13 Pirated Game Covers Way More Awesome Than the Originals
Video game box art has to tell potential buyers what the game's all about in one eye-catching image. Zelda shows you an elf with a sword, Call of Duty shows you a soldier with a gun, and SoulCalibur shows you a nearly naked woman with physics-defying tits. They are all absolutely accurate depictions of the game within. But those are the success stories, and as we've seen before, it often goes hilariously wrong. And nobody manages to screw it up more hilariously than game pirates -- while most just lift the original cover, a select few decide that stealing is wrong halfway through the theft and have to scramble to create original content themselves. It never turns out well:
(With the money you save buying hilarious bootlegs, why not buy the Cracked De-Textbook?)
And now, a brief retrospective of Brazilian bootleg Pac-Man covers. Put on your learning monocles, this here is art history:
CCE, the company responsible for bringing countless pirated games to the land of Pele, started off with this vaguely sane approach. Maybe they didn't want to use Pac-Man's classic look for fear of a lawsuit, and maybe the enemies are furious germs assaulting the ghost of a murderous clown because the artist was getting paid in mescaline. Still, it makes a certain tenuous sense, but it's all downhill from there:
This one made him French when everyone knows he's Canadian.
The second cover makes it look like the Pac-People were brutally slaughtered by giant, lightning-spewing robots. Are Pac-Man and his wife the sole survivors of the robot apocalypse? Is that why they nurture such terrible pill addictions, lost in the maze of their own madness, hounded by the ghosts of their loved ones who died in the uprising? And also cherries?
"But they're joysticks, what do they use to contro- eh, fuck it."
This artist must have gotten terribly lost on the way to the bootleg Brazilian Star Wars convention. We appreciate that gamers might be intrigued by the thought of piloting the legendary spaceship Supergame against a squad of F-14 Frisbees, but it's a bit intellectually dishonest when they're going to open the package and find they can only navigate a fat yellow blob through an endless labyrinth.
"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to take a defenestrated cobra to the face."
Snake is best known as that game you played on your cellphone back before your cellphone could play games. We're pretty sure it was about a depressed snake just trying to commit suicide in the Tron world, and not a furious giant cobra attacking James Bond at a urinal.
"Oh Shit!" were presumably the first words uttered by the artist after he finished hours of painstaking painting and looked up to find he'd drawn a ravenous, disembodied Winnie the Pooh head consuming the ghosts of giant pills while seemingly terrified of his own existence.
Pirates, just like Nintendo itself, quickly learned that slapping Mario onto anything was a license to print money. Here we see caveman Mario trying to rescue Princess Peach before a dinosaur erotica novel starts playing out. Unfortunately, this seems to have led to a case of the butterfly effect, because past-Mario's antics inadvertently created this:
The Cap'n had some of the "good" crunch berries for breakfast.
In this bizarre alternate universe, all-American Mario has to use the power of carrots to rescue Snow White from the clutches of a pissed-off dragon and Slendergoat, with only Cap'n Crunch and an anthropomorphic testicle to aid him. Although, from Snow White's "come-hither" look, it's totally going to be worth it.
Mega Rockman 3
In this version, you gain their powers by molesting them with your robo-tendrils.
Mega Rockman 3's cover is a mash-up of the American and Japanese version of Mega Man (it's called Rockman in Japan), mixed with a healthy dose of sass. Either that, or it's a teaser poster for a new musical starring Robby the Robot and Bomberman's gay, shark-themed cousin.
Dratula: Crazy Vampire
"Whatever, we still made more money than Son of the Mask."
Apparently someone really, really wanted a Dracula/The Mask crossover and wasn't about to let little problems like logic and reason get in the way. This pirated copy of Dratula: Crazy Vampire ostensibly replaces the cartoon count with Jim Carrey and Dracula with "Dratula," Dracula's nonunion Mexican equivalent. "Drat that Dratula!" the game-over screen better say.
World Heroes 2
Seconds before Sonic and Andy invent Rule 34.
World Heroes 2 was yet-another-fighting-game in the era of yet-another-fighting-games. But that wasn't good enough for Cony Soft. No, this bootleg company wanted to create something special, so they crammed all the great fighters into their unauthorized rip-off game: Ryu, Chun-Li, Goku, Bowser's BDSM-obsessed ginger cousin, cross-eyed Sonic, indiscernible naked people enveloped in flames, and the shadowy, disembodied head of Mario cosplaying as a sinister M. Bison-type character ... right next to M. Bison. That had to be an awkward conversation.
Chip & Dale 3
Someone in Russia seriously misunderstood the premise of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the show about an adorable detective agency run by two chipmunks that foil the nefarious plans of an obese cat. It's not about GunSmokey the Bear and a mentally unstable former marine in a Fievel mask shooting down attack helicopters together.
Although, goddammit, it really should be.
Because the actual game gets it right for once, and follows through on all the crazy promises the cover makes: It's a crude mod of NES shooter Heavy Barrel, where Chip and Dale complete classic Rescue Rangers missions like "DESTROY ENEMY'S UNDERGROUND ARTILLERY BASE" using laser guns and flamethrowers. We don't know how the cuddly detectives laid their hands on such an arsenal. Maybe they were designed by their resident genius, Gadget Hackwrench, who in this game is presumably Minnie Mouse with crudely Photoshopped tits.
Jackass: The Game
"Hi, I'm Johnny Knoxville, and this is 'An Affront to God'!"
Apparently there was a Jackass video game, apparently it was desired enough that people wanted to pirate it, and apparently those people had a very low opinion of Kanye West. Or else the cast of Jackass was trying to escape a terrifying Dr. Moreau-esque island full of half-beast, half-rapper abominations.
Which ... actually sounds like a pretty good game, come to think of it.
Bad Boys 2
This was also Will Smith's exact reaction after reading the reviews for After Earth.
Bad Boys 2, for those of you who didn't see it, was about Will Smith and Martin Lawrence recovering from the terrible spinal injuries of the first film's chase scene. That's why they're trying so very hard to do so very little, and having serious trouble holding their weapons -- physical therapy is a long and arduous process. Don't believe us? Well then explain the alternate cover:
"Actually, this is just how I masturbate."
"No, stupid! You pull the badge, then shoot."
"Open up, it's the FBI Police! I'm Special Agent Detective Sargent Doctor Trenchcoat, and this is my partner The Right Honorable Professor Judge Captain Snake!"
... and then you notice that it's a sequel.
Hey, remember when Batman fought Nosferatu?
We intended that to be a joke setup, but hot damn if DC didn't actually beat us to it.
Is there anything Batman isn't about? Between him and The Simpsons, we're pretty sure all of the multiverse has been mapped.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
"Up in the sky -- it's a btird -- it's a ptlane -- it's Supermtan!"
For most of the world, Grand Theft Auto is about gangsters doing gangster stuff -- you know, like going bowling, doing yoga, and planning fun dates. In Syria, it's about thug life albino Superman, Zorro, Spider-Man, Batman, and the Mask brutally curb-stomping police officers. As far as we can tell, this is a real game, in the sense that someone dropped acid and modded San Andreas to reflect the things their DVD collection started screaming at them.
The sequel to San Andreas Super Heroes introduced an even more eclectic cast of characters, only two of which are actually superheroes. So, if you've always wanted to watch Jackie Chan murder a prostitute but aren't the blackmailers who currently hold that particular tape, this is the game for you:
"Featuring noted champion of the criminal lifestyle, the Punisher!"
Some of the many, many other bootleg GTA versions star Rambo, Michael Jackson (complete with moonwalk) and noted Egyptian comic actor Adel Emam, which makes about as much sense as dropping Peter Sellers into Halo. But for our money, nothing tops Kenya's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Kirk Douglas.
"Joey, do you like games about felonious gladiators?"
That's it. Video games are over. Kenya won.
Raoni draws his power from beer and the tears of fanboys. You may follow him on Twitter here.
Related Reading: Down for some more bootlegs? Follow Adam Brown to the streets of New York City. Some video game piracy is just wildly unnecessary. Nobody needed a Titanic fighting game for the NES. For some of the most hilarious knock-off toys China has to offer, click here.