With all of the poor excuses for video games that happen to be based on cartoons flooding the market these days (here’s looking at you, any SpongeBob SquarePants title), it’s often quite difficult to think that any cartoon-based video game is anything but a churned-out cash cow. Yet here are some video games based off of cartoons that are actually great. As a quick note, given that this is Nintendojo, only games that were released on Nintendo systems are considered– thus, for those who are major fans of the primary Kingdom Hearts titles, look elsewhere.
So, without further ado, the (unranked) best cartoon-based video games:
1. Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, NES. Take one of the coolest cartoon shows from the early nineties, give it the gameplay of the often overlooked and underrated Super Mario Bros. 2, and you have gaming gold. Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, developed by Capcom (who will appear more below), was not only a title with solid gameplay, but also offered great visuals and a difficult gaming experience to boot. A platforming title that offered both single and 2-player cooperative modes, its success made room for a sequel, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, Super NES. Ask anyone who had a Super Nintendo– this game from Konami will more often than not be included among their favorites, and it’s not hard to see why. All four ninja teens were playable, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and were sent through time to fight the villainous Shredder. The game resembled its cartoon counterpart in both visuals and audio, and is considered here at Nintendojo as “the definitive Ninja Turtles game.”
3. Disney’s Aladdin, Super NES. Rare is the case where a video game is (almost) as good as its counterpart; such is the case, however, with Disney’s Aladdin, from Capcom. The title had the titular character vaulting from various platforms, jumping on or throwing apples at enemies, and immersing gamers in the entertaining world that was Agrabah. You may have heard of the director of the title, Shinji Mikami– he would go on to create the Resident Evil franchise and serve as executive producer to the Ace Attorney and Viewtiful Joe franchises.
4. Astro Boy: Omega Factor, Game Boy Advance. While not entirely based upon the cartoon series (the manga is credited as a source), this title is too awesome to allow omission. The game followed a great recipe for action games: have Treasure Co. Ltd, creators of such other awesome titles as Gunstar Heroes and Sin and Punishment, make the game. Featuring characters and plot lines from the entire Astro Boy canon, the title was a hybrid beat ’em up and shoot ’em up, resulting in pure “rock,” offered in gaming form.
5. Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Wii. Cartoon Network’s Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law was a clever show that utilized several Hanna Barbera properties to their fullest, and quite inappropriately at that; as a result, it is one of the funniest shows the network has churned out in years, and luckily that sense of humor translated perfectly to the video game of the same name. Developer High Voltage Software– far better known for what was, or rather could have been, The Conduit— took the lawyer gameplay mechanics of the Ace Attorney titles, and the style and humor of the television series, then put them in a blender. The result was a fresh take on a successful franchise; even Capcom, creators of the Ace Attorney franchise, published the title.
Some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the list are The Simpsons Hit & Run and Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2 for GameCube, The Lion King for Super NES, and almost any other Disney franchise-based title from Capcom. When you have a chance, wash that nasty aftertaste left by any Nicktoons game with one of these bad boys.