The Top 7… shameless rip-offs

If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then the following games are the biggest kiss asses of all time. Whether photocopying the entire structure of a monumental platform game or cloning every character and move from a beloved beat 'em up, these titles have no qualms about knocking-off other developers’ work

7. Banjo Kazooie

Ripped off: Super Mario 64

The photocopied premise: A fat character jumps through portals into a series of colourful 3D platform worlds, collecting valuables in an effort to rescue a loved one.

What it borrowed: Rare are fine developers in their own right (well, in their halcyon-coated N64 heyday). But that didn’t stop them rolling into the Mushroom Kingdom, holding up all the idea banks and stealing as many of the Italian toilet jockey’s mechanics and moves as they could stuff into dollar-branded bags.

Levels that were accessed through a central hub, the obsessive hoovering up of collectibles to further your progression, even Mario’s athletic collection of jumps, all ripped straight from Miyamoto’s magnum opus. To be fair, two years had passed since Mario 64’s release and Banjo was the first real AAA platformer released after the N64’s launch. So the borrowed ideas seemed fresher than they might, had the game been released closer to Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom escapades.

How to make a Mario 64 knock-off

Is it really just a rip-off?

No. Thanks to Rare’s superior dry British wit and ninja-esque N64 programming powers, Banjo was both an imminently likeable and beautiful looking platformer. While it may have stolen many of Mario 64’s structural ideas, it succeeded by being more ambitious and varied, if not anywhere near as groundbreaking.

6. Syphon Filter

Ripped off: Metal Gear Solid

The photocopied premise: A crack government agent is aided by a sexy Asian operative as he tries to avert a nuclear holocaust.

What it borrowed: Most of the Gear’s storytelling techniques. Filter’s multilayered, convoluted plot about government conspiracies, nuclear weapons and backstabbing were taken straight from Snake’s sweaty palms.

Both games also feature protagonists who unwittingly infect innocent civilians with viruses. And Gabe Logan’s cinematic cut-scenes were obviously influenced heavily by Kojima’s earlier overly talkative, yet superbly directed story scenes.

How to make a Metal Gear Solid knock-off

Is it really just a rip-off?

Oh yes. And an overrated one at that. For some reason, folks seemed to think the game’s ridiculously dark and fairly boring levels constituted grit. The stealth also paled in comparison to the Gear, thanks to A.I. so inbred it makes Deliverance’s hillbillies look like Harvard graduates. At least Gabe Logan was every bit the charismatic equal to Solid Snake… minus the cool one-liners… or charm… or personality.


Top 7


  • holic237 - April 27, 2012 2:29 a.m.

    Dead Space always reminded me of Bioshock in space ...
  • miasma - March 12, 2010 12:18 a.m.

    Robopon lol. Terrible
  • gilgamesh310 - February 7, 2010 10:41 p.m.

    Syphon filter should definately not be on this list. The game plays drastically different to metal gear solid even if it does share some similarities.SF has a lot less emphasis on stealth and more on balls out action.I enjoyed it much more at the time although I now respect that metal gear solid did more for the medium.
  • CRUSHALL - December 17, 2009 10:48 p.m.

    So what about the original Super Mario 2... Its the exact same as a game called Doki Doki Panic... Dave and Josh want to know why this isnt the number 1 ripoff!
  • Spritle101 - November 23, 2009 5:26 a.m.

    There is absolutely no such thing as originality.
  • brickman409 - October 18, 2009 9:32 p.m.

    simpsons road rage, good times hit and run was better though
  • brickman409 - October 18, 2009 9:31 p.m.

    simpsons road rage, good times hit and run was better though
  • PivotPlurals1 - September 27, 2009 5:09 p.m.

    @CarbonFire Yes there was a Pokemon Green But it was Horrid.
  • InstantThreat - September 10, 2009 4:42 a.m.

    i should make a cheap rip off of gears of war and sell it for $59.95 ;D thats how money is made
  • aatinko - September 6, 2009 1:09 p.m.

    OMGosh dude, you hit that nail square on the head! RT
  • reaperman22 - September 6, 2009 2:03 a.m.

    banjo was more fun i reckon but you could add a lot more games to this blist especially for the mario cart one. just cause they change the characters and level textures doesnt make it any different
  • nightwalker62 - September 2, 2009 11:47 a.m.

    dead space was a RIVAL not a rip off
  • Tymiegie - September 1, 2009 11:35 p.m.

    I have only played Dead Space and The Simpson's Road Rage. I loved Dead Space and I actually thought Simpson's was pretty good. Although I wasn't very critical of games back then since I played them casually so that is probably why I liked it. That and it was the Simpsons
  • linkganon - September 1, 2009 10:58 p.m.

    i remember a part when snake says to send the guy from syphon filter or the guy from splinter cell in instead of him for a mission anyone can do, probabally implying they are worthless.
  • coolbeans - September 1, 2009 3:12 p.m.

    Pokémon came out in red blue and green then yellow came out with Pikachu following you around
  • doomdude - September 1, 2009 12:11 p.m.

    dude totally true about the pokemon ripoff and the mario kart one
  • Spybreak8 - September 1, 2009 6:54 a.m.

    Ahaha, Robopon, never heard of it!? Gotta love the mario kart like game, crazy wacky characters with lightning bolts lol. Captcha: "baptize mother" nice
  • Cwf2008 - September 1, 2009 4:46 a.m.

    "A massive, resounding fifty foot yes perched atop the Empire State Building swatting down Pikachu-piloted biplanes." Made me lol. Great article, but theres gotta be a reason none of us heard of Robopon...hmm...
  • Schmegeggi - September 1, 2009 3:48 a.m.

    I'm sorry, but Dead Space is a note for note rip-off of System Shock 2. That may be a bit old for your readers but far more accurate.
  • SausageLozenge - September 1, 2009 12:40 a.m.

    One thing that Syphon Filter had that MGS didn't was a taser. I loved tasering scientists until they caught on fire.

Showing 1-20 of 71 comments

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