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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.
person action game.
is one of those licenses that baffles me. Why hasn’t anyone undertaken
this one? Anime and video games are Japan’s two largest forms
of entertainment, and yet one of the best anime movies has never
been adapted. Ghost in the Shell, while not too related
to the movie, was a pretty good game, I have to admit…and it only
made me wish someone would get off their butts and make an Akira
game. Can you imagine what a great Playstation 2 game this would
make? The motorcycle scenes alone would make for a great game.
Once the giant guns get pulled out…well, you’ve got great fodder
The Vampire Slayer: third person action.
another baffling one. I would have expected a cheesy shovelware
game by now, but even that hasn’t happened. Hey Warner Brothers
- give someone the Unreal Tournament engine, a decent sized budget,
and let them go nuts. If the game were playable from a number
of characters (Buffy, Angel, possibly Willow?) it would be tons
of the Rings: real-time strategy.
a tough time thinking of game that would make for a decent real-time
strategy game, since that’s a tough nut to crack. Dune 2,
I’m convinced, was total luck. Who knew how well that was going
to work? Lord of the Rings, on the other hand, just screams
for a strategy game. You’ve got a detailed layout of the land,
a great (and large) cast of characters, and hey! There’s even
a new movie coming out. It’s definitely tough to make a strategy
game based on a license (look at Braveheart as an example
of how not to do it) but Dune 2 proved it can be done.
Let’s see something done right here, people.
& Cheese: third person action.
so maybe this doesn’t need to be a full-fledged game or
anything, but I sure would love to see someone try. If you’ve
never read the comic, here’s the concept – there are two characters,
a milk carton, and a wedge of cheese, that go around beating the
crap out of everything in sight, and generally terrorizing the
populace of the tri-state area. Sound like a great idea for a
game to you? Well, it’s better than Grand Theft Auto or
Postal, and those games got made, didn’t they? Frankly,
I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that this will ever happen,
but I’d settle for a mod that lets me take on the body of one
of them and run through a supermarket with an axe. But hey…that’s
Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: third person
in the Infocom days, Douglas Adams made a couple of : The Hitchhiker’s
Guide to the Galaxy (in my opinion the single best game ever
made) and Bureaucracy. His return to gaming, Starship
Titanic wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t particularly
good, either. Work has begun on a new game in the Hitchhiker’s
Guide universe, and while I think that could very well be
fantastic, I can’t help but think that Adams’ other series
could very well be better suited to adaptation. With Dirk, you
get a bumbling film-noir hero, plus a wild plot that includes
the extermination of the human race. What more could a game ask
there you have it. Ten games, that if you ask me, need to be made.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if a couple of them are announced
at this year’s E3…but some of them (Milk & Cheese,
for one) I don’t ever expect to see. But boy, it sure would be
Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is the editor-in-chief here
at loonygames. He is fully licensed for this position.
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