Follow TV Tropes


Sandbox / Spiritual Adaptation Video Games

Go To

    open/close all folders 


  • 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.
  • While it's pretty unlikely that anyone would ever make a Perry Mason video game, the world will always have the Ace Attorney series.
  • 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.
  • 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.)"
  • Alan Wake can be considered "Twin Peaks by way of Stephen King" in many ways.
  • The TurboGrafx-16 pinball game Alien Crush has some graphics that are suspiciously reminiscent of H. R. Giger's famous xenomorph designs from the Alien films.
  • Among Us more or less follows the same premise as The Thing (1982): one of the members of the crew is impersonating them and is out to kill everyone, instilling fear and distrust among everybody. One of the maps is even an Eerie Arctic Research Station, and the theme music has the same iconic "double pulse" as The Thing's soundtrack, to heighten the comparisons.
  • Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is essentially a video game version of an HGTV home makeover show, with the Player Character being a home designer who is tasked by the villagers to remodel their homes to their specifications.
  • Anthem, a sci-fi shooter in which players wear Powered Armor capable of flight and make heavy use of that capability for both navigation and combat, has frequently been described as a better Iron Man game than any of the official Iron Man games. The comparisons were frequent in previews and reviews, with even people who didn't like the game often praising the flight mechanics for capturing the feel of the movies in particular, and there exist many guides and videos on how players can paint their Javelins to resemble Tony Stark's various Iron Man suits.
  • Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator tries to replicate being on the bridge of the Enterprise as closely as possible.
  • The Famicom Disk System exclusive Arumana no Kiseki (Miracle of Almana) is an obvious Serial Numbers Filed Off adaptation of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but far superior to the actual NES Indiana Jones games.
  • Because Assassin's Creed spans numerous historical events, some of the games tend to be rather reminiscent of other works set around the same time period(s):
    • The entire franchise as a whole is heavily influenced by Vladimir Bartol's Alamut. Not only do they focus on a secret society of assassins but the Brotherhood mantra "Nothing is true, everything is permitted" is taken verbatim for verbatim from the book's maxim "Nothing is an absolute reality, all is permitted".
    • Want a video game that is essentially the Third Crusade flashbacks from Ivanhoe: The King's Knight turned into a video game? If you have played Assassin's Creed, then you probably didn't realize it. It really does feel like you are playing the flashbacks, but not as one of the Crusaders. It also serves as a good followup to Kingdom of Heaven.
      • It also serves as a partial adaptation of Cecil B. DeMille 's 1935 film The Crusades, although in the point of view of Muslims rather than the Crusaders.
    • The Ezio Trilogy (Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations) is The Borgias meets Dan Brown novels set in Italy because of story-specific elements found within the characters and settings. In a rather hilarious twist of fate, Jeremy Irons who played Rodrigo Borgia in the show would go on to portray Dr. Alan Rikkin in the 2016 movie of the franchise.
      • Due to sharing some of the side characters (specifically the Medici and the Pazzi families) and depicting a major event in the main story (the Pazzi conspiracy), Medici could also be considered an adaptation of sorts, though more fittingly of II rather than Brotherhood or Revelations.
      • Speaking of Revelations, it would make a neat prequel to the Turkish series Magnificent Century since one of the secondary characters is Suleiman the Magnificent as a prince and not a sultan yet.
    • The naval missions of Assassin's Creed III are what many say a game based off Pirates of the Caribbean should play like.note  Outside of the naval missions, the game is also probably the closest thing we'll ever get to a Last of the Mohicans game albeit with the setting shifted to the American Revolution though there are prominent connections to the Seven Years' War just like the movie. It also makes for a good adaptation of The Patriot as a game since ACIII also focuses on a protagonist who joins the Patriot war effort after his relatives are killed by the British and a heavily fictionalized version of a real-life historical figure as one of the villains. However, the game is more of a Spiritual Antithesis to The Patriot in terms of its plot, themes and morality.
    • The popularity of the naval elements of Assassins Creed III has led to the sequel, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, being even more similar to Pirates of the Caribbean. The game embraces and spoofs the Pirates connection in-game with fake trailers for Devils of the Caribbean and Pirates of Nightmares in addition to deconstructing several aspects of the main series. In terms of setting, locations, and similar cast of characters, Black Flag is the best video game adaptation of Black Sails ever made with even the main protagonists of both works being pirate captains that commandeer their own ships and interact with historical figures from The Golden Age of Piracy. It also helps that they're both prequels and came out just a year apart. Indeed, the similarities haven't gone unnoticed amongst the cast of Black Sails with Toby Stephens (Captain Flint's actor) and Hannah New (the actress who plays Eleanor Guthrie) even commenting on the game and its impact on the show in interviews.
    • Assassin's Creed Syndicate looks to be a game adaptation of Gangs of New York — creatively titled street gangs with themed animal names, sporting hats, populist resentment among slum-areas, all-out street brawls, Fight Clubbing, and roughly the same era, only with the setting transplanted to London.
    • Assassin's Creed Origins is either HBO's Rome told from the perspective of the Ancient Egyptians or a retelling of the 1963 biopic Cleopatra especially with the game's story focusing on the final years of The Roman Republic and Ancient Egypt respectively. The Origins versions of the Romans and Cleopatra have British accents just like both the show and the movie not to mention that one of the protagonists Bayek of Siwa is a warrior who had a wife and children but suffered a traumatic event that resulted in the death of a loved one which makes him a more heroic and noble version of Lucius Vernus. Additionally, Michael Nardone who played Mascius in Rome also voices Julius Caesar in the game. The assassination of Caesar is also a major plot point in all three works (though in the case of the game, it's Aya/Amunet that ultimately does the deed).
    • Given the Ancient Greece setting, King Leonidas having an important role in the story and the depiction of the Battle of Thermopylae, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey is as close as we can get to an officially licensed game adaptation of 300 as one blogger pointed out in his review of the game. Heck, Alexios and Kassandra are the grandchildren of Leonidas and one of the moves that can be performed by the siblings in the game is called Sparta Kick and there is a sidequest called "Dining in Hell" both of which are lifted from specific scenes in the Zack Snyder movie adaptation of Frank Miller's comic.
    • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla:
      • Its time period and setting are identical to The Last Kingdom, which also prominently features King Alfred the Great. The male Eivor is played by the same actor as Cnut, one of the series' villains. However, if the trailer is any indication, its interpretation appears more charitable to the Vikings and less charitable towards Alfred. Of course, this could be a case of Misaimed Marketing, as was the case with Assassin's Creed III, but only time will tell. Interviews with the development team indicate that they intend to portray Alfred as a nuanced Anti-Villain who wants what's best for his kingdom and his people.
      • Similarly, it's as close as can possibly get to a video game adaptation of History Channel's Vikings. Also, Wardruna's founder, Einar Selvik, participated in the soundtrack of AC: Valhalla. Vikings has a soundtrack by Wardruna.
  • Astral Chain is essentially a Cyberpunk JoJo's Bizarre Adventure game, with police troopers that utilize stands and can use them to solve crimes, which ought to appeal to Part 4 fans as well.
  • Asura's Wrath is one of the best Dragon Ball Z games ever made (made all the more funnier when the developers would go on to make their own Dragon Ball game). It's also argued to be a great Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann game, particularly the final part of it.

  • Due to being relaxing magical Slice of Life coming of age stories with female leads, the Atelier series has been described as a video game version of Kiki's Delivery Service.
  • Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom is one of the best Spiderman games ever made.
  • Auto Destruct for the PlayStation was an unofficial 3D take on Spy Hunter, three years before Midway's own PS2 remake. It also works as a spiritual sequel to the Die Hard with a Vengeance portion of Die Hard Trilogy, perhaps better than the official sequel, Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas.




  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is essentially the bastard child of The Running Man and Battle Royale with a dash of Ace Attorney added into the mix. Teens in a killing game? Check. Broadcast on television in order to elicit a specific reaction from the populace? Check. Parody of pop culture, society, politics and television? Check. Trials and investigations? Check.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is Danganronpa in The Matrix. The Mastermind’s plan is basically Agent Smith’s takeover of the Matrix, only she seeks to take over the physical bodies of everyone left on Earth.
      • It’s also the best adaptation of the Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty VR Theory, and even utilizes the same intentional story beats that are used to argue for that theory in the plot, specifically the entire game being a direct parallel to the previous one in an absurd number of ways. Both protagonists also have personalities directly in contrast to the previous entry’s protagonist, until in the last freaky cyberspace looking section taking a level in badass and becoming much more like them. Both also feature a main villain who is a copy of a previous Big Bad whose goals have significantly warped since the original version and was never foreshadowed before they’re revealed despite the significance of their existence. They also feature a white-haired beautiful boy (although Ocelot lost the beauty with age) with a warped obsession with the original Big Bad, although Nagito’s is only caused by the despair brainwashing, but both also have replaced an arm with an arm from a corpse related to the big bad, Ocelot’s from one of Big Boss’s clones (Liquid) and Nagito from the original Junko. The Reveal is also handled in shockingly similar ways, particular by being centered around a barrage of Mind Screw.. After Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, both would also have a Superpowered Evil Side, although Raiden’s is much more similar to another character’s in...
    • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is a Denser and Wackier Resident Evil 4 with robots instead of zombies, evil children, your partner not being able to die (and not fighting unless you swap to her) and way more Les Yay Ship Tease. As mentioned above, Genocide Jack/Genocider Syo essentially is Jack the Ripper of Raiden in MGR:R, even having a similar preference in slicing up everything.
    • What Kodaka didn’t take from Metal Gear Solid 2 (even even some of what he did) for Danganronpa 2, he put in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Changing from a traditional protagonist of the franchise to an insecure emo Bishonen early on, Korekiyo is very similar to Vamp, and the metatextual deconstruction of the tropes of the franchise and the medium ending on the message of being yourself and refusing to be subservient to a system using you using an absolute mindscrew plot twist loathed by the fandom. Kodaka even predicted it would be hated based on the in-universe audience reaction, which probably is based on the reaction to his inspiration.
  • Many people have bemoaned the fact that ActRaiser 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 platforming nigh-impossible.) But it did. It was called Dark Cloud.
  • Dance Rush is described by many arcade Rhythm Game fans as Chunithm WITH YOUR FEET! Or alternatively, "Shoenithm".
  • The Dark Souls series plays a great deal like a 3D Castlevania, albeit set slightly further back in time.
  • Data East made a great many of these.
  • DayZ plays almost exactly like an MMORPG/FPS hybrid set in the 28 Days Later universe.
  • Dead Rising:
  • Dead Space, owing to its somewhat derivative nature and quality despite that, has been mentioned as evocative of pretty much every notable sci-fi horror movie ever. This video goes into more detail on its inspirations.
    • However, the Alien franchise probably comes up the most in such comparisons. Though that franchise is notable for averting The Problem with Licensed Games on various occasions, this series is often cited as one of its best adaptations. 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.
    • Dead Space does feel remarkably like a System Shock sequel, as well.
    • It could also be taken as basically being Resident Evil IN SPACE due to the Our Zombies Are Different nature of the Necromorphs (such as their being able to mutate themselves into new, more combat-capable forms). It's similar to Resident Evil 4 in particular, with its (usually) over-the-shoulder third-person perspective and being more actionized than some other horror games, typically expecting you to kill every enemy in an area before advancing. Dead Space 2 is even more similar to Resident Evil 4 since Isaac now has dialogue which casts him as a serious-yet-snarky protagonist similar to Leon rather than the Heroic Mime of the first game, and even some scenes are similar, such as Isaac riding on the drill driven by Ellie while fighting off Necromorphs being very similar to Leon riding on the bulldozer driven by Ashley while fighting off Ganados.
  • Deadfall Adventures appears to be a First-Person Shooter version of Indiana Jones and Pitfall!.
  • 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.
  • Deathbots is an unlicensed NES knockoff of The Terminator, which had its share of subpar official games.
  • The ancient arcade game Death Race is an unofficial adaptation of Death Race 2000, as well as a spiritual precursor to Carmageddon.
  • A number of reviews of Death Stranding have noted that it's basically The Postman as a video game.
  • Berserk has had a couple of decent games to its name, but by far the best ones are Demon's Souls and Dark Souls.
  • For all practical purposes, Defcon is a playable version of the finale of WarGames.
  • Due to the rather disappointing quality of most recent Star Wars games, many fans of the series have been pointing to Destiny as a worthy successor to the franchise in terms of style, tone, and character archetypes. It's even got a lot of plot and tone similarities to the popular Star Wars comic Legacy. It's also, gameplay-wise, a less cartoony, MMO version of Borderlands. Story wise and gameplay wise destiny is also the closest we will get to the return of Tabula Rasa. With you as a mostly a blank slate ancient soldier with no backstory (outside of being long dead) fighting a strange alien threat/empire while following the commands/having the help of an AI, it also feels like a strong successor to Bungie’s own Marathon. Your ghost however would be upstaged brutally by Durandal.
  • Destroy All Humans!:
  • Detroit: Become Human:
    • The game's story focuses on a clean-cut, polite Ridiculously Human Robot android and his middle-aged cantankerous, grouchy Knight in Sour Armor human detective partner who become Fire-Forged Friends. Basically, it's a video game adaptation of R. Daneel Olivaw and Elijah Baley from Isaac Asimov's Robot novels The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun and and The Robots of Dawn.
    • It's also an unofficial adaptation of the Will Smith film I, Robot in game form. Detroit has the exact same premise and setting of a detective in a futuristic version of a Midwestern city who gets caught up in a conspiracy where some robots are engaged in an open rebellion against their human masters just like the film.
    • The game is heavily inspired by Blade Runner and especially its then-recently released sequel, particularly with the Connor storyline. Connor is a top-of-the-line android police officer Hunter of His Own Kind who discovers that he has human thinking and can potentially defy his programming, much like K. Meanwhile his partner Hank is an experienced, jaded older protagonist who has a conflicted opinion about androids, much like Rick Deckard. Meanwhile, Elijah Kamski is very clearly inspired by Niander Wallace, having a similar appearance as well as being the head of an android-creating company with an obsession with robot potential.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • The first game is often regarded as the best 3D Castlevania game that Capcom ever made. It helps that the first game's director, Hideki Kamiya, loves the first Castlevania.
    • Because of Dante's shift in personality, most fans consider Devil May Cry 2 an okayish Vampire Hunter D game.
    • The third game is either in the same league or surpasses DMC1 in this regard. The majority of Dante's Awakening may takes place in a Gothic tower, but it has the trappings of a Castlevania game. The Nintendo Hard difficulty of the classics (CV1, CV3, CV4) and the exploration/backtracking of the Metroidvanias with a white haired Half-Human Hybrid hero (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night).
    • The PC version of Devil May Cry 4 (and the Special Edition on both consoles and PC) on Legendary Dark Knight is the best Dynasty Warriors game ever made. The Special Edition of 5 can be added to the list too now. DMC4 makes a good Jojo's Bizzare Adventure game. Nero's DT functions similary to a Stand. There is Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs, the focus of a new and younger protagonist, and said protagonist is son of the game's previous villain, and being related to the hero from past games as well.
    • Dante, with his wise cracks, his (near-)breaking of the fourth wall, and his massive arsenal, has been compared to Deadpool.
    • Due to V's play style, some fans had noticed that Devil May Cry 5 is as close as we're gonna get to a Chaos Legion sequel. Storywise, 5 is the closest we are ever going to get to a Tree of Might game. The plot and story structure are very similar. The hero's evil counterpart eating a supernatural fruit from a World Tree that takes the lives of living things or humans to gain strength.
    • DmC: Devil May Cry is often described as They Live! crossed with Underworld and Blade (1998).
  • Dex makes a better remake of Flashback than the actual remake released in 2013.
  • Diablo is Nethack with better graphics.
  • Doom was also 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.
  • DOOM (2016) has several:
    • The SnapMap feature enabling players to not only create new levels from scratch but also new game modes, this could very well be the closest we'll ever get to TimeSplitters 4, and to Garry's Mod 2.
    • With its map screen, exploration with hidden items, platforming elements, storytelling via logs, and similar looking environments, others have called it an actionized Metroid Prime.
    • Some also think this is the closest we might get to a true Painkiller sequel, as the game borrows heavily from its usage of combat arenas, boss fights, and runes enhancements that are similar to Painkiller's Tarot cards. Fittingly, Painkiller was already considered the unofficial Doom 3.
    • There are some others that pointed that the reboot feels like an unofficial sequel to System Shock 2 and Dead Space, as it's story and plot line is very similar to those games. What with the UAC acting very similar to the Unitologists, just with demons instead of aliens. And audio or hologram logs found through out the Mars facility/Hell that give further background details in the game's lore.
    • As both are AAA games set in worlds full of demons with metal soundtracks, and with both having the developers and publishers emphasizing separate parts (developers with the care and attention they utilized, and publishers with the marketing), this is like the second coming of Brütal Legend.
  • More so than even the previous game, DOOM Eternal is probably the best Warhammer 40,000 First-Person Shooter ever made. In particular;
    • The revelations of how Argent Energy and the demons came to be makes the version of Hell in Doom very close to the Warp and its daemons (it helps that, like the Warp, Hell can also be used for FTL travel), Hell has plenty of human agents/worshippers in this dimension supporting their efforts and the Icon of Sin resembles a greater daemon prince (including only being killable with a special artifact and otherwise reconstituting elsewhere when he's killed conventionally).
    • The Night Sentinels may as well be a Space Marine chapter, down to referring to their military expeditions as "Crusades" and the Marauders - their defected, corrupted, horn-sporting brethren - being the deadliest soldiers of the demons.
    • The Maykrs are a pretty good match for the Dark Eldar, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien species living in a world outside of normal time and space which, while once-dominant over the galaxy, has been reduced to a depraved Dying Race that profits and perpetuates their world off of the suffering of others in Hell.
    • The Ancient Gods further deepens the similarities with the revelation that Hell was originally a peaceful place that was ruined by a cosmic war between precursor deities, much like the ancient war between the C'tan and the Old Ones being the cause for much of the crapsack state of the 40k universe, which was then reflected into the Warp. The Dark Lord himself also makes a personal appearance here, wearing an enormous suit of power armor that wouldn't look out of place on Horus himself. Disturbingly, he's more or less what the God-Emperor would be if he turned to Chaos.
  • 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 with Donkey Kong. Ironically, Nintendo did eventually produce an official Popeye game, which was unfortunately released in the middle of The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 and thus languished in obscurity.
  • Don't Starve have been cited as being a great Tim Burton game, especially with its whimsical, heavily steampunk-flavored art design.
  • Double Dragon is a story about two martial-artist brothers fighting punks in post-apocalyptic 199X to save the girl, and who ultimately become each other's direst enemies. In other words, it's an adaptation of Fist of the North Star. It also borrows elements from Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, such as the Lee brothers' surname and the mooks named Williams, Roper, and Linda, the latter being named after Bruce's widow Linda Lee Cadwell.
    • Double Dragon Neon is considered the best modern Arcade beat'em up, Konami never made. Considering all of the refrences to Konami's games, you would think Way Forward were trying to make a Konami game, instead of a Double Dragon game.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The series 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.
    • Last, but certainly not least, it is also arguably the best Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 CRPG ever made. The Fade is pretty identical with the Aethyr/Warp, and the dangers of wielding magic are pretty identical to those of being a Psyker. The mainstream Crystal Dragon Jesus religion reveres an ascended barbarian warrior monarch, a description that not only fits Andraste, but also Sigmar. The Templars, like the Inquisition and Witch Hunters, control magic users, and like Unsanctioned Psykers, mages outside the Circle are hunted down. And those are only a few of the most directly visible similarities.
  • Being a game where you play as a time cop, and Set Right What Once Went Wrong through creating Close Enough Timelines, Dragon Ball Xenoverse is one of the closest there is to Time Squad: The Video Game.
  • Dungeons by Kalypso Media is basically a remake of Dungeon Keeper in all but name.
  • A 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.
    • The sequel Dynamite Cop, the international version of Dynamite Deka 2, did not retain the Die Hard license. It is, however, the best game adaption of Under Siege or Speed 2: Cruise Control we will ever see in our lifetime.
  • Dark Fall the Journal is essentially a point-and-click reimagining of Sapphire and Steel's "Assignment 2", albeit with more puzzles and fewer cliffhangers.

  • '80s Overdrive is a throwback to sprite-based open-road arcade racers such as OutRun, Rad Racer, Rad Mobile, and Chase HQ.
  • The Eler Scrolls pretty much comes to playing 'Dungeons & Dragons as an accurate solo player experience as one can hope. Especially with the first two games The Elder Scrolls: Arena and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall'' with an entre world mp to travel around, guilds to work for, side freelance quest, and dungeons all over to explore. Daggerall n partcular even has a character creaton system that parallels DND manuals so much that it bars striking parallels to the recent DND Beyond Virtual Tabletop officilly endorsed by the makes. Even a lot of the in-game assets for both games look very much like something easly taken out of campaign books.
  • 'Enter the Gungeon is basically Smash TV'' AS A ROGUELIKE!
  • The Eternal Castle, a Retraux cinematic platformer with 80s IBM PC-style graphics, is a good modern reimagining of Another World or Flashback.
  • Escape From Bug Island's bizarre setting and enemies make a whole lot more sense if you believe the rumor it was originally supposed to be a King Kong video game before the licensing rights fell through.
  • 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. It's also somewhat of a spiritual sucessor to the Alone in the Dark series, which was also heavily influenced by the Mythos.
  • Eternal City, also known as 7 Days Eternal Capital, is basically Puella Magi Madoka Magica as an Action RPG slash Visual Novel with different characters.
  • EverQuest is one of the more straightforward adaptations of Dungeons & Dragons, with Tolkienesque fantasy tropes, fantasy races with detailed cultures described in the sourcebooks, fire beetles from the Monster Manual, a variety of deities from settings like Dragonlance, and elemental planes for high level adventurers to go exploring.
  • The Evil Within series is either the best video game adaption of A Nightmare on Elm Street or The Cell. Ruvik, being a clear expy of Freddy Kruger certainly helps, and is even voiced by Jackie Earle Haley; who played as Kruger in the remake. The first game in particular has you in the mind of a serial killer The series is also seen as the psychological horror equivalent of Inception.
  • eXceed 2nd can be seen as one to Ikaruga due to its use of the polarity system.
  • Ex-Zodiac is the best sequel to the original Star Fox Nintendo never made.


  • Gal*Gun is a Rail Shooter take of DNA², but with angels and demons instead of time-travelers.
  • The Sega Saturn game Gekka Mugentan Torico (known as Lunacy in the U.S) feels like The Prisoner with a liberal dash of Twin Peaks thrown in. The City of Mists even 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.
  • 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 Confederacy win), albeit with less philosophizing.
  • God of War (PS4) is A Norse mythology setting with an Older and Wiser god on a journey together with younger version of Loki? It's easy to see this game as a video game adaptation of the 2011 run of Marvel Comics' Journey into Mystery (Gillen), with Kratos in place of Thor. In general, God of War (PS4) is seen as a better Thor game than the movie licensed game, and Marvel's Avengers. Ironic, because the combat designer of God of War (PS4) worked on Avengers.
  • Ghostrunner is a much better follow-up to the modern Ninja Gaiden games than the critically-panned Ninja Gaiden 3 and Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z.
  • Ghost of Tsushima has already been declared the best Assassin's Creed game not made by Ubisoft. What works even better is that Ghost of Tsushima is set in Feudal Japan, a setting that the Assassin's Creed games have yet to touch.
    • There is another group that feels this game is Sony & Sucker Punch's answer to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
    • There are others that consider it to be a video game adaption of Angolmois. A story about a samurai that must throw away his code of Bushido and adapt to asymmetrical tactics. It also helps that it takes place during the first Mongol invasion.
    • Many have regarded this as a video game adaptation of Marco Polo given that it takes place around the same time period and it features a Khan.
    • It's also a fantastic game homage to Akira Kurosawa movies with even a black and white filter for players to emulate the style of his 1950s samurai films.
  • God Hand:
  • Among Gradius fanbase, there's a discussion on what Gradius V being a spiritual adaptation to. Some fans went for both the Salamander games due to similar gameplay structures, while others root for the MSX-exclusive entries (Nemesis series in Europe) for having similar story presentation styles.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series as a whole is essentially Rockstar Games' love letter to generations of classic crime dramas, the stories and settings of each of them heavily informed by the Hollywood movies and TV shows that Sam and Dan Houser grew up on.
    • Grand Theft Auto III:
      • It and especially its prequel, Liberty City Stories, borrow liberally from Mafia movies and TV shows like GoodFellas and The Godfather, even featuring a number of character actors from those movies and shows and others like them.
      • It's also been described as a better sixth-generation Driver game (albeit with the Player Character being a criminal rather than a cop) than the actual third Driver game (titled Driv3r) that came out on PlayStation 2 and Xbox, which was a notorious Obvious Beta. (The GTA games, of course, gleefully took multiple shots at the Driver series, particularly for its lousy on-foot controls in the second and third games. By the time that series got its act together with the fourth game Parallel Lines, it was them who came off looking like Johnny-come-latelies, despite the first game having beaten Rockstar to the punch by two years in terms of providing a 3D Wide-Open Sandbox city.)
    • Vice City and Vice City Stories, meanwhile, proudly wear their inspiration from Miami Vice, Scarface (1983), and Carlito's Way on their pastel sleeves, to the point where, when an officially licensed video game sequel to Scarface was made, it felt quite derivative of Vice City itself.
    • San Andreas, meanwhile, draws heavily on early '90s Hood Films like Boyz n the Hood, Menace II Society, and South Central with its Gangsta Rap-era Los Angeles setting. It's also inspired by Colors with an Expy of CRASH involved in the main story albeit as the antagonists.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV:
      • The main story bears striking similarities with the Russian movie duology Brother (1997) and Brother 2, sharing the premise of two siblings from Eastern Europe who immigrated to the United States to escape their traumatic pasts as war veterans only to get caught up in the criminal underworld. This video by Russian YouTuber NFKRZ further highlights the similarities between the two works.
      • The Pegorino Crime Family is a superior adaptation of The Sopranos than its official licensed game Road to Respect. The Pegorinos even have a similar sounding name as well as using the waste management business and strip club for their criminal activities.
      • The biker-themed expansion The Lost and Damned is probably the best Sons of Anarchy video game ever made. The characters and story are similar, the clothing and bikes are an almost exact match, the tone and setting are if anything even darker, and the game pretty much plays like it's centered on the New Jersey charter of SAMCRO rather than Charming's. One fan even mashed up the Sons of Anarchy opening theme with moments from the game, the two going together almost perfectly.
    • Grand Theft Auto V:
      • The early missions with Trevor, an unhinged drug lord running a meth empire in the desert, have frequently drawn comparisons to Breaking Bad.
      • In the online mode, the Stunt Races, which send drivers around exotic tracks often filled with various traps in similarly exotic cars (including some of the game's more outlandish ones, like the Flying Car, the submarine car, and cars with rocket boosters and jump pads), make for the best Hot Wheels game since the Stunt Track Driver games in The '90s, albeit with life-sized cars. Alternatively, the Stunt Races are the best Speed Racer game ever made, making it rather appropriate that the After Hours update added a new car, the Scramjet, that's based on the Mach 5, complete with jump jacks.
      • GTA Online overall has also become this to The Fast and the Furious, not just in terms of story and themes but also on a meta level. Like the F&F films, it started out as an action game about street criminals in fast cars but slowly evolved into something much more exotic, with later updates adding military vehicles and weapons (up to and including a nuclear-powered submarine and a Kill Sat), government bunkers as player hideouts, and even a heist series, the Doomsday Heist, that revolves around foreign espionage and stopping a plot to destroy the world.
  • The 1986 computer game The Great Escape was not licensed from the movie of the same name, but merely inspired by it. Oddly enough, the film did later receive an official video game adaptation in 2003, complete with voice clips of Steve McQueen lifted from the movie.
  • GRIDD: Retroenhanced, a cyberspace hacking rail shooter with TRON-esque graphics and synthwave music, is essentially an '80s retraux take on Rez.
  • Gundam Breaker is essentially a Gundam Build Fighters game in everything except name; the second game seemingly lampshades this by including the Iori Hobby Shop as one of the challenge maps.

  • Halo:
    • Halo 3: ODST, with its drop pods, is quite possibly the best adaptation of Starship Troopers outside of Aliens.
    • The series as a whole 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.
  • Hatsune Miku Project mirai has more than a passing resemblence to Groove Coaster, namely the "icon moves along a twisting track and you have to hit notes on it" concept.
  • If you're an Ace Combat fan but also exclusively a PC gamer whose machine can't properly handle PS2 emulation, H.A.W.X. and Vector Thrust can help you scratch that itch.
  • Helldivers is a top-down shooter in which the protagonists are Space Marines fighting for a human empire that speaks of spreading freedom and democracy throughout the galaxy, but which is actually about stomping the crap out of any aliens and dissidents it comes across through a culture obsessed with military service. In other words, it strongly invokes the satirical overtones of the film adaptation of Starship Troopers, though here, the allusions to The War on Terror are deliberate.
  • The Hidden: Source, a Game Mod for Half-Life 2, has been cited as evoking the feel of the Predator films, much like the aforementioned Crysis.
  • Many consider the Hitman World of Assassination Trilogy by IO Interactive to be this to James Bond, having a more glamour-glitz, spy thriller plot, while 47 travels to exotic places and offs targets with enough gadgets to make Q branch blush. Even Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer shared this sentiment, as the developers in late-2020 secured the rights to create an actually officially licensed Bond game (the first since 2012's 007 Legends), making this trope come full circle.
  • Hissatsu Ura-Kagyou could easily pass as an official entry of the Hissatsu TV series since it's a blatant tribute to it — in fact, it presents itself as a television show, with each chapter having its own teaser sequence and closing credits. Furthermore, the actor who played one of the show's last iconic characters, Masaki Kyomoto, plays a Captain Ersatz of his older role.
  • When it comes to video game adaptations of Red Dawn (1984) (of which there are quite a few on this page), Homefront towers over them all. Its plot was written by John Milius himself, and is basically the original Red Dawn with North Koreans in place of the Russians. (And this was before the 2012 remake.) And in turn, it's been hailed as the sequel Freedom Fighters (2003) (see above) never got.
  • Homeworld:
    • It 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 lore also heavily suggests that it takes place in the universe of the Terran Trade Authority. Or at least, it 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 Big Dumb Objects, 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 game's box art, but then they decided for some reason to go with CGI.
  • While the setting is only superficially similar, Horizon Zero Dawn is, gameplay-wise, the closest The Hunger Games has come to actually getting a licensed game. It helps that Aloy is essentially just Katniss with red hair.
  • Hotline Miami is likely the best video game that could be made out of Drive (2011). Both works share a quiet, blond-haired protagonist known by an iconic jacket, incredibly brutal violence, 1980s-inspired synth soundtracks, and neon-drenched cities rife with crime. Nicolas Winding Refn is even giving a Shout-Out in the credits.
  • A number of creepypasta games, especially those based on SCP-087, SCP-432 and 7 Days, feature dark, changing structures (including, in the case of the first one, a seemingly endless descending stairwell) inhabited by some dark, sinister, unseen entity that stalks the player. These games can be thought of as proof of concept for a House of Leaves Unity game.
  • While Jaws Unleashed may have suffered from The Problem with Licensed Games, that doesn't mean there isn't a good game that lets you play as the Threatening Shark from Jaws, swimming around eating hapless swimmers, divers, and fishermen while their fellow humans try to hunt you down. You just have to look for Hungry Shark Evolution or Hungry Shark World on your smartphone or tablet's app store instead. The developers of the Hungry Shark games even made a mobile adaptation of the film Shark Night 3D that plays almost identically to the other games.
  • The Hurricane of the Varstray -Collateral Hazard- is basically Star Soldier: Bullet Hell Edition.



  • Kane & Lynch Dead Men 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." The sequel went in a markedly different aesthetic direction, however.
  • Kamui has been considered to be a sequel to RayForce.
  • 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.
  • Katana ZERO may be seen as a retraux successor to the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy, with a Metroidvania layout.
  • 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.
  • KGB, also known as Conspiracy, released by Cryo and Virgin Games, was actually described by Computer Gaming World as a John le Carré style adventure. You are not playing a glamorous secret agent but are very much cast in the Stale Beer style of spy thriller.
  • Killerball was for all intents and purposes an unlicensed adaptation of Rollerball.
  • Kill Switch plays more like a sequel to WinBack than the official WinBack 2: Project Poseidon.
  • Kindergarten is set in an elementary school that looks wholesome on the surface, but is actually set in a Crapsaccharine World filled with Black Comedy where the player can die constantly in comedic ways, making it one of the best South Park games ever created.
  • King of the Monsters is basically a Godzilla game in all but name and characters. And then WayForward develop Godzilla: Domination, with the Scrappy Mechanic removed and features "suspiciously" similar gameplay and graphical style to King of the Monsters.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] is the closest we'll ever get to Spectrobes 4. Jupiter Corporation, who previously made the first two Spectrobes games, even made Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the Game Boy Advance.
  • Kirby: Planet Robobot:
    • Aliens/outsiders invade and modernize a primitive world? Character who looks very similar to the protagonist gets modified and works for the enemy? Main antagonist is the CEO of a huge corporation? The fact there is a ESP ability with PSI/PK powers?note  Did Kirby just become Mother 3?
    • Many comparisons have been made between this game and Mega Man X (mainly, the latter game's Ride Armor sequences).
    • The resemblance to Lagann has also been heavily noted. The final scene of Story Mode, where Kirby's Robobot Armor drills through the final boss and combines with Meta Knight's ship, only furthers the similarities.
  • 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).
  • The Kunio-kun soccer league games, including Nintendo World Cup, may as well be called Captain Tsubasa: The Game.


  • Nintendo's early NES racing game Mach Rider was highly inspired by Mad Max, with a touch of Sega's Hang On, and possibly a spiritual predecessor to Road Rash.
  • MadWorld can be best described as Sin City meets The Running Man thanks to it's Deliberately Monochrome art style, story, characters and setting.
  • Maken X is the best Shin Megami Tensei Hack and Slash.
  • Maneater, like the aforementioned Hungry Shark, makes for a better Jaws game than the actual licensed Jaws game.
  • Manhunt:
    • The first game 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 faithful to the film, and also 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.
    • Both games are, together, also among the best translations of an '80s Slasher Movie to video game form, with their extended stalking sequences and ultraviolent stealth kills committed with a wide arsenal of melee weapons. The main difference, of course, is that here you're supposed to root for the killer to take out the human garbage in front of him, not like that's such a big change.
  • Mass Destruction makes an excellent sequel to SNK's NES game Iron Tank.
  • Mass Effect is inspired by generations of science fiction whose influence it wears on its sleeves.
    • It is essentially a licensed Lensman series, only without the cheesy writing and the Values Dissonance.
    • Alternatively, it can be called Babylon 5 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). Notably, it nails the full experience of being a Starfleet captain—bonding with crew-mates, talking your way through complex interstellar diplomacy, embarking on dangerous away missions, and seducing attractive aliens—much better than most actual Star Trek games.
    • Let's see here, extinct alien precursors leave behind warnings of a machine intelligence whose function is to purge the galaxy of sentient life? Mass Effect is Revelation Space: The Game.
    • As Yahtzee once lampshaded, to an extent, the first game is basically a Star Wars game. This really shouldn't come as a surprise, considering BioWare also made Knights of the Old Republic, and the plot of Mass Effect 1 is basically that game minus lightsabers.
    • Whatever aspects of Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers didn't end up in Firefly ended up here. It helps that genetic engineering, cybernetics, computer hacking, and psionics are all part of the setting, and even a full-on Paragon Shepherd has a One Riot, One Ranger job description and is barely tolerated by the galactic government, much like the Series 5 Rangers.
  • Max Payne:
    • The first game 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."
    • While the obvious answer to that question is The Matrix, it could just as easily be answered with Hard Boiled. In fact, much like Scarface (see Grand Theft Auto above), that film also had to basically rip off itself in the translation to video game form.
    • The first game is basically a video game version of a John Woo movie sharing several of his trademarks such as slow motion action and bullet time. In fact, it's so blatant that even one level has the director's name as the password of a mob hideout.
    • Max Payne 3 is a good video game adaption of Man on Fire. Just look at the first trailer of the game when Max describes his situation and you will notice the similarities instantaneously.
  • One of the driving forces behind the original Medal of Honor was none other than Steven Spielberg, who worked with the same military adviser that he'd worked with when making Saving Private Ryan. As such, it could be probably be called the best video game adaptation of Saving Private Ryan ever made, if not in story details then certainly in the tone it took with its portrayal of World War II. The influence was especially apparent in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, which featured a level based on the storming of Omaha Beach, one of the most famous scenes in the movie, as well as a French town full of snipers, and a Hold the Line sequence defending a bridge.
  • Mega Man:
    • 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).
    • Neo Human Casshern, a series about a boy who becomes an android in order to fight a big army of robots, with his robot dog companion who can turn into vehicles. There also is an evil-protype twin-brother and a girl as protagonists/antagonists. Any resemblance Mega Man might have to this is only coincidence.
    • Mega Man eventually ended up being more of an amalgam of Astro Boy and Casshern.
    • Capcom did make another Breath of Fire game for the PlayStation 2 (and arguably a better installment than Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter). It's called Mega Man X: Command Mission.
    • If you're looking for a Kamen Rider game that isn't a fighting game or a mass brawler, one that feels like it's from the early Heisei era, look no further than Mega Man ZX.
    • While the Ben 10 games on the PS2 aren't bad, they were often criticized for not featuring all of Ben's forms for the sake of the gameplay. On the flipside, games that feature all of Ben's forms often have simplified gameplay for the sake of character variety. However, one game managed to combine the best of both worlds, bringing gameplay and character variety together. The name of the game? Mega Man ZX Advent.
  • Metal Gear:
  • Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess may be the closest we get to a new Strike Series game.
  • Metal Storm is perhaps the best NES adaptation of Thexder, which did have a Japan-only Porting Disaster.
  • 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.
  • The Midnight Club series by Rockstar Games pretty much screamed out The Fast and the Furious, with the first game (2000) was released almost a year before the first film was released (in 2001), the second game (2003) was released few months before the film's sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and features vehicles similar to the first two film's vehicles and one of the game's open-world maps, Los Angeles (The first film's setting), the third game was the closest can get to a Pimp My Ride video game than the actual "terrible" Pimp My Ride video game developed by Eutechnyx, and the fourth game, Midnight Club: Los Angeles (2008) for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, was also the closest can get to a cancelled 2003 PlayStation 2/Xbox licensed video game based on The Fast and the Furious film and the sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious developed by Genki (the Japanese developer known for the Shutokou Battle/Tokyo Xtreme Racer series), but it lacks closed street races and drag races.
  • Mizzurna Falls is basically a Video Game adaptation of Twin Peaks, only with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
  • 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. And in turn, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies bore the influence of Monkey Island. (In not-at-all related news, the fourth PotC movie was coincidentally based on the same book.)
  • Muppet Monster Adventure may be the best Spyro the Dragon sequel from the original PS1 trilogy that Insomniac Games never worked on and is better then the official sequels that came out after the PS1 trilogy. It is also helped that Sony Europe published the games PAL version release, in which Sony was involved with the original PS1 trilogy!
  • Muse Dash is basically a Hotter and Sexier version of Taiko no Tatsujin, featuring horizontal scrolling notes and notes colored by which button you have to hit.
  • Mystik Belle is this to Magical Doropie/The Krion Conquest. It also may be the best Harry Potter video game.


  • The Survival Horror game ObsCure 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 ObsCure), and it turns out that the school's administration is a major part of what's happening. The creators of ObsCure even said that they had Josh Hartnett (one of the stars of The Faculty) in mind when designing the character of Stan.
  • Okage: Shadow King is probably the greatest Tim Burton game no one has ever heard of.
  • 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.
  • One is often considered to be a better Contra game for the PlayStation than the actual games released for the console, Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure.
  • Oni is one of the best (and overlooked) Ghost in the Shell games out there, going as far as having two of the main characters as expies of Mokoto Kusanagi and Daisuke Aramaki. (Shirow Masamune is actually listed in the "Special Thanks" section of the game's credits.)
  • 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!
  • Ori and the Blind Forest may be considered the best Princess Mononoke video game, with a touch of My Neighbor Totoro.
  • 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.
  • The Outer Worlds:
    • Between its Space Western stylings and its sense of humor, it's pretty close to the Firefly video game that fans of that show have long been waiting for, especially since the planned MMORPG based on the series became vaporware.
    • The dysfunctional, bureaucratic nature of its dystopia (albeit corporate instead of governmental) has also led some to call it the best Brazil video game ever made, albeit in space!!!.
    • With its plot centering on an interstellar voyage gone awry where the protagonist awakes from cryosleep before everyone else and has to try to save the ship, it's also the closest we get to a Passengers video game.
  • Outland combines the parkour and swordplay of the 2D Prince of Persia games with the Bullet Hell and polarity-switching of Ikaruga.
  • Outlast and its sequel are likely the best The Blair Witch Project video games. With the first game’s setting of a creepy building with dark going ons and insanity, it can also be seen as what Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 could have been, and the second can be taken as an adaptation of every exploitation film based on or inspired by Jonestown or other such cults in the 70s and 80s.
  • Outwars, a 1998 PC game by Microsoft, takes a lot of elements from Starship Troopers. Hell, the first mission can basically be considered a direct Shout-Out.
  • It's good to see a good game in the Dungeon Keeper universe again (especially after the acidic reception to the mobile version), albeit a spinoff called Overlord under a different genre.