A counterpart of Better by a Different Name
in a way, and also a sort of subtrope of Spiritual Successor
and Follow the Leader
(but not always), in effect a Captain Ersatz
of a story rather than a character. 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 almost no chance of that happening...
Technically no chance, anyway. This is when something has nothing to do with a certain series, but evokes almost the same feeling you'd imagine a decent license invoking with a certain franchise, making it (intentionally or not) a Spiritual Licensee.
This can also occur after a developer decides to create a Spiritual Successor
to a game from a previously established franchise, but put an original spin on the game to differentiate it from its predecessor(s).
for the equivalent trope with characters. Also compare Recycled IN SPACE!
. Contrast Spiritual Antithesis
, Dolled-Up Installment
, and The Mockbuster
. Can be a Divorced Installment
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Anime & Manga
- The Five Star Stories is essentially a comic prequel, sequel, and interquel to Heavy Metal L Gaim.
- It could also be seen as an (absolutely gorgeous) adaptation of Dune.
- Summer Wars is getting a reputation for being the best Digimon film ever. Having the same director and basic plot as one of the most popular actual Digimon films probably helps on that front.
- The Big O is considered to trump Batman: Gotham Knight at being an anime adaptation of the Caped Crusader.
- Spirited Away is quite possibly the best adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
- Flag seems to be Beyond Good & Evil set in Afghanistan, with the United Nations Task Force standing in for the American military.
- Voices of a Distant Star is perhaps the best and most tear-inducing adaptation of The Forever War and Ender's Game made by a single man.
- Code Geass could easily pass as an adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune saga...with robots and spinning kicks!
- It could also pass for a good Gundam series, especially as both share the same creator.
- Comparisons to The Count of Monte Cristo are also quite apt.
- Histeria! and Horrible Histories may be long gone, but really they live as a series called Axis Powers Hetalia.
- Though one couldn't help but wonder whether the overblown National Stereotypes in G Gundam might have been foreshadowing. Then again, considering just how absurd and insane said stereotypes were presented (such as Neo-Mexico's "Tequila Gundam", among others), that anime makes even Hetalia at its most over the top look subtle.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is basically an anime adaptation of Top Gun, if it took place in the future and involved Gundams. Even the openings are reminiscent of Danger Zone and late '80s-early '90s power ballads.
- However, a better one came out later on in the form of Macross Plus.
- Fist of the North Star could be described as an anime adaptation of Mad Max, only with martial arts.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is pretty much an adaptation of Getter Robo's later arcs with a bit more silliness.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is practically The Da Vinci Code in the Universal Century, with the Vist Foundation, Unicorn Gundam and Laplace's Box standing in for the Priory of Sion, codex and Holy Grail respectively.
- Girls und Panzer became a subversion of this trope. Many viewers considered it to be the anime version of World of Tanks. Apparently the people in charge of both series thought so too, because they began a cross-promotional campaign in Japan when World Of Tanks was set to be released there.
- Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. would be one of Key Visual Arts' best works in years, except that they didn't actually make it.
- Simoun can be described as a Yuri Genre reimagining of A Canticle for Leibowitz.
- Last Exile and its sequel make for a pretty good crossover between Dune and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
- Both Record of Lodoss War and Slayers are often called anime adaptations of Dungeons & Dragons. Former is how the game is intended to be played. Latter is how it usually turns out. It helps both series were based on respective author's D&D game.
- Future War 198Xis the closest thing to a The Third World War movie adaptation.
- 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 is probably the closest that we'll get to an American remake of Battle Royale. And that is all that needs to be said.
- The best Dungeons & Dragons novel is, without a doubt, The Deed of Paksenarrion.
- Aside from a very important (from a narrative perspective) difference in how healing magic works, the Iron Druid Chronicles might as well take place in the same universe as the Dresden Files.
- Actually while they look very similar on the surface, both magic and the whole supernatural thing works very differently in those books. For magic: Dresden Files goes with Witch Species and all human magic is pretty much standardized as differences between ritual and ritual only matter for the caster (fire is fire no matter how the wizard made it), but Iron Druid runs pretty much on Theurgy and Deals and differences between magic sources are significant (fire form source A is not like fire from source B). From supernatural: ID has a lot more focus on Clap Your Hands If You Believe while DF is more focused on questions of the Sliding Scale Of Free Will VS Fate (Monsters have natures, mortals free will).
Live Action TV
- American Gothic: Lucas Buck from American Gothic and Randall Flagg from The Stand share so many similarities that the show can almost be considered a TV show starring Randall Flagg and his attempts to have a heir. Like Flagg, Buck is handsome, charismatic southerner who might or might not be the devil or a demon, who is fond of making deals and enslaving others through their vices and desires. He has understated supernatural powers, is seemingly ageless, and most of all wants a son.
- Babylon 5: Has strong elements of The Lord of the Rings IN SPACE!! Word of God says it's supposed to be The Silmarillion IN SPACE!!
- The Brady Bunch: So close to being Yours Mine And Ours Recycled: The Series that the filmmakers threatened to sue.
- Breaking Bad is exactly what if Fargo had its own TV show.
- The Borgias: This show is just close enough to being an adaptation of Assassin's Creed II that one half-expects Ezio and company to show up at any time.
- Choujin Sentai Jetman: This show is what Science Ninja Team Gatchaman would've been had it been remade into a live-action series.
- Dark Angel: This show was James Cameron's attempt to make an unofficial live-action version of Gunnm (aka Battle Angel Alita) after the official version he was scheduled to direct went into Development Hell.
- More than a few have claimed that this show is what Blake's 7 would have been if remade in the 21st Century. They're not far off.
- Farscape could also be considered how Tim Burton would make a Space Opera.
- This show is often considered the best live-action version of Outlaw Star ever made.
- Paul Darrow (Avon in Blake's 7) has explicitly said in a DVD extras interview that he considered Firefly to have been the 21st century remake.
- F Troop: This show is seen by some as a derivative of the Glenn Ford comedy film, Advance To The Rear.
- Heroes: There are those who consider this show a jazzier version of the X-Men. Others consider it the television version of DP 7.
- The Holy Pearl: This Chinese Drama has been said to be an unofficial adaptation of Inuyasha.
- Outcasts: This unsuccessful BBC SF series looked very much like a UK version of 21st-century Battlestar Galactica.
- Parker Lewis Can't Lose: This show is sometimes called "Ferris Bueller's Day Off's real adaptation".
- Power Rangers RPM: There's a reason why this show was dubbed Terminator: The Power Rangers Chronicles.
- Pushing Daisies: Could be called the TV series Tim Burton never made.
- Set in a world where all electricity has stopped working and humanity has gone back to the Dark Ages, is pretty much S. M. Stirling's Dies the Fire adapted to television.
- The series is loaded with references to the work of Stephen King, especially The Stand and The Dark Tower. Particularly with with a man named Randall Flynn (Randall Flagg) and the Tower (Dark Tower). In case you're wondering, Stephen King is not involved with the show, but J. J. Abrams is a big fan of King's work.
- Saved by the Bell: This show is essentially a live-action version of Archie Comics.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: The earliest episodes owe a hell of a lot to Forbidden Planet.
- Super Robot Red Baron:
- (And, by extension, its follow-up successor series Super Robot Mach Baron) can be pretty much considered a live-action version of Mazinger Z.
- To the point that, in Spain, footage from Mach Baron was made into a theatrical movie and retitled "Mazinger Z, el Robot de las estrellas" (Mazinger Z, The Robot from the Stars) to benefit from Mazinger popularity. There was even a comic-book adaptation made by an Spanish artist that lasted some forty issues, and was known to a generation of spanish children as "El Mazinger Rojo" (Red Mazinger).
- Total Recall 2070: Despite its name has more to do with Blade Runner than Total Recall (1990). The Word of God says the show is based on the original Philip K. Dick stories which were the source material for the aforementioned films.
- Warehouse 13 has been referred to by many as SCP Foundation: The Series.
- 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 ever character from both publishers statted out in the forums and while both companies tended to develop their own RPG's 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.
- Yakuza has alternatively been called a Spiritual Licensee to River City Ransom, for its Beat 'em Up combat combined with RPG Elements and slapstick humor and Shenmue for its open world gameplay, myriad of (often silly) sidequests and time wasting options, and similar fighting styles.
- Many people consider Crysis the best Predator game ever.
- Shigeru Miyamoto had originally wanted to make a Popeye arcade game in the early 1980s, but Nintendo's right to the character were revoked midway through production. Miyamoto then took the idea of a scrappy hero rescuing a helpless damsel from a hulking brute and made video game history.
- The Kunio Kun soccer league games, including Nintendo World Cup may as well be called Captain Tsubasa: The Game.
- Several games have been cited as evoking the feeling of the Alien films. Although Aliens is notable for averting The Problem with Licensed Games on various occasions, Dead Space is probably the most recent example. In fact, at least one critic remarked that Dead Space 3 was a better Aliens game than the much-maligned Aliens Colonial Marines, which was released around the same time.
- Speaking of Dead Space, owing to its somewhat derivative nature, and quality despite that, it has been mentioned as evocative of pretty much every notable sci-fi horror film ever.
- Doom was originally set to be based on Alien, but the developers scrapped the idea as soon as they heard the movie producers' strict demands for such a game. The game was then reimagined as a combination between Alien and Evil Dead.
- The Metroid games captured the essence of the Alien movies better than any of the licensed games did. Samus Aran ↔ Ellen Ripley. Metroids ↔ Xenomorphs. The main antagonist of the series, Ridley, is even a Shout-Out to Ridley Scott, director of the 1979 Alien film.
- Dead Space does feel remarkably like a System Shock sequel, however.
- The TurboGrafx-16 pinball game Alien Crush has some suspiciously H. R. Giger-like graphics.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd, in his review of the NES adaptation of Alien³, noted that Contra and the aforementioned Metroid made for much better Alien games than the dreck that he had played.
- Although some official Indiana Jones games have averted The Problem with Licensed Games, the Uncharted series are by far the best Indy games you will ever play. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have even said that this is why they've turned down repeated offers to write an Uncharted movie — they love the games, but they couldn't find a way to not make it similar to Indiana Jones.
- Devil May Cry (the first one at least) is often regarded as the best Castlevania game that Capcom ever made. It helps that the first game's director, Hideki Kamiya, LOVES the first Castlevania.
- Starcraft reminds many people of, alternatively, Starship Troopers, Aliens, Warhammer 40,000note and, as of Starcraft II, Firefly.
- Similarly, Blizzard's other big RTS franchise, Warcraft, is practically Warhammer in disguise.
- It can also happen between games. Ōkami and Beyond Good & Evil have been called "the best The Legend of Zelda games of the year" at times.
- Freelancer/Starlancer to Wing Commander/Privateer, joked by the fans of both series. All four projects being helmed by the same guy (Chris Roberts) didn't hurt. Starlancer and the Wing Commander movie also shared a number of digital effects credits.
- Also between games, it's good to see a game in the Dungeon Keeper universe again, albeit a spinoff called Overlord under a different genre.
- The way the Need for Speed franchise turned to a street racing theme from Underground to Undercover pretty much screamed out The Fast and the Furious.
- And the latest Hot Pursuit version is an awesome Burnout sequel!
- As Action Button Dot Net puts it: "...someone finally made a good Sherlock Holmes game, and it's not even a real Sherlock Holmes game. It's about some dude named Layton."
- It's no exaggeration to say that God Hand looks like one of the best Fist of the North Star games ever made, considering that we didn't get any good ones at all until Fist Of The North Star Kens Rage.
- God Hand is also said to be a better 3D version of Final Fight than either of the actual 3D Final Fight games (one which was a competitive fighting game, and other a GTA-clone).
- Silent Hill is to Jacob's Ladder what the first few Resident Evil games were to George Romero's work.
- Starflight is certainly in the running for the best Star Trek game ever made, and certainly the best of the 1980s.
- Red Dawn 1984 has a lot of Licensees that aren't.
- The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games are an almost absurdly obvious example of this for classic Russian science fiction novel Roadside Picnic and its Film of the Book, Stalker.
- Subversion: Dynamite Deka, a 3D beat-'em-up for the arcades and Sega Saturn released in Japan, was heavily inspired by the Die Hard films to the point that the game's main character, Bruno Delinger, bore more than a passing resemblance to Bruce Willis. When Sega worked on the game's international version, they tacked on the Die Hard license, renamed Bruno Delinger into John McClane, and modified the main villain into Hans Gruber.
- Note that the sequel Dynamite Cop, the international version of Dynamite Deka 2, did not retain the Die Hard license.
- Dynamite Cop is the best game adaption of Under Siege or Speed 2 we will ever see in our lifetime.
- The Sunsoft game Journey to Silius for the NES was originally intended to be a game based on the first Terminator movie.
- The unreleased NES game Sunman, also by Sunsoft, was originally intended to be a Superman-based side-scrolling action game. An early build of the game actually had the Man of Steel as the player character with John Williams' iconic theme as the first stage music, but for some reason Sunsoft lost the license and Supes got replaced with an obvious pastiche.
- The original Mega Man was intended to be an Astro Boy game, so you could say that the Mega Man games are the best Astro Boy video games created (at least until Astro Boy: Omega Factor was released).
- The Monkey Island series was heavily inspired by two major sources: Disneyland's original Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and the Tim Powers novel On Stranger Tides (in not-at-all related news, the fourth POTC movie was coincidentally based on the same book).
- This also seems to work backwards, with the second POTC featuring a few uncanny similarities to the Monkey Island games, such as Jack using a casket as a rowboat and a voodoo priestess hiding in a swamp.
- The whole casket thing is sort of from Moby-Dick, though.
- If one were to see the trailer for the original Pirates of the Caribbean while being unaware of the franchise, it wouldn't be a huge leap to expect it to be a straight-up Monkey Island movie, even though the influence actually went the other way.
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was already a perfectly good Scarface game before Scarface: The World is Yours was made. In the leap from screen to game, Scarface was basically forced to rip off itself.
- Similarly, the Los Santos chapters Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas play out like Boyz n the Hood and Menace II Society, while the Las Venturas section is basically Casino (for the main story strand) and Ocean's Eleven (for the optional casino heist plot).
- And to go further back, Grand Theft Auto III looks and plays a lot like the Driver games that started on the PlayStation. Essentially, it's Driver with a criminal Villain Protagonist and on-foot controls that actually work — something that it took Reflections, the makes of Driver, four games to get right (something that is lampshaded more than once in the GTA series), by which point it was them who came off looking like Johnny-come-latelies.
- Going in the other direction, some people consider Saints Row to be the true successor to San Andreas and the III-era GTA games, especially after Grand Theft Auto IV went in a more realistic, Darker and Edgier direction.
- Meanwhile, Grand Theft Auto IV was busy being the best game based on The Wire ever made.
- It goes back even further, if you squint; the original 2D Grand Theft Auto owes a huge amount of thematic inspiration to Dirty Harry and The French Connection, and the levels set in the No Communities Were Harmed versions of New York and San Fransisco are about as close to video game adaptations of each film as the technology of the period could achieve.
- Lost Odyssey is a pretty good Final Fantasy game, made by that series' original creator and musician after they left Square Enix (the former founding his own game design company and the latter going freelance).
- Red Faction bears striking resemblance to the Martian society depicted in Total Recall (1990).
- Manhunt was originally meant to be an adaptation of The Warriors, but Rockstar couldn't get the license at the time. They later made an officially licensed Warriors Beat 'em Up that is incredibly close to the film and being an example of fans having No Problem With Licensed Games.
- Some have suggested that the sequel, Manhunt 2, is a spiritual licensee of Fight Club.
- While it's pretty unlikely that anyone would ever make a Perry Mason video game, the world will always have Ace Attorney.
- Despite the creator's efforts to give it a more unique art style, Deadly Premonition — while So Bad, It's Good — remains a closest thing we have that can be considered a Twin Peaks game.
- Another one of David Lynch's works, Eraserhead, has its own Spiritual Licensee in the form of Yume Nikki. The similarities between the two are uncanny.
- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is sometimes considered an impressive adaptation of the Cthulhu Mythos. The game used inspiration from the stories and even the books can be found, but you can't read them, only observe them.
- Barring the lack of giant bugs, Section 8 is the most true adaption of the Mobile Infantry ever.
- Dead Rising bears so many similarities to Dawn of the Dead that the game actually carries a disclaimer explicitly stating that it's not based on the movie. At one point, George Romero himself autographed someone's copy of the game without knowing much about it.
- Aside from being a spiritual entry in the Luminous Arc series, Arc Rise Fantasia can be seen as a Spiritual Licensee to the Tales Series. The characters are in anime-design, there are skits that tend to be on the light-hearted side, costumes can be acquired (though they can only bee seen on the character's portrait) and it isn't release in Europe. Two developers who worked on the Tales Series even worked on this game.
- Homeworld was meant to be a Battlestar Galactica game, but that didn't work out. The resulting game still had the essential story of the original BSG and the mood of the re-imagined series (despite the game predating the latter).
- The Homeworld series also heavily suggests that it takes place in the universe of the Terran Trade Authority. Or at least could. The game manual gives a thorough background of the Kushan history using the same narrative style of the TTA books. Also, like the TTA books, the illustrations are exclusively of spaceships and BigDumbObjects, but almost never people (unless they're wearing spacesuits). The spaceships look as if they were designed by Chris Foss and Peter Elson. These two artists weren't involved in the game's design but were given "props" in the credits. Elson was actually supposed to design the gamebox but then they decided for some reason to go with CGI.
- The Mattel Intellivision game Space Battle was also intended to be a Battlestar Galactica game, according to the Blue Sky Rangers.
- It takes a bit of time to realize that X-COM: UFO Defense is not set in 1980, and was not made by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.
- Halo 3: ODST, with its drop pods, is quite possibly the best adaptation of Starship Troopers outside of Aliens.
- Halo itself reads very similarly to Aliens, with its space marines, flying dropships, kinetic weapons, battles with parasitic aliens, and Sergeant Johnson, who is basically just Apone with a different name.
- It also has one of the best depictions of the architecture and technical power of The Culture.
- Okage is probably the greatest Tim Burton game no one has ever heard of.
- Max Payne was greeted by one review with the sarcastic remark "Leather coats, Bullet Time, automatic weapons... I wonder what the first mod of it will be."
- Given the way the grappling hook is used, Just Cause does a better job being a Darker and Edgier version of Bionic Commando than... well... the 2009 Bionic Commando.
- Metal Gear Solid 3 had, by far, the best James Bond title song I've heard for a while.
- Destroy All Humans! to Invader Zim, down to having the same tone, humor, and Richard Horvitz voice your Exposition Fairy.
- Kane and Lynch has a noted similarity to the films of Michael Mann, specifically Heat and Collateral. The magazine PC Powerplay specifically noted that the game "[took] some pages out of Mann's notebook."
- Many gamers consider Torchlight to be a great sequel to the Diablo games. Makes sense, considering it was made by the old Diablo dev team.
- Left 4 Dead is pretty much 28 Days Later: The Game, only with more gunplay and no hostile humans.
- Possibly supplanted by Day Z, which plays almost exactly like an MMORPG/FPS hybrid set in the 28 Days Later universe.
- There's a reason Prototype is often referred to as Venom: The Game.
- Brothers in Arms is essentially Band of Brothers the video game.
- NieR, as mentioned in its Laconic section, might as well be called I Am Legend: The Game, especially once The Reveal is cruelly shown.
- Play some classical music, and Sins of a Solar Empire could easily pass itself off as a Western adaptation of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. There's even a mod that lets you import both the Reich and the Free Planets Alliance.
- Bioshock is a wonderful interactive adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, only with the Author Tract deconstructed and re-examined.
- Bioshock Infinite comes across at times like a dark Disney movie, which isn't helped by Elizabeth channeling Belle and Rapunzel as well as just about every other Disney princess ever.
- Ikari Warriors was originally planned to be a Rambo arcade game. The game's title actually comes from the Japanese version of Rambo: First Blood Part II, which was titled Rambo: Ikari no Dasshutsu. The Sega Master System game Ashura, which plays similarly, picked up the Rambo license when it was exported to the US.
- People are calling Xenonauts a better X-Com game than the upcoming FPS one in the making by 2K Games. Understandably, when Firaxis's TBS one was announced, Dueling Games immediately ensued.
- Aquaria is essentially Ecco the Dolphin with a mermaid and a little Metroidvania.
- According to Shinji Mikami he wanted to do a Neo Human Casshern game, but since he already did a brawler game, he decided to put more emphasis on shooting. Hence, Vanquish is the closest we will ever get to a Casshern video game adaptation.
- The Adventures of Bayou Billy is all but a Crocodile Dundee game, having an obvious Captain Ersatz player character and a plot suspiciously like Crocodile Dundee II.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops is sometimes considered a Spiritual Prequel to The Rock, spelling out Gen. Hummel's '60s era adventures. It even borrows some of the elements of that movie, namely a plot to attack the USA with face-melting green gas, a reveal of the truth of the JFK assassination, and American commandos being "disappeared" or forgotten by the government.
- Iron Storm is probably the closest you'll ever get to a game adaptation of Orwell's 1984 (general Just Before the End / Ruins of the Modern Age grimness, a Forever War between 20. century megaempires fueled by fanatical propaganda, etc.).
- Phantasy Star is Star Wars made into a console RPG.
- inFAMOUS has exactly the same premise as Static Shock, and its hero has precisely the same superpowers.
- Although it's now gone to full-fledged series and is far more popular than its inspiration, Ratchet & Clank was as close to a Jet Force Gemini series as we're ever going to get.
- Berserk has had a couple of decent games to its name, but by far the best ones are Demon's Souls and Dark Souls.
- Viewtiful Joe makes a excellent game adaption of Last Action Hero, but with Toku themes instead.
- Even though all the monsters are taken from the public domain, and Simon Belmont looks like something by Frank Frazetta, the first Castlevania is obviously a take on the Universal Monsters, especially with the fake credits at the end of the game.
- Sacred was the best sequel for Diablo II in its day.
- Painkiller was thought to be more a sequel to Doom II than Doom 3 turned out to be.
- Run Saber pretty much works as a substitute for a SNES version of Strider, right down to the laser blades and the same number of stages as the arcade original.
- Tass Times in Tonetown: This 1986 Interplay adventure PC game has much of the style and mood of the mid '80s Saturday morining cartoon Kidd Video. The game was released near the end of the cartoon's run. Like the MTV inspired cartoon, Tass Times had an overarching popular music theme (although given the limitations of a typical 1986 computer, there wasn't much of an opportunity to realise the music aspect). Tonetown (the game's setting) fits right in with the many locations that Kidd and the band visit during their adventures througout the Flip Side. Both can be described as a music-themed surreal fantasy nowhereland populated by all sorts of strange beings. And finally, both are an homage to what was so good about the '80s, and are unashamed of their 80s style.
- The adventure game Operation Stealth by Delphine Software was so obviously an homage to James Bond that its American publisher (Interplay) was able to make minor changes to the dialogue and release the result as an actual licensed game, James Bond 007: The Stealth Affair.
- Total War: Shogun Total War and its sequel are pretty much the closest you can get to an epic scale adaptation of every Japanese samurai movie ever. And the latest DLC Expansion, Fall of the Samurai, seems set to do the same for The Last Samurai, minus Tom Cruise. Rome: Total War and the Medieval: Total War series can be described as adaptations of Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven respectively.
- A Rock Paper Shotgun review of Crusader Kings II calls it "the best Game of Thrones game you will probably ever play." There exists a Game Mod for both the first and second game.
- Dragon Age: Origins is in many ways similar to A Song of Ice and Fire, having a similar tone, overall setting (of sorts) and some smaller things such as the use of the title "Ser". It could also be thought of as yet another Dungeons & Dragons game possessing not only the classes but certain concepts that are idiosyncratic to DnD like the Grease spell and the idea of a Bard as a spy that picks up a variety of talents. That the developer worked on official Dungeons & Dragons games in the past helps.
- Lost Patrol from 1990 is the closest any game has come to capturing the dark view on the Vietnam War exhibited in movies such as Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now.
- Crystalis is very close to being a Studio Ghibli video game, using much of the setting and themes, and conspicuously inserting familiar-looking objects (such as the floating castle). Most notably, the insect-infested jungle seems very familiar, and the boss is an Ohmu.
- Mass Effect is essentially a licensed Lensman series. Or rather, Babylon5 with dialogue options. It also serves nicely as a Star Trek: The Next Generation game. Hell, the main villains are even similar (robotic beings that want to destroy or assimilate all life and are ungodly powerful).
- Kung Fu Master is more of an adaptation of Game of Death than the Jackie Chan movie which shares its title in Japan (Spartan X, a.k.a. Wheels On Meals).
- On a review of it in this very wiki, Kid Icarus: Uprising was called the best Serious Sam game ever put onto a Nintendo system. Likewise, it's an awesome entry in the Sin and Punishment franchise.
- iOS game in development Star Command is barely even trying to hide that it's essentially a Star Trek game.
- The Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator tries to replicate being on the bridge of the Enterprise as closely as possible.
- Carmageddon is basically Death Race 2000 with the Serial Numbers Filed Off; by the time Carmageddon: TDR 2000 came out they weren't even bothering with the filing.
- The ancient arcade game Death Race is an unofficial adaptation of DR 2K, as well as a spiritual precursor to Carmageddon.
- Orcs Must Die! feels a lot like an Army of Darkness game, but with Orcs instead of skeletons. Hell, the War Mage character even gets a boomstick in the sequel!
- Paradox Interactive's Gettysburg: Armored Warfare shares the same plot as The Guns of the South (a time traveler from the 21st century brings advanced weapons and tactics back to the Civil War to try and help the CSA win), albeit with less philosophizing.
- As Yahtzee so eloquently put it, "Assassin's Creed in World War II has already been done, and it was called The Saboteur."
- The Survival Horror game Obs Cure is this to The Faculty. In both works, a group of high school students from across various cliques and social circles battle monsters who used to be their classmates (only with less paranoia and more Body Horror in Obs Cure), and it turns out that the school's administration is a major part of what's happening. The creators of Obs Cure even said that they had Josh Hartnett (one of the stars of The Faculty) in mind when designing the character of Stan.
- Robot Alchemic Drive is the closest Westerners will ever get to Giant Robo: The Video Game.
- Final Fantasy essentially was a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
- Taito loves this during the late 80s and the 90s, aside from their own briliant licensed games. Examples include:
- Operation Thunderbolt, besides being a spiritual successor to Taito's own Operation Wolf, is basically the game version of Chuck Norris film The Delta Force.
- Chase HQ basically reenacts any movie cops versus bad guys car chase like those in Bullitt or The French Connection.
- Rastan Saga (or Nastar, depends on the version) is basically Conan the Barbarian the game.
- Warrior Blade: Rastan Saga Episode III is an excellent Golden Axe game.
- Space Gun might as well being a spiritual grandfather to Dead Space, being one of the gameplay mechanic is to shoot off the limbs of the aliens (though it because the chest and the head is armored), also the eerie atmosphere of alien infested outer space station. Not only that, it can also work as an Aliens game too. The game even has a motion tracker just like the movie, and the aliens have a similar scream to those in the film. As pointed out in this review
- Dead Connection did it before Max Payne and The Godfather licensed game, being a mafia revenge noir shooter.
- This got turned around with Kamui that is a Spiritual Licensee to Ray Force. Kamui features many gimmicks from RayForce, such as Homing Lasers that attack background enemies, 2D graphics with extensive use of Mode 7-esque effects, and a plot involving an evil AI.
- The same could be said for Data East.
- After Burner, according to Hardcore Gaming 101, is "undoubtedly inspired by Top Gun, just minus Tom Cruise and all of the homoerotic undertones. (Also far better than any of the actual Top Gun games, of which there are far, far too many.)"
- Laser Invasion is a spiritual successor to the NES Top Gun licensed games.
- Medal of Honor: Allied Assault=Saving Private Ryan": The Game.
- The Last V8 for the C64 is clearly inspired by Mad Max, which also had a (crappy) officially licensed game on the NES.
- Fuel may be considered the unofficial Mad Max Wide Open Sandbox racing game.
- Nintendo's early NES racing game Mach Rider was also highly inspired by Mad Max, with a touch of Sega's Hang On, and possibly a spiritual predecessor to Road Rash.
- Also similar to Mad Max: RAGE.
- Sleeping Dogs feels like a distant, HD sequel of River City Ransom which we ever got, because of the emphasis on hand-to-hand combat.
- The same could be said for Rockstar's Bully and the video game version of The Warriors
- The three of them handles it differently though, but still a great games.
- Many people have bemoaned the fact that Act Raiser never got a real sequel which featured the combination of town-building sim and real-time action (ActRaiser II was a sequel In Name Only and fully ditched the city-building aspect while making the platformer nigh-impossible.). But it did. It was called Dark Cloud.
- Terraria, despite being made as a 2D equivalent of Minecraft and it shows, actually feels more as a sequel of Act Raiser due to the improved combat aspect and NPC interaction (it also crosses with Castlevania too).
- The naval missions of Assassin's Creed III are what many say a game based of Pirates of the Caribbean should play like.
- Punch-Out!! takes elements of Rocky, Hajime No Ippo, and for Little Mac's Last Stand mode in the Wii game, The climax of Ashita no Joe and combines it all into one fine package.
- Suda51 has made some quirky and original games, but some of them feel like adaptions of other games or movies:
- Valkyria Chronicles is the closest players can get to playing a Sakura Taisen sequel for the immediate future. That the developers also worked on the older franchise probably helps.
- It Came From The Desert is an unofficial adaptation of Them!, which was also the basis for the Fallout 3 quest "Those!".
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance makes a top-notch, modern Strider game. As pointed out in this review.
- Cannon Dancer was this to the arcade Strider, until it got an official sequel.
- Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is generally considered one of the best examples of a Pokémon Action RPG.
- The 1986 computer game The Great Escape was not licensed from the movie of the same name but merely inspired by it.
- Deathbots is an unlicensed NES knockoff of The Terminator, which had its share of subpar official games.
- While an official Stargate SG-1 video game languished for years in Development Hell with nothing ever coming out of it, Outcast is a very close match to one. Modern-day humans discover a gateway to an alien world? Check. A Retired Badass Deadpan Snarker career military man is dragged back into duty to lead an expedition there? Check. Locals regard the arrivals with clear religious overtones? Check. The alien world appears to be mainly pre-industrial with curious instances of highly advanced technology peppered about? Check.
- Starhawk(no relation to the PS3 game) and Star Fire were unofficial arcade adaptations of the Death Star battle from Star Wars: A New Hope, both predating Star Wars: The Arcade Game by 5 years. Also predating the licensed arcade game were the Intellivision game Star Strike and Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom (which was not originally intended to be a Buck Rogers game).
- Rosenkreuzstilette, to Mega Man (for gameplay) and supposed to resemble Castlevania in terms of the setting. Emphasis on "supposed to", because most of the levels in RKS are in broad daylight, whereas CV takes place mostly at night (especially in the early 2D games). If anything, it bears a lot more resemblance to the much more obscure Valis series.
- Do you want The Running Man: The Video Game? There are four options: Smash TV, MadWorld, Monday Night Combat, or Manhunt.
- Battletoads and The Cheetahmen to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, in addition to being an amalgam of pretty much every action movie from '80s and early '90s, can also be considered be an awesome Duke Nukem game, as well, with its over the top weapons, cheesy one liners, and retro-futuristic visuals.
- The visual novel Quartett! looks like something straight out of Hidekaz Himaruya's portfolio if he did eroge.
- Titanfall is as close as it gets for a Armored Trooper VOTOMS FPS game.
- It has also invited comparisons with Attack on Titan. It also involves elite air-mobile soldiersnote fighting giants called "Titans"note that have a weak point at the back of the "head" where they are "piloted".
- Long Live the Queen is considered by some as being the closest westerners will ever get to a game adaptation of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
- La Abadía del Crimen is commonly assumed to be a Licensed Game based on The Name of the Rose. It got around not actually obtaining the license by having the player character be the Historical-Domain Character the novel's protagonist is based on.
- Team Fortress 2 is often compared to The Incredibles, as they share a similar art style, a saxophone-dominant score, and are both set in The Sixties.
- Keiji Inafune wants to make another Mega Man game, but he doesn't own the rights anymore, so he's making Mighty No. 9 instead, which is basically the exact same thing.
- Bug Hunt is a World Builder adaptation of the original Alien.
- Katakis for the Amiga and Commodore 64 was a thinly veiled adaptation of R-Type, which many considered superior to the systems' official R-Type ports. Not surprisingly, Irem sued Factor 5 over it.
- Konami also produced an arcade R-Type clone titled Xexex, which was never sequelized or ported to any consoles, again possibly due to legal threats from Irem.
- Jaleco's Formation Z/Aeroboto may be considered an early game adaptation of Macross/Robotech.
- eXceed 2nd can be seen as one to Ikaruga due to its use of the polarity system.
- The Batman: Arkham Series are the best adaptations of Batman: The Animated Series there is.
- According to their respective Laconic Wiki pages, Arkham Asylum is a Die Hard game and Arkham City is an Escape from New York game.
- Also Arkham Asylum is Shutter Island : The Game complete with scarecrow gas and detailed complex setting and strong presence of doctors and staff. Incidentally, both game and movie were originally going to come in 2009 with Shutter Island's release pushed to 2010 at the last moment.
- The Sega Saturn game Gekka Mugentan Torico (known as Lunacy in the U.S) feels like The Prisoner. The City of Mists, curiously enough has architecture reminiscent of Portmerion, Wales, which was used for The Village of The Prisoner. The show has an eerie atmosphere and several characters who play headgames with our mysterious player character who is known only as Fred.
- Given its humorous tone, Improbable Aiming Skills and Showdown at High Noon as crucial parts of its mechanics, its Been There, Shaped History take on The Wild West, and the presence of the Dalton brothers you could argue that Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is essentially a slightly Darker and Edgier Lucky Luke game.
- Capcom did make another Breath of Fire game for the Playstation 2 (and arguably a better Breath of Fire game than Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter). It's called Megaman X Command Mission.
- Konami's beat'em up, Violent Storm, feels like an excellent sequel to Final Fight.
- Futurama is probably the closest we'll get to an animated series based on Douglas Adams' work.
- The Lion King is a spiritual licensee of Hamlet.
- The Venture Bros. is this to Jonny Quest as it shares the same premise.
- ReBoot is this to TRON, but limits the User to Player Character in Games and Deus ex Machina, focusing on the lives of the programs instead. Also increased the premise's scope beyond a single system by factoring in the internet.
- Time Squad is just Sherman & Peabody, if Peabody was a gay robot and Sherman had Peabody's genius mind and were accompanied by a Cowboy Cop.
- Samurai Jack has an identical premise to Frank Miller's comic from the 80's, Ronin.
- G.I. Joe: Renegades may as well have been an animated remake of The A-Team
- Some of Don Bluth's (The Land Before Time, The Secret Of NIMH) films have been considered this to the Disney films of Golden Age Of Animation.
- The Great Mouse Detective is probably the closest Disney will get to adapting the Sherlock Holmes stories.
- Adventure Time is perhaps the best Animated Adaptation of Super Mario Bros. there will ever be.
- Regular Show is this generation's Beavis And Butthead, complete with the non sequitur but hilarious humor and the slacker protagonists, who are pretty much Beavis and Butthead in animal form.
- Before The Spectacular Spider-Man came along, the best Spider-Man animated series was Batman Beyond.
- What about the Spiderman animated series from the 90's? That one was a very faithful to the source material adaptation of not only the Amazing Spiderman comics, but the entire Marvel Universe in general.
- The Teen Titans animated series has more in common with the comic book Young Justice rather than the original Teen Titans series it was based on. In fact, it was originally pitched as a Young Justice show. In contrast, the Young Justice animated series which was released years later is more like the comic book Teen Titans.
- Some people on the web are calling "She Zow" a western made Sailor Starlight.
- Wacky Races is fairly close to being an Animated Adaptation of The Great Race.
- 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.