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The 7 Best Unauthorized ROM Hacks Of Popular Video Games

You think you know classic games? Think again, friendo. The online community has been hacking, redesigning, and remaking the classics ever since emulator software took off in the late ‘90s, and I’m here to show you the best of the best. Since this is all technically illegal, I won’t be linking to any of the games themselves — Google is your friend there. I also won’t be including any Pokémon hacks. And with those caveats in mind, here are some of the best fan-altered versions of popular video games!

 

Mario Adventure

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Based on Super Mario Bros. 3Mario Adventure is one of the most ambitious early romhacks ever. There are weather effects, new enemies, new powers, and an entirely new world to explore. It’s not a perfect game — running around in levels to look for keys is a bit of a pain — but it’s pretty amazing how well it stacks up against the rest of the Mario series (one website even called it the best romhack ever, but that was ten years ago, before most of these games came into existence). Either way, if you long for 2D Mario action and find the New Super Mario Bros. games too easy, Mario Adventure might be the game for you.

Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes

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Unlike the other games on this list, Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes was actually served with a cease-and-desist order mere weeks before its scheduled release date. Today, the game only exists as a partly-completed hack in the darker corners of the internet (in other words, proceed at your own risk). But if you do, you’ll find great reward. An interquel between Chrono Trigger and Chrono CrossCrimson Echoes took years to develop, and for good reason. There’s an estimated 35 hours of gameplay here, and it stars the beloved characters of the original Chrono Trigger. If there’s one knock against Chrono Trigger, arguably the greatest RPG ever made, it’s that there wasn’t enough of it. Well, now there is.

Mario Kart R

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Take Super Mario Kart, add a bunch of new tracks, and replace Toad with legendary death monster Kirby, and what do you get? Mario Kart R. There’s not much to say about this one, as it doesn’t have any major overhauls of the racing system or anything like that. But hey, why fix what ain’t broken? Mario Kart R is all about taking a nearly perfect game and extending the experience, and it does that well.

 

Kaizo Mario World

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Kaizo — hacks that up the difficulty of popular games until they’re nearly unbeatable. Just watch this video and you’ll see what I’m talking about. There are many Kaizo hacks out there, but Kaizo Mario World is the one that started the craze, so it gets the honor of being on this list.

 

Castlevania: Chorus of Mysteries

Depending on who you ask, Konami gave up on making classic-style Castlevania games after either Castlevania III or Super Castlevania IV. I’m in the former camp, which means that I think there are only two real, original classic Castlevania games (Castlevania II doesn’t count). And that’s a cryin’ shame. Both Castlevania and Castlevania III are incredible games, among the hardest NES games ever (that are actually worth it). Good thing we have Castlevania: Chorus of Mysteries. There are other Castlevania hacks out there, with Castlevania II: Redacted (a valiant attempt to make Castlevania II playable) being the most famous, but Chorus of Mysteries is arguably the best. It’s a complete overhaul of the original game, with new bosses, enemies, and graphics. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re a ‘Vania-head.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Outlands

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Did you love the original Legend of Zelda? Have you memorized the whole game by now? Then try The Legend of Zelda: Outlands, a complete rewrite of the original with a new plot, 18 new dungeons, and almost nothing but graphics and mechanics reused from the original game. It’s not quite as great as a real Zelda game, but if you’ve beaten the other 2D Zeldas, Outlands is a damn good time.

 

Super Metroid Redesign

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Here it is, arguably the greatest romhack ever made. The original Super Metroid is widely considered to be the very best game in its genre, which is what makes it extra sad that there are so few official 2D Metroids. But don’t worry, Metroid fans — the romhacking community is here to save you. There are dozens of Metroid romhacks out there, mostly of Super Metroid, and they’re mostly pretty good. But one stands out among the rest, and it’s Super Metroid Redesign. A full overhaul of Super MetroidRedesign is basically Super Metroid if it was double the size with hundreds of new mysteries. It’s an absolute must-play if you’re into 2D action/exploration games.

 

 

What’s your favorite romhack? Let me know in the comments below!

The 7 Best Unauthorized ROM Hacks of Popular Video Games

 

 

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