Video games being adapted into movies haven’t always hit the mark. “Doom,” “Max Payne” and recently, “Assassin’s Creed” are some that flopped at the box office, but as seen with the “Resident Evil” franchise and its six films, the market still exists out there. Netflix, recently seen reviving the nostalgic “Voltron” cartoon, is now attempting the same with Konami’s video game series, “Castlevania.”
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This platform not only means great news for vintage games like this one, but it also bodes well for other modern games, which fans are usually tentative about when they get the Hollywood treatment. With this vampire-killing cult-favorite coming later this year, folks are hoping more properties make the animated Netflix jump because of the creative freedom offered that you won’t find in movie studios. That said, CBR decided to look at 15 video games we’d like to see on Netflix!
15. MARIO BROS.
With no studio willing to take a risk with this franchise on the big screen after the animated series in 1989 and the “Super Mario Bros.” movie in 1993, this should be a no-brainer for Netflix. This Nintendo gem is one of the most renowned video games ever, spawning dozens of games and several cartoon shows over the years. It focused on the plumber brothers, Mario and Luigi, who are usually tasked with fighting the tyrant Bowser and his Koopa Troopas, to liberate Princess Toadstool’s kingdom.
There’s enough here for a few seasons and we’ve also got a very rich cast of characters to play with. Toad, the dinosaur Yoshi, and the inverted Mario known as Wario all pop to mind in a world where you can throw turtle shells at enemies, partake in go-kart racing, gain powers by eating mushrooms and obtain flowers that enable you to shoot fire.
14. STREET FIGHTER
“Street Fighter” is arguably CAPCOM’s hottest property and one of the most recognizable fighting games of all time. The story centers around the world’s most elite warriors participating in a global fighting tournament, with the evil Bison usually monitoring to see which of them he can rope into his crime syndicate, Shadaloo. This property has yielded numerous animated movies, series and comics as well, with characters such as Ryu and Ken aspiring to be the best martial artist while watched by the dark, mystical Akuma, who was tied very closely to their origins.
Sagat (Bison’s most ruthless general), Guile (fighting to avenge his fallen comrade, Charlie) as well as Chun Li (out to avenge her father’s death) are but a few who make up the diverse and highly intriguing cast. The franchise underwent a serious revamp and has now reached “Street Fighter V,” the popularity of which shows how much fans want to see it transcend what it meant to them in the ’90s. The fighters are iconic globally and helped set the standard for fighting games over the last two decades.
Another versus game that won over fans in the ’90s is Namco’s “Tekken.” “Tekken 7” came out in 2013 and this franchise also crossed over with “Street Fighter,” showing that there’s still a fan base out there. The game documented the King of Iron Fist Tournament, hosted by the Mishima Zaibatsu corporation, with the winner controlling the company and hosting the following tournament.
A major plot thread involved the family drama of Kazuya, whose father, Heihachi, tried to kill him as a kid, only for him to survive and swear revenge thanks to his “devil gene” that turns the recipient into a powerhouse, albeit an evil one. Kazuya’s son, Jin, also inherited this gene and joined the fray in order to complicate things, forming a triangle of vengeance. Other characters such as Paul, a feisty biker, and the highly-evolved swordsman, Yoshimitsu, have drawn fans in over the years to help establish the title’s main themes of honor, glory and legacy. Netflix is ideal for this as the story’s pretty intricate and it unleashes a plethora of badass fighters in the most intense of rivalries.
12. BIONIC COMMANDO
“Bionic Commando” garnered a lot of success in the ’80s for CAPCOM. The arcade version focused on Super Joe, the evolved lead from their “Commando” war game, who was fitted with a mechanical arm and grappling hook, to conduct his war missions. The NES version then revolved around Ladd, a similarly-equipped soldier, now rescuing the veteran Joe from a Nazi-like Empire, thus expanding the title’s lore.
In the 2000s, a few sequels emerged (such as “Rearmed” in 2008) which had decent stories but just didn’t hit the mark with most fans. Given the current state of the world and the numerous threats of war out there, this series could be a great approach to covert ops, especially with the recent set of stories depicting Joe as a villain working undercover. If Netfix adapts things here, using Ladd’s military strike team of grappling warriors would be interesting as it’d add a new dynamic to the guns, grenades and choppers you’d come to expect. This has the potential to be a mature-themed show as well due to the politics and warfare involved.
“BioShock” is a game that deals with classist issues in society, focusing on the underwater city of Rapture, which was designed to be a utopia for humans. The society was torn apart due to the usage of ADAM, a substance which turned humans into superhumans, which was harvested in young girls called “Little Sisters.” Its sequel focused on the mutated beings who protected them, Big Daddies, with Subject Delta navigating the fallen city as the surface tries to suppress things.
“BioShock Infinite” added a new dimension as it dealt with Columbia, a steampunk city in the sky, which also had an elitist vibe to it. This already shows you the scope of drama that Netflix could sink its teeth into, similar to the stories told by Neil Blomkamp’s “District 9” or “Elysium.” The Big Daddies were quite sympathetic as well, and here we could see things unfolding from so many points of view. Netflix has the perfect chance here for some social commentary on how the world seeking to isolate itself not only fails, but actually results in harms itself.
10. DEVIL MAY CRY
“Devil May Cry” is another CAPCOM property that has enormous potential in its tale of the half-human, half-demon, Dante. The gun-wielding, sword-toting vigilante has dedicated his life to killing demons after they killed his mother. He follows the path of his deceased demon father, Sparda, who sided with humanity, and this saw Dante clash with his twin brother, Vergil, who followed a path of evil instead.
This story takes some influence from Italian poet, Dante Aleghieri, and was actually derived from the “Resident Evil’ franchise. Netflix can definitely up the ante from the 2007 anime that saw Dante use his powers mostly as a bodyguard and detective. There’s also the option to follow the 2013 reboot where Dante was asked by Vergil to help stop the demon king of Limbo, Mundus. Killing him also avenged their family, but Vergil then revealed his true intentions to be that he wanted to take Mundus’ throne. Fortunately, Dante was there to stop his brother’s aspirations. Honestly, there are a few routes the writers can take, but what’s another Netflix show without a whole bunch of family backstabbing?
“Uncharted” is another very popular video game that has spawned multiple sequels, had a comic run and is also in film development under director, Joe Carnahan. What drew fans in was the cavalier protagonist in Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter who travels around the world to uncover various historical mysteries. In these swashbuckling missions, he often encounters brutes who want to steal whatever treasures he manages to find.
It’s a pretty simple concept to run with and we’re sure fans would love Nathan Fillion, the man they usually tout for the lead role on screen, to voice the character. He’s backed by reporter and love interest, Elena, who was instrumental in his final chapter, “Uncharted: A Thief’s End” (released in 2016) which saw them helping his brother, Sam, on a mission which he needed to deliver on to save his life. Curtains fell with Drake and Elena married and ready to relay their adventures to a teenage daughter. This is one series that isn’t about fluff and which would bring a sense of “Tomb Raider” meets “Indiana Jones” to Netflix loyalists.
8. METAL GEAR
If you’re looking for stealth warfare, then look no further than to the “Metal Gear” franchise from legendary creator, Hideo Kojima. It focuses on the skilled special-ops soldier, Solid Snake, who’s usually the brawn to the brain called Otacon, his best friend. Together, they engineer the most dangerous black-ops missions, infiltrating to protect the world from nefarious threats.
Snake is a fan favorite due to his loner mentality, his overall badass disposition and also because of his personal war that he’s fighting with his traitorous father, Big Boss, who went rogue and became a soldier of fortune. With “Metal Gear Survive” out this year from Konami and focusing on an alternate reality with zombies, you get an idea of how the franchise has switched things up. Over the course of more than a dozen instalments in the series since its debut in 1987, we’ve seen a carousel of cinematic cutscenes, intricate storylines and offbeat fourth-wall humor. As well as the deep exploration of political and philosophical themes over the years, that add to tons of source material that Netflix can use to generate a high-octane journey for Snake.
7. GOLDEN AXE
“Golden Axe” was a highly popular hack-and-slash side-scroller from SEGA in the late ’80s that spawned a series of sequels and spinoffs. The first iteration was a classic that featured Gilius (a dwarf with a battle-axe), Tyris (an Amazon with a longsword) and Ax (a barbarian with a broadsword), who were all looking to exact revenge in the land of Yuria, which was ruled by a vile dictator. This villain was Death Adder, who killed all the loved ones associated with our heroes.
Our heroes found themselves on quite an adventure with wizards, potions, magical creatures and spells aiding them in their quest to end the villain’s reign. Adder would be resurrected in the sequels, but these extended stories were met with lukewarm reception. No worries, though, because the original has enough substance to truly offer Netflix a shot at cultivating an adrenalized saga a la “Lord of the Rings” or “Warcraft.”
“Contra” is another Konami gem, taking inspiration from a real-life group of C.I.A.-backed Nicaraguan rebels who carried out missions in the U.S.A.’s interest. This 1987 game focused on Bill and Lance, soldiers who ran through jungles and explosively dispatched enemies while trying to stop alien invaders called the Red Falcon Organization. The two-man platoon did so via an assortment of weapons and their guerrilla warfare acumen.
Several sequels, including 2009’s “ReBirth,” would not only pit the contras against alien forces, but against each other, with terrorism and betrayal hitting home internally like in the television series, “24.” Another option for the writers to tackle is the 2011 sequel which was meant to revamp the franchise, “Hard Corps: Uprising.” This was set before the original game (and deviated heavily from it) and focused on a more grounded story, with a resistance squad fighting off the Commonwealth who was oppressing the world. Either way, a series like “Contra” begs for the Michael Bay action treatment.
5. GEARS OF WAR
“Gears of War” is another action-fueled franchise, winning multitudes of fans over on debut in 2006 and still chugging thanks to “Gear of War 4” last year. The plot focuses on Marcus Fenix, a brilliant soldier and military tactician, who leads humanity’s war on two factions of villains, the Locust Horde and the Lambent. He does so using a special strike squad called the Gears, as they keep trying to bomb their enemies out of existence.
If Netflix wants an animated series that’s based on full-fledged wars and assaults, then this is perfect for them. They’ve got room to explore Marcus’ battle with the Locus Queen, Myrrah, as well as his mission to save his father, Adam, whom he presumed was dead. The 2016 sequel also dealt with Marcus’ son, J.D., taking up arms 25 years after Marcus’ crew destroyed the Locust threat, so it’s clear that there’s a lot of source material to sift through. The various chapters of this franchise usually garner critical acclaim and with such a dedicated fanbase, refining this would only serve to elevate Netflix’s status in the animation game.
4. DOUBLE DRAGON
“Double Dragon” was another game that set 1987 afire. The original focused on brothers, Billy and Jimmy Lee, fighting the Black Warriors gang to recover the former’s girlfriend, Marian. The sequels saw them continuing their rivalry with the same gang, but with more vengeance after the villains shot and killed Marian. The third game featured a supernatural trip where they scoured the globe fighting to unearth three mystical stones.
“Double Dragon IV” was released this year and it pitted the duo against a new gang called the Renegades, which now incorporated the Black Warriors, only to receive a weak reception. That aside, this beat ’em up holds a special place in our hearts, especially with those who loved the 1994 live-action movie, as well as the animated series that was out around the same time. It ran for 26 episodes and dealt with Jimmy denouncing his evil ways to join his brother in fighting off the evil Shadow Master, and trying to find their father, John. These threads offer enough connective tissue for Netflix to work their magic in the kung-fu street-fighting realm.
3. MORTAL KOMBAT
“Mortal Kombat” was another popular video game franchise that got both the movie treatment and a cartoon. “Mortal Kombat X” continues its modern legacy, with a DC Comics tie-in building the hype up even further. Its impact dates back to 1992 when Ed Boon and John Tobias unleashed it through Midway Studios. The story focused on the sorcerer Shang Tsung and his mystical tournament that drew in fighters from across several realms, including Earth. Under the guidance of Raiden the thunder god, Earth’s fighters learned that winning the tournament was the only way they would be able to stave off an invasion from Shang Tsung’s dimension.
It dealt with champion fighters such as Liu Kang and Johnny Cage, as well as the fire-and-ice rivalry of Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Now with NetherRealm Studios, the story (rebooted in 2011) has continuously evolved to incorporate several factions such as ninjas, mystical creatures, Earth’s armed forces, cyborgs and all-out murderers, while several deities play out their own version of “Game of Thrones.” With villains such as Shao Khan, Goro, Onaga, Shinnok and Quan Chi using brute force and mysticism, Netflix can not only tell the original story of Kung Lao’s victory, but also expand to the new breed such as his descendent, Kung Jin, as well as the likes of Cassie Cage (Johnny’s daughter with Sonya Blade).
2. GOD OF WAR
This franchise begs for the spectacle of Hollywood but we’ve already seen how they handle deity-centric films with the “Clash of the Titans” reboot. We’d rather things unveiled on Netflix instead, who would properly uncage the Spartan hero known as Kratos in his full glory. “God of War” debuted in 2005 and spawned multiple sequels, telling the tale of Kratos as he wreaked havoc on the Gods of Olympus, especially his father, Zeus, and Ares, whose mantle he’d claim after losing his family.
Things are now heading in a new direction for the eighth installment of the video game franchise, which sees Kratos mentoring his son, Atreus, in the world of Norse gods and monsters. There, he’s trying to quell the demons of his past from his blood-filled days in Greece. Seen as a soft reboot, this is the ideal time for Netflix to jump in and document the history of Kratos’ vengeance on the Olympians, which could serve as a prequel to the new game for those who don’t have the time to go back and play all the previous ones. The source material from all the games is ripe for the picking, so the writers won’t even have that tough a job crafting a story. Slaying all these men, monsters and gods could easily give us three epic seasons and raise the bar for either a mature animated series or a live-action one.
1. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA
First released in 1986, “The Legend of Zelda” is another of the most universally recognized games ever. Nintendo dished out a diamond that led to 18 installments across their major game consoles, also boasting a number of spin-offs, manga adaptations and a cartoon series. The series centers around Link and his mission to rescue Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule from Ganon, the main antagonist. The mythos usually involves a relic known as the Triforce, a set of three omnipotent golden triangles of power, wisdom and courage, which offer unbelievable magical possibilities when combined.
Netflix has a grand opportunity here to revamp the American animated television series that ran in 1989, which saw Link and Zelda fending off Ganon in 13 humor-filled episodes that was just too campy. With Link constantly trying to get an annoying kiss, you never felt the same sense of adventure that you did with the games, as things were too childish. Now’s the perfect time to add some “Warcraft” grit and edge to the franchise, and to take Link’s quest, filled with magic, weapons and creatures, to the next level.
Let us know in the comments which video game you want to see get turned into a Netflix series!
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