Unfortunately seems like lolyoshi is inactive. I wish I played this hack sooner, because it's pretty cool. I would love to see a full version of this!
When I opened NOT SO SADISTIC MARIO for the first time, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. One of the tags is "joke," the hack description seems to style itself as a poorly-done Google translated message, and the title screen is unusually ominous and barren.
What I got instead was a hack that was surprisingly enjoyable! None of the levels are very long, and the design remains simplistic throughout, but NOT SO SADISTIC MARIO's creative enemy setups and fairly high difficulty kept it interesting for me.
To start, you begin with 99 lives, and while that's a lot, you definitely won't have 99 lives by the end! While not always apparent, the sadistic part of the hack's title will definitely come into play at times, with AMICAL LAND doing a good job at setting the tone. It's far from being the hardest level, but first-time players will probably get ambushed by at least a few shell traps. I imagine this will turn off at least a few players.
There's a common trend throughout this hack's level design, other than the shortness of each level, and it seems like the levels will frequently include obstacles that are meant to trick, trap, or ambush the player, but in a subtle way that isn't just an invisible coin block placed near a pit. You might get ready to dodge a Chargin' Chuck, but a Koopa will kick a shell at the Chuck, taking care of him for you. Now dodge the shell! Quickly! You might run under two Jumping Piranha Plants, but wait, there's a third one poking out of the pipe! You might be jumping from pipe to pipe, but suddenly, the pipes grow into the muncher ceiling above! Don't hit that Question Block! There's a Poison Mushroom in it! There's even a level, THE TRAPHOUSE, that's focused on all kinds of traps and enemy ambushes.
Taking all that into account, this is a hack that earns its very hard rating. Some levels that I found noteworthy in difficulty include the enemy barrage in MELANOMA, the tricky traps of THE TRAPHOUSE, the projectile spam of HITORIGOTO GROVE, the tight jumps and growing pipes of HARUMACHI CLOVER, the precision required in SPARKY FORMULA, the P-Switch race in SUGER LOVE HOTEL that almost requires you to know the level beforehand, and the nightmarish MOUSOU EXPRESS that contains the most sadistic enemy of all: Fishin' Boo! It's important to note that most of the levels named above are placed on a secret exit path, so I guess these levels would play the role of extra-difficult bonus levels in a full hack.
I got all 22 exits with 51 lives left, though I collected a few extra 1-ups along the way. MOUSOU EXPRESS was probably the level I died on the most.
Where's the sadism? Well, while this hack does bill itself as "not so sadistic", there are a few obstacles that seem designed to troll you. You'll know them when you see 'em. When it comes to sadistic traps, the previously-mentioned SUGER LOVE HOTEL has a few obstacles that pretty much require you to predict the future, otherwise your P-Switch time will run out, forcing you to die. There's also a setup where killing a single enemy will leave you almost unable to reach the next P-Switch required to continue, unless you perform a difficult spinjump.
As far as sadistic difficulty and platforming precision is concerned, I mentioned earlier that MOUSOU EXPRESS is an exceptionally frustrating experience, mostly because Fishin' Boo is just a terrible enemy. The hack author definitely knew this, and didn't put any other enemies in the Fishin' Boo's room other than the moving hole and a single disco shell. Unfortunately, even a single Fishin' Boo is enough to ruin your day. While attempting to beat this level, you'll probably grow very tired of dodging the choppy fishin' flame, and you'll probably wish you were playing another level. Even worse, the secret exit requires a relatively precise jump to enter the alternate path, and there's one more trap involving Poison Mushrooms before being able to get the secret exit. If you die in this last room, you'll have to suffer the wrath of Fishin' Boo again, which just feels like a slap in the face.
Visuals can be summed up as vanilla Super Mario World, with a very small amount of custom graphic exceptions. There's not too much to say about the graphics, but a few custom palettes help spruce up the aesthetics. Music choice is mostly Super Mario series music, with a handful of other songs sprinkled in. Also, I mentioned earlier that the title screen seemed unusually ominous and barren. I find it strangely fitting for this hack! I hope it doesn't change too much in a hypothetical final version.
There are Dragon Coins to collect in this hack, but they are entirely optional.
EXIT THE PLAINS is designed in an interesting way. There's more to this level than you'd think! The Dragon Coins are difficult to get, but it's a satisfying challenge. There's even a 3-Up Moon that EDIT: DOESN'T NEED THE SHELL AT ALL. SORRY, MY BAD! Funnily enough, that 3-Up Moon will only give you one life, since the level ends before it can give you the last two lives.
LET'S GIVE IT A SPIN is another level with cool little Dragon Coin challenges, but there's a section where the player might not spawn the Jumping Piranha Plants correctly, leaving the player to either die from the pit below, or they'll barely survive with a forced hit on the munchers.
I'd just like to point out that the Chargin' Chucks flying out of the ground in ROMPLISSEUR is pretty funny!
The level name SUGER LOVE HOTEL is misspelled, but for some reason, it feels intentional.
In MOUSOU EXPRESS, the blocks in the last room spell out... "CAMECUM"? I don't get it. Is it some sort of reference?
In THE TRAPHOUSE, how do you get past this last obstacle without just tanking through it? If you don't have a mushroom at this part, you'll probably die.
The midpoint in THROWBACK acts like a solid block and is non-functional.
When you restart the game and select your save file, Mario starts out with B0 lives. It turns back into 99 lives once you enter a level.
2 Player mode seems to be broken. Luigi can't enter any levels.
Overall, NOT SO SADISTIC MARIO is a surprisingly fun, if occasionally rude hack. If you can withstand the difficult levels, I think there's enjoyment to be had in this somewhat sadistic excursion. I'll give this hack 4.4 kicked shells out of 5, which translates to a 4 star rating. I feel like a full version could be worth a full 5 stars, so here's hoping for more NOT SO SADISTIC MARIO in the future!
Even if incomplete, this should be in everyone's hack folder.
It's not until recently that I've begun playing harder hacks without much assistance, but I believe this should not discredit my validity as a reviewer. Most of the pastiche/Japanese hack references fall flat on me (except the musical choices, I remember them being in the VIPs), but I can appreciate this hack for what it is.
All the levels were cleverly designed, often using enemies in places they are uncommonly seen. If you can suspend your disbelief of Blargg existing in water, you can enjoy this hack.
The only level that feels out of place for me is the Mousuo Express. A level composed purely of sheer anger and hatred. I had to use a savestate to get past Fishing Boo's boocrap.
Verygood romhack! i rate 5 star. i liked the level "mousse expression" mostly, very brilliant level desing in that house, rip van fish is a fantastic and captivating obstacle that that makes for many fun momments, it is always your fault when you die.
only unfortunate flaw of hack,, you poorly represented my waifu, sagiri-chan, in hitlers grove. She isnt ORANGE u goofy fool.
i recomend this hack if you enjoy good fair levels with a friendly welcoming atmosphere.
A very fun pure platforming hack that nails the feel of classic hard japanese hacks. The level design is ruthless and sometimes trolly, but never to the point where you wanna give up. Each level has a well-thought-out difficulty curve and a smooth flow that help keep the player engaged as they slowly chip away at a level. That said, there were definitely parts of the hack that I didn't care for (especially Mousou Express), but I guess that's part of the true JP hack experience. At least beating those levels was satisfying.
The music choices fit the style of the hack well and the palettes show a good understanding of color theory, which is not something I see very often in hacks.