Video game piracy is a bustling industry on the Eastern half of the world, and for every legit megaseller title, there have been a metric ton of unlicensed ripoffs attempting to leech off success by poorly imitating it. Today Platypus Comix takes a look at the best of the worst. With accompanying videos!
And by the way, here's a special hello to the Press the Buttons guy, who has been faithfully linking to all my video game articles as soon as they go up. Yes, I read your site too.
|"Sonic the Hedgehog on Nintendo
systems" was a piracy staple back in the day. Such a
thing was impossible then without the aid of piracy, so
the crooks had the monopoly. The ripoffs didn't get more
ripoff-y than this. Observe the footage to the right.
That's the entire game.
Yup...all you do is move Sonic to the right. "What's with the black bars? Is he making obscene gestures?" remarked someone on YouTube. Hey, if you were him right now, could you blame yourself?
Did the other five exist? No one knows, not even that owl who concluded the amount of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop was "three."
It's a little bit better-looking than the test demo sold as a game above, right? That's because this is a slightly-modified pre-existing game, with a sprite of Speedy Gonzales swiped for Sonic. Maybe a couple kids pondered why the title screen of a Sonic title would have the Looney Tunes theme playing, but with their sole source of third-world entertainment being a fuzzy black-and-white TV, they probably didn't think much of it.
|If you can pull an easy sprite swap on
the Game Boy, why not on the Super NES? This is another
hack of a Speedy Gonzales title, only with much much
worse-sounding music than the original, and the
inexplicable appearance of Mario. In a cage. Is
Sonic saving Mario? Kind of...he's actually saving Marios,
plural. The original game had trapped mice in those
cages. Thus, you meet more than one Mario yelling
"SONIC! SONIC!" at you. Nice Charles Martinet
No one has ever beaten this pirate game, as the entire thing crashes on Level 4.
|This appeared on a cartridge labeled
"146 GAMES IN ONE!!" One of the 146 was
"Sonic the Hedgehog," but it was actually a
hack of Super Mario Bros. with one of the worst
renderings of Sonic ever as the replacement sprite. And
as you'll see, it wasn't even the whole game--just the
Minus World with an ending tacked on.
"Sonic got a Chaos Emerald!" If only it were always that easy.
|It happened the other way as well.
"Somari" is the Sega Master System version of
Sonic the Hedgehog, rekajiggered with Mario's likeness
and ported to the NES. They changed Mario's jump
animation to Sonic's "spherical spin" in the
above game, but there's no reverse attempt to make Mario
more recognizable. He curls into a ball and spins as
well, but at least it's red.
My favorite edit: changing "Sonic Team" to "Somari Team."
|Now this is a pirate hack I would
actually play. For hours. If Super Smash Bros. didn't
exist, that is.
Due to Toad being called "Kinopio," it must have been born in Japan. There was a point when it stood alone. Since it's somehow modified from Super Mario Kart (what in the world??) it must have come into being well before the first Smash title. You have to hand it to 'em for this one. These are all-new sprites that are very large and have several moves. Though the game plays choppily and the music is a warblefest, ya gotta love the evil look on Mario's face as he decks his own brother.
|"Super Donkey Kong" was what
the Donkey Kong Country series was called in Japan.
"Super Donkey Kong 99," the unauthorized 98th
sequel to the game, was pirated and released....for the
Despite the downgrade, the graphics actually look very close to their Super NES rips. And the musical remix of the DKC theme on the title screen ain't that bad, either. BUT once you actually start playing the game, everything comes crashing down. The entire thing is remodeled levels from the beginning of DKC3, set to the same annoying music looped over and over. Over half the enemies give out excruciating scream noises when you bop them, and if you thought spinning-barrel navigation was frustrating in the REAL games, it's even worse here.
|Sachen, the Japanese industry leader
in video game piracy, brought us Mega Man X for the NES.
Or, rather, a slightly modified version of the original
Mega Man intended to pass as X. They also misspelled his
Japanese name, Rockman.
This extremely hard and nearly broken title has you jumping through levels using only a boomerang to defeat enemies. You can also sort of fly for brief periods by holding down the jump button and charging up, but it's impossible to control, and you need to use it to pass every third obstacle.
What's really sad? This is still the only MM title where you have the ability to duck.
|What? Resident Evil for NES?
That is indeed what this is supposed to be ("Biohazard" is RE's Japanese title). It lifts a lot of ideas from the Game Boy Color Resident Evil game, which actually was official. Anyone who bought this deserved to become a Jill Sandwich.
|Who is the Hummer Team? And why did
they think they could make a "two-in-one" game
cartridge by merely duplicating the same Donkey Kong
Country rip, putting Mowgli in the "second
game" and calling it Jungle Book 2?
What makes this extra weird is that they don't use any of the DKC jungle levels in the Jungle Book game, making Mowgli look truly out of place. Playing as a kid in his underwear instead of a monkey in those stages is quite an experience.
|This is even better. Someone made a
sequel to the NES Darkwing Duck game by hacking Contra.
Drake Mallard is now in the middle of a war zone, packing serious heat instead of gas, and icing Donkey Kong and Yoshi sprites left and right at a thousand bullets a minute. Now that's great. If someone made a better version of this, I'd pay for it.
|Polas oughta love this
one. It's Kid Niki 3, only with Mario replacing Kid. I
myself just about fell off my chair when I saw the Kid
Niki drawing jump up and turn into Mario. Others among
you may have less of a reaction, possibly because you may
not bear knowledge of the Kid Niki cult phenomenon. You
need to spend some quality time reading Polas' Kid Niki Trilogy review if this
is the case.
"Super Mario 14" because one gang of pirates
decided to make an obscene amount of Mario sequels by
quickly painting Mario over other characters in existing
games and re-releasing them. They didn't fully finish
their job this time, so the fearless Mario with the robe
and Bo staff periodically changes back into Kid Niki
during some activities.
Well, that's it. That's all you get. That's all the pirated games that exist.
Unless there are actually thousands more, and I decide to make this another one of my endless multi-part pieces like "Island of Misfit Christmas Specials" and "TV Guide Ads." You'll find out the answer to that one soon enough.
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