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Croco Land 1 - Shell Shocked

Background

This is my first serious attempt at creating a rom hack. I have tried out Lunar Magic before, but this is the first time I have both a vision and a patience to learn how to use the various tools. The name "Croco Land" is a lack of imagination and "Shell Shocked" refer to one of the two central gimmicks of the hack.

The first gimmick is how the story is written. It's in the vein of a "choose your own adventure"-book, meaning that all messages in the hack are written in a second-person perspective. The story also have multiple pathways. An example of this is shown in the following pictures. The first picture introduces a stage with two exits, and the two following pictures then showcase the direction the story took by taking that specific exit:


The second gimmick is the focus on koopas. The enemy crew will consist mainly of various koopas, most of which will originate from this website. I would make some myself, but right now I don't even understand how to modify patches, much less making my own, so you won't witness anything truly unique in that regard, at least for now.
How I'm going to execute this with the least possible monotonousness is by choosing two kinds of koopas, excluding some vanilla ones, for each stage and then make a level that focuses on the synergy between these two koopas, while also taking the setting and story into account. I will admit though, that the sprites that are available will have an impact on the details of the story, which in itself has the regular end goal.


Progress

Now let's get into the current state of the hack. I'll give a summary on the first world, the stages I've made so far and the stages I got planned out.

Flower Hills:


This world will have three potential endings. The first one (good) where you defeat the boss in the lookout tower, the second one (bittersweet) where you reclaim the lookout tower but fail to reach the boss and rescue the hostage, and the third one (bad) where you fail to reach the castle at all, and instead have to make the best out of your current situation. These endings will then lead the story in three, mostly, different directions.

Flower Hills Base



This stage is basically the vanilla stage where I showcase all of the vanilla koopas and what they're capable of.

Flower Hills Bridge

This stage is where the chocolate is beginning to show up in the form of blue and yellow paratroopas.

Flower Hills Lookout

I have just began on this stage, so I don't have anything to show but the storypicture from earlier. My plan is to simulate a siege by having the stage feature exploding koopas inside the building and having exploding bullet bills attack the building from the outside. Wether you reach the boss or not will depend on if you've found the secret powerup in a different stage.

Flower Hills Lake

I have yet to make this stage but it will mostly be vanilla since the story prevents the presence of koopas, as referred to in the story pictures.

Temple of the Ancient Paratroopa


This stage is a forgotten temple where cultists tried to obtain the ancient paratroopa's (a dragon) power of flight by the creation of a simulation device (the feather). The enemies here are boos rather than koopas, due to it being a forgotten temple.


Future

Next up is to finish the level design of the remaining stages, while also learning how to make the stages feel alive and not just being themed obstacle courses. Afterwards, I'll try to learn how to modify patches and sprites, so that I can implement the atmospherical stage gimmicks. Then, finally, I'll learn how to handle situations where the graphics of the for- and backgrounds collide with the sprites I want to use.
I also worry that the hack will be too montone to play if the powerups become restricted plot devices, but I also worry that easy access to the powerups will make the fragile koopas too easy of an obstacle to overcome, as they're the stars of the hack.
Not sure yet. My aim is ≈6 worlds, but it'll largely depend on how long I can keep the hack fun to play.