Fifteen minutes of fame

Many factors contribute to the success or failure of a video game. However, it seems like the ultimate kiss of death has always been when a game ties itself into a movie license. It’s been this way ever since E.T. the video game came out for the Atari 2600. Very few games are able to rise above that dark tradition, the most famous being Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64.

Two upcoming games that also hope to break that trend are The Chronicles of Riddick: Attack on Dark Athena and Ghostbusters the Video Game. Both published by Atari, the huge difference that these games tout from their predecessors is that instead of trying to recreate the stories of their source material, they are trying to work around them.

Each game takes place in separate chapters of each game’s respective canon storylines, allowing them to keep a deep connection to the movies without completely restricting them to what can or can’t happen in the plot. While this in itself has not always been a constant nest of golden eggs, it has allowed each development team to go in interesting directions.

Riddick’s first entry into the digital world, Escape from Butcher Bay for the original XBox, was a rare gem for the console. It combined elements from first-person shooters, brawlers, stealth games, and even role playing games into a cohesive and empowering experience.

Living out the infamous prison breakout of Vin Diesel’s deep voiced alter-ego was a downright intoxicating experience as the vicious murderer showed us the difference between hiding in the shadows and lurking in them. All for the price of one in Dark Athena, the developers are including an entirely reworked Butcher Bay as well as an entirely new sequel (literally taking place a few hours after the first game’s conclusion as Riddick is captured by a mercenary vessel looking to turn him into a mindless drone).

When it’s released at the beginning of April, gamers can look forward to using Riddick’s iconic eye shine to see in the dark, his brutal close-combat techniques to take down foes unlucky enough to let you get behind them, as well as his dry sense of humor to navigate simple conversation branches that further develop the back-story of everyone’s favorite goggle-wearing, bald-headed, escaped convict.

Many of the Ghostbuster’s early video game installments are known more for being clunky messes than anything else. However, this new early summer release promises to go way beyond expectations. Set three years after the second movie, Egon and Ray are looking for a new recruit to test out a newly-invented and unpredictable proton pack in a still very haunted yet very pro-paranormal investigator New York City.

Lucky for all those who “ain’t afraid of no ghosts,” that guy is you. Voiced by all of the original cast and penned by the series creators Dan Akyroyd and Harold Ramis, this game is being considered the equivalent of the third movie, as the Ghosbusters fend off an invasion from the spirit world.

Add on completely destructible environments, multiple types of attack variations for the proton pack and slime cannon, and dozens of ghost types ranging from the lovable slimer to the menacing Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and it’s safe to say our old friends from the ’80s are back to clean up the town.