Heavy Armor’s Useless Facts: Sega’s Games Based on Movies

In a number of reviews, I have noted where Sega takes the general concept of a popular American movie and turned it into a video game.  More often than not, the game itself turned out to be very popular and memorable, although there were always some missteps.  In each of these cases, there was never an actual corporate license, but the look and feel were unmistakable.  So let’s go through some of them.  For the sake of completeness, I’m going to include the ones I already mentioned in my individual reviews.

Alien Syndrome:

This game is an overhead shooting game that features two soldiers named Ricky and Mary, who have to rescue their comrades trapped on a space colony (a cluster of space stations).  The stations have been overrun with Aliens, and to keep the Aliens from menacing the rest of the galaxy, Ricky & Mary have set time bombs on each station.

The Source Movie: James Cameron’s Aliens.  Ricky is supposed to be Corporal Hicks (as played by Michael Biehn) and Mary is actually Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver).  They both start with Pulse Rifles (which were the standard weapon of the Colonial Marines of the movie), and can upgrade to other more powerful weapons, including flamethrowers.  The aliens on some levels bear more than a passing resemblance to the Aliens in the film.  The hostages are held in alien goo, similar to the victims early in the film, and like Newt was when Ripley confronts the Alien Queen.

Thunder Blade:

This game is part simulation, part arcade shooter.  You take a heavily-armed high-tech helicopter through several stages, encompassing cities, canyons, and caves, destroying the enemy.  They will meet your challenge using tanks, fixed guns, F-14s, helicopters, and even warships.

The Source Movie: John Badham’s Blue Thunder. The Blue Thunder helicopter design is one that lends itself to be known as a Futuristic Attack Helicopter.  The overall design of Blue Thunder is somewhat similar to that of the AH-1 Cobra Helicopter Gunship, but even more menacing.  For the Sega Game, all of the digitized still frame shots are from the 1984 movie.   In the late 1980s, the Blue Thunder design was a very popular one, showing up in movies like Firefox and Red Dawn, TV Shows like MacGuyver, and even in videogames like this one.  The Blue Thunder helicopter also manages to show up in another videogame called “Midnight Resistance”.

Afterburner

Like Thunder Blade, this game is part simulation, part arcade shooter.  Starting from an Aircraft Carrier, you take off into the Wild Blue Yonder, battling formations of enemy planes with your dual vulcan cannons and all-purpose missiles.  Lots of fast-paced action as the soundtrack keeps the heart pulsing.

The Source Movie: Top Gun. While the F-14 proved to be one of the most popular aircraft designs in video games, the noteworthy thing to remember is that its popularity in American culture never took hold until after this movie.  Afterburner, on the other hand, was never an officially licensed game based on the Top Gun movie, but thanks to its easy to use controls, fast-paced gameplay, and pulse-pounding soundtrack, it was easily the popular of the bunch.

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2 Responses to Heavy Armor’s Useless Facts: Sega’s Games Based on Movies

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