The 10 Greatest Licensed Video Games Of All Time Source:

Video games based off of TV shows, movies, or other established properties have existed for as long as home consoles have flourished. The unfortunate truth is that these licensed games tend to be below average in terms of quality. It’s far too commonplace for a popular established property to quickly cash in high financial returns by releasing an incomplete or shoddy product. That being said, sometimes licensed games defy industry trends and occasionally, a game based on a pre-existing property manages to hit the mark and exceed expectations. The following 10 games successfully accomplished that feat and are arguably the best licensed video games ever made.

10. Aladdin (Super Nintendo)

The Super Nintendo version of Aladdin is an outstanding platformer developed by Capcom that faithfully follows the storyline of Disney’s animated film. In contrast, the Sega Genesis version of Aladdin was developed by Virgin Games and deviates from the plot set out in the source material. When discussing the Aladdin license, there is only one game that does it justice and that is Capcom’s Super Nintendo version. The game has some standout gameplay moments and features enough variety in its platforming levels to stay fresh. Occasionally, Aladdin will be tasked with riding his magic carpet in a flying level. These stages are frustratingly difficult, but do a good job of replicating similar scenes found in the film. It may look antiquated by today’s standards, but back in 1993, the Aladdin video game was considered a licensed video game success and it still holds up surprisingly well today. Source:

9. Batman Returns (Super Nintendo)

This underrated 1992 gem from developer Konami was a breath of fresh air for the beat ’em up genre. Similar in style to games such as Final Fight or Streets of Rage, Batman Returns is a side-scrolling beat-em up based on the Tim Burton film of the same name. The game does a marvelous job of capturing the spirit of the film, faithfully retelling the story through side-scrolling levels. This impressive feat of narration allows the gameplay to flow smoothly and for Batman fans to enjoy the tale. Enemies in Batman Returns are more varied than the ones that appear in Final Fight or in Streets of Rage. The enemies represent more than a simple pallet swap and take critical thinking to defeat. This variety, as well as the exciting grappling hook maintain the interest level in Batman Returns and make it one of the best licensed superhero games ever made. Source: Villains Wiki

8. The Simpsons Hit & Run

The Simpsons Hit & Run is one of the best examples of licensed games done correctly. It features great humor reminiscent of the early seasons and offers a 3D recreation of Springfield. While it’s not possible to receive a truly accurate representation of Springfield given that the show occasionally moves things around, Hit & Run’s map is made to scale and is as accurate as possible. Driving around Springfield and seeing all the favorite landmarks is a thrill and cements Hit & Run as one of the best licensed games of all-time. In addition, the game also features exceptional gameplay borrowed from the Grand Theft Auto series. This melding of GTA and The Simpsons works beautifully; it’s is able to remain relatively family-friendly and feels like an extra season of the show. Source:

7. The Walking Dead: Season 1

Available on pretty much any console or mobile device around, developer Telltale Games has successfully managed to allow The Walking Dead: Season 1 to be enjoyed by the widest audience possible. The game, which follows the tale of Lee and Clementine attempting to survive the zombie apocalypse, is based on The Walking Dead TV show and comics, but tells an original story not seen anywhere else. That doesn’t mean that The Walking Dead doesn’t fully capitalize on its source material, as it does make fantastic use of its license by incorporating familiar characters and recapturing the emotion found on the show. The original story simply affords players a sense of discovery, while being forced to make difficult moral decisions. By capturing the feeling of the TV show and comic, The Walking Dead: Season 1 succeeds in creating an outstanding licensed video game. Source:

 6. DuckTales (NES)

This 1989 classic held strong as one of the best platformers of all-time even long after the NES was no longer the primary system for many gamers. Capcom’s perfect take on the Disney animated TV show (and later movie) would go on to become extremely successful and remains one of the biggest cult favorites of the NES era. Perhaps it’s the tight controls, or maybe the attractive presentation, but DuckTales is simply able to draw players into the game and never relinquishes them. DuckTales was produced by lead personnel from the Mega Man series and it shows in the final product’s overall quality. Nintendo and Capcom successfully ported the game to the Game Boy in a version that functioned as a faithful translation; however, it’s the console version that rightfully receives the greatest praise. In 2013, the game was remastered on all major consoles in high definition, a love letter for fans who enjoyed the show and the original game. Source:

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

TMNT IV: Turtles in Time represents another side-scrolling beat-em up. It also happens to be one of the best games ever made, featuring unforgettable co-operative play, catchy music and an atmosphere that brings out the best in the title. The local co-op allows players to play the game with a friend and control two turtles on the screen at once. With all four turtles featuring their distinct weaponry and attitude, the game is intended to be replayed in order to try out all the characters. Considering how some of the Ninja Turtles have weapons that are longer range than others, it’s reassuring to know that the game is perfectly balanced and none of the turtles have an edge on each other. With a time-travelling mechanic, a fight against Shredder, and appearances from Bebop and Rocksteady, Turtles in Time wonderfully captures the essence of its source material and is simply fun to play. It is one of the very best licensed games to be released. Source: Nerd Bacon

4. Kingdom Hearts (PS2)

Prior to its release, Kingdom Hearts appeared very risky and expectations were not particularly high. The game appeared to be similar to Final Fantasy,but with more action elements; however, the game also featured a crossover with Disney characters. Goofy, Donald Duck, and plenty of other iconic characters from Walt Disney’s Animation Studio had invaded this JRPG, which made it an unknown quantity. Kingdom Hearts would of course go on to become an immediate success and any fears that audiences had regarding this odd crossover were quickly squashed. As far as licensed properties go, Kingdom Hearts contains a unique universe with an original storyline, with many locations and characters from Disney sources included throughout the game. Kingdom Hearts is an amazing game and an amazing series. Fans have been waiting over a decade for the proper third entry and perhaps Kingdom Hearts 3 will finally arrive in 2017 after suffering numerous delays throughout its development. Source:

 3. South Park: The Stick of Truth

There have been far too many South Park video games released that failed to live up to the quality of their source material. Many of these games were frankly embarrassing, with a “good” South Park game very difficult to find. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone decided this had gone on for far too long and entered the world of video game development firsthand with South Park: The Stick of Truth. The game recreates the show’s art style perfectly, verifying every minute detail in order to give an authentic experience. Furthermore, the Easter Eggs found in this game are seemingly infinite. South Park: The Stick of Truth is outrageously funny and lives up to the show’s hilarious legacy. As a piece of fan service it is a work of art, as the game contains such a wide variety of references to the show’s episodes spanning decades of content. Without a doubt, every South Park fan must experience this game. Source:

2. GoldenEye 007 (N64)

The must-have multiplayer experience of the 90s, GoldenEye 007 revolutionized first-person shooters and proved that they had a home on consoles. Most memories of this fabulous game likely come from the multiplayer mayhem, which could be played endlessly without becoming stale. However, what is sometimes forgotten is that GoldenEye is also a fantastic single player experience and represents the James Bond license in superb fashion. A clever combination of stealth and mission objectives made this game standout from other first-person shooters of the time. From the opening cinematic to John Barry’s catchy James Bond theme song, GoldenEye feels like the real Bond experience. The game was so influential it even spawned a remake/sequel on the Wii, which was later ported to other consoles. This Wii title replaced Pierce Brosnan with Daniel Craig and changed various plot elements. This worked shockingly well; however, the N64 original remains the greatest representation of Bond in a video game. Source:

1. Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City brings to the table what every Batman fan would like to have and creates one of the best-executed licensed games ever. Characters are voiced by stars from Batman: The Animated Series such as Mark Hamill (voice of The Joker) and Kevin Conroy (Batman), which gives this title a truly authentic feeling. Arkham City is a near-flawless game, offering tremendous fan service while providing deep gameplay that is sure to please even those unfamiliar with the caped crusader (if there are any such people). Arkham City’s predecessor, Arkham Asylum, deserves credit for showing that it was possible to make a dark, gritty Batman video game that stays true to the source material of the comics. However, Arkham City expands upon its predecessor’s magnificence, developing the environment into an open-world area, adding more villains and crafting a brilliant plot. With more collectibles and a superior difficulty curve than its predecessor, Arkham City is the best Batman game ever made and the best licensed video game of all-time. Source:

Colin Anderson

DWitzman has been writing about video games, movies, tv and more for Goliath since 2016.