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Top 20 Favorite Licensed Games

Usually I'm not that crazy about licensed games. More often that not they have very little to do with their source material (although that's changed a lot in recent years), and I normally prefer playing games that star original characters in original situations - although it is nice to be able to explore places that you've seen in the movies or on television, provided it's done right.

There have been several licensed games that I have enjoyed, despite how I've felt about them in the past. Granted, a lot of these have already appeared in the various lists I've already put together, and I didn't want to just revisit those lists completely. In creating this list, though, that's almost impossible. Anyway, enjoy!

20. Willow - Capcom - arcade - 1989

Hey... that wasn't in the movie.

I only recently discovered this gem through the wonders of emulation (thank god for MAME), and I have to say that this is one of Capcom's best licensed efforts ever. Oh yeah, and it easily trounces the NES game in my book - don't get me wrong, it was a good game and all, but I like this one a lot more.

19. The Adventures Of Batman & Robin - Konami - SNES - 1994

I'm Batman!

Finally! A game that truly captures the essence of the animated series it was based on. Sure, Bats moves a tad slow, but then again, so do all of the enemies. Unlike the Genesis game of the same name, this is a bit easier and all of the really famous villians show up, and out of the two SNES Batman games Konami produced, I'd have to say this one is the best.

18. Krull - Atari - Atari 2600 - 1983

Destroy the Slayers!

Based on the cult movie, Krull was one of the first licensed games to really capture the feel of the film. Sure, a lot of the film's plot was cut out (what did you expect on the 2600?), but most of the major sequences remain intact - the fight against the Slayers, visiting the Widow Of The Web, locating the Black Fortress and fighting the Beast.

17. Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi: Death Star Battle - Parker Bros. - Atari 2600 - 1983

Vader's on that shuttle, according to the instruction manual.

Out of the four Atari 2600 Star Wars games that actually made it to store shelves, this was my second favorite. I felt it captured the feel of the Battle of Endor pretty well, for what it was worth. Besides, any chance to fly the Millenium Falcon was a welcome one. ^_^

16. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Parker Bros. - Atari 2600 - 1982

You cannot stop them...

This was another one of the first licensed efforts for the 2600 that really captured the feel of the film. To my knowledge, it was the first that really got a lot of attention. To a Star Wars fan in the early '80s, however (like myself), this was a dream come true - at the time, it felt like you were actually participating in the Battle of Hoth! To this day, it remains the best licensed effort on the 2600, imo.

15. The Terminator - Virgin Games/Probe Software - Sega Genesis - 1992

Kyle Reese can destroy H-Ks with a few grenades. What's wrong here?

This was a surprise - at a time when Terminator 2 was the film everyone was talking about, a game based on the original film was released. Now usually games designed in Europe don't appeal to me, but this was an exception. Excellent cinemas, solid gameplay and good music and graphics made this a must buy in my book. So what if it's a little short? Above all, it really captured the feel of the film, and that - coupled with everything else I mentioned - made up for the few shortcomings that it had.

14. Super Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi - JVC/Lucasarts - SNES - 1994

Luke didn't have his lightsaber here... hey!

The third game in the fantastic Super Star Wars trilogy for the SNES was a bit better than Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in terms of graphics, character design and sticking to the story of the film; however, it fell a bit short in the challenge and level design departments. It's still quite a solid game, and much like the other two games, a must own for SNES owning Star Wars fans.

13. Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - JVC/Lucasarts - SNES - 1993

There's not enough life on this ice cube to fill a space cruiser? According to this game there is.

As far as the Super Star Wars games are concerned, Empire would probably have been the most challenging, if it wasn't for the password system. It follows the plot of the film closely, but several inexcusable errors are made: Luke never changes his outfit, there are red Snowtroopers on Cloud City, you can't play as Lando or Leia, and the whole exchange between Vader and Luke from the end of the film is cut completely! Other than that, it's a great game. It's extremely well designed, fun to play, and the 3-D Snowspeeder level was unsurpassed until Nintendo released Star Wars: Shadows Of The Empire for the N64.

12. Super Star Wars - JVC/Lucasarts - SNES - 1992

Now you can bullseye womp rats, if you want.

The original entry in the trilogy is still the best, imo. Aside from a couple of minor quibbles in control and places you visit (you know, they could have just shown a cinema scene of Ben shutting of the tractor beam and had Luke, Han and Chewie fight their way out of the trash compactor - which was the one key scene from the film that was cut, plus the animation of Luke's lightsaber was a lot better in the later games), it remains the greatest SNES Star Wars game ever made - and one of the best platformers ever released for the SNES.

11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Konami - arcade - 1989

Hang on, April!

The most talked about arcade game of 1989 remains one of the best licensed games Konami ever produced. At heart, it was just another Double Dragon/Final Fight style of game, but the ability to play with three other people and the degree of style that Konami pulled it off with made the game what it was. It holds up even today, 14 years after its initial release.