The five worst game-to-film adaptations

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Director J J Abrams is set to adapt first-person shooter Half Life to the big screen, but will it be a flop like these other adaptations?

Blockbuster film director J. J. Abrams is on a hot streak right now, from his muscular Star Trek reboot to being anointed as director of the Star Wars revival.  But, in less well-publicised news, he has also agreed to adapt a video game – the ground-breaking 1998 first-person shooter Half Life.

One look at the wreckage of previous video-game adaptations that litter the movie landscape and it might appear to be a foolish quest. Which brings us on to our own endeavour: to find the five worst computer-game adaptations (like hitting a barn door with a plasma rifle).

Click here to view the gallery of worst game-to-film adaptations.

Click here to view the gallery of best game-to-film adaptations.

Five worst film adaptations:

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi and Motonori Sakakibara

The first film to attempt photorealistic computer animation hasn’t aged well, but its failure is on a more basic level: plot. It may have portrayed a beautifully rendered, post-apocalyptic landscape, but when you’re spending more time fixating on the way the characters’ strands of digital hair billow in the wind then following the incoherent plot about vengeful extraterrestrial spirits, then the film has failed. 

Super Mario Bros. (1993), directed by Annabel Jankeland Rocky Morton

Two Italian plumbers jumping, climbing and bouncing their way around a colourful fantasy world may be the perfect recipe for a computer-game franchise but it’s an awful premise for a movie. A ridiculous gurning Bob Hoskins and his charisma-free side kick are transported to a dino-themed world beneath the streets of Brooklyn. Narrative and character development gets left in Brokklyn, along with Luigi's tool belt, as the bungling plumbers search for Dennis Hopper’s evil lizard King Koopa. “It’s the worst thing I ever did” admits a chastened Bob Hoskins.

Street Fighter (1994) , directed by Steven E. de Souza

When the Hollywood scribe behind action blockbuster Die Hard decided to try his hand at directing an action spectacle of his own, the film world waited with baited breath. But this appalling action flick was the result. Jean Claude Van Damme plays Street Fighter 2 character Guile, head of a task force sent to penetrate the hideout of renegade warlord, General Bison. Sadly Van Damme has an ear for dialogue like co-star Kylie Minogue has a fist for martial arts.  De Souza has since quit directing films.

Wing Commander (1999), directed by Chris Roberts

Should video game creators direct movies? If you’re Wing Commander video game creator Chris Roberts, the answer is a resounding no. Freddie Prinze Jr plays a cocky young space fighter pilot in this Lucas-lite sci-fi adaption that pits a marauding alien race against a ragtag fleet of pilots. What's remarkable about the film is how the cast’s performance is easily eclipsed by the original video-game actors, with Mark Hamill playing the titular role with significantly more charisma in the game’s cut-scenes.

Alone in the Dark (2005), directed by Uwe Boll

This cataclysmically bad fantasy-horror thriller stars Christian Slater as a paranormal investigator with a secret past. It’s helmed by German director Uwe Boll who has hit a run of form as the world’s most atrocious video-game adaptor, spewing out about one critically panned cinema-nasty a year. This appalling adaptation doesn’t have anything resembling a narrative. Rather, we get an unholy mess of rampaging CGI monsters, random scene switching, a lot of flickering darkness and an aching desire to be left alone.

Do you agree with the selection? Comment below or tweet Adam Jacques.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor