Release date: Oct 17, 2020
Author: Digital_Mantra
Download: Download (471 downloads)
Genre: Exploration [?]
Game: SM
Difficulty: Vanilla [?]
Average runtime: 5:21
Average collection: 66%
Read Me: [None]
Forum Thread: Forum
Rating: Star Star Star Star Star
Samus Aran has been contracted to investigate an installation on Planet Auriga.
Ratings and Reviews
By Miranda Gemini on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
53% in 4:12
I genuinely can't overstate how great this hack is.
Without spoiling the experience: DMan has presented an absolute master class on world design. There's flashier hacks for sure, but I don't think anything has come close to being as engrossing as V I T A L I T Y was simply by the way the world tells its story. There's so many moments where I literally just stopped to take in what I was seeing. I'm a sucker for a pretty hack, but honestly V I T A L I T Y goes beyond just looking good. There's a certain... feeling of actually being on an alien world that no other hack really achieves.

As someone who's been playing hacks for like... 10? 12? years now, you get a little jaded. Every once in a while something comes along and gives you a little bit of drive to keep going with them, but V I T A L I T Y really hits different. You can feel the love and dedication DMan put into crafting not just a hack, but a world and a story. Everything is so meticulously, carefully designed to be exactly what he intended, and that care reflects on the player. Some hacks give a little reminder of what's to like about SM, but V I T A L I T Y has genuinely reinvigorated my love for the medium.

Play it.
By ProjectXIX on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Extremely creative usage of vanilla tiles, innovative level design, and gameplay driven storytelling make this hack an easy contender for hack of the year, but it almost borders on being two different games. So much of Vitality feels like a totally different game while other places just feel like a rehashed Super Metroid. Easily one of the best hacks around, if you can handle a jarring reminder that you're still playing Super Metroid every once in a while.
By mccad on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
67% in 6:04
This hack pushes the boundaries of what is possible to be done with vanilla tiles, and extensively utilizes background layer blending effects in a way I dont think anyone else has done before. The level of thought and detail put into every environment, and the game world as a whole, is completely unparalleled. You aren't just exploring some rooms that some jackass threw together in an afternoon, you're travelling through a genuinely immersive planet.
It's a relatively vanilla experience, and despite that I can say with wholehearted honesty that I think it's the best hack on this site.
By Boomerang on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 6:46
A masterclass in Super Metroid hacking.

I'll make biases apparent right up front, for the sake of transparency: Eris is perhaps my favourite Super Metroid hack out there, and I was able to play VITALITY weeks before most others were able to, thanks to FuncoLand shipping my copy early. That being said, I will, to the best of my ability, not let these biases affect my critique. That being said, there may be some discrepancies between what is mentioned in my review and the contents of the final game, as it was edited slightly before release.

Like with Eris and Cliffhanger before it, VITALITY stands tall among all other Super Metroid hacks as a sterling example of creative level design blended beautifully with expressive tilework. While the majority of VITALITY uses vanilla tiles to construct its world, they have been so creatively edited that the world of Auriga feels so completely and utterly alien that I was transfixed from the very moment I started the game. The lighting simulation via tiles - as shown in the cover image here on this site - is something I have never seen before in a Super Metroid hack. The atmosphere presented here is, quite simply, totally unmatched by any other hack out there, except for Digital Mantra's other hacks, particularly Eris. If you're a fan of his other hacks, you will not be at all disappointed with what is on display here.

That being said, it would be one thing if VITALITY was able to capture the meticulous room design of Eris, but VITALITY manages to go one step beyond and craft a world that feels completely coherent in its environmental design. Details that are presented in one room will provide the environmental context to another room, like a stray sandfall on the surface eventually leading to a large sand pit several rooms below. It doesn't quite reach the sheer density of Eris, but that attention to detail is emblematic to Digital Mantra's hacks, and it is firing on all cylinders in VITALITY.

But it goes even further than that. While I personally liked the exploration that comes with finding a new powerup in Eris, some players found it difficult to find the path forward at times, myself included on my first playthrough. I think it is safe to say, however, that VITALITY manages to avoid this particular pitfall, due in some part to the generally improved level structure and the slightly more freeform item progression. No effort has been spared in providing environmental cues that hint towards the presence of an upgrade or the existence of a hidden passage, but they're integrated so well and they blend in so naturally with the environments that it never feels too obvious. The hack respects the player's attention to detail and exploration feels utterly satisfying.

In an effort to convey a sense of lore and history to the worlds they create, hackers often come up against the harsh limitations of the medium: Super Metroid isn't a game that is natively capable of modern-day conveniences like scan logs or text dumps. Great efforts have been made to circumvent these limitations, often through the use of map screen text or environmental storytelling. The results can often be clumsy, but it's a reality of Super Metroid hacking at this point. That is why I am happy to say that VITALITY executes on these concepts exceptionally well. The lore and environmental storytelling are at their best here, and the secrets that lie in wait on Auriga are amazing to experience firsthand.

What else that remains to be said will remain unsaid. VITALITY is best experienced without spoilers. All I can say at this point is that I give this hack my highest recommendations.

Hack of the Year.

By advancedpillow on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
15% in 1:31
Digital Mantra has pushed what is possible within the medium of Super Metroid with VITALITY. He has innovated the graphics in ways never seen before, cleverly utilizing background/transparency layers to create movement, animation, blending colors, etc (a painstaking and time-intensive process). He has enhanced replay value by decreasing linearity and reliance on items (what is the lowest Capacity you can beat the game with?!), while still subtly guiding the player on the main path. Most of all, he tells a story that affects long after the game ends; like all great Science Fiction, VITALITY sticks with you.

VITALITY is overflowing with environmental storytelling — every room is designed for an in-world reason. Planet Auriga is alive, and has been before Samus arrived. Can you hear the voice of Digital Mantra, guiding you to clues...to secrets...to the lore? Gamers with big imaginations, you will love this aspect!

VITALITY is a masterpiece, on all fronts. And its long road to completion is a massive achievement. It earns a spot on “Best SNES Games of All Time” lists.

Thank you, and congratulations, to Digital Mantra for creating this game! We all now live in a post-VITALITY world, and I for one am feeling inspired. I hope many others feel it too!
By RealRed on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
15% in 2:27
Vitality is the culmination of over a decade of Digital Mantra learning, practicing, and most of all, dedicating himself to refining his levels and his unique visual style.
It boasts a level of visual storytelling that doesn't exist in other fangames. On top of that, it manages to do so within a well balanced and fun set of Super Metroid levels.

As vanilla as it tends to be, we may never get another release like this one.
By Syphon on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
87% in 4:32
VITALITY is a masterpiece and among the best hacks out there.

Visuals, atmosphere, environmental storytelling, level design. Everything was exceptional. Absolutely fantastic work.

Thank you Digital Mantra!
By RT-55J on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
78% in 4:50
Vitality is basically like "what if Eris was playable by normal humans?" It's got the same lush double-layer tilework and palettes and effects and atmosphere, but it's been thoroughly playtested so the necessary tech-skill is much lower (and enemies don't all hit like trucks). The only advanced technique required to beat the game is the rising mid-air morph -- not a single wall jump is necessary.

One particular thing I like about the world design is the cues it takes from Metroid 2. Like Return of Samus, there are a lot of big structures and ruins in this game which are contextualized by having massive rooms delineating their exteriors. This (a) owns, and (b) helps give the planet a definite sense of geography.

Now, as far as whole "Rated R" thing: aside from the nudity on the title screen and with the death animation, most of the hack is pretty tame in a ratings sense. However, the final area (which I will not spoil) contains the bulk of the game's potentially objectionable content. Double check the age settings on your stream when you get there (if you're streaming).

Good hack.
By thedopefish on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
74% in 4:29
[Watch Video]  
Quite an excellent hack, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The visuals are striking. Great palettes, great use of lighting effects, cool boss respriting, and plenty of the classic dman room design aesthetics.

The storytelling is done well and hits home, with very little text.

There's tons to explore. A couple of times I was sure I was supposed to be in a certain area but got it wrong, and yet I never felt lost or stuck, which is really perfect. Item progression seemed very smooth and good. The overall low amount of ammo meant that almost every secret was a welcome find.

If I have to say anything bad about it, only two things come to mind. In a few rooms it was challenging to tell what was foreground and what was background, and most of the bosses were rather easy.
By Zhs2 on Oct 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
56% in 5:02
4 years well spent, but I wouldn't necessarily trust DMan with the phrase "hack made for noobs". There is much in the way to pick up that has been made very not obvious, and some items are even less obvious in this final release than during the playtesting phase. Always be wary of secret passages, especially near locked doors, and do know there's a way to escape Ridley's volcano if you don't have enough items to beat him. That being said, it's not a difficult hack at all. Searching every nook and cranny you can find goes a long way toward rounding out your ability to survive. Absolutely worth more than one playthrough.
By benox50 on Oct 18, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
66% in 6:22
Another 6 to that % and I would have been golden,

This is now my favorite hack, its like my Eris 2, more modern and
well made level design wise. The palettes are also better than Eris, but even if they looked broken they still looked good in Eris. The level art is as good if not better than the author previous entries, my favorite part being the use of layer 2 transparency to detail overlay over everything and animate tiles in unique various organic ways probably no snes games and maybe even no games has done. Dman hacks scratches one of the most important itche for metroid and its the alien story telling esthetic exploration. Vitality does that part better than the OG and others Dman hacks by being what it is but a culmination of all the learning and practice of the author with the medium, resulting into the said above with a more fun and smooth progression. There is use of circular navigation and one way that become two ways once a side is walked through. With all that good flow you still crawl through unique intricacies of level art that are waiting to be discovered. The tiles arent just decorating a world, they are the world. My only grip is that the map is still vanilla barebone and doesnt represent too well the area in a sense you need to repeat some navigation around structures many times to know it well. Where instead the map could have told you better that this wall here has an opening so you can pierce farther than the snes tiny res and foresee a path before executing. but I mean thats vanilla map right, but I still feel the complexity here would need a more complex and even changing map. There is also some art overgrowing over the level design hurting the reading of it as many hacks do, but this is way better than in his past projects. For some reason I was more than half way with 2 E-tanks and it was too intense, I feel I got a bad seed but I also felt a lack of proper easy to find/grab e-tank. However the hack aint particularly hard with the proper gears. Im still not sure to recommend as a first first hack for a beginner to play even if for me vitality is now the best hack of SM. This is the first hack to solve the msg box layer 3 temporary removal with a new way of doing things and it has some changes for the better, respin is love respin is life. Behind its more serious tone and alot of big eyes moments, Vitality also made me smile :). I remember talking to my friend about a proper last metroid game going all out with the story and it looks like we just got it.

Metcons definitly did what Nintendont
By TheGreatPikminZX789 on Oct 18, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
73% in 4:29
I've only recently hear about Vitality, and waited anxiously for the release. And, needless to say...

It was amazing. The detail Dman puts into his hack is one thing, and Vitality steps it up. It definitely felt like I was exploring a whole new world. Some developers of Super Metroid hacks struggle to tell their hacks' stories. And yet, Vitality delivers. While I only needed some help with finding out where to go in the beginning, the rest of my playthrough was a phenomenal experience to witness, up until the end. And I loved it all.

Since the other reviews don't intend on spoiling the story, this review will follow in the non spoiler review group.

I highly, highly, HIGHLY, recommend playing this. It is one experience most deserving of a blind playthrough. Congratulations on an amazing hack, Dman. ^-^
By caauyjdp on Oct 18, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
78% in 6:32
...it's an experience not to be missed.
edit: gave it another playthrough. I don't like how gameplay and mechanics are sacrificed on the altar of plot and A E S T H E T I C S. Thought I'd give it a pass, because it is good, but 2nd playthrough was definetly less fun, and I can see where few things could be really bad if happened on first playthrough. First line of the review still holds true tho.
By suku on Oct 18, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
By Contendo on Oct 18, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
66% in 6:04
Didd't want to be that guy... and dont have to be that guy...

This is great. Probably my favorite Super Metroid hack.
The ending hit hard.

(also super long hack wth)
By interdpth on Oct 18, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
89% in 8:21
Plot was great, the aethestics were on point. Another great hack by dman.
By MetroidMst on Oct 18, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
80% in 4:47
[Watch Video]  
Most of the praise you've been reading to this point is well deserved. You've got your usual DMan tiling, which is weird and imaginative and the depth added to a 2D world is pretty great. However, hacks can't live off of A E S T H E T I C S alone. There is supposed to be a game after all.

For the most part, this hack delivers an excellent experience. The world is fun to explore and easy to traverse, with shortcuts opening up later to help speed things up. The secrets are great to find, since the majority are extremely well hidden in the scenery, but for someone looking they'll spot the secret. This is not Other M pixel hunting.

And for 96ish% of the hack, you have a pretty amazing world to explore, albeit a little too easy for my liking, but much more friendly for newer players. You get what looks like a DMan hack that unfortunately places story above gameplay for a brief moment at the end. Now, this likely won't make you as sour as it made me, but its something I definitely disagree with and the reason for the 4 orb rating instead of 5 orbs.

The best feature(s) of the hack though, are the creative means used to remove certain things from using layer 3. For non-hackers out there, I will try to explain this in English. Basically, DMan is one of the few people who really uses FX1 effects to their potential. The issue is, these are all on layer 3, and things like Power Bombs and message boxes from collecting items or saving will remove the layer, since they also use that layer. So DMan went through some great lengths to prevent that and still give the player the information. Definitely one of the best things I took away from the hack, and will probably do myself since the layer being deleted is often ugly.

Would definitely recommend the hack. The ending bit may work for you or it may not, but overall it's definitely fun and should be added to your list of hacks to play.
By kkzero on Oct 19, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
58% in 6:53
Large-scale Super Metroid hacks typically turn me away. Vitality didn't.
With the fine-tuned gameplay and masterfully-crafted visuals, this isn't an opportunity to miss. The hack's plot was also told quite well, I feel. I know plot isn't everyone's thing, but it's mostly unobtrusive to the gameplay in this hack.
I particularly liked some of the little things thrown into the mix, the sliver of Metroid II-like world design being one example off the top of my head.
That's all I really have to say, this is definitely my favorite SM hack, highly recommend.
By Kremit44 on Oct 19, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
By ptoil on Oct 20, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
55% in 4:35
Great visuals, story, aesthetic. Best hack I've played yet.
Play it
By makazuwr32 on Oct 21, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
80% in 8:34
Can't say that this hack was most enjoyable gameplay-wise (some jumps early game required for me sometimes 20-30 minutes) but story-wise and visual-wise... BEST. HACK. EVER.
8:34, 80.4%, 4 deaths.

Atmosphere - 98/100, can't put 100 because of early jumps.
Gameplay - 90/100, i must admit that i love fast collection of items as well as usage of top left part of hud.
Visuals - 100/100, i am sorry that can't give higher score for this masterpiece.

Must be played by everyone who loves Super Metroid.

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