Romhacks can offer ingenious ways to replay or remix games. They can also offer crude, clunky, and unfortunate design choices to change a game forever. Today, we're looking at the latter. These are games which every Nintendo fan is familiar with, but for one reason or another has been remixed to add or change features that quite possibly no one has asked for.
Game: DUCK HUNT
Hack: Duck Hunt - Moon Walk
What is it: A small modification that changes the season to Autumn, makes the dog do the moon walk, and includes an 8-bit rendition of Michael Jackson's moon walk.
Review: I'll admit, I'm impressed that the dog does the moonwalk, even if it's really just his animation sprite in reverse. The change to autumn is really comfy and I'd love to see a winter version as well. This makes me think we should do a Romhack that adds rain to further complicate and obscure the ducks. Of course we're all wondering how the moon walk music sounds in game and I decided to save us all time and upload this video.
Hack: World Cup 2002
What is it: This modification replaces Japan with China, includes a new logo to represent the 2002 World Cup, and of course changes all the players into rabbits.
Review: Did you do a double take there? Yeah, I did too. For starters, the 2002 World Cup was co-hosted by Japan and S. Korea so the addition of China (who did play in the cup) to remove Japan just seems really weird. Especially when you consider that Japan made it to the round of 16 (China did not). The redone title screen is pretty boring when compared to the exciting light up BOLD action of NES soccer, but again it's not a huge deal, rom hacks lead to change. What I can't understand is why they turned all the players into rabbits. Pretty good sprite work I might add. After some pretty extensive googling all I could deduct was that Duracell was a sponsor of the 2002 World Cup and they produced plush toy bunnies with the World Cup logo on them. This really doesn't make any sense because the mascots of the 2002 World Cup were the abominations pictured below known as: Ato, Nik, and Kaz
Hack: Sylvia Saves Thomas
What is it: In this hack, the roles of Thomas and Sylvia have been reversed! Sylvia must now save her boyfriend, Thomas, from the evil Mr. X.
Review: So this is EXACTLY Kung-Fu* but now you play as Sylvia. This might seem like a pretty boring romhack, but there is actually a bit of lore behind this one. Back in a time before the internet there was a rumor that if you beat Kung-Fu* fifty times you would be able to play as Sylvia in the next round. This is not only cruel, but likely impossible. This rumor was so widespread that a variant of it is actually included in an official GameFAQ walkthrough. The twist of course being that if you beat the game 50 times you will actually FIGHT Sylvia instead of Mr. X. This myth was debunked by Kelly R. Flewin on Twin Galaxies where he beat the game 53 times and still never fought Sylvia. While it's nice to have this romhack where we play as Sylvia, I'd love to see the other version come true, just for Mr. Flewin's sake…
Game: Wild Gunman
Hack: Fast Gunman
What is it: Changes the outlaws to undead characters and alters the backgrounds.
Review: Completely unnecessary and offers no gameplay changes, but I'll be damned if this isn't actually a pretty cool twist on the western envionment. We jokingly compared Wild Gunman to Red Dead Redemption on the podcast, but now we can also compare it to the DLC expansion pack, Undead Nightmare! I'm going to give this one the thumbs up if only for the polished skeleton sprites.
Game: Hogan's Alley
Hack: Mario's Alley
What is it: The FBI has decided to change its training facility to prepare for the upcoming invasion of the Mushroom Kingdom. The gangsters are now Bowser and D.K.
Review: Honestly, this is pretty cool. Major props to the art on this one. The Mario that replaces the Cop looks as much like the Cop as he does Mario. It's really strange to see Bowser and Donkey Kong holding guns, if only because both Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong would be incredibly tough if those dudes just weaponized.
Hack: Golf - Starring KISS
What is it: Tee up for 18 holes, but this time you play as the band members of KISS!
Review: Of course this one had to be saved to last. What a bizarre creation we have here. Beautiful and accurate sprite work of KISS meets the classic 18 holes of NES Golf. So if you happen to be a huge fan of GOLF specifically on the NES and also a huge fan of KISS, today is a pretty big day for you. The question I'm going to leave here is, why? Are KISS known for being into Golf? I know Alice Cooper is actually a big Golfer and it probably would've made more sense to make Golf - Welcome to My Nightmare than to include KISS. But I think it's really nice that this exists.