Super Metroid: Z-Factor
Release date: Nov 30, 2012
Author: Metaquarius
Download: Version 1.3 [UH] (7443 downloads)
Download: Version 1.2 [UH] (1663 downloads)
Download: Version 1.1 [UH] (1645 downloads)
Download: Version 1.0 [UH] (1694 downloads)
Genre: Exploration [?]
Game: SM
Difficulty: Veteran [?]
Average runtime: 8:46
Average collection: 73%
Read Me: Readme
Forum Thread: Forum Thread
Rating: Star Star Star Star Star
Other Links: Teaser
Full Map
  • Top Hacks 2012: Best Challenge, Best Exploration, Worst Hack, Best Overall
This hack is a complete make over of planet Zebes level-design wise, very few rooms actually look like they used to be. The planet is a little bigger now, it still relies on the original region structure but layed out differently. The gameplay is unchanged, no new abilities or stuff like that.

However, there're numerous small ASM changes, mainly on PLM and enemies so as to keep the player interested in exploring. Item progression and item count has been slightly altered. Sequence breaking is also possible to some extent (might not be as permissive as SM tough)

This is hack is more difficult than the original game but special/advanced techniques are NOT required to beat it.
Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot
Ratings and Reviews
By thedopefish on Mar 31, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
72% in 9:00
Great hack. It's huge, full of places to explore, and pleasing to look at. There's some neat custom stuff in here too. Oh, and bar none the best Tourian in any hack ever.

There are some things to complain about though. You're going to get trolled by crumble blocks more than once, there's one or two rooms that are just evil. And most significantly, sometimes the required path forward is well hidden. This is made worse by the fact that you have so much of the map accessible to you, and it's not always clear where you should be searching. The worst offenders are the first visit to Norfair, and of course the famous Zaridia.

In the end, the good overpowers the bad and I highly recommend giving it a playthrough.
By MetroidMst on Mar 31, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 13:00
Z-Factor is a masterpiece. It strikes a near perfect balance of challenge and exploration in a massive new world. This is everything that a hack should want to be.

There is a large amount of exploration, a lot of secrets hidden throughout, and what is easily the greatest Tourian ever made. There are some potential cons for the average player. The hack is not easy and will challenge the player. The size and amount of twisted exploration and path finding required might turn some off too. There are a large number of spikes, and a few troll spots thrown in for good measure as well. But in spite of those, the hack shines as a sterling example of an amazing hack done with mostly vanilla resources.

And of course, the first blind playthrough of Zaridia is a memory to cherish forever. Highly recommend you check the hack out. The latest version makes some things easier, but I also suggest the 1.0 patch for the full affect of the original creation.
By FullOfFail on Apr 01, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Very well-done hack that's faithful to the tile-placement of the original, yet still has a completely different experience. It's really just kinda in it's own genre that's you'd have to play to understand. Recommended.
By Zhs2 on Apr 02, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I'm bringing down the rating on this one. Know why? It's not the god-like hack some people might tell you it is. It has the open-ended exploration of Ice Metal, but not the assurance of mind that you won't get dropped into a stupid situation at any door you deign to enter. It has a cut-out sequence of progression, but good luck trying to find your way forward at certain points in the game - more than likely you'll find yourself lost in a sea of hallways and dead-ends that contain nasty slip-ups capable of sending you back ten, twenty minutes of progress, or more on a death. I'm fairly sure I reached all the way to Gravity, personally, but I'm still not sure if I actually completed the hack in its entirety; that's a testament to the far-reaching complexity only the hack's author seems to understand. It was still an effort on his part, though, and something to be explored if you have both the time and the patience!
By Bloodsonic on Apr 02, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
This hack frustrates me. Frequent design flaws in the levels that punish the player just for walking forward (anti-sonic rooms, crumble blocks that require savestates to get around if you don't want to suddenly lose 5+ rooms worth of progress, etc.) and the levels are uninteresting once you get over the shiny new enemies that woo you up to morphball and then proceed to disappear.

The hype goes over my head. It's a brand new world, but it sucks and can't really be played without a map. Pass.
By Jefe962 on Apr 03, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Don't get me wrong. Z-Factor is a great hack, compared to a lot of the junk we see today. I understand effort of all kinds has been placed into the hack itself, for example the many, many strange happenings at the start of the game. Very cool. Later on though, Z-Factor just seems like one larger, harder, ordinary Full Hack, not an Overhaul. Why? Because the many happenings from the beginning of the game become less frequent, and it somewhat feels that Meta puts less effort into the middle sections of the hack. Some rooms with spikes and Crumble blocks placed, a sign of little to no inspiration. Little to no hint of progression, leaving the player Stumped upon where to go, seeing as the world is so open and the progression is changed. Though Tourian was indeed the highlight of the hack, I wouldn't put this on my play list.
By squishy_ichigo on Apr 11, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
By Vismund Cygnus on Apr 20, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
By jamos05 on Oct 04, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
69% in 13:00
Solid hack. Very polished level design, although a bit too unforgiving. If you pay close attention you can usually figure out where to go next. Except for Maridia -- that was one point where I couldn't even figure out where to go with a map.

But overall, progression is great. Interesting mechanics are peppered throughout the game at a good pace. The difficulty is challenging but not exactly punishing, which is a great place to be. Fill that with some interesting sequences and departures from the vanilla game, and you have yourself a winner.
By CaptainIronMan on Dec 14, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
This hack reminds me of the first time I played Super Metroid. I died a lot, didn't know where to go, and it took me a long time to finish. But after finishing it, I wanted to play it again, and when I did, it was a lot easier. This hack is pretty difficult at the beginning, but it eases up after you start collecting major items. Exploration is nice, there is an intended path, but there are also sequence breaks that aren't too difficult to pull off (kind of like vanilla Super Metroid).

I highly recommend this hack to anyone who has at least beat the original Super Metroid. This hack can help you increase your skills as a SM player.

By the way, this hack has the BEST Tourian by far out of any hack I have seen or played. It is easily the best part of the hack. I won't spoil anything because the best way to experience it is to play it without knowing anything other than that it is AMAZING.

Also, super secret room is so rewarding...
By retroknuckles on Feb 20, 2016 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
This hack feels like if Nintendo would make Super Metroid 2, designed it a vanilla way but stil feels fresh. Fucking amazing best hack out so far (2016).
By Foxhound3857 on Oct 24, 2016 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 9:00
Fun hack and well-designed in terms of combat, tiling, and the overall size and layout of the world, but frustrating as all hell because of the Milon's Secret Castle-esque style to it. It shouldn't be so convoluted to find the intended path forward. Lower Norfair was obnoxious in this regard, almost every room required an unintuitive, roundabout approach while getting to Ridley. Did navigating rooms really have to be this painstakingly challenging? Couldn't it be a little more...straightforward?

Also, while Tourian was indeed fantastic, the escape was a bit overly challenging too. Either the time limit should be increased, or the animals should be easier to get to. Without tool assistance, saving the animals is damn near impossible with how out of the way they are.
By Aran;Jaeger on Dec 07, 2016 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 11:00
[Watch Video]  
Animals saved.

Quick Summary of the meaning of my SM hack ratings:
5 orbs: SM hacks within the 80% to 100% (90% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; SM hacks for outstanding wholesome playing experiences and at most minor inconveniences.
4 orbs: SM hacks within the 60% to 80% (70% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; Well done SM hacks with noticeable design problems.
3 orbs: SM hacks within the 40% to 60% (50% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; Normal decent average SM hacks.
2 orbs: SM hacks within the 20% to 40% (30% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; Overall messy, confusing, or punishing SM hacks with some upsides.
1 orb : SM hacks within the 00% to 20% (10% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; Ruthlessly unplayable, broken, or barely from the original game changed SM hacks.

Judgement parameters summary:
° Creative ideas and features, polished design, how enjoyable and fun the hack can be, lack of hard to find or cryptic required game elements, the difficulty, and if the hack can be finished without major guides or tools.
° Note that the length of a SM hack will not necessarily contribute to my rating of the SM hack, since instead the averaged out experience over the whole hack will be taken into account to get a relative comparison between SM hacks.
° Besides this, lack of impactful changes from the original SM game also went into the evaluation of SM hacks (otherwise one may consider them among the 3 stars hacks) as follows: Ultimately, for my ratings I consider a situation in which an SM enthusiast that already has, knows about and is familiar with the original game and its prominent mechanics could only choose 1 new SM hack to play and thus would really want to make sure he/she will get a fresh and fantastic experience or journey out of his/her 1 choice.

The goal of all these SM hack ratings is so that rather new players have an overview of the whole spectrum of SM hacks and how to sort them in, in relation to each other, where SM hacks that are rated lower might still be enjoyable for more experienced players.

Finally, sometimes for SM hacks it can be relevant that they may be significantly more enjoyable from a player standpoint at which the player is well practiced and familiarized with Super Metroid's game mechanics in general, and that in particular some of the best SM hacks may not be the outright best first SM hack choices to play otherwise because of this, and for beginner SM hack players this typically steers the best first SM hack choices towards some of the SM hacks that I rated with 4 orbs instead of 5.

Rating for some hacks may be off by 1 Star, but arguably not more, and ratings are not attempted to be provided within the precision of ''half orbs''.
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.


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.
By kojakt on Feb 11, 2017 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
This is one of the first full hacks that I completed, and is still one of my favorites. To me, Z-factor is like the Super Metroid version of "Ocarina of Time: Master Quest". It's is larger, and more difficult, but not to an extreme degree. It is both familiar and different at the same time. There are places where you might want to cheat a little bit and find out your next move by asking around or finding some information online, but, for the most part, a little exploration will eventually take you where you need to go, and that should be always be your first move, because that is what really makes this hack stand out. Exploration in hacks can often feel cumbersome, involving a lot of backtracking or finding major items in obscure locations, whereas Z-factor felt very much like the original game, but on a larger scale, and I mean that in the very best way. I guess the best praise I can give to this hack was that I felt like I did when I played the original Super Metroid for the first time, and for me, and a I'm sure many others who have played SM over and over again, this game satisfies that longing to experience SM like that again. Other hacks have been more ambitious, but doing something simple extremely well, as Z-factor does, often beats doing something complex at the expense of excellence, in my opinion. Whether you've beaten SM a few times, or know Zebes like the back of your hand, this game is for you. 9.5/10
By MetroidNerd#9001 on Mar 16, 2018 (Star Star Star Star Star )
72% in 8:00
This hack kind of hits a middle ground for me. The level design here is spot on and the rooms look amazing; however, the way you navigate this hack is so convoluted that it takes so long to figure out where to go. The beginning is rather interesting, but the excitement of this hack slowly wanes into tedium to no end. My biggest gripe with this hack is the persistence of the one-way passages. The map is so restrictive in where you can go and when, and most of the major upgrades are behind hard to find paths that take a while to find.

This hack also feels very linear. One item leads to another, and the only sequence breaks I know of involve gate glitches or the Super Secret Room, the latter of which I did. I had heard of the tedium of the Wrecked Ship, so I decided to so the SSR. Using a map and savestates it wasn't too bad, but I can only imagine trying to do it blind with neither of those two things. This brings me to my main complaint: Zaridia. This area is so convoluted and restrictive that a map is almost required to get to Draygon.

In general, the level design of some of these rooms later in the hack feels downright mean. Maybe it's my fault because I decided to go through Lower Norfair before getting Space Jump, (Which is only one hex-edit away from being possible) and I had a bad time. After beating Ridley, I went through the maze that is Zaridia, then backtracked all the way around the world to get to the back of the Wrecked Ship. This would have been more tolerable if there were more ways to navigate through the world in faster ways as you progress.

Despite all those gripes, Tourian was amazing. Everything Meta did with the FX to create this final area is perfect. The escape is pretty brutal though; you HAVE to know where to go or else you will die. There are also a few mean rooms in the escape, (If you've beaten this hack, you know what I mean) but it's pretty fun once you get it down.

Don't get me wrong, I want to like this hack, but there are so many annoying things about playing this hack that I found myself frustrated going through so many places. If you think you're up to the challenge, by all means, play this hack. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Original Score: 3 Chozo Orbs

Edit after my second playthrough:

This hack was much more enjoyable on a second playthrough, and I can more so see why so many people like it. The beginning and Tourian are still great, and I like the custom graphics, but I still found the middle part of the hack becoming dull after a while. Some rooms still feel a bit annoying in design, while paths feel arbitrarily linear. There are lots of circles to loop, and most of them end up with one-way passages that don't stay open after you've used them, causing you to have to make the same loop again later. There are also still a few tiling errors that should be fixed, but I think for the most part it's fine.

Ending Stats on second playthrough:
Time: 7:22
Items: 89%
By Sapphron on Sep 09, 2018 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 6:00
Lower Norfair was annoying and so was the Wrecked Ship
Everything else was nice. Maridia wasn't as bad as people made it out to be and Tourian was the second best I've played in a hack, only to Redesign Axeil.
By Blazingfury64 on Dec 06, 2018 (Star Star Star Star Star )
76% in 9:00
Z-factor is Unique... and fun... and hellish all at the same time. PLAY IT!
By albert v. on Dec 29, 2018 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Really well made hack!
By Syphon on Feb 01, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
77% in 7:00
One of the best Super Metroid hacks.

There was a noticable difficulty spike from the moment you reach the Wrecked Ship.
Maridia is intimidating at first and seems like it never ends but once you figure out where the elevators are you pretty much get to where you want easily.
Lower Norfair is probably the weakest point of the hack and where the difficulty was ramped up to unnecessary high levels at some points in my opinion.

However, Tourian made up for that and was fantastic.

Play this hack.
By PonchGaming on Apr 18, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Well made hack, Zaridia wasn't all too hard and Tourian was very excellent. A must play hack.
By croissant bug on Apr 24, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I play this hack once a year. Excellence.
By Kremit44 on Oct 07, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I played until I beat Wrecked Ship and then realized I just didn't care to finish it. It's alright in that it's a full hack and it isn't bad, but it isn't great either. Navigation felt like a chore and finding the next route was often far too tedious and annoying. There's much better hacks IMO but it's still a commendable effort and may be worth playing for some.

This guy below me is always a jerk. I may have sounded harsh but i'd have been proud to make this, it's not a bad hack in the slightest. In fact I plan on giving it another shot as I may have been a bit harsh on it as I was recovering from a bad concussion. It will appeal very much to some even if I found some aspects tedious. It's certainly not a waste of time.
By Kandier on Jan 21, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I've been playing version 1.3 until Norfair and I'm not going to continue, it's ridiculous to take damage from the high temperature, it's trash, that's not interesting or funny, I don't recommend it, better play another hack
By LetsPlayNintendoITA on Jun 18, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 9:51
[Watch Video]  
9h51m in game time
Lots of fun
It's for veterans allright. Learned a lot from it. Hard in some parts for 100% for sure. For normal gameplay not too much. Very creative in many ways. Tourian... Tourian... MAN that was awesome too.
Without spoiling too much, it was the best. Agree with the others.
Can't wait to play more, Z-fusion is coming along nicely.
Thanks for the awesome time!

P.s. I've no idea what the guy above is saying. Besides the fact that in other metroids you take damage from heat without Varia? And I haven't struggled with that ever. And I'm not a speedrunner at all.
By drr3member on Aug 30, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I played for about 2-3 hours. I put in a decent amount of time trying to figure out where to go and what items to get. I got to Norfair and put it down; this hack honestly baffles me. Some of the rooms are well-thought out, some of the graphics changes are quite good. But there are so many things locked behind power bombs and gray doors that you really can't go anywhere, there are crumble blocks in multiple rooms that if you don't perfectly jump off of, you have to spend 2 minutes or more, every time, getting back to that spot to try again. Thanks...

There's something about Tourian being the best Tourian ever, but the gameplay and navigation in this hack is so boring and monotonous that I don't have the patience to see the end. I don't see how this hack is so amazing.

This hack isn't bad. It has certainly been designed with an intentional progression and difficulty curves. What I've played it seems pretty linear. Pretty much vanilla progression. But there's really nothing too interesting here. In my opinion the beginning and end of a hack don't justify 4 or 5 orbs. Not that I technically got to the "middle", but it was an overall annoying experience that I'd rather not continue.
By chriscauley on Sep 29, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 9:32
Really good classic Super Metroid hack. Nothing too earth shattering or revolutionary, but I definitely would have gotten lost for hours without the map. There were lots of morph ball jumps and one or two short charges so if it's you don't know what those things are you might struggle. I can't remember how many were necessary.

My play time is probably deceptive. I died a lot so it's more like 15hrs when you factor in restarting after walking all the way to the wrecked ship and realizing I needed another item first... again.
By Sickwood on Nov 04, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
All time great hack. Finally got around to playing the 1.0 version after having only played 1.3 for years and it was a great way to freshen up the game. With 1.1 and 1.2 still available and Galamoz's randomizer on the hard drive; I'll be playing Z-Factor a couple times a year forever. Hopefully someone else will make another massive vanilla exploration hack like this again.
By KPF on Mar 27, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Fuck all that shit. Too much heat run without enough energy. Just another bullshit TROLLING ASS hack. DON'T PLAY THIS SHIT if you value your keyboard or controller.
By Tundain on Mar 29, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
78% in 7:41
I really liked this hack. It's clear there's an emphasis on gameplay, as there were a lot of challenges, and the hack is higher in difficulty than vanilla. I liked this, some of the challenges were very innovative. One thing I disliked though, were the many one-way paths, and the many crumble blocks. Zaridia took me a while, but if you pay attention, it's not that hard finding your way. Tourian was amazing! I love how you promote x-ray by giving it more functionality. Saving the animals during this escape was painfully hard tho.
By Zagan on Jul 02, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I tried very hard to like this hack, it's pretty, well thought overall, but it's too much frustration.
I know it's veteran difficulty and I may not be that good at SM but this game will punish you very hard for every error you make. Enemies are always placed to be super annoying and they don't give enough refills, there are too many one-way paths and progression is very tedious overall.
Worst of all, every time I managed to sequence break the game I got softlocked.
By Zincoshine on Aug 21, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Compared to its contemporaries at the time this was made, this is a beautiful-looking hack (although not as good looking as Eris). One of the first with proper tilework that makes the world look vibrant and real. Unfortunately, no attention was given to the actual gameplay of the level design. It's a remake of super metroid that is better than super metroid redesign but worse than its polished successor redesign axeil edition. As far as the level design gameplay is concerned. You're going to get extremely frustrated with the ill-conceived decisions made during the design of the rooms. The worst of all is the insane heat run that is required, in order to get the wave gun which is then required to use to kill an enemy in a room with a locked door, go through that locked door, and then find the varia suit back in brinstar. This whole sequence was so poorly thought out that I just decided to quit instead. This needs an axeil overhaul. I'm giving this 3 out of 5 despite its problems because visually this is very polished and it's deserving of the prize it was awarded 10 years ago at a time when nearly everything else was even worse.
By vsf3000 on Oct 28, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
% in 8:38
really good overall. felt like a brand new super metroid experience.

definitely for veteran players. however there is no heat run required as some have claimed. i think they simply got things out of order.

i found myself lost quite a few times, but realized that for the most part, its just like SM, but dialed way up. pay close attention to small detail everywhere you go, and you will find your way around. if something feels or seems unusual, check it out.

bomb, wall, and morph jumping are extremely helpful (id venture to say they are required, but i cant claim that as fact). there are spots for other special techniques like mockball, but they arent necessary to finish the game.

the main frustration i dealt with is parts where you fall through the floor, or miss a grappling hook, and have to spend a few minutes just to get back to your spot to try again (and most will fall on these multiple times, some of the grappling beam and morph jumps require incredible precision). thats about the only gripe i had (albeit a big one imo), and i would have given it 5 orbs if not for that. i personally find that a cheap way to add difficulty, but others seem to love it. however, if you are playing with savestates/rewind, then this is easily 5 orbs lol. great job overall, i definitely recommend.

oh and tourian is AMAZING. best tourian experience ive had so far, without question.
By OmegaDragnet9 on Feb 17, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
59% in 4:27
Savestates used.

Z-Factor, Hyper Metroid, and Redesign Axeil Edition are in my top 3. The order changes every time I play one of them. However, Z-Factor has managed to end up in my rotation even more than the other two.

I've completed every revision of this at least once, 1.3 multiple times. Each one is a unique experience and should be attempted by anyone who enjoyed 1.3.

This hack has some of the best replay value of all the hacks on this site. I usually circle Norfair at least twice every playthrough. Zaridia had me hopelessly lost my first time. I love how the locations of all the major areas were shifted to be fresh, yet not too alien to stray too far from the established Zebes.

GFX was mostly Vanilla, with some ZM assets thrown in to keep things interesting. I really like what Metaquarius did with the tilesets, particularly in areas like Blue Brinstar.

The physics remain the same, but there is some custom ASM to keep boss fights and events from being stale. The changes were appropriate, tasteful, and infrequent enough to make use of what was already in the Vanilla game.

Not a big fan of some of the one-way crumble traps, but I respect the extra challenge it adds that sets this apart from the Vanilla game.

This features one of the best designed Wrecked Ship areas that actually feels like a Wrecked Ship. Tourian is the best Tourian of all the hacks. Crateria, Brinstar, and Norfair have this massive feel that rivals what you would find in Axeil. Crateria's palette is especially appealing.

What is interesting is to play through 1.0 and see just how good the project was without play-testers. (This is also a good example of why you need them. The game is absolutely brutal.)

Metaquarius already had an excellent hack, but took negative feedback and kept at the revisions until the community was satisfied. I respect the artistic integrity of including the original vision as well as subsequent revisions for the community's sake. Actually, there are a few room design choices I preferred in 1.0, but I feel 1.3 is the definitive version.

I would caution those new to hacks that this is one of the more challenging exploration mods on the site. You can complete it, but it takes perseverance.
By RX-78-2 on Jun 29, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
97% in 5:07
not bad, this hack is one of my favorites but due to messing up multiple times, I couldn't achieve the low time and max% that I was going for but nonetheless this is an amazing hack.. Tourian was by FAR my favorite part the of hack, I liked the way the rooms were set up and how there was a generator that you had to blow up causing the station to have a blackout and and then having to navigate to MB in complete darkness, that was the best part of the hack imho, nice work metaquarius.. I'm giving this a 10/10 for the hack and the level design, room layout, and even item progression and pathways to take to progress and of course Tourian plays a HUGE part in why I'm giving it 5 orbs and a 10/10.. I would definitely recommend this to players who want a slight challenge and change of pace
By yuriks on Nov 10, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
73% in 10:01
A textbook example of how to ruin a promising hack through lack of restraint. It starts out giving a great first impression, with excellent tiling work, some cool custom visual stuff, and novel rooms. However, by the time you get to Norfair, the problems start to creep in as progression starts to become more and more obscure.

By the time you get to the infamous Zaridia, every single room has become an obtuse puzzle and the momentum grinds to a halt as you're forced to bomb/xray every single unassuming room and block to try to find progression. Couple that with a basic in-game map with no door transitions marked (which I assume was just the norm in 2013) and crumble blocks that repeatedly send you back several rooms, requiring you to backtrack to where you were just to try a puzzle again. By the time I got to Lower Norfair I found myself mostly playing out of spite, looking at a map every time I invariably spent several minutes scouring the available rooms searching for the hidden path needed to progress, without success.

I will give it that the Tourian section was pretty tense and novel, and where I finally found myself having some fun with the hack again. Ultimately, although it has a lot going for it in terms of room and world design, and the occasional really cool idea for a room, the majority of the minute-to-minute gameplay on the second half is so soul-crushingly miserable I can't recommend this to anyone actually looking to have fun playing a hack, unless you really enjoy spending most of your time xray scanning every room.

You must login to rate this hack