Video game adaptations of films are a dime a dozen these days, but it's not just Hollywood looking to make a quick buck from a movie to video game tie-in. Television studios have been churning out games for years based upon long-running television shows. From classic animated series such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and DuckTales through to recent dramas including The Walking Dead and The Sopranos, there are dozens of games based on television shows. Even reality shows such as Survivor and The Amazing Race have been turned into games over the years.
But for some reason these adaptations never get the same attention as film to game tie-ins, so we thought why not recognize some of the best video games based on television shows. This list aims to showcase the 15 best video games based on television shows, from The Adventures Of Batman & Robin through to Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, while also highlighting the 15 worst to make sure you choose wisely.
30 Best: The Simpsons: Hit & Run
If you've ever wondered what The Simpsons crossed with Grand Theft Auto would be like then look no further than the well-received The Simpsons: Hit & Run. Throughout the game players take control of Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge, and Apu as they investigate strange ongoings in Springfield in a less brutal and much funnier satire of GTA III. The gameplay is great, particularly the driving, and the open-world of Springfield is wonderfully detailed and makes you feel like you're actually part of a Simpsons episode.
While there are many great Simpsons games out there, this is the only one you need to own.
29 Worst: 24: The Game
When 24 first hit television screens in 2001 it was celebrated for being an inventive and groundbreaking show focused on a counter-terrorist agent who has 24 hours to save the world. The same can't be said for the video game adaptation of the show that suffers from dodgy controls, stupid A.I., poor graphics, and boring combat. The game features a number of vehicle chases that are as about as much fun as what Jack Bauer went through in the finale of season one. While the storyline and voice acting - featuring the majority of the cast from the show - is fantastic, it's not enough to make this game worth your time.
28 Best: Buffy The Vampires: Chaos Bleeds
The fourth game based on Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer is easily the best, taking place during the fifth season of the acclaimed television show. In a first for Buffy games, players can also control other characters from the show, with the new multiplayer option meaning you could take on vampires as Xander or Willow alongside Buffy. Chaos Bleeds is a well-made action romp with decent graphics, solid sound, and a good variety of vampires and other evil beings to take care of.
27 Worst: Superman 64
Considered one of the worst video games of all time, Superman 64 is almost unplayable and will have you wishing the man of steel never existed. Based on the Dean Cain and Terri Hatcher starring 90s series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman, this game has virtually nothing in common with the show besides featuring Superman. Terrible graphics, annoying sound, hard to master controls, and an overwhelming sense of dread when playing, Superman 64 deserves to be in the trash.
26 Best: Game Of Thrones
There have been a number of Game Of Thrones games released during the series seven seasons run, but Telltale Game's take on the adventure series reigns supreme. An episodic graphic adventure where players decisions affect the story arc, GOT scores points for staying close to the world Westeros.
The game also includes the voices of the actual cast of the show, helping add authenticity to the game.
Although the graphics can be glitchy, this game captures the feel of the series and will have you proclaiming "Valar morghulis" in your best Westeros accent.
25 Worst: Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit!
The Super Nintendo had its fair share of bad games during its life but few were as poorly executed as Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit! Controlling Tim "the tool man" Taylor, players have to recover all the missing tools from the newly released Binford-Taylor Turbo Power Tool Line. A boring and graphically poor looking platform game, Power Tool Pursuit! lacks the comedic elements of the show while presenting a stock standard Pitfall-esque game that's way too easy to complete and will leave you wondering why you even bothered.
24 Best: DuckTales: Remastered
Just as fun to play as watching the original Disney series, DuckTales is a classic action platform game from Capcom. Selling over a million copies worldwide (that was pretty good back in 1990) players take control of Scrooge McDuck and travel the world (and even space!) looking for new treasures to add to his collection. The levels are well designed and the bright colors and inviting animation make it feel like your actually watching the popular cartoon series. Although not the hardest game, DuckTales is great fun and will have you coming back for more.
23 Worst: Fester's Quest
A spin-off game based on Uncle Fester from The Addams Family is a strange choice, and having played this horrendous game, the less said about Fester's Quest the better. The ridiculous plot revolves around aliens invading earth or something similar, with Fester deciding to save the day with help from other members of the Addams clan.
This one is extremely difficult and the process of upgrading Fester's weapons a nightmare.
Add in some strange 3D graphics that just don't work and Fester's Quest is another rubbish television to game tie-in deserving of being in the bargain bin.
22 Best: South Park: The Stick Of Truth
Recognised as one of the most faithful adaptations of all time, South Park: The Stick Of Truth is a hilarious role-playing game set in the 2D open-world of the South Park universe. Containing references from the first 17 seasons the game is packed full of jokes and abrasive humor, with certain countries having scenes from the game cut due to the humor being a little too offensive. While the combat sections of the game are a little easy, they're still great fun, and the appearance of favorite characters such as Chef and Randy add to the game's authenticity.
21 Worst: The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct
You know a game is bad when the creator of the television series it's based on comes out and says he wasn't involved in the game in any shape or form and wants no part of it. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct was universally panned by critics upon release and contributed to developers Terminal Reality going bust.
From poor graphics and gameplay through to shoddy combat and horrible sound, Survival Instinct doesn't get much right.
The ability to play as Daryl Dixon is cool, but that's about the only positive you'll have playing this one.
20 Best: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
The third Dragon Ball Z Budokai game is also the best. Building on its predecessors, the game not only has improved graphics and sound, but the gameplay is far ahead of the previous games. Along with the story mode, players can indulge in a versus mode, a tournament, and a battle ranking stage where they go up against the AI in a hundred fighter challenge. There's a host of different characters to choose from with a great array of special moves, making it the most complete Dragon Ball Z fighter on the market.
19 Worst: Lost: Via Domus
Lost is a confusing show at the best of times and the video game adaptation is just as frustrating. Lost: Via Domus (loosely translated as "The way home" in Latin) is set on the mysterious island from the show and features many of the main characters and is split into seven episodes covering the first 70 days on the island. It's short, poorly scripted, and has average graphics, with the voice acting not even provided by the actors from the show. This one is for true Lost fans only, as most gamers found it tedious and nonsensical.
18 Best: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time
The sequel to the arcade classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Turtles In Time takes everything great about the original and ups the ante in this fantastic side-scrolling beat 'em up. Button mashing is the aim of the game, but unlike similar arcade fighters, this one is a joy to play, helped by the colorful graphics and varied level settings, including a pirate ship and the New York sewers. The music is also worth mentioning, with Turtles In Time a great representation of everything right about the heroes in a half shell.
17 Worst: The Sopranos: Road To Respect
Gangster related video games are hit and miss, and The Sopranos is certainly in the miss department. Despite being based on the highly creative and successful television series, the game fails big time to capture any of the shows magic. As Big Pussy Bonpensiero's illegitimate son, Joey LaRocca, you strive to make in the underworld but are faced with a boring linear storyline, uninspired graphics, and a respect meter that has no actual impact on your progress in the game. On the plus side, most of the cast from the series lend their voices to this project, but that's not enough to save Road To Respect from having a hit put out on it.
16 Best: Goof Troop
As one of the unheralded characters of the Disney universe, Goofy surprisingly has a very good video game named after his animated series Goof Troop. The action adventure game can be played solo or with another player and finds Goofy and his son Max going up against pirates and all manner of hard to solve puzzles.
Although short in length, the multiplayer option is fantastic and you can spend hours playing with a friend.
There are similarities to Zelda in regards to gameplay and puzzle solving, but unlike other games who have copied this style of play, Goof Troop gets it right and succeeds as a fun to play puzzle/adventure game.
15 Worst: Charlie's Angles: The Game
Although this game is based on the two cinematic versions of Charlie's Angeles, considering it was originally a television series and is one god awful game it's worth putting on this list. The fighting system is atrocious, the graphics weak, and the sound incredibly bad, but what's really puzzling is the Angeles are predominately dressed in bikinis throughout the game, a major concern considering how this portrays women as objects instead of celebrating their smarts and beauty like the television series. There's nothing positive about this game so be sure to give it a miss if you see it on sale cheap.
14 Best: Beavis & Butt-Head
The sniggering slackers from MTV's animated comedy series, Beavis and Butt-Head got their own game in 1994 and it's actually pretty darn good. The game looks very much like the series as you play as either Beavis or Butt-Head and try to find your tickets to the GWAR concert that have been lost. It's a fairly simple puzzle game but thanks to the animation, voice acting, and music, Beavis & Butt-Head is a very enjoyable game that will have you yelling. "I am the Great Cornholio."
13 Worst: The Office
Why anyone thought a game based on a tv series set in a fictional paper company would work is beyond me, with The Office proof that some tv shows are best left for the small screen. Characters in the show are represented by weird looking bobbleheads as you have to complete tasks and play tricks on other characters in the game.
It's an absurd concept with basic graphics and almost non-existent gameplay.
It's even more awkward and embarrassing than the episode when Micheal goes on a blind date.
12 Best: The Walking Dead: The Game
Nobody does episodic games better than Telltale Games, so it's no surprise their attempt at creating an exciting and thrilling Walking Dead game turned out to be a huge success.
Critically acclaimed and loved by fans, The Walking Dead: The Game is as close to a real-life zombie apocalypse as you could get.
The game focuses on character and story development, with every action you perform having a different outcome on the story. Along with the superb writing that's on par with the comic, The Walking Dead is a marvelous showcase in emotional storytelling with just enough puzzles and action to keep you hooked.
11 Worst: The Shield: The Game
A television series about corrupt cops and violent gangs sounds like the ideal scenario for a video game, but The Shield falls flat on all levels. The game is buggy and fails to capture the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, with players often involved in mind-numbing shootouts and boring missions. The chance to create a complex lead character who's morally ambiguous is wasted on a game more concerned with planting evidence at crime scenes and standard police procedurals. Being forced to play this game would have been an even more horrific punishment for Vic Mackey than the desk job he's given at the series end, with The Shield another horrible adaptation.
10 Best: The Simpsons Arcade Game
The second Simpsons game to appear on this list is a classic style beat 'em up released in 1991, just a few short years after the show hit the airwaves. The game allows up to four players to control one of the major characters from the series as they take on various enemies in order to rescue Maggie (who was taken). Like the previously mentioned The Simpsons: Hit & Run, this game features a highly detailed Springfield that makes you feel like your part of the world. The voice over work and animation are also well done.
9 Worst: Deadliest Catch: Sea Of Chaos
Fishing games can be pretty fun to play but Deadliest Catch: Sea Of Chaos, based on the wildly addictive tv series is, unfortunately, a bore. The game is driven by a number of mini-games that quickly become repetitive as you compete against other captains to bring in the biggest haul.
Visually the game looks like it was made in 2000 and not 2010, while the audio quality is poor and the overall gameplay lacking.
If you really enjoy fishing I'd advise hiring a boat and heading out on the opening water yourself as it's a much more enjoyable past time in real life.
8 Best: Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Related to the fourth season of Star Trek Voyager, Elite Force is a tremendous first-person shooter fans of Star Trek will enjoy. The game incorporates a number of characters and settings from the show in a visually pleasing world. The storyline is television quality and coupled with the great gameplay and graphics makes this entertaining game worthy of a place on this list. Special mention must also be made of the multiplayer option that adds to the games longevity.
7 Worst: Desperate Housewives: The Game
So this actually happened, a game based on the successful drama Desperate Housewives. Players take on the role of a housewife who's recovering from amnesia and must complete mundane daily chores while trying to discover the secrets of the neighborhood. It's a bad rip-off of The Sims with poorer graphics and gameplay and asks you to perform some rather dubious tasks, such as stealing and lying. Although it does adhere to the poor morals shown in the series, there aren't many redeeming features to this game.
6 Best: Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!!
There's been a host of games released concerning the surreal animated series Adventure Time, with my personal favorite being Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!! A 2D scrolling adventure epic, the game is similar to Zelda as players tackle various missions while exploring four different worlds. Although not the hardest game, HIKWYSOG is extremely fun to play and contains an offbeat story that's in line with the series, making you really feel like you're part of the Adventure Time world.
5 Worst: Neighbours
Australian soap opera Neighbours has been running for well over three decades and is somehow still on the air. The show's success spawned a Neighbours video game in 1991 thanks to a partnership between Grundy (the show’s original production company), developer Excalibur and the BBC. The game is quite odd and requires you to skate the iconic Ramsey Street (it seems to never end) while avoiding obstacles and racing against other competitors. Other areas include Lassiter's and Erinsborough High, with Neighbours being a very cheesy and badly designed 8-bit game.
4 Best: The Adventures Of Batman & Robin
It was inevitable the successful Batman: The Animated Series would spawn a video game spin-off, and thankfully Konami got it right with The Adventures Of Batman & Robin. Taking control of Batman players navigate various levels loosely based upon episodes of the television series in this action adventure platformer. This game is remembered for its favorable graphics and sound as well as for incorporating some tough puzzles players must solve over the course of the game. Very similar in gameplay to Contra, The Adventures Of Batman & Robin brings the fun back to Batman and is more in line with the early camp Adam West take on the character than Christian Bale's recent dark portrayal.
3 Worst: ... Yes, They Made A Game Of The Singing Idol Show
Why a game based on watching mediocre singers be judged ever made it past quality control is beyond me, but in 2003 someone thought it was a good idea and gave it the green light. It's an absolute mess of a game whereby you press different buttons to determine how well your character sings for the judges. You'd think the game would enable you to sing the songs, but no, it's all done by the horribly animated in-game characters who often sound like nails being scraped against a blackboard. You're better off hitting the town and visiting a karaoke bar than purchasing this monstrosity of a game.
2 Best: Mission: Impossible
Most of you are probably familiar with the Tom Cruise headlined Mission: Impossible film franchise, but before that it was a highly successful television show. This game is based upon the 90s remake of the original 70s series and is a top-down perspective action game whereby you can toggle between the three main characters as you travel the globe to rescue a scientist who was taken. The game is incredibly hard at points but the variety of different levels and challenges on offer more than makes up for this. The graphics and sound are decent for the time, with Mission: Impossible an enjoyable but difficult game to play.
1 Worst: ALF
Creating a video game based on an alien creature who likes to eat cats is an unusual concept but one SEGA thought they could nail.
Unfortunately for them, ALF is a terrible game with no redeeming qualities.
As ALF players must navigate the poorly designed Tanner household solving puzzles and looking for parts to build his spaceship. The graphics are poor, the sound annoying, and the gameplay almost non-existent. ALF is an absolute mess of a game and one I wouldn't want my worst enemy to play.