When Capcom re-released Aladdin for the GBA, their rights to "Friend Like Me" and "Whole New World" had expired, so they were forced to replace them with similar sounding new tunes. The Original SNES version did this from the start with a "One Jump Ahead" Substitute for the first level, and an "Arabian Nights" one for a cutscene.
The NES pirate of Aladdin (Virgin Games) uses suspiciously similar songs to "A Whole New World" and "Prince Ali", among others.
The NES RPG game based on the hit movie Willow has song similar to "Theme from A Summer Place" when you enter a certain town. So does Mario Kart Super Circuit for GBA while driving on Shy Guy Beach.
An Eye of the Tiger soundalike plays in Breath of Fire III when Deis awakens. Followed by Falling Green sounding similar to Secret of the Forest from Chrono Trigger and the Game Over theme and Chrono Trigger's Windy Scene during the first notes.
The Buriki Daioh theme from Live A Live also sounds suspiciously like the Mazinger Z intro theme. That one gets around quite a bit, it seems. Compare and contrast. The game even references the show's intro by opening up a lake for the giant robot to emerge.
The lab theme from Cave Story sounds a lot like "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers, which is all but likely to be coincidental given the game was released mere months after the album "Hot Fuss".
The title theme from Donkey Kong Country 2 sounds a lot like the theme from Hook. Other songs in this game that play this trope straight:
The swamp level BGM "Bayou Boogie" sounds a lot like Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight", which inevitably led to this.
The winter-themed tracks in the Snowflake Mountain hub courses borrow heavily from Christmas songs. Walrus Cove has pieces of "Here Comes Santa Claus" ("Bells are ringing, children singing...") and "Winter Wonderland" ("In the meadow we can build a snowman..."). Frosty Village has "Winter Wonderland" right off the bat.
Not to mention Snowball Valley, which is a blatant ripoff of the Chicken Dance and actually copies the entire second part verbatim. Why on earth anyone would want to include that awful song in any video game is a mystery.
There's a part of that song that sounds exactly like The Brady Bunch theme, of all things.
The Spaceport Alpha theme from Diddy Kong Racing is suspiciously similar to the Thunderbirds theme.
Guitar Superstar is a plug-'n'-play Guitar Heroripoff filled with Suspiciously Similar Songs. Just to give an idea, one of the songs is called "Granite Man", which is somewhat reminiscent of "Iron Man".
The Little Busters!! soundtrack features a track entitled "Mission Possible," which is pretty much as close as they could get to the Mission: Impossible theme song without actually being said theme song.
Parts of the Doom and Doom II soundtracks were suspiciously similar to metal songs, but executed in such a fashion that few people really noticed. See thesepages for some comparisons.
It should be noted that the games' composer used to be a lawyer, so he knew how much plagiarism they could get away with. The story goes that the lead designer essentially gave him a set of his favourite metal albums and asked the composer to make the Doom soundtrack sound like those.
Coincidentally, the open-source project Freedoom contains Suspiciously Simlar Songs to Doom music, making it somewhat Meta.
The music track for the Doom II level "Barrels o' Fun", entitled "Bye Bye American Pie" (no relation to that song, incidentally), is by far the most egregious example of this trope in the game. It is literally just a few minor variations away from being a note-for-note MIDI transcription of Alice In Chains' "Them Bones", minus the vocal melody, and about half as long. It's essentially a karaoke version. Here, listen for yourself.
Oddly enough, a number of the songs from Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power that didn't get lifted for Doom were reinterpreted on the Quake II soundtrack, though it wasn't Bobby Prince in that case.
The Level One Theme from the first game seems to take influence, of all songs; Maria Magdalena by Sandra. It also has the similar guitar riff to "This is Doom" by Russian metal group Aria. In a bizarre twist, the instrumental version of said track was later used in the trucking sim Hard Truck 2.
Cosmos Cosmic Adventure had a song that was "Tush" by ZZ Top to a tee. The folks at Apogee were pretty blatant about this one. How blatant? The filename in the game data is "MZZTOP.IMF".
The same game also features a bluegrass tune that's supiciously similar to Foggy Mountain Breakdown.
Wolfenstein 3D had a song that was a mashup of Suspiciously Similar Songs to classic "war" tunes. Let's face it, Bobby Prince isn't known for his originality.
The music for the first level of Duke Nukem II ("He's Back") was pretty much a slightly reworked version of Megadeth's "Angry Again".
The second overworld music in Super Mario Bros. 3 heavily resembles the The Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star", especially the second half. This hook also appears as a Recurring Riff in the "Snowman's Land" music in Super Mario 64.
The Airship music in Super Mario Bros. 3 is suspiciously similar to of Mars: The Bringer Of War from Holtz's "The Planets" suite. The similarities are even more obvious in the orchestrated version from Super Mario Galaxy. But then again, "Bringer of War" is a pretty appropriate theme for those levels.
Also, the first overworld theme in Super Mario Bros. 3 is basically a speeded-up interpretation of Sentimental Journey (especially the Ringo Starr version).
The music that plays when Mario/Luigi dies is basically the "E-I-E-I-O" portion of "Old Mac Donald Had A Farm".
The first part of the fortress theme (before it goes into the loop) in Super Mario World sounds like Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain mixed with the SMW main theme. The loop section is similar to the final boss theme from Sonic the Hedgehog.
Another Super Mario World example would be the main theme, which sounds a lot like Dave Seville's "Witch Doctor." "Ooh eeh ooh ahh ahh bing bang walla walla bing bang ooh eeh ooh ahh ahh bing bang walla bing bang!"
Invisible Forest from SMV uses a Suspiciously Similar Song to Mozart's 40th symphony.
Weirdly, the Nintendo DS game based on Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart used Suspiciously Similar Songs to several themes from the anime (most noticeable is the Marble Screw music). What's weird about this is that they used the real version of the show's opening theme song. That, and the whole "same franchise as the original music" thing makes it smack of Home Version Soundtrack Replacement.
It happens again in Super Mario 3D Land. The first movement of the main theme sounds suspiciously similar to the New Super Mario Bros. 1 overworld music, while the second movement is all but identical to Super Mario Bros. 3's.
Also, the music for "Sky Station Galaxy", "Fluffy Bluff/Cloudy Court Galaxies", and "Bowser's Galaxy Generator" are actually Suspiciously Similar Songs to the music for "Good Egg Galaxy", "Gusty Garden Galaxy", and "Bowser's Galaxy Reactor" (especially the last two) from the first Super Mario Galaxy game, respectively.
Back to Galaxy 2, the theme for Starship Mario is suspiciously similar to Christian Petzold's "Minuet in G Major."
The Flipsville and Chompworks themes from Galaxy 2 closely resemble "Funkytown", as well.
The Fire Flower theme sounds an awful lot like 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This." And the Ice Flower's theme sounds an awful lot like... ...the Fire Flower theme.
The map theme for World 1 of Galaxy 2 sounds very similar to John Denver's "The Flower that Shattered the Stone", and World S's map theme sound a lot like Coldplay's "Viva La Vida."
The Mario Party series, particularly games composed close to one another, are prone to having similar versions of each other. Compare, for example, Mario Party 1's soundtrack with Mario Party 2's, or 3's with 4's. It's especially noticeable when Mario Party Advancere-uses mini-game themes from both 3 and 4.
Spy Hunter of course used the Peter Gunn theme for its main music, and supposedly this was licensed. Ironically, Super Spy Hunter, which was not originally titled as a sequel, instead being named Battle Formula in Japan, used a Suspiciously Similar Song to Peter Gunn music in its second stage.
In another ironic twist, the Spy Hunter game also provides an aversion of this trope. The makers of the game originally wanted to use the James Bond theme song, but couldn't obtain the rights to it. Instead of using a Suspiciously Similar Song to it, they went with the Peter Gunn theme.
The "Percussion" song from Streets of Rage 3 has a very similar feel to the show theme as well.
The original arcade version of Rainbow Islands uses an upbeat remix of "Over The Rainbow" (yes, the song from The Wizard of Oz!) as its background music. Needless to say, there were some issues with licensing the music when the game was released on home systems. Many home computer ports of the game got away with using the original tune, but the North American NES and Master System releases use a very noticeable Suspiciously Similar Song; the European NES release uses an entirely different tune altogether. Later re-releases, including the PC re-release, go with the American NES song.
The arcade port found on Taito Legends is an aversion. It uses the same theme, but with the offending melody simply muted.
Also, Parasol Stars, the sequel to Rainbow Islands, uses a Suspiciously Similar Song to the Lambada as the boss battle music!
In a possibly unintentional case, the music in Tourian in the original Metroid resembles the music from Bowser's Castle in the original Super Mario Bros., especially the opening notes of the bassline. The resemblance is further notable in that Tourian is roughly the Metroid equivalent of Bowser's Castle, since the final boss confrontation takes place there.
The Tourian theme is also extremely similar to a section of the movement "Gnomus" in Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
Seeing as Legend of Mana and Super Mario RPG share a music composer (Yoko Shimomura), it only figures that the former would include some versions of songs from the latter. For example:
"Mystic City Geo" is suspciously similar to the Mushroom Kingdom theme.
The Toad Town theme from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, which Shimomura also composed, is in turn suspiciously similar to Mystic City Geo (with multiple pastiches of the first nine notes of the infamous "Beware the Forest's Mushrooms" from Super Mario RPG thrown in for good measure), to bring this full-circle.
"Pastoral" uses the same measurement and beat as the Marrymore theme.
The credits sequence is clearly inspired by Disneyland's Electrical Parade; naturally, the background music is suspiciously similar to "Baroque Hoedown", the theme music from that parade.
Gritzy Desert from Partners in Time sounds a lot like Agrabah's theme(s) in Kingdom Hearts (especially the Brawl version). Again, Shimomura was the composer for both songs, so it's not surprising.
The battle theme that Shimomura did for Superstar Saga has a remarkably similar structure to the one she did for Mario RPG. The Recurring Riff that appears in the title screen and battle themes in Dream Team also bear a similar cadence to the main riff of the song.
Fawful's Castle Garden in Bowser's Inside Story sounds strangely similar to Ganon's theme.
The Ninja Gaiden arcade game feature a recurring pair of sub-bosses who are obvious pastiches of the legendary wrestling tag team known as the Road Warriors. Their background theme ("I Am Man") was such an obvious ripoff of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" (the entrance theme of the Road Warriors), that when Tecmo released the game on the Virtual Console, they had to remove the tune to avoid copyright infringement.
In Chrono Trigger, "Jolly Ol' Spekkio", the theme of the shapeshifter of the same name found at the End of Time, sounds a heck of a lot like "I Just Can't Wait to be King" from The Lion King.
Also, there's Ayla's Theme (here) and "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones (here).
Try listening to the music in this video and deny that it sounds like a sped up version of the MMPR theme.
The Spider-Man/Venom beat-'em-upMaximum Carnage for the SNES and Genesis was advertised as featuring a soundtrack composed by Green Jelly (later Green Jello) - who came up with an original title tune and Suspiciously Similar Songs to metal classics for the rest of the game. Most notable as well as fitting was Black Sabbath's "The Mob Rules" for boss fights.
The soundtrack to Forza Motorsport 1 features instrumentals to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man", ZZ Top's "La Grange" and a redone version of Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein", as arranged by renowned musician Junkie XL.
In Daryl Gates' Police Quest: Open Season, a Suspiciously Similar Song to "Can't Turn You Lose" by the Blues Brothers can sometimes be heard in Ragin' Records at Hollywood & Vine.
The protagonist's headquarters being Parker Center, it also featured a near note-for-note ripoff of the Dragnet theme, another variation of which was used as the theme for Police Quest I.
In Quest for Glory III, the music playing in the background at the Apothecary's store is a somewhat mediterranean Suspiciously Similar Song to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". Very suitable, given the Apothecary's profession (sells drugs...) and hippie-like demeanor.
In Leisure Suit Larry 5, "K Rap Talk" is suspiciously similar to Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science". Some versions, however, use a completely different song in place of it.
The third Hard Disk Cafe song has a bassline similar to WAR's "Low Rider".
And the series theme sounds similar to "When I'm 64" by The Beatles.
Star Light Zone's Music is based on the J-pop song Kusuriyubi no Kesshin by Dreams Come True. In fact, the soundtrack was composed by Masato Nakamura, a member of that band. Parts of the music also sound similar to Madonna's Borderline, in particular the part at 00:17.
Scrap Brain Zone is suspiciously similar to the Blade Runner ending theme (twice as fast) complete with the drum hits. The latter half also sounds like Kraftwerk's "Spacelab", and the bassline resembles that of another KW song, "Metropolis" (not Metropolis Zone).
The Hydrocity zone music is reminiscent of the Mike Mareen song "Heavy Water".
In Carnival Night Zone, the beat from Michael Jackson's "Jam" is used, along with the trumpet riff and stock glass-breaking sound, and the melody is based on "Entry of the Gladiators", a famous orchestral circus piece that everyone has heard at least once.
The Hydrocity zone music is reminiscent of the Mike Mareen song "Heavy Water".
The Ice Cap Zone theme is like a 16-bit instrumental version of "Hard Times" by The Jetzons, a band for which composer Brad Buxer was the keyboardist.
The ending theme is the basis of "Stranger in Moscow".
Bowser's Road also sounds like a slower, more dramatic version of the Super Smash Bros. Melee menu theme.
Also from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Silver's theme song, "Dreams of an Absolution" is very similar to Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You". It also contains a melody similar to Green Hill Zone's theme.
Take a listen to "Back-2-Back", the theme for Water Palace from Sonic Rush. Now, if it hasn't sprung to mind already, take a listen to "Start the Commotion" by The Wiseguys. The similar repeated use of the guitar hook sample is just the tip of the iceberg. It's like Hideki Naganuma composed a tribute as a BGM!
"Crying World" is the BGM of Stage 6-1 in "Ristar" and sounds similar to Prince's "P Control," which came out the previous year.
The ending theme for the Revenge of Meta Knight subgame in Kirby Super Star (and Ultra) sounds suspiciously similar to The Animals' rendition of "House of the Rising Sun".
And the Game Over screen sounds quite similar to the chorus of Queen's "You're My Best Friend".
"Katamari On The Funk", the title song from the PSP-exclusive Katamari Damacy sequel Me and My Katamari and one of the few original songs in the game, bears a striking resemblance to a tune from the PSP version of Ridge Racer that the same person had composed.
In Mega Man 1, the music in Elec Man's stage is pretty similar to "All the Right Friends" by REM.
It also somewhat resembles "Faithfully" by Journey, which was written not long before the REM song. "Faithfully" may be the more likely source, as "All The Right Friends" was a very obscure R.E.M. song at the time and had yet to appear on any official releases.
The chorus of the Eurobeat song "Back to 80's" by Mega NRG Man and Domino also sounds like those.
As does Sky Sanctuary from Sonic & Knuckles.
The music in the first part of Dr. Cossack's castle in 4 resembles the Russian folk song "Katusha".
Hard Man's theme from Mega Man 3 sounds a lot like Depeche Mode's People are People.
Cossack Castle's second theme sounds a lot likeBionic Commando's Bootstrapped Theme (Area 1). In turn, it the second Skull Castle theme in the same game is in turn a Suspiciously Similar Song.
Then, 5's Skull Castle theme was suspiciously similar to that version.
Slash Man's theme is reminiscent of "Magical Sound Shower" from OutRun, as well as Quick Man's theme from MM2 and Wave Man's theme from MM5.
A riff from Cut Man's theme from the original sounds very similar to the character select screen music from X-Men: Children of the Atom.
The infamous Dr. Wily Castle - Stage 1 theme from Mega Man 2 opens with nine notes that are remarkably similar to Michael Jackson's 'Beat It.' This same string of notes would go on to show up in Mother 3 in the music that plays during the 'Natural Killer Cyborg' fight.
Strangely, it also bears a very close resemblance to Elton John's "I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That", which only came out a few months before Mega Man 2 was released.
Also in Mega Man 2, Crash Man's theme resembles "Love Roller Coaster" by The Ohio Players.
Also in 3, Snake Man's theme sounds alot like the forementioned Stage 4 theme from Journey To Silius, although it was released just a month after that game.
Some of the BGM's in Mega Man 9 are suspiciously similar to songs from older games, for example, Concrete Man's theme is similar to Wood Man's theme, and Plug Man's theme has elements of Knight Man's theme.
The Stage 5 theme from Blaster Master is suspiciously similar to Bomb Man's theme from Mega Man 1, and one of the guys at Overclocked Remix did a mash-up remix of the two.
The Stage 3 music sounds rather similar to "Stay With Me Forever" from Ys II, although the two games came out in Japan the same year, so it might be coincidence.
One scene in Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak involves finding a spoon (which later gets used in a catapult). The scene wherein you remove the spoon from its pedestal is a direct send-up of the "removing the Master Sword from its pedestal" scene from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and the music that plays during the removal is suspiciously similar to the "opening a large chest" music from the 3D incarnations of Zelda - where the original arpeggios go up, these arpeggios go down.
Not only that, but pay attention to the tune that plays when Spat appears. Ring any bells? Well, let's just say it's one of the reasons a reviewer said Spat was practically Hamster Kefka.
Additionally, Twilight Princess features a hidden area in the form of a town that's been abandoned for years, composed of one main street lined with buildings... with dust and tumbleweeds everywhere... and the buildings full of enemies launching arrows at you, necessitating a big bow-and-arrow shootout through the town. The music for this set-piece did a wonderful job of capturing the feel of Ennio Morricone's spaghetti Western scores.
For that matter, the Kakariko Village theme from ALttP bears resemblance to the second movement of Pathetique by Ludwig van Beethoven.
Many of the dancers you encounter in Final Fantasy IV do their routine to a short song that directly resembles the first section of Aram Khachaturian's Sabre Dance.
The main battle theme in the original Final Fantasy uses a similar bass line to "Love Machine" by The Miracles.
The opening song to Final Fantasy IX sounds like 'Stairway to Heaven'. Uematsu has said Led Zeppelin is one of his favourite bands. The main battle theme sounds like a cross between those from the sixth and eighth entries.
One that falls between this and orchestration: Terra's Theme from Final Fantasy VI and Alkan's La Chanson De La Folle Au Bord De La Mer which dates to 1847. The beginning of Alkan's piece is very close to that theme apart from it being slower and for piano. In fact this trope could also be called the Final Fantasy version because it is not uncommon for Uematsu to do this. For that matter, Golden Saucer is clearly inspired by BMV 655.
The first part (before the choir comes in) of One-Winged Angel from Final Fantasy VII sounds a lot like the music from the shower scene in Psycho.
The "Prelude" is predated by an obscure electronic song, Francis Rimbert's "Voices of Paradise" from 1980, which contains a tune similar to the ascend/descend notes (only half shorter), and even sounds similar to the 16 bit versions.
The music that plays during the intro scenes of Final Fantasy VII resembles the "Tunnel Chase" music from the first Terminator movie. Also, "Forested Temple" resembles the Habanera from the opera Carmen, the bells of the FF 7 piece in particular syncing well to the Habanera.
Exdeath's battle theme in Final Fantasy V features snippets that sound similar to the final boss theme of Dragon Quest III. Furthermore, his main theme at its beginning sounds like a sped-up version of the shower scene music from Psycho.
Aerith's theme in FFVII is basically a reinterpretation of FFVI's opera climax.
Fight On, the boss theme from FFVII, borrows from Metallica's For Whom the Bell Tolls in its intro. A later part, including the chorus, is actually a relatively unknown part of FFVI's opera theme sped up.
Freya's theme in FFIX begins identically to Philip Glass' Glassworks.
Evil Mist from FFIX contains a part which is a note-for-note rip of part of the intro to Watcher of the Skies by Genesis.
Ultimecia's Castle in FF 8 starts of with an organ section identical or extremely similar to one found in the final battle of FF 6 (the rest of which borrows liberally from Bach's Toccata & Fugue).
The chorus of One Winged Angel seems at least inspired by the second part of Dancing Mad.
Kuja's theme (and all its variations) is actually a combination of Chrono Trigger's Tyrano Lair and aspects of Silent Light (the main dungeon theme).
Premonition from FFVIII appears to be a slightly reworked unused FFVII track. It even includes parts of the main theme and Temple of the Ancients, as well as part of the FFVII battle theme which builds into a very similar climax.
The NES RPG Hydlide has an overworld tune that sounds suspiciously close to John Williams' "Raiders' March", the theme song to the Indiana Jones films. (This tune was actually borrowed from Hydlide II, which was otherwise unreleased outside Japan.)
The stage music for Dracula's stage in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse sounds an awful lot like the Billy Joel song "Pressure" inverted (bass line on top, melody on bottom). Go into music demo mode, and what's that stage's music called? "Pressure."
Most if not all of the music in the CAVE shmup Dangun Feveron are suspiciously similar to Saturday Night Fever music; for instance, 2 stage themes are more than a little similar to "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever".
In Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, "Ernst" is suspiciously similar to "Moon Over The Castle", the theme song from the Japanese versions of the Gran Turismo games. There's even a fan-made mashup of the two songs.
In Ys IV: The Mask of the Sun, Lava Field" sounds like the first level theme from Demon Sword, and "A Great Ordeal" sounds like "Wheel of Fortune" by Tony MacAlpine; also, its intro is practically identical to the intro of "Far Beyond the Sun" by Yngwie Malmsteen.
In turn, the first level theme from Jim Power for Amiga and SNES bears a striking resemblance to "A Searing Struggle". Chris Hülsbeck had indeed played Wanderers From Ys before composing the music for Jim Power, but claims that the inspiration was purely subliminal— he had mostly forgotten about the Ys soundtrack by that point.
"Termination" also somewhat resembles the aforementioned "Cross Fire", and in turn it has a suspiciously similar song in Gradius III, "Fire Scramble".
The primary riff of "Holders of Power" from Ys I and II sounds like a faster version of the opening riff of "Flash of the Blade" by Iron Maiden.
"Underwater Rampart" is itself a sped-up ripoff of "Jupiter Jazz" by Underground Resistance.
In Mother 3, the "Mr. Batty" enemies have theme music that sounds strikingly similar—especially in its intro—to the 1960's Batman theme. You know—"Nahnahnahnahnahna nana nahnahnahnahnahna nana BATMAAAAAN!"
In addition, the Jealous Bass music sounds rather similar to the Grease Lightning song.
In the Animaniacs game "The Great Edgar Hunt", the main Studio Lot theme is suspiciously similar to the Cartoon Show's theme tune. Seeing as this trope is a well known staple of the Animaniacs cartoons, it's kind of fitting that the Animaniacs theme itself got the same treatment. Many Animaniacs games feature knockoff songs to accompany their film parodies: between the SNES and Genesis games alone, there's two separate soundalikes of the Indiana Jones theme, one of Star Wars, one of ET The Extraterrestrial, one of Jaws, and so on.
Depending on who you talk to, the Metal Gear Solid melody could be a shameless rip-off of the Speed theme tune or an up-beat suspiciously similar to "The Winter Road" by Sviridov. In each case the stylistic similarity is more obvious when looking at Gregson-Williams' orchestral version of the theme from the 2001 MGS2 trailer, but the melody's present in TAPPY's original 1998 version.
Big Boss's Leitmotif is suspiciously similar to the Metal Gear Solid theme, which sounds a little more tender than the actual melody due to the changing of two chords in the progression.
The song "Old Snake" seems to be suspiciously similar to the main theme as well, slower and sadder.
And the Metal Gear KODOQUE theme in Metal Gear Ac!dand its sequel was suspiciously similar to the Metal Gear Solid main theme with the same chord progression but a different melody.
The main Recurring Riff in the original Metal Gear Solid(ambience, alert music, boss music, etc.) resembles Kraftwerk's "Radio-Activity", especially with that synthesized choir.
The theme tune of the festive fan parody game, Merry Gear Solid, finished with a suspiciously similar song to "Snake Eater" from Metal Gear Solid 3, called "Secret Santa".
Merry Gear Solid has a lot of these. The Merry Gear Solid 2: Ghosts of Christmas Past is full of them, often with hilarious results. For example, the Konami-ripoff logo at the beginning starts with the normal "doo doo doo, do do do" then finishes with Jingle Bells via pitch-shifting.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake had a soundtrack hacked together from gutted, chiptuned versions of the best action movie themes of the 80s. Some, like the similarity between "Advance Immediately" and the Terminator main theme, and the "Theme of Solid Snake" and the theme from Escape from New York, are subtle. Other, like the relationship between "Chasing The Green Beret" and the Mission: Impossible theme, are less so. Night Sight's theme was such an obvious ripoff of Michael Myers' theme music that it was excluded from the OST album. The bonus track "Swing, Swing~ A Jam Blues" is suspiciously similar to Sing Sing Sing by Benny Goodman.
It Has to Be This Way, used during the final battle in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance sounds a lot, especially in the guitar and string riffs, to the vocal parts from De Musica Ligera, one of the most famous songs from the Argentinian rock band Soda Stereo.note This could be possibly a coincidence, as Soda Stereo is only known in the Spanish-speaking world, and they're practically unknown outside of it, much less in Japan, the country when the game was developed.
The Recurring Riff in the first two Wario Land games is, inexplicably, an upbeat Suspiciously Similar Song to "Beautiful Dreamer".
The song that plays in the early routes of the first generation of Pokémon games sounds suspiciously similar to Polly Wolly Doodle. If you listen closely, the harmony sounds a bit like the "Flea Waltz".
The first few bars of Prof. Oak's lab theme in Generations I and III (and later the theme for his radio show in Gens. II and IV) sounds nearly identical to the first few bars of the "Chinese Dance" (or "Tea") from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.
The theme for Route 29 in Gold and Silver (and their respective remakes) sounds very similar to both the original Route 1 theme and "O Susanna".
The pool level in the SNES/Genesis game Cool Spot resembled, but was not quite, Fats Domino's "Walkin' to New Orleans," while the train level used a song that was just a few notes away from The Magnificent Seven theme.
One guess as to what the theme of James Pond II: Robocod is suspiciously similar to. (Amazingly, the prior game did not use a knockoff of the James Bond theme.)
The "Meet the Engineer" trailer used a guitar piece suspiciously similar to a song called, oddly enough, "Someone Else's Song", by the group Wilco. When the song was added to the game as main menu music nearly unaltered from the trailer, it was quickly changed out for a Suspiciously Similar Song twice.
The theme music to online freeware game Legend of Princess is suspiciously similar to the Zelda theme because the game is a takeoff of Zelda.
No More Heroes's Thunder Ryu Building is a gym in which Travis can upgrade his abilities. The background music is almost, but not quite, Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger."
Also, the credits music sounds very similar to the Star Wars theme. The version that appears on the official soundtrack makes it even more obvious: not only is it played by an orchestra, as opposed to the 8-bit style version in the game; but the track itself is called "Staff Wars: Episode I"
Done in Elite Beat Agents, when most of the songs are covers. Most of them are exactly the same, but with different vocals, although some become faster (such as "Let's Dance", which is incredibly jarring listening to the game and original versions back-to-back). The exceptions are Sk8er Boi and September, which might as well be the original versions, and "Jumping Jack Flash"; if it weren't for the lyrics, you'd think it was an entirely different song. This was for the betterto the extreme.
Earlier versions of Eversion used music from the obscure Famicom game Cocoron for their title screen and first world. Version 1.7, however, uses tunes that are clearly suspiciously similar to the original Cocoron music.
One of the shmupArmed Police Batrider's boss themes, "Let Ass Kick Together", has an opening riff like the main riff from Iron Maiden's "Powerslave", just in a different key and with a couple of notes different, although the rest of the theme is different.
In a similar vein, doing Reimu's Fatal KO move in the same game makes the background music jump to a suspiciously similar version of Ai Wo Torimadose. Like "Our Hisoutensoku", this was an intentional Shout-Out, due to the move being called "Musou Tensei".
Sakuya's "Flowering Night" theme from "Phantasmagoria of Flower View" sounds an awful lot like the beginning of Iron Maiden's "The Trooper".
The first portion of Suwako's theme "Native Faith" is pretty heavily based on the final boss theme from Night Striker. This isn't random; ZUN used to work at Taito, so there's a good chance that this was his version of a tribute to Mar (Night Striker's composer).
As does Boktai, more frequently than you could imagine them getting away with.
In Wild Arms 3, the theme for the town of Claiborne resembles "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas.
Many of the themes in Wild Arms Alter Code: F are not direct remixes of tracks from the original Wild Arms but Suspiciously Similar Songs, for example, the Curan Abbey theme.
Final Fantasy VIII has a track called "The Landing" that plays when your team lands in Dollet to fight the Galbadian army. In the demo version of the game, the track was an altered version of the main theme from The Rock. Apparently, it wasn't altered enough, as the track was changed for the actual game. Apparently, someone involved with the movie complained.
Another same franchise example: the NES Rambo game features a suspiciously similar version of the original First Blood theme as the title theme, as well as a suspiciously similar version of "Peace in Our Life" as the ending theme.
The title theme to Snake Rattle And Roll is, as one might expect, a knockoff of "Shake, Rattle and Roll".
The climax of the Mantid Hive theme in Turok 2 resembles the third part (by Skaven) of the soundtrack from Future Crew's Second Reality.
The PC game Interstate '76 had a number of Suspiciously Similar versions on its soundtrack, mostly of '70s funk songs like the Ohio Players' "Fopp", The Isley Brothers' "That Lady" and Curtis Mayfield's "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go". Even the theme song bore a certain resemblance to the theme song to the TV series S.W.A.T. (albeit a bit sped-up).
The town theme of the PC game "Torchlight" appears to be a suspiciously similar version of the Tristram theme from the original Diablo. Not suprising, considering several of the people from the Diablo team worked on Torchlight. In particular, Matt Uelman composed the music for both Diablo and Torchlight.
Gruntilda's Lair from Banjo-Kazooie is a suspiciously similar version of "Teddy Bear's Picnic". It also became well associated with the character.
In Banjo Tooie, the theme of the level Witchyworld bears some resemblance with House of the Rising Sun by the Animals (the beginning, anyway)
And in Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, the music when you first enter each of the new worlds is suspiciously similar to a television theme tune. (Nutty Acres is Dallas, for instance.)
Mumbo's Hut theme is reminiscent of Maxwell's Silver Hammer by the Beatles.
The independent Point And Click AdventureThe Adventures of Fatman features suspiciously similar versions of both the 1960s Batman show theme, and the Danny Elfman movie theme.
In another bizarre example involving a licensed game, the developers of The Flintstones: Burgertime in Bedrock for Game Boy apparently couldn't manage to get the license to the series' iconic theme song. Several tunes in the game, including the title tune, have the same rhythm but a completely different melody.
In Noby Noby Boy, by the creator of Katamari Damacy and also released by Namco, there are some selectable music tracks that sound like subtle instrumental versions of Katamari songs (such as Lonely Rolling Star and Cherry Blossom Color Season), and the hidden minigame music is from Metro Cross, both Namco tunes.
In the Gameboy Color game Diva Starz, one of the selectable pieces of runway music bears an unlikely resemblance to "Lux Aeterna" from Requiem for a Dream. The song is a frequent target of suspiciously similar versions in general, but hearing it play as a Bratz expy walks a blue bunny down the catwalk is just bizarre.
When Frogger was included on a Konami compilation for Game Boy Advance, all of the musical themes (including the anime themes, and even "Inu no Omawari-san" the traditional Japanese nursery rhyme that serves as the "game start" music) were given suspiciously similar versions.
When Track And Field was included on a Nintendo DS compilation, "Chariots of Fire" (which was heard in the original arcade release) was turned into a suspiciously similar version.
The rhythm dance game series Pump It Up features several suspiciously similar versions of songs created by an in-house production band, BanYa. Among these include "Extravaganza" (Burnin' by Daft Punk), "Mr. Larpus" (Wipeout by The Surfaris), "Miss's Story" (Beethoven's 5th Symphony), "Beethoven Virus" (Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique), "Beat of the War" (Holy Wars...The Punishment Due by Megadeth), and "Love is a Danger Zone 2" (Motorbreath by Metallica).
Another franchise suspiciously similar to itself: in Halo 2, the Delta Halo Theme is a suspiciously similar version of the series' Theme Tune, and "Leonidas" is a suspiciously similar version of "On A Pale Horse" from the first game.
This is even funnier when you realize that Lei's theme is a cover of Steam by East 17, which preceded T3 by a margin of about two years. The lyrics "Outside it's raining / but inside it's wet" is a bit humorous given the nature of Lei's stage in that game.
The little riffs that play as you wonder around in New Austin contain a melody that for a few notes more would be the theme of The Good The Bad And The Ugly played on an electric guitar. There's also a slow rhythmic guitar and English horn piece which is obviously reminiscent of the repeated "Per Un Pugno Di Dollari" cue from A Fistful of Dollars, but slowed down and without the key changes, and a harmonica riff reminiscent of the "Man With A Harmonica" theme from Once Upon a Time in the West.
The bounty hunting, raiding a hideout and ambient battle music in New Austin is basically "L'Inseguimento" from A Fistful of Dollars in a swung time signature.
The harmonica piece occasionally played by harmonica-playing NPCs is very, very similar to the "Marcetta" melody from The Good The Bad And The Ugly (the one that plays when Tuco and Blondie are being led into the prison camp).
There's an ocarina playing the coyote-call from The Good The Bad And The Ugly amongst the ambient riffs in Mexico, although with a couple of notes added on the end, or with slightly different articulation. Sometimes it's even followed up with a harmonica playing a 'waa waa waa' reply, with the same pitches in a different order. The battle music while attacking banditos in Mexico also contains the screaming voices associated with Tuco in the same film.
The PS2 remake of Sega's Hokuto no Ken side-scroller for the Master System features a soundtrack consisting of vaguely similar renditions of the incidental music from the anime.
The NES licensed game Top Gun by Konami has, as its attract mode demo music, a suspiciously similar Version of "Danger Zone".
Konami's later game with the same flight engine, Laser Invasion, also features a different song similar to "Danger Zone" for the first mission.
In Bust-A-Groove (Bust-A-Move in Japan), Strike's theme "Power" contains a recurring sample of Michael Jackson's "Bad" and a similar back beat, to the point where its title is often mixed up with the title of Heat's theme— which is actually called "2 Bad", though it's (ironically) an entirely different song with no similarity to be found.
The intro stage music (and the latter part of the title theme) in The Guardian Legend is a suspiciously similar version of Zelda II's overhead/overworld theme.
The music to the Golden Gate Bridge stage in Super Double Dragon (used for Duke's Hideout in the Japanese version) sounds like the Big Blue theme (with a touch of Port Town's theme) from the F-Zero series. The Airport music is similar to the Lupin IIItheme.
Wario Land: Shake It contains a few. "Soggybog River" is clearly a suspiciously similar version of "Eye of the Tiger" and "Gurgle Gulch" being one of the original Underground theme from Super Mario Bros.
"Celebrate" from the Dance Dance Revolution series is an obvious suspiciously similar version of "Boogie Wonderland" by Earth, Wind & Fire. Ironically, there was also a remix of the real "Boogie Wonderland" in some DDR mixes.
More as homage and less as parody, the theme to the The History of Sam and Max featurette on the Season 3 DVD is a live-instruments version of the theme to Sam and Max Hit The Road; particularly nice, since the Office Leitmotif from the Telltale series serves as their 'theme' in those. Unusually, the actual theme from Hit The Road is played in one of the episodes - perhaps Telltale had the rights to play the theme, but not to rearrange it?
Talking about wrestling games, Aki's WCW/nWo Revenge could make this trope look like Kouji Niikura Version. Not only the main menu receives a knockoff, the Souled Out arena also gets one, in form of an extremely catchy, somewhat parasitic and insanely rockified version of Cammy's theme from Street Fighter Alpha 3. Just wait till the lead guitar kicks in. By the way, SFA3 was released two months prior to Revenge...
In Ring King, when you win a match in one player mode, you get a tune that is very similar to the one from "The Walrus and the Carpenter" from Disney's Alice in Wonderland... you know, the part where it goes, "The time has come, the Walrus said, / To talk of many things: / Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, / Of cabbages and kings."
The soundtrack of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals consists mostly of Suspiciously Similar Songs of its predecessor's themes.
The saved game screen in the first Lufia resembles the theme song to Disney's The Wuzzles and to some extent "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" from Song of the South.
The castle theme in the first game resembles "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
Unlicensed Sega Master System game The Dinosaur Dooley, released in the early 90's, had some blatant ripoffs of popular songs of the time - for instance the title screen music is based on the intro to Nirvana''s "Smells Like Teen Spirit", while the third level's music is clearly "Two Princes" by The Spin Doctors.
Even Guitar Hero isn't immune to this. Bonus track "Yes We Can" from the second game sounds like a mariachi version of the Chicken Dance with a little Crazy Bus thrown in there for lead.
The overworld theme of Dragon Quest III resembles the theme that plays during the ceremony at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope. Furthermore, part of the castle town theme resembles Henryk Wieniawski's Légende. There's also Jipang and March of the Siamese Children.
The final boss themes of the first and fifth game sound suspiciously similar as well.
Then there's "Beyond the Waves," the sailing theme from Dragon Quest II, which bears resemblance to the opening of Johann Strauss Jr.'s "On the Beautiful Blue Danube".
The "good approval rating" music in the SNES version of SimCity sounds like Sir Edward Elgar's "Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1", better known as the "graduation march".
The song is also heard in two variants in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.
The Minor Circuit fight theme in the SNES Super Punch-Out!! kinda sounds like the theme of Corneria from the original Star Fox.
Additionally, Bald Bull's theme bears some resemblance to Aerosmith's Walk This Way.
Mr. Sandman's theme sounds a bit like the Get Weapon theme from Mega Man X.
One of the songs from The Incredible Machine: Contraptions is called "Hay Seed". Keen-eared players will notice that, disregarding the random comments interspersed, it sounds remarkably similar to an instrumental of Garth Brooks' "Against the Grain".
The end credit music in the computer game Timon and Pumbaa's Jungle Games sounds uncannily, incredibly, suspiciously similar to the song "All Night Long (All Night)" by Lionel Richie, right down to its chord progression.
The cutscene music in The Ren and Stimpy Show: Veediots! is a similar song to "Turkey Trot" by John Longmire, used in the actual show many times.
In Stimpy's Invention, the jingle that plays during the customizedSegalogo sounds very similar to the Log theme song.note Log itself even appears leading the logo with its parade conductor's hat and baton.
The music during the introductory scene with Arc and his family in the first Arc the Lad sounds suspiciously similar to the first notes of "I Found Someone" by Cher.
The title theme of the disastrous N64 port of Quake resembles "Terrible Lie" by Nine Inch Nails, who also produced the music for the original PC version, and the N64 intermission music is a JHV of the PC's.
On the subject of NIN, the first part of level 11 of Descent sounds like a sped up version of "Head Like A Hole".
A musical cue from Demon Attack for the Intellivision sounds suspiciously like Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance". Lampshaded in Classic Game Room when host Mark Bussler declares "I graduated...to the next level!"
Appropriately enough, most of the character themes in Jojos Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle take musical cues and riffs from classic rock pieces based on their characters' inspirations. A few examples:
Esidisi's theme has a piece that sounds like AC/DC's Back in Black
Yoshikage Kira's theme has a riff of Killer Queen.
The battle theme in Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria and Tales of Legendia sound suspiciously similar. Incidentally, while both titles have different composers (Motoi Sakuraba for Silmeria and Go Shina for Legendia), Sakuraba is the normal composer for the Tales of series.
The Handsome Sorceror track from Borderlands 2 sounds very similar to the Great Pyramid theme from Serious Sam The First Encounter, if the latter had a budget.
Some songs in Time Crisis 2, particularly the final boss theme and the end credits is similar to "Hummel Gets the Rockets" from The Rock. Also, the ending theme to Crisis Zone rhymes with "Fighting 17th" from Backdraft.
The music played on the main menu in The Pinball Arcade (as well as both its predecessors, the Pinball Hall of Fame collections) sounds like an instrumental version of, appropriately enough, The Who's "Pinball Wizard".
As pointed out by the The Angry Video Game Nerd, Sunsoft's Batman: Return of the Joker does this twice with music from Mega Man 2. In the NES version, the boss battle theme sounds like a faster version of Crash Man's stage. In the Game Boy version, the title screen sounds very similar to the Stage Select theme.
Katalina's theme in Romancing SaGa 3 resembles "Never Gonna Let You Go" by Sergio Mendes.
The PlayStation 2 remake of Romancing SaGa uses many suspiciously similar songs of the Super Famicom version's tracks, for instance Jamil's theme.
The tune used for summoning Songbird to destroy the siphon tower at the end of BioShock Infinite is similar to the intro of the Christian hymn "The Holly And The Ivy".
An odd example is the ambient track from Fallout: New Vegas's Dead Money DLC. This disturbing track sounds suspiciously like the track from Silent Hill, Summer Snow.
"That's Enough" from Jet Set Radio sounds very much like Fatboy Slim's "Always Read the Label", from the whistling, to the guitar and bass, to the vocal samples, to the way the track is structured in general. This comes as no surprise when you learn that Fatboy Slim is one of composer Hideki Naganuma's main inspirations.
The main battle music in Xenosaga Episode III resembles the theme to Inspector Gadget.
The menu music in The Legend of Dragoon syncs up well to the theme songs of Home Improvement and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The main boss battle theme's beginning also sounds like that of Final Fantasy VII.
The original N64 South Park game features the "Alien Dancing Gizmo" weapon, a callback to the show's pilot where aliens shot beams that made people spontaneously sing and dance to the title song from the Looney Tunes cartoon "I Love To ga". In the game, however, a similar-sounding original song is used.