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Hardest SMW Hack levels?
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - SMW Hacking Discussion - Hardest SMW Hack levels?
Pages: « 1 2 » Link
EDIT: Changed the title, since the thread was turning more into a debate.

This thread was actually a result of something that has been done in the Hardest SMW Hacks thread. Some people, including myself, have created lists on what they think are the hardest non-kaizo levels.

4. Bowser's Starship
Hack: The Second Reality Project by FPI
This is actually for the 2002 version of the level. The Reloaded version is still pretty tough though.
I'm actually surprised it's this low on the list. What makes it so hard is that you are required to be small mario for almost the whole level, which is filled with tons of obstacles that require good timing to avoid. Even with savestates, you will struggle with it.

3. SCORPION's Mansion/The Vault
Hack: The Fourth Sector by S.C.O.R.P.I.O.N.
I decided I'm only going to include one level from the Hunter and SCORPION series, since a few more of their levels could've easily made this list.
The original version of this level, called SCORPION's Mansion, is easily the hardest level they have ever made.
A few kaizo moments were present in this level actually, but I still do not consider it to be a kaizo level because there really aren't any unfair traps in the level. The main reason it is on this list is because of the puzzles that are found within the level, especially in the rooms that are pretty much endless. You think that you have to go to the end of the room to go to the next, only to find yourself back at the start of the room, where there is a hidden door present.
A new version of The Fourth Sector is currently in progress. One of the most recently finished levels was this one, now known as The Vault. The difficulty is being lowered quite a bit, so whenever the hack is completed and I have the chance to play it I will have to make a decision. There's a chance that The Vault may be removed from this list and replaced with the next hardest level in a Devious Four hack. It may be lowered on the list as well, but it could also stay where it's at right now. I do know that it will still be among the hardest in this hack though.

2. Bowser's Castle
Hack: An SMWCentral Production
At first I didn't think this level was going to be as tough as it turned out to be. The beginning was still rather tough, but I just saw it as just what I would originally expect a final level in an SMW hack to be like. Savestates actually made it a lot easier.
The second part is the reason this level is on this list. All 8 rooms of the Virtual Reality gave me a ton of trouble, and the boss didn't make anything easier either.
I liked the level a lot though. It was frustrating, but I think it is far from a bad level.

1. Core of Disaster
Hack: Bowser's Ultimate Labyrinth by Sniggerb0bble
Actually, I'm not sure if this level is kaizo or not. It's the final level in what is easily the hardest SMW hack I've ever played.
Unlike Bowser's Castle from An SMWCentral Production, both halves of this level are extremely hard. The first part is mostly platforming, with a room that has ice blocks to be melted with the fire flower.
Take the concept with Tubular, crank up the difficulty about 75%, and you got another room in the first half. This one requires you to use a p-balloon, go through a huge maze, with walls, ceilings, and floors that will hurt you. There are several more p-balloons in this area, and eventually you will reach a star where you have to run very quickly.
The second half is even worse. Once again, it's mostly tricky platforming, but this time the platforms are spaced out more, some of which are impossible to reach without spin jumping off of the magikoopa clone's magic. There's also a room where you have to go through a water maze, where you have an air meter.
Even with savestates, this level will actually seem unwinnable.

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Vanilla Twist!
In no particular order:

1. Super Mario LD; Spaceship and Bowser's Castle levels

A weird Japanese hack this one, but while the bosses are hard in general (especially Roy Koopa, if you mess up even slightly he will destroy you), most of the levels are pretty reasonable.

Except the two in the title. The former, as shown below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIi1kwKgS0U

Is a difficult level based on the Gradius series, and throws every possible fast moving projectile known to man in Mario's face. It also scrolls very, very slowly, leaving you stuck in rooms filled with rapidly spawned sprites that try to home in on your location. The video makes it look easy, but to play it is just annoying.

The other hard level is Bowser's Castle. Now, most of it is fairly easy, but then you've got the last room. It scrolls upwards at hyper speed and involves quite a lot of tricky jumps just to outrun the screen. It then has the annoying Bowser boss found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOOa0huuVSg

2. Terra Mario: Final Level

I did not like this hack at all, and the final level didn't help things in the slightest. Thanks to it being from the same 'school' of design that spawned Super Dedel World and Mario's Mission, the last levels just bordered on being Kaizo and dragged on and on forever.

To add to the misery, the final boss had a tendency to teleport right on top of Mario and resist any attempts at being jumped on.

Did I mention you had only a few safe blocks on either side of a pool of rising lava to stand on? I hated that boss and level.

3. Absolutely any collab final level

Because let's face it, is there really a VIP game that didn't have an ungodly hard and ridiculously long final level? The Abyss of Death in VIP 4 was hell, and Castle Tanasinn in VIP 5 was probably worse. They're not the worst levels in existance (partly because the difficulty of each door varies and because sometimes you can simply choose an easier path), but they can be ridiculous if you choose the worst possible set of rooms to navigate through.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJmadfott-E

ASMT and SMWCP1's final levels are worth mentioning here too.

4. DSU Mario World; Power Cut Peril

I seriously apologise for this one, because it came from an old hack I was helping with years back and could probably permanently damage someone's eye sight due to the gimmicky lighting effect.

Basically, the lights flicked on and off. Constantly. In older versions, this could be more than once every half a second.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jSsy3Vs45U

It's bad enough that someone could probably have a seizure from trying to play it, let alone the fact you had to do precision jumping and navigate a maze of spikes. In the dark. With no checkpoints.

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For gaming news and Wario discussions, check out Gaming Reinvented and Wario Forums respectively.

As for Mario's Nightmare Quest? Well, it's currently on Fusion Gameworks, ROM Hacking.net or the GCN at the moment.
@cheatmaster Great list. I really liked the videos you posted too.

I would update mine to include YouTube links too, but the only videos where Core of Disaster was played were actually in parts of a Let's Play.

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Vanilla Twist!
I specifically remember a level in a hack by a user named EYEdentification on Acmlm's Board back in 2002. The name of the hack was Bowser's something (Bowser's Revenge, maybe). I just remember a vertical mountain level with tons of sprites (and tons of slowdown) accompanied by an unforgiving time limit. Used an assload of savestates.

Non-SMW hack-wise, Secret 6 in New Yoshi's Island has to be one of the most intensely difficult and time consuming levels I've ever played in a hack.
I remember having a hell of a time with some of the unfinished levels in Brutal Mario. The one where you have to ride a goddamn puffer fish through a lava course comes to mind.


For non-hack, there is of course, Tubular. Damn you Tubular.
Originally posted by Kaijyuu
I remember having a hell of a time with some of the unfinished levels in Brutal Mario. The one where you have to ride a goddamn puffer fish through a lava course comes to mind.


For non-hack, there is of course, Tubular. Damn you Tubular.

Yes, about Tubular, I mentioned it while talking about Core of Disaster, the #1 level on my list. There is one part of that level with the same concept, only it makes Tubular look like Star World 3.

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Vanilla Twist!
Originally posted by Kaijyuu
Tubular.

Don't...mention...that...cursed...level...again... #smw{B)}

Originally posted by Hailcrash
2. Bowser's Castle
Hack: An SMWCentral Production
At first I didn't think this level was going to be as tough as it turned out to be. The beginning was still rather tough, but I just saw it as just what I would originally expect a final level in an SMW hack to be like. Savestates actually made it a lot easier.
The second part is the reason this level is on this list. All 8 rooms of the Virtual Reality gave me a ton of trouble, and the boss didn't make anything easier either.

I agree with this one, especially the Forest Void level, oh how I got frustrated with those branches and the "well" placed sprites.

Anyway, I remember these ones by heart:

Bowser's Boiler 2 and 3 from SMW Infinity: I just HATE those muncher-things that go up and down, especially when they're placed with sprites abuse (bullet bills, hammers from hammer bros...). It requires lots of concentration. Also, level 3 has invisible spikes. #smw{¬_¬}

Hyper Temple, Super Mingus World and other final levels from Super Luigi World: Luigi's Quest. Well, what can I say? Sprites abuse, mainly chucks and shelless blue koopas kicking shells (they kick them off-screen so the player almost needs to guess where they'll come from), lack of midway points...

Hot and Hectic from S'M'W 2: those continuous "purple triangles with pipes" jumps are quite hard to maintain. Another case of "perfectly timed jumps required".
The one level that always stands out in my mind is Chaos CompleXX from TSRPR. As it stands, the level itself isn't THAT difficult, but the length makes it an utter nightmare to complete without savestates. Even Braindamaged Finale, which comes right after it, is much easier.

An honorary mention goes out to "jesus" and his level from one of the vanilla contests (probably 2010). It wasn't very long, but the difficulty was pretty nuts. At the same time, it was fully possible to beat toolless - you just had to practice it a bit and learn the safe spots.
Drama Mistery: Darkness of Death

Two Words: The Hell
I've really enjoyed reading everyone's responses so far. I've never heard of a few of these levels

I really don't try to classify Tubular as anything really. To me, it's just a level from the original SMW. Whether or not it's the hardest doesn't really matter to me at the moment, since I've played way harder levels in both official releases and hacks.

As for Chaos CompleXX, that definitely could've made my list. The reason it's not is because I already have a level from the TSRP series (the 2002 version of Bowser's Starship). May not be the hardest in my mind, but I will agree with S.N.N. that it is really hard to complete without savestates.

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Vanilla Twist!
Originally posted by S.N.N.
An honorary mention goes out to "jesus" and his level from one of the vanilla contests (probably 2010). It wasn't very long, but the difficulty was pretty nuts. At the same time, it was fully possible to beat toolless - you just had to practice it a bit and learn the safe spots.

That level is memorization-based enough that in my opinion it's pretty much a Kaizo level, even if it wasn't intended to be. After all, though Kaizo levels often are designed to require tool usage, the original Kaizo and Kaizo 2 are fully possible non-TAS with enough practice and memorization (and perhaps some luck), and their levels are shorter for that matter.

For anyone who's unfamiliar with it, here's a video of it being played without tools, anyway. (I'm still somewhat amazed that NotEntirelySure took a request of mine...)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dczEG_GlFKc

–=–=–=–=–=–=–
Alyssa's Unlikely Trap (demo 3)
Originally posted by Zeldara109
Originally posted by S.N.N.
An honorary mention goes out to "jesus" and his level from one of the vanilla contests (probably 2010). It wasn't very long, but the difficulty was pretty nuts. At the same time, it was fully possible to beat toolless - you just had to practice it a bit and learn the safe spots.

That level is memorization-based enough that in my opinion it's pretty much a Kaizo level, even if it wasn't intended to be. After all, though Kaizo levels often are designed to require tool usage, the original Kaizo and Kaizo 2 are fully possible non-TAS with enough practice and memorization (and perhaps some luck), and their levels are shorter for that matter.

For anyone who's unfamiliar with it, here's a video of it being played without tools, anyway. (I'm still somewhat amazed that NotEntirelySure took a request of mine...)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dczEG_GlFKc

Axem Jinx pointed out that when it comes to borderline cases, there is no real consensus on whether it is classified as Kaizo or not. I think a similar thing happened with SMWCP. There were a few levels that some people considered Kaizo, while others did not. I would not consider any of those as Kaizo, since they are still easier than the first level of Kaizo 1. If we want a strict definition of a Kaizo level, I guess we can say "anything that is harder than or just as hard as the 1st stage of Kaizo 1", since the phrase "kaizo level" was derived from Kaizo Mario World.

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don't click this link...
I was actually thinking of creating a thread regarding Kaizo definitions and borderline levels recently...

Anyway, I think my criteria for Kaizo would be a combination of this:
- being memorization-based (you can't see enemies/traps in advance in time to react to them), and
- lack of room for error. This can be a lack of power-ups (so one hit always kills you), making it so you fail the level and have to suicide if you lose a power-up you are given, or perhaps an incredibly low timer where being too slow for one obstacle results in death (which would also be memorization-based).

Note that forcing the player to be small does not make a level automatically Kaizo (though I disapprove of it in non-Kaizo levels). However, a borderline level that does contain non-essential power-ups (or at least allows players to enter the level with full power-ups, if part of a longer hack) is much less likely to be something I'd consider Kaizo.

For reference, I consider the second half of the secret exit room of RttC's Flood Flight Night to be basically Kaizo, but not any of the other levels in RttC (which overall is one of the most difficult non-Kaizo hacks out there, but for the most part manages to distinguish itself from Kaizo pretty well).

Back on the topic of this thread, I'm surprised not to see any of Anikiti's levels mentioned yet-- some of those can be incredibly difficult. (I can't think of any in particular, but I've only played one of his hacks. The rest seem to have the same reputation though.)

–=–=–=–=–=–=–
Alyssa's Unlikely Trap (demo 3)

Extras



I should have something witty to put here (even if it's just to update dated info), shouldn't I?

Advertising Space

Well the thing with "Kaizo" is that too many people like to use it as a synonym for "This level is above my comfort zone of difficulty." I myself try to avoid using the term unless I encounter a clear-cut example.

Originally posted by MrDeePay
Well the thing with "Kaizo" is that too many people like to use it as a synonym for "This level is above my comfort zone of difficulty." I myself try to avoid using the term unless I encounter a clear-cut example.

I think I can actually agree with that. I just said non-kaizo because otherwise Bowser's Ruins (from SMWC Kaizo Pack) would've been the most common answer.

With that being said, what's the hardest level you've ever played in an SMW hack?

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Vanilla Twist!
I consider "kaizo" to accompany certain skill requirements as well as other aspects. Length can almost determine it at points. Some of the hardest levels I've played that I consider non-kaizo:

The final level of Mario X World: Deluxe by Anikiti: After being locked into hell before the level prior so no more life farming, you get to face two paths of 7 to 8 rooms with no mid point. Most of them are long and the "easier" path of starts with a tight conveyor/throw skelly/sharp logs power up eater than dolphin segment. The "harder" path (which I ended up taking for my winning run) involved a pretty tricky Kamek section followed by a terribly timed green koopa hoping segment and this is all after a long vertical room. After all that mess the segments pool into a learn by dying rope guided segment that is impossible to predict. I had to used a save state there to learn it, than came back and did it all in one go after numerous attempts. Took about 4 hours.

A Honeypot Trap of A Super Mario Thing by the Talkhaus: I know there are harder but I haven't gotten there yet. The first half isn't too bad just some crazy dodging maneuvers but everything learn-able. Second half is a different story. There is an eerie generator in the form of bees that swarm when you don't move fast enough and can produce WAY more than normal. Well there's forced waiting layer 2! This makes it almost impossible to predict or get to the boss (oh yes there's a boss) consistently. The boss however not too bad and power up providing, still spams you with homing bees (that at least can be killed) and luckily only takes 3 hits but the bees need to go too. Took me 3 and a half hours to see the boss once and is currently still incomplete.

Pretty much all of World 9 in Luigi's Adventure OSE also by Anikiti: Though the stages can be brutal enough, each of them have some form of boss and not a lot of power ups before hand. The worse would by far by (or at least so far) would be Overpass to the Empire. Not only is there an insane amount of precise jumps but at the end of 4 rooms (mid point in middle) you need to face off with 3 Bob-bomb throwing Lakitus that take 5 hits each. Took me damn near 5 hours and I have no idea how I managed to pull that boss off no damage. Special mention to the optional Advanced Base which has a lot of difficultly placed chainsaws on lines which sometimes have to be spun jumped on to hit switched in spike invested areas. That one at least has the decency to provide a Reznor fight at the end.

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Your layout has been removed.
I always find Anikiti's levels to be on the hard side, considerring before I had my YouTube, I played almost all of his hacks, two of which, I reached to Bowser's Submap, using savestates. I still liked the gimmicks Anikiti used.

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-I also do not accept speculative work as I do have various art I made on-hand with me.
-I am more receptive to equivalent exchange of resources in which case, you can DM me wherever I have an active presence on for the details.
-Other times I'm availible for your project is C3 request threads I may run.




Originally posted by Zeldara109
I was actually thinking of creating a thread regarding Kaizo definitions and borderline levels recently...

Anyway, I think my criteria for Kaizo would be a combination of this:
- being memorization-based (you can't see enemies/traps in advance in time to react to them), and
- lack of room for error. This can be a lack of power-ups (so one hit always kills you), making it so you fail the level and have to suicide if you lose a power-up you are given, or perhaps an incredibly low timer where being too slow for one obstacle results in death (which would also be memorization-based).

Note that forcing the player to be small does not make a level automatically Kaizo (though I disapprove of it in non-Kaizo levels). However, a borderline level that does contain non-essential power-ups (or at least allows players to enter the level with full power-ups, if part of a longer hack) is much less likely to be something I'd consider Kaizo.

For reference, I consider the second half of the secret exit room of RttC's Flood Flight Night to be basically Kaizo, but not any of the other levels in RttC (which overall is one of the most difficult non-Kaizo hacks out there, but for the most part manages to distinguish itself from Kaizo pretty well).

Back on the topic of this thread, I'm surprised not to see any of Anikiti's levels mentioned yet-- some of those can be incredibly difficult. (I can't think of any in particular, but I've only played one of his hacks. The rest seem to have the same reputation though.)

Wait, you are saying that forcing the player to be small in a non-kaizo hack is bad? What if you give the player the powerup back at the end of the level? Think about it, there are many things that small Mario can have fun with which big Mario cannot. I think it all boils down to the design of the level and whether forcing the player to be small is done to make it unfair or to make it more interesting. If it is the latter, then I don't see a problem. The ultimate goal is to have fun, not be stingy with powerups. The easiest way to compensate for a forced powerdown is to give the player two capes and two flowers at the end (to account for all the possible item/reserve combinations). If the player was already small to begin with, then he/she can get two free capes, but I don't think the player will complain about that. Now that I think about it, being small is not all that bad, and can be quite fun.

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don't click this link...
Well, regarding the idea of "filter" levels (as I've sometimes seen them called), I've only seen them used to compensate for someone not wanting to make their level compatible with all starting power-ups (or adding artificial difficulty)-- generally in team hacks that accept anything, or other hacks that don't care about design quality. Feel free to try to disprove this.

Anyway, in Mario games in general that use the power-up system, players expect to be able to bring their power-ups to other levels (keeping them until they take damage, die, or collect a different power-up). Filtering the player's power-ups seems... well, rude to the player? Not sure how to describe it... well, I guess I'd consider it betraying the player's expectations, in the same way that having an enemy that's instant death even when big or having a coin trail leading into damage/death would betray their expectations.

There's also the annoyance of 1-hit death if the player is small-- remember that power-ups are also a health system to allow room for error, not just extra abilities for use in puzzle solving.

Now, I think it could work if your power-up is reset consistently after every level (and if it's reset to super instead of small, that would avoid the 1-hit death issue). If the hack defines itself from the beginning as having a different power-up system (instead of leading players to assume they can carry over power-ups as normal then inconsistently preventing them from doing so), I don't have a problem with it, though of course it depends on whether the level design uses this different system effectively.

–=–=–=–=–=–=–
Alyssa's Unlikely Trap (demo 3)
Originally posted by Zeldara109
Well, regarding the idea of "filter" levels (as I've sometimes seen them called), I've only seen them used to compensate for someone not wanting to make their level compatible with all starting power-ups (or adding artificial difficulty)-- generally in team hacks that accept anything, or other hacks that don't care about design quality. Feel free to try to disprove this.

Anyway, in Mario games in general that use the power-up system, players expect to be able to bring their power-ups to other levels (keeping them until they take damage, die, or collect a different power-up). Filtering the player's power-ups seems... well, rude to the player? Not sure how to describe it... well, I guess I'd consider it betraying the player's expectations, in the same way that having an enemy that's instant death even when big or having a coin trail leading into damage/death would betray their expectations.

There's also the annoyance of 1-hit death if the player is small-- remember that power-ups are also a health system to allow room for error, not just extra abilities for use in puzzle solving.

Now, I think it could work if your power-up is reset consistently after every level (and if it's reset to super instead of small, that would avoid the 1-hit death issue). If the hack defines itself from the beginning as having a different power-up system (instead of leading players to assume they can carry over power-ups as normal then inconsistently preventing them from doing so), I don't have a problem with it, though of course it depends on whether the level design uses this different system effectively.

I do not mean permanently taking away the powerup. I even mentioned giving the powerup back. And I am not referring to artificial difficulty. I am talking about a level that is more fun when the player is small. Is it that bad? The ultimate goal is to make a level fun, and if that goal is met, then I don't see why there should be complaints.

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don't click this link...
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