"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" is one of my favorite movies, but I'm ashamed to say that I never played the video game launched alongside the 2010 film. That's like saying you loved the "Star Wars" trilogy but never checked out any of the games tied to the universe.
I was missing part of the picture, but by the time I got around to doing something about it, the downloadable game was delisted in 2014. Thankfully, on the 10th anniversary of the film — starring Michael Cera as a lovelorn musician who must fight off his dream girl's ex-lovers before he can date her — it was taken out of the Ubisoft vault and rereleased to the masses.
Despite its age, the beat-'em-up with its 2-D sprites holds up, thanks to deeper-than-expected gameplay inspired mainly by the classic "River City Ransom." Players choose from four characters — Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Kim Pine or Stephen Stills — and go through a campaign that follows the plot of the movie, but with some differences.
I decided to play the game alongside the movie. I would beat one of the League of Evil Exes on the Xbox Series X and then watch how that played out during the film. I'd return to the campaign and beat the second level and see how it was interpreted on the silver screen. Taken together, they play to each medium's strengths while broadening the vision of the original graphic novels that inspired the film.
The video game levels don't offer enough context to the brawls, and they aren't as spectacularly scripted as the ones in the movies. But they offer one advantage: The film left a feeling that the source material had been streamlined too much. By contrast, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game" jogs along at a speed that lets players appreciate the details. It fleshes out the Toronto environment and amps up the bigger moments that the film played down. That's evident in Scott's battle with the Katayanagi twins (the fifth and sixth evil exes) and the final fight, played on an elaborate stage across multiple levels and a secret base.
"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" is a story told in the language of video games and graphic novels — offshoots of nerd culture that complement each other like peanut butter and chocolate.