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[ON HOLD] SMW2+3: The Essence Star by Golden Yoshi
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Forum Graveyard - Featured Hacks - [ON HOLD] SMW2+3: The Essence Star by Golden Yoshi
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Link to submission.
Warning! Review may contain spoilers.

And here I replayed one of the hacks which I played trough the most back to when I was very new to SMW Hacking. Felt very good from one side. On another, not really.

What this hack is made of? Well, if you're into hacks with a deep storyline ala D4C, then you must play this. A totally new adventure sets Mario and his friends into a new island, where a festival is going on, as well as bad things that Mario must help to solve. Not going to spoil too much but the story is so well made
and damn I didn't remember it was so depressing at the end aaaaa ;_;
.

Another aspect that kept me playing this over and over, despite finishing it, is the replay value, which thanks to the incredible amount of secrets to find and stuff to do in the festival, makes it one of the highest I've ever seen. Not only this, but a good amount of levels also have "side quests", cards to collect and secret places. It's never boring to explore.

The boring aspect, though, explodes when it's about level design, which in this hack is really on low levels. I particularly hate the way each last level in every world was made. Pretty much the following: go back and forth many times, babysitting items and activating switches while going trough on the same level. Pratical example in the last level of the mountain world: you have to go trough the water sublevel at least 3 times in order to continue (2 of them for taking a P-Switch and one for taking the path of the fake 3-up moon). It just felt neverending. I'd rather see new sublevels instead of focusing the whole level on the same screens over and over again.
As for the rest of the levels, they are most of the times pretty flat, ala SMW's first worlds, sometimes with a particular gimmick (on/off blocks, hammer powerup) that doesn't really help much due to its basic use. So yeah, saying in advance: if you look for very good design, this isn't for you. Not saying that everything is bad though eh! I just made an average.

Last thing I'd like to mention before ending the review is that in some cases, some overworld paths could screw up. In my case, "Flamethrower Grotto" doesn't make the player progress after clearing it. Good thing that the previous level's secret exit allowed me to. This was a pretty common mistake in legacy hacks for some reason.

Overall, looking at my review, I'd be more lenient for a rejection.

Golden Yoshi, if you're looking this review, I have a suggestion for you: I'd personally love to see a remastered version of this hack, with better levels and visuals. The story is great and it's a pity that the rest of the hack isn't as good. I'm sure you got much better at designing, so... why don't you give a remastered version a try? #tb{;)}

Deadline: 10th April
By having seen this post, I decided to give this hack another try and so I just played through it for the second time.
I gotta say I was still pretty impressed by the whole game. Both the music and graphics (including palettes) are enjoyable, adding a big plus to the fun factor of the hack.

Wakana pointed out the linearity/flatness of the levels which I partly agree with. However, some levels were still pretty decently created and had some neat ideas in it. There's also a good bit to explore, especially when it comes to (spoiler alert)
orbs, character cards, races and many more
. I hardly played through a level only once. Instead, I reentered to see if I missed some pipes or other places to go to obtain everything the hack has to offer. That's why I think the level design itself is actually not too poor and I've definitely seen way worse. The bigger flaw of the hack in my opinion is the design of the overworld and subworlds.

But given the amazing storyline and how it is implemented in this hack, as well as characters showing up in the levels which have the player do alternate things is still pretty unique to me and adds a lot to the replay value. Even for its age, The Essence Star is still a great hack and therefore I am willing to nominate this for approval.

--------------------
I play different games on Twitch, currently I speedrun Pokemon Gold or play some other shit, can also include SMW hacks. Check out my twitch!

Exits done: 45, Overworld: 85%
Play through Taomb Demo 3
Taomb is a frozen project. GodDamnit.
The dead fucking end.

Sorry to disappoint but I don't have plans to ever remaster this hack. Not that I don't think many areas could use improvement. I have considered a remaster in the past but there are a ton of things I would wanna change drastically that it'd become essentially an entirely new project, which I unfortunately don't have the time or interest for.

Although, I did want to mention that I would not be opposed to someone else creating a remastered version. It's already been done with my Yoshi's Island hack SMW2+2 so definitely seems doable.

Sorry if my post wasn't really relevant to the purpose of this thread but just wanted to express my thoughts on a remaster.
Originally posted by the hack's description
WARNING: Not fully compatible with SNES9x/bsnes. [Music]

Originally posted by Wakana in Rules and Guidelines thread
Don't nominate hacks with the "fixme" tag. The hack you nominate must work in accurate emulators.
Layout by x-treme
YouTube
Originally posted by Master Lakitu
Originally posted by the hack's description
WARNING: Not fully compatible with SNES9x/bsnes. [Music]

Originally posted by Wakana in Rules and Guidelines thread
Don't nominate hacks with the "fixme" tag. The hack you nominate must work in accurate emulators.

This hack was added way before that rule was added.
Just review it normally, without considering the "fixme" issues. In case it gets the feature, it'll be "on hold", as in, it'll get its featured status + badge only when a version that works on all major emulators will be made and submitted.
This goes with all the "on hold" features in case this wasn't clear.
Sorry, Wakana.

Well, like many others here, this is the first SMW hack to play, and it seems like pretty impressive for a pretty old hack.

And now for the different critirieas:

1. GFX - This hack contains a very rich variation of GFX: a bit vanilla and another bit of choco, nothing too exaterated, and seems like a very smooth adaptation of the different Mario universe looking to SMW. The only thing that bothered me is the cloudy BG in the last but one level in the jungle world (with the aeroplane), that looked like it needs some more polish. 4/5

2. Music - Mainly Mario universe tracks, and it's a very nice and original way to know the various Mario universe tracks apart SMW without playing the actual games or YouTube. It soundes smoothly without any disturbing noises or cracks. The only thing that bothered me is the SMB3 underwater track, that is overrated and repetitive. 4/5

3. ASM - Fancy and varied, and like the music, a nice way to know about the Mario universe apart SMW without playing the actual games or YouTube. 5/5

4. Plot - Wow! A very long and detailed one! But since I am not a story-typical, I always skip them. It would've been better if the cutscenes were optional. 3/5

5. Gameplay - This is the bread and the butter of every game. While the levels themselves were overall fun and smooth, there were some issues:

- I never reached the secret quicksand in the last but one level in the desert world without cheating. A hint (like a some coins) would've been better.

- The hammer powerup in some levels is annoying!

- The ghost house in the mt. world was to repetitive - you had to do the same way and hold the same P-Switch at least 3 times!

3/5

Overall: 19/25 - 3.8/5 - Feature
Originally posted by Master Lakitu
Originally posted by the hack's description
WARNING: Not fully compatible with SNES9x/bsnes. [Music]


well let's see if Golden Yoshi can produce a bsnes/higan/snes9x 1.52+/RH (real hardware) compatible version of SMW2+3. he'll have to use AddMusicK to re-insert the custom music tracks that break on these emulators. not an easy thing to do.

in the meantime, use zsnes or snes9x v1.51 to play SMW2+3.
Okay so, considering the proper reviews only, seems that it's a feature more than a rejection.
Although, since the hack is broken, it'll be ON HOLD until we'll get either a fix or a remaster of it.
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