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MrFlibble

Free alternatives to classic/well-known games

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Not long ago I've become interested in free games whose authors seem to consciously imitate well-known classics, or at least closely follow them in design. If a commercial game of this kind could be considered a "clone" (made to repeat the original's success on the market), freeware games usually aim for accurate recreation of the game's atmosphere and mechanics, as people behind them are more often that not dedicated fans of the originals.

Below is a list of such games that I've found so far. I've tried not to include projects that make use of copyrighted material (e.g. resources from the original game), or engine recreation projects that require original game files to play. There are also no free-to-play, play in your browser or multiplayer-only games.

1. Free content replacement for original engine/engine recreation

Battle Isle 2200
o Advanced Strategic Command
Doom
o Freedoom (Doom engine)
Duke Nukem
o Dave Gnukem [download]
The Great Giana Sisters
o OpenGGS
Half-Life
o Black Mesa (Source)
Heretic
o Blasphemer (Doom engine)
Hexen: Beyond Heretic
o Zauberer (Doom engine)
M.A.X.: Mechanized Assault & Exploration
o Mechanized Assault & eXploration Reloaded
Panzer General II
o OpenGeneral
Quake
o Open Quartz (QuakeForge, DarkPlaces)
o OpenQuartz 2 (DarkPlaces)
o OQPlus (QuakeForge, DarkPlaces) [SVN]
Quake III: Arena
o OpenArena (Quake III engine)
o World of Padman (Quake III engine)
RPGMaker
o EasyRPG
Total Annihilation
o Zero-K (Spring RTS Engine)
Transport Tycoon Deluxe
o OpenTTD
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
o Aleona's Tales (Stratagus)
X-COM: Enemy Unknown
o UFO2000

2. Freeware clones

A-Train
o FreeTrain
Carrier Command
o Thunder&Lightning
Chip's Challenge
o Tile World
Crayon Physics
o Numpty Physics
Crimsonland
o Violetland
Dungeon Keeper
o Dungeon Digger
o OpenDungeons
Elasto Mania
o X-Moto
Elite
o Galaxias
o Oolite
Escape Velocity
o NAEV
Guitar Hero
o Frets on Fire
Herzog Zwei
o Herzog 3D
Lemmings
o Lix
o Pingus
Lode Runner
o SDL Scavenger
Master of Magic
o Continents [download]
Microsoft Flight Simulator
o FlightGear
Minecraft
o Manic Digger
o Minetest
OutRun
o RunOut
Paratrooper
o Dragon Fire
Planet Defender
o Planetary Defense
Railroad Tycoon
o FreeRails
o FreeRails II
o Railz2
Rescue!
o Rescue! Max
RPGMaker
o Advanced RPG Maker
o Mokoi Gaming
o Open Legends
o Open RPG Maker
o Sphere RPG Engine
Robot Odyssey
o DroidQuest
o Gate
Scorched Earth
o Atomic Tanks
Secret Agent
o Special Agent
Sentinel
o Sentry
The Settlers II: Veni, Vidi, Vici
o Widelands
Sid Meier's Civilization II
o Freeciv
Sid Meier's Colonization
o FreeCol
SimCity
o Lincity
o Lincity NG
o Micropolis
Stars!
o Stars! Nova
Stunts
o Ultimate Stunts
Super Mario Bros.
o Giana Worlds [download]
o Giant Sisters
o Secret Maryo Chronicles
o SuperTux
Super Mario Kart
o SuperTuxKart
Total Annihilation
o Robotic War
Transport Tycoon Deluxe
o Simutrans
Turrican
o T2002
Warlords
o Hostile Takeover
Warlords II
o FreeLords
o LordsAWar!
Wing Commander
o Flight Commander
Wing Commander: Privateer
o Vega Strike
Worms
o Hedgewars
o WarMUX

3. Free games inspired by classic titles (not exact remakes)

Age of Empires
o 0 A.D.
Anno series
o Unknown Horizons
Battle Isle 2200
o Crimson Fields
Battlefield series, Call of Duty series
o Blacklight: Retribution
Bos Wars, Command & Conquer: Red Alert
o Commander Stalin
BoulderDash, Emerald Mine, Supaplex, Sokoban
o Rocks'n'Diamonds
Castle of the Winds, Ancient Domains of Mystery
o Fame
Castlevania series
o Return of Egypt
Celtic Legends, Heroes of Might and Magic, Civilization
o Legendary Legions
Command & Conquer series
o Annex: Conquer the World
o Dark Konflict
Dark Colony
o Dark Hive
Descent
o Sublevel Zero (prototype) [download]
Diablo
o Fire & Dragons
o Flare
o FreedroidRPG
o Gates of Destiny
o Summoning Wars
Doom
o Harmony
Doom, Quake etc.
o Cube
o Cube 2: Sauerbraten
Dune II
o Arrakis
Earthworm Jim
o Kapitan Binarny
Empire Deluxe
o GEMpire
Fleet Command, Harpoon
o Global Conflict Blue
Frontier: Elite II
o Pioneer
Gradius, Castlevania, R-Type
o Hydorah
Grand Prix Legends
o Dolphinity Racer
Grand Theft Auto series
o Crimelife
o Crimelife 2
o Crimelife III
Gun
o Guns and Spurs
Half-Life: Counterstrike
o AssaultCube
o Assault Cube Reloaded
o Urban Terror
Heroes of Might and Magic series
o Knights of War
KKnD, StarCraft
o Bos Wars
Lost Vikings
o Lost Snowmen
Master of Magic
o Leylines
Master of Orion
o FreeOrion
Natural Selection
o Tremulous
o Unvanquished
Oxyd, Rock'n'Roll
o Enigma
Populous
o Reprisal
Puzzle Bobble
o Frozen Bubble
o Hex Bubbles
o Zorx
Quake III: Arena, Unreal Tournament
o Alien Arena
o Arena of Honour
o Nexuiz Classic
o Red Eclipse
o Warsow
o Xonotic
R-Type
o GazerStar
Scorched Earth
o Scorched3D
Sid Meier's Civilization II
o C-evo
o Conquests
SimCity
o City of Rauma
o Kylavanem
o OpenCity
Star Wars: TIE Fighter, Descent: Freespace
o Space Combat
StarCraft
o Priority: Survive
Solar Fox
o Solar Wolf
Super Monkey Ball
o Neverball
Turrican series
o Hurrican
Ultima series
o The Kingdom of Syree
o Nazghul
o Untima IX: Descension
o Zorak: The Mountain of Terror
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
o Dark Oberon
o Wyrmsun
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
o Glest
o MegaGlest
Warsong, Master of Monsters
o The Battle for Wesnoth
Warlords II
o The Wargame Project
Wizardry VII
o Escape From The Maze
o LostHero - Story of Gilgamesh
X-COM: Enemy Unknown
o Project Xenocide
o UFO: Alien Invasion
o X-Force: Fight for Destiny

4. Board game implementations

Diplomacy
o Ludus Regius
Risk
o JavaRisk
o NetRisk
o OpenFracas
o yura.net Domination
Space Hulk
o Alien Assault
Titan
o Colossus

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Drooling Eye's Wander The List. AWWWWESOME...

Although, at first glance, I didn't notice you had them into 4 categories. (add colours? :) )

 

If the Twilight series was still out there. They could put these all together.

It's free anyway.

 

What about open source projects? A category 5?

Warzone 2100 is one of such projects. It's completely legal too.

 

Perhaps numbering them from how much they look like the original game. The higher the number, the more it looks like the original game?

 

That post needs a lot of likes.

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If the Twilight series was still out there. They could put these all together.

It's free anyway.

What's the Twilight series?

 

What about open source projects? A category 5?

Warzone 2100 is one of such projects. It's completely legal too.

The problem with open source games is that there aren't a lot of those that have both the engine and the game data released for free (I assume you mean formerly commercial games that went open source - otherwise there are quite a few open source games on the list already, such as FreeCiv, Lincuty etc.). I have mentioned some of them, like Seven Kingdoms, in the free games thread.

That said, the "free alternatives" thread started as an attempt to find really free games (and not formerly commercial ones) that were created with the goal of serving as a "free (and in many cases, open source) version" of certain commercial games. Freedoom and OpenArena are prime examples of this.

At some point I was considering including liberated games too, with entries like "Warzone 2100 = free alternative to Earth 2150" but after some pondering I decided that this was counter-productive.

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The twilight series was somewhat illegal. But mostly legal.

And eventually they only had the legal demo's on the disks. And where sold in the shops.

They had all kind of games compiled together that where just out, or about to get out. For the player to see. Some sort of commercial cd.

 

But these days you can download demo's from the creators sites. There wasn't much internet back then. And getting a full cd would take much much longer. I guess internet killed the twilight series.

 


"Warzone 2100 = free alternative to Earth 2150"

That sounds a bit confusing. Warzone 2100 is the predecessor to Earth 2150. It almost sounds like that Warzone 2100 is based on Earth 2150 :D

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The twilight series was somewhat illegal. But mostly legal.

And eventually they only had the legal demo's on the disks. And where sold in the shops.

They had all kind of games compiled together that where just out, or about to get out. For the player to see. Some sort of commercial cd.

 

But these days you can download demo's from the creators sites. There wasn't much internet back then. And getting a full cd would take much much longer. I guess internet killed the twilight series.

I assume you're talking about some shovelware CD compilations? In Russia there were plenty of those, mostly completely pirated stuff. Someone has recently uploaded a whole bunch of images of such CDs to archive.org, with no one caring :P

 

That sounds a bit confusing. Warzone 2100 is the predecessor to Earth 2150. It almost sounds like that Warzone 2100 is based on Earth 2150 :D

Frankly I don't think that the chronological order is very important if one wishes to play a similar game. It is that I believe that although similarities should be noted and taken into account, it is not the same thing as "freeware clones" so to speak, or free/open source content replacements for the original engine.

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http://osgameclones.com/ features an ever growing list as you can contribute your findings there.

 

I miss http://open-ra.org (Dune 2000, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert), http://rttr.info which reimplements Settlers II as well as the various projects which reimplement Dune II like http://dunelegacy.sourceforge.nethttp://www.opendune.org and http://dunedynasty.sourceforge.net on your list.

 

For Dungeon Keeper this Starcraft II mod looks pretty cool http://www.moddb.com/mods/hive-keeper

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I know about the Open Source Game Clones website and have contacted its author in the past. However, as you may have noticed, it is primarily focused on engine recreations rather than complete games or open source data sets like Freedoom (which is actually the opposite of game engine recreations).

I miss http://open-ra.org (Dune 2000, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert), http://rttr.info which reimplements Settlers II as well as the various projects which reimplement Dune II like http://dunelegacy.sourceforge.nethttp://www.opendune.org and http://dunedynasty.sourceforge.net on your list.

None of these can be considered "free alternatives" IMO because they all require original game data to play. I've also heard that, unlike OpenDUNE for example (which is a result of reverse-engineering of the original Dune II game executable), OpenRA doesn't accurately reproduce the game mechanics of the original Command & Conquer games (despite using respective game data). C&C and Red Alert are freeware anyway.

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I see. In that case have a look at http://www.urbanterror.info/ which is inspired by Counter-Strike, but using the Quake 3 engine with their own assets. Also the various http://osgameclones.com/#Minecraft-clones which sometimes even predate the popular commercial title which itself is just an Infiniminer clone. http://simutrans.com also fits better into your list as it is not a clone like OpenTTD, but something that started with own assets and ideas in the first place.

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Oh and you are linking Glest, but the fork still in development is http://megaglest.org here. Also SpringRTS is more like a project like OpenRA which reimplements a classic game engine. You probably want something like http://zero-k.info/ in your list instead. As you can see, I am also pretty much obsessed with this topic. :)

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I just discovered the games collection of Daniel Remar, aka, Ultimortal. Not really alternatives to any specific games, but there's a load of fun shooters and puzzle games in there, and they're all free.

http://www.remar.se/daniel/games.php

"Iji" is definitely worth playing. It's a bit of a mix of classic platformer shooters, and games like Deus Ex, having a leveling system that allows you to choose specialization of skills, and the choice to either kill enemies or evade them. Interestingly, the storyline actually gets subtle changes depending on that, and I found the 100% pacifistic run to be loads more fun, because you get to talk to people who would otherwise simply be nameless enemies :)

(there are some small details you actually have to know to succeed in a pacifistic run, though. Certain not-too-obvious choices have to be made in the game or you simply can't avoid killing, especially in some boss fights. Also, a boss fight where you get an ally actually helping you to defeat the boss? So bloody epic :D)

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I see. In that case have a look at http://www.urbanterror.info/ which is inspired by Counter-Strike, but using the Quake 3 engine with their own assets. Also the various http://osgameclones.com/#Minecraft-clones which sometimes even predate the popular commercial title which itself is just an Infiniminer clone. http://simutrans.com also fits better into your list as it is not a clone like OpenTTD, but something that started with own assets and ideas in the first place.

Simutrans is on the list, section two :)

I know very little about Minecraft, thanks for the link and info, this certainly warrants investigation (when I have time that is).

Urban Terror - have heard/read about this one but somehow it didn't occur to me to put it on the list.

Oh and you are linking Glest, but the fork still in development is http://megaglest.org here.

Again, thanks for pointing that out, I haven't gotten around to personally check Glest yet, I am aware of the various branches (including one that is focussed on ancient civilizations or something, although I forgot the title)

 

Also SpringRTS is more like a project like OpenRA which reimplements a classic game engine. You probably want something like http://zero-k.info/ in your list instead.

It's not like I'm against game engine recreations per se, it's just that those of them that do not have their own assets have little use as free games, because they are obviously not stand-alone products. Several game engine recreations, like OpenTTD, OpenGeneral and UFO2000, have included an option to use free, open source data sets as an alternative to the data of the respective original games that they recreate. In these cases it is perfectly possible to get a free game without the need to own the original.

If OpenRA does have a similar feature of free alternate data sets, then I have to apologize because I wasn't aware of this.

To be honest, I never really bothered to check all the Spring Engine games, perhaps I should just put Zero-K and maybe also Evolution RTS on the list instead.

 

I just discovered the games collection of Daniel Remar, aka, Ultimortal. Not really alternatives to any specific games, but there's a load of fun shooters and puzzle games in there, and they're all free.

http://www.remar.se/daniel/games.php

"Iji" is definitely worth playing. It's a bit of a mix of classic side scroller shooter, and games like Deus Ex, having a leveling system that allows you to choose specialization of skills, and the choice to either kill enemies or evade them. Interestingly, the storyline actually gets subtle changes depending on that, and I found the 100% pacifistic run to be loads more fun, because you get to talk to people who would otherwise simply be nameless enemies :)

(there are some small details you actually have to know to succeed in a pacifistic run, though. Certain not-too-obvious choices have to be made in the game or you simply can't avoid killing, especially in some boss fights. Also, a boss fight where you get an ally actually helping you to defeat the boss? So bloody epic :D)

I've heard about Iji, and it seems like a worthy game, but again, haven't found the time to actually try it out yet :)

Anyway guys, thanks for all the feedback, much appreciated ^_^

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Updated the list with the following games:

Command & Conquer series

Dungeon KeeperThe Great Giana SistersHerzog ZweiRailroad TycoonRescue!Total AnnihilationFleet Command, HarpoonWarcraft II: Tides of Darkness

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Feudal Wars is a project of a free browser-based medieval RTS inspired by Age of Empires II. The list of features can be found here, and the project messageboard showcases the graphics and other stuff already done.

According to the FAQ, there will be a kickstarter for the game at some point. There seem to be no plans for a non-browser versions for now, but perhaps the authors will agree to release their assets into public domain and those could be combined with the OpenAge engine recreation of AoE2.

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I haven't updated the list in a long while, but there's no reason not to. Some links were fixed, a few more titles added. Also the list formatting should be more reader-friendly.

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