There’s a fine line between taking influences from another game and straight-up stealing the concept outright. Sadly, the latter is far more common than your average cliché when it comes to gaming. Of course, you might not be able to spot the differences between titles a lot of the time. But buried deep within the code itself — there’s bound to be a rip-off lurking about. Whether it be the personalities of the characters or the very weapons with all the same bells and whistles as the other; chances are, you’ve encountered a clone in your gaming career.
While most studios aspire to be acclaimed for their original works, nobody likes a team who cut corners along the way. Unsurprisingly, originality can be extremely rewarding through hard work and creativity. And yet, many developers opt for thrashing out their differences by stealing another game altogether. Heck, even names are often replicated from time to time. Call it lazy, call it brave; whatever it is — it’s incredibly tedious. Just take a look at these five, for example.
5. The Simpsons: Road Rage
Considering no Springfield resident neither owns nor drives an actual taxi, it becomes a slight struggle trying to imagine an entire game revolving around it. But then, it’s not like Radical Entertainment had to dig deep into the barrel for the thought to flourish into a playable title. In fact, all they really needed to do was clone Crazy Taxi — right down to its very driving mechanics and wacky antics.
To the point of being reckless, Radical stole the entire concept with all of its core ingredients without a single care in the world. Unfortunately for them, Sega did file a lawsuit against The Simpsons: Road Rage for patent infringement. So, while taking influences from other titles is most definitely encouraged in gaming — copying and pasting everything down to the hilly terrain and overall premise can clearly come back to bite you. Now that’s karma.
4. PokeBalls Training
There’s nothing wrong with giving the odd nod to another game that inspired your own work. There is, however, a major issue when the rip-off title quite literally cashes in on the influencer’s status altogether. Just take Pokémon, for example. We’re all well aware of Pokémon GO and its concept, right? Go out into the world, locate Pokémon, map a well-placed swipe on your screen, and ultimately expand your library. Surely we wouldn’t need a spin-off game to help explain that any further, right? Wrong.
The only purpose of PokeBalls Training is to help players perfect their Pokemon capturing methods for the actual game, Pokémon GO. Only, with the physics being completely different to the actual game, PokeBalls Training becomes a completely useless bolt-on that makes no actual contribution to the GO universe whatsoever. Instead, what we’re left with is a hideous clone that draws together terrifying rip-offs of our beloved Pokémon and nothing more. So, you know — thanks for that.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Sword
It’s all well and good being a die-hard fan of a gaming franchise, of course. But raising money on Kickstarter to develop your own sequel to a best-selling game? Not so much. That’s pretty much what the creator of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Sword did without thinking twice about the consequences. While the game never quite came to life on an established platform, despite the following the project had amassed, creating a blatant Twilight Princess rip-off definitely would’ve ticked off the Nintendo folk a bit.
Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to extract any juicy details from the ambitious project other than the title, the ceased Kickstarter page and a crooked title card. Clearly, Nintendo wasn’t holding back when it came to shutting down the greedy creator for cashing in on their works. I mean, can we really blame them?
2. Mole Kart
Before you think it — yes, it’s a Mario Kart rip-off. Ten points for figuring that one out. And another ten points if you can put the two side by side and syphon out the differences. Chances are, you won’t find any. That’s because Mole Kart stole everything from the track designs to the item templates, the cloudy skyscapes to the very concrete you drift on. It’s all there, crammed directly into a jam-packed Mario Kart clone. And it got away with it — at least for a short while.
Like other clones that dared to rip off Nintendo, the tech giant was quick to issue a DMCA notice and close the books of the daring replica. However, with a few track tweaks and texture shifts, Mole Kart was quick to make a comeback and ultimately settle the scores with Nintendo. Fast-forward several months and Nintendo reached the conclusion of allowing Mole Kart to continue serving up copies. Not entirely sure what that’s all about but hey-ho — well played. I guess.
1. Dante’s Inferno
With a game as impactful as God of War, you’d at least expect to stumble upon a few replicas at some point or another. Dante’s Inferno, for one, is basically a repackage of God of War, only with less Greek lore and more, well, Christian lore. That’s pretty much all EA wanted to do when they stepped up to the plate with a new entry to the hack and slash universe. Only, despite their hunger for the crown, the blatant God of War influences just wasn’t enough to dethrone Santa Monica Studio from the podium.
While Dante’s Inferno plays rather well and even earned the respect of a few God of War fans (and devs, funnily enough), there is still that dull twinge in our necks that immediately draws us back to Kratos. Sure, Dante makes for a genuinely interesting antihero, though nothing quite compares to the bloodthirst and rage as our beloved Ghost of Sparta himself. That’s something no clone could ever recapture as flawlessly as Santa Monica Studio, to be honest.