Charles Caleb Colton first said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Though we see copies of popular media in art, music, and movies, video games are no exception. Copying elements from video games became less about flattering the original developers and more about cashing in on the game’s success.
Developers may catch lightning in a bottle and create an incredibly successful game franchise. Instead of using their creative minds, less reputable game developers will copy the ideas of others. Some learn their lessons once the game fails miserably. Some developers change their knockoff ways, such as Naughty Dog. Their fighting game Way of the Warrior ripped off Mortal Kombat. Naughty Dog learned their lesson and went on to create the wildly successful Crash Bandicoot and Uncharted series.
Many of these knock-offs may have involuntarily landed in our video game collections over time. We may have purchased them because the box art seemed strangely familiar or we enjoyed Mortal Kombat so much that Eternal Champions couldn’t be that bad. These games ending up on our shelves may not have been our fault. Well-meaning grandparents who don’t understand video games may have purchased them for us as a gift. Not wanting to break their hearts, we kept it there in case they came by for a visit.
Our list compiles some of the worst knockoffs that are now worth a small fortune. If you have one or some of these games lying around, you could sell them to buy the original game. This list is in order of least to most expensive, so stick around!
15 Mediocre Trucker Game Nets A Small Profit
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing was a racing game featuring semi-trailer trucks. The developers claimed that players had to race to deliver illegal cargo before getting caught by the police. Unfortunately, the game only had racers competing around a circular track. The semi-trucks had no cargo load, and there were no police chases. That may be because the game was a ripoff of a slightly more popular title called Big Mutha Truckers.
Big Mutha Truckers featured a family racing to inherit Ma Jackson's family business. The person who won the most money at the end of the game would inherit the family business. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing tried to create a similar racing experience, but failed. With poor grammar and terrible game play, the only good thing about the game is that selling it brand new in box can net you $125.
14 Bobcat Attempts To Steal A Hedgehog’s Spotlight
The early 1990s saw an increase in anthropomorphic characters. Nintendo had Donkey Kong, and Sega was profiting from their Sonic the Hedgehog series. Accolade wanted to cash-in and created Bubsy. Just like how Sonic wasn't an everyday house pet, Bubsy was a bobcat. He's easily excitable and is willing to jump into danger. Similar to Sonic, he also primarily wears red and white. Though several comparisons can be made with the blue hedgehog, many gamers found Bubsy's personality over-the-top. Paired with poor controls, awful 3D graphics, and poor performance on consoles, Bubsy has slowly faded from recently video games. If you're looking to get rid of this game from your collection, Bubsy 3D on the Super Nintendo can be sold for $170 new in box.
13 World Travelling Brawlers Lose The Fight
Capcom's Street Fighter II took the world by storm in 1992. The wide variety of characters and detailed backgrounds became a popular series for years after its initial release. Fighter's History first came to arcades in 1993 and then to the Super Nintendo in 1994. The games both featured competitive fights that took place all over the globe. Fighter's History also had a character named Liu Feilin that was a clone of Street Fighter's Chun-Li.
Capcom wasn't going to let Fighter's History get away with copying their fighting franchise and attempted to sue Data East Corp, but didn't have enough evidence to win the case. If you'd rather play Street Fighter II instead, a new, sealed copy of Fighter's History is worth $215.
12 Violent Cars Fail To Promote Fun
Twisted Metal was a unique series where different types of vehicles battled it out on the streets. With a wide variety of characters and vehicles to choose from, gamers spent hours trying to make it to the finish. Unwilling to let Twisted Metal get all the profit, Stainless Games developed Carmageddon. This game also featured a variety of playable vehicles in a race to destroy other cars and make it to the end. Carmageddon attempted to be more violent, encouraging players to kill every pedestrian on each level for a bonus.
While Twisted Metal quickly gained success for its unique gameplay and characters, Carmageddon faced poor reception from gamers and controversy for its amount of violent content. Selling a brand new copy of Carmageddon on the Nintendo 64 can gain you up to $227.
11 A Rad Racing Attempt Can’t Outrun The Original
Out Run quickly became one of the best-selling video games in the late 80s. Whether playing in an arcade or console, players took control of a Ferrari Testarossa Spider. Players had a set time limit to reach a variety of destinations. Though their car can't be destroyed, they can lose time.
Rad Racer was released one year after Out Run. Players also took control of a red Ferrari through different courses within a set time limit. The car could not be destroyed, but players would experience a time penalty if signs or other obstacles were hit. Rad Racer enjoyed some success, but also suffered from severe problems. Its attempt to use 3D technology created distracting screen flickering, which hurt game play. A brand new copy of Rad Racer on the NES is worth $237.
10 Sega Fails Where Nintendo Succeeds
In 1991, the first Legend of Zelda game was released on the NES. Decades later, fans still travel into the land of Hyrule to help Link on his adventures. The series has long received positive reception since its initial release.
In the 80s and 90s, Sega was competing with Nintendo. With the success of The Legend of Zelda, they also attempted to create an epic fantasy adventure. Using the popularity of their side-scrolling series Golden Axe, they tried to turn it into a similar top-down view experience. Golden Axe Warrior copied Zelda from the graphics, map layout, and even enemy variety. The soundtrack was also similar in tone. Golden Axe Warrior did not see the same success that the Zelda series did and ceased after one installment. In the original packaging, Golden Axe Warrior is worth $318.
9 Tetris Clone Fails To Fill Its Hat
Video game clones don't always come from different developers. Sometimes, developers attempt to take the success of one game and profit off something similar. Alexey Pajitnov created the original Tetrimino matching puzzler Tetris. Tetris has been popular worldwide since its initial release in mid-1984. After the success of Tetris, he creased additional variants of the game called Welltris and Hatris. They all featured matching different color blocks.
In 1990, Pajitnov worked with game developer Bullet Proof Software to release Hatris. In Hatris, players much match five different hats together. Hatris never obtained the same success of Tetris, and a sequel was never released. Just because Hatris didn't make an enormous sum doesn't mean you can't make a profit from it. A brand new, unopened copy of Hatris can earn you up to $330.
8 Mutant Camel Clones Attempt Takeover of Hoth
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was the first licensed Star Wars video game based on the successful original movie trilogy. The horizontal shooter was released in 1982 for both the Atari 2600 and Intellivision. Players controlled Luke Skywalker in a snow speeder. On the planet Hoth, his goal was to defeat the Imperial AT-AT walkers. Critics praised its graphics and fast-paced gameplay.
One year later, Attack of the Mutant Camels was released on the Atari. Instead of Imperial AT-ATs, players fought giant, mutated camels. The game was almost an exact clone of The Empire Strikes Back, using similar graphics and colors compared to the original. If you managed to obtain a brand-new version of the 1983 game, Attack of the Mutant Camels is worth at least $382.
7 If Mega Man Was A Woman
Mega Man first hit NES in 1987. In each of the platformer games, Mega Man defeats Dr. Wily's evil robotic creations and uses their powers to defeat the evil doctor. Three Mega Man games were released when The Krion Conquest debuted. The Krion Empire has attacked the Earth with an army of aggressive robots. Magician Doropie has been summoned to rid the land of demons and rescue the boy who has summoned her. She has six different abilities that aid her in her quest. The Krion Conquest has been referred to "a Mega Man clone, if it starred a female." The Krion Conquest suffered from hardware issues, and the final stage had to be cut short to fit it onto the cartridge. A brand new version of The Krion Conquest is worth $399.
6 TurboGrafx-16’s Attempt On Hyrule
During the late 1980s and 1990s, several games attempted to cash off the success of The Legend of Zelda series. Many RPGs were released featuring overhead perspective action-adventures. The plots were all almost the game. A mighty warrior arrives to save the princess and rid the kingdom of evil.
Neutopis was a similar game released on the TurboGrafx-16. The game's similarities to The Legend of Zelda are evident, from its graphics, plot, and enemies. It was also heavily criticized for 24-long character passwords and repetitive game play. Players also lost interest in the boss battles, which were mandatory to complete the game. The game was only well received at the time because the TurboGrafx-16 had a limited library of games in comparison. If Neutopis was part of your small TurboGrafx-16 game library, you could sell it for up to $430.
5 Like Wolfenstein 3D But With Bible Stories
Wisdom Tree first attempted to create a video game based off of the movie Hellraiser. The founder was a huge fan of the series and wanted to create a first-person shooter. They acquired the Wolfenstein 3D game engine licensed from iD Software. They first tried to release it on the NES, but eventually planned for a release on the Super Nintendo's more powerful hardware. By the time they finished an initial prototype, Doom was released.
Wisdom Tree was unable to release a Hellraiser game before their license expired, and their top management suggested creating a more family friendly game. Super Noah's Ark 3D was born, featuring Noah shooting animals with a slingshot instead. The game was poorly received, and critics called it a poor clone of Wolfenstein 3D. If you have a brand new copy of Super Noah's Ark 3D, you could be blessed with up to $457.
4 Sisters Attempt To Take Over Plumber Brothers
In 1985, Nintendo released the first installement of the Super Mario Bros. series. The platformer was highly influential and helped home video game consoles gain popularity. German developer Time Warp Studios were still making games for the Commodore 64. When the world noticed the success of Super Mario Bros., the developer attempted to cash off of its success. They released a 2D side-scroller called The Great Giana Sisters. The game was almost a direct clone of Super Mario Bros. Instead of coins; players collected crystals. One hundred crystals would gain players an extra life. The Sisters could collect power-ups to gain various fire and invisibility abilities. Though the game itself was poorly received for being a clone, the unique aspect was its soundtrack. The game can be sold for up to $500.
3 Fifty-Two Terrible Clones On One Cartridge
When the Nintendo Entertainment System was first released, all licensed games had an official seal on the box. Active Entertainment's Action 52 was one of the few titles that didn't. The 1991 game came with 52 versions of what they claimed were new and original games all on one cartridge. With the high cost of games, players were excited at the thought of multiple games on one cartridge. Unfortunately, all of Action 52's games were clones of official Nintendo titles. A majority of the games were clones of Space Invaders. Other titles included Haunted Halls of Wentworth, a clone of Castlevania, and Slashers, a beat-em-up platformer similar to Double Dragon. Action 52 also had several game-breaking glitches and soon earned negative reviews from critics. If you were fooled by quantity over quality, the brand new NES cartridge could be sold for up to $898.
2 Radical Dinosaur Fails Fast Sales
Video game developers were trying to market their games to bodacious teenagers in the 1990s. Nintendo and Sega were trying to create an iconic mascot that would resonate with teens. Australian developer Beam Software created Radical Rex. The fire-breathing Tyrannosaurus Rex sought to skateboard into gamer's hearts. Like many other RPGs and platformers at the time, he was on a quest to save his girlfriend, defeat monsters, and save his home from evil. Critics found the game was too repetitive. Rex's attempt to move as fast as Sonic the Hedgehog were almost too fast, which caused players to miss power-ups and land headfirst into pitfalls. The platformer left little for gamers to feel excited about, and Rex soon went extinct. If you're looking to get rid of relics from the 1990s, Radical Rex is worth up to the awesome sum of $1,200.
1 Hidden Platformer Becomes Rare Collector’s Item
The Cheetahmen was first released in the Action 52 game cartridge. It was an attempt to copy the successful beat-em-up series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Battletoads. Each of the three cheetahs is named after Greek gods, similar to how the Ninja Turtles are named after famous painters. In The Cheetahmen, the player is transported into their world and becomes one of the brothers. The Cheetahmen failed to become a successful franchise due to the poor reception of Action 52.
A sequel, The Cheetahmen II was announced, and players were led to believe it was never officially released. In the late 1990s in a warehouse, 1,500 copies of The Cheetahmen II were discovered. They were quickly sold around the world. Now seen as a rare collector's item, The Cheetahmen II is worth $1,300.