Tip: Layer 3 backgrounds and tides disappear when you hit a message box, so plan your level around that. For example, you can add a sublevel without layer 3 at the start/midpoint, and include your message there.
If you aren't a big fan of the VIP series, you might want to skip this one. There is more going on graphics wise than VIP 1, but there is still no custom music in the hack. The levels themselves also feel of generally lower quality than the other VIPs.
I have played through all the VIPs toolless, and I can confirm that this is not only the hardest of all the VIPs, but it's one of the harder non-kaizo hacks you can find out there. Be prepared to break out the savestates for at least 3 or 4 levels, unless you feel like spending 2-3 hours+ beating them.
There were some levels I genuinely enjoyed, especially in the early game, but overall I feel there isn't enough quality to justify playing this hack, especially without tools.
Gemini is right. This was really hard, but fun. Some levels were really hard and the Poison Gas House was so hard that i had to use the invicibility code for that one level. (call me a wuss for that) It was also pretty long, i didnt know that this took me a while and some secrets were just... dumb. The final boss and the Lemmy boss was pretty nice designed and its cool to see the elements in Brutal Mario. (should make sense since carol programmed them)
Overall its a not so bad hack, but oh boy is it hard.
The second of the collaboration hacks created by the Japanese 2chan community.
It is everything the first game was, cranked up to eleven. This means there are more custom graphics, custom asm, and more difficulty. Custom music is still absent in this entry, but I guess it still wasn't around in 2006 outside of the SMAS music pack.
Graphically, there are more ExGFX tilesets and backgrounds this time around, though some of them suffer from bad palettes, particularly a certain water level in World 4 and a World 5 sky level using the YI cloud tileset, to name a couple. Otherwise its mostly decent and you do start to see more experimentation with custom palettes than VIP1 had.
The ASM consists of a mix of custom blocks and sprites. The sprites are mostly the SMB3 enemies like Venus Firetraps and Hammer Bros. that are pretty much standard fare in ROMhacks nowadays--though they were quite new at the time of this hack. The blocks are more varied; most of it consists of the blocks that were rather prominent in Super Demo World--most notably the screen-scrolling pipes--but there are a couple new ones like a pipe that makes you come out small or big on the other side.
Onto the difficulty. Others who have played this hack told me this is considered to be the most difficult of the currently-released VIP collabs. They are not lying; this hack is brutal! I almost wanted to rate this as a Kaizo Lite just for how insanely difficult some of the levels were, particularly the airship and castle gate stages that spam ludicrous amounts of Bullet Bills, including the Berserker Bill that chases you around (made even worse by the fact their launchers will fire even if Boon is standing near them). Other notorious stages include a "poison gas" ghost house where you are constantly getting hurt whenever you aren't invincible, a line-ride lava tunnel with far too many hazards to count, and a sewer infested with all sorts of pirahna plants, lot of pipe chompers and control-reversing tides! This isn't even going into the secret exits, oh no... those are much, much worse.
When going for secret exits, you can almost always expect one of the following requirements: Keeping a powerup or Yoshi throughout the level, babysitting an item (be it a shell, p-switch, or key), solving a puzzle, or glitch abuse. In a few cases you might be doing all four! Oh yes, we can't forget about the glitch abuse! There is even more glitch abuse in this hack than the first one, and you will need to be aware of quite a few glitches if you want to find all of the secret exits, including carrying items in spinjump, taking silver P-switches through pipes, falling through floors by spinning inside 1-tile passage big, and more.
Finally, there are some things I just consider to be plain unfair. A lot of the levels that use the SMB3 bridge objects tend to have random fragile spots in said bridges that you won't be aware of until its too late. A certain water current stage has fast currents that can kill you if they push you into a wall. There are places like the ice block levels where you must keep a powerup and losing it to an enemy/chomper means you must die and start over. A couple levels feature pipes or traps that send you to either a death room or a place where you cannot escape and must reset your game. In case I haven't made it abundantly clear, you will probably want to use emulator savestates if you wish to preserve your sanity.
Strangely enough, the custom bosses of this hack are not all that hard once you figure them out. They do require a rather excessive number of hits to defeat though in the case of the Lemmy boss, and all of the Koopa Kids have been given additional hit points. In the case of Iggy and Larry, they slide a shorter distance towards the edge when you stomp them.
If you enjoyed VIP1, odds are you will probably dig this one even more. Otherwise, if you were expecting something more polished and fair, you're not going to find that here.