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5 of the most amazing yet totally unoriginal games

 

The stealth is from...
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

The Metal Gear series may well have been the first game to use stealth as a major gameplay mechanic, but the style of Batman's sneaking is much more akin to Sam Fisher's shadow-dwelling. Like Sam, Batman's got gadgets to scan the scene and plan his attack in advance. And both have a tendency to drop down from above, take out their target and then vanish again into the darkness.


Above: Splinter cell let you use thermal imagery while hanging in shadows

 

The forensic aspects are from...
Condemned: Criminal Origins

Scanning a level for forensic clues was one of the tastiest new treats when this generation kicked off. Seeing UV traces under your forensic lamp in Condemned added a tangible sense of mystery and horror that works just as well in Batman's dark comic universe. Following breadcrumb trails of tobacco makes us feel like kick-ass detectives, which is why this rocks.


Above: Exact. Same. Thing. Not that we're complaining - it's way cool

 

The console crash trick is from...
Metal Gear Solid


There's a very nasty moment in Arkham Asylum where the game delivers a scarily accurate rendition of a 'red ring of death' crash, before apparently rebooting the game back at the beginning (only for the Joker to take Batman's place). This is very similar to Metal Gear Solid's Psycho Mantis fight when you switch controllers, to be greeted with a black screen with 'HIDEO' in place of SD TV sets' AV channel 'VIDEO' tag.


Above: What an incredibly nasty trick. We really thought it had gone again


Above: And MGS's extremely clever fourth wall smash up

Scarecrow's nightmarish mind tricks are also highly reminiscent of Eternal Darkness' sanity effects. The morgue set-piece, if not a note-for-note replica, is at the very least a tight harmony line with Silicon Knights' masterpiece.

 

The upgrade system is from...
Ratchet & Clank

If you're talking about games that let you revisit previous sections with new skills to reach new areas, you could argue games like Super Metroid or even Mickey Mouse's Land of Illusion did that aeons ago. But in the 3D era, Ratchet & Clank did it best first, drip-feeding you new gadgets and weapons at just the right pace to keep up with your own skill development and letting you get to the most secret places right at the end of the game.


Above: Mickey Mouse: Land of Illusion, Super Metroid and Ratchet & Clank

 

So why is Batman: Arkham Asylum such a big deal?

You mean big enough to win our coveted Game of the Year award? Because it provides a dark, authentic comic book world and fills it with supremely playable gameplay to boot. With just the right mix of puzzles, combat and exploration, it's simply a class act from beginning to (just before the) end.

49 comments

  • moo - July 8, 2011 7:41 p.m.

    batman`s combat was original
  • austinite04 - February 15, 2010 9:53 p.m.

    @cart00n: Your right and whats even more amazing is we are just a bunch of borrowed parts as Will Wright points out in the Nat Geo DVD that comes with Spore. We all owe our exsistance to sea creatures. Not just Apes. If we were made in 7 days then explain why ALL our DNA is in every living creature/plant you name it.. I am a Christian but refuse to believe we were literally made in 7 days. This idea that we just came out of thin air is just BS. Same logic goes with games. Not one game can say it is an original idea. Except PONG, that was the very first game ever. Every game that came after just builds on the whole idea of what a game should be. I love Uncharted 2. I cannot stop playing it. It does have some awesome moments in the Single Player game. I can only imagine what they will do for Uncharted 3.. UC2 makes every aspect work brilliantly. That is why it raked in all those awards.
  • Debased - February 14, 2010 9:45 a.m.

    Lets be honest Hollywood has been doing this for years, You only need take the horror genre for an example 90% are just followed from a generic blueprint that is follow religiously by at least two Hollywood directors that i can thing off. I think the games industry does have to be aware of running into situations off the above example, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from the concept of a game, sure for example Uncharted has borrowed its concept from Tomb Raider, i don't really have a problem with that, so long as the storyline as originality, Plus all these similar concept games make the game's that are groundbreaking all the more better, because of the originality of it.....well sometimes
  • FinderKeeper - February 14, 2010 3:46 a.m.

    @ Fiirestorm21: MUCH more freedom... ...as often as you can find vertical cover/position over the enemy. The vertical takedowns *NEVER* get old. WHOOSH... "ups-a-daisy!!!"
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 13, 2010 10:58 a.m.

    That is to say we never got to use it frequently at all, only in a few pre-determined instances per game. Versus Batman where you have much more freedom to execute one it seems.
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 13, 2010 10:57 a.m.

    Good article with a good point. It annoys me when gamers will isolate one mainstream game to point out how unoriginal it is while conveniently ignoring another favorite that is just as unoriginal. (Two recent examples that got a lot of steam in particular: Uncharted 2 and Left 4 Dead 2. Many of the same gamers and reviewers who would criticize those two games would go on and praise the hell out of games like Modern Warfare 2.) Although, again I have to point out, if Uncharted 2 was ripping off anybody with the over-the-shoulder third-person aiming, it was Splinter Cell, as again it did it 2-3 years before Resident Evil 4 even came out. (That's not to mention any games that came before Splinter Cell that did it that I'm missing.) I haven't played through Batman Arkham Asylum yet, but if the Scarecrow fight closely mirrors the classic Psycho Mantis fight as you say it does, then that's just another reason for me to get it ASAP. Although, a comment on the Splinter Cell reference you through in there, unfortunately we never got to use the vertical drop takedown in SC like we apparently get to do in Batman.
  • xlyesterdaylx - February 13, 2010 5:31 a.m.

    I thought the ivnentor of the cover system was kill switch...
  • Ennohex - February 12, 2010 1:57 p.m.

    So completely forgot about Bayonetta's similarity to GodHand. The QTE and rapid button presses originated from there.
  • articmonkeys - February 12, 2010 4:09 a.m.

    as far as I remember Gears of War cover system is from Kill Switch...so practically GoW is not original too :)
  • sleepy92ismypsn - February 12, 2010 3:30 a.m.

    how does uncharted 2 have the best graphics it looks amazing but its only 720p
  • PlanetStrike - February 11, 2010 10:50 p.m.

    I'd argue that it action replay and in-car views started on or before 1990. Stunts! - a game by Broderbund released in 1990 was 3d, on PC and featured in-car views and replays.
  • adrock2099 - February 11, 2010 7:52 p.m.

    I'd say that the button-mashing finishing moves of Bayonetta are more from the criminally underrated God Hand than anything else.
  • Bloodstorm - February 11, 2010 6:05 p.m.

    @GamesRadarJustinTowell I admit, you have me there. I do agree in Halo 3's underwhelming multiplayer. Form me it was because of the maps. If Halo 2's maps were combined with Halo 3's mechanics, you would have had a great multiplayer.
  • havok2100 - February 11, 2010 6:02 p.m.

    Why is it that people always forget that Splinter Cell started the over the shoulder aiming trend before RE4 and kill.switch had the cover system long before Gears of War. I'll admit that the kill.switch system was bit limited by comparison, but it was released in 2003. The cover system in Rogue Trooper actually bore closer resemblence to the one implemented in Gears, and was released a year before in 2006.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - February 11, 2010 5:15 p.m.

    Also, if you're going to keep remoivng xboxrulz's comments, why not just ban him? :\ Sorry for the double post
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - February 11, 2010 5:13 p.m.

    I played Geomatry Wars for 4 hours in the dark once... Then suffered for it in the mother of all hallucinogenic experiences and a beast of a headache. Worth it though :) And I love Ratchet and Clank, it's one of my favourite game series of all time. Especially R&C3. I addicted that. A LOT
  • GR_JustinTowell - February 11, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    @Bloodstorm - ah, I see what you mean. I was basing it on what I really played halo for - the multiplayer. Loved Halo 1's multiplayer, loved Halo 2 even more for the online... then completely underwhelmed by 3. But as you say, each to his own! @FreekinIdiot - You're right, but Tenchu didn't have fancy tech specs to augment the stealthiness. Just goes to show though, the roots all go right back... @RedOutlive10 - Agreed. Land of Illusion was an exceptional game :)
  • FreekinIdiot - February 11, 2010 4:52 p.m.

    The stealth is from...Tenchu Stealth Assassins surely Mr Towell? Hiding out in shadows, dropping down on enemies? Square faced ninjas? God bless you ps1
  • Bloodstorm - February 11, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    @GamesRadarJustinTowell Out of the 4, Halo 2 is the worst! But to each his own. I judge them on campaign, and Halo 1 comes out on top, followed by ODST, Halo 3, then last Halo 2. I found Halo 2 to be completely boring in the middle section of the game, the Arbiter levels nonetheless. Drug on for way too long.
  • Rayce185 - February 11, 2010 4:14 p.m.

    I agree that recycling old ideas is what games are all about, but honestly: Is there anything else that HASN'T been done? If you see it this way, every game feature is just a puzzle piece that needs to be fitted with others and maybe have a nice story for packaging. There isn't much more that you can actually get out of it, but this applies to games just as much as to movies and music.

Showing 1-20 of 49 comments

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