View Full Version : Breakfast time: Let's Play Super Demo World: The Legend Continues!

02-15-2009, 02:17 PM
Welcome, my friends…


…to the Demo World.

Super Demo World: The Legend Continues is a full-conversion Super Mario World romhack, with 74 new levels, 120 exits, and an entirely new overworld to explore. In a sense, it is the Mario World romhack, as it paved the way for virtually every other Mario World romhack to come, and precipitated an explosion of interest in the game. Virtually every romhack that follows owes something or other to Demo World.

Super Demo World was released in 2003 by a fellow by the name of FuSoYa. It was originally a six-level demo (hence the name) designed to show off some of the various tricks that Lunar Magic (FuSoYa’s Super Mario World editing program) could do with the game, but gradually expanded into a full-fledged hack in its own right, larger and more difficult than the original. (In fact, it’s so large that you actually have to expand the SMW rom before you can apply the Demo World patch to it.) It contains not just new levels and a new overworld, but also custom blocks and other game mechanics that weren’t in the original, like screen-scrolling pipes and the ability to put new items into your storage box.

However, Demo World’s dirty little secret, for all that it and its creator are revered in the romhacking community, is that it’s not actually a very good game. For every cool and interesting level in the game, there are two more that are poorly-designed, gimmicky, or simply too difficult. There are numerous glitches, and several places where it is evident that FuSoYa just didn’t think things through. About the best you can say about it is that it’s ambitious and occasionally clever. Like Tolkien and Nirvana, you can make the argument that Demo World’s greatest accomplishment was inspiring other people to do more or less the same thing, only better.

As for me, this will be my third LP, and my first that isn’t an RPG. As such, the organization will be somewhat different this time around. Demo World isn’t a game that lends itself particularly well to in-depth play-by-play, so this LP should be significantly shorter, hitting only the high and low points. My goal is to show off every level, but I may not go for 100% completion and I’m not going to swear to you that I won’t use savestates (because life’s too short). I hope that I can come up with at least one interesting thing to talk about for every level, but I may not be able to, so bear with me.

This LP is an experimental one for me, of sorts — as mentioned, it’s the first time I’m going to attempt to do an action game. If it works well, expect to see more LPs in this general vein from me in the future, and if it doesn’t, well, I’ll go back to making fun of plot holes in RPGs and we can never speak of this again.

02-15-2009, 02:20 PM
The Mario World Romhack Index

I may occasionally make reference to other Mario World romhacks in the course of this LP. As I don’t expect everyone to be as familiar with these as I am, here are brief summaries of a few of the more significant ones, for reference. Most of these (as well as Demo World itself) can be found at SMW Central (http://www.smwcentral.net).

Brutal Mario — A mysterious, incomplete hack that has almost legendary status in the community. Its level design is humdrum, but it does things with the engine that no hacker before or since has been able to match, with custom bosses and weird stage-specific gimmicks, like P-Switches that stop time and Mega Man-esque weapons. All the text is in moon language, and the plot evidently involves Mario marrying the Princess, becoming a brutal dictator (hence the name), then getting exiled and forced to rebuild his kingdom. Weird stuff.

Luigi’s Adventure — A gorgeous hack starring Luigi with some interesting levels. It is extremely difficult and basically impossible without savestates — the game has ten worlds and you’ll be reduced to tears by about World 3. The designer also has an annoying habit of developing a challenging obstacle, then reusing it over and over again for maximum annoyance. It’s also in Japanese, so you probably won’t be able to read the text.

Return to Dinosaur Land — Most SMW romhacks feel like they have to “improve” on the original in some way, becoming bigger or prettier or more complicated. This is the only one that doesn’t. It makes no bones about essentially being an expansion pack for the original game, but the levels are fair and fun, enough so that they could have been in the original game. Somewhat short and linear, but better than some romhacks which change more.

Rise to the Challenge — The most non-linear SMW hack yet. No custom graphics (there are, however, custom songs, and good ones) — but also no bosses and no ending. The idea is that you’re intended to enjoy the levels for their own sake. The levels are fun and do interesting things with the engine (the level that takes place during a battle is a standout), but many of them are too hard, and some of them push a particular gimmick past the breaking point. The designer loves to force the player to chain spin jumps to get over long gaps, and the solutions to some of his puzzles are too opaque.

The Second Reality Project 2: Zycloboo’s Revenge — Herein, TSRP2. For my money, the single best Super Mario World romhack ever designed. A huge game with tons of levels, each of which is packed with interesting platforming setups and lots of meaty mid-level surprises. It also looks great, although most of its graphics are ripped from other games. Can get challenging, but not unbearably so, although the designer is inordinately fond of mazes. Ignore the plot — the hacker, FPI, is a non-English speaker (Finnish, I think), and the message blocks are sometimes illegible. TSRP3 is due out this year sometime.

The Second Reality Project: Reloaded — Herein, TSRPR. Don’t let the custom graphics and music fool you: This game is actually a “remake” of the original TSRP1, which used the original graphics, music, and overworld, and featuring very little in the way of modifications to the original SMW’s engine. It’s a pure level design hack. The levels are interesting, but they quickly become extremely difficult — the last world, in particular, is nearly impossible without savestates.

Super Kaizo World — You might recognize this game from its hilarious SA LP. Basically an exquisite torture device; closer to something like I Wanna Be the Guy than Super Mario World. The levels make no pretense at being actual places, and are designed merely to be as impossibly challenging as the designers could manage, requiring pixel-perfect timing and a knowledge of the mechanics of SMW’s engine to solve. Ever seen that SMB1 hack Air? Like that.

Super Mario Odyssey — Uncompleted. Possibly the first SMW hack in which the story actually affects the gameplay. Starts off as a bog-standard platformer, but later levels are almost RPG-ish, with Mario having to interview NPCs to find out what to do next. Some of the levels actually have a narrative, with Mario actually having a goal besides simply completing the level.

The Treasure Hunt — Uncompleted, and likely to remain so as the designer has taken a hiatus from hacking, but the three completed worlds that do exist are very interesting. No custom graphics or music, but lots of interesting gameplay situations, like solving a puzzle in freefall or racing a shiny shell through an obstacle course. This hack uses the SMW engine in new and interesting ways that a lot of hacks don’t. The message blocks are written in first-person from Mario’s perspective, complete with the accent, however, which gets-a grating in-a hurry-a.

02-15-2009, 02:23 PM



I quite like Demo World’s story. Most romhackers take their plots too seriously (notice to romhackers: No one gives a shit about the story) and end up sounding like bad fanfics, but Demo World’s is just one big joke.


Super Demo World has ten worlds. The first eight roughly coincide with Mario 3’s worlds, with the exception of World 4 being replaced by a generic cave zone. The other two are the Star Road, which is notably different in both appearance and function from Mario World’s, and a hidden world. First up: Misty Isle.

Misty Isle 1


Like most first worlds, Misty Isle is pretty boring. It’s bog-standard platforming with few gimmicks, meant only to show off that we’re not in Dinosaur Land anymore.

Take, for example, these breakable bricks. You might recall that there were no traditional bricks in the original Mario World — it replaced them with Spin Panels instead. Demo World has those as well, but it also adds the breakable bricks back in. These can be broken if Mario is large or by swinging the cape, and P-Switches will turn them into coins, but small Mario bounces off them.


One thing romhackers have realized, that the original Mario World designers evidently did not, is how broken the Cape is. Many a romhacker has shaken his fist and cursed the Cape after watching Caped Mario make a mockery of his finely-tuned platforming challenge. (Not just due to the flying, but also from the Cape’s ability to slow descent.) As such, some romhackers make an effort to keep the Cape as rare as possible in their games, and some (like Luigi’s Adventure and Rise to the Challenge) remove it entirely. Demo World is not one of them, and many of its levels can be flown through without much trouble if you get stuck.

Misty Isle 2


Misty Isle 2 and 3 are more generic platforming in the same vein as Misty Isle 1. Don’t worry, things will get weirder in due time.


One thing I don’t think romhackers pay enough attention to is secrets. They’ll work hard to make a level, and then occasionally they’ll come up with an annoyingly difficult-to-find hidden exit, but they rarely do anything cool like alternate routes or hidden coin caches. Demo World contains one here, but the levels grow increasingly linear as the game progresses.


Coin snake tricks… SMW’s engine actually contains a lot of elements that the original designers didn’t do a whole lot with. Coin snakes are one of them. I think there are two whole levels in the original SMW with coin snake puzzles, and one of them could be skipped with a Cape or a Blue Yoshi. This one is just the first of many.


The big problem with romhacks, I think, is a little thing called complexity creep. See, romhacks are designed by and for people who have not only played the original game to death, but have played it so much that they seek out new and tougher levels. As such, the difficulty of these games tends to lean disproportionately towards the people who have mastered the original and know all the little tricks. Most new romhacks simply take it as a given that you know that spin jumps can bounce off virtually all enemies and that Mario can carry objects through pipes, things you can get through the entire original game without doing once. When I was a kid, I couldn’t figure out what the spin jump was supposed to be for, but in some romhacks, the spin jump is almost preferable to the regular one.

That’s how you get the super-hard romhack designs, I think: If you were to make a romhack that was roughly as difficult as the original, your target audience would complain that it was too easy. Demo World’s difficulty is merely average by romhack standards, but it can be hair-pullingly difficult to a normal gamer. There are things in World 2 that are harder than anything in SMW, and if that’s true of World 2, what does that say about World 8?

Misty Isle 3



More complexity creep in action… These multiplying Chucks didn’t appear until very late in the original SMW, but here they are in World 1, ambushing you after a fairly difficult platforming session. If you’re expecting a normal Chuck here, the surprise could be your downfall.

Misty Isle 4



Look familiar? Here’s one of the great romhacking clichés: Nostalgia levels. I don’t know why it is, but evidently everyone’s first instinct whenever they get their dirty little hands on level design software is to remake 1-1.

This is going to get me kicked out of the retrogamer club, but I’ve always felt that trading on nostalgia is the last refuge of the creatively bankrupt, especially in a fan game like this one. (I hear this kind of thing is rampant in the Little Big Planet community as well, although of course I wouldn’t know.) The whole reason I play romhacks is to see new ideas that I would never find in a regular Nintendo game, not to replay levels I’ve played a thousand times before.

The only good way to do nostalgia levels, I think, is to create the spirit of the game in question. Take TSRP2, for example. That game has Sonic levels, Kirby levels, a Tetris level, even a level that reproduces the Deku Tree from Ocarina of Time in a 2-D platformer format — but it does so by taking the general idea from those levels and making something new and different, not slavishly reproducing each pixel.

Incidentally, it’s worth noting that the upward-facing Piranha Plant is entirely new for this game. You may not have realized it, but the original SMW doesn’t have any upward-facing Piranha Plants at all, only downward-facing ones and the jumping Piranha Plants. It’s a good reminder of how much work goes into even a mediocre romhack — whenever you see an enemy or object that didn’t appear in the original, the hacker had to program it in. I criticize a lot, but only because I believe that a culture that stifles criticism in the name of niceness is doomed to stagnancy (see also: webcomics). I would never belittle the actual work that goes into them.

02-15-2009, 02:25 PM

Demo World plays some cool tricks with reproduced levels later in the game, playing on your assumptions, but this one is fairly straightforward.


Misty Isle 4 was our first red level, which indicates that it has a secret exit. And how did we find secret things in Mario 3?


Why, by crouching on white blocks, of course.


This is another element that was added to Demo World—the ability to switch between the foreground and background. Sadly, it’s a tragically underused feature.


One of my favorite new elements of Demo World, and one that I’m irritated more romhacks don’t adopt, is the insertion of a Top Secret Area in every world. Allowing you to reload on feathers after every death without a lot of hassle just seems like common courtesy in a game this hard.


In addition, Demo World’s Secrets each contain a gray block, which will place an object in your reserve item slot that you can’t normally put up there — things like shells, Stars, or, as we see here, a Goomba. Each world’s Secret gives you a different item, which is necessary for finding the secret exit in that world’s castle.

Misty Castle


Speaking of castles, let’s try our first one.


Misty Castle is filled with lava and moving platforms that allow you to cross it. Nothing too exciting, yet.

02-15-2009, 02:27 PM

Unlike the original game, all of Demo World’s castles have secret exits, which lead to the Star Road. To get to Misty Castle’s, you need to use an advanced technique. You can’t fly up there normally, so you have to use a spin jump while running at flight speed.


Misty Castle’s message blocks warn us about the hazards of the Star Road. I’ll get into this much later, but suffice it to say that once we’re in, it’ll be difficult to get back out.

Note also the blue Goomba block there. This is another custom block — enemies can pass through it, but Mario can’t. That’s why we brought along a Goomba in our reserve box: By tossing it up so that it passes through the Goomba block and hits the Spin Panel…


…A vine grows, that we can use to reach the hidden exit. (With good timing, you can also fly up here.)


This leads to the first Star Road, but we’ll pass on it for now. Let’s head back into Misty Castle and beat it the normal way.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen a romhack make a really interesting level based on the two-sided grate. They all use it, but it’s always just a short trip over lava, then back on solid ground again…


This section, with the collapsing platforms, is annoyingly difficult without a Cape. You have to stay on the block until it’s nearly in the lava, then make a short hop towards the next one. Too big a leap, and you’ll collide with the barrier and drop into the lava.


You can actually stand on these platforms indefinitely. It looks like they sink into the lava, but not so much so that it damages you.


For a long time, custom bosses in Mario World hacks were unheard of, so hackers had to use the Koopalings. It was always a little weird—you’d plow through this insanely difficult dungeon and run into a Koopaling at the end, who was completely unchanged from his appearance in the original and was thus barely a speed bump. In addition, Lunar Magic can only change the boss rooms a slight amount, so there wasn’t a whole lot the hackers could do to increase the challenge.

These days, custom bosses are possible, but (Brutal Mario aside) only up to a point, so the originals are still used a fair amount.

Iggy here is kicked into the lava in only two hits.




Next up we have the intermediate area Salty Isle, and then into the desert itself, where things will get a lot more challenging.

Next time: Sand in my shoe

Octopus Prime
02-15-2009, 02:33 PM
I am thrilled and intrigued by this LP.

Please continue!

02-15-2009, 02:37 PM

02-15-2009, 02:40 PM
This... this is super-cool, super-awesome, and way way super-interesting.

02-15-2009, 02:46 PM
I, too, am fascinated by this. But what's with the artifacted screenshots? I normally wouldn't say anything, but SMRPG was pixel-perfect.


Demo World plays some cool tricks with reproduced levels later in the game, playing on your assumptions, but this one is fairly straightforward.

I don't know; that "4" is pretty good.

02-15-2009, 02:51 PM
I don't know anything at all about the SMW hacking community, so this is all new and exciting to me. I'm looking forward to more!

02-15-2009, 02:59 PM
What an LP! I'll be following this one closely.

02-15-2009, 03:13 PM
I, too, am fascinated by this. But what's with the artifacted screenshots? I normally wouldn't say anything, but SMRPG was pixel-perfect.

I think I've got this worked out. I think it had to do with the uploading .bmp images to Photobucket. I generally prefer ZSNES, but I used SNES9x for the SMRPG LP because ZSNES doesn't generate save files for SMRPG for some reason. I switched back for this one and forgot that ZSNES's default screenshot format is .bmp. Future updates should look better.

02-15-2009, 04:02 PM
Aside from planning out and briefly working on a hack of my own a few years back, my only experience with Mario World romhacks was the annoyingly-cheap Cool Mario and that's pretty much it; the difficulty-creep railed on earlier on in the thread was one of the reasons I never really gave the hacks any more of a chance. However, seeing Super Demo World in action and the creativity on display makes me wish I hadn't given up on them so soon.

Anyway, good work so far. I'll be following this one closely.

02-15-2009, 04:59 PM
making Mario World levels in Lunar Magic is so fun.

02-15-2009, 05:10 PM
I've never seen anyone openly criticise this rom hack (or indeed, most SMW rom hacks) the way you have before, but what you're saying makes sense. It'll be interesting to see more comments like this as you work your way through the LP.

02-15-2009, 05:16 PM
Very interesting LP already. I never survived world 1 of SMW so I'm just gonna smile and nod whenever you use terms I don't understand. *smiles, nods*

02-15-2009, 05:24 PM
I never survived world 1 of SMW


02-15-2009, 05:40 PM
1-2 was brutal and I never got through the castle either.

I also died in the third level of Little Big Planet, plus broke one part of the stage so badly I had to restart. Platformers are not my friend.

Red Hedgehog
02-15-2009, 06:14 PM
This is a cool idea.

02-15-2009, 06:52 PM
1-2 was brutal and I never got through the castle either.

You're adorable. What are you doing later?

Dynastic Bird
02-15-2009, 07:18 PM
1-2 was brutal and I never got through the castle either.

I also died in the third level of Little Big Planet, plus broke one part of the stage so badly I had to restart. Platformers are not my friend.

Miyamoto once complained that RPGs needed no skill whatsoever, that you could simply run into the same thing over and over again until you went over the stumbling block. This must have been especially true in the day he said that, because Dragon Quest literally sends you back with all of your stuff with little more than a cash penalty. That contrasts with his games, where skill was necessary (even Zelda required you to figure out how to find the weakpoint the first time, and then you repeat it)

Or was that a good thing from his point of view?

Anyway, I had troubles too. Have you played it recently? You might want to give it another shot.

Great LP so far! Now I'm interested in looking into some of these hacks...

02-15-2009, 08:39 PM
Wonderful LP indeed.

Also I believe zsnes can do png screenshot instead of bmp, which is better than bmp by any measure.

Eagerly waiting for the next updates!

02-15-2009, 10:46 PM
A goomba, in the item-holding-square-thing?

This is absurd and I cannot look away.

02-16-2009, 12:16 PM
This is fascinating. I've played a number of hacks and they're usually brutally difficult. There's one I've seen where you have to play through Bubble Man's stage as Mario and the Bubble Man fight looks horrific.

I saw a picture a long time ago of a hack (or fan game, not sure) which had X in what looked like a Mario level. Anyone know what it was?

I appreciate it probably doesn't play too well, most games don't when you transpose a character into a game he's not designed for, but I was intrigued. See Mega Man Vs Metroid (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/124070) for evidence.

02-18-2009, 07:02 AM
Woo. I wish to register my approval of this experimental-type LP. Cheers!

02-18-2009, 04:07 PM
This rules! I knew that there were different hacks/mods around for SMW, but I never bothered because I didn't know where to begin, and most of the 'good' ones seem to have the reputation of ramping the challenge factor up from respectable to ridiculous.

02-18-2009, 04:20 PM
This hack is awesome. I played it to 100% completion some years ago and had a blast with it. I think it was just the right amount of "SMW but harder" without getting to Kaizo bitch-hard levels.

02-19-2009, 02:10 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Super Demo World. When we last left off, we had polished off the first world, Misty Isle, and began our journey into much stranger waters. First up on today’s schedule: Salty Isle, a short intermediary level between Worlds 1 and 2.

Salty Isle


Salty Isle is pretty boring, all told. It’s basic platforming, with the added wrinkle of water and Cheep Cheeps.


The problem with romhacks is that sometimes I can’t tell if the hacker is being ironic and juvenile, or if it’s just me.

Anyway, despite the warning the water is perfectly normal here. Other romhacks have water that grows gradually warmer, or water that you can only swim in for a few seconds at a time, but Demo World doesn’t.


My advice for all Mario World romhacks is this: Always use the Cape if you can. Seriously, it makes things so much easier. Not only do you have the ability to fly and slow your descent (allowing for more precise platforming), a twirl of the Cape will kill just about anything. Fireballs don’t even compare.

Actually, the only romhack I’ve seen that made an attempt to beef up fireballs isn’t even a Mario World romhack at all — it’s a Mario 3 romhack called Mario Adventure. In that game, fireballs beefed up Mario’s jump and running speed, making it the Diddy Kong to the unchanged Raccoon Mario’s Dixie. Of course, it went and ruined it by including a new power-up called Magic Mario, which was basically the Mary Sue of Mario power-ups, so the difference was moot most of the time.


FuSoYa loves making you build bridges out of invisible coin blocks. There were a few puzzles of this type in the real Mario games, but Demo World takes them to extremes.


This is in the original Super Mario World as well, but if you’re carrying an object when you hit the goalpost, it will transform into an item. Shells become feathers, and rarer things like P-Switches and Springs become 1-Up Mushrooms.

Desert World 1



Desert World 1’s background graphics are ripped from the All-Stars version of Mario 3. We haven’t seen much in the way of ripped graphics thus far, but Demo World is packed with them, drawing from sources as diverse as Yoshi’s Island, Donkey Kong Country, Mega Man X, and even Super Mario RPG. Some of these work better than others. The All-Star games are pretty close to Mario World in style and mesh fairly well, but other games, like Yoshi’s Island, look downright ugly when stripped of their proper context.

Other romhacks followed Demo World’s lead on this, drawing graphics from a wide variety of sources. In addition, a fellow named icegoom redrew every single graphic in the original Mario World and released those graphics for public use, so they show up fairly often as well. Often in a modern romhack you’ll find graphics from four or five different sources on the screen at once, which can create quite a mishmash. A hacker needs to have a pretty firm grasp on aesthetics in order to keep his ripped graphics from degenerating into a garish mesh, and some hackers are better at this than others.

Ironically, the overuse of ripped graphics in hacks (as well as hacks that use eye-catching presentation as a crutch for poor level design) has resulted in a backlash, with some new hacks declaring rather pointedly that they’re using original graphics only. These also tend to be the games that declare themselves to be “pure level design” hacks…


A message block early in Desert World 1 warns us of weird blocks in the near future. What it’s referring to are…


These jumping blocks, pulled from Mario 3. Don’t get too excited, though; they’re just retiled Thwimps. Where the original jumping blocks could be destroyed by just about anything, these can only be damaged by shells and Invincible Mario.

Desert World 2

All right. Everything we’ve seen so far has been pretty boring. A few cute tricks here and there, sure, but nothing too out of the ordinary. That’s about to change, however, because Desert World 2 is the first area in the game that really shows what a romhack can do.


This world has two exits. The key is found right at the start, by flying straight up in the initial opening area.


We grab the key and head through the pipe, into a vast network of moving and dropping platforms, as well as screen-scrolling pipes (seen here).

Screen-scrolling pipes were pretty much exclusive to Mario 3; all of Mario World’s pipes moved you to an entirely different screen. Demo World brings them back, allowing for expansive level layouts.

That’s not to say it’s all sunshine and rainbows, though. Unlike real pipes, Pirahna Plants can still exit a screen-scrolling pipe while you’re traveling through it, so if one is out when you’re scheduled to exit, it’s an unavoidable hit. And Demo World frequently uses the screen-scrollers unnecessarily, making levels more complicated than they need to be.


First things first: We drop the key off near the keyhole, which is surrounded by blocks for the moment. Because of the way items work in SMW, as long as we don’t leave this “area” (by exiting through a normal pipe), the game will remember where we left the key, and it will be waiting for us when we come back with a P-Switch to turn those blocks into coins.


Here Mario rides a moving platform down, into the real meat of the level.

(This isn’t just a filler shot; I want you to remember that there is indeed a platform here.)

02-19-2009, 02:14 PM

As mentioned, Demo World pushes the Mario World engine pretty hard. As a result, sometimes in large levels like this one with lots of objects on the screen, sprites will frequently fail to load. You’ll often head to where you know a P-Switch is only to find that it’s just not there. These spinning platforms, for example, are supposed to be the triple-spinning platforms found in levels like Donut Plains 4 and Star Road 4 in the original game, but often one or all of the “arms” will simply not be there.


We build up a running start near the normal exit and find a silver P-Switch in an alcove in the top-left corner of the level. The silver P-Switch turns enemies into silver coins and Munchers (those invincible black plant things) into regular coins, but what are we supposed to do with this one?


Heading back, I find that the platform we need to ride to get to where we need to go has failed to load. (No, it’s not off-screen or anything; it’s not there.) Since there isn’t enough space here to build up flight speed, I have to head left a few screens and try again.


That’s more like it.


We take our silver P-Switch to this small patch of Munchers near the bottom of the level.



Another big problem with many romhacks (although hardly confined to them) is arbitrariness; confusing “outthinking the designer” with “creativity” or “exploration”. There’s no hint that you’re to use the silver P-Switch here, no indication that the floor beneath the Munchers is fake. There are better examples in the game (and even in this update!), but this is the first one where you’re given a P-Switch and expected to just know where the proper place to use it is.

The P-Switch is a powerful level-building tool because it can do a lot of different things, but that versatility makes it all the more critical that you give the player some sort of context as to what they’re supposed to be doing.


Anyway, we pass through another screen-scrolling pipe, grab a regular P-Switch, and head back to the keyhole to find our hidden exit.

Desert World Secret


Desert World 2’s secret exit leads to a shortcut to the Desert Pyramid (allowing us to skip Desert World 3 and 4 if we so desired) by way of the Desert World Secret. Here’s the first place in the game where we can find Mario’s buddy, Yoshi (he was absent from the Misty Isle Secret). As for the contents of the gray block, we’ll get to it in due time.


Like the Cape, Yoshi can break all sorts of level designs. His regular jump has the destructive power of a spin jump, his shell-based special abilities (especially the blue shell) makes some levels a snap, and he can walk on some hazardous floors. (Plus he gives you an extra hit.) For that reason, many romhacks keep him scarce. TSRP2 and TSRPR have a special bit of coding that actually removes Yoshi whenever you go to the world map, which means that you can only use Yoshi in the levels you find him in. Demo World isn’t that draconian Ha!, but it does make Yoshi very rare outside the Secrets, and several levels are designed to keep him from entering.


For all that Desert World 2’s hidden exit is a pain in the ass, its regular one is very easy to find.

Desert World 3


Desert World 3 is another of those remake levels; this time of 7-2 from Mario 3. While Misty Isle 4 at least contained a hidden exit to search for, Desert World 3 is completely unchanged from the original (except that you can carry the P-Switch now), which leaves me with precious little to talk about.

02-19-2009, 02:17 PM
Desert World 4



Desert World 4 is built around a pair of floating cloud platforms. When you step on them, they begin moving forward slowly. They’re solid, but they exist on a different “layer” than Mario and all the obstacles on this stage, so our job is to negotiate the maze-like platforms in our path before the clouds get too far ahead of us.

(This is easier to show than to explain.)

The cloud platform is actually in the original Super Mario World’s code (albeit as a moss-covered patch of soil), but was never used in-game.


Desert World 4 is a level where you can really screw yourself over if you’re not careful. Both platforms need to be moving, but you need to wait until the upper one is a little ways ahead before activating the lower one. If the platforms are too close together or too far away, they won’t be there when you need them to be, and barring some crazy Cape-work they’re the only way to beat this level.


Later in the level, you can leave the platforms behind and start using the Cape to drift between the platforms.

Desert Pyramid


The Desert Pyramid is the first really awful level in Demo World. It’s not simply difficult (although it is, very), but it’s also really annoying and tedious to play through.


The first hint that something is about to go terribly terribly wrong is that you’ve got 700 seconds to play this stage. Demo World tends to err on the unforgiving side when it comes to time limits, so if you’ve got that much, you know something’s up.

Okay. The Pyramid’s gimmick is that it is huge, and we have to scour every inch of it looking for P-Switches. We need two P-Switches to get to the normal exit, and two P-Switches and a key to get to the hidden one. The hard part is that all of these objects are at the end of very long, difficult gauntlets of platforming, so you have to go get one, then come back and drop it off, then go get a different one. Also, we need both a Cape and a Fire Flower to get anywhere here, so one hit is, if not instantly fatal, at least a major time-waster, as you’ll have to go search the Pyramid for replacement power-ups before you can continue.

The Pyramid is basically a level that sounds fine in your head or when you’re being told about it (explore a large, dangerous labyrinth looking for treasure!), but once you’re actually playing through it, you can’t conceive of anyone actually enjoying it. (A lot of romhack levels are like this.)

Oh, and it’s got a hidden exit, so you have to do it twice.

Oh, and it’s on the main path, so you can’t skip it or go around it.


This is where we’ll need to drop off our key, once we find it.


This segment — jumping from chain to chain over lava, dodging jumping Podoboos — could be a whole level itself. But you’ll have to do it about five times in total before you can leave the Pyramid behind.


Hmm. The Spin Panel containing one of the P-Switches is covered by ice blocks, another custom block that can only be destroyed by fireballs. We don’t have any, so we’ll have to take another route.


Do not adjust your monitor…

Exploring around a little nets us not just a Fire Flower, but also the other P-Switch.


Arbitrary P-Switch usage ho!

02-19-2009, 02:18 PM

By opening the hidden passage here, we find a key and return to the main chamber.


If you toss an object up and hold Y while climbing, Mario can “catch” the object and continue to carry it while climbing. Somehow. This non-intuitive trick is essential for moving keys and P-Switches around in many romhacks.


We drop our key off at the message block…


Then head back to the ice-encrusted Spin Panel and collect our switch.


At least there’s a platform up here that will carry us through the chain-jumping sequence.


Using the second P-Switch at the key dropoff point reveals a hole in the ceiling. (Ignore the blue door; it’s a red herring.) Grab the key and run along the ceiling…


…Until you find the keyhole.

Yellow Switch Palace


The Pyramid’s secret exit leads to the Yellow Switch Palace, the first of four, just like in the original game. We’re going to need all four eventually, making two trips through the goddamn Pyramid sadly necessary.


The idea in the Yellow Palace is that you’re supposed to use a regular P-Switch to release a silver one, which you can use to turn the trapped enemies into coins. That seems like a lot of work to me, though…


Just like in the original, tripping a Switch Palace turns all the outlines of that color into solid blocks. The Yellow ones also give Mushrooms when hit.


Pyramid, take two…

02-19-2009, 02:20 PM

This time, we need both P-Switches at once, so we collect the one in the blue corridor first and drop it off here, then go for the one at the end of the chain-jumping sequence.


We need to carry both P-Switches through this pipe, but if we carry one through, the other will disappear when we go back for it (and going back for it causes the first one to disappear as well). To proceed, we’ll need to use another SMW trick: Carrying two items at once.

If you “stack” two items on top of each other so that they overlap near-perfectly, Mario will pick up both when he grabs one. This is annoyingly difficult to do, but I’ll take it over Switch-hunting any time.


Anyway, you might recognize this area as the place we found the key. This time, though, we use the first P-Switch to open the secret passage, and carry the other one on through.


Next up, we have to ride a platform through this gauntlet of Balls ‘n’ Chains and spikes, lugging our switch around all the while.


Cutting it a little close, here…


This is why we need the second switch. Unless you’re insanely good with the Cape, it’s basically impossible to get down here before the first P-Switch wears off, which is why you need a spare.


And we’re still not done! We have to fight Reznor! Not that he’s much of a challenge, but still! Repeat after me, class: Fuck the Pyramid.


Before tackling the Castle, we head back to the secret and open up the gray block for a yellow shell.

Desert Castle


The Desert Castle is much like the Misty one: It’s filled with lava and sharpened logs. It contains a new twist in the form of spiky platform rides, but for my Pyramid-hardened self it’s barely even a speed bump.


Note: If you’ve got a Koopa shell in your item box, it will release a live Koopa, not an empty shell. Be careful.


Anyway, you can see where this is going, right? Kick the shell through the Goomba blocks to reveal a P-Switch…


…turn the floating coins into platforms…

02-19-2009, 02:21 PM

…and proceed through the rest of the castle to the exit.

Like Misty Castle, Desert Castle’s secret exit leads to another Star Road entrance. Also like Misty Castle, we’re going to pass on it until later.


Evidently going through Desert Castle the normal way is so boring that I didn’t even think to screenshot it. Here’s Morton, by far the easiest of the Koopalings.


He’s so easy, in fact, that you can kill him before he “attacks” once.


Egg #2 in hand, Mario prepares himself to battle the last survivors of a flooded world for the last patches of dirt left on the godforsaken planet. And find more breakfast eggs, as well.

Next time: Oceanic

02-19-2009, 04:50 PM
My advice for all Mario World romhacks is this: Always use the Cape if you can. Seriously, it makes things so much easier. Not only do you have the ability to fly and slow your descent (allowing for more precise platforming), a twirl of the Cape will kill just about anything. Fireballs don’t even compare.

I disagree, at least with the point that fireballs are useless. While on land the cape is definitely the best item you can use, hands down, I found that the fire flower is the most useful power-up you can have when you go underwater. Since slow-descent isn't really much of an issue anymore for those levels, it comes down to which can take out enemies more efficiently, and the extra range of the fireballs coupled with the fact that most underwater enemies are weak to it make it ideal for exploring those areas.

Granted, I don't really have enough experience with this ROMhack or any of the others to say this still applies here, but in the original game I'd swap the feather for the flower as soon as I'd reach a water level (certain castles aside). It had its moments.


And we’re still not done! We have to fight Reznor! Not that he’s much of a challenge, but still! Repeat after me, class: Fuck the Pyramid.

And it's not even the worst stage in the entire hack, is it? I'm so, so sorry.

02-19-2009, 05:04 PM
ROM hacks are always better ideas than they are in reality. This one looks to be better than average, but I think I'll leave playing it to you.

Have you ever messed around with Zelda Classic? That is another thing that I love the idea of, but every "quest" I've attempted has left me frustrated and disappointed.

Maybe you can run through that when you are done suffering this game? :)

02-19-2009, 10:05 PM
I'm so happy I'm not doing this. I would have quit at the pyramid. No way I'm carrying switches all over the place.


I love how you hit this block, heh.

02-19-2009, 11:07 PM
And it's not even the worst stage in the entire hack, is it? I'm so, so sorry.

Oh, god, no.

Hey Tanto, have fun in the stage with all the... yeah. =)

02-20-2009, 07:06 AM

This strange sounds frustrating enough on it's own but having to duck fly though a tiny opening while the screen is scrolling? NOT FUN.

And carrying a key while climbing, picking up two items at once? How are you supposed to know how to do this stuff?! I would have never of guessed it was even possible.

02-20-2009, 05:45 PM
Is it just me, or does this hack have way too many bloody P-Switches? I've been playing along with you, and it's getting irritating.

02-20-2009, 05:56 PM
And carrying a key while climbing, picking up two items at once? How are you supposed to know how to do this stuff?! I would have never of guessed it was even possible.

And that's the root problem with most hacks. They take something that was a secret and/or glitch in the original, and force you to master it and do it again and again and again...

I'd be super happy if more people would just create more levels for a game without feeling the need to get clever and challenging.

02-21-2009, 09:34 AM
Fire Flower stuff

All true, but you have to consider that there are maybe a half-dozen underwater levels in the whole game, and half of those don't have any enemies that are weak to fireballs. As I recall, that's about the same percentage as in the original game. Fireballs are just so, so limited in what they can do compared to the Cape.

And it's not even the worst stage in the entire hack, is it? I'm so, so sorry.

Heh, no. Our first level that's worse than the Pyramid will come in the update after next.

This strange sounds frustrating enough on it's own but having to duck fly though a tiny opening while the screen is scrolling? NOT FUN.

Actually, that's just a duck jump. If you hop a lot while holding forward, you can squeeze through one-block openings. Not that this devalues your point in any way.

Is it just me, or does this hack have way too many bloody P-Switches? I've been playing along with you, and it's getting irritating.

I actually have a theory as to why this is, which I will talk about once I get to the next P-Switch-heavy stage.

02-21-2009, 10:12 AM
man, I have no idea how I put up with this hack long enough to make it as far as I did.

just revisiting these levels vicariously through Tanto is making me angry!

02-23-2009, 11:41 AM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Super Demo World. When last we left off, we banged our heads against the Pyramid for a while. Luckily there isn’t anything quite that infuriating this time around. Let’s go for a swim!

Water World 1


I have a confession: I hate water levels. They’re slow-paced, the controls feel sluggish, they’re frequently overlong, and they’re usually boring. The original SMW had only a small handful of pure underwater levels (and it included them in between long stretches of normal levels), a fact for which I am eternally grateful, but most romhacks feel like they need to have a dedicated water world somewhere. There’s no quicker way to get me to throw my hands up in disgust than water worlds.


Water World 1 opens with a cryptic clue explaining how to find the secret exit.


The most dangerous underwater enemy is Rip Van Fish, seen here. They swim at approximately the same speed as Mario but are more maneuverable, so they can be treacherous in close quarters. Thankfully, fireballs, the Cape, and Yoshi can all defeat them.


Water World 1 is a tremendously boring, straightforward level. Nothing to see here.


As for the secret exit, it’s easy to find if you know where to look. After you exit the pipe leading to the goalpost, turn around and go back in, and it’ll spit you out right at the secret exit.

…I have a love/hate relationship with secret exits. I understand their value — they allow for non-linearity and let players control their path through the game to some extent — but actually looking for them is frequently a chore, particularly because romhackers delight in making them as obscure as possible. The worst kind of secret exit is in levels like this one, where you have to play the level again normally and do something slightly different at this end. Most romhacks aren’t fun enough to justify playing these levels more than once.

Moreover, many secret exits lead to nothing more than slight variations on the main path, doing nothing more than allowing you to skip a level or two. Water World 1’s secret exit, for example, leads to Water World 4, which itself has two exits. Water World 4’s normal exit just sends you to (I think) Water World 3. Looking for secret exits of this variety feels like a waste of time.

(Yes, I realize that both of these criticisms can also be leveled at the original SMW.)


I did play the bonus stage perfectly, though! Go me!

Water World 4


We’ll take the secret path first, since we’ll just have to double back anyway.


It took me a while to figure out where I recognized the background to this stage from. Turns out it’s actually from the underwater levels of Donkey Kong Country. Actually, you could get a pretty rousing game of “Name that background!” going in most romhacks.


Water World 4 has a handful of these Jelectrodes from Mario 3. I figure they’re actually retiled Munchers, because Yoshi can stand on them safely, and silver P-Switches turn them into coins.

Anyway, note the keyhole here blocked off by Goomba blocks. The only way in here is via a screen scrolling pipe, but…


…The other end is covered in both brown blocks and Jelectrodes, which means that we need both a silver and a normal P-Switch (and the key) to get through here.


The silver P-Switch, at least, is easy enough to get. It’s in that Spin Panel.

02-23-2009, 11:43 AM

We head through the pipe in the north to snag a shell, carry it back through, and release the silver P-Switch.


We hit it and begin clearing away the ex-Jelectrodes blocking the pipe.


The P-Switch is a little south of the keyhole. You have to backtrack a bit to find it, but it’s not hidden or anything.


Step 2… It’s levels like this that make me appreciative that Mario swims faster when he’s carrying stuff. I actually giggled a little when I saw that they brought it back for Mario Galaxy.


The key, meanwhile, is near the very beginning of the level, so we have to head back for it.

I’ve noticed that different romhackers seem to have a fetish for certain types of puzzles. FuSoYa, as we’ve discussed, likes having you lug switches and keys back and forth across the levels. (I’m convinced he won’t be satisfied until he’s designed a level in which Mario must circumnavigate the globe in eighty days… while carrying a P-Switch.) FPI, the designer of the TSRP games, on the other hand, likes mazes and other levels that make you perform a series of obscure actions in a particular order (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1G04_6mWz4&feature=PlayList&p=3F7EC129D729FC21&index=6) before you can escape.

The amateur romhacker delights in arbitrary P-Switch usage, placing invisible doors and bridges in spots you’d never think to look. The technical-minded hacker likes puzzles that toy with the game’s engine somehow, with custom blocks and other new level gimmicks. More progressive designers use the original engine, but twist it in ways you might not expect. (The Treasure Hunt is the archetypical hack in this vein.)

The common thread is that the puzzles the designers “like” tend to get a lot of detail and screen time, while others, if they appear at all, will seem half-assed and simplistic by comparison. I’m not sure what this indicates, if anything, but I imagine it probably has to do with the singular nature of romhack designs. Most romhacks are designed by a single person or a small team of two or three, so it’s probably only natural that their favorite gameplay situations will tend to come to the fore…


One of Mario World’s weirder glitches is that sometimes you’ll slip through curved walls, especially if you’re flying or swimming. We’ll see more of this type of thing in World 5.


I don’t think I’ll bother with the Water World 4’s regular exit. It just leads back to the main path, as I’ve mentioned, and it’s pretty boring: Just go right after hitting the silver P-Switch.

Water Secret


Water Secret looks pretty normal…


It’s got your normal array of treasure boxes, and the gray block contains a message block. Each level in the game has two potential messages that you can get depending on where you place the block. The messages tell you everything from the location of secret exits to trivia about the design and development of Lunar Magic and Demo World. It’s pretty interesting stuff if you can be bothered to look for it.


Water Secret also has, of all things, a secret exit. If you get on the roof with a Cape and Yoshi, you can fly up to this platform, which contains a blue shell. Blue shells give Yoshi the ability to fly vertically (the Cape can go up only so high from the starting position), so we swallow it and head up.

02-23-2009, 11:45 AM

Of course, the secret exit is so far up that Yoshi will swallow the shell before you get up there. So, instead, you have to make a pit stop on this small platform, spit out the shell (down + Y), then swallow it again to continue the flight…


…To where a secret exit awaits!

A secret within a secret… And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. As we get into the later parts of the game, we’ll get even more recursive, with secrets within secrets within secrets.


Water Secret’s secret exit leads to a pipe which carries us all the way to World 7, Pipe World. We’re not ready to tackle this challenge yet, though, so back to the main path we go…

Water World 2


It’s lucky that we needed Yoshi to find the Water Secret’s secret exit, because having him along allows us to cheat outrageously at Water World 2 and 3.


Water World 2 is a blatant ripoff of one of the levels in the original Super Mario World… Vanilla Secret 3, I think, the one with the Dolphins. The only variation is that this version contains the rising and lowering tide found in only a handful of levels in the original, notably the Special World’s Mondo.


You’re supposed to ride the Dolphins here while dodging Porcu-Fish in the water below, but Yoshi can bounce off the spiky foe with no ill effects, so I prefer to ride our irritable friend to the exit instead.


Dolphins were your friends in the original, but romhackers use them as obstacles as often as not, having them carry you into hazardous ceilings or lining the bottom of the screen with spikes to keep you on your toes.

Yoshi can eat Dolphins for some reason… I’m not quite sure what to make of that…

Water World 3


Water World 3 steals its general idea from one of the levels in Mario 3…


…In that it’s a maze of sorts, swarming with Jelectrodes. It’s also autoscrolling.


However, as mentioned, Yoshi can stand on Jelectrodes for as long as you want, making this level a snap if you brought him. Riding him is a rather tight fit through some of the small gaps, but he can make it to the end no problem.

Ship Graveyard



The Ship Graveyard is one of the very few levels in this game with Boos and other undead, with Eeries floating every which way and tons of Boo Chains and regular Boos to dodge.


We are not helped in this by the fact that the ship is continually rocking up and down as the level progresses. For all that, though, this level is among the easier ones in the game.

02-23-2009, 11:47 AM

You’re supposed to ride these winged treasure boxes across the water here, but with the Cape you can just fly over them instead.


The Ship Graveyard’s last room is a “puzzle”. I put “puzzle” in quotes because there isn’t anything all that difficult about it. The exit is surrounded by blocks, but…


…The P-Switch is right there in plain sight, sitting in the corner.

Nice effect with the vines as seaweed, incidentally.



Water Castle


The Water Castle is the first in which we don’t have to do any homework (by which I mean bringing in an item from the outside) to find the secret exit.


The first part of the Water Castle is mostly underwater, but instead of dodging fish and Urchins we’re dodging Fishbones and Balls ‘n’ Chains.


There’s a P-Switch to be found early in the level, but it’s a red herring. It’ll get you into a secret room containing a 1-Up, but you have to be small Mario to get there. It’s not required for finding either exit.


Annoying section ho!

The platform above our heads here is peppered with holes, and to cross we have to fill in those holes by revealing invisible coin blocks. Problem is, we can’t get up there without the aid of the rising tide, and it takes its precious time rising high enough that we can get to the blocks. As a result, this segment takes forever. It’s not actually difficult, just tedious, but it’s definitely another one of those segments where you can sort of see where FuSoYa was going with it, but you can tell he didn’t actually think on whether or not it would actually be any fun.


Anyway, we finally finish patching the bridge and head right.


The secret exit in this level is found, irritatingly enough, by dropping into this nondescript pit. No, it doesn’t make any more sense to me than it does to you.

Blah blah blah Star Road blah not yet blah blah.


The Water Castle’s boss is Lemmy, who attacks with two crudely-constructed decoys to throw us off the scent. Of the four boss patterns in Super Mario World, Lemmy and his sister Wendy’s is the easiest to make more difficult, as you can not only put such things as fireballs, Bullet Bills, and even Magikoopas into the room, but you can also alter the duplicates’ sprites so that they look exactly like the originals.

FuSoYa didn’t bother with any of this, however, so Lemmy goes down in three quick hits. So quick, in fact, that I didn’t think to take any screenshots, catching this screen as it was fading out.


Note that the background for this scene is the same as the original’s, which took place in a cave. The next castle actually is in a cave, but it still has the normal background as well. Some hackers mix up the boss order for this reason.


Into the caverns we go…

Next time: Did anyone bring the Magnet Mines?

02-23-2009, 12:14 PM
Yoshi can eat Dolphins for some reason… I’m not quite sure what to make of that…

He could eat them in the Japanese version of SMW, too. It's suspected this was removed in localization to prevent you from removing dolphins you might need to complete a stage, leaving yourself in an unwinnable state.

Of course, that's hardly an issue for Sadistic ROM hackers!

02-23-2009, 01:11 PM
series of obscure actions in a particular order (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1G04_6mWz4&feature=PlayList&p=3F7EC129D729FC21&index=6)

What the HELL was that? [/stewie]. I feel like I just died a little inside. Rom hackers are bad, bad people for doing that to Mario.

02-23-2009, 02:16 PM
What the HELL was that? [/stewie]. I feel like I just died a little inside. Rom hackers are bad, bad people for doing that to Mario.

That didn't even look fun. I mean, the part where he falls down and has to land on that specific floor? How would you even know which one to land on?

The Dread Cthulhu
02-23-2009, 02:28 PM
That didn't even look fun. I mean, the part where he falls down and has to land on that specific floor? How would you even know which one to land on?

Floor 5. You can't get it by the elevator, and the info box mentions that. I suppose that's why he has to enter the same pipe 5 times at the end. But I agree, ridiculously cryptic.

02-23-2009, 03:21 PM
Floor 5. You can't get it by the elevator, and the info box mentions that. I suppose that's why he has to enter the same pipe 5 times at the end. But I agree, ridiculously cryptic.

Ah, makes more sense. I noticed that 5 clue, but knowing myself, I would've just explored floor 5 over and over in frustration. There are totally people that thrive on this kind of nonsense though.

02-23-2009, 08:32 PM
Because no one's done it yet...

Dry land is not a myth! I've SEEN it!

Anyway, before I get sacked for that lemme say that I remember playing this hack awhile ago. I finished it too (cheated a lot, mind). I certainly agree about a lot of the level designs being kinda 'eh', but as it was my first complete SMW hack I ever played I was just so dang impressed by all the nifty things it had to offer.

Mario Adventure, the SMB3 hack you mentioned, was also really cool for how it was set up. Magic Mario is absolutely broken, true, but I can forgive that.

02-25-2009, 01:33 PM
This thread seems to have a lot of SMW hack enthusiasts, so I figured I'd ask this here: Does anyone know where one could find a download of this hack (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz0PaPpmGa8)?

02-25-2009, 08:16 PM
Awesome LP. ROM hacks have always intrigued me, but I've never been particularly compelled to play any. They strike me as the video game equivalent of fan-fiction, albeit with way more effort required on the part of the creator.

02-26-2009, 07:13 AM
He could eat them in the Japanese version of SMW, too. It's suspected this was removed in localization to prevent you from removing dolphins you might need to complete a stage, leaving yourself in an unwinnable state.

Of course, that's hardly an issue for Sadistic ROM hackers!

They were edible in one of the US releases, but I don't remember if it was the SNES or GBA one (or both).

02-26-2009, 07:13 AM
It occurs to me... I spend too much time sitting at my computer already to want to spend all day playing with emulators, but I do have an R4 for my DS now. Is there anything like a ROM hack DS scene? Where would I find it if it existed?

02-28-2009, 01:39 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Super Demo World. We’ve reached World 4, which means that the game is done messing around with us. It’s at this point that the levels start getting really obnoxious.



…The Crystal Caverns.

Crystal Cavern 1


All the Crystal Cavern levels use some variation on the foreground of Crystal Snail’s stage from Mega Man X 2. This looks nice enough in still shots, but it causes amazing graphical distortions and incredible slowdown. (There’s nothing quite like seeing all the crystals jump about an inch to the left whenever you pound the ground.) So, cool idea, but not so much in practice.


Getting the secret exit in Crystal Cavern 1 is a little obtuse. First you have to fly up into this little alcove and enter the pipe.


This spits you out near the key. If you’ve got Yoshi, you have to ditch him at this point, because Yoshi can’t carry stuff through pipes the way Mario can.


Then, turn around and head back into the pipe you entered by. This will take you to the keyhole, which is accessible no other way.

Crystal Secret


Thankfully, the Secret in this World can be found right away after entering.


The grey block in this world contains a ? Block, and that ? Block contains a Spring. I’m not sure why FuSoYa couldn’t just cut out the middleman here, but…


The annoying thing about Crystal Caverns is its trial-and-errorness. Low-ceilinged tunnels filled with Spike Tops or Mega Moles virtually require the Cape, not that you’d know going in. A few levels require forced damage to continue. And pretty much every jump in the whole world will see you getting blindsided by a Swooper. It’s about this point that a player playing through the game legitimately will say “No, fuck this” and reach for his old friends, Mr. Save State and Ms. Restore State, and for good reason.

Anyway, Crystal Cavern 1’s regular exit is a pretty straight shot if you can put up with the cheap enemy placements.

Vacant Ghost House


This is the only Ghost House, vacant or otherwise, in the whole game…


As its name implies, the Vacant Ghost House is completely deserted. It’s quite a large area, but one completely absent of any sort of hazards. The level is even nice enough to dump the key right into our laps at the beginning of the level.


The keyhole is rather deviously hidden, though, although it doesn’t take much effort to get to. Just fly straight up from the start point.


This is actually — and I’m loathe to use the word — a plot point. The occupants of this Ghost House have actually relocated to Big Boo’s World, the game’s super-secret, super-hidden, super-hard tenth world. It’ll be our last stop in this LP, but until then the Boos will remain conspicuously absent.

Anyway, see that window in the bottom-right corner there? Does it look a little off? That’s because…


The keyhole is behind it.

02-28-2009, 01:41 PM

The Vacant Ghost House just allows us to skip Crystal Cavern 2 and 3. And if I weren’t committed to showing off every level, I so would.


Whoo-hoo, arbitrary door puzzle. The second room of the Vacant Ghost House is a hall of doors, and you have to enter the correct ones in the correct sequence to exit. To get out, enter the third door from the left, and then the first door on the left. Entering any other door can result in your getting lost for quite some time.

Crystal Cavern 2


See what I mean about the Crystal Caverns? This is the first screen of Crystal Cavern 2. A sweep of the Cape can knock away this Mega Mole easily, and I think Yoshi can eat them, but without one of those you have no option except to take the hit.


Remember these things from the original Mario World? You probably don’t, because they appear in exactly one level, I believe. These platforms will head right until the number painted on them drops to zero. The original barely used them, but they’re all over the place in most romhacks. Some romhackers get their evil on by erasing the number, making sure that your only indication that the things are about to fall is them collapsing beneath your feet.


The end of this level contains a long floor of Munchers, and the only way to get past them is by scoring a lucky bounce of a Paratroopa. If you can’t do it, then your only option is to fall into the Munchers and hope that the mercy invincibility lasts long enough to get you to the exit.

Crystal Cavern 3


I hate this level. Seriously. It sucks a fat one. And it’s not even the worst stage in this world…


Yoshi can’t enter this pipe, so he is effectively barred from this level. He makes it too easy.


Anyway, the idea here is that you have to ride Mega Moles over these long fields of Munchers. The problem is that you have to clamber all over mazes of blocks to do it while keeping your Mega Mole in sight. If the Mega Mole moves offscreen, it disappears, and you’re stuck.

In addition, you have to constantly hit P-Switches in this level to keep your Mole moving in the right direction. If your timing is even a little off, you’re screwed.

Enough about this level. I don’t even like thinking about it.

Crystal Cavern 4


Crystal Cavern 4 is a pretty boring level in terms of design, but…


It sure is pretty, isn’t it? Snort.

Crystal Cavern 4 doesn’t have a gimmick or anything, but what it does have is whole swarms of annoyingly-hard-to-spot Swoopers. Jump at your own risk here.


This jump is actually harder than it looks. The overhang here will knock you back to the ground floor if the angle of your jump isn’t just right. It does this because it hates you.

Crystal Cavern 5



Crystal Cavern 5 is mostly underwater. As if underwater levels weren’t slow and boring enough without adding graphically-induced slowdown into the mix.

02-28-2009, 01:43 PM

I think these waterfall graphics are from the All-Stars version of Mario 3. I think they look pretty nice… Creating waterfalls with the Mario World graphics is pretty damn ugly-looking.


Crystal Cavern 5 is another one of those “lug Switches all over the damn place” levels. You have to go almost to the end of the level to get to this P-Switch…


…Then backtrack a ways to get the silver P-Switch from the other side of these blocks…


…Which then allows us to clear away the Munchers guarding the exit.

Crystal Castle


Worst level in the game? Could be. It’s at least in the top three or so. Makes the Pyramid look like a cakewalk in the tea-park.


Crystal Castle’s first gimmick is a long segment containing a raising/lowering ceiling. SMW had a few of these, but they were mostly short “race to the finish” segments, where you had to get to the exit before the ceiling touched down. This level, on the other hand, has to moving from On/Off switch to On/Off switch, and you have almost no margin for error. In addition, the hitbox for the spikes extends quite a bit lower than the sprites for the spikes does, so you’ll often be conned into thinking you can proceed forward safely, only to take a cheap hit. (I presume this is the case in the original as well, but the original never made you cut things that close.)


It’s also basically impossible to take this stage as anything other than small Mario. You’ll be crushed if you try it with a large one.


But, because this level is extremely poorly-designed, you actually do have to be large Mario at one point to spin jump through some Spin Panels. Just a horrible, horrible stage — and we’re not done yet.


See, to get to the next area in this stage, you have to get to the midpoint, then let yourself die. FuSoYa almost never gives you a midpoint in a stage where it might actually be helpful, but here he’s made it a necessary component to your progression.


The end of this room is a giant lava pit that you can’t jump, but the midpoint will cause you to respawn on the other side of it. Seriously, I’m at a loss for words to describe how stupid this is.


Next up, we have Thwomps and spiked columns, which are plenty tough in normal conditions…

02-28-2009, 01:45 PM

But to exit, you have to jump over one of them while carrying a P-Switch. (The spiked columns only go up so high, so if you wait until it’s as low as it can go, you can do it. It’s still ridiculous, though.)


The reason you need a P-Switch is because the red door is on the same layer as the spiked columns, and moves up and down in time with them. You have to turn the coins into a platform so that you can enter the door when it drops down.

This level is so obnoxiously difficult that I can’t even bring myself to go do the secret exit. You have to play the level normally, which is hard enough, then continue past the red door to find the key, then head back, jump the spiked column again, then jump several more spiked columns while running along the ceiling to find the keyhole. Hell is being forced to play Crystal Castle over and over again.


At least Ludwig is just as easy as always, though. Actually, he’s probably the hardest of the Koopalings… Not that that says much.


Fuck you, Crystal Castle!


Next time: Skyline

02-28-2009, 01:54 PM
I just realized that he was putting secret exits in the castles that collapse when you beat them the normal way, so there is no way to go back to them. Eviler and eviler!

02-28-2009, 01:57 PM
Well, you can reenter castles by pressing L and R simultaneously, even in the original. That's no barrier. I'm not finding Crystal Castle's secret exit because I hate it and want it to die screaming, not because I'm unable to.

02-28-2009, 02:02 PM
Huh, I never knew that. Of course, after seeing the sheer, unadulterated horror on display in these stages is probably all that I'd ever want you to force yourself through. Really though, did FuSoYa honestly think all of these were good ideas? Did he even think about playtesting these with normal human beings before putting them in the final product?

Honestly, the mind boggles.

03-01-2009, 07:45 AM
Super Demo World does make for an interesting Tool-Assisted Speedrun though.

If you're interested, it's on this page. (http://tasvideos.org/Movies-Hacks.html) There's an 'any% run' and a '100% run' (over 2 hours!). You can either download the avi through the provided torrent, or if you have the rom and the correct version of SNES9x to play it (http://code.google.com/p/snes9x143-rerecording/) you can just download the smv file and play the movie in the emulator. Though you can't track to various points this way. But you can, at least, fast forward (+ and - buttons) and use save states to mark specific parts, if you load a save state you made in the movie while it's playing it'll take you back to that part and resume playing, for instance.

There's also a run of Mario Adventure on that page as well. No other SMW hacks though.

Anyway, the Tool-assisted speedrun of Demo World makes a mockery of the levels in the way only a Tool-assisted speedrun can. Like the runs through Crystal Caverns 3 and the Crystal Caverns Castle, for instance. It IS possible to get through the Crystal Caverns Castle without having to die, but that doesn't mean any normal human playing would likely ever do it.

03-01-2009, 08:20 AM
Jump over spike columns?! The mind boggles.

03-04-2009, 12:10 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Super Demo World. Last time, we left the stupid ridiculous unfair Crystal Castle in our wake, and moved on to World 5, the Sky World. After the various irritations of the Crystal Caverns, Sky World is actually quite soothing by comparison. It has a handful of irritating levels, but nothing too terrible in store for us.


Let’s get going, shall we?

Sky World 1


Like most first stages in Demo World, Sky World 1 is a very straightforward, basic-platforming-type level designed merely to introduce you to the various gimmicks the world will be springing on you later on. Sky World 1 has lots of bottomless pits and falling platforms, as you’d expect, but the enemies are really thick in this world, with bouncing and flying Koopas, Bob-Ombs littering every flat surface, and, every once in a while, Lakitus.


Super Mario World has one of the weirder Goomba designs. Unlike in most Mario games, SMW’s Goombas don’t squish when you jump on them — they flip over and can be tossed around like shells. This evidently rubs some romhackers the wrong way. In a lot of romhacks, you’ll see “Goombas” are actually shell-less Koopas reskinned with the SMB1 or SMB3 Goomba sprite. SMW’s Goomba enemy is then usually passed on to the intrepid Shy Guy, as seen here.


This type of setup can get really annoying in a hurry with the right (or should I say wrong?) enemy placement. Because you can pass through these platforms when you jump from below, the slightest jump in a sequence like this sends you back to the beginning. Placing enemies in a platform setup like this basically requires the player to a) have the Cape, b) have Yoshi, or c) bend over and take it. Luigi’s Adventure is filled with segments like that.


The cool thing about Sky World is that it’s usually really easy to skip the hard parts if you have a Cape. These bubble enemies are actually intended to interfere with you as you take a collection of falling platforms below, but with a bit of flying you can jump this mildly annoying sequence entirely.

Sky World 2



Sky World 2 uses another of those pieces of abandoned programming from the original SMW: The infinite Lakitu cloud. When you steal a Lakitu’s cloud in the original, it will usually only last for about half a minute before dissolving, but this one will stay solid for as long as it remains on the screen. Presumably early builds of SMW had a level design or two based on the Lakitu cloud, but the addition of the P-Balloon rendered it redundant.


Anyway, this level is filled with Pitchin’ Chucks and Volcano Lotuses, so you’re constantly weaving around, trying to dodge all the shrapnel the game is throwing your way. You are helped in this endeavor by the massive slowdown caused by having so many objects on the screen at once.


To get to the secret exit in this stage, you need to grab a shell and carry it through this gauntlet of Piranha Plants. This is tougher than it looks, because if your shell hits a Plant, you lose it and have to try again.


Once you get it through, though, the solution is obvious.

Sky Secret


The Sky Secret is the same as pretty much all the others. Our gray block in this world grants a green shell. Each world with a Switch Palace gives you the shell of the matching color in its Secret, so we’ll keep our eyes open for the Green Switch Palace in this world.


Sky World 2’s regular exit is just a stone’s throw beyond the secret one. Good thing, too, because this level gives you very little time for some reason.

03-04-2009, 12:11 PM
Sky World 3


Sky World 3’s secret exit is, conveniently, right at the starting point. Bring a Cape and fly left until you see a pillar poking out of the bottom of the screen.


At that point, drop down to find the key and keyhole. Sky World 3’s secret exit is just a shortcut to the Castle…


Sky World 3 is another one of those boring straightforward platforming stages without a whole lot to show off or talk about. There’s a segment in the middle where you have to dodge Lakitus, and a few of these hopping fireballs from the Special World in the original SMW…


The awesome thing about pipes is that they’re so ingrained into the Mario mythos that they don’t even have to make sense anymore. Usually you can sort of imagine the pipes leading into a sewer or network of pipes that Mario can navigate to get to where he wants to go, but where is this pipe supposed to lead, exactly?

Sky World 4


Sky World 4 is by far the hardest level in World 5, although not the most annoying.


It’s an airship level, filled with the usual airship obstacles: Bottomless pits, Bob-Ombs, and Bullet Bills. It’s very long and fraught with opportunities for you to mess up, which is why I usually just fly over as much of it as I can. At least it doesn’t autoscroll, unlike the other airship level in the game.


You can’t skip the whole level, though — at various points, you have to go inside the ship and negotiate these big piles of crates. My advice is to use shells to clear your way here; trying to get through without fighting will usually put you in a situation where you don’t have a clear jump because there are too many enemies in the way.


Remember these guys from SMW? No, you don’t, because they appeared in exactly one level and it was underwater. That doesn’t stop romhackers from using them as often as they can, though.

You can actually spin jump on Torpedo Teds safely. Some romhacks (coughTSRP1cough) include segments where you have to “ride” a Ted across a long gap in this manner.


Believe it or not, this is actually one of the harder jumps in the game. You have to enter this pipe by jumping off a falling platform, and if you mess it up, you’re doomed. Without savestates, this part has “cheap death” written all over it.


The pipe leads back inside the ship, where — of course — we need to go find another P-Switch before we can exit.


We uncover one by heading left. With it in hand, we turn around and backtrack, going as far right as we can manage…


Watch out while you’re hitting the Switch here, as there’s a Torpedo Ted launcher behind the wall of brown blocks. It can blindside you if you’re not paying close attention.


Finally. At least this level doesn’t have a secret exit.

Sky World 5



Sky World 5 is a lot like one of the Butter Bridges from the original, in that it’s swarming with Super Koopas. About the only difference between the two is that this one autoscrolls, and there is generally more shit in your way.

03-04-2009, 12:14 PM

The cool thing about Super Koopas, though, is that they’re ideal for doing the old “bounce of enemies without touching the ground for 1-ups” trick. I amused myself waiting for the level to scroll to the end by bouncing off Super Troopas, and finished this level with about 64 extra men. And that was without savestates.

Of course, this isn’t even the best extra lives gimmick in the game. You can see the other by letting the game’s intro run for a while.

Sky World 6



What Demo World is trying to say here is that this level is an example of one of the more common romhack maze types. While the regular exit to this area is very short and easy to find, the secret exit requires negotiating the level, essentially, eight or nine times.


See, what happens is that if you go through this pipe right here, you end up in a maze of clouds. This maze has several pipes which lead to copies of the maze, and each of those copies is identical in layout, differing only in a few minor details. The key, for example, is found in the “night” copy, but the keyhole is found in the “day” copy. We’re in the “day” version right now, so the solution to the puzzle is to find a sequence of actions to get to the “night” version of the level, grab the key, and then retrace our steps to get back to this point.


First we head down into the lower-left of the “day” area to pick up (what else?) a P-Switch. We then use this Switch to create some blocks that we can then climb to a pipe.


This pipe then leads to the “morning” area. We take the upper path and head right until we spot a pink pipe, which we then enter.


This leads to the “night” area. In this area, we head as far right as we can to find the key, then head back to the “day” area. Once there, we head to the spot that the key was in in the “night” version to find the keyhole.

This all sounds really obtuse, and it is, but it could have been worse. At least the areas are differentiated (in their background). Some versions of this puzzle make the copies seem absolutely identical (thus making the level seem like one continuous area when it’s actually not) to further confuse the player. The infamous “Lost Pipeline” level of TSRP1, for example, allows you to exit by entering, say, Pipe X in Copy A of the level. If you try to enter Pipe X in Copy B, C, or D, you'll find that it won’t go anywhere. But, since all four copies of the level look the same, what you end up doing is checking Pipe X in B, C, or D, deciding that this pipe doesn’t lead anywhere, and then ignoring Pipe X from that point forward. This inevitably degenerates into you entering pipes at random over and over until you luck into the solution.

tl;dr: Mazes suck, and they suck even more when the designer won’t even let you know the rules of the game.

Green Switch Palace


In the Green Switch Palace, the gimmick is that you lead this flashing yellow shell around the stage, allowing it to defeat enemies, until it earns you a 1-up. Of course, we’re loaded from 1-ups from Sky World 5, but never mind…


Green ! Blocks are by far the most useful, because they release Feathers. Demo World uses the ! Blocks very irregularly, though…


As mentioned, Sky World 6’s regular exit is extremely easy to find. Just head right, ignoring the pipe nonsense, and you’ll find the exit.

03-04-2009, 12:16 PM
Sky Castle



Sky Castle is pretty straightforward… I was hoping for something along the lines of Raphael the Raven’s Castle, which is one of my favorite levels ever, but it’s just the usual SMW castle stuff. Thwomps, Dry Bones, Grinders…


There’s also a segment where you’re supposed to ride a lift as it weaves through these Balls ‘n’ Chains, but I don’t know why anyone would when they could just Cape through instead.


Magikoopa! My mortal enemy. Magikoopa is dangerous because it can’t be permanently killed — stomping on it just causes it to stop appearing for a bit. Fortunately for us, Magikoopa can’t turn these breakable bricks into enemies the way it can with Spin Panels in the original.


Hitting the Green Switch Palace makes this part of the level extremely easy, as the only thing you really have to worry about is Magikoopa’s shots. You’d have to really suck to fall to your death with all these blocks around.

Anyway, this brick I’m under? It contains a P-Switch. We grab it and head to the next area.


If you hit the Switch here, near this upward-pointing arrow, an invisible door will appear. Pressing up there takes you straight to the keyhole and the Sky Star Road.


Continuing on, however, takes you almost directly to Roy Koopa’s doorstep. I wonder if Crystal Castle and Sky Castle got mixed up in development somewhere? Because that was really easy.


Roy Koopa mimics Morton’s attack pattern, with the added twist of the walls closing in as the fight continues. We don’t have any trouble with him, though.


Halfway home!


Next time: Breaking the ice

03-04-2009, 01:07 PM

It's funny because you don't really notice the grayed out star until it turns into star road.

03-04-2009, 01:28 PM
Remember these guys from SMW? No, you don’t, because they appeared in exactly one level and it was underwater.

Oh, yes, I do, because Soda Lake is one of the hardest, most traumatic stages in Super Mario World, up there with Tubular and Outrageous. And all because of Torpedo Ted.

03-04-2009, 03:05 PM
There we go. Those are (mostly) the kinds of levels ROM Hackers should aim for when playing around with the game, not... whatever the hell the Crystal Caverns were. Hopefully there'll be more like it afterwards, but let's not get our hopes up here.

And yeah, Torpedo Ted is instantly memorable for the hell he puts you through in Soda Lake. Granted, I can breeze through the stage nowadays, but the scars still remain from the first time I played through it.

It's funny because you don't really notice the grayed out star until it turns into star road.

Not only that, but the mushroom does that too. A nice touch.

Dynastic Bird
03-04-2009, 04:08 PM
Oh, yes, I do, because Soda Lake is one of the hardest, most traumatic stages in Super Mario World, up there with Tubular and Outrageous. And all because of Torpedo Ted.

Dude, swim under the screen. That's what I did. You're within an inch of death, but it's not like you weren't already.

Anyway, this LP got me into the romhack scene and...well...

Why can't they make one that was, say, fun and not infuriating?

03-04-2009, 04:49 PM
I was going to ask if any of these hacks aren't pain distilled into binary.

03-04-2009, 06:26 PM
Not only that, but the mushroom does that too. A nice touch.

And the flower...becomes the switch palace. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

03-04-2009, 10:08 PM
Oh, yes, I do, because Soda Lake is one of the hardest, most traumatic stages in Super Mario World, up there with Tubular and Outrageous. And all because of Torpedo Ted.
Soda Lake is the hardest water level but there's no way it compares to Tubular. I don't know if I'd even put it in the top ten hardest levels in SMW.

03-04-2009, 10:11 PM
Soda Lake is the hardest water level but there's no way it compares to Tubular. I don't know if I'd even put it in the top ten hardest levels in SMW.

I think a list of the top ten hardest levels in SMW would probably be Tubular, Outrageous, and then eight blank spaces. Seriously that game is cake.

That's why so many romhacks are brutal, I think; they try to set a more difficult baseline and end up overcompensating. There's a reason the original doesn't have you bouncing off paratroopas over a giant pit of lava, and it's not "that would be too hard".

03-04-2009, 10:45 PM
I think a list of the top ten hardest levels in SMW would probably be Tubular, Outrageous, and then eight blank spaces. Seriously that game is cake.
Number 3 is the fortress in world 8. But otherwise, yes.

03-04-2009, 10:57 PM
I'm trying to place the background in the level with the infinite latiku cloud, but I'm drawing a blank.

03-04-2009, 11:48 PM
I'm trying to place the background in the level with the infinite latiku cloud, but I'm drawing a blank.

ANSWER KEY: it's from Yoshi's Island!

03-05-2009, 12:03 AM
ANSWER KEY: it's from HELL.

Oh man, how did I miss that?

03-11-2009, 12:49 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Super Demo World. Last time, we soared through the airy heights of World 5 and into the frigid wastes of World 6, Ice World. Onwards, then...


Ice World 1


In Super Mario World, ice is annoying. Because of the way Mario World’s engine works, you can’t use ice selectively — it’s all or nothing. If you have ice in a level, literally every single flat surface in the whole stage will be slippery. You can’t have some normal spaces and some ice spaces — if you’ve got ice, it’s all ice. This makes for extremely frustrating platforming, because any sort of precision is basically out of the question.

(If you want to test this, go to one of SMW’s few icy areas and jump on a ? block or a cloud or something—you’ll find it’s just as slippery as the ice proper. The original designers realized the limitations of ice and used it sparingly, but romhackers are slaves to the idea of themed worlds and always force you to play a bunch of icy stages in a row.)

Note also the Yoshi’s Island graphics here... I’m not a fan. While I think Yoshi’s Island is a beautiful game, its graphics only really work in their own context. When you combine them with Mario World sprites and Mario 3 (or Donkey Kong Country) backgrounds, they tend to clash.


The Koopas in this World all wear Santa caps, though, which is sorta cute.


Ice World 1 has two exits, but the hidden one is really easy to find. At the end of the first section, you can pass through a snow drift to uncover the key and keyhole. I wish they were all that easy.


The main exit is a little trickier. It uses the Yoshi’s Island “holey wall” backdrop as its base, and includes several Pipe Lakitus to get in your way. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that the hitbox for the Lakitus extends quite a bit south of the visible sprite, so you end up taking a lot of cheap hits as you try to traverse this area. Moreover, the jumps here require that you use every inch of jumping power you can manage in order to get across, which, when combined with the aforementioned ice, makes things difficult.


Finding both of Ice World 1's exits creates a forked path. We’ll head south first, along the main path.

Ice World 2


Ice World 2 also has two exits. The regular one is a standard “head right, jumping occasionally, until you reach the exit” affair. Actually, that understates it; there are a lot of enemies on this stage, and the slowdown is awful.


To get to the secret exit, you have to slide under this low-hanging icicle to reach the key, then...


...Lug it back to the entrance and drop down a small pit to the keyhole.

Blue Switch Palace


Ice World 2's secret exit leads us to another Switch Palace, this one of a blue hue.


The Blue Switch Palace is so unbelievably boring that I couldn’t even be bothered to screenshot it. Think the Yellow Switch Palace from the original and you’ve more or less got it.

Ice World 3


Hmm... I don’t recall precisely where this background is from... I believe it’s Donkey Kong Country 3, but it might be Donkey Kong Country 1, so don’t hold me to it.

03-11-2009, 12:51 PM

After a short above-ground segment, the stage drops us into the icy caves below, where a Fire Flower is waiting. We need it, because...


We have to melt these ice blocks in our way. We haven’t seen the last of these little bastards, believe me.

Ice World 4


Ice World 4 blows. It revolves around a layer of ice blocks that block the exit. To exit, you need fireballs and a silver P-Switch (to remove the Munchers once you’ve unfrozen them). The silver P-Switch, however, is nearly impossible to get to. You need to use a P-Balloon to float to the platform where the silver P-Switch is, but it’s nearly impossible to get to that, as well. As near as I can tell, the only way to reach it is either insanely skilled Cape flying, or a suicide jump off Yoshi’s back.


So, yeah. Sucks. Let’s just move on to the next level...

Ice World 5


...Which uses the same damn puzzle. Okay, this time you need both a regular and a silver P-Switch, and the Switches aren’t so difficult to get to, but still. You can really start to see FuSoYa running out of ideas in this world.

Ice World Igloo


The Igloo is the only really interesting level in this world. (Even its Star Road stage is boring. More on that later, though.)


Inside, it’s so cold that Mario’s fireballs become iceballs, allowing him to freeze coins and Munchers into blocks! This is of course super-cool (no pun intended) and has a wealth of potential applications...


...Not that we’ll find any of them here, where we need only to change a few coins into platforms. Most of this level can be skipped with a Cape, as well.


Of course, it wouldn’t be Demo World if the game didn’t also give you a chance to screw yourself over with your new toy. If you freeze any of these coins, you can’t get through here and thus can’t complete the level (since Mario can’t squeeze under blocks on these slanted surfaces). And since Mario can’t melt ice blocks in this stage because of its unique gimmick, you have no choice but to go find a pit to throw yourself into so you can try again. For that reason, unless you specifically need the iceballs for something, it’s better to wear the Cape in this stage. (And every other stage. But still.)


This level’s secret exit is found by pressing up against a wall towards the end to uncover a secret tunnel leading to the keyhole. Gotta love “secret” exits that would be blaringly obvious from Mario’s perspective...

The secret exit here leads to the Ice Secret, but it’s just like all the others and its gray block contains a blue shell, so I’m not going to bother showing it.

Ice Castle


AKA, Castle McBorington. Nothing much to see here...


This jump annoys me. It’s about a block or so too wide to take unaided, so you need to move about a screen to your left in order to find a P-Switch to help you across. The P-Switch has no other effect, making this jump effectively just busywork included to satisfy FuSoYa’s P-Switch fetish...


You need either a Cape or a shell to get through here. Once you’ve entered the pipe to the right here...


...head right back in and backtrack to the pipe you entered the basement by. It was a normal pipe before, but now...

03-11-2009, 12:53 PM

...It’s a screen-scrolling pipe that takes us to the secret exit. (This is an example of the “mirror levels” I discussed in the last update.)


For some reason the Ice Castle ramparts look really hideous to me. The combination of SMW sprites, Yoshi’s Island snow, and SMB2 blocks just really offends my sensibilities.


Wendy O. Koopa is the boss here in the Ice World, and she’s almost hilariously easy compared to the rest of her domain. Three bops on the head and it’s into the lava with her.


So that’s it, then: Goodbye and good riddance to Ice World, the worst combination of boring and difficult in the whole game. The next world is just as tough to get through, but at least it’s got some interesting level layouts to make up for it.


Next time: Pipe dreams

03-11-2009, 02:31 PM
That world seemed shorter than average. Was it because you sped through because it sucks so bad, or was there actually less game time in it?

03-11-2009, 03:11 PM
It's about average length for the second half of the game, but there's not a lot interesting here to talk about. Except for the Igloo, it's all the same sorts of "regular platforming" or "go find P-Switches, joy-boy" stuff the other worlds have, only with ice.

The next world should offer more stuff to talk about.

03-12-2009, 12:49 AM
That background is DKC3, I'm fairly certain. DKC1's snow levels had trees or blank gray fog for backgrounds if I remember correctly. Sort of makes me want to play DKC3 again, oddly.

03-12-2009, 01:15 AM
That background is DKC3, I'm fairly certain. DKC1's snow levels had trees or blank gray fog for backgrounds if I remember correctly. Sort of makes me want to play DKC3 again, oddly.

You are correct, good sir. I remember those brutal barrel launching segments in DKC1 set against that murky gray background all too well.

This LP actually made me go and try out demo world. I worked my way to just before the pyramids but then decided to call it quits due to my lack of professional Cape Mario skills.

03-13-2009, 02:09 PM

For some reason the Ice Castle ramparts look really hideous to me. The combination of SMW sprites, Yoshi’s Island snow, and SMB2 blocks just really offends my sensibilities.

Eugh, you're right. That is hideous. The art direction for those three games were never really meant to mix, were they.

You know, it occurs to me that FuSoYa might have been better off programming in the Snowballs as a separate item as opposed to taking over the Fire Flower (possibly using the extra ! blocks to release them). Still, otherwise that was a pretty clever idea, and it's a shame he didn't try to use it more throughout the world - he could have gotten a lot of milleage out of it creatively in the other stages if he wanted to.

03-16-2009, 07:08 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Super Demo World. After our long slog through the tundra of World 6, we’ve emerged into World 7, otherwise known as Pipe World. Three guesses what this world revolves around.


You’ll recall that we opened up a shortcut to World 7 way back in the third update. This is handy for us, because it allows us easy access to World 3’s Secret. As Pipe World’s Secret isn’t available until near the end, this gives us a ready supply of feathers (not to mention other things).

Pipe World 1


After the annoying gimmicky levels of the last few worlds, it’s nice to be back on solid ground. Pipe World 1 is a fairly long level with a lot going on. Early on, we have to cross a long stretch of Munchers by bouncing off Paratroopas.


I’m not sure what these blue coins are supposed to be. They’re evidently in the original game code, but they don’t seem to do anything. I have no idea the significance of finding them here (and only here.)


Finding the secret exit requires carrying the key through most of the level. This isn’t too difficult, but it makes it impossible to swipe these Piranha Plants out of the way.


Here we are: The awesomest lives gimmick in the game. If you stand beneath this cross-shaped block structure while small and throw the key up, it will cause a fountain of 1-ups to pour out, as seen in the game’s intro. This is technically a glitch (there are a few places where you can do similar things in the original SMW), but FuSoYa deliberately added this one in.


How are we supposed to get through this one block opening? The green pipe above us is a screen-scrolling pipe that’ll dump us out on the other side. As you might expect, it’s worth it to check every pipe we encounter in this world.


The second-most obnoxious part of this level is crossing this gap. See, we have to bounce over to a pipe off one Bullet Bill, then bounce to another off a second. The two gaps are too wide to jump across, so this means that we can’t pause even for a second between them.


The most obnoxious part of this level is getting the key through this one-block gap. What we have to do is toss the key up, duck, jump, then catch the key and grab the vine at the same time. If done properly, you’ll grab the vine, but the game will still read you as ducking, and you can squeeze through the gap. This is incredibly difficult, and there’s nothing you can really do to make it any easier.


Fortunately, though, this level can be flown through in its entirety if you’re just going for the regular exit. Just be prepared to look at this screen for a while.

Pipe World 2


Worst level in the game. Sure, the Pyramid was bad, and the Crystal Castle sucked the proverbial nut, and we’ve still got a few whoppers to come… but believe you me, Pipe World two laps the fucking field. It’s not too incredibly difficult, but for sheer annoyance value no other level even comes close.


Pipe World 2 is a pipe maze.

That’s it.

Now, I know that doesn’t sound too bad, but consider this: There’s no such thing as a good pipe maze. It's as impossible as falling up. Even Nintendo can’t make one. What they boil down to is entering pipes at random trying to find the way forward, and as you might expect this doesn't make for particularly compelling gameplay. Attention all romhackers: Pipe mazes suck. Stop making them.


On top of that, Pipe World 2 isn’t even a good pipe maze by pipe maze standards. Not only is it entirely, 100% trial-and-error — there are no hints whatsoever as to the correct way forward, so what you inevitably end up doing is trying each pipe in sequence, getting dumped back to the beginning, and trying again — but it’s also a puzzle, containing Demo World’s usual preoccupations of coin-block-bridge-building and P-Switch hunting. Here I’m building a coin-block bridge, and after I finish I’ll be forced to head back to the very beginning and retrace my steps so that I can proceed.


Then, you have to go in search of a P-Switch, because the exit pipe is blocked by two brown blocks for no other reason, I can only assume, than to make you stay here longer.

Oh, and you need a Cape to get the P-Switch, so if you enter this level without one you have to take another detour in order to find a feather.


I can’t imagine anyone possibly finding this fun. You could get just as far in this level by pressing random directions on the control pad in time to the music as you could by drawing upon all your knowledge and intuition. There’s not even any pretense at testing your platforming skills or your puzzle-solving abilities, just find out which pipe leads where, and go to A, B, and C in order… just a disaster of a level. I’d tell you the solution but I don’t remember it; I looked it up, and if you happen to be following along, so should you.

Pipe Fortress


Despite being listed as the Pipe Fortress, this level uses the Ghost House overworld sprite. In addition, it looks like it has two exits, but it actually has only one: it can be approached from two different directions.

03-16-2009, 07:11 PM

Pipe Fortress is another one of those remake levels; this one of one of the fortresses in Mario 3’s Pipe World, the deserted one. At least they’re nice enough to admit it.


As it happens, I do remember how to find the exit: By flying up in the dead room.

Incidentally, said flying up is a good deal more difficult here than it is in the original. Mario World’s Cape is stronger than Mario 3’s Raccoon/Tanuki suits in a lot of ways, but one of the ways in which it isn’t is precision. With a tail, you could readjust your direction every time you pressed the button, allowing you to get up to the pipe easily, but you can’t do that with the Cape. Instead, you have to position yourself just right so that you can fly up to the pipe in one straight shot.


Oh, and you have to fight Reznor again at the end, but that ain’t no thing.

Pipe World 3


Finding the normal exit in Pipe World 1 sets you on a route that goes Pipe World 2-Pipe Fortress-Pipe World 5-Pipe Castle. The secret exit’s route goes Pipe World 3-Pipe World 4-Pipe Fortress-Pipe World 5-Pipe Castle. The only reason I mention this is because it’s a deviation from the way Demo World usually numbers its levels: Typically, it goes through and numbers all the levels on the main route first, then continues on through the secret levels. Here, though, some of the secret levels are given higher numbers than a main-route level…


You can’t take Yoshi in this level (because there are a ton of screen-scrolling pipes that he can’t enter)… This little introductory screen here is just a reskinned castle/ghost house entrance.


Pipe World 3 is another pipe maze, but it’s not as bad as Pipe World 2. At least here you can sort of figure out where you’re supposed to go, and there’s more to the level than just entering pipes.


I actually rather like the way Pipe World 3 is laid out. It just does something for me aesthetically. It’s not a particularly good level to play, but it looks cool. Maybe the Donkey Kong Country 3 background is getting to me. Not that there isn’t the usual assortment of P-Switch puzzles, but still.

Pipe World 4


Pipe World 4 is the ultimate in P-Switch fetching. The goal is actually just beyond this wall of brown blocks near the start point. What we have to do is descend into a mostly-vertical dungeon of pipes, head all the way down to the bottom to find a P-Switch, then lug it back up here so that we can exit.


Of course, to do that we’ll need to build more coin-block bridges.


We’ll also have to negotiate a few segments where there are a ton of pipes, but only one that will actually move us forward.


We do eventually retrieve the P-Switch down at the bottom. Climbing back up is significantly harder than getting down, requiring us to fly a few times.


We make it back up, though, and exit.

Pipe World 5


Pipe World 5 is a thoroughly frustrating level all around. It introduces these Muncher-like things from Mario 3, and like in Mario 3 they enter and exit their pipes at a pretty good clip.

They’re quite a bit more difficult to deal with than in Mario 3, though. In Mario 3, these things wouldn’t hurt Mario until they had fully emerged from the pipe, but here they’ll hurt him as soon as they begin to emerge (and the hitbox is fully emerged when they do so, so even though it looks like they’re just barely poking above the edge, they actually act as though they’re fully extended).

On top of that, these things are one of the few obstacles in the game that will hurt Mario directly even if he’s riding Yoshi.


This is important because, early in the level, we discover a baby red Yoshi. Not only is this the only baby or colored Yoshi in any of the regular levels, I believe it may be the only Yoshi in any of the regular levels period… and we’ll need him to get to the secret exit in this level.


As you no doubt remember from Mario World, a baby Yoshi will grow into an adult one if you feed it five enemies (or a power-up). With all the Piranha Plants around in this level, that’s easily done.

03-16-2009, 07:13 PM

Dodging the mini-Munchers in this level is nerve-wracking enough, but, because FuSoYa hadn’t completely destroyed our faith in his grasp of basic level design concepts yet, there’s a section near the end where you basically have to take damage and force your way through to the end with mercy invincibility. (In this shot, Mario is still on Yoshi, but I caught him in mid-flash from the mercy invincibility.)


The reason we need Yoshi is because the key lies at the end of a vast field of Munchers. We cross, going slowly so as to avoid the mini-Munchers…


…to find a rare 3-Up Moon and the key.


This is important: Jump off Yoshi before grabbing the key. See, Mario can carry items through pipes, but Yoshi can’t. If you try, you’ll lose the key and have to try the level again, and believe me, you don’t want to play this level any more than you have to.


As with many levels in this game, the regular exit is just a short distance beyond the secret one, so there’s not a lot to say about our second runthrough.

Pipe Secret


Pipe Secret’s gray block contains a vine, of all things. We’ll need one to get to Pipe Castle’s secret exit, but don’t get too excited: When you release the vine from the item block with select, it starts out near the top of the screen, so it doesn’t break as many level designs as you’d think.

Pipe Castle


They do, however, destroy Goomba blocks for some reason, allowing us to find the Pipe Castle’s secret exit with ease.

Okay. Pipe Castle’s gimmick, like so many others in this game, is that you have to endure a long gauntlet of spikes, enemies, and tough jumps to find a P-Switch, then bring in back to near the beginning of the level so that you can uncover a Spring, which you can then use to jump to the boss door. I’m tired of hunting for P-Switches, though. I’ve played FuSoYa’s game enough times; I think it’s about time I played one of my own.


With that in mind, we take the shortcut back to World 3, head on over to World 4, and enter the Crystal Secret. There, we crack open the gray block to get our hands on a Spring.


You see where I’m going with this: With our own Spring in hand, we can skip most of the Pipe Castle’s ridiculous P-Switch hunt and head straight for the exit.


After negotiating a small pipe maze, we arrive at the boss door in record time.


Larry Koopa, the boss here in World 7, has added some Podoboos to the mix, but he is in all other respects identical to Iggy, who we crushed back in World 1.

03-16-2009, 07:14 PM

Apparently Peach was missing all this time? This is the first time she’s mentioned. I’m much more interested in Mario’s breakfast eggs myself.


Next time: Bowsah

03-16-2009, 07:21 PM

The most obnoxious part of this level is getting the key through this one-block gap. What we have to do is toss the key up, duck, jump, then catch the key and grab the vine at the same time. If done properly, you’ll grab the vine, but the game will still read you as ducking, and you can squeeze through the gap. This is incredibly difficult, and there’s nothing you can really do to make it any easier.

this is the point where I completely gave up on Super Demo World.

you're a stronger man than I!

03-17-2009, 01:12 AM
You know, until now I've actually forgotten how much dirty rotten sadism FuSoYa poured into this hack. People decry hacks like Kaizo World for being filled with twitch-reflex instant death segments, surprise punishments and rampant glitch exploitation, but at least those are over quickly. Meanwhile, Pipe World is the antithesis of fun. It's a slow, badly-paced, boring and sometimes even grating onslaught of failed level design masquerading as quality work. Only once you play it do you realize it was most likely built this way on purpose.

By the way, here's some tricks you could have tried, but didn't in this update: When you're carrying an item, you can still swipe the cape with the X button, and if you're running fast with a cape, you can execute a super-high Spin Jump with A for more control. (You can also abuse it to retain your speed when you land again.)

03-17-2009, 07:09 AM

Here we are: The awesomest lives gimmick in the game. If you stand beneath this cross-shaped block structure while small and throw the key up, it will cause a fountain of 1-ups to pour out, as seen in the game’s intro. This is technically a glitch (there are a few places where you can do similar things in the original SMW), but FuSoYa deliberately added this one in.

Crazy. But what actually causes it?


Hey, it's that thing (http://themushroomkingdom.net/images/maps/smw_beta.gif)!


I actually rather like the way Pipe World 3 is laid out. It just does something for me aesthetically. It’s not a particularly good level to play, but it looks cool.

Agreed. It's the best-looking stage so far, somehow.

03-17-2009, 10:16 AM
I don't recall there being any surprises or anything terribly difficult about World 8. Save for the fact that Bowser's Castle has two exits, not counting the battle with the big guy himself.

Part of me is giggling with glee, knowing that Star Road is after that; especially since you'll have to do each stage twice. It may not amount to much extra time in the LP, but I don't envy you having to do Misty Star World one time, let alone two.

Those mini-munchers be evil, evil things.

03-17-2009, 10:22 AM
Tanto, why do you do this to yourself? That Pipe Maze looks like it's about the worst thing ever. :(

03-20-2009, 05:43 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Super Demo World. We’ve reached the end of the main adventure, with just one more World to go. Fittingly, it’s World 8 — Bowser’s World.


Bowser’s World 1


This message box is presumably referring to the décor of Bowser’s World (which is taken from Flame Stag’s stage in Mega Man X 2, with the background coming from the All-Stars version of Mario 3), but it could just as easily be referring to the level design. Bowser’s World 1 is the shortest, most boring level in the whole game. Not only is it easy — I got through without getting hit once — but it lacks any sort of level-specific gimmick to keep things interesting. It’s just a few enemies, a few pits, and the exit. They couldn’t have made a more generic level if they’d tried.


About the only place that formula gets shaken up at all is this short stretch of Munchers towards the end, intended to be crossed via Note Blocks. Multiplying Chucks also infest the latter part of this level.

Bowser’s World 2


The boring keeps on coming in Bowser’s World 2…


…Because it consists almost entirely of a ride on these slow-moving skull rafts across lava.


I don’t recommend taking this level without Yoshi, because there a ton of these low-ceilinged areas with Blaarghs. Yoshi can stomp on Blaarghs without sustaining damage, but it can be tough to dodge them on foot.


These skull raft levels are really weird-looking, in general. The lava forms the most unintuitive shapes imaginable. I’ve actually seen lava lakes with tiny little one-block columns of lava that look just bizarre.

In addition, you have to be really careful about the placement of obstacles in these types of stages. A lot of romhacks include skull raft stages where you have to climb over floating blocks while keeping up with the raft, but if the player lets the raft go offscreen (or gets too far ahead of it), it disappears, rendering the level uncompletable.


One of the really odd things about Demo World is that you can see it running out of level ideas as the game progresses. The final three worlds of the game are absolutely littered with really short, boring levels with no real hook. This doesn’t make them easy, necessarily — Big Boo’s World, in particular, has about three levels that are gigantic pains in the ass to beat but are thoroughly uninteresting in terms of layout. It’s almost as though FuSoYa felt committed to eight full worlds and two hidden ones despite not actually having enough level ideas to fill a game of that size. As a result, late in the game, when the really cool, challenging level concepts should be coming into play, you find yourself drowning in filler instead.

Let that be a lesson to all aspiring romhackers: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you want a really huge, epic game, you have to actually have enough ideas to justify the length. SMW has a pretty robust engine, but the engine is not strong enough to hold up boring levels; if you’ve only got enough ideas for 20 levels, don’t force yourself to make a 50-level game instead.


Bowser’s World 2 has a hidden exit, which — of course — requires you to play through the whole stupid level in its entirety again so that you can do something slightly different at the end. In this case, you have to ditch Yoshi if you still have him and fly left, to where the key and keyhole wait.

Red Switch Palace


Bowser’s World 2’s secret exit leads to the fourth and final Switch Palace, the red one.


In this Palace, you have to grab a Star and run across a really long field of Munchers, killing enemies as you go. It also has a few of those blocks that contain Stars only if you’re already affected by a Star.


The four Switch Palaces are required to get to a few exits in the Star Road and Big Boo’s World, and make a room in Bowser’s Castle much easier to traverse. Romhackers from time immemorial have been trying to find a really good way to reward the player for finding all four Switch Palaces, but I haven’t been able to find a good one that isn’t either negligible or so important that you can’t really afford to not find them.

03-20-2009, 05:44 PM
Bowser’s World 3



Bowser’s World 3, like Sky World 3, is an airship level. This one, however, autoscrolls, and it does so extremely quickly, meaning that you constantly have to stay on top of things at all times in this level. There are Bullet Bills, Torpedo Teds, Bob-Ombs, and rocket jets going every which way, there are several blind leaps, and the autoscrolling is constantly forcing you to stay near the right of the screen, where you’re least able to dodge. While it’s definitely not the hardest airship level I’ve ever seen (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McXpws38IkY&feature=channel_page), it’s still no picnic to play through.


Twice during the level you have to descend into the interior of the ship. These areas don’t autoscroll, but they do require you to make precise jumps from chains and around the rocket jets.

Reznor’s Fortress


Awful, awful level. More on why after we find the secret exit.


The first half of the level isn’t too bad, despite the out-of-place Yoshi’s Island graphics. You do have to take a blind leap to find the key, though.


Next, you have to lug the key all the way through this area, dodging Magikoopa and Balls ‘n’ Chains.


Once you’ve reached the end of the second area, fly up and over to reach the keyhole, allowing you to access Bowser’s Secret. While you’d think that Bowser’s Secret would house some really awesome item, all it’s got is the red shell.


The level really heats up in the area following the one with the keyhole. Here, you’ve got moving platforms on layer 2 (think the second half of Morton’s Castle from the original). This is simple enough, but then…


You’ve got moving vines on layer 2. These vines work non-intuitively, because Mario can’t “ride” them like he can a moving rope. If he remains stationary, the vine will move out from under him, so in order to climb these vines while they’re in motion, you actually have to move diagonally up.


Next up, we’ve got this annoying little puzzle. What we have here are a huge mass of moving brown blocks on layer 2, and a few platforms of stationary brown blocks on layer 1.


“Aha,” says the player, “you can’t fool me. I’ll hit the P-Switch and then collect as many of the coins in layer 2 as I can, being careful not to grab any of the coins in layer 1. That way, when the P-Switch wears off, the moving blocks will be mostly gone, and I can use the stationary ones to climb up to the next level. I’m so sly!”


Once the player does this, however, he’ll find that he can’t actually proceed through here.


The entire moving brown blocks section is a red herring designed to trick you into using your P-Switch prematurely. (Of course, if you fall for it, you can’t complete this level, and have to kill yourself to get another go.) What you actually have to do is ride the moving blocks like this…


…carry the P-Switch up to the next platform…

03-20-2009, 05:46 PM

…and then hit it, creating some platforms you can use to continue. Needless to say, this solution is in no way alluded to, so a player who thinks he’s got the first part solved will find himself stymied here.


The worst part is that that isn’t even the end of it. You’ve still got a few more “don’t even bother without savestates” jumps to make before you can reach then end.


Then, of course, there’s Reznor.

Bowser’s Castle


Bowser time! Are you excited? I’m excited!


Bowser’s Castle is like the Pyramid on crack. There’s no P-Switch hunting to deal with (Thank God), but it is an absolutely enormous level with a lot of doors. Worse yet, much of the level is completely irrelevant, included mainly just to throw you off the scent.


Like the other seven castles, Bowser’s Castle has a secret exit, found by entering about half a dozen very specific doors in a very specific order. Thankfully, it’s not too far removed from the main route, and it’s fairly straightforward if you know what route to take.


Bowser’s Castle, Take Two!


Hello, what’s this?


There’s a P-Switch across the way here, and if you bring it back and press it, you can duck under the one-block space on the left there.


Well, how about that? Bowser’s Castle has two secret exits! We’ll get into the significance of this in the next update.


Bowser’s Castle, Take Three!

03-20-2009, 05:49 PM

If you somehow got this far without finding a Switch Palace, guess what level you can’t beat? You only need one Switch Palace to get through here (although it’s difficult enough with all four), but you do need at least one.


One of the hazards most romhackers fall into is making levels too long. The main exit of Bowser’s Castle is extremely long, and even though none of the obstacles are notably difficult, it’s still extremely tough just because of its length. The longer the level, the more opportunities the player has to screw up, and hence the more tries it’s going to take him to finish it. Even the best players aren’t going to get past all the obstacles all the time. Even if the individual obstacles are manageable, including tons of them in a single level raises the difficulty of that level exponentially.


Screw these jumping Bowser statues, though. They appear in exactly one room in the original SMW, and for good reason — they’re tough to deal with. Between the fire-breathing statues, the jumping ones, and the low ceilings in this area, it’s near impossible to get through here without getting hit unless you’re using savestates.


Dun dun dun!


Actually, Bowser doesn’t really merit a “dun dun dun”. This is probably one of his more difficult 2-D appearances, but it’s really hard to take him seriously in that ridiculous Clown Copter.


Anyway, you know the drill. Wait for Bowser to release Mechakoopas, then chuck ‘em at him.


Bowser, meanwhile, will be attacking with fireballs, these giant marble things, and the ship itself, but his attacks are usually easy to dodge.


After six hits, Bowser goes down, leaving Mario and the Princess just enough time for breakfast.


Hm, apparently I’ve been under a misapprehension in saying that FuSoYa was directly in charge of level design for this game. Evidently it was this Zero-G fellow instead. Since I’m a firm believe in credit where it’s due, consider all my venom in this LP retroactively spewed on Zero-G instead.


Ah, play-testing incest. All romhackers should hand their game to someone who’s never seen it before and request input before releasing it to the public. I imagine a bad level design seems much better when you start out knowing the solution.


Let it not be said that they don’t have a sense of humor, though.


To wit!


…Dude, that’s not right.


Next time: Star Pieces

03-20-2009, 06:08 PM

Then, of course, there’s Reznor.

You know, considering how cheap the game's been so far, maybe it's a good thing hackers don't mess with Reznor more than they have. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-oXFDkDGZg)


Ah, play-testing incest. All romhackers should hand their game to someone who’s never seen it before and request input before releasing it to the public. I imagine a bad level design seems much better when you start out knowing the solution.

Bingo. Sometimes it takes a more neutral opinion to catch some of the subtler mistakes, and there were a lot of things in Demo World (and some other ROM hacks) that could have been caught with another set of eyes looking over it. To wit. (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?t=7330)

03-20-2009, 06:29 PM

Bowser’s World 3, like Sky World 3, is an airship level. This one, however, autoscrolls, and it does so extremely quickly, meaning that you constantly have to stay on top of things at all times in this level. There are Bullet Bills, Torpedo Teds, Bob-Ombs, and rocket jets going every which way, there are several blind leaps, and the autoscrolling is constantly forcing you to stay near the right of the screen, where you’re least able to dodge. While it’s definitely not the hardest airship level I’ve ever seen (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McXpws38IkY&feature=channel_page), it’s still no picnic to play through.

Nothing will ever replace this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBY2hMDxJyc&fmt=18) in my mind.

03-20-2009, 06:56 PM
Nothing will ever replace this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBY2hMDxJyc&fmt=18) in my mind.

That stage is why you save you P-Wings.

03-24-2009, 06:19 PM
Welcome back to Let’s Play Super Demo World. With the main game done, the only places left for us to explore are the game’s two hidden worlds: The Star Road and Big Boo’s World. Since I’ve been hyping the Star Road for pretty much this whole LP, and we have to go through it to get to Big Boo’s World anyway, that’s where we’ll be starting.


Let’s hit the switch!


Looks a bit different than you remember, huh?

Okay, here’s the deal with the Star Road. Each of these red stars is a level, and each of those levels has two exits. If you find the normal exit in the level, the path opens up to the next level in the chain (going in the same order as the regular worlds). If you find the secret exit, that level transforms into a warp point, taking you to that level’s counterpart in the main game.

What this means for us that we have to find the regular exit first. If we find the secret exit first, not only will we “break the chain” and be unable to continue, we won’t be able to reenter the level to find the normal exit. Finding the secret exit first forces you to reenter the Star Road further up the chain.

This is where the “Demo” part of Super Demo World comes in. Frustrating as it might seem, the Star Road was intentionally designed this way in order to show off one of Lunar Magic’s features: Its ability to cause your actions within the levels to change the map. The original game only used this part of the engine to open up alternate paths, but with Lunar Magic, finding certain exits can completely change the map and the levels therein. The problem is that while I’m glad this feature exists, I can’t actually think of any way to use it that isn’t incredibly irritating. TSRP2 uses it to block off a few bonus areas to keep them from being abused, which is about the best you can say about this feature… Big Boo’s World has an even more annoying trick along these lines.

As for the levels themselves, they tend to be based around the same general themes as their respective worlds. Problem is, most of the interesting ideas were used in the worlds themselves, so their Star Road counterparts are generally featureless and boring. Let’s get started!

Misty Star Road


Of course the Star Road starts off with one of the most obnoxious levels in the game. We all know that the best way to encourage exploration and creativity is to force the player to complete an incredibly difficult level twice the very first time he veers off the beaten path.


This level autoscrolls, and you constantly have to switch between fireballs and the Cape in order to keep from being crushed by the walls of ice-bricks and breakable bricks that are continuously closing in. This is much harder than it sounds, because there’s very little room for error.


Because of this level’s gimmick, one hit is basically fatal, because you need both the Cape and fireballs to proceed and power-ups are few and far between. This more or less requires you to a) use savestates or b) be very, very careful around enemies like these jumping Paratroopas.

In addition, there are quite a few blind leaps in this stage, made worse by the autoscrolling.


The worst part of this level, though, is that it’s so long. Every thirty seconds or so you find yourself thinking “I must be getting pretty close to the end” but it just keeps coming and coming.


This stratum of blocks I’m in is a dead end, by the way. Nothing like traps that can’t be anticipated in an autoscrolling stage…

Desert Star Road


Sorry, but I can’t be arsed to find the secret exits in this world. The levels are just so tedious. I’m getting close to the end and I want to move on to other things, so you’ll have to forgive me for not playing through these stupid levels again just to activate the warps…


Desert Star Road has a lot of these large, pyramid-shaped hills to traverse. This isn’t much of a challenge to overcome even if you don’t just fly over it. The only really hard part of this stage is a section towards the end with a lot of Thwimps, but even those can be cleared with Koopa shells.


It’s worth noting that the secret exit in this stage is incredibly annoying to get to. The keyhole is in this small tunnel, and it’s completely blocked off by Pokeys. You have to throw the key up, spin jump off the Pokey, then catch the key and run like hell to the right. You’ll notice that I took a couple hits getting through here.

Water Star Road



Water Star Road is another of these ridiculous Jelectrode swarms, but this one has even faster autoscrolling. Nothing to see here…

Crystal Star Road



Another boring stage; getting the regular exit in the Crystal Star Road is a matter of jumping over some small pits and not getting hit by Swoopers.


Even the secret exit is just another “get a P-Switch and the key and take ‘em to the keyhole” exercise.

03-24-2009, 06:21 PM
Sky Star Road


The Sky Star Road is challenging, but the layout is, again, pretty pedestrian. The first half of the level is little more than a flat expanse of clouds with columns of Super Koopas flying in occasionally.

The second half is more difficult; you have to fly a fair distance over a long, bottomless gap. And just flying isn’t good enough, either, because Super Koopas will fly in and knock you into the pit if you stay at one vertical level for too long. The best bet is to try and fly off the top of the screen and hold your altitude, but if you can’t then this section is a crapshoot at best, because Cape flight isn’t precise enough to dodge incoming enemies on command.

Ice Star Road


Ice Star Road is beyond easy. As difficult as the Ice World was, that’s how easy its Star Road is, and it doesn’t even have any gimmicks to help you forget. Just jump across some slippery platforms and you are done. Even the secret exit is easy; the key is directly above your head at the start point, and the keyhole is along the main path. Seriously, it’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

Pipe Star Road


Pipe maze… Not even much of a maze, really, because you’re railroaded onto the correct path fairly early on. About the only highlight of this level are some excessively (and unnecessarily) long screen-scrolling pipes towards the end.

Bowser’s Star Road


Bowser’s Star Road is another of those skull raft levels, and it’s every bit as exciting as the last one was. At least this one dispenses with the low ceilings, allowing you more room to jump the Blaarghs.


Here’s one of those bizarre lava formations I mentioned in the last update. A perfectly rectangular lava block — I wonder how often those show up in nature?


This level requires you to climb over stone block formations while still keeping pace with your skull raft, but the final one is a red herring. If you climb on this one, the screen will scroll up too far and your raft will disappear, leaving you stranded.

Backdoor Star Road


Do... Do I really want to go here?


The Backdoor Star Road is a sort of catch-all level for the castle/fortress-type levels… Other than Misty Star Road, this is by far the hardest Star Road level. It’s got a bunch of really obnoxious Grinder/spiked column setups that are a pain to negotiate. This is not helped by the fact that Grinders reload as soon as they scroll off screen, meaning that you’ll often get two Grinders coming at you from either direction while you’re trying to dodge rapidly moving spiked columns.

Secret Star Road



It’s a little difficult to figure out what to do at the start point in this level, but once you've got that down it pretty much plays itself.


The trick is that you need to bring a shell into the level so that you can hit the breakable brick on the top right of the first platform. (You can also do it with the Cape, but it’s annoyingly difficult.) This reveals a P-Switch…


…which you can then use to cut through the wall of breakable bricks to the right. If the P-Switch is still active once you get to the end, you can collect a star…


…allowing you to cut through a field of mini-Munchers.


Once you reach the end of the line, spin jump up through the bricks to reach the exit.

03-24-2009, 06:24 PM

Incidentally, you might be wondering where the Secret Star Road warps you. It turns out that it’s here: A hidden patch of land in World 5 with a hidden secret. This hidden secret is just like all the others, except that its gray block contains a Star.



You might recall that there were two secret exits in Bowser’s Castle. The first unlocked Bowser’s Star Road, and the second allows us to move up from the Secret Star Road to this secret, hidden level. It’s by far the coolest level in the whole game.


Not that you’d know it from the first part of the level. You have to fly up to find a P-Switch, then carry it to the right, past a whole mess of fake doors.


Use the Switch here to reveal a hidden blue door. (This is not as arbitrary as it seems: If you use the P-Switch and then fly up, arrows of coins will point you to this location.)


In the next area, things start to get… strange. Enemies walk backwards, and blocks flicker into static.




Okay, I’ve been ragging on Demo World a lot, but this is genuinely cool. A lot of romhacks have a really great, perfect moment hidden somewhere in there, past all the amateurish level design and insane difficulty. Finding those unique moments, the stuff that you’d never see in a real game, is why I play romhacks, why I put up with all the bullshit.


At the end of this level, you’ll find a ? block that isn’t quite what it seems. You can grab it, and if you do so and carry it into the next room…


You’ll find that it isn’t a ? block at all, but the key!


We grab a Star as we fall and, safely invincible, fall through a chasm of Boos.


At the end, we find a keyhole.

Completing …? once turns it into a red star, and you know what that means: Back in we go.

03-24-2009, 06:25 PM

In the first zone, you’ll find a lot of doors, pipes, and pits with arrows pointing at them. This is of course just bait…


What you need to do instead is find a pit where the arrow points away from it. Dropping into this pit takes you into the Boo chasm again…


…with the change that this time some of the forks lead to dead ends.


With …? beaten again, the star turns into a warp point, leading us to parts unknown…


Next time: Who ya gonna call?

03-24-2009, 06:32 PM
The background in the Star Road levels seems to come from Star Hill in Mario RPG. But I'm sure you, of all people, knew that.

03-24-2009, 06:36 PM
The background in the Star Road levels seems to come from Star Hill in Mario RPG. But I'm sure you, of all people, knew that.

Actually, areas in Mario RPG don't have backgrounds. The background for these levels actually comes from here:


03-24-2009, 08:29 PM
Foiled again!

03-25-2009, 02:04 AM

Here’s one of those bizarre lava formations I mentioned in the last update. A perfectly rectangular lava block — I wonder how often those show up in nature?

I can't really fault SDW for this when Super Mario World has the same problem -- lava trapezoids, lava flowing upwards, etc.

03-25-2009, 05:25 AM

Okay, I’ve been ragging on Demo World a lot, but this is genuinely cool. A lot of romhacks have a really great, perfect moment hidden somewhere in there, past all the amateurish level design and insane difficulty. Finding those unique moments, the stuff that you’d never see in a real game, is why I play romhacks, why I put up with all the bullshit.

That's pretty cool. As difficult and cheap as Demo World has been up to this point, I have to admit that FuSoYa and Zero-G have been very creative with the design at least - its probably one of the biggest highlights to playing the game, really.

03-26-2009, 07:21 AM
Tanto, did you figure this all out on your own? I would be shocked and astonished if you didn't use a guide.

03-26-2009, 07:44 AM
Tanto, did you figure this all out on your own? I would be shocked and astonished if you didn't use a guide.

Ha, no. I watched a tool-assisted speedrun about two years ago, and I played it to completion myself several months later, using a guide to help with the stuff the speedrunner cheated his way through.

03-26-2009, 04:57 PM
Welcome to the final installment of Let’s Play Super Demo World. With nine worlds down, there’s only one left to go, but it’s a tough one: The hidden world of Big Boo. It was opened when we found the secret exit of …? on the Star Road, so let’s proceed…


For all that Big Boo’s World is really hard, there isn’t much to look at on the map. Despite the fact that every level in this world has two exits, there are no alternate routes, shortcuts, or secrets to uncover. The tower there in the middle is Big Boo’s Tower, this world’s final level and Super Demo World’s marquee stage. To get there, though, we’ll have to beat all the other Big Boo stages first.

Big Boo’s Star Road


Red herring alert. The presence of the key and keyhole right at the very start of this level might cause you to be a bit suspicious, and rightfully so: If you’ll remember the mechanics of the Star Road, finding a level’s secret exit turns the level into a warp point and prevents you from reentering. If you, in a burst of enthusiasm, activate this exit right off the bat, you’ll be locked out of Big Boo’s World permanently.


As for the rest of the level, it’s filled with platforms like this that switch rapidly from regular blocks to Boos. It’s novel at first, but gets annoying after a while…


Especially when you consider that most of the level looks like this, repeated over and over.

Big Boo World 1



What? This level again? Come now, guys, you’re not even trying. All right, whatever, find the switch and head for the gray platform…




Seriously, though, the trick with the Boos is about the extent of this level’s creativity. The main room is moving again, with Balls ‘n’ Chains and those hopping flames in the candles…


But the exit is still in the same place. Big Boo tries to taunt you into killing yourself right before the end; he spends most of this world mocking you via message block.

Big Boo World 2


…Hmm? But… but… No. Wait!


As if the Big Boo World wasn’t cruel enough, collecting the regular exits in this world deletes paths further back, preventing you from exiting the world. Rather than open up new levels or routes, the secret exits in this world restore the paths, allowing you to escape.


Big Boo World 2 is similar to Pipe World 5, the one with those annoying mini-Muncher things. Although that level was pretty tough, this one is even worse, with Boos chasing you through the level and Piranha Plants and mini-Munchers exiting from the same pipes.


Setups like this one don’t look too horrid, but they’re tougher than they look. In addition, the ceiling of this level (like most of the levels in Big Boo’s World) is lined with Munchers, making hanging out near the top dangerous.


This line of green blocks actually forms an arrow pointing to this level’s key. It can only be accessed if you’re small Mario, though.

03-26-2009, 04:59 PM
Big Boo World 3



Surprisingly tame world. Big Boo World 3 is just a collection of platforms encircled by Boo rings. It also has some Boos that are invisible when not moving, and can blindside you on some jumps, but mostly this level is pretty easy if you’re patient and watch your jumps..


For some reason there’s a stationary Boo ring towards the end.

Big Boo World 4


Big Boo World 4 is like Big Boo’s Star Road on crack. All of the blocks in this stage are potentially Boos, and switch between being safe and being “live” approximately every half-second. This makes walking virtually impossible, and jumping hazardous. The floor does shift in patterns, though, so you can make safe jumps if you pay attention.


Later in the level, the Boos become more erratic, but other enemies appear, and you can safely cross by bouncing off them.

Big Boo World 5


Uh, I kind of forgot to take any screenshots of this stage. It’s pretty simple, though. Its gimmick is that most of the objects — blocks, coins, even doors — are actually Boos, revealing their true nature if you get too close. Again, though, if you’re cautious, this level isn’t that challenging. To find the exit, you have to fly up towards the end.

Big Boo World 6


Okay. There’s a large field of Munchers just to the right that can (theoretically) only be crossed with all four Switch Palaces and a star. So, what you’re supposed to do here is backtrack through Big Boo’s World at this point, finding all the secret exits, then grabbing a star and coming back. I’m not having any of that, though.


Instead, I’m going to climb up this ! block wall…


…And save state right here. Then, I’ll release my captive feather manually with select and wait for it to drift down. Once it gets close, I’ll jump onto the Munchers, then leap up and grab my other feather. Then, I’ll use my mercy invincibility to build up flight speed and fly over the rest of the Munchers, to the exit.


His trick overcome, Big Boo challenges us to challenge his tower if we can.

Big Boo’s Tower


A huge, huge level, Demo World’s most famous and most unique stage, Big Boo’s Tower is 100 floors of pain.


It’s a vertically-oriented stage where the object is to climb to the top. Some of the floors are filled with enemies, others are mazelike in structure, and still others are vast expanses of floating platforms and chains. The timer resets to 999 every twenty-five floors, and the entire stage is littered with power-ups, but completing the whole thing is a grind, virtually impossible without savestates.


To their credit, the designers did a fairly respectable job coming up with enough obstacles to keep the stage interesting almost the whole way. That said, my comments earlier about the hazards of overly-long stages go double here, and the stage is not improved by the inclusion of several dead-ends that force backtracking. (Oh, and those candle flames will hurt you, and they’re on almost every floor, so be careful.)

03-26-2009, 05:01 PM

They at least restrained themselves with the P-Switch puzzles… but you do have to find and hang on to a Fire Flower at some point so that you can get past this area, and the Cape is virtually required for the platform jumping segments.


Floors 51-59 are an elaborate pipe maze.


Floor 66… Cute.


After about 80 floors, the lights go out, forcing you to finish the stage in darkness. (Think the last area of Bowser’s Castle in the original.) At least you can climb on the candles now. The disco-ball-esque light switch is somewhere in the stage, but I can’t be arsed to look for it.


And, of course, since this is Demo World, we’re not getting away without one last P-Switch fetch quest. Once you reach level 99, you have to drop down a long shaft to level 91, collect this P-Switch, then climb back up and clear away some brown blocks.


At least they’re nice enough to give us a midpoint to help us if we screw up against the Big Boo.


Big Boo is the same as the one at the end of the Donut Secret House, but we have only three grabbable blocks to bean him with and his room is filled with Podoboos and Boos, forcing you to keep moving. Eventually, though, Big Boo goes down, finishing the longest and most deadly stage in Super Demo World.

Big Boo’s Secret!


Clearing the Tower opens up Big Boo’s Secret.


Unlike all the others, though, it’s empty and deserted… seemingly.


In the center of the Mushroom House, however, we find an invisible pipe…


…Dropping us into the Big Boo’s hidden treasure horde! Not only do we have the typical Top Secret Area selection here…


…But we’ve also got all the potential gray block items, including two new ones in a Lakitu’s Cloud and a key (!).


Plus, there are three pipes that allow us to collect colored Yoshis.

03-26-2009, 05:02 PM

But wait, that’s not all! In a room to the right, we find a new power-up that allows Fire Mario to toss Yoshi fireballs.


One more thing. If we collect a Lakitu’s Cloud and release it in the main room, we can fly through an invisible ceiling and off to the right.


Eventually, we uncover blocks spelling out SMA2, and a door…


…Leading to versions of several original SMW levels with the Super Mario Advance 2 palette. Sure, these levels are incomplete, and they’re riddled with glitches, but still.


For example, message blocks all have the same messages as the ones in Big Boo’s Secret. Plus, if you hit a midpoint and then die, you’ll die instantly every time you try to reenter Big Boo’s Secret. Finally, hitting a multi-item block can cause the game to glitch up.


Still, though, it’s pretty cool being able to bring your flashy new firepower into Forest of Illusion 1.


And so this LP comes to an end. Nothing more to see here. There are fourteen exits I failed to show, and I’m not gonna. Maybe we're ending on a whimper rather than a bang, but I still showed off everything I set out to, and you can’t ask for anything more from an LP, can you?

Thanks, as always, to everyone who read and commented on this LP. Join me next time as I explore the depths of a children’s card game.


03-26-2009, 05:18 PM
Big Boo World 3


How did I immediately recognize this background as Neon Tiger (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWuyjXq8NPI&fmt=18)'s? I don't even like Mega Man X3.

I'm not so sure about Big Boo World 4 and 5, though.

03-26-2009, 07:28 PM

Just sayin'. I'm that awesome.

(I did have a walkthrough telling me what power-ups I'd need where, though.)

03-26-2009, 08:06 PM
This was total quality start-to-end. Makes me want to play Mario World again... and I probably will. Kudos to Tanto.

It also makes me wish they had multicarts that read off of an SD card or something so I could play these hacks on a real system. What better way to show your chops than to beat Super Demo World on a real system WITHOUT savestates?

03-26-2009, 08:39 PM
This was total quality start-to-end. Makes me want to play Mario World again... and I probably will. Kudos to Tanto.

It also makes me wish they had multicarts that read off of an SD card or something so I could play these hacks on a real system. What better way to show your chops than to beat Super Demo World on a real system WITHOUT savestates?

Man, I don't know about that. A lot of levels are designed to frustrate players with unlimited access to savestates.
Short of trying to hack a cartridge or figure out Virtual Console injection, I guess you could try it on BSNES, since it's the most accurate SNES emulator in existence and doesn't have a savestate feature.

Dynastic Bird
03-26-2009, 08:56 PM
Another awesome LP, with an interesting inside look at the romhack community. Thanks and congrats!

I love how it ends with some final touches, whether it be the annoying blockable paths or the awesome fire Yoshi power-up.

03-26-2009, 10:00 PM
Big Boo's World actually looks pretty cool. Cheap sometimes, maybe, but a lot of the stuff Zero-G and FuSoYa pulled off here is really clever. And the power-ups at the end! Good lord.

Fantastic job, Tanto. After seeing this, I'm not sure where I stand on Demo World (is it brilliant? is it too cheap?) but damned if it didn't get me interested in it in the first place. Here's looking forward to the next one, and hoping that it's just as super-special-awesome as this one was.

03-27-2009, 06:11 AM
That final stage is another example of this game's "looks good on paper, not so much in action" trend. Good job on the LP though. I don't think I'd ever be able to complete a game so grueling.

Join me next time as I explore the depths of a children’s card game.

A certain Pokémon children's card game?

03-27-2009, 12:21 PM
Good lp. None of that really looked all that entertaining, though. Certainly enough to keep me away from romhacks, that's for sure.

03-27-2009, 12:31 PM
Lately rom hacks seem to be abusing more and more of the tropes discussed in this LP, and it's really problematic. It's not just Mario either, Zelda has been mired in this kind of stuff ever since Zelda Classic got popular.

That doesn't mean they're all bad, though. There's a few good rom hacks that just try to fit in with the style of the original game and offer new levels with the same balance as the original.

03-27-2009, 02:30 PM
I'm fine with a good rom hack being slightly harder than the original, especially in the case of a game like Mario World where it's easy-peasy.

But someone really needs to educate these hackers on the textbook definition of 'slightly'. There's a lot of rom hacks out there I'd love to play in a legit-esque fashion, but it's just not feasible without being a freaking god at the game.

The Dread Cthulhu
03-28-2009, 04:28 AM
I just beat the Pyramid, which is a lot better than it this made it sound. I never needed more than one P-Switch at once, and I quite enjoyed the challenge of it.

03-29-2009, 08:29 AM
I really enjoyed this LP; great job Tanto. I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it a lot more than I'd enjoy actually playing it, so thanks for taking the bullet.