In fact, it's a practise which continues to this day, albeit it slightly more disguised terms. Why, were it not for games playing fast and loose with copyright laws we'd never have had the Resident Evil series. Lest we forget, the first game in that franchise shamelessly "played homage" to Infogrames' Alone in the Dark. Imagine how the creators of that game must feel.
The choice is yours.
Still. Never mind. One of the first, most notoriously - oh-hoh! - aped games ever was Nintendo's original arcade classic Donkey Kong.
Here are but ten dubious attempts to recreate that Nintendo magic without being sued.
The kidnapped "beautiful woman" - a weirdly-proportioned blonde who looks as much mantis as female - is here depicted as being beneath the ape; in Donkey Kong she was imprisoned at the gorilla's side.
Perhaps this was so that Kongo Kong can express his dominance and power by urinating on her. You know: like presidents do.
Alas, this rather pretty game didn't translate too well to home systems (although check out the ape: he got da moves...!).