Olly Dyche on the essential video game adaptations…
Video game adaptations have notoriously garnered a reputation of being fairly awful, with the likes of Doom, Super Mario Bros., Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and House the Dead being great examples. However, within the fold of poor video game adaptations there have also been some good – and a rare few brilliant – video game adaptations that many fans of the video games simply adore. So with that here are the essential video game adaptations….
Although not necessarily a video game adaptation, Wreck-It Ralph nonetheless contains some of the best cameos from gaming icons that are sure to send gamers giddy with excitement. Fans can find, Zangief from Street Fighter, Q*bert, Bowser and Sonic the Hedgehog just to name a few scattered throughout this animated video game movie. Likewise, Wreck it Ralph is a hilarious, heartwarming and incredibly fun movie that deserves many re-watches, and not just for its phenomenal cameos.
Again we have another entry that isn’t necessarily a video game adaptation, yet the profound love that Boss Level shows for 8 bit side scrollers of the past is definitely worthy of an honorable mention at the least. Boss Level unashamedly shows its love and inspiration to classic arcade games, in both its style and story, and if this isn’t enough to get audiences to sit down and bathe in all of Boss Level’s glory, then its thrilling action, effective humour and great cast should cement a watch. Boss Level is nothing but an action packed good time and an exciting tribute to 8 bit classic video games of old.
10. Tomb Raider (2018)
Ahead of its release, there was a lot of excitement as well as some rightful scepticism for 2018’s Tomb Raider, but thankfully audiences were pleasantly surprised and the reboot was actually a good movie. Starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, Tomb Raider is a faithful adaptation of the modern remake of the video game classic, filled with thrilling action, a fairly interesting story and a pitch perfect performance from its lead.
Sadly, Tomb Raider doesn’t have enough stakes, heart or characters that fans really connect with to rank this faithful adaptation any higher. However, its incredibly exciting seeing Lara Croft finally get her hands on her iconic pistols, which was supposed to lead to a sequel, but as of 2023 fans are still waiting.
9. Mortal Kombat (2021)
Fans of the Mortal Kombat video game series have been clamouring for a good Mortal Kombat movie for years. In 2021, their wishes were answered with an incredibly faithful video game adaptation filled with beloved characters and plenty of gruesome fatalities.
Mortal Kombat’s story was simple yet intriguing, focusing on an brand new original character, Cole Young. Likewise, the film’s cast was sensational, featuring the likes of Joe Taslim, Lewis Tan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ludi Lin and Josh Lawson. Unfortunately, the terribly shot and edited fight scenes made the movie almost unwatchable, which for a Mortal Kombat movie is very disappointing.
8. Rampage (2018)
When it was announced that “The Rock” would headline an adaptation of the classic arcade game, Rampage, fans rightfully turned their heads. However, to everyone’s surprise, Rampage is an incredibly thrilling action packed blockbuster, stacked with an equally surprising cast.
Among its colossal action scenes that remise that of a Godzilla flick, Rampage features an adorable and heartwarming relationship with Dwayne Johnson and a CG Gorilla. Sure, it may seem gimmicky at first, but given time, this relationship elevates Rampage from being just a bonkers monster movie. The story is simple and unoriginal, but that’s not what audiences are here for.
7. Resident Evil (2002)
2002’s Resident Evil is a cult classic and not just for fans of the video game. As video game adaptations go, Resident Evil isn’t the most faithful and fans of the games may be left disappointed. What fans got however was a adaptation filled with tension, gore and plenty of Easter eggs that are still likely to satisfy fans.
Resident Evil was so popular and beloved that it spawned a seven-movie series, with many highs but also many many lows. The first Resident Evil is still the best in the film series, and a must watch for fans of the video game and for fans of horror action movies.
6. Uncharted (2022)
The second it was announced that Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg will star as a young Nathan Drake and Sully, fans were quick to dismiss this video game adaptation. However, it turns out that Uncharted is an incredibly fun action adventure flick that viewers quickly fell in love with. Although certainly not perfect, audience’s low expectations definitely helped cement Uncharted as a good video game adaptation and surprisingly Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland were great casting choices.
5. The Witcher (2019-)
Technically based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series, Netflix’s The Witcher may not be the most accurate adaption, but is nonetheless filled with all the ghastly monsters, gruesome violence and lively world of which the games are known for.
Henry Cavill is a perfect fit to play a live action Geralt of Rivia, bringing Geralt’s tenacious attitude and brilliant physicality to the role making fans fall head over heels. This dark fantasy epic television series is simply jaw dropping, whilst its unsure where the show is set to go after Cavill’s departure, however there is much excitement for the next season.
4. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
Typically when a video game adaptation is announced starring A list actors, fans are quick to dismiss. However, when the first trailer dropped for Detective Pikachu fans were surprisingly excited. But as highly anticipated as this adaptation was, fans were still impressed with its brilliant execution.
Stacked with gut busting humour and a phenomenal cast consisting of Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Rita Ora and Bill Nighy. However, what filled most Pokemon fans with joy, was the film’s impressive roster of Pokemon scattered throughout the flick. The film features cameos from the likes of Mewtwo, Squirtle, Charizard and a hilarious interaction with Mr. Mime. Detective Pikachu is a Pokemon fan’s dream that also tells an engaging and hilarious story filled with exhilarating action that any audience will enjoy.
3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)
Infamously, the first Sonic the Hedgehog had much controversy way before its release, mostly due to the ghastly “ugly’ Sonic design which was thankfully removed. On top of this many were a little adamant that it would be another failed adaptation. Brilliantly however, we were all wrong and Sonic the Hedgehog although not particularly faithful was a simply great video game movie.
Two years later fans were treated to the highly anticipated Sonic the Hedgehog 2 which delivered everything we loved about the first and so much more. The humour was gut busting and the action was exhilarating, but the movie shines with its amazing references and phenomenal new characters, with the likes of Knuckles and Tails making great live action debuts. Likewise, the star of the show is most definitely Jim Carrey who is better than ever, playing an absurdly over the top Dr. Eggman in the most Jim Carrey fashion which is truly something to behold.
2. Werewolves Within (2021)
Based on the 2016 VR game of the same name, Werewolves Within offers plenty of uproarious humour and a thrilling mystery that will keep audiences engaged the whole way through. The film’s cast was sensational with the likes of Sam Richardson, Milana Vanytrub, Harvey Guillen, Sarah Burns and Glenn Fleshler making the film so much more entertaining. The Werewolves Within game may not be the most popular video game ever, but it turns out that is a brilliant recipe in creating one of the most underrated murder mysteries of all time.
1. The Last of Us (2023)
Sure, it may be a little premature to place The Last of Us as the best of all time with only one episode released to the public, but its first episode did more than enough to cement its position. This HBO series is high strung drama at its best, relishing in its undeniable tension, great characterizations and bleak world that feels so incredibly alive. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey have already proven themselves as perfect casting choices for Joel and Ellie and we truly can’t wait to see more.
Many critics – including our own Robert Kojder – have already seen the entire series and have all come to a consensus that its without a doubt the best video game adaptation of all time. If the show keeps up his momentum and delivers seamlessly perfect experiences week after week like promised, then we can safely say the The Last of Us is without question the best video game adaptation of all time.
What are your favourite video game adaptations? What have we missed from this essential list? Let us know on our social channels @FlickeringMyth…