Although not as important as they once were, licensed games are part of video game history. Between the 80s and 2010, games related to just about anything or anyone were greenlit. Some of these titles included games inspired by famous bands like Journey, ranging from the mundane to the bizarre.
Journey was popular enough to inspire two games (one for the arcade and Escape Travel for the Atari 2600), but their fame and games have faded over time. Unfortunately, the same fate befell these other bands and their games. While some have endured as weird but fun nostalgic memories, others have been almost lost in time.
ten Journey (1983) Pit Players Against Obsessive Alien Fans
In the 80s, Journey was one of the biggest bands and arcades were one of the most popular pastimes for children. Bally Midway has capitalized on these disparate trends by combining them in the arcade game Journey, an anthology of minigames where players helped the Journey group escape alien fans.
Specifically, aliens stole Journey’s instruments, and players helped them recover them in time for the concert finale. The final level had players taking on the role of a roadie who kept control of said alien fans as Journey went wild. As silly and new as it may sound, Journey was declared one of the worst arcade games of all time.
9 Beatle Quest was a text adventure with Beatles lyrics
The Beatles’ music (especially songs from their psychedelic phase) lends itself well to visual storytelling, as seen in their musical comic strip. Yellow submarine. With that in mind, it might seem odd that Beatles music was used for a Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum text game in 1985.
In Beatles Quest, players took on the role of the Keeper of the Records, who collected stories from the ancient Earth. Some ancient lyrics are Beatles songs, and knowing their lyrics has helped players progress. Beatles Quest was really more of a quiz show for dedicated fans, but it was successful enough to get a trilogy that was scrapped midway through development.
8 Def Jam Rapstar ditched street fights to have fun singing
For most gamers, “Def Jam” is synonymous with a gritty fighting game, not a record label. The attraction of Def Jam games saw established rappers like Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Snoop Dogg and more do battle, which took the franchise to four hit games. But then Def Jam shake things up with Rapstar.
rap star was a karaoke game not much different Lips; only this time the players sang famous rap songs. rap star wasn’t bad, but it was a far cry from the rest of the Def Jam series, and fans tend to ignore it. It should also be noted that rap star is currently the last Def Jam game, and the franchise has been dormant ever since.
seven KISS: Rock City Lets KISS Help Players Kickstart Their Music Careers
Given KISS’ reputation for lending their likeness to almost everything, it may come as a surprise to know that they have a very limited number of official video games. Their best-known games are pinball titles and an edgy LOSS clone in Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Childbut they also have a casual management simulation.
In city of rock, the players control an amateur group who receive career advice from KISS, who are portrayed as angry demigods. Rhythm-based mini-games set to KISS music are spliced between slice-of-life segments. As simple as this mobile game may seem, city of rock is actually one of KISS’ most well-received bonding materials.
6 Give My Regards To Broad Street had a sequel in a video game
Give my regards to Broad Street was a 1984 musical drama featuring three of the Beatles portraying fictionalized versions of themselves. To put it bluntly, it was Paul McCartney’s transparent vanity project and it failed commercially and critically. But, for some reason, this movie got a game for the Commodore 64 and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
The game was a sequel to the movie, and players took control of McCartney as he embarked on another adventure for his missing master tapes. The game version of Give my regards to Broad Street was brutalized, and only its soundtrack garnered praise. At best, the game came with a fold-out map of London.
5 Revolution X had Aerosmith leading a musical uprising
The weird thing about Revolution X wasn’t just that Aerosmith’s music was powerful enough to inspire a revolution in a dystopian future, but that it’s not the only game to employ such a plot device. Momentarily ignoring this coincidence, it was the premise of Revolution X: an Aerosmith-themed shooter that dominated 1994.
At the time of its release, Revolution X was one of the most popular games, and its solid gameplay earned it accolades and a lasting legacy. It was popular enough to be ported to home consoles. Even if the ports were bad, Revolution X endured as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to one of the greatest rock bands of the 90s.
4 Queen: The Eye challenged a dystopian dark fantasy with the music of Queen
The second licensed band game to feature rock music influencing a revolution against an oppressive system was The eye, built entirely around the music of Queen. Released for the PC on five discs, The eye was the kind of adventure game that only diehard Queen fans could mildly appreciate due to its gravity.
The eyes the graphics and gameplay were criticized for feeling outdated when it was released in 1998. Unfortunately, listening to Queen’s music was the only redeeming quality anyone got from it. For what it’s worth, The eyes concepts and ideas were best utilized in the musical jukebox We will Rock You, which was better received than the game.
3 Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style launches the Wu-Tang clan in a Wuxia game
If their name didn’t make it more obvious, Wu-Tang Clan members are fans of kung fu movies and other popular entertainment. The rap group’s lyrics were filled with screams and soundbites from Hong Kong movies, and they took their love of kung fu to the next level with Shaolin-style (Where taste the pain in other regions).
Released on PlayStation, Shaolin-Style was a fighting game where all nine members of the Wu-Tang Clan were playable characters. Depending on the mode, players fought cooperatively or free-for-all. Although it has been criticized for unresponsive controls (especially the custom W controller), Shaolin-style was hailed as an obvious passion project.
2 Hail to the King: Deathbat played Avenged Sevenfold’s mascot
Fans of heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold can easily recognize their mascot, the Deathbat, who was iconic enough that an entire game was dedicated to him. Hail to the King: Deathbat is not only a kind of origin story for the Deathbat, but also a fantastical and dark retelling of the art of Avenged Sevenfold’s album, “Hail to the King”.
In Hail to the King, players controlled Andronikos, the risen King of the Underworld and the latest incarnation of the Deathbat. Players resumed their dominance over the underworld as the music of Avenged Sevenfold blared in the background. The game wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but as far as licensed games go, hail to the king wasn’t that bad.
1 Holy Diver was an unofficial fan tribute to Dio’s 1983 album
Depending on its pitch, holy diver for the Famicom seemed like the ultimate crossover. The game takes its title from Dio’s album of the same name and stars Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy Osborne, Zakk Wylde and Randy Rhoads in an epic fantasy war against The Black Slayer. The problem is holy diver wasn’t actually authorized by the names involved.
holy diver is an unofficial fan tribute to the aforementioned 80s music icons, and due to copyright issues, sacred driver remained exclusive to Japan from 1989 to 2018. However, sacred driver became an urban legend among Western game archivists, and they finally got their official NES copies in 2018 thanks to Retro-Bit Publishing’s Collector’s Editions.
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