Top 10 Blatant Rip-Off Games

Script written by Fred Humphries This looks awfully familiar...key-word “awfully”. Welcome to http://WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Blatant Rip-Off Games! Special thanks to our user “Dan Paradis” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggest tool at http://WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Top 10 Blatant Rip-off Games

These are the games that took drawing inspiration a little too far. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Blatant Rip-off Games.

For this list, we take a look at games that have obviously taken key concepts, gameplay elements or a visual style from another similar title. While it is commonplace for games to share certain features, there will be something disingenuous or lazy about how the developers have gone about their work. These shouldn’t be confused with spiritual successors that are designed in homage to a series that may be lacking in a recent release. Also we’re ruling out Minecraft clones, because there’s so many of them that they’ll be getting their own list in the future.

#10: “Wacky Wheels” (1994)


When Nintendo invented the kart-racing sub-genre with Super Mario Kart on the SNES, other developers scrambled to get their mascots into miniature, combat-equipped vehicles. Konami Krazy Racers was pretty late onto this particular rip-off bandwagon in 2001, coming seven years after Wacky Wheels first hit stores. Released as an animal-themed karting option for the PC, its obvious copying in power ups, race types, tracks and graphics from Mario Kart mean it isn’t a bad game; it’s just not well-polished or very wacky. An innovative duck-shooting mode and hedgehog weapons do distinguish it slightly and add a certain degree of quirkiness, but it is never enough to prevent Peggles or Blombo from eating Mario’s dust.

#9: “Quantum Theory” (2010)


From the very first scenes, the similarities to Gears of War are rammed down your throat, perhaps intentionally to benefit from the success of Epic Games’ sensation. A gruff, muscle bound hero immediately blasts humanoid creatures from behind cover in a third-person perspective – nothing like a bit of subtlety. Even Syd and Filena’s animations look the same as Marcus and Dom, albeit with a clumsier, unfinished feel compared to the slickly designed world of Sera. Further reinforcing the on the nose likenesses, the fathers of the protagonists are almost the exact same character: both are mysteriously absent and have knowledge the perceived enemy have exploited – when the commonalities are that specific, you know something’s fishy.


#8: “Saints Row” (2006)


Of all the GTA clones you have to choose from – and oh boy there are serious numbers of them – the Saints Row series has consistently been your best alternative for when Rockstar are developing their next open-world titan. Releasing a year before GTA IV on next-gen hardware, it improved considerably upon San Andreas by adding online multiplayer and a GPS navigation system that GTA would soon incorporate. However, some of the staple missions do seem to be imitations of typical GTA set-pieces, taking away from a surreal originality and humor that made modes like Insurance Fraud – where you jump into traffic for cash – possible and a definite change to the gritty, realistic universe Rockstar created.

#7: “Kasumi Ninja” (1994)


If you’ve never heard of this Mortal Kombat rip-off or the hardware it was developed for then consider yourself lucky: it and the Atari Jaguar are incomprehensible messes that flopped with a whimper. Developers Hand Made Software evidently forgot that Mortal Kombat’s popularity wasn’t just its gory novelty, but also its slick controls, which this game is sorely lacking. The Jaguar’s notoriously complicated controller compounds a clunky control system while movesets and color palettes are routinely copy-pasted throughout a slapdash experience. Sadly this game is probably the last we’ll ever see of Angus and the fireball hiding under his kilt.

#6: “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” (2012)


From the early stages of development for this PlayStation mascot crossover brawler, the comparisons to Smash Bros were widespread. However, It probably wasn’t wise for Sony to explicitly exploit player’s interest in Nintendo’s similar series by including Smash Bros tags in their E3 trailer. Press perception didn’t improve once the game released either: most were underwhelmed by a complicated power-move system that put off newcomers, missing the unpredictability of its inspiration. Perhaps most damning of all, the roster of mascots lacked defining figures of the early PlayStation experience like Lara Croft and Crash Bandicoot, icons who could feasibly rival Mario and Link’s popularity. Instead of Sephiroth as the main antagonist, we got 17-year-old cast off Polygon Man. Really Sony?

#5: “Dante’s Inferno” (2010)


You could put the overarching narratives of this hack n’ slasher and God of War side-by-side and barely notice a difference: cutscenes and stylized animation reveal that both Dante and Kratos are warriors whose wartime atrocities force them to gain redemption and leaves their bodies emblazoned with symbols representing their sins. Each jacked protagonist then proceeds to hack apart powerful mythological figures in grand set pieces with a signature weapon – that’s a hefty list of similarities. However, this interpretation of Dante Alighieri’s famous poem starts diverting from God of War in how laboriously shabby the core gameplay becomes in the latter circles of hell you descend through, a flaw that the exceptional, disturbing environmental design could never absolve.

#4: “Candy Crush Saga” (2012)


You’ll be familiar with King; they’re the guys that make “Saga” freemium apps and the literal royalty of rip-off developers. They began with Bubble Witch Saga in 2011 – a clone of Taito’s Bust-a-Move – before moving onto their imitation masterpiece, Candy Crush Saga. Taking the renowned match-three gameplay of Bejeweled and the art style of Candy Swipe, King added an attractive sheen and strategic depth and variation, all the while using their financial clout to bully any who might be alienated by this questionable development strategy. This approach may not be moral, but it’s one that has been vindicated by over 500 million downloads and the many millions more it has made through players skipping tortuous waiting times.

#3: “Gloom” (1995)


It could be argued that any FPS developed since Doom released in 1993 is a clone of that genre pioneer, but few have been as brazen as Gloom in acknowledging the influence of id Software’s title, using a similar name to arguably benefit from confused consumers who thought they may be buying that gory game they’ve heard so much about. Using a similar pseudo-3D presentation as Doom, the limitations of the only system it launched on, the Amiga, limited Gloom’s graphical capability. Despite the difference in presentation quality, Gloom gets credit for adding more puzzle elements and a greater range of enemies to Doom’s near-perfect formula. Who knows, had things been different, Gloomguy could have become the 90s, monster-blasting icon.

#2: “The Simpsons: Road Rage” (2001)


Despite the obviousness of copying on this list, it’s remained relatively litigation-free. Until now. Sega’s Crazy Taxi requiring you to drop off passengers with as much flair as possible, while Road Rage is essentially that with a Simpsons skin. These similarities were so unacceptable to Sega that they alleged Fox had infringed a patent concerning Crazy Taxi’s freeform driving, jumpy pedestrians and massive arrow guiding you to your destination. Sega wanted Road Rage pulled from shelves yet many critics argued that although the parallels are clear, those gameplay concepts were not groundbreaking enough to warrant legal action. Fox eventually settled out of court and Road Rage is remembered as a lazy derivative – just enough to satisfy Sega.


Before we reveal our top pick, let’s take a look at some dishonorable mentions.

“Fighter’s History” (1993)


“Sonic Shuffle” (2000)


#1: “The Great Giana Sisters” (1987)


Today we know Mario and Luigi as the definitive Italian siblings of gaming, but there was a brief period when their status was threatened. In the late 80s, the NES and titles like Super Mario Bros. were still extremely expensive and so this German platformer sought to provide an affordable experience for various systems. It wasn’t in stores for long however: Nintendo rapidly noticed the first stage was a carbon copy of Shigeru Miyamoto’s iconic design, right down to the color palette, block power-ups and mushroom-like monsters. While Super Mario Bros’ features aren’t wholly unique, the game popularized a genre, giving Nintendo leverage to get Giana and Maria removed from sale from certain stores, inadvertently turning it into a copycat cult classic.

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