Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gaming's Distant (And Not So Distant) Relatives

There are a lot of games that are connected in some way that you might not realize.  Sometimes due to the games being renamed when they're localized, you miss out on the fact that a game is related in some way to another.  In this feature, I'm going to show some games that are directly or indirectly related to one another.  Hopefully it'll be a lot of fun!

There are instances of games that I chose not to feature like Bubble Bobble / Rainbow Islands and Startropics / Zoda's Revenge due to the name of the game it's related to being in its title (The Story of Bubble Bobble 2 and Startropics 2 respectively).  Some of the games listed below are featured because they're spiritual successors to another game, but I tried to not go wild discussing those.

So let's begin, shall we?  You can click the images to see larger versions of them.

1:  Adventure Island / Wonder Boy

Adventure Island (NES) / Wonder Boy (Master System)
How they're related:  Adventure Island is the NES conversion of Wonder Boy.  Both series went on to have many games, but never crossed paths like this again.  The closest Adventure Island would ever come to what Wonder Boy became is Super Adventure Island 2Wonder Boy became more of an adventure game, while Adventure Island pretty much retained its fruit gathering, one hit killing, axe throwing formula.

2:  Bad Dudes / Two Crude Dudes

Bad Dudes (NES) / Two Crude Dudes (Genesis)
How they're related:  While they're not related by plot, Two Crude Dudes is the spiritual successor to Bad Dudes.  They're both by Data East and they both feature two bad, crude dudes.  Maybe I shouldn't include this one.  Too late now!

3:  Bomberman / Lode Runner

Bomberman (NES) / Lode Runner (NES)
How they're related:  Spoiler alert:  Bomberman becomes Lode Runner during the credits sequence.  Additionally, the enemies you face in Lode Runner look very much like Bomberman.  Another interesting note, the enemies are said to come from the Bungeling Empire.  Perhaps it's the same Bungeling Empire that appears in Raid on Bungeling Bay?

Here is a YouTube video showing the ending to the NES Bomberman.

Astonishing stuff!

4:  Commando / Bionic Commando / Mercs

Commando (NES) / Bionic Commando (NES) / Mercs (Genesis)
How they're related:  In Commando, you play as a character named Super Joe.  In Bionic Commando, you are trying to rescue Super Joe from the enemy forces.  In Japan, Commando is called Senjō no Ōkami.  The Genesis game Mercs is called Senjō no Ōkami 2 in Japan, so there's no question they're related.  Super Joe actually appears as the playable character Joseph Gibson in Mercs.

5:  Darius Twin / Super Nova / Sagaia

Darius Twin (SNES) / Super Nova (SNES) / Sagaia (Genesis)
How they're related:  Darius Twin, Super Nova, and Sagaia are all games in the Darius series.  The biggest giveaway at their relation is that you fight a lot of fish bosses!  Darius Twin is the only one that actually retained its Darius name when it was released in America.  Sagaia is Darius 2, and Super Nova is Darius Force.

6: Drakkhen / Dragon View

Drakkhen (SNES) / Dragon View (SNES)
How they're related:  Dragon View is the sequel to Drakkhen.  It was released in Japan as Super Drakkhen.

7:  Earnest Evans / El Viento

Earnest Evans (Genesis) / El Viento (Genesis)
How they're related:  Both of these games are in the same series.  There are three games in the series, but only the first two were released in America.  In Earnest Evans, the titular character finds a girl named Annet Myer that joins him on his journey.  In El Viento, you play as Annet.  Earnest Evans (the character) also appears in El Viento.

8:  Final Fantasy Adventure / Secret of Mana

Final Fantasy Adventure (Game Boy) / Secret of Mana (SNES)
How they're related:  Final Fantasy Adventure is the first game in the Seiken Densetsu series.  Other games in this series you might remember include Legend of Mana, Children of Mana, Dawn of Mana, Heroes of Mana, and probably most notably, Secret of ManaSecret of Mana is Seiken Densetsu 2.

9:  Fortified Zone / Operation Logic Bomb

Fortified Zone (Game Boy) / Operation Logic Bomb (SNES)
How they're related:  Fortified Zone is called Ikari no Yōsai in Japan, which is the same name Operation Logic Bomb has there.  From what I have read, though, Operation Logic Bomb is not a remake of the original game.

10:  Gradius / Life Force

Gradius (NES) / Life Force (NES)
How they're related:  I hesitate to put this on here because it's so apparent they come from the same series.  Life Force is a spin-off of Gradius.  Both games have you piloting the Vic Viper ship.

11:  Joe & Mac / Congo's Caper

Joe & Mac (SNES) / Congo's Caper (SNES)
How they're related:  In Japan, Joe & Mac is called Joe & Mac:  Tatake GenshijinCongo's Caper is called Tatakae Genshijin 2:  Rookie no Bōken, but it does not feature the same characters.  It is the true sequel to Joe & Mac, even though there was a Joe & Mac 2 released in America on the SNES.  That game was released in Japan as Tatake Genshijin 3:  Shuyaku wa yappari Joe & Mac.  It's Final Fantasy 2/4 all over again except with caveman ninjas!

12:  Legacy of the Wizard / Faxanadu

Legacy of the Wizard (NES) / Faxanadu (NES)
How they're related:  Legacy of the Wizard is actually part of the Dragon Slayer series.  In Japan, it is called Dragon Slayer 4:  Drasle Family.  The second Dragon Slayer game is called Dragon Slayer 2:  XanaduXanadu became a spin-off of Dragon Slayer and had several games released under the Xanadu name, including one for the NES.  The NES Xanadu game, Faxanadu, actually gets its name from combining Famicom with Xanadu.

13:  M.C. Kids / Mick & Mack:  Global Gladiators

M.C. Kids (NES) / Mick & Mack:  Global Gladiators (Genesis)
How they're related:  M.C. Kids stars Mick and Mack as the player 1 and 2 protagonists.  These are the same Mick and Mack that appear in Global Gladiators!  Both games are obviously tied in with McDonald's, too.  Another thing to note, Spot:  The Cool Adventure for the Game Boy plays very similarly to M.C. Kids and was released in Europe as McDonaldland.

14:  Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! / Power Punch 2

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (NES) / Power Punch 2 (NES)
How they're related:  Power Punch 2 was going to be a sequel to Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! before Nintendo pulled the plug on it.  As a result, the game was tweaked a bit and Mike Tyson was replaced with Mark Tyler.

15:  Renegade / River City Ransom

Renegade (NES) / River City Ransom (NES)
How they're related:  Obviously games like Crash 'n the Boys Street Challenge, Super Dodge Ball, and Nintendo World Cup are related to River City Ransom due to the characters in each looking the same.  However, Renegade is also part of this series.  Renegade is called Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun in Japan, and River City Ransom is called Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari.  They are both part of the Kunio series.  In fact, Renegade and River City Ransom both have the same protagonist!

16:  Rival Turf! / Brawl Brothers / The Peace Keepers

Rival Turf! (SNES) / Brawl Brothers (SNES) / The Peace Keepers (SNES)
How they're related:  All three of these games are part of the same series, though American localization killed any hint that they were.  They are all part of a series called Rushing Beat in Japan.  Rival Turf! is called Rushing Beat, Brawl Brothers is called Rushing Beat Ran:  Fukusei Toshi, and The Peace Keepers is called Rushing Beat Shura.

17:  Robowarrior / Blaster Master Boy

Robowarrior (NES) / Blaster Master Boy (Game Boy)
How they're related:  To begin, Robowarrior is a spin-off of Bomberman, so there's a relation to another game right there.  It is called Bomber King in Japan and is developed by Hudson Soft, who are also responsible for the Bomberman games.  Additionally, Blaster Master Boy is called Bomber King:  Scenario 2 in Japan, which means Blaster Master Boy is the handheld sequel to Robowarrior!

18:  Section-Z / Captain Commando

Section-Z (NES) / Captain Commando (SNES)
How they're related:  According to the American manual to Section-Z, you play as Captain Commando.  This seems to just be the case in the American version, though.

19:  Shadow of the Ninja / Ninja Gaiden Shadow

Shadow of the Ninja (NES) / Ninja Gaiden Shadow (Game Boy)
How they're related:  Anyone that played Ninja Gaiden Shadow probably felt that it didn't play like the other Ninja Gaiden games.  Truth is, it actually played more like Shadow of the Ninja.  That's because Ninja Gaiden Shadow was developed to be a Game Boy Shadow of the Ninja game before Tecmo converted it to a Ninja Gaiden game!  They even left Shadow in the title!

20:  Silkworm / Firepower 2000

Silkworm (NES) / Firepower 2000 (SNES)
How they're related:  Firepower 2000, known as Super SWIV outside of America, is considered to be the spiritual successor to SilkwormSWIV stands for both Special Weapons Intercept Vehicles and Silkworm IV.  They're not that closely related (or at all, perhaps) but I think they should be mentioned regardless.

21:  Sky Shark / Fire Shark

Sky Shark (NES) / Fire Shark (Genesis)
How they're related:  Appearing on different systems might make this relation less apparent, but Fire Shark is the sequel to Sky Shark.  It's not any more complicated than that!

22:  Smash T.V. / Total Carnage

Super Smash T.V. (SNES) / Total Carnage (SNES)
How they're related:  In addition to both games playing very similarly, Total Carnage has you collecting keys to enter the Pleasure Dome featured in Smash T.V. at the end of the game.  Succeeding in collecting enough keys allows you access, where you'll see many Smash T.V. cameos including Mutoid Man and Cobra Death, until eventually meeting up with the two protagonists of Smash T.V. themselves!  Both games take place in the "future" of 1999 as well.

It even appears to be the same sprite of the Smash T.V. player standing behind the podium between levels.

23:  Snake Rattle 'n Roll / Sneaky Snakes

Snake Rattle 'n Roll (NES) / Sneaky Snakes (Game Boy)
How they're related:  This is another one I almost don't want to mention, but since Sneaky Snakes doesn't outright say Snake Rattle 'n Roll 2 on it, I'll include it.  Sneaky Snakes is the Game Boy sequel to Snake Rattle 'n Roll.  The snakes you play as in the Game Boy one are apparently different characters, though.

24:  Solomon's Key / Fire 'n Ice

Solomon's Key (NES) / Fire 'n Ice (NES)
How they're related:  Solomon's Key was released in Japan as Solomon no Kagi, and Fire 'n Ice was released as Solomon no Kagi 2: Coolmintou Kyuushutsu SakusenFire 'n Ice is Solomon's Key 2, and is a prequel to the original.  Both star the same protagonist Dana.

25:  Solstice / Equinox

Solstice (NES) / Equinox (SNES)
How they're related:  Equinox is the sequel to Solstice, and it was released in Japan as Solstice 2.  In Equinox, you're trying to rescue the protagonist from Solstice, Shadax.  The Game Boy game Altered Space should also be mentioned, and though it's not related, it's very similar.

26:  Space Megaforce / M.U.S.H.A. / Robo Aleste

Space Megaforce (SNES) / M.U.S.H.A. (Genesis) / Robo Aleste (Sega CD)
How they're related:  The Japanese name for Space Megaforce is Super Aleste, M.U.S.H.A. is called Musha Aleste:  Full Metal Fighter Ellinor, and Robo Aleste is called Dennin-Aleste.  They are all part of the Aleste series.

27:  Target Earth / Cybernator

Target Earth (Genesis) / Cybernator (SNES)
How they're related:  Target Earth is called Assault Suits Leynos in Japan, and Cybernator is called Assault Suits ValkenCybernator is a prequel to Target Earth  They are the only two games in the Assault Suits series to be released in America.

28:  Thunder Spirits / Lightening Force

Thunder Spirits (SNES) / Lightening Force (Genesis)
How they're related:  Thunder Spirits was actually released on the Genesis as Thunder Force 3.  It is the only Thunder Force game to appear on the Super Nintendo, so it was probably renamed for that reason.  Sega of America renamed Thunder Force 4 as Lightening Force (yes, it's really spelled like that) when they released it in America.  Thunder Force 2 was actually one of the launch games for the Genesis in America!

29:  Wonder Boy in Monster Land / Whomp 'Em

Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Master System) / Whomp 'Em (NES)
How they're related:  The Famicom version of Wonder Boy in Monster Land was renamed Saiyūki World, stars Sun Wukong, the Monkey King instead of Tom-Tom, and it has been altered to be a Journey to the West game.  In Japan, Whomp 'Em is called Saiyūki World 2: Tenjōkai no Majin and is also based on Journey to the West. This version also has Sun Wukong as the protagonist instead of a Native American.

30:  Zombies Ate My Neighbors / Ghoul Patrol

Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) / Ghoul Patrol (SNES)
How they're related:  Ghoul Patrol is the sequel to Zombies Ate My Neighbors.  It stars the same two main characters, Zeke and Julie.

There are probably a whole lot more that I didn't cover, but this is probably adequate enough.  Hopefully you found it interesting and maybe even learned something from this.  I know even I learned a bit from researching some of these!

Until next time!


  1. Nice. I always thought SWIV is an acronym for SilkWorm In Vertical.

  2. What about Bonk's? Is that related to Joe & Mac? Seems the theme is the same atleast.

  3. Awesome article. Did you know that Titus the Fox (by Titus no less) was actually a re-skinned version of their original French release
    "Lagaf': Les Aventures de Moktar — Vol 1: La Zoubida".

    Lagaf was a famous French comedian who became the star of his own platformer however Titus knowing that the rest of the world wouldn't know who Lagaf was, replaced him with their company mascot instead.

  4. Plus kudos for NOT using SMB2/Doki Doki Panic as that comparison has been done to death.

  5. Good article! I've neither played ghoul patrol nor heard of power punch 2.

  6. Props for recognizing the Darius series, probably my favorite shooters of all time. It's still going to this day, with Darius Burst going from PSP to the arcade and now to iOS.

    You can follow the common signature of Aleste games (MUSHA) almost through the entire catalog of the developer COMPILE... Blazing Lasers (Gunhed), Zanac, Gunnac, Star Soldier, Final Soldier, Spriggan...

    One connection that blew me away was seeing how similar The Astayanax (arcade) and Legendary Axe (TG-16) are, both Hudson games I believe.