OmegaDragnet9's Ratings and Reviews
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Super Metroid CRE 3 by Tundain [SM Spoof], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on May 25, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
42% in 0:32
Overall I really liked this one. When you dive in, the key thing to remember is the author deliberately chose the art direction with a particular ruleset in mind.

That being said, each entry in the CRE series progressively gets better in the visuals. Probably the best region aesthetically was the cave system earlier on in the game.

Do yourself favor, pause the game every so often and admire that map screen. There's a recurring theme at play and a steadfast commitment to that theme. I respect the thread going throughout the hack that binds it all together.

I'm a bit on the fence with the FX overlay in the first area. It looks really cool. Huge wow factor, but can sometimes be distracting (similar but distinct effect featured in MST's So Little Garden.)

The music. Only gripe I have is it could have benefited from more songs for particlar regions of the map. But for custom music, it was all well-done.

The final boss music was appropriately jarring and stressful. The way the rhythm changed and the chord progression became downright chromatic in spots had a perfectly unhinged quality I liked. Felt right at home with Mother Brain from SM and the Metroid Queen's Nest in M2.

The custom enemies. If Tundain reskinned any Vanilla baddies this time around I would not know. Everything I fought felt new. Especially the bosses. That had to be a lot of work.

Of the three CRE hacks, I probably used savestates more here than the other two.
Super Metroid: Y-Faster by Metaquarius [SM Speedrun/Race], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on May 18, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
54% in 0:57
Finally got over my hangup with timers and just dove in. This one was a lot of fun.

Whereas the later entries of the Y-Faster series are parodies of notorious Metconst hacks, this one is more its own thing. It's like a Vanilla hack with some extra spice thrown in to keep things interesting. Most notably the music and palettes.

Best part of the game is the victory music at the end.

Stage design is fun. I did a fair bit of wall-jumping, but that was because it was more efficient in some instances, and one in particular it was a bit of a sequence break.
Super metroid familiar by Tundain [SM Exploration], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Feb 22, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
77% in 4:42
Save-states used.

This is by-far the greatest of the Tundain hacks. This was a lot like I was playing the Vanilla game for the very first time all over again. That alone really made the hack unique and kept pulling me in for more.

As with his other hacks, Tundain has a talent for pacing the difficulty level in an appropriate manner. Not too easy you get bored, but not so hard you wander around for 4 hours only to realize the solution was a random bomb block and you really should have renewed that subscription to Nintendo Power you cheapskate.

Not much to say about the GFX except they're vanilla. However, it is an excellent and tasteful placement of such graphics. There is a family of Zebes reimaginings that come to mind: Redesign, Z-Factor, Reimagined, Legacy, and Nature.

Their strengths were adhering quite closely to the old structure and look of the original game. In this manner, Familiar is not as strong as Redesign, Nature, and Z Factor, but absolutely holds its own against Reimagined and Legacy, (dare I say better at times.)

In this category of hacks, Familiar probably keeps the closest to the original game structure, room for room. But each room is changed siginicantly so that no single room ever gets the half-hack feel in the slightest.

I played 1.03, and there were several graphical bugs in a few rooms. However, during my campaign, Tundain made several updates. I will certainly need to check out the latest iteration in the near future.
Super Metroid: Z-Factor by Metaquarius [SM Exploration], rated 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.
Super Metroid: Redesign by Drewseph [SM Exploration], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Feb 17, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
76% in 15:02
Savestates used.

I really enjoyed this game. It has a long rich history with this scene and deserves respect for its legacy and ambition. It is still one of the best examples of level design, spritework and custom palettes.

Naturally I will be comparing it to Axeil Edition as I feel that is the definitive version. This review is primarily criticism, but I have chosen to leave 5 stars because as Cosmic stated, this version was "wip."

Physics. This is certainly the part that has aged the least gracefully and prompted Drewseph to modify them in the latest revision (the Axeil version is actually some of the finest custom physics of any hack you will find.) Very restrictive in original Redesign. But honestly, if you approach this hack knowing it's not Vanilla, you get used to the added weight. IBJ was made significantly easier in Axeil.

The Norfair Grapple gauntlet. Hope you're not playing this on OG hardware. You'll need save-states. On the Norfair front, I do miss the early Screw Attack you miss out on in Axeil Edition.

I actually prefer the Lost Caverns puzzle in this hack. The clues were more intuitive to me.

There was much criticism over the new Tourian in Axeil. There's a tradeoff. With this hack Tourian is more straight-forward, but the escape is absolutely brutal. Do not squander whatever powerups come your way. Even still, when you get to the surface of Zebes after this slog it really makes you feel like a beast.

I actually wore in the B button in my SNES Classic controller the first time I beat original Redesign from learning all the shinespark puzzles.

Criticism aside, this version of Redesign is still relevant in 2023. Everybody needs to play it at least once. Drewseph and Kejardon put a great deal of work into this, it solidified (and polarized) a new community, and it still has some interesting level layout to offer aspiring hackers looking for inspiration. It was where many community staples began (like ZM style respin.)
Metroid II EJRTQ Colorization 1.3 by Quantam [M2 Improvement], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Feb 17, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
% in 9:29
Savestates used.

I beat this hack a little over a year ago; since it was strictly a recolor I chose to experience Metroid 2 for the first time using this patch. Far as I am concerned this is the definitive way to enjoy the original game.

Metroid 2 has some beautiful sprite work. This patch takes a very well-crafted gameboy game and transforms it into a long-lost NES game.

I recommed either using GBC or CRT shaders if you are playing this on the Gambatte core in Retroarch.
Super Metroid CRE 2 by Tundain [SM Quick Play], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Jan 26, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
68% in 0:32
I score this higher than the original CRE hack because it definitely felt more polished. Much of what I said in praise and criticism of the original CRE applies to this one as well. Quite incredible what Tundain was able to pull off within the creative confines he chose to explore. As with the last game, the enemies and bosses were a delightful horror to behold.

Beyond the custom graphics and ASM, Tundain has an eye for making individual rooms appropriately challenging, and gradually ramping up the difficulty of the hack in a way that never feels cheap.

That's a hard balance to strike, and there are plenty of hacks I love that don't do this as effectively as Tundain's have. (This is also taken in the context of my experience with Familiar and Alliance, two hacks I have yet to give a proper review.)

It's shorter than the original, and that's the only negative I took away from CRE 2.

Both CRE hacks need to be played. I really enjoyed them.
Project Base 0.8.1 by begrimed [SM Improvement], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Jan 20, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
70% in 1:37
This was the hack that got me into ROM hacks and emulation in general. My starting point was 0.7.3, and all other versions I tend to compare to that version.

0.8.1 is the one this review is based off of, but it exists in the context of a well-preserved line of developmental progression, a few "forks" (Nintendit and Control Freak versions) as well as a growing family of hacks that use its physics engine and gfx.

In addition to that, Begrimed has included versions of the last few releases for folks who might like the new routes but not the physics and vice versa. These all can be found on his site and I am grateful he has preserved these.

Quote58 has done a wonderful job organizing and documenting the ASM as well as all the new features he added to the 0.8 release. The new menu and HUD is a wonderful touch.

I consider Project Base to be the best way to relive the Vanilla route. As a kid, there were always certain spots where I wondered "what's behind that wall?" and this answers those questions in the best way.

As for the GFX and palettes, I really love 0.7's funky colors as it brings up memories of watching ROM hacks on youtube around 2014. When I got into playing these years later it was always cool to rediscover hacks I had forgotten the name of. I appreciate Hyper for solidifying these weird colors as part of the Metconst legacy.

As for returning to form in 0.7.3 and 0.8.1, I really like the more subtle approach Begrimed took in this evolution of Project Base. In some regards the GFX was like Axeil Edition, deceptively vanilla at a first glance, but not so much once you get to studying it more. So many CRE-heavy rooms have been improved with more organic landscapes. Trippy modifications to FX like spores flying up really fleshes this version of Zebes out.

The physics are smoother than ever. As a personal preference there are aspects of various revisions I feel did better than others, in very specific ways. 0.8.1 perfected the wall-jump mechanics, but I preferred the faster falling momentum from earlier versions, particularly 0.7.0-0.7.2 (even though I respect the extra work that went into the gradually slowing spin-jump.)

The small details, like bombs matching beam colors, are an absolute labor of love. Being able to farm off enemy projectiles feels like it should have always been in the game.

I look forward to wherever Begrimed takes this project in the future. Thanks for a great hack!

(At some point I need to go through and 100% this one.)
Ancient Chozo by Albert V. [SM Vanilla+], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Dec 29, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
73% in 3:41
Save states were used. All criticism comes from a place of respect and admiration.

I have really grown to appreciate this hack the longer I've played it. Beat 1.0.9 two years ago. While I enjoyed it I wasn't quite as enamored with the custom GFX at the time.

However I feel entirely the opposite now. I spent this whole playthrough of 1.1.5 mesmerized by the sheer work Albert put into this. Every room is a labor of love and most are outright masterpieces.

I feel like this is logical conclusion of Project Base's expanded Vanilla route. It adds a tremendous amount of replay value to a familiar location.

One problem I ran into was there were two red doors that were a bit gray/brown and that made me scratch my head for a while.
Hyper Metroid by RealRed [SM Exploration], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Dec 08, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 7:03
Animals saved.

Savestates used, mostly for the purpose of being able to put down the campaign and pick up where I left off.

All criticism is from a perspective of admiration for the art created. No hack is perfect; small grievances I try to not reflect in my orb placement.

I have completed this hack multiple times, this being my first 100% playthrough. Special thanks to Project Maptroid for helping me track down the last 8 items.

There are three hacks that have had the biggest impact on me, Axeil Edition, Z-Factor, and Hyper Metroid. This is probably the closest I've seen to a perfect hack.

The difficulty is largely what you make of it; I would absolutely recommend this to beginners. My first playthrough was incredibly challenging, but nothing ever felt cheap or unfair.

Having not played it in a while I found myself repeating some of the earlier mistakes I made in my first playthrough. Being able to get lost in subsequent campaigns is a tremendous testimony to the exploration quality and replayabilty of a hack. Hyper is among several that do this effectively.

I am a huge fan of the physics engine. While I love the latest iteration of Project Base, I really appreciate the extreme qualities that were prevalent around 0.5 through 0.7. I had read that RealRed used 0.7 as his base, but he seems to have really taken some inspiration from 0.5 in some regards. Hyper is certainly Project Base on steroids.

I love the graphics overhaul Zebes received. The Mechanical Lower Norfair tileset I have seen appear in other prominent hacks. The weird colors everywhere are a very welcome change. Bloody Tourian really amps up the evil/horror factor that sometimes the final area lacks.

This is the only hack I have seen JAM's Plasma/Spazer patch utilized and it was an awesome inclusion.

The Gate System in Hyper took the remote gates in Redesign and made them work similar to the Chozo Guardians of that same hack. This is a great method of locking off the final area.

It has been mentioned before, (and will be my only criticism,) but the Plasma Room gate soft-lock warrants a possible revision, if only for that fix. If it never gets patched out, it is easy enough to avoid.
Super Metroid: Subversion by TestRunner and AmoebaOfDoom [SM Exploration], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Dec 05, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 26:25
Savestates were used occasionally, mostly for the purpose of being able to put down the campaign and pick up where I left off.

Any criticisms I levy I do so from a perspective of admiration for the art created. I've been actively hacking for a few months; it's given me tremendous respect for all hacks. No hack is perfect, therefore small grievances I try to not reflect in my orb placement.

100% at 26:25:13
86.8% at 19:38:27


There isn't much to criticize as major complaints I had for the hack, (and would have mentioned otherwise,) were rectified by 1.2.

While the game was intended for use on real hardware, I completed my playthrough on the Mednafen Supafaust and Snes9x Retroarch cores with no significant problems aside from a row of pixels jumping on the HUD. I really forgot it was happening most of the time.

I beat the initial low % on 1.1, and my 100% time was completed on version 1.2. There are still challenges I have not unlocked. This is a long campaign.

There were just so many mind-blowing changes made that I'm still wrapping my brain around exactly what they did ASM-wise to make everything work.

The title screen gets your attention and pulls you in. Boss AI has been revamped in certain fights, pause menu has been overhauled, the HUD is modified. There's extended lore and a bestiary for fans of AM2R and Prime. There are new mechanics, new items, creative implementations of long-standing community GFX, music, and ASM. Impressive inclusions that have raised the bar and are a great study for aspiring hackers looking for new ideas of their own.

The concept of areas has been fundamentally changed by color-coded regions within the original 8 maps and by title cards similar to what you would find in Axeil Edition and Ascent. This is probably the most extensive hack I have played so far as custom music goes. Some songs I liked more than others, but there wasn't a bad one out of the whole bunch.

With this still being a relatively new hack I'm afraid to say much more to avoid spoilers. You are in for a treat.
SM Redesign: Axeil Edition by Drewseph [SM Exploration], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Dec 05, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
76% in 11:08
This is going off of my third playthrough of Axeil Edition.

Savestates were used occasionally, mostly for the purpose of being able to put down the campaign and pick up where I left off.

Any criticisms I levy I do so from a perspective of admiration for the art created. I've been actively hacking for a few months; it's given me tremendous respect for all hacks. No hack is perfect, therefore small grievances I try to not reflect in my orb placement.

Overall I really enjoyed this hack. For a while I was torn, but I do believe this is the definitive version. I will admit the original Redesign absolutely still maintains relevance and is worth playing if you enjoyed this one.

Huge fan of the GFX. I love the richness of the palettes, the revamped CRE especially.

The level layout/design is top-notch, easily the most well-designed hack as far as level structure and cosmetics go.

Physics are a source of hot contention for some. While some of the changes were not what I would have done, they are quite polished and a tremendous improvement from the original Redesign.

Personaly, I love the fast momentum. I tend to favor Hyper's PB style of physics. But even from a recent playing of that hack, there are certain QOL things from Axeil I really enjoyed that were actually implemented better. Chief among these being the fast beam charging timer.

I grew to love the bomb-jumping mechanics, even preferring Axeil IBJ over Vanilla IBJ for it's sheer speed (from the crushing weight of Samus' morphball falling combined with a faster bomb exploding.) Learning this technique is difficult but a lot of fun once you've earned the muscle memory.

Edit: To clarify, I am overall in favor of the physics changes in Axeil, especially in the context of other hacks on Metconst. While I prefer PB's floatier approach, this version of the heavier physics was balanced just right and really reminded me a lot of the GBA Metroid games faster landing. I actually prefer this to Vanilla on some days. It's definitely a mature version of what Drewseph was attempting in the original Redesign.

The gate system. Not unique to Axeil, but a Redesign staple. A system that inspired a generation of hackers to reverse-engineer their own version of remote gates.

The only thing I felt stopped the hack for me was the revamped Lost Caverns. Some people found it more intuitive. I actually found it less so, but once I figured out the puzzle the clues at the beginning sort of made sense. I feel this could be conveyed more clearly at the beginning without giving the puzzle away.

As for Tourian, I realize much of the venom was for older revisions I never played. I can attest that the new version is a worthy final challenge once you accept it is another time-investment.

Frankly I would take this final puzzle over the long and dire escape from the original Redesign. Initial playthrough of that puzzle you feel lost and helpless. Once you figure out a few tricks for dispatching the evil Metroids, the puzzle becomes a relaxing experience.

I hold this Zebes, as well as Z-Factor's and Hyper's Zebes up as my top 3 favorite planet reimaginings.

Well worth your time.
Retroid by ProjectXVIII [SM Unknown], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on May 11, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
33% in 1:42
This is my third playthrough of this hack.

Overall the experience is very enjoyable. There are notable bugs (which are documented well enough I need not elaborate.) What I will address are design choices.

This not a 1:1 replication of Nestroid, but it is a very well-implemented reimagining. It actually follows Nestroid more faithfully than Zero Mission in my opinion.

There are soft-locks at the drawbridges, which you really have to be careless to get stuck, but that is a thing to avoid. The triggers for the Tourian gate and the Charge Beam are a fair bit cryptic.

The physics are a source of contention to some, (even to me initially.) In all fairness they do contribute to the Nestroid experience. The more I learn about ASM the more I appreciate an author's intent with such changes. Just resign yourself to the fact that running and wall-jumping are just not a thing here. It's a different animal altogether.

I like what was done with the HUD timer, as well as overhauling the save system to behave just like Metroid 1. Beam stacking was not removed and that made for a more enjoyable experience. The Charge Beam is implemented really nicely and is a good payoff for going out or your way to find it.

I didn't see a lot of custom music in older hacks and this is what it is. However, there are wonderful MSU-1 hacks for Retroid out there. In fact that's how I completed this playthrough.

I enjoyed how creepy the atmosphere for Kraid and Ridley areas were pulled off.

Tourian was well-done. Folks, say what you will about the Redesign Metroids, these are just about every bit as frightening once they get a hold of you. Another hack that restores the former terror these beasts used to hold.

This hack is definitely worth checking out, especially if you find the MSU-1 patches on the interwebs.
Metroid: Operation Save Thanksgiving v1.1.1 (No Longer Broken) by Nodever2 [SM Quick Play], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Jan 26, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
67% in 0:40
Was a pretty interesting hack I've been meaning to play for a while now. While I think I preferred the Blue Plague, this was an absolute blast.

Very excellent usage of Vanilla GFX, especially in the first half of the game. Probably some of the best usage of Vanilla tiling that still felt Vanilla stylistically, but simultaneously added something fresh. Purple Crateria was probably my favorite out of the bunch, but I really appreciated the custom fall colors for Brinstar.

Item progression was very interesting and the challenge to obtain them was fair. My only complaint would be the endgame was far too close to when I obtained the last upgrade, but I've found that happens quite often in smaller hacks.

The assembly changes were prevalent, but stayed rather subtle (respin, changing what item triggers a certain boss battle, intro sequence changes.) Doesn't always have to be a massive overhaul, but physics tweaks are appreciated when they appear.

The escape timer was pretty tight. I almost didn't make it.

Nothing will prepare you for the existential horror that is the final boss...
Super Metroid CRE by Tundain [SM Quick Play], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Jan 02, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
72% in 1:00
Save states used. As always criticism comes from a place of respect.

I really enjoyed this playthtough. Initially I was worried the whole hack would have the same look as the first area but Tundain definitely shakes things up in the second half.

Level layout and design is very well constructed. There are Eris levels of mystery and discovery but nothing aggravating. Item progression is fair.

As always I enjoyed the QOL inclusions to the physics. Never "necessary" but always appreciated. Going the extra mile and offering that last layer of polish that shows the author cares.

Commitment to a concept and remaining consistent is probably the strongest part of the hack. Tundain went all in for this. Even the enemies were based off CRE tiles.

Do I think aesthetically this is as enjoyable as Alliance or Familiar? No, but it's an excellent showcase of someone creating art within the confines of self-imposed limits and it succeeds at that 100%. I went into this skeptically and was impressed by how good somebody could make a hack look using only CRE pieces. The bosses were delightful abominations to behold.
Super Metroid Exertion by Mentlegen [SM Improvement], rated by OmegaDragnet9 on Dec 30, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
34% in 1:05
Save states were used occasionally. Criticism is always from a place of respect.

Got around to playing this hack today and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. I'm a fan of the Thicc Plasma GFX and this is likely the first place Mentlegen showcased this. I really appreciated all the QOL physics tweaks introduced; you notice them more as you gain more items.

Level layout was intuitive and fun to explore. A few dead ends to force back-tracking, but nothing unfair. If anything this contains some of the strongest examples of Metroid's "oh I need this item for that thing I found way back there" factor.

Spoilers below:

There were a few bugs leftover from this being a contest hack. A few rooms the doors can temporarily clip you into a floor; I encountered Draygon's room and Draygon was absent. While having two locations for charge beam was nice, perhaps having them share the same index might have worked better? Nothing game-breaking but warranted mention.

Aesthetically I don't believe this was as strong as the Blue Plague. However the cold world vibe was performed much better here than Escape 2, which I believe provided inspiration in both level layout and GFX.

As for the gates, gotta love the gate system. I know from scouring the forum posts a lot of homework went into pulling these off. Very nice addition.

Custom music in the final area was great.