Have you ever sat down to play a video game, looked at the main character or characters and thought "that looks kind of familiar." There are plenty of doppelganger games like Galaga and Space Invaders or Arkanoid and Breakout. But what about those staring characters that look just a bit too much like one of their peers. Think about it, how many gaming characters use gigantic swords, explore tombs and ruins in search of treasure, or carry some comically-sized firearm to blast away zombies/aliens/demons/etc.? Not all of these tropes are unoriginal, but you have to admit there is such a thing as overlap.
We're not saying these characters are complete ripoffs, but they do bear some interesting similarities with those that inspired them. It might be something as innocent as a design choice or a signature weapon, but then it could also be the exact same character just painted a different color or given a different origin story. No matter how you slice it, there are just some certain video game characters that take more than a little from some of their virtual peers. Though they might take a few queues from others in their field, we still keep playing their games. Gaming clones both good and bad have their fans, but how do they stack up among themselves? We're here today to talk about some of our favorite duplicate heroes of the video game world, so get ready to plug into our top twenty copy characters.
20 BUBSY THE BOBCAT
A furry animal protagonist running around in a 2-D platforming world, what could possibly go wrong? Bubsy the Bobcat has a long and painful history in the world of gaming. Take the speed and acrobatic abilities of Sonic the Hedgehog and give it to a fragile feline with glass bones and paper skin and you have Bubsy. Bubsy isn't just a blatant copy of Sonic, he's an unabashed ripoff.
There's a difference between a hard video game and a broken one. What platform game has the player take fall damage in getting from A to B? Bubsy is essentially Sonic minus everything that made the hedgehog cool. He's one of the most noticeable on the list, but we're just getting started.
19 KC MUNCHKIN
KC Munchkin is a blue little dot-gobbler who runs around a maze while avoiding multicolored monsters with a weakness to flashing powerups. Do we even have to say who inspired this guy? KC Munchkin might not have the bright colors or smarter enemies that Pac-Man does, but unlike Bubsy, his game did do something unique.
Instead of clearing the maze of all the dots, KC has to chase them down as they float around the screen, as well as avoid the Munchkins on his tail. There might only be three dots per corner, but they can be tricky to catch without some serious chasing skills. An obvious clone of a more successful game, but we've gotta give the little guy credit for doing something new.
18 MARSHALL LAW
Honestly, you could probably make a list of fighting game characters inspired by Bruce Lee, but we're talking video game copycats, not martial artists. That being said, Tekken's Marshall Law and Street Fighter's Fei Long have more than a bit in common, don't you think? From the haircuts to the shirtless attire, they both could be copies of one another.
Bruce Lee tributes aside, they also play remarkably similar as well. Honestly, the main difference between the two is the 3-D graphics of the latter title. But that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Both characters are fun and offer some Asian flavor to the rosters on which they appear. They just happen to have too much in common not to make our list.
While we're on the subject of Tekken, let's look at another member of the Iron Fist Tournament's roster. Yoshimitsu, a samurai/ninja styled fighter with an alien or at times undead motif. This could have been inspired by another skeletal swordsman in the age of the SNES, Spinal from Rare Software's Killer Instinct.
Granted, a skeleton pirate and a skeleton samurai are kind of on opposite ends when it comes to career choices, but compare Yoshimitsu in Tekken 3 to Spinal in Killer Instinct. There's just something about the way they move and the way they use their respective blades that just feels eerily similar. Either way, more fighting games need undead sword-swingers.
Last fighting game, we promise. Killer Instinct took a lot of inspiration from another famous fighting game at the time. We'll give you a hint, it involved multicolored ninjas and brutal finishing moves. From the character designs to the 16-bit blood, the gave took more than a few notes from Mortal Kombat. There were a few similar characters from the two games, but we're going to go with the most obvious.
Glacius is an unmistakable take on Sub-Zero, essentially just a bigger icier version. Both are cryomancer characters with tundra related names and both have freeze based moves. The Youtube channel Screwattack even has a video discussing these two. Simply put, there's obvious and then there's painfully obvious.
15 NATHAN DRAKE
To call Nathan Drake a clone of Lara Croft is a bit blunt, but it is head-smackingly obvious where at least part of Drake's inspiration came from. Granted, the Tomb Raider games have a bit more of a fantastical quality to them and Uncharted feels more like Indiana Jones. But the fact still remains, Nathan Drake could be well considered the male equivalent of Lara Croft.
They both share a desire for treasure, an appetite for adventure, and game series that enraptured the players with the thrill of exploration. They both took us on far away journeys with loads of action, puzzles, and loot. You could call him Croft's successor, or you could simply say he learned from the best.
14 DUKE NUKEM
Love him or hate him, Duke Nukem is one of the most recognizable characters in the FPS genre. His appetite for carnage and one-liners are certainly unforgettable features. Yet, despite the jokes, gunplay, and cheesy acting, it all looks and plays remarkably similar to another famous FPS.
The term "Doom-Clone" was used to describe just about anything that resembled an FPS when the genre was still new to the field. That being said, Doom-Clone actually fits pretty close. If you take away Duke's voice, the gunplay and arcadey action are almost identical to Doom Guy's run and gun fun. Similar but not congruent, they might feel the same. But something tells us Doom Guy might not be so strong in the humor department.
13 DIABLO ADVENTURERS
Wizard, Barbarian, Necromancer, and Demon Hunter are only a few of the classes you can be in Diablo. Arguably the king of dungeon crawlers, the Diablo series has you take up the role of an adventurer and battle hoards of monsters and minions for tons and tons of loot and armor. Though the series may be one of the most popular in the genre, it owes its success to its arcade inspiration.
Gauntlet has the player choose between Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, and Elf and take their hero into dark dungeons searching for loot and slaying monsters left and right. Starting to sound familiar, isn't it? Though they wear different armor and cast different spells, it's clear where inspiration lies.
12 AXEL STONE
In the '90s, Capcom was the king of the arcade beat-em-up, and one of their biggest claims to the title was Final Fight. Sega soon took their swing at the genre with the arguably more popular Streets of Rage. It had identical controls, but a more comic-book style design. That being said, controls weren't the only thing it took from Campcom's title.
The characters Cody and Axel are remarkably similar. Blonde hair, white tee shirt, wrapped fists, they might as well be brothers. Both play noticeably similar, and both are the more rounded characters of their titles. This must have been noticed by Sega as Axel's shirt was changed in Streets of Rage 3. Coincidence, we think not.
11 RYU HAYABUSA
We're thinking of a game involving a ninja protagonist, intense platforming, white-knuckle boss battles, and loads of kunai. If you're thinking Ninja Gaiden, you'd be right, but you'd also be thinking of what might be the predecessor to the brutal NES platformer. Ryu Hayabusa was not the wall-crawling, magic using, acrobatic ninja. We're thinking back to a little arcade classic called Shinobi.
Though they don't exactly look the same, Shinobi and Ryu do kind of play the same in terms of platforming. They both have somersault jumps, hang from walls, and suffer from the occasional knockback. Appearance might be black and white, but we think we know who Ryu learned his tricks from.
10 JACK (BIOSHOCK)
If you get down to the basics, Bioshock and Doom have a great deal in common. The player assumes the role of a silent, mostly unseen protagonist who must venture into a ruined world after some destructive event, and find weapons and upgrades to battle mutated enemies. Replace Mars with Rapture and you've got yourself an art-deco Doom-clone.
Dial back Doom Guy's tech and he could very well be a lot like Bioshock's Jack. Replace the BFGs and augmented pistols with plasmids and Tommy-guns and you'd have a fit. Pair that with the dark ruins of Rapture and demonic-looking Splicers and there's simply no contest. They aren't identical, but they share enough to get our attention.
Anyone familiar with Alundra knows it's the PlayStation's answer to The Legend of Zelda. But on further inspection of the game, it's amazing just how much they took from the successful Nintendo franchise. Look at Alundra himself, an elfish protagonist with a sword, bombs, and a power-glove? All he's missing is a green tunic and bow.
There are tons of Zelda lookalikes, but this one really goes the extra mile. Yes, the story is a little more magic focused, but the visuals and stylings of some of the enemies are very similar. Even in the animated cutscenes, we can't help but think of our favorite Hylian. Some choices may not go all the way with the Zelda motif, but Alundra himself certainly does.
8 HOLLOW KNIGHT
Hollow Knight is billed as a strange combination of Dark Souls and Metroidvania. From the design and the combat, we can't help but feel only the latter half of that equation is true. It is a ghoulish and grim Metroidvania game, but we think it lingers heavily on the Vania portion.
Though the world feels like something akin to Super Metroid, Hollow Knight plays a bit more like Alucard from Symphony of the Night. The way he wields his little nail like a rapier feels more familiar to the vampire prince than our favorite bounty hunter. Either way, his black cape and gift for the blade remind us how it felt to be a swashbuckling vampire, and it seems the creators took notice as well.
7 MEGA MAN
With his power armor, arm cannon, and pension for gadgets, Mega Man seems like a friend of Samus Aran. Both play with a fun run-and-gun style and seek upgrades in order to advance to the next boss. Though Mega Man's gameplay is more platform oriented, we can't help but feel a little Metroid was mixed in as well.
Though the Blue Bomber lacks the ability to curl up into a ball or armor that can withstand boiling lava, he shares more than an arm cannon with Samus. Missiles, bolts, and bombs are just a few of the tech both characters use to beat their levels. Despite differences in tone and gameplay, we can't help but wonder how these two would do in each other's worlds.
Before Altair donned his white robes and went out slashing templars and taking leaps of faith, he was originally supposed to be featured in a successor to Ubisoft's Prince of Persia series. In what would have been "Prince of Persia: Assassins" The protagonist would have been a hooded character running through the streets of an ancient city with the acrobatic skill of a certain royal.
Looking back on certain Prince of Persia titles, one can easily see the resemblance between the two. As similar as they both are, I think we can all recognize who made the more successful series. With his ability to run up walls, cling to surfaces, and swing from ledges, it's no wonder Ubisoft looked to the prince for character inspiration.
With her flashy, mystical attire, her guns and killer hairdo, and ranked combo-based combat, fans have been comparing Bayonetta to another famous demon slayer since she first graced consoles. Both Bayonetta and Devil May Cry's Dante have more than a few things in common. Despite their different choices in weapons, they're both involved in heated battles between the forces of Heaven and Hell, and we can't get enough of either.
The two have been compared and contrasted so many times, fans have even dreamed of a crossover game between them. We have to agree, the two have way too much in common not to share a universe. It would truly be something divine.
4 GABRIEL BELMONT
The Castlevania series has been pretty formulaic in most of its titles. Dracula's castle rises, monsters wreak havoc, and a Belmont clan member must swing in and save the world. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow gave us the same monster-mashing fun, but with a hack and slash twist.
Gabriel Belmont had everything his predecessors had and more, but the lashing whips and magic spells reminded us of another titan of the genre. The firey whip felt a great deal like the Blades of Olympus and the giant bosses were all mythological beings. Obviously, that they were going for a God-of-War-styled fighting mechanic. But to call it a God of War clone would be too harsh, but we'd be lying if we said we didn't understand.
3 SHOVEL KNIGHT
Shovel Knight pays tribute to all the classic NES platformers in its gameplay, Easter-eggs, and in-jokes. Its protagonist, however, is not just an homage, but the equivalent of a tribute band. Shovel Knight is practically Mega Man at a ren-fair, and the Order of No Quarter are the Robot Masters in suits of armor painted different colors.
Think about it, Shovel Knight goes from level to level beating different bosses and taking weapons that somehow correspond with each level/boss. Starting to sound familiar, isn't it? We're not saying he ripped off Mega Man entirely, no way would he trade in his blaster for a shovel. But we do think there's more behind the blue armor and 8-bit look.
We've talked about this guy once before, and with good reason. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was one of the two games that gave birth to the Metroidvania style of platformers. SotN took what Samus made famous, but gave it a more fantasy-oriented spin.
Though lacking the projectile weaponry and high-tech armor, Alucard is a lot more like Samus than the Belmont clan. He packs more weapons, his game is non-linear, and he has to earn new items in order to progress. There's a reason SotN and Super Metroid are often paired together because both characters are not only mirrors but pioneers of a new genre.
If you took the guts and glory of God of War and mixed them with the high fantasy and puzzle mechanics of Zelda, you'd get Darksiders. Some God of war clones that try to hide that they are what they are, but Darksiders isn't exactly subtle. It's not the giant bosses, nor the amounts of gore, it's because of the protagonist, an embodiment of war.
There are few words to describe how obviously inspired by Kratos War is. A war-themed character with gigantic weaponry dealing out blows to the divine and demonic alike? It sure sounds like Kratos to us. This doesn't make War a bad character, but it does make us wonder how the Ghost of Sparta might feel about him stealing his thunder.