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Some video games have fantastic storylines with incredible plot twists and shockers, but there are several that are happy to be based on written stories that have come before them. From epics to books to comics, these are the 8 most brilliant video games inspired by literature.
Monster-hunter? Check. Mysterious past? Check. Lots of hack-and-slash action? Check. Role-playing elements? Check. There is every reason to love The Witcher series of games, and it’s only enhanced when you find out that there’s a whole book you can dive into to know more about Geralt of Rivia, the monster-hunting mercenary with superpowers. There has been a sequel, with another on the way, but man, the original still holds up well. And it’s among some incredible games you can buy for under $10, so get on that now!
American McGee’s Alice
The classic Alice In Wonderland was reimagined by Quake and Doom veteran American McGee into one of the craziest, horrifying and brilliant games of 2000. The graphics won’t hold up any more, but here’s the plot: Alice had to be institutionalized and now, as a teenager, she’s thrust into the world of Wonderland where she meets the characters we’re all familiar with. Except in here, everyone has a darker, twisted image, like the riddle-toting Cheshire Cat or the Mad Hatter who really puts the “mad” into his name. As far as reinterpretations go, this is my favourite of a children’s classic.
Originally a post-apocalyptic novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro 2033 is the kind of first-person shooter that makes you glad you play video games. In post-nuclear Russia, people have taken to living underground in the metros and Artyom is the first to be born in the metro. At 20 years of age, he sets off on an epic quest, dodging creatures mutated by the radiation above and armies hell-bent on stopping him. And be warned, this game has a bunch of frightening moments that will get you!
A comic book favourite brought to virtual life, The Darkness was a pretty accurate adaptation of the graphic novels it was inspired by. The game has a cool plot where the protagonist goes back and forth between the living and the dead, augmented by a supernatural being known only as The Darkness that gives him superpowers come nightfall. There’s plenty of bad guys and monsters to kill with a wide variety of weapons, so you’ll be sufficiently entertained here.
Back in 1965, Frank Herbert wrote a fantastic novel called Dune, which would go on to become the world’s best-selling science fiction novel. In 1984, David Lynch (yup, that David Lynch of Mulholland Drive and The Elephant Man) turned it into a movie, but that flopped. In 1992, it was turned into a game that was a massive hit. It’s quite unplayable now, but back then, it was one of the best strategy games around.
The Harry Potter Series
If you love the adventures of Harry Potter and his friends in the textual world imagined by J. K. Rowling or the film adaptations, then there’s a good chance you’ll have fun playing the video games. Each book gets its own game, and there’s plenty of puzzle-solving and action throughout, including the odd game of Quidditch thrown in for good measure. I’d venture these are more inspired by the movies than the books (especially given that the characters are modeled after the actors), but hey, the movies were pretty spot-on with the books in the first place.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
Tom Clancy is perhaps the best-known novelist to actually make it big as a video game writer. Rainbow Six is a counter-terrorist unit comprising the best soldiers from around the world, but their existence is a secret to most people. Only the top brass in the various countries are aware of their presence and the covert operations they carry out. The novel is far more intense and focuses on the lead character of John Clark, and the video game tries to recreate it as faithfully as it can — helped by having Clancy on board in the writing process. The novel is undoubtedly more detailed, but the game was path-breaking in its own way by refining with the genre of tactical shooters.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
The absolute best video game to be inspired by a book, comic or otherwise, has to be Batman: Arkham Asylum. This wasn’t the caped crusader’s first pixellated adventure, but it was by far the greatest. Helped by the fact that regular Batman writer Paul Dini scripted the plot, the game had all the right thrills and chills as Batman seeks to recapture Arkham Asylum from The Joker and several other villains. It faithfully captured The Dark Knight from the comics, as well as other characters. Apart from PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, it’s also one of the best action games on Mac.
Your Top 8
There are several others that didn’t make it to this list, like the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game or the upcoming Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy game. Everyone has their own opinion and we want to know yours — what would your top 8 list be?
Image Credits: Bryan Ochalla Via Flickr