Oh. My. Gahd.
So in 2004, a home-brewer/programmer/ITT-Tech student going by the name DahrkDiaz created a hack that would later go on to become what many know as the greatest Mario hack of all time: Mario Adventure.
This wasn't your average "changed up the levels and added some new colors, also some dicks" hack, DD added a whole new playing experience to the SMB3 engine with new power ups, bosses at each level's end, a fucking key system for unlocking worlds, and finally a REASON to collect all those god damn coins. It is ingenious, it is hard as nails.
Mario Adventure takes players back to the frustration level of their 7 year old selves. Rife with surprises, new enemy functions and maps that hardly qualify as fair; this game picks up where the "beat SMB3 a bazillion times" veteran left off.
But check your red hot irritation at the door. Mario Adventure has an unlimited life policy, so you can play and learn and laugh and let each stupidstupidstupid level grow on you over time. Plus, if you get truly desperate, there are cheats which one would think the game's developer WANTED you to use in order to find and unlock secret parts of certain levels(available at the bottom of the post).
There are 8 Worlds in Mario Adventure, each one conquerable through typical means of wand gathering and boss whooping. However, in each world lies a key which players may use to unlock the "warp zone paths" and eventually beat the game in world 8 (don't worry, there is a cheat for that too...).
A specific love of mine for this game were the ever-changing weather patterns of the Mushroom Kingdom. Sometimes you start a game and it's night, or raining, or snowing, maybe sunny... The attributes of the level change, certain secrets become apparent, and suddenly you have found something in your run that was completely hidden before. Also, the coins aspect. Collecting coins used to be for points junkies, whereas Mario Adventure makes players use these coins in the "Mushroom Huts" to gain hidden power-ups like Magic Mario, Fire Mario, Das Boot, a Mushroom, and more... This is a brilliant step in the right direction for Mario games on this platform, honestly this could have been SMB4.
That said, some bugs/glitches are hard to ignore. Enemies getting stuck in "dead zones" is an occasional occurrence and power ups (like mushrooms) can sometimes drift away if you let them out of your sight. At crucial points in a boss battle, a player's golden mushroom(which completes the stage) can sometimes fall through the floor, sending you into a complete rage. This is rare, but it happens.
Overall though, the bugs in this game are HARDLY present compared to the majority of hacks.
I went into this game thinking it would be another crappy Mario hack, but I was very impressed by the smoothness, the innovation and the absolute re-playability of this game. Play it below and check out some of the cheats available. I honestly believe they are enhancements to the playing experience, not just an easy way out. Oh and did I mention the ROM auto-saves???
News: Mario Adventure 3 (After the sequel which was meh) should be coming out January 2014. Wicked Basement WILL have the new game up as soon as DahrkDiaz releases it.
A look at some of the concept:
Unlock World 8 (and all others)
DD LUBS ALL