This was a wild ride. The hack is extremely broken.
- There are lots of graphical glithces, but they are funny and charming since they don't really impede gameplay.
- The slowdown is sometimes annoying but sometimes gives you more reaction time to deal with enemy spam, as Counterfeit notes.
- The Blow Hards' tracking doesn't work on accurate emulators, and they always shoot either left or right. This probably makes things easier most of the time.
- You have to get the extra hearts in order for them to work (or, at least, getting the last heart first did not increase my hearts from 3 to 4).
- Required platforms sometimes despawn.
- Enemies sometimes become invisible.
- Entering "Special Place!" softlocks you on the world 4 submap, forcing you to reset to make progress.
- Entering "Bowser's Castle" and dying after the checkpoint likewise softlocks you on the world 5 submap. This isn't a big deal if you've collected all of the extra hearts in the game. Otherwise, you're better off resetting and collecting the hearts.
The level design is occasionally trolly and blind, but still fun after 12 years, until Bowser's Castle. Worlds 4 and 5 become very difficult without extra hearts but are reasonable with them.
Bowser's castle is unreasonable. It's ~15 minutes long after the checkpoint (which appears disproportionately early), making it one of the longest sections I'm aware of in any hack. It has lots of tight jumps, a water room with reversed left/right controls, enemies which are difficult to react to the first time you encounter them, and required platforms which might despawn--all pretty deep into the level. This is probably not something you will enjoy unless you are a world-class player looking for an endurance challenge. For most players, I recommend using a save-state every few rooms, as that is what a modern hack with multi-checkpoint support would probably do.
I'm accepting this because it no longer crashes on accurate emulators (I played through it on a Super Nt), but bumping the difficulty to "Very Hard," which didn't exist at the time of the hack's initial acceptance.
Audio fix ONLY. No longer crashes in snes9x v1.60. That said, if someone likes this enough to take on 100% fixing it:
- It would need to be transported to a fresh SMW
- SA-1 should be installed... I don't think even FastROM could have saved this.
- PIXI-compatible versions of the sprites would need to be tracked down
- Level fade fix is sensible but this is the sugar at the bottom of the box of cereal in comparison to the other bugs.
At least it is one step forward.
This hack has a lot of VRAM problems caused by too many dynamic sprites. Slowdown plagues at least half the levels as well - a double-edged sword as this hack has a lot of tight moments between sprites and projectiles and it might save you. Some bits are rompy and fun, but some are extremely frustrating. It's a color-rich SMAS/YI-hybrid graphic style with use of sprites from both worlds, but you will never want to see another Piranha Plant again after world 1 of this hack.