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VOICE OVER: Aaron Brown WRITTEN BY: Aaron Brown
Thought it doesn't happen nearly as often anymore, the PS2 saw the peak of TV show tie-in games. For this list, we'll be looking at some of the times our favorite TV shows extended beyond our screens and into our hands. Our list includes “The X-Files: Resist or Serve” (2004), “Futurama” (2003), “Ben 10: Protector of Earth” (2007), and more!
Script written by Aaron Brown

Welcome to MojoPlays and today we’re tuning in for the 10 best PS2 games based on TV shows. For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the times our favorite TV shows extended beyond our screens and into our hands. Granted, not all of them are going to be truly great, but these are some of the best ones that managed to maintain the look and feel of their respective show. We won’t be including any Simpsons or SpongeBob video games as both of those already have their own lists. Shameless plug. What TV show do you think would be perfect for a video game? Let us know your pitches and also your favorite video game based on a TV show down in the comments.

“Teen Titans” (2006)

Why should Batman get to have all the fun? Before the over-the-top Teen Titans Go, the teen team-up was more akin to the Batman Animated Adventures and was widely well received by both fans and critics, so naturally a video game outing starring the titular heroes was almost guaranteed. Playing more like Marvel Ultimate Alliance than the future caped crusader’s outings, the heroes needed to battle their way out of a simulation after being sucked into a video game. Not the most original concept, but also within the realm of the show. Players could swap between any hero on the fly and use their various unique abilities to combat the many familiar foes the Titans had encountered throughout the series, unlocking up to 30 additional characters to battle their friends in PvP.

“Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force” (2001)

Although not the first game to boldly go where no one has gone before, Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force put players in the red shirt of a crew member unlike any Star Trek game before it. After the crew of the USS Voyager becomes lost within a ship graveyard in deep space, it’s up to the player to set phasers to frag and keep the remaining crew safe from all manner of familiar alien threats seizing the opportunity to invade the stranded Voyager ship. Certain enemies such as the Borg will adapt to the player’s tactics and adjust their attacks accordingly. Players could even freely explore the Voyager ship in between missions, interacting with the many familiar characters from the beloved TV series. The attention to detail was a labor of love by the development team and even the game’s online multiplayer was built into the game as a Holodeck simulation.

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2006)

Set during the events of Book 1, Avatar: The Last Airbender chronicles Aang’s attempts to learn waterbending. The game deviates quite heavily from the show, allowing fans to experience an almost alternate timeline and expanding on the series of events during Aang’s waterbending training. Using an isometric perspective, Aang can be joined by Sokka and Katara as well as any number of companions during their attempts to stop the Fire Nation from creating yet another devastating new machine and switch between any of them at will to use their various fighting styles and abilities during combat. The game was praised for maintaining the look and feel of the series as well as expanding on the lore and incorporating many of its fan favorite characters.

“Futurama” (2003)

Given how the numerous video game outings Matt Groening’s first creation The Simpsons have had, it’s a real shame the often canceled and revived Futurama series only got one true video game offering. The entire game is set up as an episode of the show, with Professor Farnsworth selling Planet Express to MOM and her becoming the supreme ruler of Earth. It’s then up to the Planet Express crew and their ever-increasingly outlandish attempts to stop her tyrannical reign. Much like many of The Simpsons’ games, Futurama leans heavily into its video game tropes, even cleverly creating an in-universe reason for how Fry and crew can come back after dying in the game. The game’s platforming and combat weren’t revolutionary but the use of Fry, Bender and Leela’s unique abilities kept gameplay from getting stale. The game even answered the question, “Why not Zoidberg?” by giving the crustacean physician his own level.

“24: The Game” (2006)

The premise of “24” felt like a prime candidate for a video game adaptation and Studio Cambridge thought so as well. As a result, Jack Bauer was sent on another mission that had to be resolved in only 24 hours, set between seasons two and three of the main series. Impressively, the game not only captured the look and feel of the series’ multi-panel style but also managed to get nearly the entire cast to reprise their roles. While 3rd person shooting is one of the main focuses, the game also includes several segments lifted straight from the series and adapted as minigames such as code breaking and computer puzzles as well as a fairly deep interrogation simulator in which Jack needs to maintain the suspect’s stress level while choosing which way to approach the situation. With a scenario taken directly from the show, only Jack Bauer can put an end to the terrorists' ever escalating schemes.

“Ben 10: Protector of Earth” (2007)

The Ben 10 series is a cartoon that came out of nowhere and became a phenomenon for Cartoon Network, and with that inevitably came the video game adaptation. Thankfully, Protector of Earth was no mere cash grab and utilized a 10-year-old boy’s ability to turn into any one of 10 aliens using his Omnitrix watch for a short time. All the fan favorite aliens are represented wonderfully using the game’s cel shaded art style and as the game progresses, Ben can unlock more powers for each one as well as the ability to remain in his alien form for longer periods for even more beat ‘em up longevity. The game features drop-in-and-out co-op, allowing another player to wield the power of the Omnitrix alongside Ben and take on the many familiar villains looking to reclaim it at any cost.

“Battlestar Galactica” (2003)

Oddly enough, even though the revival series also premiered in 2003, the game was based on the classic 1978 series. Although much of the series is based around the many characters' dynamics and relationships with one another in the middle of an alien invasion, the game takes the fight directly to the Cylons and relegates much of the gameplay to the cockpit. Taking things a step further than many traditional space shooters, Battlestar Galactica forces players to think more strategically and plan the most appropriate use for their finite energy reserve that is used for not only your ship’s weapons but also its maneuverability. It’s this strategic thinking that is key to surviving your numerous encounters with the Cylon Raiders because if you fail, you start the mission over from the very beginning, adding real consequences to your choices as progress of up 20 minutes or more could be lost.

“The X-Files: Resist or Serve” (2004)

If there was ever a series deserving of a video game adaptation, it’s The X-Files. The series’ cases are prime material for gamers to experience and unravel their mysteries and with Resist or Serve, both fans and gamers got to experience a series of investigations created exclusively for the title. While not as dedicatedly authentic as 24: The Game, Resist or Serve does an admirable job at putting players into the shoes of FBI agents Mulder and Scully, even if there is far more gunplay involved than there usually is within the TV series. Taking inspiration from the likes of Silent Hill and the Resident Evil series, players guide Mulder or Scully around environments with fixed camera angles searching for clues or narrowly surviving encounters with various unnatural or paranormal creatures.

“Scooby Doo! 100 Nights of Frights” (2002)

Ruh Roh! Shaggy and the rest of Mystery Inc. have been kidnapped and it’s up to Scooby to save them from the evil Mastermind voiced by none other than Tim freaking Curry. Players take control of Scooby Doo as he navigates a spooky mansion and several equally unsettling locations in search of his friends while scooping up as many Scooby Snacks as Scooby-possible. Scooby is also far more courageous than usual, going paw to paw with many of the game’s monsters and collecting numerous gadgets and upgrades to progress through Mystic Manor. The series’ iconic art style translates well to 100 Nights of Frights and the game’s story features numerous callbacks and in-jokes for longtime fans while also telling a wholly original tale for Mystery Inc to investigate.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds” (2003)

If you thought navigating high school was difficult, be happy you don’t also have to contend with vampires, demons, and zombies from an alternate reality that also happens to resurrect foes long since dead. Taking place during the show’s fifth season, Buffy and her friends have had more than their share of supernatural events to contend with, so thankfully they’re more than prepared as players take control of not only Buffy but also Willow, Xander and even Spike in addition to others, with many having entire chapters of the game dedicated to their adventures during the overall narrative. Chaos Bleeds was praised for not only its faithfulness to the source material but also its realistic and varied combat as well. The game even featured a robust multiplayer offering where players could unlock additional characters and was so well received it even earned its own limited run tie-in comic book series.