Redesigned 8-bit and 16-bit games (Some unbelievable!)

#1
I've always been interested in the game hacking community, especially when they redesign a game to the nth degree, create a new genre with an established game, or totally convert a game to something else.

I've created this thread to share some media for these projects.

Extra Mario Bros

This redesign of Super Mario Bros is a marvel. Rather than a level-by-level system, the engine has been redesigned to be more like Metroid, with a series of linked sectors in a large world (which you can backtrack through). Through exploration, Mario earns permanent upgrades such as terrain-destroying fireballs, different types of projectile, different types of boots (so Mario can walk on Lava) keys and double-jumping, allowing him to progress further.

The game also offers multiple endings dependent on percentage of items collected. Should you collect them all, the final boss changes to a huge Bowser (more impressive than it sounds, especially on the NES).

It is worth noting that this is NOT a hack of the Metroid Engine (as would usually be the case with hacks). It is the Mario Engine, re-programmed with an arsenal of new capabilities. This is why I consider it notable. Extra Mario Bros is a tough (but fair) game, which rewards exploration with constant suprises.














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Brutal Mario

This redesign of Super Mario World is notable for many things. There are many hacks that create new levels for Mario to complete, but this hack introduces new types of levels and puzzles. For example, one level objective is to chase an accelerating Yoshi through dangerous terrain (get back onto Yoshi to complete it - harder than it sounds!). Another is to have Yoshi eat a certain amount and a certain type of enemy as the timer counts down. Another returns Mario to his spaceship from Super Mario Land. And I must mention the samarai-sword speed-reaction level, in which Mario must unsheath a sword faster than his opponent.

The most impressive quality of Brutal Mario though, which has earned it prestige in the hacking community, is the spectacular boss battles. The designer has reprogrammed the game's assembly code to allow fights beyond the engine's capabilities. This results in some very unique fights between Mario, and an armada of gaming heroes and villains. I'll let the shots show who they are











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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - Long Edition

I mention this hack because it fulfils a old childhood fantasy of mine - to play through the cut levels of Sonic 2. Sonic 2 was originally concieved with four additional zones. These were: Hidden Palace Zone; Wood Zone; Dust Hill Zone; and Genocide City Zone. Some of these (Palace, Wood) were partially playable in the Sonic 2 Beta, whereas Dust Hill only existed as a screenshot, and City had no released media at all. This hack adds them into the game in a believable way, with art styles and level design that suits the overall game. The subtlety in which the levels have been integrated into the back into the game made me feel the hack was worth mentioning.
















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The Legend of Zelda - Parallel Worlds

This five-year long undertaking involved taking the Link to the Past engine, adding and reprogramming it though assembly language, and creating a brand new Zelda game from it. There are no dungeons, or any parts of the overworlds, that are not changed. The game is entirely redesigned from the ground up, and comes with new levels, new items, new music and a new story. I have only just started playing this, but have been very, very impressed so far. It feels like a new, challenging 16-bit Zelda, something which I hadn't expected to see again.













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The Legend of Zelda - The Seeds of Time

Finally, I wanted to mention an in-the-works hack that has come to my attention. This hack uses the Super Mario World engine to create a new Legend of Zelda game. The idea is bold, to make an Adventures of Link-style game, but my cynical nature was quelled when I saw it in motion. It looks superb, and I very much look forward to its release, whenever that will be.











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The Second Reality Project

This is an impressive redesign of Super Mario World, a huge game in which Mario explores levels from the Mario series history, and from other games. What I consider most impressive about this hack is that it is more than just the novelty of travelling through Green Hill, Scrap Brain, Dreamland, etc. It is the consistent and wonderful level design. This is a fun, if challenging (and savestate-dependent), adventure.














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Sonic 1 Megamix (v4)

If there was a fault with this production, it would be the humble name it goes by. Sonic 1 Megamix is one of the paragons of 16-bit hacking. The project's ambition seemed to have passed the limits of the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis, and is now a Sega-CD production. In this game, you will find a project with more Sonic-ness about it than any Sonic game of the last decade.

Sonic Megamix takes the basic structure of Sonic 1 (Green level/Castle Level/Spring Level, etc) and remakes them using:

-Multiple characters, with unique movesets and abilities
-Superior Level Designs (multiple paths depending on exploration, skill, character ability)
-Superb music choice that changes per act rather than per zone.
-Perfect control - Sonic's moveset is assembled from the best the series has to offer, especially the legendary Sonic CD, and including modern Sonic movements such as homing attack and momentum boosts.
-New bosses, with multiple forms.
-Save functionality.
-Incredible, appropriate graphics which continue to suprise while maintaing the Sonic 16-bit artstyle

There are loads more to mention, but discover that for yourself. Here is a game that understands exactly what Sonic is about. Its not about pure speed, its a game of momentum, choice, depth and balance.

This production is vital, not only to those interested in hacking, but to all gamers. I cannot undersell this exceptional team-effort short.


















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Super Metroid Redesign

Metroid Redesign is a very impressive, very expansive remake of Zebes. Other than the opening station level, no other part of the world is designed in the same way. Though a fan-production, this game knows what Metroid gameplay and design is, and has been embraced by many Metroid fans, and especially the Metroid speedrun and sequence-breaking community. I would consider this to be a wonderful, more challenging "Second Quest" to Super Metroid.

The game expects you to have completed Super Metroid, and to natively understand wall-jumping and shinesparking. In return for your skill, Zebes now has a revised physics system, new abilities to collect and exploit, and a number of novel twists on a classic. Highly recommended, but have patience. Veterans will embrace the challenges provided by this two-year production.









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Mario Adventure

Mario Adventure is a collosal, deep Mario game crafted using the Super Mario Bros 3 engine. This production is widely regarded as one of the most impressive NES hacks ever produced, and only a few minutes of playtime can make you believe this status.

The game takes the Mario 3 eight-world structure, creates new stages and worlds, and infuses the overall package with some adventure-game qualities, such as exploration and non-linear approaches to worlds. The objective is to explore each world (in order of your choice), and through clues provided upon defeating bosses and fortresses, locate that world's secret key. These seven keys are well hidden, but the clues are substantial. Upon claiming the seven keys, Mario can unlock to path to World eight, and the endgame.

There is a tremendous amount here to like, and for anyone interested in either game redesigns, or 2D Mario games, it comes highly recommended. An addictive, consuming piece of work.










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#3
you know it's kinda hard to take a mario hack seriosly when it features secret of mana bosses è_e who's the final one? kefka? sephiroth?
 
#4
Is that the Mario sprites from Super Mario Land 2 on the Game Boy hacked into an NES game? :lol

Awesome.

Those Zelda hacks look really interesting.
 
#7
Mama Robotnik said:
Some of these (Palace, Wood) were partially playable in the Sonic 2 Beta, whereas Dust Hill only existed as a screenshot, and City had no released media at all.
This hasn't been true for about three years now.

GCZ concept art

It was slated to be a one level zone positioned after Metropolis. The level design was finished but the art hadn't even been started, so the zone was scrapped and the level design was reworked into Metropolis Zone's Act 3.

Nice topic, however. Some of these look very intriguing.
 
#9
Its nice to see there is interest in this. In a few hours if people like, I can do a few more! (there are some amazing redesigns to cover).

Sciz said:
This hasn't been true for about three years now.

GCZ concept art

It was slated to be a one level zone positioned after Metropolis. The level design was finished but the art hadn't even been started, so the zone was scrapped and the level design was reworked into Metropolis Zone's Act 3.

Nice topic, however. Some of these look very intriguing.
I stand corrected. Thanks, I love the Sonic cut material stuff!
 

GDJustin

stuck my tongue deep inside Atlus' cookies
#11
I was familiar with all these but the 2D zelda romhack (which looks awesome).

So.. cheers for bringing it to my attention :)
 
#13
So how do you make this topic without mentioning Sonic Megamix :p

Full-on Sonic 1 conversion that's unfortunately been discontinued. In work for some time and already featuring new level art, layouts, and even bosses. Also notable for being the first Sonic hack converted into a Sega CD game.

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No link to it, as the final release is in ISO form.
 

dark10x

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#14
Some of those rom hacks just go a bit too far. To be honest, the best are often those that focus on providing more of what we loved about the original games.

For instance...

http://datacrystal.org/wiki/Super_Mario_World:_Return_to_Dinosaur_Land

I thought this was absolutely one of the best rom hacks I have played simply because it didn't attempt to go beyond the limits of what Mario World is supposed to be. The levels are all extremely well designed. The challenge level ramps up nicely, the puzzles are often clever, and it's a ton of fun. I think the level design is superior to Nintendo's own New Super Mario Bros, to be honest. It's really worth trying. A friend and I played all the way through this hack and had an absolute blast. Stuff like Brutal Mario is nifty, but it has this unpolished hacked together feel. It's as if the designers wanted nothing more than to cram as much wierd stuff into every level rather than focusing on what made the original game so good.
 
#19
Parallel Worlds isn't as hot as you think. The first dungeon is just stupidly annoying. You go through 90% of it completely unarmed while dodging enemies and spike traps everywhere.
 

GDJustin

stuck my tongue deep inside Atlus' cookies
#20
dark10x said:
Some of those rom hacks just go a bit too far. To be honest, the best are often those that focus on providing more of what we loved about the original games.

For instance...

http://datacrystal.org/wiki/Super_Mario_World:_Return_to_Dinosaur_Land

I thought this was absolutely one of the best rom hacks I have played simply because it didn't attempt to go beyond the limits of what Mario World is supposed to be. The levels are all extremely well designed. The challenge level ramps up nicely, the puzzles are often clever, and it's a ton of fun. I think the level design is superior to Nintendo's own New Super Mario Bros, to be honest. It's really worth trying. A friend and I played all the way through this hack and had an absolute blast. Stuff like Brutal Mario is nifty, but it has this unpolished hacked together feel. It's as if the designers wanted nothing more than to cram as much wierd stuff into every level rather than focusing on what made the original game so good.
I agree 100%. The best romhacks are basically 2D sequels that we never (and never will) get. Just thinking about them makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. It's like... Super Mario World may be over and done with, but I know that every couple years, some enterprising fans will come out with a new set of levels for me to run through.
 

Andrex

ὁ αἴσχιστος παῖς εἶ
#21
I wanted to play Parallel Worlds when it came out but I couldn't get it to work. :/
 
#22
Mama Robotnik said:
Its nice to see there is interest in this. In a few hours if people like, I can do a few more! (there are some amazing redesigns to cover).



I stand corrected. Thanks, I love the Sonic cut material stuff!
Please continue posting them. I didn't know about these. I love this stuff.
 
#23
jman2050 said:
So how do you make this topic without mentioning Sonic Megamix :p

Full-on Sonic 1 conversion that's unfortunately been discontinued. In work for some time and already featuring new level art, layouts, and even bosses. Also notable for being the first Sonic hack converted into a Sega CD game.

Video 1
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No link to it, as the final release is in ISO form.
Sonic Megamix is indeed really freaking good. Loved playing through it.
 

dark10x

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#25
1up said:
Sonic Megamix is indeed really freaking good. Loved playing through it.
I'm going to try the final version later. I had played through an older version (before it was converted to SegaCD) and while it was fun, I thought the levels were TOO long for their own good and there was a TON of slowdown. They pushed the engine too far, basically. Does the final version at least manage to hold 60 fps the majority of the time? Sonic CD had too much slowdown for my liking and it had tainted the long term impression of the game and I fear this will suffer as well.
 
#26
dark10x said:
Some of those rom hacks just go a bit too far. To be honest, the best are often those that focus on providing more of what we loved about the original games.
That's one opinion, sure. The other is that it's interesting to see what people can accomplish no matter what the goal, and telling them to limit themselves to just giving us more of the original game seems a bit silly.

I've tried ROM hacking once in my life - I was trying to make a new Metroid game where the planet Samus was exploring was completely ice-themed. I got a good start on it, then realized how much a pain in the ass even that low lever of hacking (changing around sprites, re-arranging the world) is.
 
#29
The last version of Sonic Megamix is actually a Mega CD iso, so you can burn and play it directly on the original hardware. :D



Great thing about this hack is even if you don't like the new stages or gameplay styles you can mix and match between those and the original.
 

dark10x

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#30
shidoshi said:
That's one opinion, sure. The other is that it's interesting to see what people can accomplish no matter what the goal, and telling them to limit themselves to just giving us more of the original game seems a bit silly.

I've tried ROM hacking once in my life - I was trying to make a new Metroid game where the planet Samus was exploring was completely ice-themed. I got a good start on it, then realized how much a pain in the ass even that low lever of hacking (changing around sprites, re-arranging the world) is.
Oh, I think it's neat when people try really ambitious stuff, but the results generally aren't as playable or fun. That doesn't mean I don't respect what they do in a different way. Different hacks are designed for different reasons.
 
#32
Wow cool, I could play that Zelda Parallel Worlds hack legally, since I own a retail copy of the original. How much work is it to patch a ROM?

Wait, I could actually play all those hacks legally, since I own retail copies of all those titles!
 
#33
I always wanted a direct follow-up to ALttP with the same attention to level design and exploration. They haven't quite captured the same magic since (came close with LA and OoT).
 
#35
Where can I play these?

Gagaman said:
The last version of Sonic Megamix is actually a Mega CD iso, so you can burn and play it directly on the original hardware. :D

http://i37.tinypic.com/zsqukj.jpg/IMG]

Great thing about this hack is even if you don't like the new stages or gameplay styles you can mix and match between those and the original.[/QUOTE]
Now that is freaking cool.
 
#37
dark10x said:
I'm going to try the final version later. I had played through an older version (before it was converted to SegaCD) and while it was fun, I thought the levels were TOO long for their own good and there was a TON of slowdown. They pushed the engine too far, basically. Does the final version at least manage to hold 60 fps the majority of the time? Sonic CD had too much slowdown for my liking and it had tainted the long term impression of the game and I fear this will suffer as well.
Actually, by looking at Sonic 3's code, I was able to apply a fundamental change to the engine that pretty much eliminated 95% of the lag that was present in previous versions. There's virtually no slowdown now, and it's that much more awesome as a result.

dark10x said:
Oh, I think it's neat when people try really ambitious stuff, but the results generally aren't as playable or fun. That doesn't mean I don't respect what they do in a different way. Different hacks are designed for different reasons.
I can say that the Megamix team really strived to aim for a classic, yet new, Sonic feel with the game. Unfortunately, as it wasn't completed, many of our goals don't really show in the final product :(
 

dark10x

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#39
jman2050 said:
Actually, by looking at Sonic 3's code, I was able to apply a fundamental change to the engine that pretty much eliminated 95% of the lag that was present in previous versions. There's virtually no slowdown now, and it's that much more awesome as a result.

I can say that the Megamix team really strived to aim for a classic, yet new, Sonic feel with the game. Unfortunately, as it wasn't completed, many of our goals don't really show in the final product :(
Wow, I didn't realize you worked on it! That's awesome!

Sonic Megamix is actually an example of something that is both ambitious yet true to the original spirit. I was talking more about hacks that just throw in random sprites from other games (or other such garish things) and end up looking completely mishmashed as a result.

If you worked on coding this, could you comment on the engine behind the game. Is it still based on the Sonic the Hedgehog or has it been heavily modified? I noticed that there is, overall, less parallax scrolling used in the game when compared to Sonic 2-Knuckles as well. Engine limitation or design choice?

If the Sonic 1 engine was indeed the basis, do you have any insight into the reasoning behind building the game around that engine instead of, say, what was used in Sonic 2? Or, was this game built upon its own original code base with design cues from the actual retail titles?

I'm also wondering if you know anything about the map design process the game went through. I still have to try this final version, but that earlier version featured some VERY convoluted maps that seemed to present a complexity beyond what one would normally expect in a Sonic game.

I think it's an incredibly interesting project and is something I've passed on to friends who loved the old games. It's a shame the project ended early, but it's very thrilling to see what was completed. I can't wait to try the ISO later on today. Very exciting! This may very well be superior to any other 2D Sonic game since the Genesis days. :p
 
#40
dark10x said:
Wow, I didn't realize you worked on it! That's awesome!

Sonic Megamix is actually an example of something that is both ambitious yet true to the original spirit. I was talking more about hacks that just throw in random sprites from other games (or other such garish things) and end up looking completely mishmashed as a result.
Thanks. I'm merely one of the programmers though. I did some cool things with the game but it was definitely a team effort, and the whole conversion to Sega CD was done by Stealth, who is quite brilliant in his work. For reference, he's the dude who did Knuckles in Sonic 1.

If you worked on coding this, could you comment on the engine behind the game. Is it still based on the Sonic the Hedgehog or has it been heavily modified? I noticed that there is, overall, less parallax scrolling used in the game when compared to Sonic 2-Knuckles as well. Engine limitation or design choice?
This is basically a straight hack of Sonic 1, though heavily modified as you'd expect. There were many things that were added and coded based on the work already done in Sonic 2 and Sonic and Knuckles. The elemtental shields just to present an obvious example. The lack of parallax scrolling has more to do with the fact that it's unfinished than anything else.

If the Sonic 1 engine was indeed the basis, do you have any insight into the reasoning behind building the game around that engine instead of, say, what was used in Sonic 2? Or, was this game built upon its own original code base with design cues from the actual retail titles?
I believe I answered the latter above. The main reason it as based on Sonic 1's code is because, well, that's where it was started when the project wasn't as ambitious and only one person was working on it (I came onto the team later on).

I'm also wondering if you know anything about the map design process the game went through. I still have to try this final version, but that earlier version featured some VERY convoluted maps that seemed to present a complexity beyond what one would normally expect in a Sonic game.
The map design, as I understand it, was designed around the new abilities of Sonic and friends. Sort of a melding of classic and adventure styles as I said earlier. Along with this line of thinking, the general themes and structures of each level are retained from their original counterparts, but most of the details are redesigned to make it play like a new game. At least, that's what we were trying to go for.

I think it's an incredibly interesting project and is something I've passed on to friends who loved the old games. It's a shame the project ended early, but it's very thrilling to see what was completed. I can't wait to try the ISO later on today. Very exciting! This may very well be superior to any other 2D Sonic game since the Genesis days. :p
I've actually played some better (unreleased) hacks, and while I think Megamix will stand as a grand technical achievement, it never got the work it needed to really become what we wanted it to be.
 

dark10x

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#43
Thanks for the response! Makes me wish I had the initiative to get into this kind of stuff. :p

This is basically a straight hack of Sonic 1, though heavily modified as you'd expect. There were many things that were added and coded based on the work already done in Sonic 2 and Sonic and Knuckles. The elemtental shields just to present an obvious example. The lack of parallax scrolling has more to do with the fact that it's unfinished than anything else.
How as the project worked on? Were tools developed to aid in the process or were you guys literally hard coding new stuff into existing code?

Pretty cool to see this ported to SegaCD. Any ideas if there were optimizations done to take advantage of SegaCD features or was this ported for space/distrubution reasons? I'd imagine that, had the project continued, the team could have gone as far as using redbook audio and everything. That would have been so cool. :D

You say you've played some great unreleased hacks (which obviously wouldn't be available), but can you recommend any other released hacks? I was somewhat unaware of any real work being done on Sonic level hacking until recently. I know Mario World received a huge boost when Lunar Magic was released, but I don't think such a tool exists for the Sonic games so hacking requires more work.
 
#45
dark10x said:
Some of those rom hacks just go a bit too far. To be honest, the best are often those that focus on providing more of what we loved about the original games.

For instance...

http://datacrystal.org/wiki/Super_Mario_World:_Return_to_Dinosaur_Land

I thought this was absolutely one of the best rom hacks I have played simply because it didn't attempt to go beyond the limits of what Mario World is supposed to be. The levels are all extremely well designed. The challenge level ramps up nicely, the puzzles are often clever, and it's a ton of fun. I think the level design is superior to Nintendo's own New Super Mario Bros, to be honest. It's really worth trying. A friend and I played all the way through this hack and had an absolute blast. Stuff like Brutal Mario is nifty, but it has this unpolished hacked together feel. It's as if the designers wanted nothing more than to cram as much wierd stuff into every level rather than focusing on what made the original game so good.
Never heard of this before. It is awesome so far.

Thank you!
 

dark10x

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#46
Cocopjojo said:
Never heard of this before. It is awesome so far.

Thank you!
Hope you enjoy it! The latter half of the hack is actually quite a bit better than the first (though very challenging). Hopefully you'll be as surprised as I was by the cleverness of some levels.

There is one level in the forest area that is a bit too tricky for its own good, though, but it's the only weak level I can recall. In general, it's pretty focused and awesome.
 

djtiesto

is beloved, despite what anyone might say
#48
Thanks for this! I've always been interested in trying out some of these hacks, but never knew which ones were good and which ones were made by a 14 year old amateur who simply changed a few sprites to add KKK hoods on enemies. Really interested in trying the Parallel Worlds game and especially the Sonic 2 extended version.
 

Enk

makes good threads.
#49
Posted this in another thread but it seems suitable for here:


Here's another fan made Mega Man game. It's an altered version of Mega Man 2 call Rock Man No Constancy. So far from my play through it is very well made and polished. It doesn't feel randomly put together like most other fan projects and actually has some thought out level designs. Music and graphics are different, and the bosses have changes in their attack patterns. Well worth seeking out if you are tired of playing if you're looking for something new in the classic Mega Mans.

It comes in two flavors: 'normal' which is hard but fair, and 'hard' which is fucking ridiculous. I'm not going to post a link but I'm sure if you're a bad enough dude you can find it.

VIDEO



 
#50
dark10x said:
Thanks for the response! Makes me wish I had the initiative to get into this kind of stuff. :p


How as the project worked on? Were tools developed to aid in the process or were you guys literally hard coding new stuff into existing code?

Pretty cool to see this ported to SegaCD. Any ideas if there were optimizations done to take advantage of SegaCD features or was this ported for space/distrubution reasons? I'd imagine that, had the project continued, the team could have gone as far as using redbook audio and everything. That would have been so cool. :D

You say you've played some great unreleased hacks (which obviously wouldn't be available), but can you recommend any other released hacks? I was somewhat unaware of any real work being done on Sonic level hacking until recently. I know Mario World received a huge boost when Lunar Magic was released, but I don't think such a tool exists for the Sonic games so hacking requires more work.
You're missing out :p A few years ago full disassemblies of the code in Sonic games were released. Most hacks nowadays use these disassemblies along with tools like SonED2 (the primary level/object layout editor) and assemble the code into working roms. As far as released Sonic hacks go, I recommend the aforementioned Knuckles in Sonic 1, as well as demos of other promising projects like Sonic 2: Advanced Edit, Sonic 1 The Extended Edition, Sonic 1 Remastered, and Sonic Mega Remix. That's just off the top of my head, as there's been a steady increase in the Sonic hacking community.

Also, since most of these are distributed in rom form (an IPS wouldn't be practical, nor would it matter much given the nature of how these are made), no links provided :p