Licensed to Kill is a recurring feature by Rollin Bishop all about the weird world of licensed video games - in other words, games based on existing properties from movies, television shows, comic books, and more. Sometimes they're great, sometimes they're terrible, and sometimes they occupy the plane of existence between the two.
As previously established, few if any licensed video games are actually good. There's a decent selection that sits somewhere in the middle, a whole bunch at the bottom of the pile, and a select few are genuinely great. Decades of games, and only a few are at that tippity top. One of those titles is 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game.
To be honest, SPvtW:TG owes a debt of gratitude to its source material, the Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley. The six volumes deal with the eponymous Scott and his relationship with Ramona Flowers, a young woman with seven evil ex-boyfriends.
Scott has to fight them to continue their relationship, and things get hairy for the couple and all their friends and acquaintances. It's also absolutely full of video game references. Heck, even Scott's band is called Sex Bob-omb - an obvious reference to a Mario enemy.
If "fights people" and "full of video game references" leads you to think "side-scrolling beat 'em up in the style of arcade machines of yesteryear" then you are... very good at this, and also very correct. That's exactly what it is! Developed by Ubisoft Montreal for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade - the digital storefronts for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at the time - SPvtW:TG released in the same timeframe as the film adaptation, and both follow the original graphic novels for the most part with a few excluded bits here and there.
The game features four player co-op with each person running around an animated version of Canada as Scott, Ramona, or one of their many friends and acquaintances like Wallace Wells and Knives Chau. Each of them has their own special set of moves, and Ramona's are particularly fun as she swings around her hammer that only appears sporadically in the comics. Players traverse through several stages and boyfriends that are all inspired in both graphics and design by old school beat 'em ups like Streets of Rage.
But perhaps the best part of the game, and what it will likely be remembered by going forward, is its amazing soundtrack by popular band Anamanaguchi. Which makes sense that the other obvious Scott Pilgrim influence is music. We're talking 24 incredible tracks here that play at different points throughout the game. It helps that folks can still actually buy the soundtrack to the game - the game itself has since been delisted from both stores. Some storefronts still sell codes that folks can then redeem, but the actual PSN and XBLA listings are just gone.
Those folks lucky enough to grab the game before it was gone can go and give it a play at any point they want, as it's still available to download from their purchase history, but everyone else will have to settle for footage of the game being played. Or just the soundtrack itself, which, as previously stated, is great. "Scott Pilgrim Anthem" and "The Dark One" are two standout tracks, but really any and all are good choices. Excuse me while I go rock out.