Zagan's Ratings and Reviews
Sort Oldest First or Sort Best First or View Tier List
Metroid Super Speed Zero Mission by advancedpillow, SBniconico [SM Exploration], rated by Zagan on Jul 25, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
The original MSZM is arguably one of the best Super Metroid hacks of all time.
However it's very hard to finish 100% because some items require speedrunner reflexes to get.
While this patch tries to address this problem, it unbalances the original game by making some items too easy to obtain, and some chain shinespark puzzles are now pointless. With some difficulty curve adjustements I would consider it the definitive MSZM edition, since it was the only major issue of the original game IMO.

This is a minor complaint though. All the quality of life improvements are very welcome, the game is much more pleasant to explore and I prefer playing this version most of the time.

Highly recommended.
Super Zero Mission by SBniconico [SM Exploration], rated by Zagan on Apr 12, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
71% in 7:26
Incredible hack. It is very polished, the mix between SM and MZM feels natural and coherent, and some details were adapted very cleverly given the limitations of the original game.
The world is absolutely huge, all routes, areas and secret locations seem to have been thought out in depth and the result is a fantastic, very complex exploration hack that will challenge all your skills.

It has already been said in the other comments, but as good as the level design can be, the difficulty gets brutal once you reach Pirate Ship. Take your time and look for hidden paths, it will be a lot easier.

Huge sequence breaks are possible, but unless you have speedrunner reflexes, you will need savestates a lot. You absolutely need to learn to short charge and chain shinesparks if you want to see all this game has to offer, but it is worth it. It is possible to finish it without beating Mother Brain, but prepare for a real challenge.

Aside from its sometimes unfair difficulty, this hack is a masterclass in every possible way.

There is a super speed edition available on which adds small quality of life improvements and makes short charge much easier to do. Highly recommended If you feel the game is too hard.
Hyper Metroid by RealRed [SM Exploration], rated by Zagan on Apr 12, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Hyper Metroid is the first SM hack I ever played and it totally mindblown me in every way.
It is a literal Hyper version of SM. It is harder, bigger, faster while still keeping the soul of the original. It feels like an official Lost Levels sequel of SM. Yes, it's that good.

The game still has some cons, the first run might feel a little tedious because the game is very open, maps are huge and some door locks are hard to find, but once you figure it out it is very rewarding. If you manage to beat the game, it has great replayability and it's really fun trying to get early items.
That escape sequence was fantastic too.

Although some new hacks may be arguably better in 2022, I would totally recommend this as the first hack to play after beating SM 100%.
Super Junkoid by P. Yoshi [SM Exploration], rated by Zagan on Aug 22, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
92% in 3:37
Great hack, cool atmosphere and impressive custom graphics.
Every area was conceived with care and progression was well thought overall.
I hesitated between 4 and 5 stars but i'll stay on 4 because I think it lacks some things the greatest hacks have.

Level design is good but basic, resulting in some rooms feeling empty or repetitive. I didn't find any possibility of sequence break, and the fact that the maps reveal all the treasure makes exploration a little too easy and not very rewarding.
The new mechanics were a good surprise but most aren't exploited enough to be interesting IMO.

That being said, it was a very refreshing experience and very good game overall.
Highly recommended.
Super Metroid: Arrival by Jefe962 [SM Exploration], rated by Zagan on May 28, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
94% in 3:31
Good hack, it has pretty graphics and good physics.
But it is nothing extraordinary, progression is very basic and there are no real challenges or memorable moments.

Play this if you have finished all the 5-stars hacks and want more SM.
Super Metroid: Recovery by MetroidNerd#9001 [SM Exploration], rated by Zagan on May 22, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 4:12
I had a lot of fun with this one.
It's designed around the halfhack gimmick in a very clever way, every area feels familiar but forces you to look for new paths so the progression is really refreshing and never gets boring or lazy.
The level design is very good in general, and Tourian and escape sequence were particulary great.
There are a few minor issues though,
Some rooms where you need grapple were very annoying,
I managed to beat Botwoon without Gravity but I got stuck in the sand a few screens later, I felt I shouldn't be allowed to go that far.
Super Metroid: Z-Factor by Metaquarius [SM Exploration], rated 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.