Movies For Gamers – Part 1

It’s common knowledge that movies of video game franchises have been largely terrible. Though there is the occasional exception, none could be considered classics.

On the other side of the coin many games borrow quite heavily from movies. We’re talking everything from a few choice lines or minor plot points all the way through possible plagiarism. Fact of the matter is though, if you like certain action and horror games there’s likely a movie or two that will be right up your street. It may even do what your favourite games do better than the games themselves!

This list might be obvious to many readers as almost all of the entries are genre classics. Here are the ones that jumped out most at me though. There are a lot of younger gamers who may not have seen this stuff!

N.B: The point here is not to say that the games “ripped off” the movies. It’s more of a recommendations list. Nothing is created in a vacuum, and most of the similarities are intentional nods to the movie and in some cases possibly even coincidences. Some of them however are a lot cheaper than others…

The Thing – Dead Space – Doom 3

On an isolated Antarctic research station, a shapeshifting alien runs amok, causing the crew to distrust and turn on one another whilst it messily consumes them one by one. The Thing deserves headline spot for being one of the best horrors of the 80s. The creature effects stand out and influenced many concept artists. The crazy body-shock imagery in The Thing just won’t go away once you’ve seen it. Dead Space gets mention here as the necromorph transformations are very similar. Posting a video would spoil the effects – if you havent seen The Thing. Do. It. Now.

Distant relatives?


Jacob’s Ladder – Silent Hill Series

Before the Silent Hill movie came out there really wasn’t much need for one. Jacobs Ladder is arguably a better Silent Hill movie than the Silent Hill movie turned out to be. Konami have never kept their influences secret and knowingly acknowledge many writers and directors. Moments like the subway station in SH3, as well as many visuals and locales are borrowed from Jacob’s Ladder. Silent Hill Homecoming sometimes veers too close in my opinion.

In short.. We have the shaky head motif. Grimy hospitals with metal wire grills everywhere. Creepy nurse with growths. Insanity. It gets even more like SH if you watch the deleted scenes too.


Click for Jacobs Ladder Silent Hill gallery


Alien series – Pretty Much EVERYTHING.

Halo, AVP (duh), almost everything in space, or with insectoid aliens in it, or with hard-ass marines has some Aliens influence. Then there’s the the influence H.R. Giger has had over gaming which is also pretty huge. Fun fact; Giger didn’t actually have anything to do with “Aliens”, and only had limited input into Alien 3. Also – he didn’t design the face-hugger or chest-burster from the original movie.

Here’s hoping Gearbox’s Colonial Marines comes out as well as the franchise deserves. And that Ridley Scot’s Prometheus is somehow related.

Another fun fact. Canonically the species is NOT “Xenomorph”. The first time they’re called that in the franchise they were using it as a catch-all term for alien lifeforms. (which obviously exist in James Cameron’s take on the universe, hence the “another bug hunt?” line.) They used the term BEFORE the marines had encountered any of the titular species. If any, say, Predators were to turn up in a “real” Alien film they’re be xenomorphs as well. Who has a name for a species they’ve never encountered before and don’t believe even exists? Nobody. Sorry.. Pet peeve! Oh, and Giger rhymes with “eager” not with “tiger”.


Totally not the same character!


Evil Dead – Doom (I & II) Duke Nukem 3D.

“Hail to the king, baby!” Ash Williams – Army Of Darkness

Between the three Evil Dead films there’s a lot of FPS infuence. Just this little wikipedia excerpt is all we need.

“Doom was viewed to be a cross between Aliens and the team’s favourite horror B movie, Evil Dead II.” You can see ED in the original doom games, the chainsaw, the boom-sticks, the inexplicable trees.


The Faculty – Obscure I & II (2004)

Entertaining but throwaway highly derivative high-school horror the Faculty was the inspiration for the entertaining but throwaway highly derivative high school survival horror game Obscure.

Neither were exceptional but both are fun and decent genre contributions. The Obscure games have single screen co-op gameplay too, pretty unheard of in a horror game. Interesting.


Obscure is a pretty dumb yet ultimately true  title for this game.


I hope you’ve enjoyed the list so far. It seems funny that developers seem so good at borrowing things from movies and yet specifically developed movie tie-in titles tend to come out awful. There are obviously loads more. I have six lined up for part 2 already. What are your choices? Any games that tread too close to a film or TV series? Do you love it when games do this or are there examples where you think it’s totally disrespectful?

Click here for part two!

  • GrieverSoul

    Event Horizon and Dead Space 1/2.

    • Totally, TY! It’ll be in part two. 🙂 

      Most of the movies are less well known in part two.

  • TVippy

     Pretty good list.

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