Warning: This hack contains strong language
This is the final version of The Legend of Randorland 3.
It has 44 Exits. (Mod: There are actually only 36)
The story is as following:
A long time ago, an evil beast was destroying the world.
But there was one hero brave enough to fight him.
His name was: Randor.
He managed to win the fight and became a legend.
But the evil creature wasn't going to leave him with the win.
So it put a curse on Randor, which could only be broken by beating him at midnight with a fullmoon.
That curse made him evil.
He went insane.
Several years later Mario went on vacation on Randor Isle, not knowing of the evil Randor.
Randor took all his friends and Mario had to look for them.
After he did Randor got away.
After he used a machine to create his own world, Mario stopped him and destroyed the machine.
But Randor was stuck between the dimensions, and thus the dimensions exploded, with him
He transformed into a ghost, he was angry.
He only wanted revenge now, the world domination was just something that would be nice.
Will he succeed? Will he fail?
To find out you'll need to play my hack.
-This is a story based hack so be warned for cutscenes.
2/5. if the hack wasnt that good i'd give a 0/5 because of the boss battles. seriously ~ 20 times THE SAME BOSS just with a different room layout it gets so boooring... seriously the last level where you have to fight THE SAME BOSS about 8 times (im not kidding) my whole positive mood from the hack went to shit.
I remember this one... good old nostalgia. I looked back and remembered where it went wrong.
I was fond of the music tracks (UN Owen Was Her, the Tetris Theme, Running Hell, Koopa's Road, Cackletta's Theme, etc.) and the story based nature, as it was a first for me, back in 2009.
My least favorite memories of the hack would have to be the elevator room in Hunter's Castle. Only one elevator room is mandatory to beat the game, but the idea is lazy and frustrating to play. It requires patience which dwindles just because of how long the elevator ride takes, and is a poor excuse for difficulty. And also the breaking music, mentioned below.
On ZSNES, the game runs, but two music tracks (Running Hell and Cackletta's Theme) glitch up horribly, and go on an all out oral assault. Worse still is the fact these tracks would have been awesome to listen to otherwise.
The bosses totally fail in offering variety. If my memory is correct, the aside from Scorpion (2 encounters), and Ranpion (Scorpion+Randor), every boss fight (Hunter, Sniggerbobble, Cardilion, Randor, even The Soul), is a Magikoopa, in which you have to clear the screen of enemies by having the boss break blocks to reach the enemies. It's a painstakingly long process too, which would be better spent fighting something more interesting.
The hack is also associated with bad press, which actually caused the original D4 team to split up, and try to improve from their past mistakes. However, it's still on my computer for a piece of history, but not something fit for the Central nowadays.
Apparently, this was the hack that led many users to dislike the use of original characters back when it came out. After going through it, I sort of understand why, but I'll get into that later.
Graphically, this hack uses a lot of original tilesets, mostly drawn by the author but a few others contributed by the users who helped out with this hack. I will give this hack credit for maintaining a rather consistent style for the most part, but I must say the few ripped foregrounds and WhiteYoshiEgg graphics contrast from that style. I wasn't too fond of the beach tileset used here either, felt it was just too lacking. The overworld, aside from the last world which is rather flat, is decent. It is worth noting that most of the overworld uses free movement as opposed to set paths, so don't be alarmed if Mario only moves one square at a time.
Another point I will take away from the graphics is how some of the colors do not contrast enough in a few places. For example, the dry bones reskins n the final level are hard to notice against the solid-black parts of the background. And when I first saw a cone-shaped sprite in one puzzle room, I thought it a spike and not a koopa shall because it was never introduced as a koopa before. There was also a spot in the final level where the Layer 3 mist was used, but it wasn't translucent so the enemies--in this case boos--were hidden behind it, resulting in cheap hurts.
This hack uses custom music, most of which is pretty outdated nowadays in terms of quality and breaks on the more "accurate" emulators. You can find better ports for most of these around this site anyways. Still, I've always had a soft spot for the old Underwater City port and SNN's Face Shrine remix, but the rest of the soundtrack isn't anything to write home about.
ASM usage is rather minimal in this hack. The main thing it is used for is the health bar, but unfortunately, unlike a hack such as The Fourth Sector, you often won't find yourself having more than three hearts because once you have a mushroom, you start finding fire flowers in the item boxes, but fire flowers do not boost your health (and you can even die with a fire flower if you picked one up at one health). Beyond that, ASM is mostly used just for stuff like warp blocks and the SMB1/3 bricks, which often makes me wonder if this should have been much more to this hack.
Now... the gameplay. This is where the hack falls flat; it just doesn't have a good sense of difficulty whatsoever. The first four worlds offer almost no challenge whatsoever, as the levels literally just consist of jumping over scattered pits, solving puzzles, and avoiding the few sprites that populate them. They're also quite short for the most part too.
Now the puzzles; they're used way too much in this hack, and they're no-brainer puzzles on top of it (I see a brown block wall, so I gotta find the P-switch, but that's up high so I'll need the springboard, etc.) that really don't contribute anything to the already-lacking level design.
There are a couple tricky spots in Worlds 5 through 7, but still nothing I'd consider to be difficult. The only part of this hack that is truly difficult would probably be the final level, and that has more to do with it being overly long with the midway point very far into the level than actually being challenging. It's a level that screams for the Multi-Midway Point patch (and probably an infinite time limit too), and I don't believe it was around back then sadly.
There are two more things I want to criticize regarding the game design. One is the bosses. 80% of the boss fights in this hack are Magikoopa battles, and there are a LOT of them in this hack. It was neat the first couple of times I saw it, but once I realized this is what almost every boss fight was going to be, it became stale very quickly as there is only a small variation in room layout between each of these Magikoopa battles. One particular Magikoopa battle, the one against "Ranter" is possible to get stuck in if a coin is spawned and falls into the slanted lava where you can't reach it--since these rooms require all sprites to be cleared, you are effectively stuck until the timer runs out or you kill yourself in the lava.
The other thing is the elevator room. This is among the laziest and most obnoxious designs I've ever seen in a hack; all it consists of is the player sitting in a slowly rising room for about two and a half minutes until it reaches the exit at the top emerges. During that time, the player has to dodge the reflecting fireballs and multidirectional bullet spawns. It is very trying on one's patience, and it's bad enough that it has to be mandatory in one stage. It's even more insane that the author thought this would be a fun "minigame" for one of the secret arcades.
Lastly, a word on the original characters, namely Randor. It seems like the author really didn't want him to lose, but such an approach doesn't really reflect well into gameplay. Particularly in the final level, you must fight Randor many times throughout the stage, and just when you think you may have finally beaten him--nope, you gotta fight him again. And again. And again! It's no wonder the community probably got fed up with OCs when this is how some authors like to handle their villains. It really sucks that the characters Hunter and Scorpion had their reputations tarnished just for being present alongside Randor, because their creators have come a long way in refining their characters since the making of this hack.
So that's pretty much it, the story of a poorly-designed hack that led to an aversion towards OC-focused hacks. Not recommended unless you're prepared to spend an hour being bored, and then another few hours being frustrated at the sheer number of magikoopa bosses and elevators.