you've followed emulation for any length of time, you know that ROM
hacks are, by and large, pure crap. Hell, a good 98% of hackers just
add the words "fuk" and "ass" into the sprites, draw penises on
everything else, deface the text, and call it a job well done.
in an ice age, though, someone will actually go to great lengths to
churn out a well-designed game with some genuinely inventive ideas - so
many, in fact, that you'd swear it was a professionally made product.
Mario Adventure is one of these. I could go and explain all the cool
and creative stuff in this ROM in text, but what the hell - I snapped a
handful of screenshots, so let's take a look at World 1 firsthand.
first of all, you start out in the "warp zone", which in this game
serves as a hub world. You can skip to any of the seven main stages,
rather than having to start from Grass Land and work your way up as in
the original. Don't think you can just skip to the last world right
away, though - you'll have to go through all of these stages in due
time, as we'll see shortly.All of the worlds are completely rearranged.
is no mere "change a few stage elements to make things harder" hack as
you'll quickly discover - every stage is built from scratch, and ones
that are a straight run to the exit are actually fairly rare - most
have you traversing mazes or solving a small puzzle in order to get to
the exit. Some stage elements are also made significantly tougher -
Pirahna Plants move in more irregular patterns, Lakitus hurl bombs,
Giant Hammer Brothers can't be stomped, and cannons fire much more
rapidly, to name a few.
is an example of one of the game's puzzles. On the right you have a
wall of blocks, surrounded by solid note blocks so you can't hit them
with a shell or tail attack. So what do you do here?
stomp the Shyguy over to the left (their masks double as Koopa shells
in this game), float down here, and use the shell to hit the bottom
block, revealing a potion (the equivalent of the P-switch). Then you
make a tricky jump back up, hit the potion, and you can pass through
the blocks as they temporarily turn
into coins. If you screw up somehow, you can enter the pipe on the left
end of the area to reset everything and try again.
else you may have noticed is that the game no longer keeps track of
extra lives - essentially, you never run out (which is handy for some
of the tougher levels). As a result, coins also play a new role - you
can collect up to 9999 of them, and must "spend" them at the Mushroom
Houses to buy powerups. The "scrambled picture" minigame also gives you
a chance to earn powerups, rather than lives, and 1-Up mushrooms found
in stages now award 50 coins.
new to this hack are "weather" effects in each stage - any given stage
can feature daytime, nighttime, rain or snowy weather. Day, night and
rain are primarily cosmetic (though some enemies are harder to see on a
dark background), but snow makes the ground slippery as if you were in
an ice stage, which makes most stages much harder than they were before
- and considering they're already pretty tough in this hack, that's no
minor threat. Fortunately, snow doesn't come up very often, and if you
die on a stage it will reroll the weather effect so you can hopefully
get something more favorable next time.Rain is also handy for seeing where the hidden blocks are.
in the game are also given a complete overhaul. For one thing, you can
store one in reserve, and swap between your current and stored powerups
on the fly via the Select button. But even bigger than that is the fact
that every powerup with the exception of the Raccoon Leaf has been
Fire Mario"'s fireballs now fly straight ahead and can fly through
solid objects (though they curve slightly as they travel through them).
Mario" replaces the Tanooki suit. Rather than turning him into an
invincible statue temporarily, this one lets him duck behind background
elements at any time, as if he had knelt down on a white block for 5
seconds. While in this form, you can also stomp some enemies that
weren't stompable before (like Piranha Plants).
Fire Fire Mario, Magic Mario fires projectiles straight ahead that pass
through solid objects; these don't curve on contact, however. This form
can also take three hits before reverting to Super Mario.
Warp Whistle also has a new function, taking you to an area full of
power-ups and coin blocks. They're also fairly common as prizes, being
winnable in the scrambled picture minigame and as a reward for
defeating one of the Koopa Kids. A handy way to arm yourself up for a
particularly tough stage.
And last, but certainly not least...
Shoe! This vastly underused powerup from the original game is now a
much more common sight, and can even be carried between stages. You
even have the option to "store" it for a later section by pressing Up +
B; inputting the command again recalls it.
yeah, this isn't just a straightforward "clear-each-stage-as-they-come"
style of game either. You have to do a fair bit of scavenging to find
the keys, unlock the seven gates and complete the game. Each Koopa Kid
you defeat will give you a clue for where to find one of them. This
one's designed to keep you playing for a while. However, our benevolent
hacker was kind enough to modify the game to use a virtual battery
backup - when you exit the game and restart, you'll keep all of your
powerups and collected coins, and any worlds you've cleared will still
In closing, Mario Adventure is a hack of outstanding
quality. Hell, it almost feels like a completely new game with its
redone graphics, original gameplay elements and slight puzzle bent.
It's very challenging but rarely becomes frustrating, has some
downright inspired stage design, and aside from an occasional graphical glitch
, it's incredibly well programmed. Download it
! Load it up in FCE Ultra! Play it! Love it.
One-line Synopsis: A fantastic hack of one of the all-time greats.