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Four Flicks That Were Doom-ed From the Start

<img src="http://dev.blogs.amctv.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/Doom_560x330_MCDDOOM_EC014_H.jpg" alt="" title="Four Flicks That Were Doom-ed From the Start” width=”560″/>

For every Silent Hill or Hitman adaptation that gamers actually look forward to, there are those whose productions inspire us to wonder, “Well, sure you could, but why?” This kind of ambivalence is inherently disastrous for video game movies. After all, if even the hardcore gamers are skeptical, chances are the flick will have no audience whatsoever. Here, we present four cinematic debacles that never should have existed, for surely no one ever asked for them. Fair warning: Excess shrugging brought on by indifference and confusion may cause cramping.

Doom, (2005)
Despite its status as one of the seminal first-person shooters of all time, Doom‘s 2005 adaptation suffered from two inescapable facts: Its source material was twelve years old, and it hadn’t aged well. Fans of the original game had moved on in the intervening years, and the its “demon aliens kill people on Mars” concept just felt tired in the era of Halo. Considering the last Doom game came out a year before the movie and was forgotten with alarming speed, gamers had very little reason to care about Andrzej Bartkowiak‘s adaptation. Try to imagine how you might feel if tomorrow, 20th Century Fox announced that they would be turning Jake and the Fatman into a multimillion dollar action franchise, and you’ve got the basic outline for why Doom was, well, doomed.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)
Statham_125.jpgTake all of Doom‘s problems, then compound them with the fact that nobody ever really liked the franchise to begin with, and you’ve got Dungeon Siege. If you’re not a die-hard gamer, think of Dungeon Siege in roughly the same way you think of King Solomon’s Mines, the 1985 Richard Chamberlain flick. The movie was decently entertaining on its own merits, but it also couldn’t help but feel like a shallow ripoff of the superior Indiana Jones series that preceded it. And while it did present some new and exciting elements, moviegoers still resented the plagiarism and more or less forgot about it.

There aren’t really any die-hard Dungeon Siege fans, either, because almost everything that was enjoyable about the game could be found in the action role-playing game Diablo that preceded it. Thus, when Uwe Boll announced he would be making a movie starring Jason Statham, gamers were non-plussed. The take-home lesson? A game has to have fans before an insane German director can piss them off.

BloodRayne (2006)
Kingsley_125.jpgHere’s the thing about lesbian vampires who hunt Nazis and make moaning, orgasmic noises while sucking their blood: As a gimmick, they only work once. When BloodRayne hit PCs and consoles in 2002, gamers celebrated the absurdly grindhouse premise while damning its horrible controls and level structure. The whole thing netted the game an average 65/100 grade on Metacritic — which is the equivalent of consumers begrudgingly nodding in approval before turning their backs and never looking at it again. Uwe Boll’s decision to turn the game into a movie was therefore met with the same kind of general ambivalence one expresses when hearing a really dirty joke for the second time. BloodRayne, the movie, is a story about The Law of Diminishing Returns, which evidently applies double when it comes to knife-wielding lesbian vampires.

Wing Commander (1999)
Wing_Commander_125.jpgChris Roberts‘s Wing Commander game series represented a huge leap forward in interactive storytelling: Mixing typical space combat action with well-written cut scenes starring the likes of Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies and Malcolm McDowell, the game successfully managed to blend interactivity and storytelling in a way that influenced nearly every narrative-driven game that followed. When Roberts finally realized his dream of writing and directing a Wing Commander movie in 1999, he failed to realize that what made his serires noteworthy was its steadfast devotion to both its interactive and its cinematic elements. By removing the gaming aspect of the franchise, he essentially crippled it. And let’s not even talk about the fact that he replaced Hamill with Freddie Prinze, Jr. Long time Wing Commander fans were confused, and newcomers to the series had no reason to care about what amounted to a less entertaining version of Star Wars.

Surely these aren’t the only video game flicks to have inspired bored ambivalence in their audiences. What others can you think of?

Anthony Burch is the features editor for Destructoid.com and the co-writer and director of the video series, “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?” He recently completed “Runner,” his first artgame.

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