The Top 7… shameless rip-offs

2. Fighter's History

Ripped off: Street Fighter II

The photocopied premise: A series of fighters from all corners of the globe come together to scrap on various streets to win an acclaimed tournament.

What it borrowed: Character designs, special moves, locations, animations. Hell, developer Data East would have probably stole the fillings from your teeth just to make some scratch. So shameless was the rip-off that many of Street Fighter’s soon to be iconic characters were copied almost exactly, minus a few cynical changes (like a clear Guile clone who throws prickly roses instead of sonic booms).

Naturally, Capcom weren’t too pleased at seeing Ryu, Chun Li and Zangief appearing in someone else’s game, only wearing different coloured pants. They filed a lawsuit against Data East, but lost on the grounds of ‘scenes a faire’. Basically, the court deemed there was no way Data East could make their game without including a large Russian man, a guy who moves exactly like Vega and a level that looks eerily like Balrog’s boxing stage.

How to make a Street Fighter II knock-off

Is it really just a rip-off?

Of course it is. But while history will always look back on it, lower its glasses and tut in disapproval, it should be remembered that Fighter’s History was actually a pretty decent knock-off (plus it let you punch a bull in the face). Because it copied SF’s controls so closely, it’s actually a lot more fun to play that many other beat ‘em ups of the time. Still, there’s no denying it deserves a time out to reflect on its naughty, trademark-stealing ways.

1. Robopon

Ripped off: Pokémon

The photocopied premise: A young boy goes on an adventure to trap and imprison friendly monsters. The lad then takes his newly enslaved creatures and forces them into brutal battles with similarly black-hearted individuals.

What it borrowed: Hmmmm, does taking the exact premise, structure, box art style and three syllable title from the Nintendo franchise count as stealing? Yup, it sure does. The game even came in three different versions (Sun, Star and Moon), mimicking Pokémon Red, Green and Blue.

The games boxes couldn’t be more similar, either. Save if the pretender’s packaging had a small yellow rat on it.

To their credit, developer Hudson Soft did introduce one idea of their own. Namely, a system that let you dismantle your monsters and graft new weapons, such as guns and the like, onto their carcasses. In retrospect, going all Frankenstein on their audience probably wasn’t the best way to entice the sugar-addled sprogs to the world of Robopon.

How to make a Pokémon knock-off

Is it really just a rip-off?

Robopon was an innovative, genre-redefining, inventive piece of software that in no way stole any ideas or themes from Pok… we don’t really have to continue with this, do we? The answer you’re looking for is yes. A massive, resounding fifty foot yes perched atop the Empire State Building swatting down Pikachu-piloted biplanes.

Aug 31, 2009

The Top 7... Lazy Character Clichés
Copy, paste, unoriginality!

Poor man's games
Sort of the same, but worse

Incestuous game soundtracks
The music keeping it in the family


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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