Mario, After giving Peach the cure to her cold in MEA1, was contacted by a being named Lumen in his dreams to meet someone in the Red Hill Caves. Play the rest of the level to find out what happens next...
There was a time when hacks that only worked on ZSNES could be accepted to the hacks section because we didn't know better, and compatibility with accurate emulators was not considered for the remoderation. Whoever rejected this under that guideline, you have failed. This is the vanilla hack (unless you want to argue semantics) to end all vanilla hacks. This was designed by a thinking man, and stands as an example of what you can do if you put your mind to it.
This is a piece that is truly inspired, meticulously crafted, with an elaborate story, and deep adventure. It is a very hard hack though and not one that most people would feel comfortable going through without savestates. It is also cutscene-heavy. What this hack has to offer may make it worth it.
While not the only hack to involve a prison escape by any means, it takes this concept and really delves into the atmosphere. Prisoners, including many who were traditionally bad guys, will talk to you when you check on their cells, and sometimes reveal important information. While it makes no difference if you actually pay attention to what it says, every important event like that always falls into sequence.
The only actual ASM used here is to minimalize the status bar. No more are lives, time, coins, and score. Text is the only real graphic enhancement. Other than that, SMW's resources are milked to the fullest. ExAnimation creates waterfalls in addition to surreal rooms and challenges made with light tricks. You encounter pseudo-bosses made with layer creativity. Much of the hack looks amazing, although I will say the outdoors and the cave look a little overwrought.
There's a massive variety of scenery and design ideas that all flow together without being alien to the core concept of the hack, which is highly respectable.
The ONLY thing in this hack I can complain about in its level design is the anticlimactic boss. The rest is emulation trouble: the hack only likes ZSNES. Accurate emulators will give you screen flickering, destruction of sample data, and failure of the game due to the custom music glitches.