V I T A L I T Y
Release date: Oct 17, 2020
Author: Digital_Mantra
Download: Download (3070 downloads)
Genre: Exploration [?]
Game: SM
Difficulty: Vanilla [?]
Average runtime: 6:32
Average collection: 74%
Read Me: [None]
Forum Thread: Forum
Rating: Star Star Star Star Star
Description
Samus Aran has been contracted to investigate an installation on Planet Auriga.
Screenshots
Screenshot
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.

5/5
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.

Finished.
Recommend.
(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 )
86% in 6:03
This game is exceptional. It's not my favourite hack nor even my favourite hack from this author but it's none the less great. It's unique and unlike Digital Mantras other two phenomenal hacks it should be accessible to all. His hacks are works of art and impeccably designed to be fun and fresh. The promo materials and the included poster were also top notch. Thanks for the terrific hack.
By ptoil on Oct 20, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
55% in 4:35
Wow...
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.
By Oi27 on Oct 21, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
63% in 4:21
The rooms very very good looking, as stated in other reviews. Super Metroid has never looked so nice! Though, I had frequently problems looking at a glance and knowing what surfaces I could walk on, especially in rooms that have a solid layer 3 in addition to the normal level layer. Sometimes you walk on the background too, which looks pretty trippy in underwater/heated rooms since the background oscillates and the foreground (the layer you've been interacting with in say, the previous room) is solid.

On the same note, it threw me off that the lava and acid are a dark gray color; it makes it hard to see against a dark background. When I got to the first room that has lava, I just kinda walked into it and ??? woah why am i taking damage. OH THERE'S LAVA??

The best advice is to take the first playthough nice and slow; if you go running into new rooms at top speed, you will be confused and probably underwater.

Aside from those minor points, Vitality is a very solid hack that uses the game mechanics well. Nice 8/10!
By Daltone on Oct 21, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Haven't been able to get time to finish this yet but the time I have been blessed with to play has been amazing, congrats on getting this beast out and being able to see the idea morph and turn into this has been a privilege, so glad you stopped being stubborn and learned how to really do what you wanted, im still very impressed with what your able to do with this messy game that I cherish so much, wish I had more time to give this the attention it deserves.
Another massive piece of art that is obviously on a different level then what us mere mortals are capable of. Hope you never stop creating dman, you are a legend ill always admire! Thanks for being you buddy.
By junyangche on Oct 24, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
85% in 10:56
One of my favorites. The atmosphere is very good. The difficulty of the game is suitable for most players. The ending is really unexpected. It's like watching a movie. This is a masterpiece.
By Sapphron on Oct 24, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
91% in 5:25
[Watch Video]  
What more is there to say that hasn't been said already? The experience was incredible especially when doing zero sequence breaks. I feel like that's the thing that pushed this above and beyond, nothing felt out of order. I never got stuck for more than 20 minutes; lots of QOL changes and massive rooms, virtually no lag, etc. It's crazy. If you have the time, beat it a second time. It makes a lot of the experience more understandable, at least for me.
Playing this as blind as you can also helps the experience, along with understanding the lore of a certain movie franchise.
Finished.
Recommend.
By ocesse on Oct 25, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
83% in 7:29
I have no words to tell you how much I love this game, is a masterpiece.
Some places are so beautiful tiled that I don't want to leave these rooms.
Please play this game, you will not be disappointed!
By Juancho Aran on Oct 26, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
87% in 5:33
Excellent Hack, very good atmosphere, totally new level design. There were moments when I felt some fear for the environment, the end because I did not expect it, it was a surprise.
Something I want to ask is if the "X-ray viewer" is in inventory because I never found it.
Excellent work and congratulations to the creators "Hack of the Year 2020".
By GRIMMKIN on Oct 27, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
69% in 9:04
Honestly I'm not even sure what to say that hasn't already been said, but from the god level visuals, the excellent map design, and the surprisingly interesting story, this is downright one of the best games I've played in recent memory, let alone one of the best hacks. I might be new to the whole modding side of Metroid, but even I can spot a masterpiece when I see one. And despite how I accidentally played the game in a really difficult manner (only getting the varia suit near my last hour or two of the game when I had done almost everything that didn't require it due to a small oversight) I loved every single second of it. And the best part is, I'll definitely be coming back to it... hopefully getting the varia suit when I actually should of and not at the very end of the game. 10/10 game, 10/10 hack.
By Tower on Oct 28, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
You may be asking yourself: Is this good hack? What if people saying it is good hack are too good and my noob ass wont be able to play it just like it couldnt with eris? What if they are sellout like game journalist when they talked about last of us part 2? What if they are russian bots? MY ANSERW IS DONT WORRY ITS JUST AS GOOD AS EVERONE TALKS ABOUT IT.

It has twist and turns. It may have some challanges. But its so good. And remember that saving is not possible in Space ship.
By DeviousB on Oct 29, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
69% in 9:54
THE KING
By jamablues on Oct 30, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 6:53
Awesome Hack! Makes me proud to be apart of this community and see the progress of these hacks. Great job sir!! Wish i would have remembered earlier to die and be reborn in a different room ;)
By fosskers on Oct 31, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 7:48
Absolutely fantastic. Great metroid gameplay experience while also boasting a strong story.

---

I somehow managed to get to Ridley without Gravity suit or Plasma Beam... and god was it hard. Couldn't miss a single Super Missile, had to get good accuracy with X-Factor. It took between 20 and 30 tries, but I eventually beat him with 0 of any ammo remaining and 02 health left.
By VirtueAvatar on Nov 08, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
69% in 4:29
This is a really great hack, but not without its flaws. The atmosphere is exceptional and the gameplay is comparable to SM however much more non-linear. I really would recommend anyone who enjoyed Super Metroid to play this one.

Having said that, finding items is quite difficult and don't be surprised if you end up dying to the bosses a lot. I mean a lot.

It can't be understated how often you will not know what is a platform and what isn't, especially in the second half of the game. There were SO MANY times where I was just guessing what I could land on or not and experimented with trial and error. There's some fun in this, but it's frustrating and could really have been avoided.

The map is enormous and because large parts loop around itself (this is the best way I can describe it), the map screen is often not very helpful as you'd like.

A couple of items have enhanced functionality, all of which is really cool. Shinesparks don't cost health to use, which is fantastic.
By sumaS on Nov 10, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
64% in 5:04
Beautiful landscape! Map design was absolutely incredible. It really makes you feel like you're super metroid for the first time. A lot of the criticism about not knowing what platforms are foreground or background are definitely valid but I feel that it really absorbs you more into the environment and adds a different approach to the game. I cannot stress enough how amazing this hack is. If you're looking for the exploration in Super Metroid hacks PLAY THIS HACK! Praises to Digital_Mantra! He nailed it! 10 Stars!
By Sickwood on Nov 13, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
94% in 8:55
Completion time is inflated from extra time minor item seeking. Not much to say that hasn't been said other than thank you for this amazing hack. I really hope that this isn't Dman's last work of art. Its very interesting to see the evolution of his hacks. Started out with Cliffhanger that was super challenge oriented with art sprinkled in there. Then came Eris with challenge down a notch, but the art and creativity significantly ramped up. Now Vitality that doesn't require any advanced tech and accessible to beginners, and the art now through the roof. I love them all and hope one day to play his work again no matter what the style is.
By James Horn on Nov 14, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
77% in 7:09
I am a huge fan of Eris and I was super excited to try V I T A L I T Y. I must say I am far from disappointed; I was completely blown away! I was constantly stopping and admiring the art and fantastic level design. Every area feels so lavish and alive, just absolutely gorgeous. The story was superb, I wish I was a streamer because there were so many moments I found myself screaming with excitement! The ending was so well done! (Don't want to give away spoilers, but the way you tied it to the YOU-KNOW-WHAT franchise was so brilliant! My love for Super Metroid has been resurrected! Lol, it was never dead, but you know what I mean.)

I like how non-linear the world is, although it did end up to bite me in the ass a couple times. I'm pretty sure there's a door you can only access once after beating a boss? I kept trying to get back to that area but could not. I also got to Ridley super early with barely any upgrades and energy tanks, so I must say a good chunk of my playthrough was just trying to kill Ridley over and over, it was very painful lol.

I love the "Rated R" aspect as well. The first time I died I was so happy lol. It felt great to play Super Metroid as it was originally intended and the gore factor really made it feel the way it always should have been too.

Definitely felt the AM2R inspiration and a lot of GBA feeling moments also, which was awesome! The custom sprite work and music were also fantastic. So insanely impressed with this! I will definitely be playing it again soon! Thank you so much for your dedicated work and continued contributions to the Metroid Community!
By infinality on Nov 17, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I'm enthralled and engrossed in this hack. I've been playing SM and hacks since the 90s, and while I don't consider myself an expert, I "know some maneuvers" - Han Solo.

I'm roughly halfway through. At first, it was pretty difficult because you are given so little, but allowed to explore so much area. The teasing of future items is good, and I enjoy it. There is a lot of remembering back to parts you were at when you saw super missiles or power bombs required, and you need to remember that going into the game, because you will probably be going back and forth a bit. That irritates some people, but it's the kind of thing I actually enjoy.

It's puzzling sometimes, but usually it's because you haven't gone back to explore something you saw before. I like that it takes a while to build up at first because you start so weak and it helps you learn new techniques (that I already know, but it's good refresher).

This is a high quality hack that deserves some respect for the time and thought that went into it. Great Job!
By radish on Nov 24, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
85% in 6:10
I have a lot to say about this one. It's got a lot of hype surrounding it and it definitely lives up to the hype. its polish is on par with hacks like redesign and hyper.

I'll start with the good things. The level design and creative use of vanilla assets is astounding this is a really slick looking hack and is a testament to the creative ability of the maker, and of how truly great the original super metroid is.

the level design is sprawling and chock full of secrets and creative places to hide power ups. This hack will keep you guessing and completely throws the original progression out the window in favor of a more open ended progression near the end.

The story is fantastic told purely through clever level progression and through some sparse text information that is laid out when you find the map stations of all things. I'm sure there are hacks that have used this strategy before but this one actually gives you a reason to check them for more info on story elements.


now for the bad stuff: This hack has a really lopsided difficulty curve. It starts off punishingly difficult. especially when you reach tchernobog. The enemies are numerous, pitfalls are constant and power ups are so sparsely spread that it won't be until you complete this area and move onto the next that you will finally feel comfortable exploring without the fear of just being instakilled from taking a wrong turn into the wrong room.

the idea that this hack is vanilla difficulty is laughable i would label it as advanced difficulty. You will struggle without advanced knowledge of bomb jumping, and wall jumping. there are frequently places in the game that you will get stuck in forcing you to reload saves if you aren't able to execute advanced movement tech. Once I defeated draygon however i found that the difficulty curve drops to nothing. at this point the enemies you face will not be a challenge and it only gets easier which makes collecting the final power ups pretty pointless. By the time you face ridley you can easily defeat him with just varia and maybe screw attack and you dont even need the gravity suit to complete the game. I did find the thing but it was so far away from the actual game progression that searching for it was a waste of time. You spend so little time traversing waterlogged passageways that having it is not necessary.

what really tripped me up is this games insistence on intentional death or restarts in order to find certain powerups. You'll know what i mean once you play it but i can't explain for spoiler reasons.

overall I really did enjoy this hack the ending was a surprise and really interesting as it doesn't follow the trope of the escape sequence. I highly recommend this to everyone interested in another super metroid adventure. This one really does the game justice.
By Mochtroid on Nov 25, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
67% in 7:00
Such an awesome hack. Has a huge map and very smart level design. The difficulty is more in the exploration than combat but I prefer that personally.

The final boss alone is worth 5 stars, would love an ips file to apply that to a rom for giggles!
By Cosmic on Nov 25, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
90% in 8:35
Take what I say with a grain of salt because this is the only DMan hack that I have completed, and I usually don't play Super Metroid hacks. To me, this is Digital Mantra's magnum opus. The best hack of the worst year, and possibly the best hack we will ever get.

Despite using mostly vanilla assets, Digital Mantra has forged a world that is incredibly detailed, immersive, and unique. Samus is not on Zebes this time, she is on Auriga. There are an incredibly limited number of hacks that don't feel like you're still just on Zebes. I won't go into detail here, but actions that the player takes tend to have an effect on the environment which makes Auriga feel alive. Auriga is vast, equal to if not bigger than Zebes. Because of this, it is also quite a long hack compared to others. Of course, there is also plenty of sequence breaking you can do. I do have some minor gripes with the level design however. There are many such occasions where you will find something that you believe is in the foreground (i.e. a solid object) but actually lies in the background, or vice versa. This can hurt or even end up killing you. That may be intentional however. Also there is at least one area that has a lot of rooms layering over each other, which ends up being incredibly confusing and hard to navigate. Tchornobog is the biggest offender of this, I'm sure you will discover why when you play through.

The difficulty of this hack is slightly harder than Super Metroid, but only by so much. Not a single advanced technique is required to complete this hack. (i.e. short-charging, IBJ) You really don't even need to walljump anywhere. What makes it harder than vanilla is the scarcity of resources. There are energy and ammo recharge stations, but expansions tend to be few and far between. This problem comes to a head when you fight Ridley, but fortunately there is an escape shortcut if you feel you aren't equipped to defeat him just yet. To me, this was the hardest part of the hack, as I absolutely had enough gear to take him on, but I continued to absolutely melt when fighting him. Why? Because of screw attack and respin. Screw attack resets your invulnerability frames (i-frames) and respin lets you start spinjumping at any time in the air. I would get combo'd by running into his tail, trying to space jump away, and run into his tail again. This gave me an opportunity to learn how to properly fight SM Ridley, instead of just spamming my weapons and tanking hits.

There's a story here too, and oh my god it really is something else...So be sure not to skip map stations! Fret not however, these stations are intentionally designed not to give much away. You will not spoil your expedition through Auriga by collecting these map stations. In fact, the way the map works is also fairly different from vanilla. Dots now only indicate major items... Expansions are truly hidden. Despite having no indication on the map, it's not all that hard to tell that something might be a secret item. Knowing where it is tends to just be half the battle, however. Even if you have the powerup to get it, you may need to do some snooping around to find a path to it. I'm a big fan of this because it builds anticipation and makes you use your head a little more than just "break block and grab item."

Back to that story though... Not a whole lot is said. Most of it is still given through subtext. Some things are so subtle, you may miss them unless you take a break and come back later! The ending was totally unexpected and it's something that will stick with you even after you complete the hack.

Overall, despite its minor grievances, this is still definitely the best hack to date. This will be my new #1 recommendation for people looking to try Metroid romhacks. I've got to wonder though... Will this be DMan's final or best work? Or might something else be around the corner?
By enwynrosethorne on Nov 26, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
78% in 6:52
Please PLEASE don't use save states or look up solutions. The hack isn't all that hard, and if you're stuck, the struggle is worth it. I cannot sing the praises of this hack enough. I can see that many other people share my views, so I'll keep it quick. The ridiculous amount of effort and polish in this one is incredible. Playing through this gave me the same feeling that I got going through Super Metroid and Metroid Prime for the first time. There were so many holy $#!& moments that I lost count and realized I might as well be playing an official Nintendo sequel to SM akin to Majora's Mask rather than a hack. The visuals are gorgeous, and the level design is impeccable. It's crazy what Digital Mantra was able to pull off with such limited resources. Thanks again, DMan. You did something amazing here.
By Insomnia Speed on Nov 27, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 9:23
9.5/10 hack

one of the best hacks

very interesting story and unexpected ending

highly recommend
By MetroidNerd#9001 on Dec 14, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
61% in 3:50
From a gameplay perspective, it's pretty good, but nothing too spectacular. What makes this hack so great is all the detail put into every single room and the progression of the world. The story is well told and interesting. My biggest gripe is a nitpick, but it's still prevalent, and that's the map. At this point, it's not that hard to add doors to the map, so unless something else in the hack takes up that space, it would be greatly appreciated. Other than that, this hack is pretty fantastic and I highly recommend it.
By drr3member on Dec 14, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
66% in 6:29
Damn. This was a really cool experience. I had to look up only one solution and it is rather embarrassing I didn't see it... anyway other than that I was not expecting this hack to be what it was. I'm not very good at SM so a couple of the bosses were frustrating but they're not hard at all if you know how to beat them.

The environments were so detailed it was hard to tell whether I was looking at a platform or part of the background. That was probably the intent but it's a nitpick. Each area is rich and it feels like I'm on a completely different world and not a Zebes-remix.

The hack's difficulty: a little harder than vanilla. Exploration is the focus in this hack, but the main bosses will require a good amount of skill. A couple of the solutions were not obvious to me at all, like I said, so one tip I will give new players is to look for clues, DON'T check every nook and cranny on the map (on rare occasions this helps but in general don't do it).

I did half-spoil myself on the story, but it didn't ruin my experience. Everything in the hack except for one thing I figured out on my own.

If I had anything negative to say about the hack, it would be that it does not have a high replay value. Actually that's not even a negative comment, because I feel like this is one of those things you experience once and you're satisfied.

In short, play this hack. It is by far the best hack for any Metroid game.
By Paragon on Dec 15, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
89% in 11:37
[Watch Video]  
In a word: incredible.

This was a game that was beautiful to look at, fun to play, and a delight to get lost in. Backtracking and wandering didn't feel like a chore, so item hunting was a lot of fun (even if I did get trolled by the same item orb like 8 times, but that's completely on me). The ending was a total punch to the sternum and blew me away!

This is going to be a hack that I will play over and over again, that's a fact.
By svj on Dec 16, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
71% in 7:43
Wow. Wow. Wow. 6 stars out of 5. Best hack I've ever played.

Difficulty is vanilla... in terms of this hack picking up on the difficulty curve where SM left off. ie. if you barely made it through SM, you probably won't make it through this. But you don't have to be an all-star to beat it by any stretch of the imagination, either. I can see how if you're a speedrunner or high-level random player, this might be too easy for you, but for the average Joe that can't do tech but no longer has trouble with the original, this is exactly your jam.

I had to up my game with a couple bosses and learn how to fight them properly... simply tanking/spamming won't cut it. But all you really need is mid-air morph, wall jump, and patience. And technically, you don't even need wall jump.

I won't waste your time saying what's already been said about the hack itself (other than beautiful!), I'll just add don't use savestates. This hack uses mechanics that you won't find in the original, so you'll miss stuff and plot points if you do.
By Boured on Jan 14, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 9:49
While it was a very difficult hack to break into due to the reduced item pickups in terms of capacity ex. 2 missiles per pack, as well as the fact some of them are extremely well hidden, overall this is probably one of my favorite hacks in terms of story. Which I won't spoil, but the hack does hint at the ending in some big ways, and some minor "right place at the right time" ways.

Don't make this your first hack, but definitely play it when your're more seasoned with ROM hacks of SM in general.

Great hack Digital_Mantra, very well done!
By albert v. on Jan 17, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 8:15
Super awesome hack!

Unique, creepy, big, and intense!

I got say, very artistic rooms!

100% recommended!

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