games / Columns

The Top 8 Imitation Games – Fortnite, Mortal Kombat, More

October 8, 2019 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Fortnite Battle Royale

Welcome all to another edition of the 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about Imitations (or copied) games. What do I mean by this? Well, I mean games that were created from another game with a lot of the same gameplay elements. So, without Left 4 Dead, and the 4 on 1 type of gameplay match, we wouldn’t have games like Evolve (RIP) or Friday the 13th (soon to be RIP). I usually spell out what games the game on my list borrows from in the descriptions. Enjoy:

#8: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

On its own, Battle Royale isn’t actually terrible. It has a bad health/life structure, I’ll admit that, but that’s the only wonky thing really about it. The problem is, it’s compared to its spiritual predecessor, Super Smash Bros, and it falls apart. It lacks the deep roster that Nintendo had, and the 3 or 4 Smash Bros games that were already made, to build an audience with. There were some missed cuts in Battle Royale that would have made it a better game, as well as a tweaked battle system, but on its own, it falls into the “alright” camp.

#7: Crash Team Racing

There might have been kart racers before Mario Kart, but none were as successful or important as it. Here we have Crash Team Racing which is about the best non-Mario Mario Kart there ever was. Anyone who says “Motor Kombat” is getting fired. The only real problem with CTR is that Crash (and maybe Coco) are the only recognizable characters in the franchise. Sorry all you Pinstripe Potoroo fans, but let’s be real, Crash’s menagerie of allies and enemies is extremely weak. Still, if you want a kart racing game on a non-Nintendo franchise, this is literally your only choice.

#6: Forza Horizon

You can pretty much draw a direct line between Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. That’s not a bad thing, Gran Turismo is too simulation focused, to the detriment of having fun. Forza can be a hardcore racing simulation if you want it to be, or it can be an extremely fun/easy game, it’s kind of up to you. That’s the real difference between the two, Gran Turismo is always a simulation (even in the arcade mode), but Forza can oscillate between simulator and more “soft” racing with relative ease. This is even more evident with the “Horizon” sub-brand of Forza, while Gran Turismo is still spinning its proverbial wheels asking “What the hell just happened?”

#5: Fortnite

Hey kids, remember when Fortnite was supposed to be a Minecraft clone? You don’t? Well, that’s because no one does because no one cared about it then! Instead of aping Minecraft, Epic decided to borrow (or steal) a different mode from PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, which is their Battle Royal mode. I think a few other games did have a Battle Royal-ish mode before-hand, but PUBG is where the idea really caught on and exploded in popularity. And instead of doing something original, Epic decided to just use it in their flagging Fortnite game and add in some building mechanics. Apparently it worked since Fortnite is huge, but is still is rather scummy if you think about it.

#4: Rock Band

While there is the obvious lineage between Guitar Hero and Rock Band, it does go a bit further back than that. Guitar Hero largely just used the GuitarFreaks stuff that Konami was putting out. They just added a better guitar, better music, and a more visual note highway for players to use. However, it’s really the lines between Guitar Hero and Rock Band that are more evident. If you took someone who didn’t know games and asked them which is which, without looking at the instruments, they would only have a 50/50 shot of being right. Rock Band just decided to add in the “Band” experience in, with vocals/drums, which is something Guitar Hero later used, which is kind of funny when you think about it.

#3: Sonic the Hedgehog

Mario was pretty much one of the first gaming mascots ever. That is, if you don’t count “Left paddle” from Pong. There are others, Q-Bert, or Pac Man, but Mario has dwarfed them in popularity. Sonic was Sega’s attempt at a mascot, since Alex Kidd wasn’t exactly setting the charts on fire. Billed with “Attitude”, Sonic’s games were faster and more involved than Mario games of the time. There were more secrets to collect, harder bosses, and flashier graphics to try and bring down the Italian plumber. Since then, Sonic and Mario are best pals, since Sega has fallen out of the hardware race, but Sonic is clearly going after the Mario millions, back in the day.

#2: Mortal Kombat

Fighter’s History is the obvious clone game of Street Fighter 2. Hell, certain moves are frame-by-frame the same as in Street Fighter 2. But, it’s not the most important one, that is obviously Mortal Kombat. I’d like to imagine that Boon and Tobias thought “Hey, what if we made a fighting game but it was full of blood and guts?” and here we are. I’m not saying that MK is directly coped from Street Fighter, but there is a clear lineage between the two. Now, they just need to make that Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat game that everyone really wants.

#1: Remnant: From the Ashes

God, it’s only taken 8 of these Dark Souls-like games before ONE finally clicked with me. I think the biggest reason I don’t like those games is because melee fighting is always awkward (and usually bad), so getting up close to some enemy that can rip you apart in two hits is a dicey prospect for me. However, while Remnant does have some melee weapons, you are primarily using guns to deal damage and dispatch foes. Pistols, rifles, grenade launchers, laser beams, and more are all here, so you can take out the various enemies you come across. This makes the game just feel good, which none of the other games (various Dark Souls, Nioh, Surge 1, etc.) have ever elicited from me

For comments, list your favorite imitation games and why.

Next Issue
Top 8 Singular Games