2, Issue 14
February 8, 2000
the Mouth of Madness:
the history of licensed games, there have been only a few games
that were anything but terrible. Games based on licensed properties
more often than not tend to be rushed to meet a movie/TV show/comic
book’s release date, and the end result is a steaming pile of
are a number of licensed titles in development, and several of
them actually look decent. And recently there have been a few
good licensed games as well (Wheel of Time and Aliens
vs. Predator spring to mind as two good examples). There’s
even a couple of Star Trek titles in development that might not
suck (an ongoing curse for the license).
there’s the titles out there that haven’t been licensed
yet (or announced, anyway). I’ve come up with a list of properties
that I think are just screaming for a decent game to come
along and license them. For each game listed, I’ve noted the type
of game, because as Dune 2 proved, a license can work in
one genre (in this case, a real-time strategy game) but fail miserably
in another (the original Dune game was a lousy adventure
let’s get to it, shall we?
The Animated Series: first person shooter.
would have thought this would work, until I played Thief: The
Dark Project. Picture this – a game, played from a first-person
perspective, that has you sneaking around in the dark, using your
arsenal of bat-utilities instead of fighting. If done right, a
good mixture of action and role-playing could be included. Unfortunately,
this would have to be the animated series Batman, since the current
movie incarnation is such a joke (and DC would never let a Batman
game be made directly off the comic books – they’re not mainstream
enough and would confuse their audience).
of the Living Dead/Dawn of the Dead: survival horror.
is sort of a given, really. The Resident Evil games are
all closely related to these movies, but they stray from them
by adding non-zombie creatures and ridiculous plots. A true adaptation
of either of these films would work really well – especially the
first one, if it were in black and white. There wouldn’t need
to be an excess of puzzles, just a simple “stay alive” mission,
where you have to keep yourself and the people with you alive
for as long as possible by using what’s at your disposal.
K. Dick’s VALIS: text adventure.
so maybe it’s 20 years too late for this one, but I’m convinced
that VALIS, by Philip K. Dick would make a great text adventure
game. Here’s the idea – it’s a game where you play a schizophrenic,
but you don’t know that when the game starts. You think
everything’s just fine and dandy. But as you go around, things
start to fall apart…and you eventually have to figure out what
all of it means (I won’t ruin plot points for those of you that
haven’t read the book). There are a number of great Infocom games
that work in similar ways, like Suspended and A Mind
Forever Voyaging (both highly recommended) but neither of
them goes as far as a game based on VALIS would.
Matheson’s I Am Legend: third person action.
book was simply made for the action genre. Here’s the concept:
a virus has turned the entire world’s population into vampires
– except for one guy. You play that one person, and try and stay
alive, while desperately searching for a cure. Memorable sequences
include driving down the road shooting at vampires with your shotgun,
and of course, looking out the window to see them mercilously
taunting you. Then there’s the whole society of mutants…boy, this
is some good stuff here, people. There may be a chance that this
will get made…a new film adaptation (The Charlton Heston flick
The Omega Man was loosely based on it) is currently in
development hell, but at one point Schwartzenegger and Ridley
Scott were going to team up on it. If the movie ever gets made,
they may want a game tie-in to go along with it.
Troopers: first person shooter.
I know, you can definitely argue that this game was already made,
and it’s called Doom. But hey…there’s no reason someone
can’t make a great game out of it. There was a game in
development, a third-person action game, and GameStorm has a lame
online version, but neither of those gave the license what it
really needed – kick ass action, and nothing but. From what I’ve
seen of KISS: Psycho Circus, Third Law seems to understand
how to do this right. After they’ve proved themselves with that
license, if you ask me, they should pursue this one.