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"There are way too many great licensed games to be so fucking angry all the time. Cheers."

It's widely known that there is a problem with most licensed video games. Due to quite a different set of reasons, quality tends to be utterly low.

Nevertheless, this is not always the case, especially games for long established franchises that do not impose any unrealistic release dates keyed to another work's release. And those exception are not mentioned as often as the licensed video games with problems are. They need more love, and that's what's the Sugar Wiki is for, so let's give them some love !


Specific companies:

Disney

Disney tends to have some of the better licensed games, although they are also known for often being quite difficult:

  • There are two completely distinct Aladdin games, one by Capcom (released on SNES and Game Boy Advance) and one by Virgin (released on Genesis/Mega Drive and PC) -- and both of them are good. It helps that the latter game gets notoriously Nintendo Hard during the escape from the Cave Of Wonders and thereafter, while still remaining quite fun.
    • The Lion King video games (for the Game Boy, NES, SNES, Sega Genesis and MS-DOS) by Virgin aren't too shabby either, despite the second level's notorious difficulty. To drive the point home, one of co-producers of this game admitted that very few of the people who worked on the game could actually beat it, and actually expressed delight that all of two people in the room he was talking to actually had.
  • Even Capcom's The Little Mermaid on the NES was pretty enjoyable, and was enjoyed by some boys who didn't care for the mushyness of the movie.
  • Sega's Disney games for Mega Drive were actually very good. Castle of Illusion, Starring: Mickey Mouse (1990) was one of the best games of its day, its 8-bit versions for Game Gear and Master System equally impressive, and the sequel World of Illusion was even better.
  • Quackshot, Starring: Donald Duck (1991) was just as good. Featuring Donald Duck in an Indiana Jones inspired hunt for treasure.
  • Capcom's work with Disney licenses, especially DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck are generally held in high regard.
  • Mickey Mania for the SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega CD and Play Station, which was co-developed by Disney, Traveller's Tales and Sony (in the case of the first three consoles: yes, seriously), was also very highly regarded, though rather notorious for its difficulty.
  • Goof Troop, for the SNES. One of the most beloved two-player games of the console, it features very fun puzzles, nice graphics, various items to use as the game goes on, and is just generally addictive.
  • The Darkwing Duck NES game was a Mega Man-inspired scrolling shooter. It was...well, it was good. It occurred towards the end of the NES's lifespan so the graphics were good, especially those of the characters. The controls were responsive and precise, the music ranged from inoffensive to good, and the only real complaint with the game was the nastily difficult last level.
  • The first Pirates of the Caribbean game, published by Bethesda, was actually a very good pirate game. Which is because it wasn't a film adaptation at all but a sequel to an earlier game, Sea Dogs, that Bethesda bought the publishing rights to and hastily retooled into a POTC themed game, resulting in a product that, apart from the opening narration voiced by Keira Knightley and the Black Pearl being the boss, has almost nothing to do with the film.
    • Although, it was fairly buggy.
    • Dead Man's Chest for the GBA, anyone? Numerous islands, a detailed (and timed) overworld with ship-to-ship combat [1] (although the sloops are quite fast, making the battles against them quite hard), weapon and ship upgrades, tons of awesome attacks, and secrets. Dear GOD, there is a ton of treasure, much of which powers you up once you get it (although the Statue of Ehecatl is kind of a letdown, because you have to get the body, legs, and head, and there is another treasure that does the same thing as it.)
  • The PC and PSX Hercules video game. It followed really well the story of the film, have a lot of humor, and really great gameplay, that played almost all the powers and abilites of the hero. Really good cartoon graphics, and a great platformer with lots and lots of secrets, plus some "rush levels" that were, though hard, really interesting. It is an extremely good game, as it puts a lot of the movie, plus a lot of great gameplay and levels, for the player to enjoy. Nowadays, is always watched with nostalgia for the good days.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King for GBA has good gameplay, gorgeous pixelart, and a story that actually makes sense, especially since it's a prequel for the movie.
    • Oogie's Revenge is a PS2 sequel to the movie. Excellent plot, Scenery Porn like you wouldn't believe, excellent voice acting and character models, the ability to attack Lock, Shock and Barrel and decent remakes of most of the songs. And a game engine with similarities to Devil May Cry. Albeit, fighting's a bit repetitive, the camera can be very cruel in certain levels, and I don't know who's stupid idea it was to make Jack jump, but it's not bad if you're a big fan of the movie.
  • Although it may not fit the rigid definition of "licensed", what with the main focus being on its original characters, the Kingdom Hearts series, with all of its bountiful Disney characters, turned out to be quite decent and popular.
  • The Toy Story 3 video game has gotten surprisingly good reviews. Both because it's a solid platformer and because its Toy Box mode offers a level of customization and exploration that you would normally find in sandbox games. The games of the previous two movies (Toy Story 1 on SNES/Genesis and Toy Story 2 on PC/Playstation/Nintendo 64) were developed by Traveller's Tales, and weren't too shabby neither.
    • Saying the video game adaption of Toy Story 2 would be selling it short (especially the PS1 version). You cannot fault its catchy music, solid platforming and well designed levels.
  • A Bugs Life also had a pretty good licensed game (though this only applies to the console versions; the GBC game is more along the lines of the other page) - it was a level-based 3D platformer with above-average graphics, good music, and nice level design. It helps that it was developed by Traveler's Tales, who also handled Toy Story 2.
  • The video game version of Pinocchio. You know, the one where you actually get to kill the Coachman!
  • Sierra's The Black Cauldron is a classic and is notable for having context sensitive commands (Use/Look) instead of the then standard text parser years before "point and click" made this interface standard for adventure gaming. Innovation in a licensed game!
  • Holy crap in a hat, Epic Mickey. Disney fandom plus nostalgia plus Doing It for the Art equals a hell of a game.
  • The Mouse has been cheerfully running on this Trope since at least 1982. Tron, arguably the original "movie video game", has two movies, but eight games.
    • The 1982 arcade game actually made more money than the movie did in its original run!
    • There were also three Intellivision games that were all solid performers. They were varying levels of Nintendo Hard (and provide some Funny Aneurysm Moments), but are still surprisingly playable. Daft Punk cheerfully used samples of the sound effects from them in Legacy's soundtrack!
      • The least known of these, Solar Sailer, was one of the first games ever to include voice acting and made extensive use of Wendy Carlos's soundtrack.
    • There's also Tron 2.0, an original sequel to the game which transplanted the Tron world into an FPS backdrop, and was a surprisingly original game throughout, despite suffering slightly from problems such as cheap deaths and no autosave function whatsoever. It is still a Cult Classic among gamers despite becoming Canon Dis Continuity once Tron: Legacy came out - up until that point, it was the official sequel.
    • Lastly, Evolution covers a ton of backstory and unanswered questions from the films.
  • The Magical Quest trilogy is another beloved trio of classics starring Mickey Mouse. The first game was good, Mickey gets to obtain new outfits that give him unique abilities, and it has nice music, too. The second game drops the turn-based two player in favor of two-player co-op and lets you choose to play as Minnie as well. And in the third game, Minnie is replaced with Donald, who now has unique abilities, you get to play a more interactive co-op, and it's also considered the best game of the trilogy.
  • Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers (also known as Quack Attack) by Ubisoft. The gameplay was really good; but while the music of the first versions (Dreamcast, Nintendo 64 and PC) was OK, the music from the Playstation version proved to be really awesome and truly fitting for the game's cartoony style, that it was also used for the PS2 and Gamecube remakes.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension for Wii and Playstation Move is a pretty decent game. It takes place during the part in the movie where they are traveling through each dimension, and it's pretty fun. Sure, the 3D models are quite low-res for PlayStation 3 standards, and it doesn't utilize the PS Move's capabilities that well, but it's a decent and enjoyable game, and highly recommended for all Phineas and Ferb fans. The DS version is also fun though it's rather easy in difficulty.
  • Kim Possible What's the Switch and Kim Possible 3: Team Possible are quite fun games. The first is Kim's only console game for whatever reason, but it praised by the fanbase. The latter is a sidescroller, a rather good one at that.
    • KP 2: Drakken's Demise and KP 5: Global Gemini are also fun, solid platformers. KP 4: Kimmunicator isn't a bad game necessarily, but it's very, very easy.


Lucas Arts

  • The 1989 graphical adventure game Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade was Lucasfilm games' biggest hit before Monkey Island, got good reviews and was followed by the great Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. The latter's success may be partially due to the fact that it wasn't based on any particular movie. That Lucas Arts at the time was known for producing excellent adventure games also helped. Some years later, when the company was already going to a downward spiral, they released Indiana Jones and The Infernal Machine and Indiana Jones and The Emperors Tomb, two 3D action-adventures that were much less well-received, but are still considered more than decent.
  • There are many Star Wars games that are very good, namely because developers have a whole galaxy to play around with and are therefore not obligated to be so tied to the movies; the fact that there were a total of three (later six) movies and that most of these games were developed well after the movies, giving the appropriate time and information needed to fill in any gaps, helps a lot too (See also Star Wars Expanded Universe). Such games include Dark Forces and its Jedi Knight sequels, the Empire at War RTS title, Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, TIE Fighter (which is still considered to be one of the best games in its genre), Shadows of the Empire, the Rogue Squadron trilogy, their more-simple-but-downright-fun cousin Starfighter, the Super Star Wars games (in possibly the top tier of Nintendo Hard games), the Republic Commando FPS, the Age of Empires clone Galactic Battlegrounds and the Battlefront series. Even the old 1983 Atari Vector Game that recreated the battle of the Death Star was highly received and groundbreaking at the time.
    • Of course, those are the Other Ten Percent. Star Wars games are practically their own genre, and any number of them have sucked for exactly the same reason as everything else on this page-look up above for more details, this category cannot be stained by their names.
  • Not so much bad, but think about videogame adaptations of the Star Wars movies. You know what your big reward is for winning the game version of Empire? Your dad cuts off your hand. The game version of Jedi is even harder to imagine, since the only way for Luke to "win" is to refuse to fight his dad.
    • The games based directly on the films--at least the better adaptations--are those that focus on the high-action sequences (Battle of Yavin, Battle of Hoth, Endor speeder-bike chase and the Battle of Endor) instead of the character development. This was arguably easier back when developers didn't have to feature the Jedi in every single game.
  • The MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies started out pretty strong, until it started hemmorhaging players after the "New Game Enhancement" changes.
  • Sam and Max was based on a comic book, though most players probably never realised it.

Other examples:

  • Pinball machines tend to invert The Problem with Licensed Games trope, with most of the popular pinball machines in recent times being all licensed properties. Of course, the economics of pinball are completely different than that of most home video games -- instead of selling many copies of software for $50, the pinball manufacturers are selling $6000 machines to movie theaters that are trying to sell casual plays for a few quarters, so it's perhaps not that surprising that licenses do well.
    • The last commercially produced pinball machine that was designed without a license in mind was in 2001 (High Roller Casino, if you care -- as of December 2008, there have been 21 licensed games made since).
    • Among others, Twilight Zone, The Simpsons Pinball Party, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure are all generally well regarded by pinball aficionados. The Addams Family pinball machine is the most successful pinball machine in history, with 20,270 units sold.
    • Video games based on pinball machines don't do so well, but original video games with pinball themes do. Metroid Prime Pinball is a good example of this.
      • One exception to the above rule is Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection. The gameplay mechanics virtual replicas of Pin-Bot and Fun House were well received.
        • Lets not forget the Crush games for the Turbo Grafx-16. Those games are a ton of fun. Devil's Crush is particularly entertainng.
  • Legend Entertainment's Gateway and Gateway 2: Homeworld, based on the Heechee Saga, are excellent games.
  • The Nancy Drew Computer games are almost always good, with plenty of Scenery Porn, fairly complex stories (they are based on mysteries, after all,) and good quality. They've been praised for starting to get girls interested in gaming, won several awards, and claim to have outsold Myst (although they also admit that it's basically law of averages, they have almost 25 games, whereas Myst has less than 10.)
  • The first console adaptation of American Idol unfortunately played more like Gitaroo Man and did not actually involve singing. Thankfully Konami stepped up to the plate and eventually fixed this with special American Idol versions of Karaoke Revolution.
  • Rare's Golden Eye 1997, based on the first Pierce Brosnan James Bond film, is one of the most successful First Person Shooters ever made. It introduced console gamers to the FPS genre, and caused many of them to believe that it was the first of its kind, much to the confusion of PC gamers. Released two years after the movie, it turned out to be far more profitable. Seven years later, Electronic Arts released GoldenEye: Rogue Agent in a blatant attempt to cash in on Rare's old game. In that game you are an MI6 agent that went rogue, and had an actual golden eye installed in his skull. Bond only appears for a cameo in a virtual reality mission. As you can imagine, it wasn't as well received.
    • EA also released James Bond 007: Nightfire, which was a fairly solid Bond FPS (with a killer opening song), and James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, a really fun third-person shooter with truly lavish production values and loads of Hey, It's That Voice!.
    • While we are on the subject of 007, The World Is Not Enough on Playstation turns out pretty well for a FPS on that platform. The shooting mechanic feels right, the weapon sound effects feel right, the levels rarely turn repetitive(stealth action, high speed chasing sequence, boss fighting, cool and interesting ways of utilizing Bond's gadgets), and last but not least, the visual are impressive for a FPS on Playstation. Downside? AI, character animation, short.
      • The N64 adaptation deserves a mention too. While it's not as good as Goldeneye, it still has a lot of what made the latter great.
    • The Quantum of Solace tie-in game is kind of on the edge, it's a decent FPS with some neat minigames, but it's also incredibly short.
    • The 2010 GoldenEye for the Wii. It's made by the same developers as Nightfire, is a remake of the classic N64 game and has a fun multiplayer like the original too.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, a prequel to the movie Pitch Black, received overwhelmingly positive reviews and several "Game of the Year" awards. This is particularly noticeable given the poor review received by that same film's sequel movie, The Chronicles of Riddick, which was released at the same time. Vin Diesel founded Tigon Studios, which co-developed the game, precisely because he was tired of this trope, being a gamer himself. Its 2009 sequel Assault on Dark Athena received a similar level of acclaim. In an amusing inversion of this trope, Tigon's first original game, Wheelman, was more mixed in its critical reception compared to the Riddick games, although has its own strong points, Licensed Game is not the place it belongs to. The other half of the development team, Starbreeze, went on to release an FPS adaptation of The Darkness to intense critical acclaim. It's probably better-known than the comic it's based on at the moment, though.
  • Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3, despite accusations of being a haven for Button Mashing, is considered by many to be genuinely good. This lies in stark contrast to many of the Dragon Ball Fighting Games that appeared before and after then, which were almost universally horrible.
    • The Budokai Tenkaichi series almost accurately recreated the fighting in the series, with some pretty interesting character choices, and a pretty solid fighting system.
    • There are actually many non-fighter Dragon Ball games that are good. Platform/RPG/Zelda-like games The Legacy of Goku 2, Buu's Fury and Dragonball Origins, while all pretty easy, are also quite long and at least considered So Bad It's Good. Attack of The Saiyans, an RPG for the DS, can also qualify if you can forgive its Surprise Difficulty.
  • The Naruto: Ultimate Ninja (Play Station 2) and Clash of Ninja Fighting Games (Gamecube/Wii) are also surprisingly good. (Ninja Council, on the other hand...)
    • Not to mention Rise of a Ninja on the 360, which is considered the best Naruto game yet, as well as a genuinely good game on its own merits.
    • Its sequel The Broken Bond has been even more accepted.
    • The Ultimate Ninja Storm games by Cyber Connect 2 (Who also made the regular Ultimate Ninja games) are considered to be even better, especially the second one which has some of the highest ratings of any Anime licensed game out there.
  • The Bleach Fighting Games for the Nintendo DS and Wii are getting generally positive reviews.
  • Treasure also had a hand in Astro Boy: Omega Factor for the GBA, which is universally considered superior to its Sonic Team-developed PlayStation 2 counterpart. It even shows up on more than a few GBA "Best Of" lists.
    • To quote a video that was slamming Final Fantasy VII as well, Omega Factor, "despite its cartoony look and, at times, ball-breakingly hard gameplay, offers a deep and memorable storyline, and this is coming from a guy who doesn't give two shits about the anime that it's based on."
  • The Ultimate Muscle Game Cube fighter (and to a lesser extent the PS2 version) is generally considered above average and came out of left field for some reviewers considering how obscure the license was compared to anime licenses like Dragon Ball and Naruto).
    • That's largely because it was developed by wrestling game masters Aki, creators of the legendary N64 WCW and WWF games.
  • The Spider-Man video games from the first PS1 game by Neversoft up to Ultimate Spider-Man have received generally positive reviews. In fact, for a period of time, Spider-Man games were notable for being consistently better than average. Spider-Man 3 unfortunately contracted Sequelitis but the series somewhat recovered with Web Of Shadows. (And for the record, we're skipping over Friend or Foe in that series).
    • And preceding that, we had Maximum Carnage, an excellent beat-em-up that appeared on both the SNES and the Genesis. Too bad the sequel Separation Anxiety was a straight example.
    • The first Spider-Man game for the Genesis was also pretty good. A decent Ninja Gaiden style platformer with the added touch of replenishing your web fluid by selling photographs of villains you took in game.
    • Probably the most critically acclaimed Spider-Man game was Spider-Man 2. It was basically an open world game on par with Grand Theft Auto. You could find stores and purchase attacks, and even follow the story of the movie it was based on, with a Mysterio subplot to boot, but we all know what was the most fun part of the game: taking a swing around New York City and helping out civilians.
      • And there still isn't a page on it... A really fun part of the game was grabbing a random goon and webslinging all the way up to the top of the Empire State Building and throwing him/her off. Or doing a spinning piledriver from a extremely high-up rooftop heist which would have KILLED SPIDEY never mind the goon. They're allegedly just "knocked out" from the fall. The game never got old because of the countless ways you could dispose of enemies. The control scheme was really fluent too. On the PS2 anyway...
      • Unless you were playing the PC-Version. Stupid 1-button-controls. Open World? Nope, you could only move in certain areas and only webswing using the few swing-targets the game allowed. Talk about drift between game-versions. The Gamespot review says it all.
  • EA's The Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King was very popular and well-received for its top-notch hack-and-slash gameplay and faithfulness to capturing the feeling of the films, due in no small part to getting pretty much the entire cast to voice their characters and using Howard Shore's epic score.
  • Dune II was a so-so adaptation, bearing a passing resemblance to the original novel, but it was an incredibly successful and popular game -- verging on Adaptation Displacement for fans unfamiliar with the novel, and it is the progenitor of Command and Conquer and the entire Real Time Strategy genre. It was pretty advanced for the early 90s, and is still playable today -- provided you can find a mod that overcomes the "command each individual unit separately" problem.
  • The Thing video game, quite a solid Third-Person Shooter that features some interesting mechanic and eerie atmosphere from the film. And also, it tells what happens after the vague ending of the film. Some disagreed with this assessment though.
  • Despite its ridiculous and long title, Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie was pretty good and successful. Of course, this may be because Peter Jackson personally selected Michel Ancel to head up the development based on his work on Beyond Good & Evil and collaborated on its production, after dissatisfaction with the uneven quality of licensed games based on his film adaptation of Lord of the Rings.
    • Of course, you can throw all of this out the window when talking about the DS version. Then you may throw said version out, too.
  • Konami's licensed 4-player arcade beat-'em-ups based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were highly regarded, as were its TMNT: Tournament Fighters one-on-one Fighting Games. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of Konami's 6th generation titles, of Ubisoft's 2007 movie tie-in (except for the GBA version, if we go by the gaming press) or of the original NES platformer, which was a primary example of Nintendo Hard and had a DOS port which was Unwinnable without cheating. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Smash Up, however, is an extremely odd animal: the gameplay is well regarded but the handling of the TMNT license, to put it bluntly, will stir flame wars in the fandom.
    • Another unusual case is Turtles in Time and its Video Game Remake ... ReShelled. The original game is widely hailed as a gaming classic and received an even better SNES port. The high-def remake left the gameplay alone, but replaced the soundtrack and adapted the arcade original instead of the SNES game - both decisions caused uproars.
  • Amid the many, many bad games based on it, The Simpsons has three games considered to be of good quality: the early-90s Beat'Em Up by Konami, which was good fun despite having a plot that makes no sense (Smithers as a cape-wearing supervillain who kidnaps Maggie during a diamond heist, and the entire population of Springfield trying to brutally murder the Simpsons as they try to get her back); The Simpsons Hit and Run, a Grand Theft Auto clone that still manages to preserve the show's feel (probably because its story and dialogue were written by the actual writers of the series); and The Simpsons Game, a surprisingly intelligent Affectionate Parody of every video game ever.
  • Most games by Banpresto, most prominently Super Robot Wars, Another Century's Episode (produced in collaboration with From Software), and the Gundam vs. Series (the latter done with Capcom). It helps that BP is a subsidiary of Bandai, the studio that actually makes Gundam and several other of the shows featured in these series--and all this before Bandai merged with Namco, too. Now, not every series is done especially well all the time, but if they mess up with one, expect that another series will be done magnificently well in the same game.
  • Queen's Blade: Spiral Chaos. Add in the unique features and you have a game that looks great, and is pretty well conceived.
  • Code Geass's various video game adaptations are not quite this, as they add in a few discontinuities. For the most part, the Lost Colours game has various endings all divided into two variants for each route: Bad (canonical) and Good ( The SAZ succeeds and Euphemia doesn't die.). The first DS game starts off completely canonical. Then, on the next replay, messes with the plot so that Suzaku and Euphemia join as pilots, despite Euphemia never engaging in battle. After three playthroughs, the only people who ever set foot in a Knightmare and are not playable are mechanics, and a couple of extremely minor characters.
    • The second DS game is apparently about R2, but ignores the end of R1 and adds a few R2 characters in a decidedly non-canonical game.
  • The Godfather and Scarface, both classic gangster movies that are at least two decades old, have seen their share of success by adapting the Grand Theft Auto style of gameplay.
    • Scarface the World Is Yours scores extra points for not rehashing the plot of the movie, instead playing out a "What If" scenario that starts after the end of the movie, with Tony Montana surviving the assault on his mansion.
      • As well as being one of the few GTA followers that GTA itself took notes from, adopting the ideas of a crew you can keep track of through your phone, a ring based notoriety system based on getting out of the law's sight, and over the hood aiming into GTA IV.
  • Cool Spot, an SNES, Sega Genesis, and later a DOS game by Virgin Games, focuses on the 7-up Spot mascot. It was surprisingly well-received by critics.
  • Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever is a strange situation... the movie and the video game version started production at the same time, the video game being released a year ahead of the movie, and based mostly on an unused first draft of the script. The movie is terrible, while the game is one of the best and most genuinely fun First Person Shooters on the GBA.
  • Konami's games based on the Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs franchises were decent games in their own right -- and quite faithful to the source material's visual and musical style, at that. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the later games of the series made by Warthog Games' and Terraglyph.
    • Tiny Toons: Defenders Of The Universe was supposed to be a platformer/beat-em' up made by Treasure for the PS2 which is pretty damn fun. Most of the main cast of Tiny Toon Adventures are playable characters (Including Fifi LaFume, Shirley The Loon, Furrball, and even Montana Max), they all have their own unique abilities, and the game is really fun. Sadly, the game was never released despite being just about finished for unknown reasons (Rumors are that it was because of a budget crisis with Conspiracy), angering many fans. However, the game can be played on a PS2 emulator, and a walkthrough and gameplay videos of some of the characters can still be found on Youtube.
      • Tiny Toon Adventures: Scary Dreams/Buster's Bad Dream for the GBA is also good and very underrated, and challenging.
  • Nearly any game based on a FASA license proves an exception to this rule (though it must be admitted we are going from game to game, so the mechanics are similar). BattleTech spawned numerous games, the vast majority of which were top-tier titles. Shadowrun had a very well-received top-down sandbox shooter before DMA Design/Rockstar North popularized it on the Sega Genesis, and a decent one on the SNES. The PC Crimson Skies game was well received by gamers and critics, and though the X Box sequel is generally considered inferior to the original, it's certainly not a bad game by any means. Even the lesser known licenses often did well when converted to video games; Renegade Legion was turned into an excellent adaptation of the board game, as well as a later space sim that unfortunately was released right alongside Wing Commander 3 and so never got the attention it deserved. The sole exception to this would likely be the Xbox360 Shadowrun game, and even that, at worst, would be somewhere in the middle (as long as you're not too worried about faithfulness to the source material). Justified in that FASA didn't have the license to Shadowrun at the time.
    • Unfortunately, FASA themselves eventually went under. Luckily enough, a new company was formed that acquired the old FASA properties, including Crimson Skies, Shadowrun and Mechwarrior.
      • A company founded by one Jordan Weisman, the founder of FASA. Circles are fun...
  • The Wrestling Games based on WWE tend to be very well done, and are the major driving force behind the genre. Of course, in North America at least, they tend to make up about 90% of the genre, so if they didn't drive it, nobody would.
    • This wasn't true in the NES days, though. Almost every WWF game released for the console was horrible, and the games weren't widely considered halfway decent until the SNES. The first unquestionably good WWF game wasn't until WWF Wrestlemania 2000 on the N64.
      • To sum it up, WWE games were pretty much mediocre until THQ got ahold of the license.
    • You know those commercials which are meant to promote the video game consoles themselves and almost always show off first-party games (Such as a Wii commercial with Metroid Prime and Super Mario Galaxy footage)? N64 ones used footage from THQ's WCW games.
  • The Blade Runner adventure game closed up the plot and is still considered one of the best adventure games ever made.
  • The Alien vs. Predator arcade game made by Capcom a decade before the films came out remains a favorite amongst Beat'Em Up fans.
    • And the Alien Vs. Predator FPS on the Atari Jaguar, pre-dating the movie by a decade and the PC versions by half a decade, was critically lauded to the point where it was arguably the system's best original title.
    • The first two PC games were also of excellent quality, although for different reasons (the first for Nightmare Fuel, the second for storyline). The third game, released in 2010, received more mixed reviews, but it's generally not considered "bad".
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series of RPGs, which at this time may have more spin-offs than Mario, can be traced back to the NES game Megami Tensei, based on a Japanese novel.
  • Video game companies have mostly been kind to Dungeons and Dragons and its various settings (though like the FASA example above, it's going from game to game)--from the Gold Box SSI computer games, to more modern games like Neverwinter Nights and Planescape: Torment, even to Capcom's four-player arcade Beat Em Ups with RPG Elements, Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom and D&D 2: Shadow Over Mystara. There are a few exceptions though, like the infamous and horribly flawed Heroes of the Lance for the NES, and Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft for the PlayStation, a D&D Fighting Game based on their horror setting, which was so hideously bad, it's often credited with killing the setting it's based on.
    • Case in point being the Baldur's Gate series, which arguably revived the entire then-dying CRPG genre and ensured the dominance of the Forgotten Realms setting over D&D until and including the present day.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction was widely praised as superior to the game based on the Ang Lee film that came out prior to it. It was widely considered the best superhero game by critics (until Batman: Arkham Asylum stole its thunder) for the simple fact that it let the player do exactly what they wanted -- destroy a city as the Hulk. It eventually got a Spiritual Successor in Prototype (an original IP). Though the game wasn't actually intended to be based on the Ang Lee film, the timing was close enough that many critics and fans compared them anyway. Ironically, the later 2008 film with Edward Norton, The Incredible Hulk, got inspiration from Ultimate Destruction.
    • Including more than one Shout-Out. Remember that awesome bit in the movie where Hulk uses a car as boxing gloves, and pummels Abomination with them? You could do exactly that in-game!
  • Micro Machines and its sequels took the popular toy cars, boats and planes and turned them into a top-down racer with obstacles like cereal boxes and rubber ducks. Utter genius.
  • Similarly, the Hot Wheels racing game was pretty fun, despite the track being slightly wider than your car a lot of the time.
  • With The Warriors, Rockstar Games not only made a Cult Classic movie into a remarkably strong semi-sandbox beat-em-up that faithfully recreated almost every single moment of the film, it actually did a great job of fleshing out a whole new backstory for the characters.
  • Initial D Arcade Stage is one of the most popular arcade racing games to come from Sega since Daytona USA. The first three games reinvented arcade racing games, though the fourth game, Initial D Arcade Stage 4 gets very mixed reviews. Some hail it as a fresh reboot of the series, while others dislike it for having questionable physics and techniques such as the "penalty cancel".
    • Daytona USA is itself a licensed title, as Sega had to license the name from the International Speedway Corporation, the owners of Daytona International Speedway.
  • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune is another successful licensed racing game; lately it's gotten more attention than Initial D (Initial D requires more expertise, plus it costs more to obtain and 'tune' a car in Initial D); Then again, most fans don't even know it's based off a long-running manga series. Some fans even think that the anime and manga are based off the games and not the other way around.
  • Book example: Betrayal at Krondor, a licensed game based on Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar books, was one of the best DOS-era PC RPGs ever made.
    • In fact, Feist then spun the plot from the game into the Riftwar Legacy trilogy of novels, the first (Krondor: The Betrayal) being a direct novelization of the game (and not surprisingly the weakest part of the trilogy).
  • Jump Ultimate Stars happens to be one of the most played Nintendo DS Wi-Fi games.
    • The original was also quite well-received; the sequel's online play and incredible jump forward in terms of included series (plus making the unlocking system much easier for those who didn't speak Japanese) is the only reason the original isn't played often today.
  • While Capcom's crossover games are generally good, Marvel vs. Capcom and Tatsunokovs Capcom get special mentions here for being half-licensed games; MvC2 still has a competitive scene in the present day (indeed, it becomes a fully licensed game in competitive play thanks to the (lack of) balance shifting things entirely towards MAHVEL BAYBEE Marvel). Such are those specific games' popularity that Capcom listened to the fans' demands and not only made a deal with Marvel to port MvC2 over to Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network with online play but also defied No Export for You in the case of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, something which other anime crossover games did not dare to do. And then the fans' patience ultimately paid off in the form of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
  • EA have gone in two different directions with their Harry Potter adaptations -- chapter-based play, in which one level naturally leads to another (Philosopher's Stone and Goblet of Fire) and a sandbox style where the player has to visit specific places in Hogwarts to advance the plot (Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix). The latter are about a squillion times better than the former (particularly Order of the Phoenix, which combines the layouts from each of the games so far with the layouts from each of the movies to create a definitive Hogwarts), as they combine a ton of mini-games with the main plot, plus they give you the opportunity to fly around Hogwarts on a broom or Buckbeak the Hippogriff.
    • Don't forget about the RPG versions of the first three games, the first two on the Game Boy Color and the third on the Game Boy Advance, which were generally well-received by fans and game critics alike. Unfortunately, since then, EA has made all of the handheld versions just watered-down ports of the console versions.
      • The third game was rather well done, with how it had branching dungeon paths with puzzles specified for each character you have, a nice soundtrack, and a few good dungeons. However, it still needed some more time for beta-testing, since there were a few random glitches that could crash the game, and near the ending, it really did seem rushed.
      • Chamber of Secrets deserves some extra gushing. It utilized challenging puzzles (the classroom segments), a Legend-of-Zelda-esque battle system (find the weak point on the boss), Scenery Porn, and a sandbox full of hidden secrets and sidequests that are impossible to find in one playthrough. It almost seems as though more time was spent designing this unique game than was spent on the film version of the story! (Given the movie's budget and filming times, this is saying something.)
      • Seconded about Chamber of Secrets. Starting with this game, the series gets gradually less action-based and a lot easier. Chamber of Secrets mainly focuses on fighting various monsters and platforming and is the only game to avert Death Is a Slap on The Wrist. You can fall down Bottomless Pits, which would force you to restart at checkpoints. By the third game, you can fall down them and immediately respawn where you were. You don't even receive a hit to your hitpoints unless you do it a few times. By the fourth game, Invisible Walls are erected and you can no longer fall and there ARE no pits in the fifth. By the fifth game, there are less than five action sequences in total and you're mostly reduced to fetch quests and sweeping the floor.
  • Brave Story is a PSP game based on a movie based on a manga based on a novel. (phew) It's considered a good RPG with a nice plot, unique battle mechanics, and great graphics. Hilariously, the setting itself is based on a typical RPG world.
  • The arcade game The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a Light Gun Game developed by Hitmaker (then known as Sega AM3), the same people behind Crazy Taxi and Virtual On, and is on par with the likes of Virtua Cop and The House of the Dead.
    • The Genesis version of Lost World, meanwhile, despite being largely overlooked given its time of release, could easily be considered one of the last great games for that console. It combined an isometric viewpoint, fairly open-ended style (allowing the player to choose which level to tackle first from the central hub), an appreciable amount of variety in the levels themselves, and boss battles that each used a different mechanic. It played fast and loose with the story for the most part, but it was for the benefit of a good game.
    • Telltale Games' new series of Sam and Max games did so well commercially that not only did the (long out of print) comic get republished, but the cartoon series has finally been released on DVD. This is an incredibly rare example of a licensed game being good enough to rescue its source material from obscurity.
    • As for Telltale's Jurassic Park game, depending on who you talk to, it either lands here or in the other page.
  • Likewise, Wallace and Gromit joined Sam and Max in the nostalgic cartoon adventure game hall of fame with a 8.5 rating on Gamespot.
    • Unfortunately, Telltale's first foray into episodic gaming didn't do quite so well. While there's certainly nothing wrong with their Bone games, only two episodes (out of a potential nine, one from each volume of the source) were made and the source comic remains fairly obscure.
  • Homestar Runner did a weird twist on this. On the website, there is a game based on the Show Within a Show Stinkoman 20 X 6. It actually manages to be a pretty decent (and also very evil) platformer (although the creators refuse to update with Level 10).
    • Also, Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People, a point-and-click game series starring Strong Bad (as the title implies) is available on WiiWare, PC and PSN, and it's actually a genuinely fun(ny) adventure. Which is to be expected, as it was created by Telltale Games (or as Strong Bad calls them, "the makers of Rabbit-Dog and Bunnyman").
    • It also helps that the Brothers Chaps have written genuinely good adventure games before -- Peasant's Quest is often lauded as being on par with or possibly better than the late 80s adventure games it mocks.
    • The concept itself is parodied in the fifth episode when Strong Bad says "Say it with me, The Cheat: Licensed games are never good," in a licensed game. Furthermore, the entire plot of the third episode was kicked off when Strong Bad was trying to get a licensed game working.
  • Among CCG players, the Star Wars Customizable Card Game published by Decipher is considered to be an excellent system, despite or perhaps because of its Nintendo Hard nuances. The fact that a number of its cards broke the fourth wall didn't hurt. (Unfortunately, Decipher lost the license to Wizards of the Coast in 2001; the replacement, the Star Wars Trading Card Game, was much more typical and went under in three years.)
  • While most Star Trek games fall into the "problem" side, some have been quite good, including:
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force and its sequel, a pair of FPSes that received considerable praise.
    • Star Trek Bridge Commander was quite a fun game. It had an innovative game set-up, original storyline, and had appearances of Picard and Data. Probably turned out so well because it was made by the same guys who gave us X-Wing and TIE Fighter.
    • The Starfleet Command series was a starship sim/real-time tactics simulator that allowed you to wage battle in huge ships, firing broadsides at each other as if it were something out of the age of sail... and once you get past the confusing (yet stylish) HUD, and the steep learning curve, it's a lot of fun. Great soundtrack, too. This one may have benefitted from having its mechanics based on the long established tabletopgame Star Fleet Battles.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Final Unity was one of the first genuinely good Star Trek games. It was a plot-driven point-and-click adventure game, with some starship battles thrown in.
    • Star Trek: Invasion, a PlayStation space combat game that is surprisingly good, featuring a thrilling, self-contained and original story in the Star Trek TNG saga, a simple yet addictive gameplay mechanic, a somewhat Nintendo Hard difficulty (full-fledged Nintendo Hard if you choose the Lieutenant difficulty), excellent level design with Unexpected Gameplay Change, lush, eye-candy visual and excellent audio quality. The only things you can fault this game is the flawed control and... well, Nintendo Hard.
    • Star Trek Online, the Star Trek MMORPG, is a little bit on the Your Mileage May Vary side, but it has gorgeous graphics, and at least intended to capture some of the feel of the original series. Additionally, the space combat is some of the most playable of any Star Trek game - having been compared favorably to the later Star Trek Starfleet Command games.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine also got one good game in The Fallen.
  • The recent Lego Adaptation Games -- Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, and Lego Batman -- despite being double-licenses, are quite fun and are well received by critics. This is in part because they don't take their universes seriously at all. In fact, the games probably wouldn't work if they happened in an original universe. If you could attribute a problem to them, it would only be that Capcom Sequel Stagnation is beginning to set in; nothing connected to this trope at all.
    • There are also LEGO games made before these, which are also well-liked by the people who played them. Among the most well-known are LEGO Racers, Lego Island, and Rock Raiders. There is a side effect to the people who loved these, however; if you loved them, chances are you hate the licensed ones mentioned above, as many complain they are too similar to each other, so they get excited whenever a non-licensed one is announced.
  • Strider. Yes, Strider, the Capcom-made side-scroller with the futuristic ninja, is very loosely based on a Manga which Capcom co-produced with the intention of adapting it into a game. Don't feel bad if you didn't know...you're not alone on that.
    • The character Strider Hiryu is actually jointly owned by Capcom and the Moto Kikaku manga studio, which is why he has no problems appearing in the company's crossover titles.
  • This may not fully count, but Pokémon Yellow was heavily influenced by the anime adaption of the original video games. It took the original gameplay, but started you out with Pikachu, made all 3 starter Pokémon available in-game, had several appearances by Jessie and James as mini-bosses, and there was even a secret surfing minigame based off of the episode "The Pi-Kahuna" (Granted, to access said minigame you needed a Pikachu that knew the move Surf, which was only legally obtainable via a Nintendo event or by completing a ridiculously hard challenge in Pokémon Stadium, so most people just used Gameshark). To top it all off, every Pokémon received new sprites that resembled their anime appearances as well as being leaps and bounds better-looking than the originals.
    • A little more subtle, but there are several moves and other elements that were also inspired by the anime, such as Pokémon learning or being able to learn new moves. This included Squirtle and Staryu being able to learn Rapid Spin, and Charizard being able to learn Fly.
      • Likewise, when abilities starting being introduced for Generation III, many of the abilities were actually taken from the card game, which already had passive abilities on some Pokémon!
    • Pikachu is the first (and only) Pokémon to say its name in canon Pokémon games, due to Yellow Version using Pikachu's anime voice instead of its in-game cry.
  • The fantasy film Willow was adapted into an action-RPG by Capcom, which follows the script pretty faithfully, and also has great aesthetics.
    • The arcade version was one of the better examples of a 2D platformer. It shared similarities with another Capcom arcade platformer, Magic Sword.
  • Callahans Crosstime Saloon, based on the book series by Spider Robinson. The game's designer, Josh Mandel, drove to Spider's house one day and played the game with him for eight hours, and Spider then wrote a glowing review of the game and praised Mandel's work in the prologue of The Callahan Chronicals.
  • Inversion: If people have problems with Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe that concern the gameplay rather than the lack of gore, they blame it on the Mortal Kombat side. Of course, since DC is not causing the problem here for most but rather Midway's own, original IP, which was suffering from the Polygon Ceiling since 1997.
  • The PC-Engine shmup Gunhed is much more popular than the film it was based on, although the only things it had in common was the name and a picture of the titular robot on the title screen, and most of its remaining connections with the source material were wiped away when it was localized to the U.S as Blazing Lazers.
  • UN Squadron was one of the first top notch third-party game on the SNES. What most people don't know was that this was on an arcade game, which in turn was based on a manga titled Area 88. The title was lost in translation to the US.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was a surprisingly decent platformer following on the Super Mario 64 formula.
    • Plus, the music was absolutely AWESOME. IIRC, they also made a game based on The Movie, which was just as good if not better, for most of the same reasons.
    • Spongebob games in general are typically this. They're commonly ranked among the best licensed games ever, minus certain ones like Supersponge. Most of the (console) games, once the sixth gen came along, feature their own continuity. Many elements are reused from each game, and the visuals are almost always the same, which is pretty impressive for licensed games.
  • Michael Jackson's Moonwalker for Genesis; with surprisingly good digitization of Michael's songs for the era and an appropriately surreal plot it managed to pull off the license very well, and even appeared on one of Gamespot's "greatest games of all time" lists. Unfortunately, it's a bit too easy, so you won't take very long to beat it.
    • The arcade version was pretty good too.
  • Both of EA's hack-and-slash The Lord of the Rings titles were fair-to-well received.
    • As were the Battle for Middle Earth releases.
    • As for War of the Ring... well, let's just say it merely fits into this page at the not-so-bad part.
  • The RoboCop arcade 2D platformer/shooter by Data East was quite successful, having some of the best graphics and voice synthesis of its time.
    • Robocop vs. the Terminator on the Sega Genesis is also pretty well-liked.
      • The Xbox game (made by Titus, the guys responsible for Superman 64) avertes this trope, however.
  • One exception grew from a game that followed the trope. A game was made out of The Goonies in Japan. It involved levels that followed the plot but was a rather uninspired platformer that involved Mikey doing kung fu kicks and other assorted silliness. Konami (the game's producer) didn't even try bringing it over (although it did appear in arcades in the U.S. on Nintendo's vs. arcade cabinets). However, it did well enough in Japan that they produced a sequel, and The Goonies II did end up being released in the US, and the action/adventure gameplay proved quite popular.
  • The Fast and the Furious arcade games from Raw Thrills are good dumb fun, just like the movie of the same name. The latest game, Fast and the Furious Drift, has some pretty interesting track designs as well. The home port of the original F&F game, though, qualifies as a Porting Disaster. Midway couldn't even get the movie license, so they used the Cruis'n name instead, which makes sense considering that the F&F games are pretty much Cruis'n with an F&F skin.
  • Days of Thunder. On the iPhone. Once you get past the fact that this is an iPhone game released in 2009 that's based on a movie released in 1990, you'll find it to be pretty good. The developers at Freeverse followed up with an iPhone game based on that other classic Tom Cruise movie, Top Gun, and came up with a pretty good After Burner clone that uses the license quite well.
    • There were licensed versions released for 8 and 16 bit computers back in 1990 too. Unfortunately, they weren't particularly well-received.
  • The Witcher (based on novels by Andrzej Sapkowski). Despite numerous bugs in the first version, the game is actually quite good.
    • And after having the bugs fixed and gameplay improved for the enhanced edition, it is very good indeed. Patch 1.5 and the Director's Cut patch just add more to the goodness. Oh Yeah!
      • The Director's Cut and special edition changes being free downloads to owners of the original helped too.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd himself admitted that the Ghostbusters game for Sega Genesis was actually quite good... although it wasn't based on any one movie, despite a Boss Battle with the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
    • The 2009 Ghostbusters game by Terminal Reality has received excellent praise. James Rolfe gave it a generous review As Himself rather than in the Nerd persona, telling the Nerd that his intervention is not needed since the game was neither old nor shitty). It is essentially Ghostbusters 3, as it features the original actors reprising their roles, and was written by the original staff.
    • The Hal version of Ghostbusters II for the NES (titled New Ghostbusters II) is a remarkable improvement over the rather mediocre Activision games. Sadly, it only came out in Japan and Europe.
  • The Sega CD version of The Terminator, made by Virgin Interactive (the same people responsible for RoboCop vs. The Terminator and the Genesis Aladdin game), is quite decent. It even has an awesome Redbook audio soundtrack. The only notable blemish it has are its ultra-low quality video-captured live-action cutscenes taken from the movie.
    • Terminator 3: The Redemption was fairly well received, certainly better than the previous Terminator 3 games.
    • Terminator 2: The Arcade Game was a very enjoyable first-person shooter which benefited from simply being set in the Terminator universe and pretty ignoring the plot for the first half of the game.
    • Bethesda's First Person Shooters Terminator: Future Shock and SkyNET earned critical praise, though relatively little popularity.
  • Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! for the Game Boy Color is a cute, colorful game for small children, with a relaxed atmosphere, Virtual Paper Dolls, and a "dance creator" mini-game... And one of the most awesome Adventure Games released on a handheld system ever. With clever puzzles, huge worlds to explore, an expansive "Ham-Chat" dictionary to compile for Hundred-Percent Completion, and a heck of a lot of Extended Gameplay -- including said "Ham-Jam" dance game, which is mightily addictive in its own way -- it's exactly the sort of game that hardcore gamers would hail as a classic even today. You know, if it weren't for the Hamtaro license.
    • The Ham-Jam was a game in its own. You could use your Ham-Chat to dance, and since Ham-Chat also doubles as a language, you could make your own twists to songs, and with fifty-something words to choose from, you could spend all day doing this. The best part, after all this work, you could see your little Hamtaro dance to your own song, and with your own moves. You can watch an example here
    • Ham-Ham Heartbreak follows the same basic formula, right down to the Virtual Paper Dolls, the dance mini-game, and a couple of tracks. It's actually better than the first.
      • This is also the version where you get the hamster equivalent of Kefka. Seriously!.
    • All of the Hamtaro games have been considered great games, usually getting 7.5 or 8 scores in reviews. Of course, it does help that all the games were made by Nintendo first and Alpha Dream (responsible for the Mario & Luigi series) later! Nintendo really liked the whole concept of Hamtaro!
      • Nintendo apparently liked it to the point of actually listing the games in Super Smash Bros. Brawl's chronicle. (Then again, they also listed the Virtual Boy in the same section. Interpret that as you will.)
  • Konami's NES take on Bucky O'Hare was an incredibly well-made Mega Man-esque action/platform game.
    • Don't forget the arcade beat-em-up, which actually used the voices from the cartoon, and actually had you defeat KOMPLEX and save the Aniverse in the end...
  • Little Nemo the Dream Master, another Capcom classic, was good enough to create Adaptation Displacement, at least with NES-playing children who were too young to remember the 1905(!) newspaper comic and missed the anime film (which, confusingly, was released a year before the game in Japan, and was even the basis for the game in the first place, but was not released in America until two years after the game.)
    • Capcom also made a fun, albeit simplistic, arcade game of Little Nemo.
  • Yo Noid. Capcom somehow managed to make a game about The Domino's Pizza Noid and make it good (though the fact that it was concurrently developed with the Japanese Game Masked Ninja Hanamaru of which, Noid can be considered a great deal a localization of, helps). In fact, looking at all the other examples -- all the Disney licenses, Little Nemo, Willow, etc. -- perhaps the original rule should be amended to "licensed games are generally not very good, unless they were made for the NES by Capcom, in which case they're amazing."
  • Afro Samurai had a video game adaptation. It's definitely not going to win Game Of The Year, but it's also definitely a solid, fun beat-em-up.
  • You know what is really kind of fun? The Space Chimps Nintendo DS adaptation, the last game published by the Brash Entertainment, whose games otherwise belong to the other page. It has a nice little Lost Vikings vibe to it, as you need to use each of the chimps to solve puzzles. Not bad for a movie that really stunk.
  • Retro Game Challenge is the licensed game based on the Japanese show Game Center CX, which happens to be a show about Retro Gaming. Needless to say, a video game about video games based on a show about video games? How hard could it be to make one? Nintendo Hard apparently.
  • Michael Jordan's Chaos in the Windy City had bite-size Metroidvania levels before Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia ever did, and just as well.
  • Chaos Legion was a Nintendo Hard hack-n'-slash that received mostly mediocre reviews, but is generally favored by people that like repetitive hack-n'-slashers. It was based off some obscure japanese novel that nobody really knew about.
  • Small Soldiers Squad Commander was regarded as a rather good strategy game that was easy to play. Unfortunately, it got drowned out by its better-known multiplatform big brother, Small Soldiers (the video game). Which positively sucked!
  • Wanted: Weapons of Fate was delayed the better part of a year specifically so the developers could keep it from sucking. From most accounts, they did a pretty good job.
  • Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War was considered a generally fun Real Time Strategy game and was well received by the gaming press. The sequel looks to be pretty good as well.
    • Dawn of War has gained a reputation for enhancing the sales of Warhammer 40000 products because it was that much fun. Dark Crusade seems to have had the strongest impact. Relic is making Space Marine as well.
    • The Soul Storm expansion plays this straight, its loathed for its bugginess, unbalanced units and the loading time for the campaign screen has to be endured to be believed.
      • It's so bad the developers of the previous Dawn of War titles resorted to Lampshade Hanging via a character in Dawn of War 2.
    • Many people will be more familiar with the Dawn of War series of games moreso than 40k, to the point that some people will claim that the actual Table Top game is the licensed one.
  • Capcom's Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law video game is considered to be pretty good. It's a simple point-and-click adventure game but since the show's writers were heavily involved, it's twistedly hilarious. It helps that there was an existing series of humorous lawyer sims to base theirs on.
    • By the same company, no less.
  • While not a brilliant game, the video game of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a fun, gory hack-and-slash with well-working gameplay mechanics, plenty of fanservice, and expanded plot points. In fact, much like Ecks vs. Sever above, the game seems to be more well-received than the movie it's based off of! (As the developers worked on the also-very-well-received X Men Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, the two most recent titles in the Star Wars Dark Forces Saga and Star Trek: Elite Force (mentioned above), this may not actually be surprising.)
    • There's also the X Men Legends series, a very solid Action RPG which gameplay consists of various mutant super power that just beg you to Gotta Catch Them All and spend a long time experimenting each one of them. The possibilities in these games are just endless, not to mention a pretty interesting story.
    • Other good X-Men games include the 90's arcade beat-em-up made by Konami (which allowed up to six players at once on some versions) and the two platformers released on the Sega Genesis.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, based on the Old World of Darkness, was critically lauded and was incredibly faithful to its source material... It was also, unfortunately, buggy as all heck. Reviews would spend a full page detailing the bugs and how unpleasant they were.. but end with "But forget everything I just said and buy this game."
    • And the sheer array of patches made available since (some of which merely fix the bugs and some of which also reincorporate Dummied Out content) make even this argument moot.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online massively multiplayer game is quite good.
    • Which may in itself be something that averts this and then some. Although Turbine obviously chose their release title to capitalize on the movie trilogy, the original name (Middle-Earth Online) was far more fitting to the scope, if not the detail the game goes into. Very little of the player's experience surrounds the plot of Lord of the Rings, but rather, as much of Tolkien's work as they can possibly get away with - even to the point of using alternate names for places or NPCs they depict, where their licence limitations come into play.
    • As is the The Battle For Middle Earth series.
  • Several games based on the Asterix franchise fall into the "bad" camp but there are also several partial or complete exceptions.
    • The arcade beat-em-up by Konami, developers of the above-mentioned The Simpsons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade games, is on par with the high quality of the games the company published in the early 1990s.
    • The Master System and Game Gear games developed by Sega are excellent, if unoriginal, platformers that also allow for some variations in levels, depending on your choice of the Gaul to play.
    • Opinions are mixed about Asterix and Obelix for the SNES (whose GB/GBA version is considered better by some) but it's generally not considered a bad game.
    • Same goes for the first Asterix & Obelix XXL: while it feels unpolished and incomplete, and gets very repetitive in later levels, the core gameplay is quite fun.
    • The quality of portable version of XXL is contested as well, but the technical effort put in it is undeniable: fully 3D worlds, awesome music and great pre-rendered graphics, and it's on the GBA!
    • Asterix & Obelix XXL 2: Mission Las Vegum is a surprisingly fun Action Adventure with a liberal helping of the comic books' humor, refined gameplay and a fun setting, with every scene and location jam-packed with shout-outs to other video game franchises.
    • Asterix at the Olympic Games doesn't reach the same levels as the above, if only because it's incredibly short, and the Olympic Mode doesn't add much. However, the main Action Adventure part is still solid, and it's still better than the movie (with which it ties very bizarrely, like they wanted to distance it as much as they could).
    • After a string of mediocre cellphone games by In Fusio, Asterix & Obelix encounter Cleopatra by Gameloft is a big step up, with great graphics and traditional platformer levels alternated by top-view ones.
  • Transformers:
    • While the other Transformers games were the predictable trash mentioned in the other page, the PS2 game by Melbourne House, based on Transformers Armada, is widely considered the best Transformers game ever by both fans and critics (or at least, it was). Impressive graphics, decent controls, expansive stages, enemies that were pretty damn smart, and nice extras.
    • To a lesser extent, the multiplayer portion of the Revenge of the Fallen game. While the single-player campaign falls into the predictable trash, the multiplayer will keep you entertained for a while especially.
    • Unless you're a Gamespot reviewer working on the Four Point Scale, Transformers: War for Cybertron is a solid third-person shooter that gives a good back story for the franchise and has a fun, customizable, class-based multiplayer mode.
    • Unsurprisingly, the same developer has been handed the tie-in of Dark of the Moon. Reviews are fairly positive, although it is definately inferior to Transformers: War for Cybertron it's still a solid game.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth had an RPG adaptation on the Saturn, which is a fairly good examples of the genre (ignoring the deplorable voice acting in the US version). It also had an unrelated SNES game which suffers from a major case of Your Mileage May Vary.
  • The first The Chronicles of Narnia game is a fun little adventure game with a fairly deep combat system and pretty good graphics. The second game isn't quite as good, but it's still okay.
  • The makers of Beavis and Butthead In: Virtual Stupidity were explicitly told that they could rush a crap game out the door since it would sell anyway. Their response: "Uh, no." They proceeded to make one of the finest point and click adventure games ever.
    • The Sega Genesis game isn't too bad neither.
  • There's a little-known Japanese-horror movie named Sweet Home, released in the eighties, who had also a videogame adaptation by Capcom for the NES and released together with the movie. The movie even starts with a commercial for the game, so you'd think they both suck, right? WRONG: while the movie is a little Narmish but still has a cool story and gives a few good chills as well, the game is a terrific RPG that loosely follows the movie plot, breaks many traditions of the genre (for example you can't raise characters' defense, you have very few ways to restore health and you can't revive those who die) and is absolutely TERRIFYING, so much that some of the game elements were recycled in another series... its name? Resident Evil. Now you know who's to blame for the creaky doors and the item management.
  • The videogame adaption of the 2004 film King Arthur is actually a decent action-game (when you play co-op), just a bit repetive and you have to have seen the film to get the plot.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd's Angry Videogame is a Nintendo Hard Affectionate Parody of NES-era licensed games, but the high point is the original commentary courtesy the Nerd himself.

  AVGN: They made a game of me? What were they thinking?

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum. It's not based on any particular Batman canon, but the promises of a free-flowing combat system, a detective mode to see the world how Batman sees it, incredible amounts of fanservice for longtime fans, and writers and voice actors from the animated series joining the team built up the hype to almost absurd levels -- and it more than delivered those features. By most accounts, not only does this game manage to be a good game that also stars Batman, it perfectly captures what it's like to be Batman: doing detective work, playing around with Batman's gadgets, stalking criminals from the shadows and pummeling bad guys, all gelling into a wonderful, cohesive experience. It's the highest ranking superhero game as of now, with a 91% on Game Rankings and a Guinness Record for "Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever".
    • Other Batman games are a bit choppier. Batman: The Movie is considered to be one of the finest NES games out there, Batman Returns was a decent if generic beat-em-up, Return of the Joker, while flawed and ridiculously over-the-top difficult, was still a good game, The Adventures of Batman and Robin was varied and interesting, Batman Forever was the kind of junk that gave Acclaim Entertainment such a bad name, Batman and Robin is near the film in quality, Batman Vengance is regarded as pretty good, Batman Dark Tomorrow had excellent cutscenes, stayed close to the comics, and features the first (and often only) non-comics appearances of many characters, but otherwise blew chunks in every category, and Lego Batman is mentioned above.
      • Just to expand on some of the other Batman games mentioned above. The Batman Returns game was generally well received amongst fans (in particular the SNES version which was made by Konami which was a very good beat-em-up that evoked the feel of the movie by showing actual screenshots from the film along with music also from the film). On that note it should be noted that The Adventures of Batman and Robin games were varied more by the different versions than by the games themselves. The SNES version is by far the most positively received version (again made by Konami which evokes the feel of the animated series in terms of good graphics, solid gameplay and music very reminiscent of the animated series). The Sega Genesis version is a lot more varied and has mixed reviews. The game is notorious for being extremely difficult and the music bears no resemblance to the animated series and is extremely different in tone and style (although it should be noted that the music is well received amongst certain fans). Batman Vengeance is regarded more as a just above average game particularly as the aforementioned Adventures of Batman and Robin games were better received.
      • The Sega Genesis release of Batman: The Movie is also very good, with awesome music, decent gameplay, and a reasonable difficulty curve as well as sticking very close to the film.
  • Batman: Arkham City follows up its predecessor but actually dethrones it as the greatest comic book and superhero game in history. It's much bigger without being overwhelming, has a darker story (in a good way), has even more fanservice, spectacular voice acting with maybe a career best for Mark Hamill, and so many more options. It also made me take the Penguin seriously as a villain as he is a truly sick motherfucker in this game and at the end of the day, it's just so much fun to be the Bat.
    • It can and has been said that calling it the best comic-based game or licensed game is to grossly undersell it, when it can easily be considered to be one of the best video games of all time
  • Legend Entertainment's Death Gate is one of the best adventure games ever made. The story, the voices, the characters... but also the puzzles. Destroying a magical double by casting a mirror image of the "self immolation" spell to trick the double into casting the REAL self immolation spell? A-W-E-S-O-M-E. And with the exception of two or three infuriating Moon Logic Puzzles (and even these were clever) the whole game is awesome like that.
  • The Interactive Fiction The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game was quite good (though often insultingly difficult), thanks to Douglas Adams's involvement.
  • Similarly, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, where Harlan Ellison not only wrote the expanded story, but also provided the voice of AM for the game - and did a surprisingly good job at both!
  • Interplay's 1991 Lord of the Rings game was quite a nice Ultima-style RPG, managing to make up additions to the game that actually fit the Tolkien world. (Such as shops in and around the Shire that were owned by a "Sharkey", or meeting one of the rangers that Aragorn sets to watch the Shire)
  • Most people who played Parasite Eve were unaware that it was a sequel to a novel that was also adapted into a Japanese movie.
    • It gets better. It was basically a tech demo for the cutscenes used in Final Fantasy VIII, but it wound up proving itself a very good game, making it the beta for another licensed series.
  • The Bourne Conspiracy isn't exactly a standout game, but it's fun enough to keep you entertained for a weekend or so. The creators seemed to be very well aware of this trope as though the plot is directly taken from the first movie with a few additions in flashback missions, the title is different and it is called "Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy" tying it more to the novels, though it bares no resemblance to them at all.
  • I dare say a few One Piece games, such as Grand Battle as well as Grand Adventure. The fighting is addictively fun.
    • And those aren't the only ones. While most One Piece games haven't seen a release overseas, they're genuinely fun to play regardless, ranging from role-playing games, mini-game mashups, and even a dungeon crawler with Tony Tony Chopper as the main character is on the Wonderswan Color.
    • Additionally, Unlimited Adventure was a pretty good Survival RPG/Beat 'em Up, with it's own unique level up and item creation systems.
    • And Unlimited Cruise (1 and 2) isn't just a good licensed game, it's a good game overall, with ratings ranging from 7 to 10.
  • As mentioned above, there have been numerous good games based on One Piece, Naruto and Dragon Ball...so what happens when you roll them all into one? Why, you get Battle Stadium D.O.N., a simple Shonen Jump-endorsed Mascot Fighter that's a lot of fun to bust out with a few friends...but only in Japan!
    • Don't mention the game in front of Jump Ultimate Stars players, though.
  • Below the Root for the Commodore 64 and Apple II is another example of a book-based game done right. It's a very inventive adventure game with a lot of features that were unique for its time but are taken for granted in modern CRPGs, including a choice as to the age, sex, and race of avatar, the NPCs reacting differently to you based on the age and race of your avatar, and certain game mechanics behaving differently based on your avatar. The game was good enough that a lot of people who played it didn't realize it was originally based on a series of books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, incorporating plot points, characters, locations and abilities from the books into a new story that could stand on its own. Even better? It was probably the first licensed game that was considered Canon for the material it was based on.
    • The same publishers came out with a brilliant The Wonderful Wizard of Oz text adventure that incorporated virtually all of the first book, about two-thirds of the second book, and a Shout-Out to the third. Seeing as the book is much less known than the movie, and the later books are even more obscure, they mixed and matched elements to present some clever challenges. Their Alice in Wonderland adaptation (from 1985) also used a highly-primitive version of DialogueTrees to interact with the Wonderland residents.
  • Most of the Sailor Moon video games are either fun-but-mediocre or downright bad. Sailor Moon Another Story for the SNES, however, is a genuinely engaging RPG that manages to seamlessly meld the continuities of the anime and manga. It's horrendously easy, but there's such great attention to detail in terms of characters and settings that you can't help but not care.
    • The arcade beat 'em up is also great; the sprites are amazing and executing a special attack yields an animation plus voice acting of a Senshi performing said attack.
    • The RPG also had voice acting for every one of the Senshi's special attacks that appeared in the anime to that point in the series and a few that were from the manga. Considering it was a SNES game it was rather decent.
  • RIZ-ZOAWD, oh RIZ-ZOAWD! The 2D sidescroller based on the Wizard of Oz movie for SNES may have been bad; but the loosely adapted RPG for Nintendo DS, made by Media.Vision Entertainment (best known for the Wild Arms series), is truly an enjoyable RPG for everybody. And let's not get started on the music.
    • Would later be released outside of Japan as The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Fans may remember a little game called Sheep, Dog & Wolf quite fondly (also known as Sheep Raider in some regions), and for good reason: The game was a surprisingly creative stealth game with memorable gadgets (including one that allows you to travel through time) and funny expository dialogue from Daffy Duck.
    • Sunsoft produced several excellent licensed Looney Tunes games for the SNES: Road Runner's Death Valley Rally was an entire game-long reference to nearly every classic Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote short ever, Daffy Duck in The Marvin Missions referenced the Duck Dodgers original cartoons (as well as Marvin's appearances in some Bugs Bunny shorts), and Bugs Bunny's Rabbit Rampage managed to combine references of dozens of Bugs cartoons, from "Bully For Bugs" to "Bunny Hugged", in an overarching plot in which an animator clearly out to get Bugs turns out to be Daffy attempting to get revenge for "Duck Amuck."
    • Bugs Bunny Lost in Time on the PS1 is actually a pretty fun game. It's spiritual successor, Bugs and Taz: Timebusters, wasn't too shabby either.
    • Looney Tunes Collector: Alert!/Martian Alert! and Marvin Strikes Back!/Looney Tunes Collector: Martian Revenge! for the GBC were great Zelda-esque Looney Tunes games faithful to the style of the show with many of the characters from the show in them and the games are very fun.
  • Depending on who you ask, the early 90's platform games based on McDonald's characters are usually considered pretty good:
    • M.C. Kids was an NES platformer that even The Angry Video Game Nerd admitted in his review was alright.
    • The Genesis/Mega Drive sequel Global Gladiators was highly praised in reviews at the time.
    • Another Genesis release, McDonald's Treasureland Adventures, was developed by Treasure, and featured many elements used in Dynamite Headdy and Gunstar Heroes.
    • Donald Land, released earlier in Japan only, has nicely varied mechanics and very good graphics for the NES/Famicom.
  • The Punisher game from 2004 was fairly well-received as a decent-to-good third-person shooter which made good use of the license; with all the brutality and gunplay you'd want from a Punisher game. Notably, Garth Ennis, largely considered the definitive Punisher scribe, wrote the story of the game, and Thomas Jane, who starred in the 2004 movie adaption, voiced the main character. A more recent PSN game has not fared as well.
    • Not to mention the excellent arcade beat'em up by Capcom.
  • Though hardly 5-star games, the 16-bit Jurassic Park games avoided this. Notably, the Genesis version allowed the player to play as a raptor, and the SNES version, though principally presented in overhead isometric veiw, included some of the earliest FPS play (it was released only MONTHS after Doom.) If only there'd been more then 2 dinosaurs in the FPS levels...
  • While pretty much every single Shaman King game ranged from "awful" to "passable", Shaman King: Master of Spirits for the GBA is a fun, addictive Metroidvania-style game with great gameplay, great graphics and a fun little original plot; the producers were obviously careful when making the game, as they inserted both manga-only characters/spirits and anime-only characters/spirits. The game is great for long-time fans and newcomers alike, complete recommendation. The sequel, Master of Spirits 2, was not as loved due to reusing almost every single boss from the first game, but had more spirits and new stages, and is also worth checking.
  • Tales of Phantasia was actually based on a novel (Albeit unpublished) called "Tale Phantasia".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the Xbox is a suprisingly good little title. Most other games within the franchise range from mediocre to abysmal.
    • BtVS: Chaos Bleed was well received by fans, it featured the voices of most of the cast, minus SMG who by this point had divorced herself from the series and Alyson Hannigan who was unavailable at the time. It featured excellent gameplay and a good overall story arc since it was scripted by the main show writers and based on a lost episode of the series itself.
  • John Woo Presents: Stranglehold is a fun, gory and Stylish Third-Person Shooter that plays just like an interactive John Woo movie. In fact, both John Woo and Chow Yun Fat (Who plays Inspector Tequila.) collaborated in the making of this game, which takes place after the event of their movie Hard Boiled; the game is essentially Hard Boiled: Part 2. And the next movie they're making will follow the plotline of Stranglehold!
  • Among Kamen Rider fans, licensed games in the franchise that avoided crappiness include the SNES beat-em-up of the original series, the Kamen Rider Kabuto fighter on the Playstation 2, and Kamen Rider Climax Heroes (and by proxy, the game of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight).
  • Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness by Hothead Games (and now being continued by Zeboyd Games), which short, has been surprisingly well-received by critics and fans alike, as it retains the art style and much of the humor from the webcomic that it's based on.
  • Die Hard has had a few games worth mentioning that avoided suckiness:
  • Most Olympic games are unremarkable at best, until Mario and Sonic At The Olympic Games, despite the Critical Dissonance.
  • Aliens has a recent decent arcade game (which was created by Konami) where you got to play as either Ellen Ripley or Dwayne Hicks, though for whatever reason Ripley was a blonde in this version. And for some strange reason there were also Pink Xenomorphs.
  • Magi Nation was an RPG based off of the card game of the same name. Despite being Nintendo Hard, it was still highly playable.
  • Oddly enough, the SNES adaptation of Alien 3 was a surprisingly enjoyable and atmospheric action-adventure game - something like a non-linear version of Contra - with a fine musical score.
    • Its Sega Genesis counterpart is also good, with many people preferring it gameplay-wise. It trades exploration for more fast-paced arcade action.
  • While Avatar has its problems (namely repetitive gameplay, bad graphics, a rather weak storyline that contradicts film canon, and somewhat odd controls in places), it is generally a pretty fun game that looks great, has a good atmosphere, and allows you to side with either the Na'vi or RDA, supporting those who wanted the humans to win in the movie. And for those interested in the film's lore, the game also has quite a bit of interesting tidbits on the planet Pandora and its flora and fauna.
  • The game Inuyasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask while not very spectacular, is a pretty fun RPG.
    • Similarly, Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale is a pretty good fighter, only a better soundtrack and more characters away from being exceptional.
  • The Mummy for Game Boy Color. a decent puzzle/adventure game, but where it really shines is the atmosphere and the soundtrack. developed by Konami and likely a few Castlevania programmers as well.
  • Shrek 2 for the 6th gen consoles was a decently enjoyable 3D beat-em-up-style game with a 4-player co-op mode (By Gamefaqs it got a 6.3 on GCN, 7.2 on PS2 and a 5.6 on Xbox).
  • Phantom 2040 for the Super Nintendo proves to be an interesting Metroid-style game that actually has several different possible paths, choices, and endings, lending a lot of depth that's not even seen in the Metroid series itself. Add some catchy music and a nifty "list of things you should know" at the Phantom's base and it proves to be quite fun.
  • Nightmare Ned is fondly remembered by some who grew up in the '90s, often without realizing it was based on a one-season show.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Battle of Aces won't win any game of the year awards, but it's a fun 3D fighter nevertheless. Pity about the lack of playable Arf or Yuuno...
  • Robotech: The Macross Saga for the Gameboy Advanced is an OK shmup. You can switch between Jet, Guardian, and Battloid modes, each of which has it's own individual advantages (The jet is fast, but fires slowly, Guardian mode is slower, but fires faster and can touch the ground, and Battloid mode moves very slow, but can fire quickly in all directions.)
    • Robotech Battlecry got generally favorable reviews, if I recall. While far from perfect, it is a decent and fun game. Also, the Macross series has seen a number of passable to good Japanese releases. Scrambled Valkyrie for the Super Famicom comes to mind.
  • Street Fighter the Movie. The arcade game is utter crap that belongs to the bad category. The home version? It has the same awkward graphics, but there's a twist. It essentially lifts its engine from Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and as such is a pretty decent fighter.
  • While Digimon did start out as a Virtual Pet Spear Counterpart of the Tamagotchi, it still technically counts for the various Digimon games. While the quality can vary and the Pokémon games are usually better, the Digimon games are usually enjoyable titles, which vary from RPGs (of various types), to fighting games (mostly Super Smash Brothers clones), a GBA racer, and a couple of MMORPGs, and even tactical RPGs. Unfortunately, a good number of these games were released on the Bandai Wonder Swan and thus suffer from No Export for You, especially the ones starring Ryo Akiyama, which resulted in some confusion when he turned up in Digimon Tamers and joined the main cast.
  • Snoopy vs. the Red Baron proved to be a competent enough flight sim with respectable use of the Peanuts license. Its sequel, Snoopy Flying Ace, went on to be praised for having exceptional multiplayer and was even labeled "the best dogfighting game of this console generation" in its IGN review.
  • Cars, for PS2, GameCube, and Xbox, was a Wide Open Sandbox game that let you explore a lot of settings from the movie. It's also a racing game, of course. Not to mention nearly every major character in the game is playable and customizable. It was also a sequel of sorts, rather than a direct adaptation, and it got suprisingly good reviews.
  • When Spike TV announced an Xbox Live Arcade game based on their show Deadliest Warrior, everyone expected it to suck. What we got was a fun fighting game that reminded some people of the PS One-era classic Bushido Blade, but with pirates and Spartans.
  • There were two licensed games based on the 2010 Alice in Wonderland movie. The Wii version (3D action adventure) got fairly average reviews, but the DS version (2D platformer with puzzle elements) was hailed by many critics as an aversion of this trope. It also had absolutely nothing to do with the film.
  • Lupin III: Treasure of the Sorcerer King was the only Lupin game to reach America. It's also a decent Metal Gear Solid wannabe. Sure the controls were wonky and enemy AI was crappy. But fans liked the use of the Geneon cast, the kickass music, the ability to play as Jigen & Goemon and the writing was good, too.
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs The World managed to do pretty well, with the lowest score being 6.5 by Gamespot. It was very much helped by the fact that Anamanaguchi did the music.
  • All four Mechwarrior games are considered classics. Well, maybe not the first one.
  • If Japan-only games can count, Super Back to The Future Part II for Super Famicom is a decent platformer that actually caused the AVGN to have a sigh of relief.
    • Speaking of Back to the Future, Telltale's offering based upon the series is an amazing game which features the voice talents of Christopher Lloyd and a guy named A.J. LoCascio, whose Marty McFly impersonation is spot-on. In addition, the story and dialogue were written by Bob Gale himself, and they even managed to get Michael J. Fox to cameo in the final episode!
  • Ukrainian game studio 4A Games made Metro 2033, an XB 360 and PC shooter based on the ridiculously popular (in Russia) online novel of the same name. The game itself is actually beyond "decent", crossing over into the "downright good" category.
    • 4A Games are now working on a sequel, Metro: Last Light, which has branched off into its own continuity and will be written by the author of the original novel! Judging by the gameplay footage released so far, it looks like it's ironing out all the flaws of the original and introducing more metro-related lore and an advanced stealth system.
  • The Def Jam Series. The first game, Vendetta was a pretty good wrestler with some attitude. The second game, Fight for NY, was an utterly stellar fighter that got rave reviews across the board and was one of the first to have a character creation system that didn't suck. The third game, Icon was...mediocre at best, but it shut down EA Chicago and caused the license to go to the wind.
  • The 16-bit Power Rangers games all tended to be pretty well made with good graphics, fun beat-em-up gameplay, and catchy original music.
  • Darkened Skye for the Gamecube and PC could go in either category, really, but we'll put it here because we're generous. An advergame for Skittles with box art that does a surprisingly good job of obfuscating the fact that it was an advergame (clearly the marketing department didn't expect people to actually be interested in it on it's own merits, because it reveals almost nothing about the game, period). The pros: Genuinely funny writing and reasonably decent graphics given the time and circumstances. The cons: If the gameplay is any indicator, the programming team was just the writing team in front of a different set of computers.
  • The Blair Witch Project games are all quite good. The first thing they do right is that they do not try to adapt the premise of helpless kids lost in the woods. Each of the three games deals with a certain time period in the backstory, with protagonists who are quite capable of defending themselves (an operative of a secret government agency, a Civil War soldier and a witch hunter) and come to understand a fair bit of what is going on.
  • The Dreamcast Wacky Races game was a pretty competent Mario Kart clone featuring a ton of tracks and modes, as well as capturing the humor of the original show. Moreover, while most of the characters were voiced by sound alikes, two of them were voiced by the original actors[2].
  • Doki Doki Panic also qualifies, being a tie-in for Fuji Television's Yume Kōjō event (the Arabian family came from said event). Considering how Super Mario Bros 2 was received, it's no wonder why Nintendo decided to adopt the Dolled-Up Installment and release in Japan later as Super Mario USA.
  • The War Games licensed game by Coleco (originally released for the Colecovision) was fairly well received.
  • Godzilla: Unleashed for the Nintendo Wii and Playstation 2. Like it's predacessors (Godzilla: Save The Earth and Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee), it's a simple yet fun beat-em-up game where you get to do what anyone would want to do in a Godzilla game-smash buildings and fight other monsters.
    • Heck, even The Angry Video Game Nerd pointed out that those were the kind of Godzilla games he wanted to play as a kid instead of the mediocre games he ended up with for the old school Nintendo.
    • Likewise, there was a pretty decent Godzilla fighting game released for the Super Nintendo. Unfortunately, it was only released in Japan.
  • 2000 AD titles Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper had a decent first and third person shooter respectively. Probably helps that the comic is owned by a video game company.
  • Even though Superman has had his fair share of bad games, the 1988 Superman arcade game by Taito, and The Death and Return of Superman for both the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis are both pretty sweet.
    • Sunsoft's NES game Sunman would've been an aversion as well had they not lost the license... and had the end result been released.
  • Despite the SNES Ultraman being rather poorly recieved, the Ultraman Fighting Evolution series by Banpresto has been praised by fans and non-fans alike for their great fighting dynamics and loads of characters from the franchise.
  • The Violinist of Hameln has a Super Famicom release (yes, it's Japan-exclusive), and it's actually quite good. One notable mechanic is Flute's ability to don costumes in order to help her and Hamel cross obstacles like Spikes of Doom. You can also throw Flute at your enemies if you don't want to kill them with musical notes instead.
  • The Rango video game has easy controls, pretty good graphics for a movie-licensed game (it actually looks closely identical to the film, and that is because the film has a short live-action segment!), and rather than awkwardly repeat the story from the film, uses a new plot and almost feels like a sequel to the film.
    • The DS version of the game, however, falls firmly into the former list.
  • Captain America and The Avengers is a surprisingly good side-scrolling arcade Beat'Em Up, later converted to consoles. Not a brilliant game by any means, and sometimes ridiculously difficult (not a big problem if you had enough quarters, but on consoles... lose all your lives? Too bad, you start from level one), but fun in any case.
  • Scooby Doo! Night Of 100 Frights. It's a game based off the classic series, and they didn't play around. The cutscenes and dialogue are like something out of the series, it appears to be set in the 70s, its full of Crowning Music of Awesome, and it overall keeps very true to the cartoon. The voices are spot on, the new characters fit well into the series, and it even has a Laugh Track like the cartoons. It has few, if any, relations to the newer incarnations of the series; it's just a throwback game, complete with numerous monsters from the classic cartoon. The camera angles may be a bit sloppy at times, and it may be a bit hard to jump around at times, but overall its a great game; not to forget it has some cute Holiday Mode features.
  • Tecmo's Captain Tsubasa (Tecmo Cup Soccer Game) has great scores on Game FAQs and are really enjoyable for mixing soccer and RPG style gameplay together. The sequels, Captain Tsubasa 2-5, are even better as Tecmo developed orginal plots and opponent teams. Other Captain Tsubasa games created by Konami or Bandai can't match Tecmo's greatness unless they use the simillar system Tecmo used. But of course, Konami and Bandai's versions are still criticized because they tend to follow the anime and manga adaptions without coming up with original plots and characters.
    • Konami's Captain Tsubasa J: Get to Tomorrow plays like a normal soccer games with an addition of super moves feature. It's decent.
  • The Great Gatsby's Japanese NES adaption of Doki Doki Toshokan: Gatsby no Monogatari is a platformer of madness featuring Nick Carraway fighting through hordes of waiters, hobos, dancing girls, ghosts, and the gaint eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg with his boomerang hat to get to the American Dream. Players has found it addictive and Better Than It Sounds. Online playing site can be found here.
  • The A Series of Unfortunate Events game. It's incredibly fun, it features some of the best lip-sinc seen in a licensed game, the voice acting is phenomenal, and its overall a rather good game.
  • Would you believe that there's a Home Alone game that fits here? Well, there is, for the Amiga and DOS. Let's see... good graphics and music for the time (1991)? Check, especially for the PC version. Fun gameplay? Yep. Oh, and to top it all off, the PC version has a Good Bad Bug that allows Kevin to fly.
  • Urusei Yatsura: Dear My Friends, a point-and-click Adventure Game for the Sega CD by Game Arts, greatly impressed anime fans, at least those with passing knowledge of spoken and written Japanese.
  • The Doctor Who Adventure Games for PC seem to be getting fairly decent reviews. Not bad for a series of freebies.
  • The Army of Darkness iPhone game is a rather fun tower defense game, and has fairly good reviews on iTunes.
  • Konami released two games in Japan based on the fifth chapter of Osamu Tezuka's manga Hi no Tori. While the Famicom game, subtitled Gaou no Bouken, was a mediocre platformer, the MSX2 game was a Vertical Scrolling Shooter which intriguingly defied the linearity typical of the genre.
  • The Gregory Horror Show game for the PS2 is a great and fun stealth/puzzle game. Sadly, it is Europe-only, though.
  • Angry Birds: Rio and Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots take the base games and add on some significant features, to the point where, even without seeing the movies, these games are easily acceptable as sequels to the originals.
  • While Captain America: Super Soldier, a game based on Captain America: The First Avenger is nothing more but a blatant clone of Batman: Arkham Asylum, the game itself isn't that really all that bad, and the satisfaction of wielding the Mighty Shield and kicking some HYDRA ass is as awesome as it sounds.
  • Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage (Also know as Hokuto Musou back in Japan), is a very solid "One-Man Army" kind of beat 'em up not unlike Dinasty Warriors. The creators of the original series were deeply involved with the creation of the game, not simply copying and pasting the story of the manga, but repurposing it so it could work in a video game. If you want to know the story of Fist Of The North Star and doesn't want to brave the Archive Panic, then this game is definitely worth checking out.
  • Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy: The Mis-Edventures is a respectable game adaptation of the series, perfectly capturing the look, feel and humor of the show, and throwing it all into an enjoyable, if short, platformer.
  • Zillion, a fairly good Metroid-like game for the Sega Master System, was loosely based on an anime. It only barely counts as a licensed game, since the anime was co-produced by Sega and was made to promote a Sega toy (which not coincidentally resembles the Light Phaser).
  • Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion is a good Super Smash Bros-like game with many different playable CN characters. It is not without its flaws, however.
  • There exists a Felix the Cat video game for the NES and Game Boy, and both happen to be surprisingly enjoyable Mario clones, with fun gameplay and appealing graphics and music.
  • The Famicom Platform Game based on Mitsume ga Tooru, with highly colorful graphics resembling Jackie Chans Action Kung Fu.
  • Poker Night At the Inventory, a Crossover poker game between Sam and Max Freelance Police, Team Fortress 2, Homestar Runner, and Penny Arcade, and the dialogue is even written by the Penny Arcade creators themselves. It's awesome.

Notes

  1. thankfully, not that kind
  2. John Stephenson as Luke; Janet Waldo as Penelope Pitstop
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