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Yet Another Mario Hack (Castle #5)

It's the all-new non-C3 edition.

This is a hack that I've been working on for a while, simply called Yet Another Mario Hack. I originally had not been planning to show it off or make it available until it was completely finished, but then other people who already knew about it brought it up, and I thought maybe it wouldn't be that big of a deal, and it would give me something to show that people would actually be interested in. Besides, this is the farthest I've ever gotten on a hack since I started, early world 5 and almost halfway through, so I figured I can't quit working on this. There's not much of a story, just the standard "go save Peach from Bowser", but there are plenty of custom assets, including graphics, music, patches, blocks, sprites, bosses, HDMA, and miscellaneous ASM. So let's get to the screenshots, shall we?


This is the titlescreen. Mario's movement has not been changed yet, so don't stay here too long, lest you die and softlock. I was actually having trouble getting the titlescreen moves recording ASM to work; I don't know what I was doing wrong, but Lunar Magic wouldn't accept the SNES9X savestate that I gave it (and it doesn't help that I can't get SNES9X to run at full speed anyway), and ZMZ didn't seem to work at all.


Here's the first part of the overworld map. All the events are already triggered because I took the screenshots on a file with all the levels already passed.

1-1

1-1 is a pretty basic grassland level, as the first one tends to be. I tried to make this one at least a bit more interesting than the typical 1-1, though, not too flat and with some Spinies. Also, event switches from Peach's Quest: A Princess Story are back. This one spawns some blocks that you can use to reach a Yoshi coin. I used Katrina's message box patch because the originals were too limiting and I didn't really need the VWF one.

1-2

1-2 is an "athletic grassland" level, similar to 1-2 in SMB3. It has Monty Moles and Rexes, as well as a few moving platforms. Also, I decided to add a small pause screen to this hack. Originally, it had used the SMB3 status bar, but I found that that tended to get in the way of things that I wanted to do. In my experience, status bars in general are more trouble than they're worth, at least in SMW hacks. Yoshi's Island didn't have one and got along just fine.

1-3

1-3 is an underground level, with the typical enemies. The Goombas can come in groups, and once again, their palette is different from aboveground levels, just like in SMB1.

1-Fortress

Again, it's a pretty standard level, introducing some typical fortress/castle enemies. The boss is Boom Boom, who is not quite as pathetic as he was in SMB3, but this early in the game, he's not too hard.

1-4

1-4 is the first athletic level, with some flying Koopas and simple moving platforms.

1-5

1-5 is another grassland level and introduces Baron Von Zeppelins and Venus Fire Traps. It also has some YI-style "cross section" parts (one level of very few; most tilesets don't have those).

1-A

1-A is an athletic level based on SMB1-style scale platforms. It has turn block bridges as well.

#1 Morton's Castle

The world 1 castle introduces a couple more fortress and castle enemies, as well as Tap-Taps and Mildes in the second section. The boss is Morton, who can jump and spit fireballs. He is pretty easy, but he is the first boss. When you hit him, he becomes invincible for a while and starts shooting out arcs of round fireballs. Most bosses in this game have an "angry" phase after being hit, which usually increases in difficulty after the second hit.

2-1

World 2 is a desert, which 2-1 follows, including some SMB3 elements such as Pile Driver Micro Goombas, Fire Snakes, and these pipe structures.

Yellow Switch Palace

Yes, the switch palaces are here. Just the standard four. I'm not showing the others because they tend to be rather boring to look at, but this is what graphics I used for them, anyway.

2-2

2-2 is another underground level, this time introducing Chargin' Chucks (which, really, shouldn't have been introduced as early as 1-2 in the original game) as well as Nippers and growing/shrinking pipes. A few levels in the game also have dark areas with the Layer 3 spotlight effect from Yoshi's Island, such as this one.

2-3

2-3 is an athletic level on a bridge, where the enemies are Super Koopas and you get to use a cape for the first time. It's pretty short, but it does serve as an introduction to those two things, as well as these numbered platforms from YI. Capes are much rarer in this game than they are in vanilla SMW because of how powerful they are. Maybe I should have nerfed them.

2-Ghost House

The first ghost house in the game is pretty simple, introducing some basic ghost house concepts. There's a part in the middle where you have to pick the right doors. Also, Akaginite's Boo ring is much better than the original, if probably slower.

2-4

2-4 is another desert level with some Tap-Taps. It also has Pokeys and quicksand (even though that isn't actually in deserts...video game logic).

2-5

2-5 starts out with the Angry Sun. I think I tried disassembling it from SMB3 and then ended up just using Sonikku's. I did add some code to allow it to respawn, though. The second part of the level is a SMB3-esque pipe structure maze.

2-A

I decided to set 2-A inside a pyramid...and if you're going to make a pyramid level in a Mario hack, what better game to take inspiration from than SMB2? It even has a Phanto chase in the second room and some SMB2-style Sparkies in the third.

#2 Lemmy's Castle

The first room of the world 2 castle has moving Layer 2 objects, while the second introduces Roto-Discs. The boss is Lemmy, who shoots balls out of his pipes that do different things depending on their color. After each round of attacks or being hit, he'll shuffle the pipe colors. He'll always finish each round by coming out of the only pipe that doesn't have a matching one of the same color. One limitation that I had with the bosses in this game is that they were all based on existing graphics, and since there are no complete custom Koopaling sets (that I know of), I had to use either the vanilla ones or the SMB3 ones, and the former seemed to fit better and had a few more animation frames. Among other things, this meant that Lemmy couldn't do anything that would require him to have a bottom half, so he pretty much had to still be in a pipe (or vehicle, Lakitu cloud, etc.).


Here's the world 2 overworld, if you care to see.

3-1

World 3 is a forest, so 3-1 has things like Wigglers and Lakitus around. It's also the first level with Yoshi, who is also much rarer in this game than the original. I almost didn't include Yoshi because he tends to require extra micromanaging just like status bars do, but I ended up putting him in but restricting him to those levels only. And speaking of things restricted to certain levels, you can sometimes find treasure chests like the one in this bonus room that give you an item in the item box. If it's anything besides the standard mushroom, flower, or feather, it's only available for the level that you got it in, mainly to prevent anything being taken to a level that wasn't designed for it and breaking things.

3-2

3-2 is an athletic level with the SMB3 spinning red platform sprite. It also introduces Biddybuds, which I made for SMW. There really aren't enough general-purpose flying enemies in SMW, and the Biddybuds can have a variety of different behaviors and movement patterns, so they come in handy.

3-Fortress

The World 3 fortress starts off with a climbing net section (isn't it more of a fence than a net?). I was going to include the revolving doors here, but they couldn't be used at the same time as the Ball 'n' Chains because of sprite memory conflicts. Maybe they'll show up in a future fortress or castle (or even outside of them, since the fence graphics aren't tileset-specific). In the second room, there are Layer 3 smashers, a custom sprite version that's a lot more flexible than the original to boot. I do wish I had custom graphics for these, though; the original ones are kind of ugly, but they're all that I have. This time, the boss is Pom Pom. (Why yes, I did simply palette-swap Boom Boom's graphics and copy-paste Birdo's bow over them. Why do you ask?) She can throw fireballs and do this dash attack.

3-3

3-3 is a grassland level that introduces Volcano Lotuses, wide blocks, parachute enemies, and Shysters. It's also the level shown on the titlescreen.

3-4

3-4, meanwhile, has Lakitu, exploding blocks, and Flutters, which I don't see very often in hacks (I guess they are pretty dangerous compared to their source game, though).

3-A

3-A is a poisonous swamp (since every Mario game has to have those now) with Scuttlebugs and sprites in bubbles. The Scuttlebug is another sprite newly coded for this game, as is the Stingby, which I have to admit didn't make the transition as easily as the Scuttlebug did, coming from a 3D game. My thanks to Skewer for the graphics. He also did the Biddybud. In the secret exit path of this level, the poison rises and falls.

3-B

3-B introduces these timed platforms, which were only in one level in the original game, and blue Para-Koopas that fly in a circle or ellipse. The Timed Lift sprite is much more customizable than the vanilla one.

3-Secret Ghost House

There is one secret ghost house and one secret fortress in the game. This one starts out simple enough, just with a couple new enemies. In the second room, though, we have Mega Man-style appearing/disappearing blocks. This part originally had a completely different design; I wanted to do a rotating Mode 7 room (much like the one in the haunted house level in The Great Circus Mystery), but I decided that it was all too much of a nuisance to set up and I wasn't familiar enough with Mode 7 to figure out how it could work. You can fight a Big Boo Boss in this level, if you can find him.

3-C

3-C is the first water level of, honestly, pretty few. There not only aren't many underwater levels in the game, there are barely even any aboveground levels with water in them. I find them hard to design and hard to make fun. I did at least try to take advantage of the type for this one and have it go up, down, and around. This was made before Lunar Magic 3 came out, but if I'd had that, I might have made the level taller as well.

#3 Roy's Castle

The World 3 castle is outside, starting out in an area filled with brambles. In the second room, we have Lemon Drops, which you have to watch out for while also avoiding Grinders and other traps. The boss is Roy. He has the widest variety of attacks of any boss in the game so far, but he's probably too hard for world 3, so I might move him to a later castle. Among other things, he can cause sparks when he stomps the ground, and he can flash different colors and do different things depending on the color. When he flashes red, he'll dash into the wall and cause fire to fall from the ceiling.

4-1

World 4 has a mountain theme. 4-1 has Sumo Brothers, Shysters, and Hammer Brothers, among other things.

4-2

4-2 is an underground level with scrolling Layer 2 objects. It also has enemies that walk on the ceiling (which I actually probably shouldn't have put in a level with scrolling Layer 2 objects...they're kind of janky as it is). The level introduces Shell Bros. and Mega Moles as well.

4-3

4-3 is a sewer level, complete with Mario Bros. enemies, as well as a fair number of enemies from Yoshi's Island (I made the Nipper spores). This is the first one that really takes advantage of Lunar Magic 3's new level dimensions. The first room of the level has a couple on/off switches, including one that lets you choose which path to take. The second room has the first key coin challenge. This first one is a freebie, but there are 4 more to get before you can exit the level.

4-Fortress

Well, he had to show up sooner or later. 4-Fortress begins with a Magikoopa section. Be careful when there are Grinders getting in the way too. The second part is a vertical climb with some wall-following sprites. It's actually the only vertical level in the hack so far. I was considering not using them at all because they're so janky, but Lunar Magic 3 at least made them a lot easier to use (but not much easier to design). At the end, we face Boom Boom again, and this time, he can fly...and is living up to his name.

4-4

Now here's an interesting one. 4-4 is like Chocolate Island 2, where the number of coins and Yoshi coins you collect and the time you take to get through the level changes which rooms you go to (and since the hack doesn't use the regular timer, I added a custom one to keep track), but this time, it tracks two of those stats at once, so each screen exit can take you to any one of 4 different sublevels. You can end up dealing with sloped ledges and Super Koopas, green bouncing Koopas, the dreaded Pitchin' Chuck, or any of 9 other possible areas, some of which might look familiar and some of which are all-new. And, of course, there's the secret exit to consider.

4-5

4-5 is a nighttime athletic level with a variety of elements, including Beezos, Carrot Top Lifts, and line-guided sprites. Later on, there's a Bullet Bill generator and some more YI number platforms. (Incidentally, I had a heck of a time finding good music for this level, and I'm still not sure that my choice fits all that well. Does anyone know of a good unsampled general-purpose dark athletic theme?)

4-Ghost House

The World 4 ghost house has a couple new enemies, but the important part is the big room seen in the second screenshot, where there are many ways to go, some more productive than others and some invisible at first. If you're on the route to the normal exit, you'll end up in the room with the big green ghostly bubbles. (Is there an official name for those?)

4-6

We're closing out the levels on the main path of world 4 with a pretty straightforward one. 4-6 introduces Dino-Rhinos and Dino-Torches, the main enemies of this one. I'd always thought that they were very underused in vanilla SMW. Sure, they take up a lot of spriteset space, but they were in, what, 2 levels? And not even most of the second one. The game is supposed to take place in Dinosaur Land...why aren't there more dinosaurs?

4-A

It's everyone's favorite[citation needed] powerup from SMB3, Kuribo's Shoe. I tried to fix the bugs with it but wasn't completely successful. Well, 4-A focuses on it, and it might well be a breather compared to some of the other levels. Baron von Zeppelins are back, too.

4-B

This level took me forever to finish. 4-B is a temple/ruins kind of level, and it brings back Pansers and introduces Buster Beetles. The main new enemy here, however, is these Potion Bros. They throw different potions that have a variety of effects when they hit a surface and don't necessarily always throw the same kind. Red potions spawn enemies, blue ones spawn helpful sprites, yellow ones spawn fireballs, and green ones spawn blocks. There are also orange and purple potions, but you won't see those in this level. If you're on the path to the normal exit, you'll get to ride friendly Mega Moles across spikes. Some of them are faster, and some of them mimic your jumps. If you're on the secret exit path, on the other hand, you'll end up in a room where there are moving blocks (some sprite, some Layer 2) and Roto-Discs with more difficult patterns than those found in the world 2 castle. This is the main reason the level took so long (well, this and implementing all of the different behaviors for the Bros.). This was originally planned to be a Mode 2 area, where the moving parts of the foreground would be on the same layer as the main part of the foreground, but I could not get it to work no matter how hard I tried, even with the help of someone else who'd worked with it, so I just ended up making it a regular Layer 2 level. SMW really does not like using BG modes other than 1.

#4 Larry's Castle

The World 4 castle has a few new things, most notably these spiked platforms from Yoshi's Island. Hitting a switch of the same color will cause all platforms that match it to flip. They actually weren't as hard to code as I expected, but they weren't effortless either. (Honestly, the biggest problem was figuring out tile offsets for the graphics routine...I used Dyzen for the first time, but I found it pretty clunky. Whatever, it all worked out in the end.) Sometimes, enemies can trigger the platforms flipping at intervals, so you have to be careful timing jumps. You can also see a Ghost Guy and a Power Thwomp here, as well as Bowser statues and a giant Firebar. Larry, the boss, fights you on a line guide. He can throw different types of balls at you, as well as Grinders (which don't do a very good job attaching to the line guides, but I definitely blame SMW being SMW for that).

5-1

World 5, if you couldn't tell already, is the ice world. Naturally, 5-1 introduces the typical ice-themed enemies, mainly the Flurry, Ice Bro, and Bumpty. I can never decide if the Ice Bros. projectiles should freeze and hurt you or just freeze you, though. The level also introduces Spikes, which aren't a snow/ice enemy, but they're pretty general-purpose. Anyway, there aren't many snow/ice enemies in Mario games, especially the 16-bit ones. In particular, how the heck was SMB3's ice world the longest one in the game, yet it didn't include a single actual ice-themed enemy?

5-2

And here is where we end things off. 5-2 is not finished, but it's another athletic level. The gimmick of this one is these mushrooms, which will grow and shrink horizontally or vertically.


I also have videos of some levels: 1-5, 1-A, 2-2, 2-4, the World 2 castle, 3-1, the World 3 fortress, 3-A, the World 4 ghost house, 4-6, and the World 4 castle.

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I'm working on a hack! Check it out here.
I'll be monitoring this hack for a bit. I'm liking what I'm seeing so far and I hope you'll see it through to the end. I especially like the unique ideas put into it, such as a boss based entirely around line guides like Iggy.

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STELLA!
5-2 is now finished.


Later on in the level, there are more complex combinations of mushrooms, some smaller platforms, and a Gusty generator. I'm actually not completely sure that I should keep the Gusty generator, because they're a lot harder to dodge in a level like this than they would be in one with more solid ground, and they have a habit of taking up sprite slots that are vital for the mushrooms to spawn. (I wonder how hard it would be to reserve those separately...I've considered for a while making it possible to customize sprite memory settings more, which would actually help in a case like this.) Also, when playing through this level, I discovered a problem with the pause screen that I have: when there's a sprite onscreen that is partly made up of blocks, such as the horizontal growing/shrinking mushrooms, the sprite part disappears, making the rest get cut off. There's no way to fix this other than having a completely different pause menu, so I wonder if I should just leave it or if I should rewrite the pause menu to be fullscreen, maybe something like the one in Yoshi's Island.


Here is also a preview of the World 5 fortress. It's a snake block level, and it took a bit of finagling. These are actually kind of a pain to work with, and I'm not sure if the level is even any good, but we'll see. I used the green color for Peach's Quest: A Princess Story, modeled after the ones in the NSMB games, and I thought I might keep it in this hack as well, though I guess it does look a bit odd that the ends aren't the same color as the rest of it. I may decide to replace the sound effect that it makes with a different one, such as more of a lower-pitched, bongo-ish thing.

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Played through this and my issues I had brought up with the C3 version seem to have not changed, even with the new levels.
While theres def some rly cool and fun ideas in this hack, mainly with bosses and level concepts, the levels themselves are all really flat and boring. Theres no real variation in the levels either besides what enemies youll find and the graphics used.
I really think this hack has a lot of potential as it's got a lot of polish to it, and again you've got some great ideas here, but the main meat of the hack completely overshadows how clean it all is with just how boring and repetitive it is. Normally i'd show a collection of levels I think could be improved but the issues extend to every level.
Main gripes: Enemy placements is either sparse or nonsensical, levels are wayy too flat and can be breezed through just by holding forwards, it feels too dragged out ie you likely could fix the 2nd issue just by making the levels smaller.
If there is large patches of empty space and you have no ideas to fill the space with then remove the space. If the player can gain top speed with little to no issues you've done something wrong. If the player will think to themselves "why is this thing here?" then it should be moved.
Overall, a lot of potential, but needs more substance.
5-Fortress


Yes, the World 5 fortress is finally finished. It culminates in the second fight with Pom Pom. After being hit, she dashes around throwing shurikens, but in the meantime...


...she splits into copies and flies in circles. Can you tell which Pom Pom is the real one? (Probably not, since some of them only look different when in motion.)

I also have a video for this one.

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Originally posted by Rammy
Played through this and my issues I had brought up with the C3 version seem to have not changed, even with the new levels.
While theres def some rly cool and fun ideas in this hack, mainly with bosses and level concepts, the levels themselves are all really flat and boring. Theres no real variation in the levels either besides what enemies youll find and the graphics used.
I really think this hack has a lot of potential as it's got a lot of polish to it, and again you've got some great ideas here, but the main meat of the hack completely overshadows how clean it all is with just how boring and repetitive it is. Normally i'd show a collection of levels I think could be improved but the issues extend to every level.
Main gripes: Enemy placements is either sparse or nonsensical, levels are wayy too flat and can be breezed through just by holding forwards, it feels too dragged out ie you likely could fix the 2nd issue just by making the levels smaller.
If there is large patches of empty space and you have no ideas to fill the space with then remove the space. If the player can gain top speed with little to no issues you've done something wrong. If the player will think to themselves "why is this thing here?" then it should be moved.
Overall, a lot of potential, but needs more substance.

Okay, I'm not really sure where you're coming from with this. Why exactly do you consider the levels flat and boring? They're certainly no flatter than most official 2D Mario levels. And no variation between levels? Excuse me, but what?

Anyway...

5-3

This is an ice cave, though it's not that icy.



It does, however, introduce several new things, such as these Count Bombs, which I adapted from the Mega Man 7 version to be a bit more SMW-like (though perhaps they're too big and should still be 24x32 rather than 32x32?).



It has a few different variants of the SMB3-style Lotus sprite, which I made my own version of. I also coded the Kaboomba. I tried to make it as close as possible to the original enemy from Yoshi's Island.



Later on, you'll encounter some more complicated setups, such as combinations of several sprites (including a Bomb Koopa, which I added as an option to the custom Koopa sprite)...



...or this platforming sequence involving Count Bombs and the SMB2 waterfall logs.

Video

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I'm working on a hack! Check it out here.
This is my idea of a classic styled Mario hack. The levels are varied in their appearances and it seems like there is plenty to keep the player busy and alert. This honestly looks like a game Nintendo themselves might have made.
GANYMEDE

Chapter two: Land of No Shame
Coming January 2022
I never understood the argument against "flat and boring" levels. I mean, isn't that the whole entire point to a nintendo-inspired hack?

The new level looks sick, by the way.

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STELLA!
the levels are fine, density is in line with the original smw. I do think it feels slightly more empty than it should, maybe it's the lack of a status bar. I sort of like the minimalism though, so not a deal breaker for me
Thanks for the comments, everyone.

5-4

This is another mountain level that has a few different types of enemies and platforms. Probably the least snowy/icy level in here aside from the fortress, but it still fits.




Banzai Bills!



This is also the first level with Goonies. They seem a bit trickier to deal with than in their source game, especially when riding them, but you don't have to do that very often. (Also tricky are those slanted ledge objects; I don't know if I could have found a better way to code them, but they are a pain to line up properly, especially since they look very different in Lunar Magic than they do in-game.)

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5-5



The main focus of this level is Cooligans. They're not as easy of a sprite to use as I'd assumed, but I think I made them work okay.



It also introduces these floating ice blocks, which show up in a few places in the level.

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This hack isn't dead; it was just on hiatus for a bit due to a combination of being busy with other stuff and having trouble designing the next level.

5-A


This one takes place in a snowy forest. The main new enemy here is the Albatoss. Those seem to be trickier to use effectively than I would have expected, but they're found in a variety of arrangements here. The level also introduces Venus Ice Traps, though those aren't shown here.


In some places, you'll need to ride them or otherwise use them as platforms to get places.


In the second room, the platforming is more vertical.


There are a variety of enemies to get around. I considered putting scale platforms here, but I wasn't sure how well they'd work in a vertical level. (And honestly, the level doesn't function all that well as it is...I'll see what I can fix, but I swear, every time I try to make a vertical level, I regret it.)

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Double post!

5-B


The third and final "athletic grassland" level is kind of a shout-out to SMB3, especially 6-8 for being a similar style of level in an ice world. The first part of the level introduces some of the enemies that you'll find in the level, such as Nippers. It also has some interactive water with floating platforms. I was originally planning on having the water throughout the entire level, but the required screen settings caused problems with the sprites that go behind the scenery (Goomba spawners and pipe-dwelling Lakitus, not shown). Though I did later end up making a custom pipe-dwelling Lakitu that didn't require changing layer priority.


The second room gets even more SMB3-like, as we face a Lakitu that throws bouncing green Spinies.

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It's time for another level. This is a long one with a lot of things going on, so it gets a lot of screenshots.

#5 Wendy's Castle


Wendy's icy lair starts out with World 5 enemies in review, in a way.


It has some returning castle enemies as well, though.


It's also the first level with sideways Thwomps like this one.


The second room is underwater, and it has Stretches and Fishbones, as one might expect in an underwater castle level. The slight graphical glitch here is because MarioFanGamer's Custom Interaction Line patch isn't fully finished and tested yet, so it still seems to have a few kinks to work out.


In the final room, Bumpties are back, and with them come Layer 3 smashers.


Sometimes, you have to avoid the smashers around Grinders and giant Thwomps, the latter of which also make their first appearance in this level.


After all that, we finally reach the boss herself. Wendy flies around on a cloud and throws various attacks at you, such as this lightning bolt.


Once she goes down to ground level, she can use different attacks, including these spiraling snowflake projectiles.


After being hit, she'll start teleporting and spawning a whole bunch more lightning bolts out of the sky, culminating in one final multi-strike.

Video

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Looks very fun! Although the level designing is simple, i could spend some hours in it. Tell me when it's going to be released, i want to test it out!
Haven't started a project yet, but someday i'll get into it. I'll keep this footer updated about it.
Thanks. I probably won't release the hack for quite some time, since I'm not planning on submitting a demo, but I am slightly more than halfway finished with it.

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I'm working on a hack! Check it out here.