Chaos CompleXX... what a beast. Being one of the earlies (if not THE earliest) joke hacks around, it is what you'd expect from a joke hack even today, as this genre didn't change much in time. All levels are filled with cutoff and other nasty things, like glitchy sprites, eye-searing palettes and trolls. However, is it as bad as description suggests it is?
The hack is generally easy, it's packed with power-ups, yoshis and lives pasted randomly almost everywhere, so you're unlikely to get a gameover, even when you reach final third world, because you're likely to wrack a lot of lives.
No lie, this hack is pretty funny, which was mostly the reason why I continued playing this hack. I just wanted to know what other funny things message box will tell me. But not only message boxes should keep me playing it, but the overall gameplay.
Even though I had low expectations from this hack (I mean, it's a joke hack after all and shouldn't be taken seriously) it's actually quite enjoyable. The levels certainly have a lot of intentional garbage, however there are no terrible difficulty spikes for sake of difficulty. As I said, it's generally easy, so you're unlikely to get a gameover. The hack is actually pretty clever. For example, in level fight against enemy in autoscrolling section with smasher trying to hide in lower spots will result in getting hit anyways, because the floor is too high. It's a clever troll, and paying attention won't result in getting hit. In GOING DOWN AND UP, in first half of the level player shouldn't rush to victory, as the layer smash can result in player falling in the pit, but player also should avoid swooper that is offscreen. It'd sound terrible in a normal hack, but I think it's clever in a joke hack. In fact I think level design in this hack is great, by joke hack standarts anyways. Again, levels don't have difficulty for the sake of difficulty and thus making terrible expirience, so even stinkers that are supposed to be bad don't possess much of a threat, like Yelloh heaven zone, which is a very slow autoscroller. If one's unlucky, they have to repeat it, but it should be a good punishment for a poor play. But generally it's rather silly and easy untill boss level, which is my favorite level in this hack. It has some actual challenge in it. At first I thought ceiling spikes can hurt you, but they're not, in fact those aren't solid at all, a clever troll to trick player that they do harm. There are some one-tile platforms with footballs on them, which makes for a tricky platforming, but I thought it was pretty fun. BABZAI YALLEY has interesting concept where banzai bills make you invisible, while there are also very steep slopes that can result in falling in lava... while invisible. It's clever, although a bit repetitive, and the level itself is rather long.
Overall, I enjoyed it more than expected. I don't think "loads of glitches, horrible palettes, bad level design, message boxes filled with a bunch of junk messages, and bad grammar" should turn you away if you're looking for a good joke hack. It's not perfect, but it shouldn't be, like YUMP isn't, as it has it's own issues. If you can look past bad palettes, cutoff and such you'll find a clever hack and with some good design.
For those having trouble in the first level of world 3, where you get invisible... just get Yoshi ! Indeed, in this case only Yoshi becomes invisible, not Mario, so you can always see your position. In addition to the cape, this level becomes a lot easier =]
I think "normal" is a more appropriate difficulty rating. The first level in World 3 with the disappearing Mario sprite is indeed annoying and the most difficult in the hack, but can be made easier with cape (as can most of the trickier platforming in the hack). This is by far the easiest "hard" hack I've played.
The humor varies wildly in quality from predictable messages like "this message box has letters" to highly original ones like the homework help one. Don't be fooled by the "Hard" label just because the hack begins like an easy, trashy little edit. Difficulty curve is staggeringly steep going from the second world into the third one, with treacherous hinderances like sprite tile memory making you invisible near super steep slopes next to lava and swimming through narrow, moving layer 2 corridors where the risk factor of being crushed is very high and you pretty much have to be small to beat it, and a cement block maze that takes over 300 ingame seconds to finish on average.
This satire, even though 12 years old at the time of this comment, seems to hit the nail on the head for what would follow as far as hack quality that was shared with the Let's Players of YouTube, the easiest way to troll the hack moderators, as well as a lot of people's legitimate first attempts at SMW hacking. One thing that remains a mystery to this day is what the hell a drop fruit is and if FPI still got a passing grade.