VirtueAvatar's Ratings and Reviews
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UpTroidDown by BuggMann [SM Vanilla+], rated by VirtueAvatar on Jan 05, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
67% in 0:00
I really enjoyed it. Maybe not quite as much as the sideways rotation one, but it's still good if you've played that and you're itching for more. Something about not knowing which way was which kept bothering me, which didn't happen when the world was turned 90 degrees instead of 180.

Bubble Mountain gave me a lot of grief. Some clever solutions with rooms and situations that really need to be right-side-up.

Great for what it is.
Super Metroid: Subversion by TestRunner and AmoebaOfDoom [SM Exploration], rated by VirtueAvatar on Nov 08, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
63% in 9:15
Alright this hack is incredible, up there and beyond with the likes of Hyper Metroid and VITALITY, and beyond your other typical 5-star hack. Like we need to rethink the rating system now as we've reached a new level here, and it is not enough to say this is a 6.

This hack has everything you love about Super Metroid and changes it and/or makes it better.

I don't love reading lore in games, but the newly introduced log, available at the beginning of the game, is absolutely invaluable in every aspect.

I did get stuck at the beginning because everything you look at is quite different to what you're used to, but also find a lot of familiarity. You don't have to shoot every nook and cranny to find something nice or the way forward, but if you do so, you'll probably be rewarded, albeit less so than you might in Super Metroid. The game asks you to trust it.

I had a few nitpicks with the romhack, but none that will dare drop this review below 5 stars. The main one is that the world is Big. Really, really big. You will think that the world is big and then a new area will open up to you. Then probably another new area. And when you finally think you've seen everything, another new area. The description says this is twice the size of Super Metroid, and I wasn't counting the number of rooms I went into, but this hack feels like it's 5x bigger, not 2x. It was so big that by the end of the hack I kind of wanted it to be over, even though I was not having less fun with it. I did get lost a fair amount and have to backtrack to very far-away areas, so this probably contributed. The log helps greatly here, but does not give you all the answers you need. Exploration is vital, and the world is very, very vast.
Rotation by SMILEuser96 [SM Spoof], rated by VirtueAvatar on Sep 17, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
91% in 3:00
I played this to completion when it first came out in 2017 and I've just finished a replay now in 2022. This is an incredibly enjoyable hack. Really full of surprises in every room.

Wallhacking is a must, and it helped a lot being able to infinite bomb jump and crystal flash. Interestingly, there is a tricky bombable wall early on in Crateria that sets the tone for the rest of the hack. If you can get past that wall, you can likely deal with anything the hack throws at you.

A lot of the issues I had the first time I played just didn't come up here, and I'm still playing the same version as before ("Beta 11").
Ancient Chozo by Albert V. [SM Vanilla+], rated by VirtueAvatar on Jan 12, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
64% in 0:00
Ancient Chozo makes Project Base into a very pretty world, though I get the nagging feeling that Project Base just did a better job in not making the world loop around *too* much - it's so easy to miss lots of areas entirely.

As far as prettiness goes, I didn't think much of the evergreen Brinstar, but Maridia is an absolute standout from an extended Red Tower becoming part of Maridia's edge to making sure that you know at every turn that you're in a deep ocean world now and not just rooms of water.

The ending tried to do something new but I feel like it really fell flat. The item you find there adds nothing, would have had much more value to the whole hack if it could be found earlier on, and the new platform section feels extremely tacked on.

The new boss fights are good, though Draygon in particular felt very unbalanced for the added difficulty.
Super Metroid - Vengeance SE by Noxus [SM Vanilla+], rated by VirtueAvatar on Sep 05, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Very solid 3.5, having reached nearly-the-end.

This is overall a very solid and enjoyable hack only held back by a few things.

The palettes are mostly pretty great, at least until you get to Maridia. One room in Maridia (Mama Turtle) is currently a buggy hardlock as soon as you enter. The replacement music in Norfair was bad enough that it made me turn the volume down while I was there - I would have appreciated new good area music, but it was really bad. It has a few "gotcha" items that hurt you instead of give you that item.

I really liked the changes to the boss fights and the stranger-than-you'd-think placement of items. It felt fresh and much more non-linear.

The hack was more approachable than I thought it'd be, and I only know some fairly basic tricks (mockball, short charge but not stutter charge, bomb jumping) and it seems you can use that to get through the whole hack. Other reviewers have said the mockballing was tricky, but I'm not great at mockballing and never felt like it was much of an issue. I believe there is a lot of sequence breaking potential in this hack, so maybe that's what they are talking about.

The only reason I was unable to finish the hack was because the entry to Tourian G4 suddenly wants you to do an extremely difficult trick that I found myself unable to do, and it felt out of character for the rest of the hack.

There's one new upgrade that's also worth mentioning here because I almost couldn't figure out how to use it. I won't name it for the sake of surprise, but when you get it, to use it you need to hold dash and a direction, then trigger it by releasing dash.
V I T A L I T Y by Digital_Mantra [SM Exploration], rated 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.
Temple of the Winds by Moehr and Albert V. [SM Exploration], rated by VirtueAvatar on Mar 20, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Echoing a lot of the positive sentiments here, but make no mistake, this is a technical hack. There are a lot of fidgety jumps that you need to be able to make to progress, even in the very beginning. Just knowing how to wall jump consistently in Super Metroid is not enough.