Lenophis's Ratings and Reviews
Hyper Metroid by RealRed [SM Exploration], rated by Lenophis on Jun 05, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I first started playing this hack towards the end of April, and was quickly blown away with the level of graphical detail put into the hack. Being based off of Project Base helped that, possibly, but it's just as likely that RealRed put that much effort into it as well.

The hack's biggest selling point is the ammo system. Missiles, Super Missiles, and Power Bombs all use the same ammo. To that end, it's always worth picking up any expansion you find, since all it does is add to how many of each you can use.

Level design: 3/5
Done fairly well, but with a good number of flaws. It's extremely open-ended, leaving you countless possibilities of where you can go and what you can do. But that strength is also a great weakness, since a lot of exploring will be met with dead-ends or situations where you'll have to come back later. To that end, there's no general hints of where you can realistically go, you just have to figure it out for yourself. That will likely happen with many players when it's time to pick up Super Missiles.

Difficulty: 3/5
This is mostly going go to depend on which beams you pick up, as well as how much ammo you have. Bosses can wreck you, but you can also wreck bosses. Enemies can wreck you, but you can also wreck enemies. There are spots where it can be balanced better.

Plot/Progression: 4/5
The gate system used as the "fetch quest" was implemented extremely well. You are introduced to it early, it tells you exactly how many there are, the locations for most are on the maps, and there's no crazy puzzles blocking them. That said, there is a decent amount of backtracking for a couple of them at the endgame.

Aside from that, the only real troubling spots were getting the Super Missile, and then GT. You'll probably find GT very early on, and then if you proceed to fight him you will get absolutely destroyed. The hack gives you a save point right before him, so that aspect of it isn't a big deal, but the game is almost suggesting you fight him, which can turn people off since he's next to impossible at first. The readme does state to stay away from him should you find him, but that requires people reading the readme.

Depending on if you can "sequence break," if there's any sequence to actually break in this game, the grappling beam can be useless almost before you pick it up, or shortly thereafter. On my first playthrough, Grapple and Charge came quickly, then Space Jump was next. Grapple Beam is never really required through the hack, since you can wall-jump to almost everywhere you want to go, but the grappling REALLY helps in a few spots. It's great for those that aren't that good with wall-jumping, so perhaps this is just a safety net aspect. If so, it's a great fallback.

Also with the "sequence breaks" is how good you are at getting around stuff. If you're really good, the game doesn't really try to stop you from going places that you likely shouldn't be at yet. As of the typing of this rating, some people have managed to get themselves incredibly stuck because the hack didn't do enough to prevent players from getting places they shouldn't be in. This mainly applies to Norfair and Maridia.

Puzzles: 4/5
There's just a couple of puzzles that have Metroid Zero Mission stupidly-precise speedblock sections, but other than that it's all great.

Replay: 4/5
As big as the areas are, there's likely a lot of places I haven't explored yet, and I only got 80% on my second playthrough. The depth of this hack will leave you wanting to play it again and again.
Reimagined by SavageWizzrobe [SM Exploration], rated by Lenophis on Jul 28, 2016 (Star Star Star Star Star )
52% in 5:17
This review is based on v03 of the hack.

This hack was a nice breath of fresh air. It didn't try to destroy you with unfair difficulty. Major upgrades are spread out fairly well. It's a very large hack, that for a first-timer is put together extremely well. There are opportunity for sequence breaks if you know where to look, but they're not obvious unless you're paying attention.

However, the hack is super-saturated with "you must find the secret to continue" type passages. Some are arbitrary enough that even if you're paying attention, you likely won't notice them. It reeks of NEStroid in that sense, but probably worse since the hack is much larger. If those types of needed discoveries were dropped by about 20%, the hack would flow much more nicely.

Nine of us got together to do a blind race, and it evolved into everyone helping each other find things and getting everyone through it.

Overall, I do recommend giving it a go, but I caution the player to be patient. It's a Redesign-level of big, but with some elbow grease very completable. Props to Savage.
Super Metroid: Z-Factor by Metaquarius [SM Exploration], rated by Lenophis on Dec 11, 2016 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I was told to try out 1.0 first. That got me as far as pre-Wrecked Ship cause yay blind grapple jumps! Not before other frustrating things, but it was at least semi-tolerable up to that point. I would then update to the latest version, which is 1.3 as of this posting. The blind grapple jumps were easier, but still incredibly annoying to pull off.

Then came the Wrecked Ship itself.

...Ugh.

One section of the ship has you traversing through a morph tunnel with unavoidable crumble blocks. Falling below nets you a round-trip back through the Wrecked Ship which requires more suitless underwater shenanigans. After several attempts to bombjump across, I threw my arms up in frustration and said "no" to this hack.

Would not recommend.
SM Redesign: Axeil Edition by Drewseph [SM Exploration], rated by Lenophis on May 29, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
At the time of this review, I was playing with v1.21. My understanding of Axeil was that it was supposed to be a toned-down version of the original, because the original had too much unfair and BS attached with it. The readme supports this theory.

First change I saw that stood out was Ceres' escape timer being reset back to 1 minute. I guess there were a lot of complaints? Proceeded to see Zebes. Then I saw the area name when landing. Blew me away. Wish this had been thought of sooner, as it adds to the flash and flair.

The morph tunnel leading to Bombs at the landing site was gone. I knew that I couldn't go that way, since I doubt he was going to remake the whole hack from scratch. Proceeded to where I knew missiles were. I see a lot of new background design going on, which I was very impressed with.

Picked up missiles, saw a pack of power bombs which was confusing, but proceeded forward to Brinstar. On my way to Spore, I noticed that the respawners weren't there anymore, so I couldn't refill on much-needed missiles. Had to reload the room a couple of times to get to Spore's door with a full count.

Spore Spawn's lower door is now locked until you kill him. Picked up the wall-jump boots. The wall-jump mechanics are slightly better than they were in Redesign. That is, originally when you let go of jump, you just dropped full stop. That aspect has been removed, but there's still room for improvement.

Back in Crateria, I am on my way back up to Samus' ship so I can save and get to the bombs. However, part way up I notice that in a morph tunnel, a new block is added. It looks very much like a bombable block. Later on I would discover that this is not the case, it's a shot block. I guess that's going to be a theme later. Since it looks like a bomb block, I didn't bother trying to shoot it. Bomb blocks can't be shot, after all. My hope sank at this point, realizing that my only way up is going to be wall-jumping between spikes. I died. At that point, I set the controller down, closed Snes9x and gave up the Axeil experiment. In the end, it's still Redesign. Different day with the same bullshit, and in some cases new bullshit. Drew has learned nothing.

Hacks are supposed to be fun. The whole point of anybody trying to get you to use their product is if you will enjoy it. I'm all for difficulty, but the saying "firm but fair" applies. Drew still has not learned about how to balance difficulty, and still make it fun.

Final verdict: If you enjoy being punished just for the sake of it, then play your brains out and enjoy. For everyone else that is sane, stay away.