The best retro games based on TV shows

You’ve binge watched your new favourite TV show, and it abruptly ends. It only felt like yesterday you started watching, and you did, because now you’ve seen all five seasons. So what do you do? You play the video game, of course! But not all TV shows has great adaptations into video games. And to be frank, the best ones aren’t really top tier games. But here are some of our favourites.

American Gladiators – NES (1991)
While graphically inferior and less true to its source material compared to the SNES version, the NES wins this one thanks to the more fun gameplay. The NES game is just faster and more action-packed. For example, the Assault event is now moving and almost feels like a shmup game.

The upbeat soundtrack is also better, and at least it has several tunes, unlike the SNES game which has only one (!) and NO sound effects (!!). The 8-bitter has some amusing screams to enjoy when beating your opponents. Definitely recommended!

Celebrity Deathmatch – PlayStation 2 (2003)
A game you play for the comedic voice acting and animations rather than the gameplay. It plays like a typical 3D wrestling game, but with power-ups and finishing moves like in Mortal Kombat.

The biggest draw to the game is the rooster of playable characters, which counts to 27. The many celebrities include Ron Jeremy, Anna Nicole Smith, Shannen Doherty and Marilyn Manson. Their voice-overs fit them perfectly, despite not starring the original celebrities.

Jeopardy! – Sega CD (1994)
You may think a game based on Jeopardy is pretty dull, however, this version is one of few games on the add-on which is helped by the FMV technology, which often plagued the system.

Staying true to the show, with the music, rules and voiced host intact, the game adds computer controlled AI:s with some hysterical FMV clips – the characters even finds it funny to lose money, it seems!

The questions can be quite difficult, so you may want to team up with your friends to beat the computer. Or if you like the challenge, up to three can play at the same time, just like in the show.

Monty Python’s Complete Waste of Time – Mac/PC (1994)
The second game based on the show is far better than the first, which was little more than a generic shmup/platformer. Here, we get even more than games even, with wallpapers, screensavers and icons for your computer, as well as many clips from the show, most notably “The Dead Parrot” sketch.

But the Pythons also recorded a few new segments for the sake of this release, and there are a few mini-games to enjoy as well, for example a game similar to Flappy Bird, without the scrolling.

All wrapped in Terry Gilliam’s beautiful animations, you have a collection not to be missed if you’re a fan of the group.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Future’s Past – SNES (1994)
When talking about video game adaptations, one key element to look for is if the game brings immersion to the table, meaning it makes it feel like you are truly playing the show. This is something this Star Trek game does.

Playing like an adventure game, you can either be at the bridge, which serves like a hub for your missions, with a lot of information and trivia available. You can also enter combat with the USS Enterprise, which plays a bit like an early 3D shooter. And the meat of the game are the topdown missions, which can be played with several different characters. Lots of fun to be had for the Trekkers!

Wheel of Fortune – NES (1987, 1988 and 1990)

Later offerings include FMV and Vanna White as the host, though this version with a pixelated version of her works just as well. Wheel of Fortune on the NES is simple, but gets the job done with all the rules from the TV show. The soundtrack by David Wise, of Battletoads and Donkey Kong Country fame, is catchy and fits like a glove.

The game proved popular enough to receive a couple of themed sequels “Junior” and “Family” editions respectively. The Junior edition is so well designed it could be played be kids today, even!

Who Wants to Beat Up a Millionaire – Dreamcast (2000)
OK, this is a stretch, but hey, a parody is always based on something. Playing quite similarly to its source material, this game features hilarious characters based on people such as Bill Gates, Anna Nicole Smith and non other than the current president of USA.

The goal of the game is to answer both silly and typical questions, to make the “victim” character fall of the ladder, which replaces the original’s question ladder. Not the deepest game by any means, but a fun party game to bring out once in a while.

Staff Writer

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