Every time a game is a huge hit with gamers, and especially in the sales charts, it is always certain that there will be several clones to follow soon after. One only has to look at the influence that Grand Theft Auto III had on the gaming industry after its release. Shortly after its release, there were games like True Crime and The Getaway.
Games in the Mario Bros. franchise have the same impact with the likes of Mario 64 defining the 3D platforming genre or the Demon’s and Dark Souls games spawning the Souls-like or SoulsBorne sub-genre. Licensed games are not often known for their originality and it clearly cuts a lot of development time using tried and tested ideas from established games. Some are great, and others perhaps not so much, but either way, here are ten licensed games that are clones.
10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Smash-Up = Super Smash Bros
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Smash-Up was released on the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo Wii in 2009. The game was published by Ubisoft but was developed by Game Arts, the Japanese studio responsible for classic RPGs like the Grandia and the Lunar series.
Turtles Smash Up is a very good Super Smash Bros. clone featuring characters from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. The developers Game Arts had previously worked on Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii, and the same level of great gameplay was evident in this title. It was, however, slightly let down by the much smaller roster in comparison to Smash Bros.
9 The Simpsons: Hit & Run = Grand Theft Auto III
The Simpsons: Hit & Run was released in 2003 on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and the PC. It was developed by Radical Entertainment who later made one of the best superhero games of all time in Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.
Released in 2001, Grand Theft Auto III became one of the most influential open-world videogames of all time. However, due to its adults-only nature, younger audiences were unable to play it, which is where The Simpsons: Hit & Run came in. The game featured many of the same open-world mechanics and mission types as GTA III only without any of the realistic violence meaning it was a great game for audiences of all ages.
8 Star Wars: Episode I Racer = Wipeout
Star Wars Episode I: Racer was released in 1999 and was based on Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It became the fastest-selling sci-fi racing game, and was featured in the 2011 edition of the Guinness Book of Records.
The game was an obvious clone of Wipeout and even Nintendo’s F-Zero series and was based on the Podracing scenes in The Phantom Menace. Despite being a clone it was a fast and fun thrill ride from start to finish and had great sound design and musical score.
7 The Godfather = Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
The Godfather video game was released in 2006 and was based on the film of the same name. The open-world crime game was developed by EA Redwood and released on the PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, Xbox, and the PC.
In terms of story, the game doesn’t live up the films by Francis Ford Coppola, or the Mario Puzo books. It uses familiar characters from the movies to introduce the protagonist's own story, so narratively it feels more like a spin-off. The Godfather game took more inspiration from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas from both a storytelling and gameplay point of view.
6 Ghostbusters: The Videogame = Gears Of War
Ghostbusters: The Videogame was originally released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 but received a remaster in 2019 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The game is a nostalgic love letter to fans of the original movies that used voice work from the original cast and lots of familiar locations and enemies from the films.
When Ghostbusters: The Videogame was released in 2009 the Gears of War series was at the peak of its popularity and its single-player was an obvious influence on this title. Obviously, the violence has been toned down in comparison to Gears making it a great family game.
5 Alien Isolation = Amnesia Dark Descent
Alien Isolation was released in 2014 on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the PC in 2014. It is without a doubt of the best-licensed games ever developed and perfectly captures the atmosphere of the original film.
The game puts the players in the shoes of Amanda Ripley, who is investigating the disappearance of her mother Ellen Ripley, the main protagonist of the films. The game incorporated very similar hide and seek mechanics to the iconic Amnesia Dark: Descent, which also placed the players in the shoes of a totally vulnerable protagonist who needs to hide to survive.
4 Die Hard Trilogy = Virtua Cop And Twisted Metal
Die Hard Trilogy was released on the PlayStation and PC in 1996. It was three games in one set that covered the first three (and arguably best) movies in the Die Hard franchise. Each of the games was set in a different genre that was very clearly inspired by other games.
The first game was a 3D shooter that had similar mechanics to the first Resident Evil, minus the prerendered backgrounds. However, the most notable was Die Hard 2, a light gun game that played exactly like Sega's Virtua Cop, and Die Hard 3 was very obviously inspired by Twisted Metal.
3 Asterix = Super Mario Bros
Asterix was released on the Sega Master System in 1991 and was based on the comic and cartoon series of the same name. The game played very similarly to Super Mario Bros. on the NES at the time but had a slightly more difficult learning curve.
Nevertheless, it was an entertaining game that brought a few ideas of its own and pushed the aging hardware to its limits. Asterix has become something or a forgotten classic after getting overshadowed by the release of the Sega Genesis/Megadrive a year prior.
2 Marvel Ultimate Alliance Series = Diablo
The first entry in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series was originally released on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, PSP, Game Boy Advance, and Xbox 360 in 2006. However, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and its sequel received newly remastered versions that were available on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One online stores in 2016.
Unfortunately, the remastered versions were pulled from both networks due to licensing issues between Activision and Marvel. Ultimate Alliance plays like a simplistic Diablo and offers local multiplayer for up to four players. The series received a new entry in 2019 with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on the Nintendo Switch.
1 WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game = Mortal Kombat
WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game was released in 1995 on the Megadrive/Genesis, the SNES, the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and the PC. The game was developed by Acclaim who was already known for making their WWF games on the SNES and Genesis.
However, unlike those games (which at least tried look and play like wrestling games) WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade was a pretty terrible Mortal Kombat clone. Unfortunately, the game was not received well by wrestling fans and is considered one of the worst licensed wrestling games ever made.