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If there is one thing licensed games are not typically known for, it’s quality. More often than not, licensed games are rushed to market to coincide with a movie or other major media release, and the developers are not given adequate time to create a game of any real quality. It’s not the developers fault, but sometimes the business side of gaming gets ahead of actually delivering quality games.
However, there are some licensed games that are really good – that actually break the mold and bring a shocking level of quality. Whether the quality of these games was just a stroke of luck, or the company responsible for them actually gave the team enough time to make a game worthy of the license, I can’t say. What I can say is that the games that follow are just good games, whether licensed or not.
If you skipped these because you saw a license attached to them, you should go back and give them a try, because they are really worth it.
We are going to start this off right with some old school NES goodness. Back in the ’80s, DuckTales was a really well made cartoon, and the game followed suit perfectly. The best game to compare DuckTales to is MegaMan, in that it’s a platformer that allows the player to tackle each level in any order they choose.
Every detail of this game is fantastic, from the gameplay to the music, and it’s one every gamer should experience at one point or another. The original NES game is actually pretty hard to find, but fear not, because Capcom just announced a high-definition remake of the game called DuckTales: Remastered, so gamers the world over will get to enjoy this classic on PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U sometime this summer.
Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City
Moving from the old to the new, we jump to the Arkham series, which is one of the best uses of a superhero in the history of gaming. Personally, I like the first game a little better, but there is also something very enjoyable about the open world nature of Arkham City as well. Either way, these games are fantastic, and well worth playing for all gamers.
Whether you are a hardcore Batman fan, or just a gamer looking for something awesome to play, you need to try both of these games. The combat is incredibly fun, the game has a good feel, and Mark Hamill even plays the Joker, which is just amazing. I could go on and on about why you need to play these games, but I will just leave it with this – these are not only among the best licensed games ever, they are some of the best games of the modern era.
Goldeneye 007 is a game tied into a movie that is really, really good. In fact, Goldeneye is one of the games primarily responsible for figuring out how to make first person shooters work on the console, which means without it, we may not have games like Call of Duty and Halo, and a life without those games is just not a very good one.
Playing split-screen Goldeneye on the N64 is one of the most fun experiences I can recall in terms of multiplayer. Even all these years later with the Wii release, the game is still really good, and well worth playing for any gamer who fancies themselves a fan of first-person shooters. While the visuals may not hold up the best, the gameplay itself still works just fine.
Another movie game? As hard to believe as it is, Spider-Man 2 for PS2, GameCube and Xbox was just grand. It kept some of the interesting story elements from the movie, and did a great job of making them work in a game. For the time, the visuals were top of the heap, and it’s a game that other developers making movie-based games should strive to be as good as.
The thing that really made Spider-Man 2 so awesome is the open gameplay. Swinging around the city as Spider-Man just felt great. The best mental picture I can paint to describe Spider-Man 2 is to call it Grand Theft Auto as a good guy with webs. As Spidey is swinging around the city doing his main missions, side quests pop up, which go a long way to extend the life of the game.
I can honestly say that I have yet to see a movie game reach the high mark set by Spider-Man 2, and I doubt I ever will.
Of course, there are more than just these four games that deserve mention, but I just can’t list them all. However, here are some that I think deserve notice, even if they are not quite as good as these four:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES)
- Batman (NES)
- Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (Xbox, PC)
- Aladdin (SNES, Genesis)
- The Warriors (Xbox, PS2, PSP)
Obviously, I know there are more, so I turn to you – what licensed games do you think deserve a mention? Hit the comments section below and let us know!