10 NES Games Based on Popular Movies

Retro Gaming With the Good, the Bad, and the Downright Horrible

Donkey Kong
Nintendo Entertainment System was on the top of the console wars, and multiple software companies vied for a slice of the consumer gaming pie. NES was built on a solid platform of Mario and company, but film studios saw opportunity and smelled cash with tie-in sales of video games based on movies. Though nothing compared to the interactive and graphic enhanced offerings today, the NES games offered gamers an option to play - somewhat - within the movies they loved.

Data East's 1989 release of the Robocop video game for NES played it safe with a violent cop scenario, letting him defend the city against anything that crossed his path - dogs, joggers, and criminals. The game made available break away mini games, where Robocop could hone his shooting skills in an arcade style shooting range between eliminating bad guys.

The Untouchables
Though static in many ways, Ocean of America's 1992 release of the Untouchables video game brought the first active player controlled ability to cover from enemy fire by allowing players to duck into alleyways and pop back out to return fire. Pretty cool, and for a retro gamer, a must have experience.

The Blues Brothers
Titus Software's 1991 release of The Blues Brothers, 11 years after the film saw theaters, updates the classic film with cartoon versions of Jake and Elwood completing Mario and Donkey Kong-like mazes to the soundtrack of classic Blues Brothers hits translated via Casio keyboard.

Dirty Harry
This 1990 release from Grey Matter Inc. goes an extra step beyond the simple shoot-em up antics of similar productions by utilizing a little actual voice over work from Clint Eastwood himself. You know the line, 'Do you feel lucky, punk?' The voice is great, but the game remained simple with predictable game play and stiff aiming capabilities. Harry must line up in 90 and 45 degree angles to off the bad guys.

Conan the Barbarian
The Governator's success with the Conan film didn't translate to the video game console well, with awkward play and overly complicated button combinations for even the most simple of tasks. The game drags as well, with seemingly endless parades of bad guy skeletons and gargoyles with little indicator of progress.

The Terminator
Instead of playing hunter-killer Terminator, you are in fact Kyle Reese, slipping from a violent future to return and save Sarah Connor. A creative spin away from the expected plot line makes this game surprisingly entertaining and playable.

Total Recall
Rounding out the trifecta of NES games based on Arnold flicks is this 1990 offering from Aklaim. The game play was put together with decent graphics, but the storyline had Arnold beating up scary bad guys, but running from rodents and steam barriers.

Die Hard
John McClain rides again in this 1991 Activision release. With some questionable physics, including John's ability to outrun machine gun bullets, the game still comes out as a fun play as it is packed with detailed shooting scenes drawn quite well from the film. Activision based the top down play and controls on Gauntlet, with maze walls replaced with cubical land. Lighting is an issue, but after all, the Nakatomi Building was under lock down, so chalk it up to realism.

Oliver Stone's Platoon may have been an Academy Award winner, but the NES platform game version of Platoon is arguably one of the most aggravating and frustrating shooting games that came out at the time. Enemy spawn rates coupled with a confusing side to side navigation of jungle hedges as mazes made many players toss the cartridge on the do not bother pile fairly quickly.

Replete with pop up briefing screens to assign missions, Rambo was actually an engaging game for its time, mostly likely for its similarity to the wildly popular game, Contra. Though eventually Rambo does get to engage the enemy, the first few levels deal primarily with a ridiculous amount of snakes, bats, spiders, and jaguars. With limited graphics designs, a nod must be made to the designers for getting Sylvester Stallone's profile accurate in the cut away scenes.