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Old 02-15-2009, 02:17 PM
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Default Breakfast time: Let's Play Super Demo World: The Legend Continues!

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.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:20 PM
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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.

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.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:23 PM
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Onwards.



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.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:25 PM
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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.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:27 PM
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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.



Heh.



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

Please continue!
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:37 PM
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Fascinating!
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:40 PM
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This... this is super-cool, super-awesome, and way way super-interesting.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:46 PM
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I, too, am fascinated by this. But what's with the artifacted screenshots? I normally wouldn't say anything, but SMRPG was pixel-perfect.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanto View Post


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.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:51 PM
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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!
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:59 PM
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What an LP! I'll be following this one closely.
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Old 02-15-2009, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi View Post
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.
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Old 02-15-2009, 04:02 PM
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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.
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Old 02-15-2009, 04:59 PM
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making Mario World levels in Lunar Magic is so fun.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:10 PM
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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.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:16 PM
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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*
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfir View Post
I never survived world 1 of SMW
What.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:40 PM
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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.
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:14 PM
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This is a cool idea.
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfir View Post
1-2 was brutal and I never got through the castle either.
You're adorable. What are you doing later?
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfir View Post
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...
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:39 PM
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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!
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:46 PM
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A goomba, in the item-holding-square-thing?

This is absurd and I cannot look away.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:16 PM
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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 for evidence.
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Old 02-18-2009, 07:02 AM
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Woo. I wish to register my approval of this experimental-type LP. Cheers!
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:07 PM
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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.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:20 PM
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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.
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:10 PM
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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.)
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:14 PM
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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.



Surprise!

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.
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:17 PM
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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!
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