sbelmont85's Ratings and Reviews
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Super Metroid: Ascent by Benox50 [SM Exploration], rated by sbelmont85 on Oct 02, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
72% in 8:23
This is so far the the best graphics improvements and atmosphere I've seen. It's on par with VITALITY's atmosphere, but adds a lot of new graphics, backgrounds, new alien feel to the different areas. More difficult than original super metroid, but not punishing. I had to learn mochball consistently for a couple of places and consistent on my GG glitch but not too difficult, the new shine spark techniques took a bit to learn also. All of the new concepts were amazing like toxin areas. New game play was really cool with the area progression. If not the most one of the most 100% completely polished hacks all around. No area felt like it was put together as a last minuet or burnt out effort such as super zero mission chozo ruins.
Super Junkoid by P. Yoshi [SM Exploration], rated by sbelmont85 on Oct 02, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 4:17
Really great hack, amazing reskin and completely new game feel, story and game progressions is excellent, new twists kept me very interested all the way through in what was next, very polished and complete, professional product that the developer paid a lot attention and effort to flesh out everything.

Game difficulty was easier than original super metroid, but story, theme, new graphics, and map layout was exceptional.
Super Metroid: Escape II by Hiroishi [SM Exploration], rated by sbelmont85 on Aug 20, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
88% in 11:43
Very good hack, complete, multiple ways to get items so there's a high replay-ability. I liked the unique movement changes, the shinespark control, run-jump-land without loosing momentum like project base, wish it had respin also. The author did a great job, but I think they might be color blind: Deuteranopia or Protanopia, which make green and red look alike, which would make blues and yellows look better. The map is easy to get lost and many items and some paths are hard to find, need x-ray or just bombing everywhere, and there a handful of places that need an enemy to break the blocks which do not have any tale-tale identification under bombing or x-ray, some by dumb luck but definately makes you think in a different way for puzzle solving. I'm glad it didn't have too many tedious morphball switch mazes like redesign did. The map is a little unrefined and defainatly shows as an older hack compared to ascent, hyper, vitality, etc, but still very good. Over-all solid 4.75% Defiantly recommend.
Metroid Super Speed Zero Mission by advancedpillow, SBniconico [SM Exploration], rated by sbelmont85 on Mar 22, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Like my review in the original Super Metroid Super ZeroMission.

An amazing hack, level design, graphics, concepts, atmosphere, completeness all 10/10.

Much better, these improvements were well worth it and I'd only recommend this hack over the original unless you are looking for the challenge and desire to become a speed runner. Difficulty of this hack is still high and even with the short short shine spark, many items to get 100%, although more optional, still need speed runner skills.

Two things I think could be added to make this hack more accessible to most players, add the boost ball ability from Ascent to overcome required mockball places, and the bomb mechanics of Hyper to overcome required horizontal bomb over empty free-fall places. If these additions and the hacks decrease in short shinespark are too breaking of the puzzles, I'd recommend some asm code that would only enable to new improved shorter shinespark and my above improvement recommendations to only be enabled once the gravity suit is obtained. That way only at end game is it easier with these abilities to explore and get more of the items while still keeping it more challenging to speed runners and sequence breaking.

If you wan't to play 'blind' realize many paths and items are hidden where even bombing super missiling doesn't reveal the secret yet it's still there. I had to use an online map to find my way without countless hours trying to identify where to go.

[SPOILER] Map here:

It is a very well built, complete hack, don't rate it low 1,2,3 just because it's too difficult for you, just realize that it's difficulty is by design, for veteran and speed runners, even says so in the info about the hack.

Improved hack for sure, over rating a 4.5. I found a couple of things more difficult in this hack than Redesign Axiel Ed, first going into it blind hidden secrets are somewhat impossible to find especially hidden super missile blocks and required paths, and second although requiring more and more frequent advanced techniques persistence will teach you some good speed runner skills.
Super Zero Mission by SBniconico [SM Exploration], rated by sbelmont85 on Mar 22, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
[Watch Video]  
[SPOILER ALERT] Video is a 101% complete and the link is to the speed run video by zoast which isn't mine, but I wanted to reference it to highlight how crazy this hack is.

First: This hack is amazingly well done, graphics, concepts, design, completeness all 10/10 which is why I don't think it should be rated any less than a 4.5.

Second: This hack is difficult to complete 100% but very doable and many of the items that need more advanced techniques like mockball can be gotten later with other powerups. Difficulty similar to Super Metroid Redesign but harder for these 2 reasons, one because many of the item and required routes are well hidden, and two because most of the puzzles to get items in this hack are designed around speed runner reflexes to get 100%.

The Hard version is almost kaizo, and the normal version is really challenging where you almost need speed runner skills for normal game play, many mockball required areas. Punishing where a miss step lands you into crumble blocks only to have to try over and over. See video linked at 1:16:30 for the intended way to get this missile. I'm convinced a TAS player developed this hack in mind to make it's margins of error at the TAS and speed runner skill level.

I really like the beauty, design, and general theme and routing of this hack and wanted to do a blind play through, but eventually I had to look up a map online to know where to go and use save states to avoid coutinously punishing restarts later in the game. See video 28:25 for intended route to Norfair. A huge number of secret ways that are not obvious in any way with no clue of access even when bombed, powerbombed, etc. don't reveal the block to break, path to take, or where to use a super missile.

I think if you are up for the challenge of developing speed runner skills and feeling completely lost and many hours bombing & super missiling random walls and checking for secrets this would be a great 'blind' hack to play. Or if you just want to experience the hack, play through while looking at an online map and be ok with not getting all the items, you may enjoy it. I just don't enjoy a game that I have to look up solutions to know what to do.

Finally don't complain and rate this hack low because of it's difficulty, just realize the difficulty is by design.
otherRotation by BuggMann [SM Vanilla+], rated by sbelmont85 on Mar 10, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
99% in 6:38
Solid 4.5 rating (wish there were half orb ratings - would give it a 4.5 rating) and that only the respin is sorely needed and the respin version released on the hacks page crashed when using Super Missiles. I knew going into this hack that it would be excessive on the wall jumps and ibj but without respin a mistake sends you quite a ways down, got real tiring.

The out of order item collection possibilities is great too.

Great concept, definitely tests your wall-jump and ibj skills and patience. I used another patch overtop to get respin working, full discussion on my additional modifications on this hacks forum page.

Overall great challenge hack, fun! Thanks!
SM Redesign: Axeil Edition by Drewseph [SM Exploration], rated by sbelmont85 on Jan 18, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
76% in 12:46
I'm a big fan of Super Metroid, Played the originals many times, both Metroid on NES and Super Metroid on SNES back when they were first released.

UDATE: This is now a review of the final version of the hack as of 23 Jan 2022. I’ve just recently replayed the final release after having had played many more hacks since the last time playing this hack and now I have a much better appreciation for Redesign Axeil. So the following is an update from my previous post. Many improvements over the original Redesign have been made, such as the map hint system, fast travel system, ibj’s are hard to get the hang of but very doable, and the hold jump button for auto wall jump and space jump are huge quality of life improvements.

I think this hack a 10 out 5 on a score for level design and quality put into building this hack. Drewseph did an amazing job; it’s truly outstanding and a masterpiece done to perfection. For overall playability I think it's a solid 5. Every area, room, and idea are designed precisely, bugs are removed issues were resolved; feedback was taken into consideration to come to the final release.

The games only downfall isn’t that it’s difficult, it’s that people expect it to be easier. It’s a real test of skills, especially to get all the optional items and the end area is a challenge to behold. The problem with all the low ratings from others posted above (and I was one of them previously) is because they “expected” to play a game at a similar level of difficulty as the original Super Metroid and went into playing this hack with those expectations. Although this hack is very challenging, it’s very doable once you are good at Super Metroid and have patience to work at getting better at the challenges this hack throws at you. Some of the optional things are very frustrating to the edge of a rage quit at times, especially if you’re a 100% completionist like me. These offenders are the maze puzzles with all the crumble blocks and the shinespark carry places. All of the more challenging ones are optional, so skip the optional ones and it’s a very doable hack. Also the most difficult to get optional item ammo packs are really just to tease or challenge you to get that 100% item collection. Many games back in the NES and SNES era were of similar design, difficult to the point of having to retry something over and over, often dying and restarting the entire game completely over again. (To name a few, Galagga, Bubble Bobble, Section-Z, Blaster-Master, Ninja Gaiden , Super Mario, etc…) So don’t hate on this hack just because it’s not like newer games that cater to making it too easy or give you a guarantee to completing the game without getting better at it. You’ll get significantly better as a player from playing this hack. The hack was designed with plenty of save stations that will help with not losing too much progress around the instant death or big fall locations and bosses aren’t overkill in health as some other hacks are. If you are in a place that seems too difficult, then either you shouldn’t be there yet, or you are not good enough to get whatever it is sooner.

The following things I found frustrating, tedious, or felt could be improved a little and that if changed I think would make this an even better hack and possibly give it a more unique touch. In order of importance are the following recommendations.
1) Consider adjusting the more difficult to execute and lengthy speedboost break placements and make them more accessible at end game.
2) Consider adjusting the more unforgiving maze puzzles.
3) Consider adding a few more sequence breaks and make current ones a little more forgiving.
4) Consider making the beam upgrades more of a joy for end game play and unique for your hack.
I know you can't please everyone, and I don't expect the hack to, but I think these changes would keep its intended level of difficulty, enable more replayability, and be more enjoyable by most players.

I recommend everyone play this hack, but after playing easier hacks and do not attempt if you’re not very comfortable playing the original Super Metroid through completely with 100%, and able to perform most techniques well. I’d consider this the hardest, 100% awesome, hack I’ve ever played. Expect 20 to 30+ hours on the in game timer for your 1st run, it's not your typical 1-3 hour game to complete. If you go into playing this hack with the expectation that it's very long, will be very challenging, you'll retrace the map many times, there are a lot of challenges you will have to have patience and practice getting better at before accomplishing, and a handful of the optional ammo packs are ninja skills to obtain, then I think you won’t be disappointed and really enjoy the challenge.

Drewseph, thank you for all your hard work and time providing an AMAZING and FREE game for us all to enjoy playing.
Super Metroid: Redesign by Drewseph [SM Exploration], rated by sbelmont85 on Jan 17, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
No completion stats.
Don't recommend unless you are really good at Super Metroid or you'll likely be very frustrated. That doesn’t’ mean it’s a bad hack, just have an expectation for a real challenge…. I never quit playing many of the original NES games even though I couldn’t make very far into many of the games.

Similar to my review of Axeil Edition they both have a vast world which is great. They also have the lots of challenges you won’t complete without lots of practice and patience; this one's more difficult and less forgiving and has some obvious needed design edits which many are fixed in Axeil Edition. My recommendation is get good at Super Metroid. Then play a bunch of the other easier hacks first, then complete Redesign Axeil a couple of times, then maybe play this one for a challenge more then Axeil.

I remember playing through the original redesign and it was an excitement to play and explore a completely new SM world. The map areas and routing were fun and beautifully crafted, but further into the game, I didn't realize how much of a challenge this hack was going to be. Looking back the problem was my expectation more than anything. My expectations of how difficult the game was going to be were nowhere near the hacks and eventually these expectations led me to stop playing the game. In the original Redesign some of the midair morphs were doable but really difficult and later in the game it was very punishing instant death traps and hard to find hidden required routes.

Thanks Drewseph for all the hard work here and especially in the Axeil release.

It’s a shame that some people can come in here and post ratings or reviews on any of these hacks without really playing through the hack, don’t have the desire to get better at the game first, or any other reason just to be upset and are too subjective vs. really giving the hack a thoughtful objective review….. Maybe Metroid-Construction needs a different review rating system such as the old Nintendo Power magazines had where each game had a review separate for Player’s Rating, Pro’s Rating, and Developer’s Rating (by other developers).
Super Metroid Nature by Jefe962 [SM Exploration], rated by sbelmont85 on Aug 21, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
98% in 4:14
Solid remake of the original SM game... For first time hack the author did a great job, complete and didn't find any glitches.

Pros: Atmosphere, similar but smaller map and play through as the OG SM! Graphics and Atmosphere on par and better then OG in places. New weapon was a neat idea but felt nerfed based off what ammo was used, how quickly it depleted and the damage output.

Cons: Items/everything mostly too obvious and too sequential, the few backtracking items forced to take original, excessive long routes with no shortcuts or round-abouts, map needs better routing. Few challenges and hidden items on the map or places locking out access items needing a specific power-up. It's much easier than OG SM, except the escape. It felt like the timer should be lengthened because the hack otherwise is super easy and the ending, which is not, should be balanced as such for a similar skilled player.

In my case, I needed a few more seconds to finish with very little slip-ups, and I enjoy playing hard hacks like Redesign Axeil Ed. Took me a handful of tries before I finally made it to the ship with 1-2 sec left, which made the finish feel more like an accomplishment and I enjoyed that challenge, but felt very unbalanced compared to the entire play through.

I was getting board mostly after defeating spore-spawn because of how obvious everything was going to be throughout the game. It felt less like exploring and more like: "go down one path collect the item on the map, then go down the next path on the map to collect the next item and so on". I finished it to do the review all dew credit.

I think the best thing that could improve this hack is better routing, don't have the map show everything from the beginning, last create and leave more clues to areas that can't be reached until later. I think one of the most enjoyable things about SM is finding somewhere you can't get to just yet and later realizing a power-up you just got will give you access, there was almost no game design with this in mind.
Harvest by Oi27 [SM Exploration], rated by sbelmont85 on Mar 13, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
87% in 1:48
Its short and felt very unfinished, map layout was cluttered, bosses although some new graphics felt very alpha stage in development, some graphics needed significant improvements. I'd say it's a 20% completed good hack. I really commend the developer. It's hard to rate a hack lower knowing all the hard work that goes into these to develop but was left wanting a lot in the end, mostly with map layout and underdeveloped concepts.

Recommend a play though maybe once.
Difficulty: Vanilla
Rating mostly impacted by completeness and map organization.

Over all some neat ideas, really liked the charge spineshark stations and the new boss mechanics, item removal and keep-aways were entertaining. Also the controlled bomb locations of enemies was a neat puzzle concept and end run had unique mechanics. Hugh pluses for these ideas.

Quick Summary of the meaning of my SM hack ratings:
5 orbs: SM hacks within the 80% to 100% (90% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; SM hacks for outstanding wholesome playing experiences and at most minor inconveniences.
4 orbs: SM hacks within the 60% to 80% (70% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; Well done SM hacks with noticeable design problems.
3 orbs: SM hacks within the 40% to 60% (50% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; Normal decent average SM hacks.
2 orbs: SM hacks within the 20% to 40% (30% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; Overall messy, confusing, or punishing SM hacks with some upsides.
1 orb : SM hacks within the 00% to 20% (10% ± 10%) range of perceived perfection; Ruthlessly unplayable, broken, or barely from the original game changed SM hacks.