We owe a great deal to the world of cinema. It’s given us, as well as the casual developer, plenty of source material to inject into video games over the decades. And while most Hollywood studios wouldn’t dare touch a gaming property with a ten-foot pole out of the fear of completely butchering it, game developers, on the other hand, have a knack for weaving the two worlds together and forging a pretty compelling work of art.
While we do have to give credit to certain developers for extracting movie material and implementing it into their own works, we do have to draw the line when they end up stealing the whole thing outright. And sometimes it’s so incredibly obvious that it just makes us lose a lump of respect for their vision and originality. Just take a look at these five as an example. Guaranteed, you’ll notice a few similarities with these video games. Tut tut.
As much as we adore Nathan Drake and every expedition of his across sand, sea and sky — we can’t help but cast a second eye on the similarities it shares with the beloved Indiana Jones franchise. And let’s be honest here — it doesn’t really need a side by side comparison in order to spark a lengthy déjà vu. After all, with both treasure seekers being driven by history and, not to mention the abundance of death-defying obstacles that shroud their every voyage — it’s evident both worlds form to make one crystal clear picture.
While Jones and Drake aren’t exactly identical when it comes to characteristics and such, there are still more than enough similarities in both franchises to keep us hovering between the two with a raised brow. Treasure, history, dangling from all sorts of terrain etcetera etcetera. It’s all there, and it’s pretty clear Naughty Dog shared the majority of its influences with the Hollywood hit movies. But given how well Uncharted turned out — we can’t help but let it slide.
4. Dead Rising
Zombie outbreak plus overrun shopping mall equals what? No, not Dead Rising. Well, yes, technically it is Dead Rising, but it’s also Dawn of the Dead as well. And it’s because of the confusion between the two that Capcom actually ended up having to fend off a lawsuit over its similarities torn directly from the zombie flick. The developer ended up winning the case, of course, though it still left a sour note on the gaming community. And, to put it bluntly — movie director Zack Snyder wasn’t exactly over the moon about it either.
Remove the protagonist from both sides and what you’re left with is a picture-perfect setting, in which the shopping mall plays a crucial part in the stories. Luckily for Capcom, good old Frank West was able to soar past the lawsuit and even follow up with a chain of sequels. But that’s nothing compared to the extreme events the freelance photographer battled in the past, of course. I mean — he covered wars, you know?
Although it would seem like a pretty extreme thing to have something as simple as a hockey mask branded to one untouchable horror franchise, we do have to give kudos to Splatterhouse for stealing it, along with all of Jason Vorhees, in order to craft the game’s protagonist. Yes it’s a hockey mask — but considering Jason was known for it for decades, it sort of felt like a stab in the back when Splatterhouse came knocking and made the bold choice to replicate it.
While neither faction decided to wage war over the use of the signature mask, both parties did end up having to acknowledge the elephant in the room, in the fact that game developer Namco basically did the dirty on Victor Miller, creator of Jason Vorhees. And they pretty much got away with it. At least until 2010’s Splatterhouse rolled out, where Namco decided to remove the mask and sever the connection with the horror icon. Lesson learned, I suppose.
2. Shadow of Rome
The majestic Colosseum was the home to mounds of bloodsports and games during the Roman era, just as it was the main setting for the Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator. Oh, and not to mention Shadow of Rome, the lesser-known PlayStation 2 game that launched at some point in 2005. But who cares, right? So what if both worlds put the Roman Colosseum at the forefront of their tales? Well, there’s actually a little more to it than that, believe it or not.
Shadow of Rome, like Gladiator, focuses on the bloodshed of the brutal games, where both protagonists are forced to take part in order to ascend the ladder and grasp freedom. Agrippa, an ex-soldier and also the main protagonist of Shadow of Rome, must fight to clear his father’s name, who was wrongly accused of murdering Julius Caesar. Ring any bells? Yeah, it should do. It’s basically Gladiator, only with a few name changes.
1. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
It may raise a few eyebrows to compare the likes of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City with something as legendary as Scarface, but once explained, it does sort of make sense. With endless references to Tony Montana and the whole of the movie throughout the game, it’s actually kind of hard to envision anything else after wrapping your head around it. And yet, the references are all right there, strewn out in broad daylight.
From the Babylon Club to the iconic mansion shootout, the rags to riches narrative to the cluster of characteristics and familiar motives — Vice City, weirdly enough — is Scarface. But then, we can’t decide if it’s a homage to Montana or just a good old fashioned ripping off altogether. Either way, both the movie and video game are worthy of a spotlight. They’re both phenomenal regardless, to be fair. We’ll just let it slide. For now.
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