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Video games based on movies not worth buying

Matt Slagle Associated Press

Video games tend to make terrible movies, and vice versa. But that doesn’t seem to faze anyone. It seems every new action or kid-friendly movie these days gets a video game makeover.

We looked at some recent attempts to imbue video games with a dose of movie magic. Like the movies they’re based on, most are worth renting, not buying.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

(Rated E 10+, all platforms, $29.99-$39.99)

Something got lost translating this wonderful film into a video game. Sure, casting hexes, lifting boulders with magic wands and facing dragons is fun, and you get to play as either Harry, Ron or Hermione. But the game makers fail to capture the silver screen magic because they hardly used any material from the movie. Besides, collecting magic beans and magical shields gets boring after a while, even for hard-core fans.

Verdict: Rent.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”

(Rated T, all platforms, $39.99-$49.99)

I was surprised at the simple fun provided in this adaptation of the film based on C.S. Lewis’ classic fairy tale. In the game, siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie have to team up to battle monsters and solve puzzles in the magical realm of Narnia. It’s a befittingly simple, easy game that should please children, even if they’ve already seen the movie 20 times.

Verdict: Buy.

“The Matrix: Path of Neo”

(Rated T, personal computer, PS2, Xbox $49.99)

This game would have been so cool – if only it had been released along with the first movie in 1999. Still, it’s an above-average action game where gamers decide their own fate as The One. The slow-motion “bullet time” returns and is a handy tactic for battling all those Agent Smiths, but this one is just a little too late to hold our interest.

Verdict: Rent.

“The Movies”

(Rated T, PC-only, $49.99)

The games we’ve looked at so far are based on existing flicks. Think you can do better? “The Movies” is a simulator that gives you the reins of a film empire.

In a twist that was unnecessarily complex (and perhaps too real), we spent too much time managing the egos of actors, extras and directors instead of creating a motion picture. The best part: After you build your sets and tame those egos, you can shoot a flick, then post it online to share with other Peter Jackson wannabes.

Verdict: Buy.

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