Cartoons offer a fun and wild adventure when we were kids, and even when we grow up, some are catered to our age range. That is what they can do unlike live-action TV shows. Cartoons usually bring stellar animation, memorable characters, and provide social commentary so that we learned something while also enjoying it. As we get older, we will always remember watching these cartoons on a Saturday or during summer break.
Then all of a sudden, we randomly see a video game that is based on a cartoon we grew up with. Ranging from The Simpsons, Rugrats, and even anime like Dragon Ball Z, some give us a good time as if we were watching an episode of a cartoon. They can have the look and play like what the cartoon characters do in their respective shows.
But with a good, there is a bad to these video games. Some cartoon video games get horrible treatment for the sake of cash grab or the development team just not caring about the source material. It is unfortunate that great shows have to get bad adaptations in video games, and they do deserve better. Either there is redemption, or the damage is done.
This list will be honoring the video games that truly captured the heart of the cartoons while we frown upon the disappointments that just failed to be as good as the cartoons. Maybe some of these titles will bring up great memories or an intense cringe-fest. Here are fifteen cartoon video games that are good and fifteen that aren’t.
30 Good: Kim Possible 3: Team Possible
Kim Possible is one of the best cartoons from Disney Channel, and amazingly, the games are just as great. We decided to go with the third game from the Game Boy Advance called Kim Possible 3: Team Possible. The graphics and gameplay were huge improvements over the previous two and felt like they were episodes in the show’s canon. There was a lot of care into this game and any Kim Possible fan will have a blast with this title.
29 Bad: South Park (PS1)
Before the greatness of the two current South Park video games, there was this travesty. More so focusing on the first PlayStation version since the Nintendo 64 is okay at best. The graphics were a mess and the voice acting was terrible even though the voice actors reprised their roles.
We’ll give credit for the N64 since it looked and performed better, but the PlayStation version is just an embarrassment. In the end, South Park would get better treatment in future video games.
28 Good: Scooby-Doo! Night Of 100 Frights
Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights might not be the most challenging video game, but the aesthetics and art design truly captured the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The plot is a typical Scooby-Doo episode, but it is a fun and interactive adventure that fans of the show really enjoyed.
It is also the only game where Don Knotts did voice work for a Scooby-Doo video game.
The attention to detail with recreating scenes also made this game memorable. The voice acting was also fantastic, being one of the early video games to have that aspect.
27 Bad: Nickelodeon Party Blast
Party games are made for the sole purpose of bringing fun and enjoyment for the game. Nickelodeon Party Blast does not do that whatsoever. The sound design is bad, and the controls were difficult for a game that is to be aimed towards kids.
And for a party game, there is not that much to do compared to Mario Party, and that is a shame. There is no replay value and you are better off just playing any Mario Party game.
26 Good: SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom
As of right now, SpongeBob SquarePants is Nickelodeon’s most popular show and character. While the writing might have gotten a bit weak as the years went on, there is no doubt how impactful this sponge is. Strangely enough, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a fun game based on a cartoon. It might not be the perfect SpongeBob game, but the fact that there is interest in doing a remake or sequel shows how well this video game did.
25 Bad: Winx Club: The Quest For The Codex (GBA)
Winx Club is a cute cartoon that features five (later six) teenage girls who go to a school to become fairies. The game titled Winx Club: The Quest for the Codex is decent on the Nintendo DS despite its obviously outdated graphics, but the GBA version is nothing but mini games. To progress through the story, you gotta do the mini games. That sounds repetitive and it gets old pretty fast. Granted, the levels do get harder, but if you are used to the type of mini games it has to offer, then you will be able to beat it in under two hours.
24 Good: Cartoon Network: Block Party
If there is one video game that can be inspired by the Mario Party series without being a knockoff, Cartoon Network: Block Party has that covered. The representatives at the time were great, featuring characters from Johnny Bravo, Ed Edd n Eddy, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Cow and Chicken. The mini games were original and creative, having over thirty of them. The objectives for the game’s story were also great, such as in the Ed Edd n Eddy world, the player needs to have three trophies and 50 dollars in order to win.
23 Bad: Young Justice: Legacy
Young Justice is a fantastic animated series featuring sidekicks from the likes of Batman and The Flash and have them take on missions while slowly becoming iconic superheroes. While the game’s story does clear up events that did not happen in the show’s first or second season, Young Justice: Legacy leaves a lot to be desired. The gameplay is lackluster, but the writing, story, and voice acting were done fantastically, which makes this game a mixed bag, but mostly terrible.
22 Good: The Simpsons: Hit & Run
Want to play Grand Theft Auto, but are either too young or are a Simpsons fan? The Simpsons: Hit & Run offers the experience while parodying the famous open world games. This entry is considered to be the best video game coming from one of the best cartoons in the twentieth century.
The show’s writers and cast helped make this game great as it is.
Normally, games that rip off beloved ones usually get flack, but this is a different case, since The Simpsons: Hit & Run is a great game and has gotten the care and attention it deserves.
21 Bad: Nicktoons Unite!
Nicktoons Unite! or SpongeBob SquarePants and Friends: Unite! in Europe, is a crossover that had potential, but it does not live up to expectations. The representation for the characters are decent, but the gameplay is incredibly one-note. Despite how mediocre this game is, the fact that this game would get three sequels puzzles us. Thankfully it features the characters’ respective voice actors reprising their roles, but even that isn’t enough to make this game fun. For kids, this game is alright, but it is so not for everyone.
20 Good: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Naruto has become one of anime’s biggest icons along with the likes of Goku and Monkey D. Luffy. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is the last in the Ultimate Ninja Storm series in terms of story from the manga and the game is engaging.
There are over 100 characters in this game, which says a lot.
This game captured the story from the manga perfectly and it is a stunning spectacle for Naruto fans. And of course, the graphics are stellar for the anime style.
19 Bad: Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth
If there was one cartoon from Nickelodeon that deserved a great video game adaptation, it is definitely Avatar: The Last Airbender. When it comes to the games the show has to offer, we are pointing at Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth for being a mess. It might be based on the second season, where the writing and gets better and darker, but the game is known to be too easy.
How easy, you might ask?
All of the achievements can be unlocked in under five minutes, which makes the game not worth playing anymore. We don’t want games like this to be beaten so quickly.
18 Good: Castle Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Sega back then was the king of platformers with strong titles like Sonic the Hedgehog. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse came out in 1990 for the Sega Genesis. Playing as Mickey Mouse, he is to rescue Minnie Mouse from a witch named Mizrabel.
The story is rather generic, but boy is the game so much fun. Because of how great this game was, it would get a remake and spiritual successor we know and love that is Epic Mickey.
17 Bad: SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge
Want to know a great idea for a SpongeBob video game? Just recycle the plot of Plankton trying to steal the secret formula of the Krabby Patty. SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge is just an unnecessary video game title under SpongeBob’s belt.
Instead of playing this game, just watch an episode where Plankton comes up with schemes for the Krabby Patty.
You will have more laughs and fun than with this poor excuse of a game. Just don’t touch this game at all.
16 Good: Darkwing Duck (NES)
Capcom came out of nowhere when they were the ones responsible for developing and publishing the NES version of Darkwing Duck, released in 1992. The combination of Capcom and Disney was the dream team. With the show’s demographic, it was surprising (in a good way) that teens were into this game as the kids were. Since the game is made by Capcom, it does have similarities to Mega Man, but Darkwing Duck does provide some fun challenges. It’s crazy how Disney games were actually difficult, but fun two decades ago.
15 Bad: Dragon Ball Z: For Kinect
It sounds fun to reenact Dragon Ball Z moves like the infamous Kamehameha. Well, Dragon Ball Z: For Kinect not only tarnished one of the greatest anime/manga series, but it made the Kinect a pathetic excuse to exist.
It makes you want to destroy the game with a Kamehameha.
With tedious battles, terrible motion sensing, and a laughable story mode, this game is one of the worst for an otherwise iconic franchise. It’s no wonder why the Kinect is hated by so many people.
14 Good: Aladdin (Genesis)
Funny how two games based on Disney’s Aladdin came out in the same month and same year. We like to give an honorable mention to the SNES version of Aladdin, which was also made by Capcom, but this entry will dedicate to the Sega Genesis. It is a fun platformer with amazing animation and detailed graphics back then. With an amazing development team who also made Earthworm Jim, Aladdin on the Sega Genesis is one of the greatest Disney games ever.
13 Bad: The Simpsons Wrestling
The Simpsons might be the longest running cartoon as of right now in 2018, but there are some duds in the series that we wished never happened. The Simpsons Wrestling is regarded as being one of the worst games of all time and it’s easy to see why. The game does not look pleasing and the gameplay is unbalanced.
If someone is playing Flanders, they instantly win.
Overall, this game is mostly button mashing and the same song and dance.
12 Good: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time was originally an arcade title brought to you by Konami, but with how fantastic this game was, it would later be ported into the SNES. The console version would get additional levels and gameplay modes, being an improvement over the arcade when it comes to content. This game would get a remake, but it is not as good despite its great visual update and online play. If you can, stick with this version and enjoy the nostalgia.
11 Bad: Rugrats: Totally Angelica (GBC)
Rugrats: Totally Angelica is a game that is perfect for girls who are trying to get into gaming, at least during the 90s. Sarcasm aside, it doesn’t feel right to have a video game center around the villain of the show. Rugrats: Totally Angelica on the Game Boy Color is the perfect definition of repetition. Now that we think about it, this game if kind of offensive. Why would anyone, especially girls, want to play a game with a brat like Angelica as the main character?
10 Good: The Adventures Of Batman And Robin (SNES)
For what is unfortunate for a great show like Young Justice, Batman: The Animated Series thankfully got spared for having a great video game. The Adventures of Batman and Robin on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System features great graphics at the time and it is downright challenging.
The other console versions of this game are decent as well, but we feel the SNES version is superior. Each level is also based on episodes of the show, giving fans a treat for catching on.
9 Bad: The Powerpuff Girls Trilogy (Game Boy Color)
Back in the late 90s, games for girls were repetitive and focused on clothing and feminine activities like taking care of horses. The Powerpuff Girls would later get titles on the Game Boy Color and while they are true to the source material, the gameplay is weak and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Hear this out: your playable character can get a game over from touching water, but lava only takes damage. The games were developed by a team that cared for the source material, but it didn’t work out, unfortunately.
8 Good: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story
This game might only have been released in Japan, but Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story has a lot to offer for a JRPG based on Final Fantasy. This game occurs between the third and fourth season of the classic anime.
The story is extensive and engaging, and you get to face all previous antagonists that appeared in the anime before the final season. There is a fan translation for this game, so if you’re a huge Sailor Moon fan, do yourself a favor and check this game out!
7 Bad: Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers
As beat ‘em up games go, Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers is simply awful. With a coat of paint featuring modern Cartoon Network characters, it makes you wonder how bland and boring this game is.
Perfectionists will even not want to fully beat this game.
Some characters are poorly represented, especially Steven Universe. That is an offense to those who love the show. What makes this game even worse is that it is incredibly repetitive. Be sure to avoid this game at all costs.
6 Good: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
Dragon Ball Z is one of the gateway anime that many kids in the 90’s grew up with. To our amazement, some of the video game adaptations are fun and capture the spirit of the anime. Budokai 3 is incredibly fun, exceeds the second game with the powerful moments from the Cell Saga and so much more. The number of characters that are playable and extra content provided spoiled us greatly. It might not be exactly perfect, but this game takes us back.
5 Bad: Family Guy Video Game!
Family Guy might be a smart and dark-humored show back in the day, but this video game is just not that great. The graphics might be on point, but the game is tedious with its uninspired beat ‘em up, shoot ‘em up, and stealth sections.
One of the best parts of the show, the cutaway gags, are minigames and it just doesn’t work. We like to give a dishonorable mention to the follow-up Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse.
4 Good: South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Want to know how to make a video game based off a cartoon great? Add in the creators to be involved with the story. Trey Parker and Matt Stone thankfully wrote the script and contributed to South Park: The Fractured but Whole. Being a sequel to The Stick of Truth, this game occurs a day after and has a superhero theme. The game does a great job on the improved gameplay, as well as referencing certain episodes like “Tweek x Craig.”
3 Bad: Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion is pretty much a knock-off of Super Smash Bros. The representatives might be decent, such as characters from Samurai Jack and The Powerpuff Girls, but the game’s presentation ruins the experience of enjoying this game.
Let’s not forget the lackluster story.
While the XL version does have more characters, the game is still a disappointment just like the 3DS version. It is unfortunate how many cartoon games like these tend to rip off one of the greatest crossover games ever.
2 Good: South Park: The Stick Of Truth
It’s true that the sequel to Ubisoft’s South Park: The Stick of Truth does improve on some aspects, but we feel that this game is slightly superior to The Fractured but Whole. The comedic writing is sharp and the references to the show are spectacular. The Stick of Truth gives us a fun experience of being in a LARP. Anyone who is a South Park fan should get this game at all costs, it is just worth every single penny.
1 Bad: Superman 64
A lot of you probably saw this coming from a mile away. Superman 64 has gained the reputation for being the worst games of all time, and for good reason.
It is essentially a buggy, jumbled mess.
This game is more of a chore to play than enjoy, and that is not what we want in a video game. Hopefully, in the future, there will be a Superman game that will do justice to the most iconic superhero of all time.