Saturday, February 5, 2011

There's Something Familiar About This Lego Game (Update)

I wouldn't declare this a rip-off, per se, however, the similarities between Mega Man Battle Network and a new browser-based Lego game are quite striking... 




Above, screens from Lego's Ninjago Spinjitzu Smash!. Not only is the game visually reminiscent of Battle Network's battle system, but it plays similarly, too.

Your character is limited to movement on a 3x3 grid, unable to cross over to you opponent's side. When the card gauge is full, you're prompted to select from a series of Spinjitzu battle cards -- special attacks used to deal damage to your opponent. Further, you're also given the ability to throw kunai with the space bar, the equivalent of the Mega Buster. Battles are won when your opponent's HP depletes to zero, a number indicated just below their feet.

Words can only describe so much. You have to experience the game yourself: click here to play Ninjago Spinjitzu Smash. A directory of Spinjitzu cards can be found here, which, as you'll soon discover, contain abilities comparable to MMBN's own Battle Cards.

Pretty much everything right down to the battle mechanics are "inspired" by Mega Man Battle Network.  For the uninitiated, here's a few Battle Network screens for the sake of comparison:




Whoever designed the game was most certainly a fan of MMBN.

UPDATE: In an interesting turn of events, actual Battle Network graphic assets were discovered inside the game's source data...


Um, wow. Talk about unsettling.

Source: Ninjago Spinjitzu Smash! (Thanks, MaxRock)

29 comments:

  1. Capcom deserves this ripoff after what they did to Splosion Man.

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  2. send in the lawyers!

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  3. "Capcom deserves this ripoff after what they did to Splosion Man."

    Very much.

    ...Although, if they were going to blatantly rip off the EXE battle system, they could have at least not have used such an eye-bleeding art style. Until now, I didn't think it was possible for a game with such dark pallets to still be ridicuously harsh on the eyes.

    Meh, not going to take a side on this.

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  4. You know, there was once this Inuyasha flash game on the Adult Swim site, which also used a very similar battle system, and 'attack chips'. I would have never really noticed the similarities until now.

    Guess I can't blame companies too much, it's hard to find an original battle system to use... or even to find one that isn't used as often.

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  5. Geez. If you're gonna rip off something, rip off something of quality, won't you?

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  6. Professor Megaman, are you implying that MMBN is not "quality"? Hope that's not what you're referring to.

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  7. @ First Anon: He is. He and several others on this blog does it once in a while. Come to think of it, it seems this is the only thing Professor Megaman ever does here on this blog.

    The frequency of people on this blog taking potshots at the EXE series whenever possible is second only to the amount of MM2-related arguments started by Krazy Monkey and/or the morons that keep on trying to bait him into them. Mostly the latter as of late.

    You get used to it after a while.

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  8. Is it sad to say that I've seen over 20 battle network ripoffs, and this one being the worst? One of the ripoffs I played was a JOKE game too.

    The people who made this really failed at copying it.

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  9. Edgeworth, Help a Friend, Will You?

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  10. At least it isn't Battle Network 4.

    Yes I went there.

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  11. Actually there are Rockman leftovers on the flash resources img824.imageshack.us/img824/8295/ninjagospinjitzusmash.png

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  12. Splosion Man was a CoA thing.

    EXE was a CoJ thing.

    Why should CoA's mistakes harm CoJ like that?

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  13. Well, to be fair, Capcom ripped off 'Sposion Man in concept. These guys pretty much took the damn game and changed sprites and stuff (and probably a few other things, or something). Meh, both are still shameful and stuff.

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  14. @ February 5, 2011 11:38 PM Anon

    That implies that CoJ has no control over what CoA does, much less even knows what they're doing in the first place. I don't think the various regional Capcom branches are anywhere near that disorganized.

    Then again, the Splosion Man case could actually be a rare case of the above happening. I'm inclined to not believe so, however.

    ---

    On the subject of the assets...

    *loads shotgun*

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  15. Yes. This DEFINITELY not good for LEGO for ripping off a great series (my opinion).

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  16. Wow to the assets. Complete theft. But I guess this is becoming more widespread in the video game world.

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  17. [...] legitimate Battle Network graphical assets were discovered inside inside the game's source data [...]

    *points and laughs at the game like Nicolas Cage wanting a slice of cake*
    No, really. That was my first and only reaction to that last bit of news. I saw that, I clicked the image, I laughed. But you know, those are/were probably just there for testing purposes. They needed a test character to visualize what they were doing, so instead of stick figures or "NOW MAKE" things, they used publicly available game sprites. It's not normally accessible to the general public. ...then again, that didn't stop a certain Grand Theft Auto game from getting bumped up to an Adults Only rating, now did it?

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  18. Okay, I was already craving some more MMBN games, and this didn't bloody help any. I can't replay the old ones anymore.

    Why on EARTH did Capcom end MMBN?

    Why, oh why, would you kill a good thing? They got back on track in 6. UGH!

    Anyway, at least some little kids will get a kick out of this game.

    I'm totally laughing at the MMBN graphics being used. That's righteous.

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  19. @Alilatias

    There are people on both ends who take care of and look into any legality issues like that.

    Given that game was made by small team on the other side of the world, I highly doubt anyone at CoJ knew very much about the project. I'm sure the existence of it was known, but when it comes down to it..

    *If the things said are true*, all evidence points says that the pitch was made to CoA, the knowledge of the original was only known by CoA, and the creation of the application was also done by CoA.

    Furthermore, unless proven so, the claims against CoA may also not be entirely true.

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  20. Looks to me like someone was making an EXE fangame, got hired by Lego, and did a hasty conversion of the artwork (hence the leftover assets in the source). Game mechanics themselves aren't copyrightable, but including copyrighted material such as the sprites is definitely a no-no.

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  21. Augh, I miss EXE so much.

    Some may knock it, but it was such a cool gameplay mechanic.

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  22. i wonder if this has been brought to capcom's attention yet? i'm curious what action they will take if any.

    then again, this would be like nintendo trying to sue hudson for neutopia 1 and 2, or sega for golden axe warrior. identical in gameplay, but with all copyright matterial gone from normal play.

    however, joseph may have a point with his reference to the GTA thing.

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  23. Oh sure everyone's fine when Capcom puts legomen into their Mega Man games. But if Lego puts Legos into Mega Man games suddenly it's grounds for a fandom endorsed lawsuit.

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  24. On the update: ...oh dear.

    @the last Anonymous to post since writing this comment: There's a difference between similarities in character design, and outright stolen assets. (Assuming this isn't just an easter egg or something)

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  25. Even if it's somewhere in the FLA, it's just unused data. Probably placeholder graphics the programmer used when he was coding the thing. They can't be sued for using Capcom's artwork as placeholder images.

    When this games makes it big and spawns several sequels, a manga series, and an anime I'll cry foul. For now I don't see the big deal.

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  26. I highly doubt this is hurting Capcom's sales of MMBN games anyway. Do they even still produce BN cartridges?

    I honestly can't see someone saying "wow, I really wanted to buy MMBN new, but now there's this Lego game that plays like a crappy version of it with no story, so I'll settle for that."

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  27. Could this be sort of a 'leak' that we may see Rock Man lego sets in the future?
    Seems no ones thought that yet.

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