"It's a shame that there was never a good Alien game on the NES... Oh wait, actually I take it back! There were some good Alien games on the NES! They're called Contra and Metroid! Yeah."While a Spiritual Successor is for any plot that is reused without the same setting/characters, a Spiritual Adaptation is when the plot is used in a different medium. This often occurs because the creators in the new medium are not the same creators/producers of the original medium, which means they don't have access to the intellectual property rights of the original storyline. It's particularly evident with video games; most people have certain movie characters with tons of potential they dream of playing as in an amazing game, yet as most movie licensed games are terrible, there's little chance of that happening. The storyline may deal with the same themes or problems faced by a very similar cast of characters, but without getting the licence, the creators have put together an original work instead. Fans check out the new work, and recognize story elements from a work in a different medium. Sub-Trope to Spiritual Successor, where any work that shares the same themes/creators is written in a new setting.
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- There are many Dungeons & Dragons comics, but the one that captures the spirit of the game the best? Demon Knights.
- Alan Moore examples:
- There's been plenty of comics based on Star Trek: The Original Series, but only Transformers: More than Meets the Eye really captures the spirit of the show, complete with some similar character archetypes. Others feel that it's closest thing to the Firefly continuation that we'll never get.
- Deadpool as a character can be considered something of a gun-toting, katana-wielding spiritual licensee for Freakazoid!
- There has been quite a bit of adaptations of The Leatherstocking Tales in comic book and graphic novel form. The best? The Manga Shakespeare adaptation of the William Shakespeare play King Lear, where the setting is shifted to North America circa 1759 with Lear bringing Chingachgook to mind, as does Gloucester Leatherstocking and his sons the Munro sisters.
- Greg Rucka has openly acknowleged that Queen and Country is a comic adaptation of the cult British Stale Beer spy TV series The Sandbaggers.
- The Walking Dead (and, by extension, its TV series adaptation) is openly acknowledged by its creators to owe a heavy debt to George A. Romero's Living Dead Series and the many films that it inspired. Robert Kirkman, in the introduction to volume one, heaped praise upon Dawn of the Dead (1978) and stated that his intent was to create "the zombie movie that never ends". It even has everybody who dies come back as a zombie as opposed to just those who were bitten by one, a rule that is found throughout Romero's films but is rarely seen in other zombie stories.
- Simon R. Green's Deathstalker series will be immediately familiar and fun territory to any Warhammer 40,000 player.
- The Nina Wilde series by Andy McDermott, about a semi-reluctant Adventurer Archaeologist, obviously takes more than a few cues from (and frequently references) Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. However, the number of pitched gun battles in exotic locations and rare vehicles which inevitably explode makes it far more akin to the written form of Uncharted.
- The Hunger Games:
- It's been called an American take on Battle Royale, and for a long time, it was thought that the (then in production) film adaptation would be the closest thing that Americans had to even seeing a legal release of the Battle Royale movie.note This is actually the root of the Fandom Rivalry between the two works, with fans of Battle Royale accusing The Hunger Games of being a ripoff and Hunger Games fans countering that both books draw from similar influences. And on that note...
- It's also been called "The Running Man with teenagers." Both works are set in a dystopian future revolving a televised fight to the death that's used to oppress the populace, the intent of both authors being to satirize contemporary television (game shows in The Running Man, Reality TV in The Hunger Games), politics, and pop culture.
- The best Dungeons & Dragons novel is, without a doubt, The Deed of Paksenarrion.
- Inheritance Cycle is basically a medieval fantasy adaptation of Star Wars.
- The improbable death scenes of Another make it awfully like a Japanese Final Destination.
- In a rather broad sense, Mogworld is a pretty good novelization of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time.
- The Tripods is widely viewed as an unofficial adaptation of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds showing what would happen if the Martians had successfully conquered Earth. The series features aliens who are larger than humans and feature completely different anatomy traveling great distances in massive three-legged machines just like Wells's Martians, and building their cities atop the ruins of human cities and using the remaining humans as a food/labor source, just as Wells's characters had speculated would happen were the invasion to succeed. Amusingly, the Martians die from breathing the Earth's air, while the aliens of The Tripods go to great lengths to keep themselves in air-tight pockets of their own atmosphere.
- Solea Razvan's A Symphony Of Eternity series is basically a mash between Discworld and Flashman set in a universe aching to Legend of Galactic Heroes only where magic instead of technology is used in this epic Galactic War.
- The Girl With All The Gifts may as well be the novelization of The Last of Us, only with the setting transplanted to England. Both are stories about a Zombie Apocalypse caused by a fungus in the cordyceps genus jumping to humans, in which a young girl who is immune to the fungus and lives in a symbiotic relationship with it is being transported across a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with zombies and human bandits to a safe zone where scientists will likely slice her brain open to study her immunity. Two of Melanie's protectors in The Girl With All the Gifts, Miss Justineau and Sergeant Parks, each correspond to different aspects of the protagonist Joel's personality in The Last of Us, with Justineau being the loving, adoptive parental figure and Parks being the badass killer who develops a grudging respect for Melanie.
- Both Tee'd Off and No Good Gofers strongly invoke Caddyshack, given they all feature golfers pitted against annoying gophers. Someone even modified a Gofers table into Caddyshack by repainting the cabinet and backglass.
- Hollywood Heat is so close to Miami Vice that it falls into The Mockbuster as a result.
- F-14 Tomcat wants to be Top Gun with more combat, while Gold Wings goes straight into being a shameless mockbuster.
- It's difficult to play Cirqus Voltaire and not be reminded of Cirque du Soleil.
- Inadvertently done with Attack from Mars; it's highly reminiscent of Mars Attacks!, even though Word of Saint Paul insists it's a case of parallel development instead.
- Deliberately invoked with Slick Chick, which was created to capitalize on the then-popularity of Hugh Hefner's Playboy Key Clubs.
- Also deliberately invoked in Gottlieb's Mayfair, which is based on the film version of My Fair Lady.
- Gottlieb's Raven tried to be this for Rambo: First Blood Part II.
- Sega's Sapporo, a pinball game with a skiing theme, was released just before the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.
- Invoked in Vacation America, which features some very strong parallels to National Lampoon's Vacation.
- America's Most Haunted and Bone Busters are both inspired by Ghostbusters.
- Heavy Gear is essentially a Armored Trooper VOTOMS game with the setting of Fang of the Sun Dougram.
- If there was ever a tabletop game version of Watership Down, it would be called Bunnies & Burrows.
- The Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000 come almost prepackaged from Robert A. Heinlein.
- Mutants & Masterminds is naturally the tabletop game roleplaying game equivalent of the Marvel and DC universes so much so that fans had every character from both publishers statted out in the forums. Furthermore, while both companies tended to develop their own RPGs in the past, DC Comics released its most recent tabletop game under third edition Mutants & Masterminds rules.
- Pathfinder is considered by many Dungeons & Dragons players to be D&D 3.75 (halfway between 3.5 and 4th Edition). It helps that it is heavily based on D&D's rule set.
- Pathfinder is more like "the successor to D&D 3.5 in all but name" and 4 is "the successor to D&D 3.5 in name only". 4th edition is really an entirely different game that happens to share the same name (and a lot of flavor text). It's almost trivial to convert a D&D 3.5 adventure to Pathfinder rules, something that's not true of 4th Edition.
- FATAL is... well, let's be fair. FATAL is probably the worst Berserk RPG ever made, but it's still the closest we'll ever come to a Berserk RPG.
- The board game Thunder Road (1986) "The ram and wreck survival game" is about driving through the desert and fighting with the other drivers. The publishers clearly wanted us to think of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
- The Newgrounds flash game Super Adventure Pals is the best Adventure Time platformer that you'll find on the web that isn't actually a licensed Adventure Time game.
- In universe, this occurs in The Nostalgia Critic's review of The Princess Diaries 2, when the bodyguard says he didn't know they made a video game of The Purge, but the Nostalgia Critic says it's really Grand Theft Auto VI.
- Alvin-Earthworm stated that the Super Mario Bros. Z reboot is, scale-wise, inspired by Asura's Wrath.
- Do you wish The Law of Ueki had more chapters/episodes? You can always watch the countless stick fight animations on Youtube to quench that thirst.
- The MagiQuest simulated-adventure franchise, although much lower-tech and modest in scale, is currently the closest that fans of Niven & Barnes Dream Park can come to savoring the fictional mega-theme park's attractions.
- Monster High has been described as the closest fans will ever get to a Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School franchise.