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Nintendo Power's Worst Reviewed Movie Games
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 09, 2016   |   Episode 98 (Show Archive)  

When it came to movie games, Nintendo Power had a love affair with Batman, Jurassic Park and even Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. But for every time they gushed over Alien 3, they had to hold their nose to make it through a game like Total Recall or Friday the 13th. Today we're going to take a look at Nintendo Power's Worst Reviewed Movie Games, a list of titles you definitely want to avoid.

The Terminator
Some directors begin their careers by making small films in an attempt to get their foot in the door. But not James Cameron. The director of the top grossing film of all time kicked things off with The Terminator in 1984. Grossing nearly $100 million worldwide, the science fiction action film turned Arnold Schwarzenegger into everybody's favorite killer robot and solidified Cameron's place in Hollywood. The success of The Terminator brought one of the best sequels of all time; followed by three awful installments and a short-lived TV show with the chick from Garbage.

A decade after the movie introduced the world to Skynet, Mindscape and Radical Entertainment brought the man vs. robot fight to the Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo Power wasn't impressed with this long-overdue movie adaptation. They took issue with the "blocky graphics and awkward jumping and shooting controls" and gave the game a 2.5 out of 5. While that may not sound bad, it's worth remembering that Nintendo Power didn't give a score lower than a 2 between 1988 and 1995.

Giving it a range of scores from 4 all the way up to 6, Electronic Gaming Monthly was also mixed on this version of The Terminator. Martin Alessi noted that the cart had potential, felt that Mindscape squandered a cool license. Steve Harris concluded that "this may not be the best action title, it's nice to see on 8-bit." Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Bebe's Kids
Although Robin Harris had appeared as memorable characters in movies like Do the Right Thing and House Party, it was his Bebe's Kids standup routine that made him a household name. This riotously funny act was inspired by the comedian's real life babysitting experiences and went on to spawn a 1992 animated feature starring Faizon Love, Louie Anderson and Ton Loc. Sadly, Robin passed away two years before the movie hit theaters, but his standup lived on in ways I doubt he could have imagined.

In a perfect world, Robin's creation would have generated one of the year's most imaginative video games. Sadly, that's not how it worked out. Nintendo Power was not impressed with Bebe's Kids, giving it a 2.4 out of 5 and calling it "extremely slow." Although the magazine liked the bright graphics and catchy tunes, they weren't as impressed with the "poor play control" and enemies that "take huge amounts of damage." Robin Harris deserves better.
Beethoven: The Ultimate
Canine Caper
For a movie that would go on to generate seven sequels and a TV series, the original Beethoven wasn't the box office hit you might expect. Grossing $57 million and ranking as the 26th top grossing movie of 1992, the Charles Grodin comedy did respectable business and made a tidy profit. But the family film must have blown up on home video, because we've spent the last twenty years avoiding the never-ending lineup of sequels.

Although it's called Beethoven's 2nd in Europe, this Super NES action game uses the licensed characters to tell a brand new adventure. Nintendo Power was not impressed with Beethoven: The Ultimate Canine Caper, complaining that the game had "very poor animation and play controls," as well as the "lack of depth and low challenge."

GamePro was even less impressed, calling it a "dog." "The controls in this mangy side-scroller need a flea dip," they said right before giving it a 2 out of 5. And if you think that's bad, GamePro gave the Game Boy port a pathetic 1.5 out of 5, one of the lowest scores given to any handheld title. It sounds like this game needed to be put down.
Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon may not have been the first buddy cop film, but after becoming one of the top grossing films of 1987, the Mel Gibson/Danny Glover comedy helped reinvigorate the genre. Pulling in more than $120 million worldwide (or $254 million if we add inflation), the Richard Donner hit went on to spawn three sequels and an upcoming TV series.

Despite using the name Lethal Weapon, the 8- and 16-bit video games were based more on the Joe Pesci-enhanced sequels than the 1987 original. Nintendo Power hated Lethal Weapon on both the Game Boy and Nintendo Entertainment System. It was the handheld version that fared worse, earning a 2 out of 5 and maligned for the poor hit detection and awkward perspectives.

Nintendo Magazine System agreed with this assessment, calling Lethal Weapon "a tawdry little effort, parading as an all-action beat-em-up." They gave it a 45% and complained that the movie game had "all the impact of the Antique Roadshow." For what it's worth, GamePro disagreed. Lance Boyle gave the game a 4 out of 5 and praised the gameplay and large characters. That already sounds better than the upcoming television reboot.
Beauty and the Beast
Although it has been tarnished a bit in recent years, the Walt Disney brand meant something to gamers in the 8- and 16-bit eras. Games like DuckTales, Aladdin and Castle of Illusion weren't just fun for a licensed property; they were legitimately great products that earned high scores from all the critics. But while other companies were able to turn Chip 'N Dale's Rescue Rangers, The Lion King and even Gargoyles into great action games, Hudson Soft fumbled in their efforts of creating something captivating out of Beauty and the Beast.

Nintendo Power was the only magazine to review the 8-bit effort, and they were not impressed. They moaned that the "graphics look particularly dates" and the "play control doesn't feel solid," with the hit detection feeling a bit "off." The magazine did like seeing the characters from the movie, but it wasn't enough for the game to earn anything higher than a 2 out of 5.

To be fair to Hudson, it's not entirely their fault. Several different takes on Beauty and the Beast showed up on the various systems, and none of them were well-received. In fact, SunSoft's bone-headed attempt to create different "girl" and "boy" Genesis games ended with critics calling the company sexist. There's just something about Beauty and the Beast that developers weren't able to crack.
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