I don't know why I'm making this so late at night....but here we go!
Here are 10 of my favorite licensed games. These are all games that use franchises outside the game-sphere. Movies, TV shows, and comic books all act as inspiration for the following games. I AM avoiding wrestling games, since they're kind of sports games, in a way. I'd put No Mercy or Wrestlemania 2000 on here, but for this list I'm just going to keep them off. I loved the Ghostbusters game because it was Ghostbusters, but honestly, I'm not entirely sure it was really that great of a game. I also loved DBZ: Budokai Tenkaichi 2, but it's not close enough to my heart as some of these other games.
I know I'm missing a lot....I never sank my teeth into the Scott Pilgrim game, nor have I played games like Riddick or the Warriors, but these are all games that are/were important to me at some point. My memory has faded on some of these, but bear with me!
You know, I actually don't have TOO much experience with this game. I've beaten the first few missions of it. I actually think the Wolverine movie is pretty god awful. But man, this game is really cool. The character model they use looks exactly like Hugh Jackman. When he gets roughed up, you see it in the character model. He gets bloody, his shirt rips, and even gets chunks of his skin taken off. As expected, his wounds heal in realtime, and you can't help but watch it every time it happens. Wolverine has the awesome ability to lunge at enemies, which really makes you feel like the raging Canuck.
Warning: Video contains violent imagery
I remember being SO excited for this game. Eventually, I became disappointed with a lot of it. The story missions are awful, the voice acting is horrible (minus the always amazing Bruce Campbell), and the character models and animation look really, really dated. However...the swinging. Man, that swinging. If it weren't for the swinging, Ultimate Spider-Man would be on this list. SM2 really makes you feel like Spider-Man, swinging through the streets with your own momentum. You can jump REALLY high by holding and releasing the jump button. You can long jump by doing running and charging up your jump. It all just feels really good, almost like a Tony Hawk game, how you can chain together your many acrobatic manuevers. Really awesome stuff.
Oh. Yeah the rest of the game is kind of terrible, but swinging around through the city has never been better.
Try to skip the beginning and just get to Bruce Campbell talking. Awesome stuff.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Yeaaaaah. Not much to really be said. Just a great mindless 2D brawler in the arcade and on the SNES. It's a shame what happened to its XBLA remake, but the originals can't be beat. Great soundtrack!
Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers
Many people may say that this game isn't as good as DuckTales...and perhaps I agree, but I think I sunk more time into this one. I think the multiplayer aspect helped, and the fact that this game was longer. Still, I don't think I've beaten it as many times as DuckTales...if that makes sense.
Just a fun game all around. It's not the longest game, but moving Uncle Scrooge around is a lot of fun. Finding all the treasures is rewarding, and again...that soundtrack! Capcom really knew what they were doing back then.
Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
I actually do not know if this game has held up all that well, but I have really fond memories of it. It was really the first game I've ever played where you really felt like a Jedi. Kyle Katarn was awesome in this.
The Walking Dead
I've only played this recently...but man. What a trip. An emotion gut punch at times. Even if you're not a fan of zombies, check it out. It'll leave you on the edge of your seat!
This is "technically" the only game on here not available on a Nintendo system (Wolverine had a version on Wii I think, and Jedi Knight was on Gamecube), but it's so good, I couldn't not include it. I hope we see it hit the Wii U! Probably not going to happen, but here's hoping. It'd be perfect for the Wiimote.
(I Did not post any gameplay so as not to spoil the game)
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader
My namesake! When the GameCube was unveiled, this was the game I had to get. Nothing else mattered (well, besides Smash Bros.). Even though the controls feel WAY too tight in retrospect, I can't help but play this after watching one of the original movies. So nostalgic, and just so true to the source material in so many ways. I love the levels they throw in between the movies. Such a cool way to add gameplay where you wouldn't expect it.
Rebel Strike had this whole game in multiplayer....but let's face it, the rest of Rebel Strike was so bad, I couldn't put it on this list in good conscience.
And it's still one of the best looking Wii games!
I can't ever forget the hundreds of hours I've put into this game.
Does it hold up all that well? Probably not. However, it still has really clever levels, an amazing soundtrack, and one of the more addicting multiplayer modes in any Nintendo game ever. Not really much to be said here. It's freaking Goldeneye.
Batman: Arkham Series
I honestly couldn't pick one, since I've only played through Arkham City once. Surprised to see these at the one spot? I just couldn't resist.
When I first played Arkham Asylum at a Target kiosk, I was blown away. Here I was, in an aisle at Target...but really, my mind was in a dark room, grappling up to gargoyles and figuring out how I would take down the Joker's henchmen. This, along with Arkham City, are the two games that out of any licensed game ever, made me FEEL like I was in that franchise. I AM Batman when I play these games. I'm the one taking out enemies as gracefully as Bruce Wayne does in Batman Begins. I'm the one snatching up henchmen and dangling them, instilling fear in the other bad guys. Everything about these games is practically perfect to me (aside from Batman's enormous shoulders).
We can talk about how the stories are way too silly, or how Batman has some stiff animations here and there, or how it's really easy to get addicted to Detective Mode...but in the end, these are the kind of games that I think every licensed game should strive to be. Put the player into the shoes of the main character, and let them live and breathe that world. It's the main reason I go to a licensed game in the first place - because I love that world enough, that I want to interact with it and be a part of it. And no games do it better than the Arkham games.
Check it out here...the Kevin Conroy soundalike is excellent! Ezio would be proud.
Batman on NES Goof Troop (SNES) Marvel vs. Capcom (and its many sequels) Rogue Squadron on N64, maybe even Episode 1 Racer if you can get past the framerate issues (and its relation to...well, Episode 1) Knights of the Old Republic Various sports games, if we want to include those Aladdin on SNES and Genesis The Lion King Darkwing Duck Mickey Mousecapades (which wasn't really that good...but I loved it as a kid, haha) The various Tom Clancy games (do they count? I mean...I think Rainbow Six was at least based on a book?) Everything or Nothing was a decent Bond game, and I hear the Wii game was good
The Godfather game on Xbox/PS2/Wii was pretty good. Also, I would have put Turtles in Time way higher. Maybe even above Goldeneye. Also, for all the love Goldeneye gets, The World is Not Enough was also very good.
As for other favorites of mine, there's the KOTOR games, especially the first one which would probably be #1 on my list. Simpsons Hit & Run was a fun GTA clone. Simpsons Arcade game is a classic. I also liked the X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance games.
I would put the Super Star Wars games in there...but honestly I don't think they're very good. I love them because I played them as a kid, but they're really clunky and awkward at times. The difficulty to me often felt like dying often wasn't my fault. I also tried to limit the number of Star Wars games I put on there, and I probably would've put KotoR on the list if it weren't for Jedi Knight 2 (which has more nostalgia for me).
@Zero Astro Boy: Omega Factor is such an underrated gem. One of my favorites on the GBA.
Despite my belief that KoToR is quite overrated and doesn't hold a candle to BioWare's prior Baldur's Gate series, I still found it to be a high quality game and belongs up there. I would probably include it on the list... but it's not my list .
Aliens vs. Predator 2 by Monolith was also great. I never got to play the original by Rebellion.
I've heard amazing things about TIE Fighter although I never got to play it myself.
No mentions of Quackshot or Castle of Illusion yet?
How about Little Nemo: The Dream Master? That's a licensed title too although for a bit more of an obscure one.
I rented it way back when I saw it at the grocery store. Mind you I had no belief at all that it would be a god game. Heck I was pretty certain it was going to horrible. It was such an absurd game that I had to play it and see what they could have possibly made out of such a license. Suffice to say I was not wrong. While it isn't the worst game ever, it definitely made every mistake of game design. There was a part of me for a long while that thought maybe I had dreamt it up being a kid and all until YouTube came along and confirmed that it wasn't something I just imagined.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance is great. I was surprised to see you lead off your list with two Marvel games and not that one. You should check it out! 4p simultaneous Action-RPG! (And like, ~20 superheroes to choose from. Pretty much any Marvel guy you'd be looking for -- besides some X-Men -- is there.)
EDIT- "The Lunge" is what made me think of it. I fly all over the screen in Ultimate Alliance with that thing. Wolverine has another skill, can't remember the name of it, but when he goes into a "bloodlust" mode of sorts, every guy he attacks with a *new* special move (including that Lethal Lunge, I believe is the name) becomes an instakill. Pretty freakin' rad.
He does like the lunge, and then a handstand with his claws in them. Whaaaat!?
@GameDadGrant Actually, looking at some screenshots of DuckTales, it seems vaguely familiar. I'm pretty sure I somehow played that when I was a kid, but we definitely never owned it. I've moved on from the NES though so I won't be buying any more games for it.