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15 Video Game To Film Adaptations That Changed Too Much

Video games have become fodder for Hollywood in recent years as they have targeted different stories with an already established fanbase to guarantee money. In theory, this makes sense, but there has never been a truly critically lauded video game film despite some earning a bit of money.

However, surely the point of adapting something is to keep the essence of the original source material, even if some of it needs to be changed for practical or narrative reasons. These films, however, really missed the mark and the point of the games altogether.

15. Doom

Doom was one of the finest first-person shooters of its age and introduced many gamers to the concept as you stalked the halls of a research lab on Mars that has opened up a portal to hell and is now infested with demons that you have to blast. Now read that again and tell me why that would not make a good movie.

Exactly, it is nonsensical and crazy, but video games can get away with this (or they could) because the story is not necessarily integral, but for a film, it has to be. That said, the movie did try to tone down these elements as the demons became genetic experiments gone wrong but it also made it an action-horror with a militarized feel. The game is more of a straight up shooter with an eerie feel, and so the film fell flat, for so many, many reasons.

14. Need For Speed

Essentially a wanton attempt to launch a franchise that could compete with The Fast & The Furious, this only really is linked to the game series by name alone and little else as it has a brand new, very bland, storyline and no sense of peril as it is always obvious Aaron Paul's character will win the day.

There was never a lot to the Need For Speed games, but they were mostly about street racing, so if you remove that element and make it a sort of crime-caper where someone has to clear their name, what have you got left?

13. Hitman 

A film based on a smash-hit video game that had a top-notch storyline about a nameless assassin should have been a runaway success given that the protagonist doesn't have much to say and so the film could be an action packed thriller. It looked like it was going that way as well since it was produced by the guy who made the Taken films and Fox were hoping it would launch a franchise for them.


Although it took nearly $100m, its action packed budget was apparently pretty big, and audiences didn't really think too much of the film as it was very samey to other action films that had come before it. Fox tried again with Hitman: Agent 47 which was, arguably, an even poorer film but cost a heck of a lot less to make. The problem being that a story about a cold-blooded killer does not translate when you try to humanize that character and give them motive.

12. Warcraft

This may come as a shock to many as this film did so badly in its domestic market, it took only $47m from a $160m budget but in China it took an incredible $200m and proved just how important international markets are for films these days and leaves producers considering the unique possibility of producing an American-made sequel without a domestic release. Considering it's the highest grossing video game film ever made, it does seem rather strange.


This movie almost went the other way by trying to give too many nods to the in-game world and losing a lot of the immersion in the storyline in the process. These references weren't explored fully because there were just too many of them and the potential of the film was never really fulfilled.

11. Assasin's Creed 

This had so much potential in it to be good. It had Michael Fassbender in it, for goodness sake! Pretty accurate to the story as well, it spends too much time in the 'real world' and not enough time in the past, which detracts from the original elements of the gameplay more like a virtual reality experience than truly entering the skin of your ancestors which made it less perilous.

It was also visually jarring by trying to recreate the gameplay of jumping around rooftops in a non-interactive form, which failed in a dizzying manner.

10. Resident Evil: Apocalypse

The second installment of the Resident Evil film franchise that yet again was slated by critics, its success relied heavily on the fact that its modest budget and cross-over appeal of fusing the video game, action and horror genres into one meant it had a wider appeal than many other attempts at trying to crack the lucrative game to film transformation.


Set a month after the events of the first movie, it follows on pretty rapidly from where it left off but it makes the villain of the game, Nemesis, something of a hero and makes the evil Umbrella Corp. less shady and cunning and more, super-villainy which just grated a little too much for fans.

9. Silent Hill: Revelation

Would you believe, the first Silent Hill film wasn't bad? It wasn't perfect by any means, but it wasn't bad. The sequel, however, brought our expectations crashing back down to Earth with pointless and ineffectual references to the games that didn't do anything for plot or character development.

The game series success is also down to its subtle use of psychological horror, the film threw this notion out the window and went for all out gore and jump scares.

8. Bloodrayne

If anyone knows the name of director Uwe Boll, they will know he is synonymous with bad video game adaptations. If he played it, he probably tried to make a film out of it and then butchered it in the process. Bloodrayne is just one of those where Boll tries to pack in the storylines of the first two games into one film; the problem being is that they take place 100 years apart.

The second is that he can't do dialogue and so has his protagonist, grunt, cry and fight, and that is all. It is flat, two-dimensional dross. The only thing worse was the sequel, Bloodrayne: The Third Reich, a movie where a beautiful vampire targets World War 2 Nazis in attempts to stop Hitler from gaining the power of the undead. Yeah, you read that correctly.

7. Max Payne

A video game that pays homage to film noir and action films should be a perfect fit for the screen but where it fell apart was in the fact that it decided to skip over a lot of exposition in favor of action and its adaptation of the bullet time feature was less in the vein of The Matrix and more just irritating usage of slo-mo.

It is not the worst video game adaptation, but it misses out the mafia aspects of the game universe and also tries to make Mark Wahlberg a likable character.

6. House of The Dead

It's Uwe Boll again. This time he decided to adapt a zombie shooter about stopping an evil geneticist called Dr. Curien into a film. He does this by completely getting rid of Dr. Curien and then telling you which characters are going to die.

At one point there is a 'game over' screen when a character dies which, if you weren't distanced from such a stupid film anyway, completely takes you out of any sort of immersion (and we use the word liberally) that was there.

5. Postal

Postal was a controversial game in that, it was mindless violence for the sake of it. It had no real storyline and was crass in tone and style, and so when someone thought it would be a good idea to make a film, you just knew it would be awful. So, guess who stepped in? Of course, Uwe Boll.

The film tries to bill itself as a live-action South Park and desperately tries to be edgy and funny, but instead, it is horrifying and unnecessary in its grotesque attempts at humor. Please, do give this a miss wherever possible.

4. Street Fighter

An arcade hit about a fighting tournament where you pick your fighter and battle away. A simple enough video game premise but there was not enough there for a movie, yet some bright spark thought throwing Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Kylie Minogue into a film adaptation of it might work.


It didn't, the storyline made no sense (and why would it?), and it barely pays homage to the game with no reference to classic moves and just awfully thought out character rip-offs.

3. Far Cry

The Far Cry games are all set in tropical locale and usually involve a lost tourist getting caught up in a local coup or something along those lines. Uwe Boll (yes, him again) thought going to the tropics would be too expensive so filmed it in a forest somewhere.

Another massive issue was that the main protagonist lacked compassion and only did things when it directly affected him, far from the premise of the games. It did not go down with critics or audiences alike.

2. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Like Street Fighter, the Mortal Kombat film took from an arcade beat 'em up and tried to add a passable story. It didn't work, but the first made enough money to warrant a sequel and had passable references to keep people interested in a time where video game movies were not common place. It was cheesy, simple and didn't take itself too seriously so kind of worked.

Cue the sequel which abandoned the original characters, had laughable CGI, and fight scenes so poorly staged that they look like weird, interpretive dance numbers. 

1. Super Mario Bros.

Trying to make a rational plot out of the Super Mario Bros. content is not really possible. The game involves a plumber trying to rescue a princess from a giant turtle creature. In any case, Hollywood tried by doing away with most of the original content and creating a storyline out of parallel dimensions and a romantic arc which was never there in the first place.

It changed the villains into dinosaur-like creatures and made King Bowser humanoid. Not only was it one of the worst video game adaptations ever but it also barely used any of the original content to even warrant the name. 

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