On Romhack Thursdays, we bring you interesting finds from the world of game modifications.
Super Mario World is one of the most hacked games of all. There’s a whole website devoted to hacking it, SMWCentral. They do have Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario 64 hacks too, but SMW is the main attraction.
They’ve done a bunch of contests over the years, where different members compete in judged hacking competitions to make hacks to various criteria. In April they wrapped up their second “Questionable Level Design Contest,” QLDC. And the gimmick of the winner is… pretty special.
Please overlooked the glitchy title screen. In this one, the presentation isn’t the main attraction.
A long walkway to the right from the starting location.
What? Is this a troll hack? One that just makes you run everywhere and nothing ever really happens?
Hmm. This screen looks like it’s full of levels, but none of the circles or houses work. The object is to get to that red pipe.
You hold X or Y to run, or, as this screen mentions, don’t hold X or Y to not run. That Pirhana Plant is animated, and if you run into it while it’s in your way, you have to restart the screen. A fun gimmick, sure, but we’re just getting started.
In case you haven’t cottoned to the gimmick yet–there is no actual level. The whole game is played on a series of connected map screens. You’d think not a lot would be possible, but in this hack, Mario can actually “jump” on enemies if his feet touch them. On this screen, Bullet Bills enter from the right, and you have to use the curved paths, along with judicious running, to “stomp” them with the right timing. When you reach the OFF circles to the right you clear the green blocks, and then have to work your way back left to get to the pipe.
And on this screen, the Thwimps jump back and forth, and you have to avoid them as you pass around the screen. If you touch an enemy you don’t “die” so much as get sent back to the start.
Then you get to this screen, which is a remake of a portion of the first level, and you wonder how far they’re willing to go with this gimmick.
As it turns out, they’re (“they” being Faro and MM102) not even close to being done. This level introduces these Stars that, when you press A on them, cause Mario to do a spin jump. This jump, however, actually activates the standard SMW platforming engine. Mario can move around as if he were in a level. Here you have to use that jump to bounce off the Big Boo and land on the other Star, which puts you back into map travel mode and lets you go to the pipe. The following levels make extensive use of this feature, and there’s lots left to explore.
The creators made a playthrough video, embedded below (it’s about nine minutes), but they suggest that you try the hack yourself first. You can do what you want, but it’s a joy discovering how they unveil progressively crazier gimmicks as you go. Consider trying it our yourself first, if you have the mind and means.