Lack of originality is often cited by jaded gamers as the reason modern games fail to excite them, but copying an idea isn't always a bad thing. Many of the best games ever made have taken elements from others and we'd rather have good 'copied' games than rubbish original ones. With this in mind, we've put together VideoGamer.com's Top 10: Great copycat games. So who's been cribbing from who?
10. Diddy Kong Racing
I remember Rare's colourful racer coming out of nowhere. Nintendo's internally developed Mario Kart 64 had until that point been the only kart racer of worth on the Nintendo 64, and thankfully Rare decided to offer gamers more than a straightforward copy. You could race karts, boats and planes around larger tracks and move through what resembled a single-player campaign of sorts. Played today it's Mario Kart that holds up better, but back then Diddy Kong Racing was an excellent addition to the Nintendo 64 library.
9. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Battlefield 1942 might not have been the first team-based FPS to feature vehicles but it's by far the most influential. Other than EA's own Battlefield follow-ups the one clone able to match it is Activision and Splash Damage's Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. A combination of exciting maps, brilliant vehicle physics and noob-friendly gameplay make it a game anyone can enjoy. What's more, console owners will be able to enjoy the experience this year when the game launches on Xbox 360 and PS3.
8. Lord of the Rings Online
When I first played Lord of the Rings Online I hadn't played World of Warcraft. Now, after spending a fair amount of time in Blizzard's monumentally successful MMO, it's clear that Turbine's MMO does its best to offer a WoW-like experience. What really makes it stand out are its hugely impressive visuals (leagues ahead of WoW's now quite dated look) and Lord of the Rings lore and story. For fans of the books the game really is a treat.
7. Rayman 2
Back when Mario 64 set a new benchmark for platformers and video games in general it was all the rage to jump on the 3D platformer bandwagon. Lots failed to capture even a fraction of the brilliance found in Nintendo's classic, but Ubisoft came up trumps with its excellent Rayman 2. The game first caught my eye on the Nintendo 64, but it was the excellent Dreamcast version that cemented it in my 3D platformer hall of fame. It's just a shame that recent Rayman games haven't come close to matching it.
6. Mortal Kombat
These days Mortal Kombat is a huge franchise that's branched out far beyond its 2D beat 'em up beginnings, but it owes a lot to one game. While MK didn't exactly copy Street Fighter II, the success of Capcom's fighter no doubt led to Mortal Kombat's existence and considerable success. Ironically, the game of Street Fighter The Movie used digitised characters from the film, giving it a look not too dissimilar to Midway's fighter.
5. Saints Row
THQ's open-city action game took a lot of criticism from internet fanboys desperate to label it as another GTA rip-off without any merit. Gladly they were wrong. Saints Row is perhaps the most blatant rip-off in this top 10, but it's also one of the best. While it didn't have the same impact GTA had, developer Volition introduced some great features like the GPS navigation system and a proper third-person shooter control system. As the first proper next-gen GTA-alike Saints Row ranks as one of THQ's best games in years.
EA isn't thought of too highly by the majority of 'hardcore' gamers, but the publisher has been responsible for some truly excellent games over the years. 2007 saw the Tony Hawk skating franchise from Activision finally get some competition in the shape of EA's Skate. Rather than simply copy Activision's formula EA completely redefined the way we play skateboarding games. The result is a game that ranks as one of the best sports titles ever made and the new king of the skate park.
3. Rock Band
Activision has enjoyed plenty of success with the Guitar Hero series so it's no wonder that EA wanted a piece of the peripheral-based pie too. Rather than simply offer gamers another guitar game, Rock Band is exactly what it says on the tin. You literally become a band, with a group of friends able to play guitars, a drum kit and take lead vocal on the microphone. With Rock Band EA jumped on the bandwagon, pushed Activision from the driver's seat and drove off into the sunset.
2. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Naughty Dog's excellent PS3 exclusive manages to take the best elements from a number of games - most notably Tomb Raider and Gears of War. Its jumping from platform to platform gameplay and exploration link it instantly to Eidos' Tomb Raider, but it's Gears of War that it has most in common with. Bulked up men and hard as nails alien creatures have been replaced with the slender lead and cocky enemies, but the cover system shows the game's true colours. While not as visceral as Epic's Xbox 360 exclusive, Uncharted offers PS3 gamers a great alternative.
1. Forza Motorsport 2
While the original Forza on the Xbox could just as easily have been included, the second game is by far the better option. It doesn't take a gaming genius to see that Forza modelled itself quite heavily on Sony's ultra successful Gran Turismo series, but in this case the guys at Turn 10 managed to deliver a game that betters Polyphony Digital's acclaimed series. Superb car handling, brilliant visuals, plenty of tweaking options, genre leading online support and the most versatile customisation tool we've ever seen make this the best sim racer of all time.