Licensed video games, were they ever really that bad?

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ZekeDunbar51-11

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#1  Edited By ZekeDunbar51-11

Sure, for every, say, Alien Resurrection or Spider-Man 2 we also got something like Superman Returns for the DS. But even the more mediocre games, like Iron Man, aren't even all that bad, they just aren't what any of us wanted as a kid under the tree compared to other stuff so we all saw them as bad is the way I see it, or they were too easy. Some of my favorite games are licensed games, Alien vs Predator 2010, Friday The 13th, The Punisher, pretty much all of the 3D Transformers games, Chronicles Of Riddick, and of course Arkham.

I think some of these games are even better as an adult precisely BECAUSE they're on the shorter side, so as a kind of pop culture nerd that would rather be watching a movie or show in my spare time then playing something like Far Cry with a bunch of tedium, these games are a sight for sore eyes and serve double duty. Sadly the idea that these games were bad as well as stipulations with rights meant that they didn't have as much focus on getting official preservation, and many, many of them (mostly the Marvel games), like, for instance, X-Men Origins Wolverine, had alternate versions for DS, PSP, and PS2 as well as the mainline one that were all essentially completely different games, giving some of these properties even more intrigue to look back on.

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Efesell

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You ever play an LJN game.

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bigsocrates

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Yes, absolutely, of course they were that bad.

Two of the dozen or so games I owned on NES as a kid were the Karate Kid game and the NES X-Men game and let me tell you they were nearly unplayable, especially X-Men, which was just garbage (Karate Kid I managed to have fun with sometimes.)

It was never the case that every licensed game was trash (On the NES Duck Tales and Chip 'N Dale were both fine platformers) but lots were, and it wasn't just the terrible low quality it was the way they were popular because of their licenses. So many kids bought games because they loved a character and ended up with something like Silver Surfer.

There are plenty of examples of good licensed games from every era, but most of them were trash and they were the most frequent trash people played because nobody bothered with the crappy games without licenses.

And they're still making trash licensed games today, like that Fast and the Furious Crossroads game they unlisted, or the Zombieland game apparently. For every Dragonball Fighterz there are a whole bunch of bad Dragon Ball Z games out there. Don't just focus on the positive examples.

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darkvare

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there was a zombieland game?

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FacelessVixen

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Superman 64.

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eccentrix

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E.T.

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bigsocrates

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cikame

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I basically share your thoughts, many of them are bad, there are also many that are good.

Goldeneye is one of the best games of all time, speaking of bond i love Bloodstone because it shouldn't be as good as it is coming from a developer of racing games, the aforementioned Riddick, i liked the Wanted game for what it was, a shooter with a neat mechanic but i'm glad it was super short... i don't know there's loads........ Pepsiman?

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monkeyking1969

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I think with licensed games, you have to pick an era of gaming because certain eras has none and lately licenced games and game sin gerals have rised above total trash.

1970-1979 = 100% of licensed games were terrible

1980-1989 = 1% were very good, 29% of licensed games were okay, 40% were bad, and 30% were nuclear waste

1990-1999= 4% were very good, 20% of licensed games were okay, 36% were bad, and 30% were nuclear waste

2000-2009= 4% were very good, 20% of licensed games were okay, 66% were merely bad. [were getting better]

2010 to 2019= 20% were very good to good, 10% of licensed games were bad, 60% were 'clicker' smartphone games nobody should play.

Remember for every Spider-Man, Batman, and Lego game there are ten at the level below
Terminator Salvation, Enter The Matrix, E.T. or Jurassic Park: Trespasser.

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noobsauce

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Yeah they totally were. Most are unquestionably medicore to bad. But there certainly are some really damn good licensed games as well. Heck, you could probably spend hours talking about the quality of the lord of the rings games alone (might actually be the license with the highest success rate).

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Humanity

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Yup they were bad and typically cheap cash grabs made with a shoestring budget.

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sweep

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#12 sweep  Moderator

In summary: licensed games are very bad, except when they're extremely good.

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deactivated-6321b685abb02

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Yes they were really that bad imo. Not all of them but definitely most were awful and basically just interactive ads for some movie/cartoon/foodstuff.

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sub_o

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Older licensed games are typically not good. E.T. anybody? Or Dennis the Menace? Exceptions maybe to Disney games, e.g. Ducktales, Aladdin, etc.

They were aimed to entice parents to pick them up during holiday season for their kids based on brand recognition, not on quality
They've definitely become better in the past decade or two. Hell, we even got bangers like Fast and Furiousβ„’ Crossroads.

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ali_d

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No one else play the abomination that was the original Hellboy: Dogs of the Night PC game from the early 2000's ? The game that was so broke that if you stood still you eventually levitated out of the level.

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Undeadpool

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I'd say from pre-8-bit to 32 bit was consistently some of the worst, most mediocre output in videogames.

Yo, Noid, ANY side-scroller based on a TV show or movie, that game about Bill Clinton's cat was probably going to be shit, the problem is: the games had to correspond to the release of the movie, so there were NO delays or time for "fiddling," the game was coming out, done or not. That made devs go for VERY simple concepts that would DEFINITELY work on day 1.

Got a slight reprieve in the PS2-PS3/360 era with some actually pretty decent releases (LotR, Battleship of all things, that "HEROES" game that Austin Walker and Vinny loved), but as mobile gaming took off, they have found their permanent home: mediocrity reins.

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Colonel_Pockets

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Yes, they were indeed THAT bad. Companies would just try to get the movie tie-in out the door in 8-9 months. It is what it is.

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ArbitraryWater

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#18  Edited By ArbitraryWater

My most recent stream was a handful of PS2-era licensed games and the answer is "yes absolutely they were almost always that bad."

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hermes

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Yes. In the NES era, most licensed games were barely playable that worked on brand recognition alone. I am pretty sure they were never playtested and the only way some developers even saw some stages was by using cheat codes, shortcuts or debug tools, and no one in the company was able to play the entire thing back-to-back.

Things got better by the time we reached the 360/PS3 era, as QA became a thing... that existed...

Also (for better or worst), licensed games became less exploratory and innovative, which on one hand meant most of them became shooters, open world, action adventure, or other familiar game genres with a popular brand stick to them, for a rather mediocre experience, but on the other, there were less attempts at high concept gameplay loops that were untested, unprototyped, unpolished, and everyone realized they were bad ideas, but were too deep in production to scrap them.

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ArmoredMachine

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#21  Edited By ArmoredMachine
@darkvare said:

there was a zombieland game?

@bigsocrates said:

@darkvare:

Loading Video...

Woah, I didn't know there was a zombieland game, considering I liked the movies...

well, color me surprised. 😲

That had me googling to see if it was a good enough game or not. πŸ˜…

========

Speaking of licensed video games, does anyone like any of the Lego franchise games like Star Wars, Avengers, etc. etc. πŸ˜…

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Nodima

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Allow me to take hold of the nearest tin can with a line to the past and scream at my younger self: "Stop playing so much damn Rugrats: ScavengerHunt, you idiot!"

Loading Video...

What was I thinking...

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warpr

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@ali_d said:

No one else play the abomination that was the original Hellboy: Dogs of the Night PC game from the early 2000's ? The game that was so broke that if you stood still you eventually levitated out of the level.

I did! I was a massive Hellboy fan, obviously the game is terrible, but I had to finish it. After I got stuck and couldn't find any walkthrough for it, I started over from the beginning and wrote a walkthrough myself. The only walkthrough for this game on GameFAQs is mine >_< ... I hope it helped some people finish this piece of trash :)

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ArmoredMachine

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@nodima said:

Allow me to take hold of the nearest tin can with a line to the past and scream at my younger self: "Stop playing so much damn Rugrats: ScavengerHunt, you idiot!"

Loading Video...

What was I thinking...

Wow, if I could play that when I was younger I probably would. lol. since I wouldn't know any better. πŸ˜…πŸ‘Ά

@warpr said:
@ali_d said:

No one else play the abomination that was the original Hellboy: Dogs of the Night PC game from the early 2000's ? The game that was so broke that if you stood still you eventually levitated out of the level.

I did! I was a massive Hellboy fan, obviously the game is terrible, but I had to finish it. After I got stuck and couldn't find any walkthrough for it, I started over from the beginning and wrote a walkthrough myself. The only walkthrough for this game on GameFAQs is mine >_< ... I hope it helped some people finish this piece of trash :)

wow, I checked and there's only one walkthrough... you deserve a 🫑 salute and a cookie πŸͺ for plowing that through, and also giving help to some hapless souls (maybe) πŸ˜…