The quarter drops, player one presses start, and from there, we're transported into various worlds of fantasy. Much like film, video games offer a mix of storytelling and action that would seem natural for a migration to the big screen. Of course, the results rarely hold up to that original experience in front of a joystick. So wit that n mind, we share 20 of the worst video game adaptations to date.
Once you get beyond the original sin of casting Jake Gyllenhaal as an Arab adventurer, "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" only manages to get worse. The sin largely comes in the form of trying to reinvent the wheel as so many video game adaptations do when the last thing you ever want to change is what makes the series so compelling in the first place. What's left is a swashbuckling story that lacks the right amount of swash, leaving in its place an unhealthy dollop of schmaltz buckling under the weight of its own fat.
"Rampage" isn't Dwayne Johnson's first rodeo with video game adaptations. In 2005's "Doom," Johnson plays the villain in a film that sharply deviates from the video game source material, changing the monsters from hell-borne demons to just your garden variety space aliens. Save for the third act changing to a first-person view to emulate its video game ancestry, this one ends up being largely forgettable.
With a star-studded cast including Michael Fassbender as the titular assassin, there was no reason "Assassin's Creed" should've been a bad film. The problem, unfortunately, comes when an adaptation decides not to lean into the story that made the game so successful. Instead of fully immersing the audience in a story that highlights the most compelling aspects of the game, the filmmakers chose to do something different that minimized the action, making the adaptation feel like a distant relation to its source material.
Compared to its try-hard reboot from 2018, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" often feels like a good movie in comparison, but make no mistake: it isn't. The only thing fanboys liked about the adaptation and its 2003 sequel, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life" was Angelina Jolie's curves being source material appropriate. Outside of those shapely similarities, what remained was as empty and hollow as most video game adaptations happen to be.
A victim of bad dialogue mixed with bad acting, "Silent Hill" was barely a shade of the horror presented in the video game series it was based on. Featuring a mother searching a spooky ghost town for a cure for her daughter, most of what follows is one part boring and one part even more boring.
The biggest problem with "Street Fighter," based on the uber-popular series of fighting games from Capcom, is that it was less a faithful adaptation and more a a Jean-Claude Van Damme comedy of errors. Instead of focusing on foster brothers and rivals Ken and Ryu, it featured a woefully miscast group of characters, particularly Raul Julia, in his final cinematic role, as villain M. Bison.
Outside of the goal of freeing a damsel in distress with karate accuracy, there wasn’t much plot to the arcade classic "Double Dragon," leaving the canvas pretty open for the early '90s adaptation. What remained was a really bad mix of weird ideas that made the film nearly unwatchable. If there’s one bright spot, it would be Alyssa Milano’s non-Damsel, Marian, who possibly packs a bigger punch than the Dragons themselves.
Based on the popular video game series whose "Bullet Time" mechanics were cribbed from "The Matrix," "Max Payne" already felt old when released seven years after the original game hit shelves. Mark Wahlberg plays the titular pistolero, complete with a story that doesn't quite match the source material, and the addition of unnecessary supernatural aspects that had no home in the original. Whether that's good or bad is not debatable: it's all bad.
When it comes to video games, it's OK if your character has no personality, since the goal is action. However, when your film's character has the same lack of personality, as in "Hitman," it's hard to get behind a character who really only exists just to kill without any motivation other than just pressing play. The first film was bad, largely due to the miscasting of the otherwise talented Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47, but the follow-up, starring Rupert Friend as 47 was even more forgettable, so much so, that we forgot to add it to the list.
Based on the massively successful mobile app that allowed players to fling virtual birds at green pigs, "The Angry Birds Movie" was an idea that was four-years too late to capitalize on the popularity of the original game. Nonetheless, parents need somewhere to take their kids, so game developer Rovio's massive gamble on a bad, untimely movie paid off enough to force what has to be an even worse sequel in 2019.
The first and largely considered worst (pre-Uwe Boll-era) video game adaptation was "Super Mario Bros.," starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the iconic brother plumbers, who are neither Italian or anything resembling brothers. It was likely doomed to fail from the very moment the film took a sharp turn from the colorful source material to present a dystopian future ruled by lizards who evolved into humans for no other reason than to cast Dennis Hopper as King Koopa. It was an embarrassment to all involved, while in no way signaling that the worst was still yet to come for video game adaptations.
A lifeless adaptation of the once-popular PC gaming series, "Wing Commander" bore little resemblance to it's video game counterpart, which certainly isn't a surprise. What is surprising is how much real-life friends Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Matthew Lillard go out of their way to compete for 'worst actor ever' honors. Also, the film's antagonists look like hairless cats, because that's what they are. Hairless cats piloting spaceships. That could be exciting, but here, it's just one more ingredient in what is little more than a cinematic sedative.
Most audiences had no idea this adaptation of the fighting series from Tecmo even existed. Known for overly enhanced female fighters battling in very little clothing, there wasn't much of a story line to the video game series, and its adaptation, "DOA: Dead or Alive," manages to provide even less of a story, if such things are possible. Those looking for cheesecake may not be disappointed, but don't inflate your expectations to good cheesecake.
1995's "Mortal Kombat" was good enough to miss a place on our list, while also becoming a box office smash, grossing nearly 10 times its minuscule budget. So how do you improve on the original? Apparently by recasting every character save for one and creating an atrocious script that features almost none of the fun of the original. "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" isn't just a bad video game adaptation, it's a bad adaptation of a bad adaptation with the only punch coming to your wallet after you realize the money you've wasted.
Imagine looking at the 1994 version of "Street Fighter" and saying, "you know, we should probably redo this, but make it gritty, maybe." "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" is certainly less of a cartoon than the JCVD action flick, but it is also even more awful. Whether it's the lifeless direction or the atrocious dialogue, it only exists to feed YouTube with sad and hilarious clips of co-star Chris Klein's horrendous line delivery, something that almost certainly guaranteed he would never work in any town ever again, much less Hollywood.
Spanning 14 years and six films, the "Resident Evil" series managed to do one thing: be nothing like its source material. While that seems like a routine complaint, the biggest problem with the series is that even though later films did more to resemble the games they were so loosely based on, the film has a protagonist that didn't even exist in the games. Furthermore, the series deviated from the close quarters survival horror that was a hallmark of the Capcom franchise. Simply a bad series guilty of trying way too hard to be way too different.
How do you botch an adaptation of a video game where the protagonist is a vampire who hunts Nazis and Vampires? Have the movie have nothing to do with the source material and have it directed by Uwe Boll. "BloodRayne" is the third of Boll's video game adaptations, and he somehow manages to get worse with each attempt, doing so without any level of self-awareness or restraint. Even though this first entry in the series was a flop, it would go on to spawn a number of equally awful sequels.
Based on the sort-of-OK first person shooter by SEGA, "House of the Dead" also bears the distinction of being the first in a seemingly endless stream of free actor vacations or money laundering operations pretending to be films by German director Uwe Boll. We could describe the plot, but you might click on another article out of boredom, so just know that the movie is really bad and will make you hate not only techno music, but Jürgen Prochnow as well.
"In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" has nothing to do with the actual Dungeon Siege tale, but has everything to do with Uwe Boll's hatred of filmmaking and actors. From Jason Statham as a fighter named Farmer to extended cameos from Burt Reynolds and John Rhys-Davies, who only seems like he was cast so the obvious theft of story from "Lord of the Rings" is even more on the nose, this movie fails its performers. The only way this film would be in any way watchable is if there was an end credits scene showing the actors' checks actually clearing.
Uwe Boll's second attempt at a video game adaptation isn't only the worst video game adaptation on our list, it's flirting with being the worst film of all time. Everything about "Alone in the Dark" was so bad, the developer of the video game series completely scrapped the game meant to serve as a companion to the film in order to divorce itself from the steaming pile of bad movie guaranteed to sully the very name of the gaming franchise. If anything can be taken from this exercise of bad everything, it shows the path Tara Reid was destined to take to wind up in the "Sharknado" franchise, where everything is supposed to be absurd on purpose.