As a constant filmgoer and someone who works eight hours a day with movie trailers (advertisements essentially) it gets my attention when film marketing does something different. A couple years ago I was prepping to see Wreck-It Ralph by playing the actual game that Ralph "works" in within the movie, Fix-It Felix. Disney released the full game on the App Store and it played like an arcade classic of yesteryear. There are few video game tie-ins that work that well. Speaking of, I'd still love to see full version of Candy Rush and Hero's Duty, but those require a lot more work to be brought to reality. We'll see what they do with the recently all-but-announced Wreck-It Ralph sequel.
The reason my mind was brought back to Fix-It Felix was because this week, just before it's nationwide theatrical expansion, a playable arcade game was released to promote The Raid 2. It's an 8-bit sidescrolling beat 'em up akin to Streets of Rage and the like. We frequently see fan-made gameplay videos of 8-(or 16-)bit adaptations of popular movies or television shows, check out MOVIECLIPS' own take on last year's Iron Man 3, but ever-so-rarely are they actually playable. That's the good news! You can head over to ShortList right this second and began punching and kicking your way to ubiquitous right side of the screen!
The bad news? To put it bluntly, it's an unbalanced and terrible game. I tried each of the four characters and while initially promising of some depth they all control miserably. Jumping is pointless. Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Boy have a range attack that Rama and Prakoso lack, making them far easier to button-mash through the level and obliterate the boss. Unfortunately, a gameplay video would have been a lot more entertaining. It's too bad because these are things any cinephile/gamer's reveries are made of and I probably shouldn't be pissing on one for finally coming to fruition. I just take my games pretty seriously and have performance standards. Enough loathing, I do like the chiptune version of the film's epic theme, the pixel-ized cutscenes, the lines of dialogue straight from the film and a level hierarchy that more or less matches the scenes from the movie. When you reach of the boss battles in the kitchen you'll be taken back to one of the most exhilarating demonstrations of sheer one-on-one combat in filmdom.
The Raid 2 and its predecessor would make great games, but this isn't it. After seeing this sequel I commented to a couple people on how Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Boy are essentially boss battles that Rama has in the movie. The simplicity of obstacles lends itself to the traditional progress of an action game. Just look at the Blu-ray cover for the The Raid: Redemption: "1 Ruthless Crime Lord. 20 Elite Cops. 30 Floors of Hell." What kind of a tagline is that for a film? That's a pitch for a video game.
I'm reminded of Roger Ebert's decimating single-star review of The Raid. Two excerpts:
"The Raid: Redemption is essentially a visualized video game that spares the audience the inconvenience of playing it. There are two teams, the police SWAT team and the gangsters. The gangsters have their headquarters on the top floor of a 15-story building, where they can spy on every room and corridor with video surveillance. The SWAT team enters on the ground floor. Its assignment: Fight its way to the top, floor by floor."
"Some of the hand-to-hand battles are shameless in how they mimic video games. A fighter stands in a corridor and demolishes an enemy. As the enemy falls, another springs into position from around corner, ready to be demolished in turn. Then another. It's like they're being ejected by an automatic victim dispenser."
I entirely disagree with Ebert on two principles: 1) Diminishing The Raid to a video game. 2) Diminishing these things we call video games to a status unworthy of art. It's an entirely different thing to say that these would make great games.
Film and video games are among the forefront of my passions, hobbies and obsessions. I have and will continue to write about them separately and comparatively. In case I did not make it clear, I am thankful for eOne Entertainment actually making a game as part of their marketing for The Raid 2. That’s legitimately awesome even if I have gripes about the execution and gameplay. The Raid 2 opens nationwide tomorrow and it's my favorite film of the year (thus far).
What are your thoughts on this 8-bit adaptation of The Raid 2? What are your favorite games based on movies or vice versa? Finally, what movies do you feel would make great game? Sincere thanks for your readership and do keep moving to the right.