After many failed projects, rushed releases, cancelled demos... Blind Devil presents Mushroom Kingdom - Under Crimson Skies: a hack meant to be fun, consistent, interesting and original.
Mushroom Kingdom has been covered up by crimson magic, cast at the clouds. That magic made all of the kingdom's inhabitants turn into stone statues, except for Mario and Princess Peach. It's now up to Mario to find out the responsible for that, and to restore Mushroom Kingdom to its former state.
The adventure consists of exploring the land to find Power Stars, and with their powers, dispel the crimson magic, restore Nature's Equilibrium and save the Universe's Destiny, which's also menaced by the one troublemaker. However, that's not as simple as it seems.
As you progress through the game, more of the story is revealed, and complex event turnarounds happen as well.
This hack doesn't have a relevant number of exits - the 21 exits are a symbolic representation of how many Power Stars are required to beat the game. There are more than 21 levels as well as some extra Power Stars, not to mention primary quests and extra optional, postgame quests. It may look like a short hack at first glance, but don't get it wrong - it's reasonably long, and provides up to 4 hours or more of gameplay.
Regarding features: the hack has a full original soundtrack, selfmade graphics, exclusive ASM, a hopefully good level design - from regular platformer to explorative levels - , explorative overworld...
...and the rest, you should find out when you play!
This was pretty damn good. THe only drawback is that somew of the things required were somewhat obtuse if you took a break from the game (The blue yoshi taking you to a new section of the map comes immediately to mind.) Also, Jesus Christ, the Poisonous Bog is painful to get through.
I really like the gimmicks and level design on this hack, the idea of non-linear design makes level exploration amazing. I especially like the idea of making it so you don't run into dead-ends-come-back-later with a very long travel. Music also fits to all portions of the hack. Another feature is that the level "loops" back to itself, meaning you go to area 1, then 2 that have something you come back later, and then 3, which takes you back to area 2 with something prepared or that you are in a subarea of 2 which "cross over" the area you just pass through to a new area.
One thing I note to myself is that there is a ALTTP references:
-Orchastra music instrument
-Keys to unlock doors
-New items in a castle or puzzle levels that you can keep after beating the stage.
-Enemies in Entangled Dungeon
-In bowser's castle there is a room that shows each icon of each of the previous dungeon (OOT)
--collect all silver rupees + sfx
Flaws I've discovered:
-The boss fight in firemouth grounds, if you defeat the boss, make sure you veer towards the platform, as it does not transition the level and resets the platform
-The green invincible ring cannot be canceled after activating it, until you run out of it, so you're wasting it and certain places cannot be pass through without damage since the area that requires using it is long enough for it to run out before passing through that area.
-Why did you disable start-select on completed levels? now I have to die to exit.
-And finally, the game does not tell me how to harm the final boss, or no obvious way to damage it, make sure you include something so that players get an idea.
--EDIT: lure the magic attack back to himself (he jumps to the opposite side of the boss area). The problem with that is you have little margin of error on aiming angle. The center portion of the boss room in which the Magic attack flies through is narrow and long, and I'm not sure if you're using the proper aiming routine, as it's possible for bowser to miss entirely even at close distance (5+ blocks away). This requires savestates if you want every attack to land a hit.
-Using a powerup system instead a health system. At least you used powerdown patch so that mario doesn't instantly turned to small, locked doors are saved so you don't go back to square one after death, along with multiple midway patch. Long puzzle games like the legend of Zelda games do this expecting players would take hits a lot rather than a simple 3-hits death. I know this is nitpicking, but combined with the inability to leave beaten levels so you cannot quick-grab powerups makes this hack punishing.
I would give this a 4/5. I hope a sequel comes out.
@Yoshi Master and @Alex No: I'm willing to fix this, however I have no idea how. If any of you guys could contact me via Discord, I could send you some test ROMs I'll be making. It's the only way I can think of to try to figure this out.
Also, I'd like to kindly ask people to report any problems either in this thread, via PM or Discord, and leave this area only for reviews about the hack itself. Thanks.
@Alex No: you probably will need to change the region of the ROM via tool or something. Since I don't own a PAL SNES for immediate testing purposes, I'm unfortunately unable to provide a fix for that issue, sorry.
i have problems with this game on SNES, it won't start at all. I tryed it on Emulator, it works very good. But not on a PAL SNES. I don't have a NTSC SNES so i don't know if it happens there, but all i got is black screen with lines that goes horizontal over the TV screen. And some sound, then it goes to total black screen.
More detailed thoughts on hack at http://smwc.me/1436545
tl;dr: This is easily one of my favorite hacks - it pulls off a great story, amazing level design, non-linear OW to access levels at any order you want, an impressive and beautiful soundtrack and also very fun stuff to do postgame. I highly recommend playing this, maybe it's worth your time. I'd rate this higher than 5/5 if I could.