Countless movies, cartoons and comic books released in the ‘80s were perfectly suited for video game adaptations. Sadly, the limitations of ‘80s consoles meant that many franchises turned into tie-ins fell short of their potential. The industry was going through a ‘lazy cash grab’ phrase at the time too, lest we forget. Wear the T-shirt, consume the endorsed junk food, play the game.
Whereas the likes of Transformers, Back to the Future and Ghostbusters did eventually receive games worthy of their name, fellow ‘80s franchise Gremlins wasn’t as lucky. The Game Boy’s Gremlins 2 tie-in from Sunsoft is usually seen as the pick of the litter, if only because of its superb music.
A game set in the Gremlins universe certainly has potential; an endless supply of ferocious critters, petrified of bright lights and able to spontaneously reproduce if touch by water. Gremlins 2’s infamous science lab scene also introduced us to a new wave of nasties, with the mischievous menaces evolving into bats, spiders and, err, the vegetable gremlin.
In 2001, French publisher LSP – best known for the CT Special Forces series – acquired the rights to the Warner Bros. comedic horror franchise. Licensed games were LSP’s main source of income, with tiles based on Inspector Gadget, The Extreme Ghostbusters, and Felix the Cat in their portfolio.
LSP planned handheld and console Gremlins games, but only 2001’s Gremlins Unleashed on Game Boy Color and 2002’s Gremlins: Stripe vs. Gizmo on Game Boy Advance made it to store shelves. Their console adaptation – simply known as Gremlins, but sometimes inexplicably referred to as Gremlins Revenge – was cancelled before release. Curiously, LSP had even gone as far as to pencil in launch dates – 11th April 2003 on PlayStation 2, and 30th November 2003 on GameCube.