Zhs2's Ratings and Reviews
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Metroid: Scrolls 6 by Conner, OneOf99, CaptGlitch, JRP [MZM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Sep 15, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
94% in 1:45
The best ZM hack to date (that I also forgot to review until now.) Another offender of lifting Fusion bosses, this hack takes itself pretty seriously for renaming everything to be magically themed (except power bombs, I guess nukes are pretty magical) and has many fancy new tilesets to boot. Finding items and expansions is pretty intuitive and about the only thing that annoyed me was the screw attack gauntlet, which was not very hard to navigate but ZM hackers do love how seamless it is to transition Samus back to the beginning of a room. I highly recommend this to ZM players.
CRE 2 by Tundain [SM Quick Play], rated by Zhs2 on Sep 03, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 0:29
These CRE hacks are unironically better than some fullhacks. They are more fun, more creative, more encouraging to explore to see just how bored the author actually gets during his every day life and subsequently more expressive. This one had a map that was intuitive to fill out, too, short as it was. The creator knows how to mix high effort with shitposting, and it is the best kind of shitposting. Definitely fully recommend this and its predecessor.
SM - Cryogenesis by Onnyks [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Jan 13, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
76% in 3:05
You don't know how cool it is for various assembly patches to be showcased in a hack until you play the full-fledged hack that actually showcases them. Allow me to say first that the new item is the most satisfying way to kill those spiked Maridia floor hiders, hands down. Beyond that, this hack does very interesting things with transitions from foreground to background and rooms within rooms. The screenshots don't showcase the rooms with the hands, but this is the hack you come to for the rooms with the creatively tiled hands (among other things). My only complaint about this hack is that Hotlands seemed like a more intuitive and user-friendly experience than this one, but this hack is by no means evil - just extremely damaging at certain parts, and a little obscure in the case of finding grapple beam. Recommend you definitely give this winner of the contest it was in a try today.
Super Metroid: Hotlands by MetroidNerd#9001 [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Dec 31, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
59% in 1:19
Good short-ish gimmick hack. The limited number of upgrades you find were always useful, and the optional ones make some things easier but some other things harder in return. The room based bosses were simple but not frustrating. The single vanilla boss was balanced to match the limited resources of the hack. The creator definitely put Super Metroid's existing resources to good use. I don't know what other hacks were in the contest but I bet this hack definitely deserved placing in the top three. Also, my sister had to tell me the music was stolen from Undertale.
V I T A L I T Y by Digital_Mantra [SM Exploration], rated 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.
Hyper Metroid by RealRed [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 21, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I'm biased because I like RealRed's hacks, but here goes: this hack is one of the most fun least difficulty hacks I've ever played. Fuck Oxide and vanilla, vanilla especially because there are items hidden in stupid places in that hack.
Oxide by Cyclamen32 [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 01, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Oxide looks like your average Super Metroid. But wait! Look at all of these missiles you just got! Wow, you're going to have a lot of fun trying to run out of those! No kidding! The only downside to this hack is a bit of backtracking, but I had too much fun spending missiles to care.
Super Metroid Alliance by Mentlegen, Tundain, Dewhi100 [SM Quick Play], rated by Zhs2 on Oct 13, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
83% in 1:35
Wow, cool! I didn't know Jathys finally released his hack! Seems pretty short, though... And weird... And where's the spiderball?

Joking aside, this is an alright hack with Mentlegen music (albeit tamer than Biohazard's, Biohazard's music was good) where you'll be exploring kinda samey rooms with mildly tossed up progression (spring ball early, bombs midgame) and an all too easy to find difficulty spike right after exploring the necessary short heat run area. It's an optional difficulty spike, but it's way more obvious than the correct path and I did end up savestate surviving it for a very nice beam before getting mad that I'd JUST played a hack where I was wondering where the damn speedbooster is for too long. Still good, still worth a play, and your 'allies' are amusing creatures.
The Adam Virus by Crystal_Knight [SM Unknown], rated by Zhs2 on Oct 13, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
87% in 0:22
Actually a pretty neat, easy, and short hack. Sure you get the Varia suit right after you traverse a heat run but the heat run itself is pretty easy if you just run and gun. Everything else is simple and old places to explore with new upgrades are not too far a backtrack thanks to the compactness of the hack. The real scary part is climbing a spike shaft with the best space jump ever but no respin. Also still wondering what game the hack's tiles are from!
Super Metroid: Advent by Shadow96 [SM Quick Play], rated by Zhs2 on Oct 05, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
34% in 0:58
Pretty good and lovely looking. Sad that it's technically unfinished, it has a lot of decent ideas going for it even if needing to pause to switch beams to open doors is not a great design idea. Still, it's short enough that that only gets in the way for two beams and boy do some areas look cozy lush. It even has some secrets in the "escape" although you want to make sure you save a super missile after Ridley to blow that secret open. Worth a play for sure.
Legend of the Beast - Prologue by statik [SM Unknown], rated by Zhs2 on Sep 21, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
36% in 1:04
At first I had to ask myself, oh my god, will Samus be okay? But then I saw her on the end screen and I breathed a sigh of relief - thank god, she made it. This is one of the more... unique hacks I've played, the level design is absolutely ugly but functional (oh my god those Prime doors) and the HUD/weapon graphics are extremely simple. Still, it was fun to run around in even if there wasn't much to find, the world is interconnected via some later upgrades, and regular bombs do exist - they are just post-speedbooster, which is one of the last few items to collect. Short but good, and I believe the game crashes if you touch the game-ending PLM while holding the run button. Savestates recommended.
Metroid FreezeFlame by Conner [MZM Challenge], rated by Zhs2 on Sep 15, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 0:46
Pretty creative take on the heat run hack idea. It's not as annoying as you think, though you will die if you do not absolutely do the intended thing at the intended time sometimes (a consequence of the concept I'm sure.) While not more special than just what I described, it was put together in a way that feels good to intuit and explore, and finding 100% is pretty easy. Good for a playthrough.
Spooky Mission 2: The Nightmare Before Christmas by Spooky Team [MZM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Sep 15, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
69% in 3:38
Did I really forget to review this? Well, whatever, better late than never. It's approximately three times better and larger than its predecessor, and while it predictably steals Fusion bosses like other ZM hacks around here it doesn't hide items in stupid places and you're much less likely to get killed or stuck for wandering into a new area without the correct items. (I vaguely remember getting lost in a water-filled ice area when you're supposed to have gravity but the area was fully escapable with enough walljumping.) The progression isn't noobproof, because my brother had a fun time running into Serris before finding Charge Beam, and it's completely possible to do that because the boss who normally drops Charge Beam does not actually drop it but instead opens the way to it when defeated, but that's about the limit for dumb design I found in here. Definitely worth a playthrough if you like ZM hacks.
Platinum Hexidecimal by seastorm [SM Unknown], rated by Zhs2 on Sep 14, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I see why this hack has no completion stats. Despite that, it was a fairly amusing and balanced romp through sixteen functional but not really pretty rooms. Did not collect charge beam and I managed to make Ridley fly away. This is about 40 minutes of a good time.
Metroid: Falling by TN [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Jul 20, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
93% in 6:29
Actually a pretty good hack. The only thing that bothers me (and it will bother you too) is that it's one of those hacks where you must traverse specific loops of the world more than once with new items to find more gear, close to Lost World in annoyance of how much you must traverse to get back to certain areas in those loops. It gets slightly better once you have power bombs and speedbooster but not much. Smaller complaints include how absolutely wrecked you can get if touched by any boss, which is part of the hack's challenge - Spore Spawn teaches you this quickly by doing 60s with no suits and it only gets worse from there, but there are ways with items you don't expect to get early to mitigate this difficulty. This balance is actually more superb than you expect. Practically every major item (Wave and Grapple are the exceptions) can be obtained without killing a major boss (for Varia and Speedbooster you must kill a minor boss) so don't feel concerned about needing to find them too soon, just explore the planet deeper. And on that note, I feel like this hack better deserved the title of "Hidden" than the next hack, or maybe "Metroid: Crumbling". (Hidden would just be Legacy 2 instead.) Keep watch for air tiles.
Super Metroid Ruin by personitis [SM Quick Play], rated by Zhs2 on May 20, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
80% in 0:25
Short. Sweet. Unique. Tough. Lush. Satisfying. I don't have much more to say than play this hack if you don't mind having hits instead of an energy counter, and you know how to get Ridley to die early. It's worth half an hour of your time, guaranteed.
Super Metroid: Recovery by MetroidNerd#9001 [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 13, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
91% in 4:32
Pretty alright for a half hack, although it did pick up several jokes from the boys about how it was actually a quarter hack (complete with Tourian and escape DLC). The biggest problem with this hack was that the path to grapple beam was not obvious (played on version 1.2). I ended up wandering around for far too long discovering that every single route through Norfair required grapple and I ended up grabbing Wave before returning to find that there were actually two crumble blocks that revealed the route to grapple where previously I only found one. I can also think of a few permastuck scenarios in Maridia if you managed to sidestep spring ball. My final question is, why can't Samus just leave after recovering all of her items?
Polarity by Oi27, Moehr [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 06, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
64% in 1:37
This... was a weird hack. Lots of mechanics and level design is obscure, starting with the fact that many blocks that could have been mistaken for bomb blocks are missile blocks in the beginning. After you make your way through the area with the helicopter grapple music (which was hilarious, by the way) the hack becomes a lot less of a stumbling block as you have all the items you need to proceed. Did the infection mechanic really do anything? Did it change the ending, or was it just a scare tactic? Does anything even happen if you escape without an infection? That mechanic at the least felt so inconsequential for how much documentation there was on it in the actual hack. Overall a pretty good playthrough though.
Tallon IV Tours: Phendrana Frolics by dewhi100 [SM Quick Play], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 06, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
23% in 0:47
Pretty good. Lots of attention to detail was pulled from the game (area) this pays homage to and the final boss of the hack was a neat surprise. Worth a playthrough.
Super Metroid YPX by YP [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Mar 10, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
80% in 5:01
Pretty good hack full of interesting gimmicks. The speedboost walljump mechanics made you feel like a total badass when you pulled it off to break into an item vault, though it could have been better explained somewhere. Can't give a full five stars because there's too much instant kill inspiration from Megaman X but I still rank it high in terms of enjoyment factor. Just never play this on a console, always bring savestates with you to ensure actual fun.
Temple of the Winds by Moehr and Albert V. [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Feb 16, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
83% in 1:16
Wow. That's pretty much the only syllable this hack left me with from beginning to end. There were a couple of questionable design decisions such as basic reflec enemies and use of stupid random conveyor belts but none of these elements were too overbearing or a hindrance to an otherwise amazing hack. The key point of frustration as I understand it is that if you do not tie down exploring all of the item rooms you can find your way to you will have a bad time, and that's the main draw this hack has. If you do, though, you will find enough equipment, ammo, and health to last you through the entire hack without needing to return to the ship as the readme suggests. There were quite a lot of creative minibosses using regular enemies rooms in this, and the only annoying ones were that unkillable flying enemy and Bomb Torizo enemy destroy block abuse, which you will not survive without finding enough power stones. All in all worth a playthrough, but make sure you scour every corner and take the hints seriously. Low % would be a nightmare.
Retroid by ProjectXVIII [SM Unknown], rated by Zhs2 on Feb 16, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
33% in 1:46
Pretty good recreation of Metroid in Super Metroid's engine. It takes some liberties but tries to match original Metroid as closely as possible, and as a result it can be just as anticlimactic as the original. That said there's absolutely nothing wrong with this middle-of-the-road hack, even if I do have to echo the above criticism of there not being a Ridley statue to go with the Kraid statue. It's a chill and much easier equivalent to playing actual Metroid that'll occupy ~90 minutes, not much else to complain about.
Super Metroid Nature by Jefe962 [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Feb 10, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
85% in 3:14
Pretty good hack. Nothing wrong with it (the latest version of course, I understand earlier versions had rough bugs the author didn't want to fix) so far as I could tell, kinda lame to use such a calm song for red Brinstar but that's an aesthetic choice that didn't detract from the experience. Like Reimagined, this is a three-quarters hack that's sure to occupy a decent three hours of your time.
Super Duper Metroid by Metaquarius, Daltone [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Dec 11, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 6:08
This hack is... alright. I wouldn't say it's actually super duper, maybe just super. This is because of heavy similarity with Vitality, in the granularity of exploration you must apply in order to acquire what veterans of Super Metroid these days consider "optional", the biggest offender in this case being beams. Expansions not so much but I'm not amused by the concept of half e-tanks, even if it does lend to seeing them all over the place.

I can't in good faith give this hack five stars because the non-linearity lends to a rocky start of your first playthrough, your efforts to plumb Duper's Zebes surrounded on all sides by threatening sidehoppers, heatruns, and water - it will be just as frustrating as mine for the first couple of hours, guaranteed. Underwater suitless is in fact required for the "intended" sequence of major items, but the moment you find Gravity Suit the hack is promptly blown wide open for the taking, making most threats rather unthreatening. Only one problem: you still have to find it, and you're not going to have a good time without Charge Beam, also just about as stupidly hidden within the muck of a "broken lamp" passage a room prior.

Beyond all that, if you're an elite player I understand this hack offers more options for replayability than your typical SM hack, so props for that too.
Reimagined by SavageWizzrobe [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Dec 02, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
71% in 6:21
While DMantra hasn't officially reviewed this hack, the most apt description I can think to give it is in his words: "I was fine with its whateverness, it was just more Super Metroid to spend my night on." And you know what? That's exactly what it is. Moreso is it like Redesign minus Drewseph, but at its core it is another Zebes from another timeline to explore and uncover. It is correctly labelled "Veteran" difficulty, as there are many scenarios where walljumping is required and many, many expansions are hidden off of map squares you will need to search thoroughly to enter, but it is by no means challenging, nor is it frustrating to progress through the major item chain. Filling out the map in complete pink is enough to uncover roughly 70% of the items, and that's all you need to beat the game. No bosses seem altered for difficulty. It really was just more Super Metroid to spend my night on, and that's exactly what it aims to be. Definitely recommend a playthrough if you're good at the original game.
Searching for Items by Terimakasih [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 02, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
This hack makes you feel good about yourself in the worst way possible, e.g. being as good as the hack author in terms of finding items - because they aren't hidden or hidden creatively, at all. If you want a short, easy romp, play this hack.
Phazon Hack by A_red_monk_called_Key [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 02, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
You thought Revolution EX was bad about needing to shoot enemies repeatedly until they die? This hack is going to knock you into next week, buddy. Still, it's not bad at all - the graphics are stylish (and obviously Photoshopped), the progression chain is clear-cut, and there's fun to be had even if you have to expend all of your ammo to have it! Definitely a good hack for veteran players.
Ice Metal Uninstall by Crys [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 01, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
I liked this hack a lot. It wasn't too difficult to find items, and it didn't railroad you; that might be good in some people's books, some bad, but to me I didn't find it too much of a problem since I don't remember a point where I was dropped on a boss without sufficient gear to kill it - not everyone will have the same experience thanks to how open-ended this hack is, and I think the forum thread proves that. Still, four item balls from me.
SM Redesign: Axeil Edition by Drewseph [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Oct 20, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
87% in 11:31
Yeah... This is the best version of Redesign you're going to get. Don't get me wrong, the new quality of life mechanics are good and useful. Auto-walljump, auto-sparkcrouch, and auto-spacejump are all welcome crutches to deal with Samus' snappy, rock-inspired physics. The hint system is great - no longer do you need to guess and check the world's many hostile environments in order to find the next major upgrade, you can instead be pointed to how to rush them so that actually traversing the world for expansions isn't a well of tedium. (I personally don't recommend exploring on your own until you get Gravity Suit or even Space Jump.) And Kraid's new puzzle path is very much welcome over the original ice heatrun. But beneath all of that, it's still the Redesign we know and don't love. All of the original pains in the ass are still there. Absolutely break out a web map if you want to find ANY hidden passages. Acid now completely empties all your energy tanks instantly if you fall in for three seconds (I hope you have a reserve tank noob!) The Lost Caverns are now somehow even less intuitive even though it looks like it should be more intuitive (hold the hack up to a mirror if you can when you're navigating the first room.) And even if traversing the world at large for all the upgrades is now 10% less annoying, your efforts to do so and collect as much as possible are met with the biggest, puzzliest, most irritating slog to be found in an SM hack to date: the new Tourian. Not only must you pay attention to the environment to clear out fatal laser beams so you can progress further (the more fun part of Tourian imo), you must also pay attention to your savestate button so you can clear out rooms of vicious Metroids that dodge your beams, anticipate your movements, latch on without fail, and need nine bombs to unlatch so you can finally deal with them after losing an energy tank or two. AND there's a good chance you'll encounter another wave of them in the same room if you're too slow to kill them all. FUK THESE BULL SHIT ASS METROIDS. DREWSEPH, YOU SUCK FOR MAKING THEM SHIT!!!!!!!! Oh, and let me not forget to mention that everything in Tourian is immune to Screw Attack, so you better not have missed any beams... It's just one thing after another with this hack. Play it only if you really want to experience an artifact of history with the least headache possible, but a headache nonetheless.

Special thank you to based KPF reviews for amusing me the whole time I played this and making it so much more bearable. They're the only reason I did.

You traveled 269.04km.
Energy lost: 33,277
Enemies killed: 3,849
Shots fired: 18,023
Doors traversed: 1,861
Super Metroid: Hermit Kingdom by Kojakt [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Oct 13, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
79% in 2:55
How it started: Interesting, what with your first upgrades being ball and power bombs. How it's going: Okay, so I've looped the world twice and have all of the necessary boss killing equipment, now where's the damn speedbooster?

At first we joked about how this wasn't even a halfhack, more like a 2% hack given that the majority of rooms and room connections are largely untouched save to relocate some upgrades into different walls. Later it showed it was actually a 5% hack what with a number of room connections snapped together to create late game gauntlets from unchanged vanilla rooms. No boss healths are different, and due to the order you can collect your equipment they'll all probably be really easy. That's all this hack really is, jumping hurdles on rooms you already know and beating Super Metroid as you know it, room by room. Crocomire was simultaneously the best and worst part of the hack, best for his creative usage of wallbreaking and worst because you have to know how to manage him with only ten missiles. It has some redesigned save rooms too but that's about it, just another version of Super Metroid that barely deviates from Super Metroid. I thought it was fun enough to recommend a playthrough, but it will look boring.
Super Metroid: MINI by Mr. Hiryu [SM Unknown], rated by Zhs2 on Sep 22, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
88% in 2:38
Don't let that Zincoshine rain cloud put you off, there is one absolutely amazing reason that you should play this hack (version 2.2, provided by the person(s) who fixed up its issues here on Metconst I'm sure): the edits to the music make it sound like it came straight out of Super Metroid: The Movie: The Game: The Official Soundtrack. I've had these songs on my iPod for weeks now.

Okay, but seriously, this is a not-bad hack for which the music is bad in some places (looking at you Awake Crateria and Lower Norfair), great in others (I wish more hacks made a simple tweak like the major sample for the Wrecked Ship, it sounded so badass). It wasn't hard to navigate, but the level design suffers greatly from one simple failing: no interconnectivity. The only ways to get into each area are the required elevators, and woe be to the one who needs to backtrack through the whole hack to get any items they missed. It's not like the main path is annoying or filled with spikes, and the hack is semi-mini so it's not a great issue, but quite literally the only shortcut is the one door that unlocks after Crocomire is defeated, and your path to power bombs is only longer backtracking if you did not grab them right after collecting super missiles (which I'm sure most players wouldn't do.) I also didn't find ice beam anywhere, which necessitates the player knowing that they should be killing Metroids with power bombs. Not that there was more than two rooms of Metroids, but still... Overall I call this worth a playthrough. Seriously, the music edits are worth at least one listen. Just imagine the credits music being conducted by an orchestra...
Metroid FreezeFlame 2: Twisted Dimensions by Conner [MZM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Sep 15, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
80% in 0:55
[Watch Video]  
Not as good as its predecessor. It's a good concept, but the creator unfortunately didn't have the ASM skills or the custom music to back up his gratuitous homage visiting of other ZM hacks around the community. Still, it's fun in a way as it is essentially a buffet of hack recommendations rather than a good full hack. It just doesn't completely do everything it borrows from justice.
Super Metroid: Subversion by TestRunner and AmoebaOfDoom [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Sep 14, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 8:43
Oh, Subversion. Where do I start with you? Maybe that this hack feels to me like nothing more than a modern showcase of asm tweaks that were applied just because we can, of "Hey mom, look what I can do in Super Metroid's engine!" Maybe that I fully agree with KPF's evaluation, and then some. Maybe the idea that some people should stick to designing level editors rather than editing level design. (That's not completely fair of me to say, I would be interested in seeing a second hack from the SMART ones provided they learn from all the mistakes they made in their first.) To be honest, I suppose I don't know what I was expecting, but I suppose they get points for subverting my first expectation from such a hyped-up hack certain friends of mine can't stop raving about. Just one simple thing: more.

Let's go over a list of (attempted spoiler-free) grievances I had sorted from most annoying to least, shall we?
- Visor activation on fire button. Not only does this suplex my muscle memory, and not only does it eradicate your right to self-defense with the wrong item selected in the top bar, I know you guys were going for eradicating time freeze plasma damage. Not that you specifically need to do that anywhere on normal difficulty, but you can't fool me.
- Reclosing doors. Some people like to shoot doors open and keep them open for a reason, not the least of which for me is wanting to speedboost or shinespark through them at some point. It becomes a major annoyance on certain control setups where you must curl your finger over to hit fire while holding run just to open a damn door.
- Crocomire. I won't spoil the method of killing him, but I can call him a test of how new you might be to Metroid games in general. It seems to me like his tweak was implemented for the sole reason of being cool and new rather than sensible and ultimately even if you do read the logs provided in that new fancy log system the answer will still not be immediately obvious. (One of my friends got killed in that fight for touching him, although really because they didn't find enough e-tanks first.) A certain redditor here would definitely call it a glitch gate. Me, I thought it would have been much, much more clever to find a way to break blocks so he can fall in the usual acid. But that's just me.
- Custom music. Hey, actually that's another expectation you subverted! I was expecting cool custom tracks by known good community composers like kottpower and Mentlegen but instead all I got were rips from other video games! And as a bonus, half of them don't even sound good!
- Vanilla tileset level design. Seriously, you guys had seven years to fix up all the little effects that don't work together in rooms using those tilesets (in particular is that room that connects to the bottom left of the Pirate Lab, where the blue water moss joins clash with the rest of the rock) and while the second half of the hack with custom graphics does look great, it doesn't excuse the first half.
- Tedium. This is by and far the most subjective grievance but take it from me, I was not impressed at first when the levels were designed around a new item that had been added for the sake of adding a new item. (Disabling it is handy for exactly one puzzle later.) Things don't really pick up from there, you get slightly new abilities based on things seen in other hacks previous but the first half of the game is essentially just a game of beeline from one upgrade to the next and find out what it does, plus potentially finding out how they have been nerfed for the sake of adding more pickups, or you'll be getting nowhere. Railroading ahoy. The second half of the game does slightly better since you are able to explore anywhere you want (and indeed the tools for collecting 100% open up to you right away) but it's still not very impressive.

The bottom line? Do play this hack. It is actually worth a playthrough but it's really no better than a fullhack with no asm tweaks at all. (There are postgame objectives as well if you're really determined but for me it'll be a matter of if I get really bored.) It gets one orb from me for being playable and completeable, one orb for the bells and whistles that are neat, and one orb for not being totally boring or aggravating but that's about it. No orbs here for soul or innovation. If you want a cohesive soul in a hack, play Hyper or Vitality. If you want fun and innovative, play Ascent (I'm still going to bitch about the points of no return) or an Oats contest hack. Come here when you want a fully standard game that really does feel like it's fresh off of the Metroidvania assembly line and ready to be released on Steam.
Eris by Digital_Mantra [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Jun 09, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
74% in 5:46
Rating is for the 2012 version. I see I gave it a sparkling description when I played the 2009 version (as per what I wrote for Top Hacks) but I didn't have quite as much fun with Eris 2012. You have a very limited arsenal. Enemies hit for tons of damage. But these are not the real problems, oh no. Between all of the visual tricks that have to be seen in a classic hack like this and good/bad palettes is a plague of items you can't find passage to and passages you won't find the first time you look, smushed together into a giant cube of a world that must be traversed every time you want to switch areas. Not a whole lot of thought was put into how to help the player backtrack to where he should go or need to be - you will be looping this as hard as Lost World if you don't bust out a map. For me in particular it was the path to speedbooster, guarded by a door you're not sure of when it opens in a room full of spawning crabs that freezes in higan to this day if you linger for too long. (Thankfully that's the only freeze I found.) After earning all of the necessary items and pathing past the artifact gate you are treated to a finale that lasts far too long, a final area of sorts where you should have everything you need to win and yet you're still getting lost and wondering what door opens where and when. It's a giant mess, but still manages to be decent for a good 4-5 hours of your time. Savestates highly recommended. The hack creator offering tips and tricks for veteran moves you never thought of even more recommended.
Super Metroid: space Junk (Not Contest Ver.) by Crystal Knight [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Jun 02, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
89% in 1:13
Pretty good, but presuming Draygon can kill you when you have grapple beam is a rookie design flaw. I managed to reach his room thanks to grapple and kill him with only two e-tanks and Varia only to find I couldn't leave to return to the rest of the hack. This soft permastuck only a veteran would find aside, the hack was rather fun and fresh for exploration and item gathering. Definitely recommend, but make sure you search out and gather as many missile packs as you can at the beginning - you'll need them to open some doors without running them out on enemies. Oh, and e-tanks too so you can survive the lava decontamination room.
Super Metroid: Hidden by TN [SM Unknown], rated by Zhs2 on Mar 10, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
89% in 5:29
Decent 2/3rds hack plagued with backtracking fun and a couple of lost caves sequences where you must find the correct exit or start over at the beginning door. Heavy Legacy inspiration here, along with heavy incentive to bomb every tile you come across. This becomes more important the longer you play, as there are some unfair dumps into rooms you've already been and you need to wind through the full routes of Maridia and Lower Norfair in order to reach Draygon and Ridley, respectively. Compared to that, Tourian is completely unchanged (there are subtle changes to the escape to fit the hack's theme), including the point of no return. Basically it feels like a 2008 hack that got recommended for 2018 top hacks.
Metroid: Spooky Mission by Magconst [MZM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Feb 10, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
91% in 1:40
I'll give this hack credit, for the stupid things it does with low item amounts and being a short hack where you can get murdered around every secret corner there are equal amounts of opportunity to power up and overcome them. The problem is, you still have to find said powerups, and some of the paths to the most helpful powerups can be obscure. Also all of the equipment text is dumb and memey. Overall not the best way to burn an hour and a half.
Super Metroid Exertion by Mentlegen [SM Improvement], rated by Zhs2 on Jan 26, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
35% in 0:45
Very short but generally fun. The music in Sector Z is the best part of this hack, all of the other custom music sucks. Whatever the hack author did to Spore Spawn's music was ear pain. There are also plenty of map tiling errors, room entrances into platforms, and the floor elevator in Sector Z can gay baby jail you if you press up again on the top floor. If these errors were fixed up I'd give it an easy four stars.
Stargazer by Ing-ing [MZM Quick Play], rated by Zhs2 on Jan 19, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
95% in 0:42
This hack was small, stupid, and fun. Nothing really pressuring the player here except at the end and no dumb tricks required, walljump and slope shinesparking are but that's a given I think. The end is the worst part of the hack, where you must drop imago larva within the two minutes after beating mother brain whilst avoiding his unkillable spores with low health because the author thinks scrollers into lava are cool and good. Immediately after that is death by space pirate you weren't expecting. All in all a function of mild amusement - now go turn off that damn alarm.
Ancient Chozo by Albert V. [SM Vanilla+], rated by Zhs2 on Jan 13, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
94% in 3:08
Review based on the 2020 version of Ancient Chozo, aka patch version 1.1.5. When I went into this hack I was expecting cool things solely based on the praise of other proficient hackers, and it was just a little more than disappointing once I walked through the first few rooms and realized it was literally just Super Metroid with ZM and Hyper graphics. That's not to say it isn't pretty. Albert V really put a lot of time and effort into retiling every room he could get his hands on, and overall his work ultimately culminated in what feels like a remix of Zebes - where you still know how to find (almost) every item it has to offer and yet still incorporates enough new rooms that it isn't all exactly the same. I'd give this hack a good four stars if it wasn't for a spontaneous decision at the very end to incorporate X-Ray into the escape, which doesn't freeze the timer and you will be wasting many precious seconds trying to figure out how to exit the third damn room on your way out. Overall a pretty good halfhack, though the fact that it's a halfhack would be that much less of a letdown if this hack was actually just what a typical all frills Project Base patch made Super Metroid look like. Just saiyan.
Super Metroid Biohazard by Mentlegen, SMILEuser96 [SM Speedrun/Race], rated by Zhs2 on Dec 31, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
60% in 2:32
Soy tier "every patch from project base without actually being project base" "all CRE stolen from Hyper" "player graphics stolen from Opposition" hack. 70% of it is CRE hell and the developer ENCOURAGES you to stay in CRE hell by placing just about every major upgrade save beams, bombs, hj, space jump, and screw attack in CRE hell. The other 30% of it is not visually appealing either, attempts to be more than SM yet still fall flat at escaping sameness. There are also lots of blank room segments that appear past scrolls the dev didn't bother to fill in, likely because he didn't expect the camera to scroll that far. One door in Phytor Ruins when entered from the left takes you to a higher door on exit. Overall not a very difficult hack and okay on fun factor, but it definitely needed polish. And the music is kinda catchy, but nothing special.
Super Metroid: HISHE by Scyzer [SM Unknown], rated by Zhs2 on May 13, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
A gimmick, but an excellent gimmick.
Super Metroid: Ascent by Benox50 [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on May 13, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 5:08
I'm gonna be that guy and not rate this hack 5 stars. Why? Sit down for a minute and I'll tell you why points of no return are a stressful gimmick holding back an otherwise fantastic hack.

Area 1 was fine, I know what I missed and it was just a little bit annoying that I couldn't go back and get it because lava had risen in the first room and now those missiles aren't collectable without just a wee bit of searing pain to the E-tanks. This was just the starting point for the frustration, however.

In Area 2 I found myself having mapped out the entire thing, no rooms missing on a Danidub map, yet no motivation to search every corner just to fulfill a meter that said 86.7% because I could not remember a single tank I had either missed or needed to come back to with more equipment and neither did a loop back around reveal a single thing. This was the point where I put the hack down and said, nope, I'm not even going to try to put up with that for Area 3, which is probably even larger and has even less obvious items to collect in the weirdest spots.

Normally, if I had the freedom to explore as I pleased, I don't think I would have felt that pressure. It not only dampens reasons to explore and find all the items, but beats reason over the head with a "LOL YOU BETTER DO WELL IN THE PREVIOUS AREA OR YOU'LL NOT BE HIGHLY-EQUIPPED FOR THE NEXT..." If I was assured that at some point I could go back and rectify mistakes this hack wouldn't be such a bummer to me. Nice room memes tho! Three stars for putting more than an ounce of effort into an otherwise tedious game.

Edit: Finally up and beat this hack from start to finish. The speedbooster is fun if you gather enough e reducers to make it fun. The boss rush at the end is also fun and silly. Still not changing my opinion on points of no return, though.
Super Metroid: Z-Factor by Metaquarius [SM Exploration], rated 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!
Super Metroid: Redesign by Drewseph [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 01, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
It's the granddaddy of major hacks, alright. The physics fight you, there are great places to get stuck X-Ray won't help you out of, and Sidehoppers will try to shank you with impunity. Still, it's worth checking out as a solid release and a experience you will likely never forget - good and bad. Watch out for Metroids!
Super Metroid: Pantheon by squishy_ichigo [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 01, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
64% in 4:56
Original meme review: ORANGE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Serious time: I don't think I actually completed it until just now (10/19/22). I don't remember the dick moves squishy_ichigo pulled in Tourian, much less half the hack. *Ahem* This is actually good for a 2008 hack, though there are a lot of pitfalls to be had straight out of Amateur Hacking 101. To recount a few: walljumping required just about everywhere, high jump and spring ball are hidden behind advanced techs (high jump is much easier to get than spring ball imo), hack seemingly untested without those two items, charge is late-midgame so you better bring a bunch of missiles for Botwoon, you can get stuck in later underwater areas if you bring the untested items, tiling errors plague Norfair, and rooms in the hack can be divided into two categories: 2% changed from the original or retaining the same structure but with a ton of copy-pasted architecture. And despite all of these flaws it still retains a solid progression, one that is not unfun for a veteran player and definitely nowhere near the level of stupid some of these other hacks bring to the table. It is still very completeable despite morph ball being the sixth major item you get and bombs the eighth (or just about, I didn't count.) Bring your savestates though because the hack is an open world during the escape and at the time squishy_ichigo did not have the technical knowledge to make save stations not remove the timer, you can probably even go back down the Tourian elevator but I didn't check. Animals saveable, that I did check. All in all I just want to start a petition to have this hack renamed to Painful Hallwaytheon because it really has a number of those. Anyone?
Super Metroid Revolution EX by RealRed [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 01, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Pretty good, if you don't mind spending the time shooting Space Pirates repeatedly with separate beams. (As in, completely separate - Ice, Wave, Spazer, etc. alone. Configured the normal way through the pause screen.) Fairly solid work otherwise.
Super Metroid Gathering by Leodox [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Oct 05, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
36% in 0:58
Not as bad as you think, but at the same time not actually worth most people's time. If you think it is, it would be helpful for you to know that it is VERY, VERY EASY to miss any and all beams but Ice and I ended up restarting my game to collect them (thanks to Aran;Jaeger's helpful video) because it is VERY, VERY DIFFICULT to exit Lower Norfair after performing the elevator shinespark. Technical knowledge of Samus' movement is required to traverse this hack, some expansions require the use of short charges. Overall the reason I'm not giving this one star is because it's not a challenge hack, very beatable with the equipment you can (and should) find and was an interesting test of my Super Metroid knowledge and abilities.
Super Metroid: Golden Dawn by Black Telomeres [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Jun 22, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
80% in 6:50
[Watch Video]  
Man, and I thought Eris 2012 was bad. THEN I made the mistake of moving on over to replaying Golden Dawn and OH GOD it is actually ten times worse than Eris. Let's just list off a few short reasons why:

- Foreground air tiles. They are EVERYWHERE. They hide VITAL PASSAGES. Good luck navigating without visiting Metroid Mapstation.
- Bad level design. Crumble blocks were a sensation in old challenge hacks and this one is no different. You are expected to deal with terrible spike sections even before Varia suit and lots of walljumping. LOTS of doors in this hack's equivalent to Norfair connect to full-height lava or even ACID rooms. And there are deliberate sections where BT does a little trolling. You have been warned.
- Horrible boss rooms plagued with spikes. Some require upgrades or definite cheese. Botwoon in particular requires Wave beam.
- And speaking of Botwoon requiring Wave beam, you are pretty much required to traverse acid rooms without Gravity so you can get Wave so you can beat Botwoon so you can get Spring Ball and consequently Gravity. It's terrible.
- And if you make it through the first 70% of the hack you are treated to neon bricks contrasted with eye-raping green backgrounds and yellow skies. Did BlackTelomeres even play this far in his own hack?

Mother Brain also crashes before moving to phase 2 in higan/bsnes. Do not recommend this hack too seriously, even with a map. Anyone above who says otherwise is a masochist. Play Dependence instead, which I'm pretty sure I have way better memories of.
Harvest by Oi27 [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on May 20, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
57% in 2:11
For an oats contest entry that placed second I honestly expected better, especially stacked against 1st place hands hack and 3rd place hotlands. The innovative custom ASM does not save this hack from some bad design decisions, such as needing to destroy many missile blocks with only a max of 10 missiles at the beginning, and the ease of which you can accidentally enter the underwater endgame area without gravity suit and not be able to escape to pick up more equipment before a boss you will be REQUIRED to use savestates to beat without said gravity suit. (At least, I presume that's what you can pick up. I don't actually know if this is true because I never found it.) Game design clearly escapes the creator if my experience with Polarity was anything to compare this to, albeit at least in Polarity the enjoyability picked up and stayed up after seeking out several hidden passages before slamming headlong into one murderous Ridley. Here the enjoyability rises from the intro all the way into the factory (the best area imo) and peaks at power bombs, then goes back downhill into said contrived boss that wasn't actually fun. Sorry, but a few more hints to the player about points of no return would have gone a long way into salvaging my rating for this hack.
Super Ethical Metroid by dewhi100 [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 06, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
82% in 2:08
This was an okay hack. Meme item names, the hard backtracking the lost caves, and the REPEATED flashbang visor were all sore detractors on an otherwise perfectly fine and interesting Super Metroid room remix, bringing its quality to middling at best. It'd be a great-quality hack without those things, but it isn't, and it's almost a shame it was released on April Fool's day. Almost.
Adam Please by Ing-ing [MF Unknown], rated by Zhs2 on Jan 19, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
9% in 2:26
Meh. Any hack that requires turning on moonjump because I got sick of all the tetchy walljumps is not a very good hack, but it has many pretty backgrounds to look at. I had to use moonjump because I have no idea how in the hell you climb the shaft after unlocking level 3 locks legitimately and in fact city core was the place I really started moonjumping anyway. I did walljumps for literal minutes trying to get the second one to activate before that, then realized this kind of hack really wasn't worth that much of my time and life. Some fun ideas in here though, and I enjoyed the shinesparking puzzles - they were about the easiest thing to do.
SM:Decision by JoshShoeWah [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Jan 13, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
86% in 2:12
Is this really the standard of quality we think is okay for Super Metroid in 2018? *Ahem* Besides the obvious misgivings like the author having zero idea of how to make any landscape look less than solid and noob design decisions abound, this hack really doesn't stand out as anything special, at all. It's not overly difficult, it can catch you up with a few bad design quirks here and there but overall it's completely playable and it kind of saddens me that that's the best thing I can say about it. Ugly suits and the not-well-thought gimmick that gives the hack its name just shove it so far into mediocre it hurts, like imagine choosing spring ball over grapple or screw attack over plasma. Crocomire's fight was about the most interesting highlight, no hack I've ever seen before has put blocks behind him to add to the things to do in that fight, but the fair few sparks of brilliance this hack has to share are easily overshadowed by dumb choices like the short charge wall that seemed inserted into Tourian just for the sake of being annoying. By the way, you can stand on the wires above the arena in Draygon's fight and he'll just swoop below you without a care in the world. Overall a meh hack that gives you the impression you played it for longer than the hacker worked on it.
Lost World by TROM [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Nov 25, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
101% in 15:39
In 2015, one man had a vision. This man's name was TROM, and by the sweat of his baguette he set out to craft the Super Metroid hack to conquer all. Soon had he created a massive gauntlet of exploration, buffered and extended by tides of liquid movement not yet known to Super Metroid fans. TROM had created the perfect hack, known as... Lost Underwater.

No, no, wait, that's not right. Let me start again. In 2015, one man had a vision. This man's name was TROM, and by the might of his white flag he set out to craft the Super Metroid hack to conquer all. Soon had he created an undertaking of proportions that fankind might be pressed not to see again, one where room after room connects in such circular fashion that one can't help but run them for items with new major equipment again and again. TROM had created the perfect hack, known as... Loop World.

No, that's still not right. Let me try this one more time. In 2015, one man had a vision. This man's name was TROM, and from the squeeze of his Muslim refugees did he produce the Super Metroid hack to conquer all. Soon he had created an epic tale of Samus' adventures in gainingly and progressively more frustrating fashion, building and toiling more and more upon annoying tricks and air fool x-ray that might turn away a fan of lesser mettle. TROM had created the perfect hack, known as... Lost Cause.

Alright, I could keep coming up with nicknames for this hack all night, but serious time. Metaquarius' review is absolutely right. This hack is not for the faint of time, and be prepared to look up somebody else's youtube playthrough to advance at points in this hack, especially for major item locations - the hack makes NO attempt to guide the player from one to the next, and which loop you need to go through next is a shot in the dark at least four times. I might not have completed it if I weren't streaming it for the boys and laughing at their snide commentary all the way through the hack. TROM put his soul into level design and (subpar but at least consistent) graphical quality but that's all this hack has going for it, the rest of it reeks of amateur hacking 101. I might have given it three orbs if I didn't have to crystal flash for Ridley and my friends didn't have to walk me through the NECESSARY super short charge needed to open Hilly Swamp's yellow gate. No advanced techniques needed my butt. Oh, and don't get me started on the gates. I studied Palmy Risen's hack map to beeline to each one after I got plasma because the hack was just tedious after being starved of super missiles for so long. This hack is best summed up as one man's brain TROMma and all Super Metroid players' easily avoided descent into tedium and anger.
AN.T.I [ANother Terrible Idea] by TriAsUnit [SM Quick Play], rated by Zhs2 on Nov 17, 2021 (Star Star Star Star Star )
88% in 0:42
Gave this hack (the one labelled 0.5.1.1) a fair handshake to see if it stacks up for 2015 Quickplay but I cannot find the super missiles and thus cannot complete. Not gonna waste any more time on this hack.

UPDATE: I lied. If it weren't for the GRACIOUS inclusion of the 100% video on Aran;Jaeger's review, I would not have completed this. I'll give it one more orb for being able to complete the hack, but the hidden route to super missiles... Seriously? There are at least ten walls that look like the secret passage to them and I'm supposed to pick out that one? That's one terrible hack design idea. The other terrible idea is the gimmick of including the accel charge patch, which makes charging your beam super slow. Save that for a larger, more drawn out hack instead of this quick idea jotted out in SMILE.
'Roidz by DemickXII [M1 Improvement], rated by Zhs2 on May 13, 2020 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Okay, this graphical hack actually looks pretty damn cool. Still, it's not a level design hack.
Super Metroid: Dependence by Black Telomeres [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on May 08, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
87% in 5:27
I wanted to say this hack was kind of cool and did some neat things, but... it didn't. It's an old grandpappy decade-charged fart of a hack made of terrible tiling and even more terrible design decisions. It's alright if you love rooms with like 8/5000 tiles made of shot blocks that you need to shoot to proceed and fun grappling sequences, I guess. In summary, Black Telomeres would get fired really quickly if he was a building architect.
Super Zero Mission by SBniconico [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 02, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
You think it might be like the official Nintendo release of Zero Mission, but you quickly find yourself very, very wrong. Still, even for the difficulties in playing, there are a few good moments to it. Complete this only if you hate yourself.
Airy by Cyclamen32 [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 01, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Not as good as its big brother Oxide. This one took more effort to complete and didn't feel that great.
Super Metroid Clocktoberfest by Aran;Jaeger, moehr [SM Exploration], rated by Zhs2 on Feb 16, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
60% in 1:22
Ugh. As far as joke hacks go this one is the worst. Why? Try finding the path forward. Oh, you can't? Well too bad, search harder. Now here's some random conveyor belts straight out of amateur hacking 101. Wow, BTS that blocks shots also straight out of amateur hacking 101! Oops, you're stuck again, time to wade through spikes to find the really, REALLY obscure path forward. Some hacks have big problems with intuitively signalling to the player what they should do where and when, and this hack finds all of those situations and accumulates them into one painful slog. You want to move on and finish this hack so you don't have to stare at all of the terrible colors? Too goddamn bad, you're stuck wandering through the same three rooms trying to find an exit. And to top it all off only two of the custom music tracks are good, the rest are either ear pain or tiring after a minute. Don't play this. None of the assembly hacks in the world can save it.
Metroid + Saving by snarfblam [M1 Improvement], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 01, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
The best assembly hack ever made, hands down... But it's not a level design hack.
So Little Time by MetroidMst [SM Spoof], rated by Zhs2 on Apr 01, 2015 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Shit. Avoid.