all licensed properties. Of course, the economics of pinball are completely different than that of most home video games — instead of selling many copies of software for $50, the pinball manufacturers are selling $6,000 machines to movie theaters, arcades and other public venues that are trying to sell casual plays for a few quarters, so it's perhaps not that surprising that licenses do well. In addition, the development cycle of a pinball machine (at 6 to 12 months) is much shorter than that of a video game, which allows pinball developers to avoid the issue of advance knowledge that's subject to change.
    • Due to Story and Gameplay Segregation, it is possible for a terrific pinball layout to be attached to a horrible theme, or vice-versa; "great games with bad themes" is a recurring topic on pinball forums. Even so, the best Licensed Pinball Tables are those where the theme and the game compliment each other with attractive graphics, appropriate voice call-outs, and creative uses of the property.
    • Of course, this doesn't mean pinball games are completely immune to The Problem with Licensed Games, but that's a separate page...
    • The most recent commercially produced pinball machine from a major manufacturer without a license in mind was Jersey Jack's Dialed In! from 2017. The last one prior to that? High Roller Casino, released back in 2001 (for those too lazy to do the math, that's sixteen years between major non-licensed releases). To be fair, this does not consider games from smaller "boutique" manufacturers, such as Pinball Manufacturing's Big Bang Bar (2006), WhizBang's Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons (2011), or Spooky Pinball's America's Most Haunted (2014).

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Wrestling Games based on WWE tend to be very well done, and are the major driving force behind the genre. Of course, in North America at least, they tend to make up about 90% of the genre, so if they didn't drive it, nobody would.
    • This wasn't true in the NES days, though. Almost every WWF game released for the console was horrible, and the games weren't widely considered halfway decent until the SNES. The first unquestionably good WWF game wasn't until WWF WrestleMania 2000 on the Nintendo 64.
      • To sum it up, WWE games were pretty mediocre until THQ got a hold of the license, with arguably the best ever Wrestling game coming in their 2003 release Here Comes The Pain. It combined the best mechanics to yet exist with an incredibly in depth & impressive roster that took advantage of the still recent acquisition of WCW talent by the WWF.
    • You know those commercials which are meant to promote the video game consoles themselves and almost always show off first-party games (Such as a Wii commercial with Metroid Prime and Super Mario Galaxy footage)? N64 ones used footage from THQ's WCW games.

    Sports 
  • Daytona USA uses the license of the Daytona International Speedway Corporation (now just International Speedway Corporation), and its realistic physics, high challenge ceiling, and amazing visuals for 1993 help make it widely regarded as one of the greatest stock car racing games, if not one of the best racing games period, and is by far SEGA's most successful arcade game. There's also SCUD Race (known as Sega Super GT in North America), which is basically Daytona USA with expensive supercars.
  • Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City had bite-size Metroidvania levels before Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia ever did, and just as well.
  • Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! is fondly remembered as an NES classic. However, it's also something of a subversion in that the Punch-Out!! franchise was already established in the arcades, and Mike Tyson was added for the NES game as the final opponent. The game was later reissued without Tyson's name on it (because his contract with Nintendo had expired, not because of his later crimes) and he was replaced as the final opponent by Mr. Dream.
  • Most video games based on the Olympic Games are unremarkable at best, until Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, despite the Critical Dissonance.
  • The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series has been extremely successful, long outlasting the late 90s/early 2000s skateboard fad which the first game was released to capitalise on. The series attracted many people who weren't into skateboarding themselves. The series is known for huge levels, high speeds, insane combos and air, adventures, fetch quests and humor, as well as having great and varied urban soundtracks. The game was a killer app for the PS1 and PS2 hardware, in particular, due to the large 3D environments. The second game is remembered as the magnum opus of the series, while games after (or at least those that replaced "Pro Skater" with another subtitle) were seen as increasingly lazy attempts to milk the franchise dry.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Nearly any game based on a FASA license fits here (though it must be admitted we are going from one type of game to another, so the mechanics are similar). BattleTech spawned numerous games, the vast majority of which were top-tier titles. Shadowrun had a very well-received top-down sandbox shooter before DMA Design/Rockstar North popularized it on the Sega Genesis, and a decent one on the SNES. The PC Crimson Skies game was well received by gamers and critics, and though the Xbox sequel is generally considered inferior to the original, it's certainly not a bad game by any means. Even the lesser known licenses often did well when converted to video games; Renegade Legion was turned into an excellent adaptation of the board game, as well as a later space sim that unfortunately was released right alongside Wing Commander 3 and so never got the attention it deserved. The sole exception to this would likely be the Xbox 360 Shadowrun game, and even that, at worst, would be somewhere in the middle (as long as you're not too worried about faithfulness to the source material). Justified in that FASA didn't have the license to Shadowrun at the time.
    • All four MechWarrior games are considered classics. Well, maybe not the first one.
    • Unfortunately, FASA themselves eventually went under. Luckily enough, a new company was formed that acquired the old FASA properties, including Crimson Skies, Shadowrun and MechWarrior.
      • A company founded by one Jordan Weisman, the founder of FASA. Circles are fun...
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War was considered a generally fun Real-Time Strategy game and was well received by the gaming press. The sequel looks to be pretty good as well.
    • Dawn of War has gained a reputation for enhancing the sales of Warhammer 40,000 products because it was that much fun. Dark Crusade seems to have had the strongest impact. Relic is making Space Marine as well.
    • The Soul Storm expansion plays this straight, its loathed for its bugginess, unbalanced units and the loading time for the campaign screen has to be endured to be believed.
      • It's so bad the developers of the previous Dawn of War titles resorted to Lampshade Hanging via a character in Dawn of War 2.
    • Many people will be more familiar with the Dawn of War series of games moreso than 40k, to the point that some people will claim that the actual table top game is the licensed one.
    • Let it not be said that DoW was the first sucessful digital rendition of the Warhammer universe(s). Long before it were the dilogy of Real Time Tactics "Shadow of the Horned Rat" and "Dark Omen" for the "Fantasy Battle" setting, and turn-based "Chaos Gate" and "Final Liberation" for the 40K.
    • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine was a fun hack & slash third person game that managed to keep faithful to the atmosphere of the license without being a buggy mess.
  • Video game companies have mostly been kind to Dungeons & Dragons and its various settings (though like the FASA example above, it's going from game to game) — from the Gold Box SSI computer games, to more modern games like Neverwinter Nights and Planescape: Torment, even to Capcom's four-player arcade Beat Em Ups with RPG Elements, Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara.
  • Heavy Gear was originally a tabletop game, much like FASA's BattleTech mentioned above. Activision, after losing the MechWarrior license, got the license for Heavy Gear, then proceeded to make an immensely satisfying mech-sim game out of it. Building on the original Mechwarrior 2 engine and their experience with making 3 games for it, they managed to add in a wide array of customization, very fluid controls, and fast, frantic gameplay (aside from the usual problems of traveling from fight to fight that tends to plague mech-sims). It had both an engrossing campaign mode with FMV cutscenes as well as a create-a-pilot mode for both the Northern and Southern armies. It received a sequel with another strong, tightly contained story story, an even more advanced engine, and even more weapons and Gears to pilot and blow up. It also offered a very flexible free-play mode available from the word go. Heavy Gear 2 had extremely dramatic visuals, great sound work, and finally proved that video game mech-sims could handle melee combat just fine by allowing players to equip axes, swords, or just go in with fists swinging if they wanted.
  • Acclaim made an excellent arcade game based on Magic: The Gathering called Magic The Gathering: Armageddon. It functioned a bit like a mix of a fighting game and real-time tactics, and was innovative and fun to play. Unfortunately, it's also a bad case of Keep Circulating the Tapes, as Acclaim closed down its arcade division just as the game was finished, meaning only a handful of cabinets were made and no console port to boot.
  • Despite Uno Skip Bo Uno Freefall being an Uno game, and despite being from the notoriously bad Black Lantern Studios, the game is actually quite solid for what is basically an Uno compilation game.
  • Magi-Nation was an RPG based off of the card game of the same name. Despite being Nintendo Hard, it was still highly playable.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, based on the Old World of Darkness, was critically lauded and was incredibly faithful to its source material... It was also, unfortunately, buggy as all heck. Reviews would spend a full page detailing the bugs and how unpleasant they were.. but end with "But forget everything I just said and buy this game."
    • And the sheer array of patches made available since (some of which merely fix the bugs and some of which also reincorporate Dummied Out content) make even this argument moot.
  • King of Dragon Pass and its prequel/spiritual successor Six Ages, both based on Glorantha, are both very well regarded. King of Dragon Pass in particular got a lot of fans into the setting.

    Toys 
  • The Choro Q pullback toys gained their own high-quality video game franchise in the late nineties. At least their Wide-Open Sandbox Wacky Racing entries and the pre-World of Tanks Vehicular Combat games have been universally praised.
  • Trivial Pursuit: Unhinged for PC features a good variety of questions with celebrity voiceovers (Bill Nye for science, Whoopi Goldberg for entertainment, and John Cleese for history, among others), traditional and "unhinged" gameplay modes, and the ability to let as few as one or as many as six play without having to connect to the internet. The questions never repeat and the gameplay works the same way as the standard board game, making it even better.
  • While Digimon did start out as a Virtual Pet Spear Counterpart of the Tamagotchi, it still technically counts for the various Digimon games. While the quality can vary and the Pokémon games are usually better, the Digimon games are usually enjoyable titles, which vary from RPGs (of various types), to fighting games (mostly Super Smash Bros. clones), a GBA racer, and a couple of MMORPGs, and even tactical RPGs. Unfortunately, a good number of these games were released on the Bandai Wonderswan and thus suffer from No Export for You, especially the ones starring Ryo Akiyama, which resulted in some confusion when he turned up in Digimon Tamers and joined the main cast.
  • The DOG Island, based on The DOG line of stationary and toys, is a laid-back, charming little game that's like what you would get if you combined a simple point-and-click adventure game with Animal Crossing. You can choose from over 48 different dog breeds with tons of coat colorations as you go on a quest for save your sick sibling. You solve simple puzzles by exploring the world and hunting out useful items by sniffing and learning smells. But you can also go hunting fruits, veggies, and flowers, go fishing or bug-hunting, collect clothing and accessories, and follow a story that's actually pretty good and which has decent gravitas for something aimed at kids. Plus, the soundtrack is really laid-back and catchy.
  • The Hot Wheels racing game was pretty fun, despite the track being slightly wider than your car a lot of the time.
    • Hot Wheels Unleashed received a well-deserved (and possibly slightly low-balling) 76 on Metacritic and is widely regarded as the best licensed Hot Wheels game ever made, for very good reason. It is an extremely frantic arcade racing game reminiscent of classics like Re-Volt and Ridge Racer, together with great graphics and physics that capture the miniature look of Hot Wheels vehicles very well. The tracks are also insane and feel just like all the Hot Wheels tracks we imagined to build as children, and it features an incredibly powerful Level Editor which lets you create your own tracks from scratch. In a nutshell, it's basically the videogame version of how we imagined Hot Wheels cars as children, and it's also a very solid arcade racer even if you are not a Hot Wheels fan.
  • The Lego Adaptation GamesLEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Batman, etc. — despite being double-licenses, are quite fun and are well received by critics. This is in part because they don't take their universes seriously at all. In fact, the games probably wouldn't work if they happened in an original universe. If you could attribute a problem to them, it would only be that Capcom Sequel Stagnation is beginning to set in; nothing connected to this trope at all.
    • There are also LEGO games made before these, which are also well-liked by the people who played them. Among the most well-known are LEGO Racers, LEGO Island, and Rock Raiders. There is a side effect to the people who loved these, however; if you loved them, chances are you hate the licensed ones mentioned above, as many complain they are too similar to each other, so they get excited whenever a non-licensed one is announced.
    • BIONICLE: Maze of Shadows, based on the popular novel of the same name, was fairly decent for a dungeon crawler game. BIONICLE Heroes for the DS and GBA systems fared much better than their console counterpart, the former being similar to Metroid Prime Hunters.
      • And even though it was never actually sold, the very first game made for BIONICLE, Templar Studios' Mata Nui Online Game, a first-person point-and-click adventure game, is often considered by fans as one of the best, if not the best, BIONICLE games ever.
  • Micro Machines and its sequels took the popular toy cars, boats and planes and turned them into a top-down racer with obstacles like cereal boxes and rubber ducks. Utter genius.
  • Transformers:
    • While the other Transformers games were the predictable trash mentioned in the other page, the PS2 game by Melbourne House, based on Transformers Armada, is widely considered the best Transformers game ever by both fans and critics (or at least, it was). Impressive graphics, decent controls, expansive stages, enemies that were pretty damn smart, and nice extras.
    • To a lesser extent, the multiplayer portion of the Revenge of the Fallen game. While the single-player campaign falls into the predictable trash, the multiplayer will keep you entertained for a while especially.
    • Unless you're a GameSpot reviewer working on the Four Point Scale, Transformers: War for Cybertron is a solid third-person shooter that gives a good back story for the franchise and has a fun, customizable, class-based multiplayer mode.
    • Unsurprisingly, the same developer has been handed the tie-in of Dark of the Moon. Reviews are fairly positive, although it is definitely inferior to Transformers: War for Cybertron it's still a solid game.
    • WFC's sequel, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, is even better. Some have called it the Arkham City of Transformers. It has more iconic characters, a much more involved plot (for example, you kill Megatron in the third level, then later, as Soundwave, get to bring him back to life, then play as HIM, so you can kick Starscream's ass after he takes over the Decepticons), several forays into stealth and brawling sections, lots of mythology gags, a fairly deep upgrade system, and a final level that can most accurately be described as "EVERYONE FIGHTS EVERYONE ELSE!"
    • The DS games based on the first movie are considered pretty decent as well. Good graphics, large levels, tons of vehicles to use, and a decent leveling system. While they aren't perfect (they do suffer from a few too many Escort Missions), they are considered pretty decent and can be gotten dirt cheap.
    • Transformers: Prime: The Game (Wii, 3DS, Wii U) also surprised a lot of fans and critics by being a competent brawler that excellently integrated both driving and shooting mechanics into the core gameplay. It also notably featured heavy involvement from show staff, with a new story from the writers, new voice acting from the series's actors and music by Brian Tyler.
    • Angry Birds Transformers manages to combine both universes in a pretty interesting way, and it doesn't attempt to make itself a Freemium game like some of the other Angry Birds games.
    • Transformers: Devastation is an excellent hack-and-slash game, and likely the second-best game in the franchise behind Fall of Cybertron, though considering that the game's developers also made Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and NieR: Automata, this shouldn't really be surprising. What IS surprising is how well it manages to recapture the spirit of the original cartoon, with most of the original voice actors to boot.
    • Kettou Beast Wars is a fun Game Boy Color fighting game that successfully incorporates the animal transformation gimmick of Beast Wars (technically Beast Wars II) into the gameplay. The engine is a polished version of the one that Takara used for the Game Boy ports of the SNK fighting games.

    Video Games 
  • In 2011, a board game based on the extremely popular Gears of War video game series was released. Despite every expectation about what appeared to be a crappy tie-in to a pop culture phenomenon, the game turned out to be quite good. It was good enough to earn itself a rating of 7.58 on BoardGameGeek and land itself the title of the 208th best board game of all time, even beating out chess.
  • Monopoly Gamer is more than just a Super Mario Bros.-themed Monopoly reskin, but rather, a new way to play the classic board game. New rules, inspired by Mario, help to speed up the game by placing an emphasis on earning points by collecting coins, claiming property, and defeating bosses (yes, this is a board game with boss battles). The introduction of bosses also addresses one of the most common criticisms with Monopoly: the game doesn't end when all other players run out of money (which could take forever), but rather, once the Final Boss Bowser is defeated. Money is also not the main determining factor in winning, but rather, points earned from coins collected, bosses defeated, and property collected are tallied.
  • XCOM: The Board Game, based on the 2012 reboot, is considered a great cooperative game that keeps the on-the-fly decision making the series is known for. It is also noteworthy for being one of the first tabletop games to utilise an app to dictate the flow of the game.

    Web Animation 
  • Complaints about Freemium games aside, probably the only Happy Tree Friends game worth belonging here is the iOS-exclusive Happy Tree Friends: Deadeye Derby, an online one-on-one First-Person Shooter game based on of the show's episodes, "Camp Pokeneyeout". It makes use of the smartphone's features quite well (gyroscope and touch screen) and has fun gameplay, either against other players or bosses. Aside from gameplay, if you're a collector, you can win/earn actual HTF merchandise from this game (obviously, it needs to be shipped). It also has one feature rarely implemented on other games of this type: You can also gain premium currency by exchanging the regular currency with the former!
  • Homestar Runner did a weird twist on this. On the website, there is a game based on the Show Within a Show Stinkoman 20X6. It actually manages to be a pretty decent (and also very evil) platformer (although the creators refused to update with Level 10 until a Twitter announcement stated that, after a 12 year hiatus, Level 10 would finally be made ).
  • Llamas With Hats: Cruise Catastrophe, based on the web show Llamas with Hats, is a charming little app game where you play as Carl knocking people off the cruise ship to their deaths. Not a great game, but fans of the webshow enjoyed it. It has fluid controls and good visuals.
  • RWBY: Amity Arena has been the best-received game based on RWBY, transplanting the series' wide and varied cast into viable fighters in an intense Player Versus Player Tower Defense game (along with a serviceable Hack and Slash single-player) with lots of Fanservice, that in spite of balance issues and the usual problems of an Allegedly Free Game, was very user-friendly, allowing the players to play without restrictions even if they don't have keys, having a "For Fun" option to play without any risk of losing rank, and limiting advertisement to bonus content instead of including them in an intrusive way. The players were sad when the game was announced to be shutting down 2 years after release, and even other parts of the fanbase said they'd miss the good artwork and lore the game provided.

    Webcomics 
  • Beeserker has had several licensed games made out of it. They're all made at least in part by the creator himself, and all rock.
  • The episodic Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness
    • The first two by Hothead Games (and now being continued by Zeboyd Games), have been surprisingly well-received by critics and fans alike, as they retains the art style and much of the humor from the webcomic that they're based on.
    • The two games following it are by a different developer and take a completely different approach much more like Final Fantasy. It's a jarring departure, taking out the action-based component of the gameplay, and subbing the 3D graphics for a pixelated "12-bit"note  style, but makes up for that with a sophisticated attack system that gives the player a lot of tough choices to make, and snappy menus, and maintains the high writing standards of the earlier games, naturally.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 

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