Licensed properties have an enormous legacy in the world of gaming, both for good and for bad. Some, like E.T The Extra-Terrestrial, contributed directly to the industry’s low points and crash. Others, like those included on this list, have raised the bar to a new level, sometimes in terms of accurate representations, other times in more abstract interpretations.
In no particular order, let’s get started.
Back on the Nintendo 64, GoldenEye was a revelation. Hilariously ugly by today’s standards, at the time it stood as a Rare achievement. This was an amazing analogue-stick-controlled FPS game on consoles that came bundled with fantastic 4-player competitive modes.
Even more impressive, GoldenEye still stands as one of the most popular speedrun games ever, owing to its clever level structure and mission system.
In short, GoldenEye isn’t just a fantastic licensed game, it is a fantastic game full-stop, and one of the most influential of all time.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman has had dozens of video games based on the property, but none made as much of an impact as Arkham Asylum and its sequels. Taking a grittier approach to the Batman formula, this Batman game operated as a sort of 3D metroidvania. Throughout the game, players gained new gear, new skills, and became able to venture to areas previously locked.
It also pioneered the free-flow combat system, an industry-shifting style of counter and dodging combat adopted into many, including Marvel’s recent Spider-Man game. Never has a game made you feel as much like a comic book her as this series did, and we’re sorry to hear it go.
There are rumours, however, that the developer Rocksteady is working on a Superman game. While these are just hearsay, we have every confidence their effort will surpass that of Superman 64, though admittedly that is a very low bar.
Deal or No Deal
This was a tricky choice, because there are surprisingly large quantities of choices available today for gameshow enthusiasts. Other classics here include You Don’t Know Jack and Trivia Machine.
So what makes the Deal or No Deal game edge out the competition? The answer is that, in the case of Paddy Power’s licensed title, this is one of the rare examples where players can take home real money. Sure, beating your friends is also great, but we’ll take the chance of a fatter wallet any day of the week.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Far from the contentious new series, the original Star Wars Battlefront games are widely regarded as classics. When considering what might be the best direction to take a Star Wars game in, perhaps the most obvious answer is do something with wars, with the possible inclusion of stars.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 was the sci-fi answer to Battlefield’s more grounded setting. Included within this game were 33 maps with 64 players a match, space battles, and a huge variety of vehicles and classes.
Unfortunately, now EA has the license, so don’t expect us to return to this former height of the series anytime soon. At least we have the single player Star War Jedi: Fallen Order to look forward to later this year.
So what are your favourite licensed games, and which properties do you think have failed to live up to their potential as video game adaptions?