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// article by Jeff

When I play these strange game hacks, I really don't know what I'm getting myself into. Sometimes they're just simple graphical edits (occasionally — or more than occasionally — pasting genitals on the pelvic regions of the protagonist). But others show the passion and the creativity of their designers, fusing new elements with old, resulting in an experience as equally impressive as its source material. Legend of the Blob Bros. 2 is one such project, for behind its lame title lies a journey far deeper in scope than the original Super Mario Bros. 2 on which it's based. If I had to summarize this hack, I'd say it's the playable definition of "epic".

Created by the mysterious user known as "BMF54123", Legend of the Blob Bros. 2 tells not of Super Mario and his gang, but of an entire new group of heroes in the Kingdom of Blobaria and THEIR troubles with Wart. If you really want to read the fleshed out version of his truly terrifying tale, be sure to read the story directly. The game now stars four character that, while not exactly Nintendo Universe material, still possess similar traits. Blobby Slimeson takes the Mario role seriously, even going so far as to don Mario's signature shirt and overall combo. His brother, Beanie, looks like a string bean (hence his name) and can jump like Luigi in the sky. Then you get Microchip, a half-blob half-robot thing that takes over Toad's place, and Prince Jare Blobbington, the royal equivalent of Princess Toadstool. Yeah, that's... yeah.

What exactly the biggest change is could be debatable, but I'm going with the completely new level design. No level went untouched, unmangled, and unpasteurized. There are no remnants of the past; every stage has been completely redesigned to the point where it could easily just be a sequel or another game entirely. Some of the layouts are downright devious and require a significant number of save state reloads. Certain levels are quite mazelike, to the point where you might scratch your brain a bit to get through. I can even think of one instance where there literally are dead-ends that can't be escaped. Simply by taking the wrong door, you may be in a situation where the only way out is death. What's worse is that after you do commit that suicide, you will restart in the same room. A game over is your only reward. With limited continues, this can be treacherous; luckily, this isn't a frequent occurrence. World 4 is the worst offender of this.

World 6 is especially neat, as it's set in space. While that sounds underwhelming, imagine playing Super Mario Bros. 2... with SPACE PHYSICS! SPAAAAAAAAAACE PHYSICS!!! It feels good. It feels so good. And for some reason, it makes those stages feel just a tad easier. As long as I'm on the topic of unusual game stuff, the designers here decided to do away with sinking into vases, which is fine by me. I was never the biggest fan. Too bad they didn't remove the sand digging parts or bag up Phanto and drop him into a dumpster.

Now I'm no mathematician...

...but I would say close to 75% of the graphics in this game are brand new. Mainstays of Super Mario Bros. 2, like the ripply hills, the bricky cavern walls, and many of the icons like cherries, hearts, and POW blocks (rebranded as "WAP" blocks) are still there. All the enemies and bosses, with the exception of Wart at the end, have been redesigned from scratch, and they look downright goofy. New terrains and world settings also require new sprites, so places like Blobtown (where skyscrapers sit) and Moon Base Alpha (featuring all them fancy craters) will be a breath of fresh air for those who have played SMB2 a bit too much and desire more. The music is the same, though. Perhaps this is one of the few aspects that maintains continuity between this hack and its origins.

The game has its glitches here and there. Though I've heard of other things that have happened to fellow Internetters, the only thing I really noticed was that once, the music just slowed down to half-speed and refused to get back up to speed, even with a soft reset. Another thing that bothered me (and I don't remember it being a problem in SMB2, though I could be mistaken) is that when you defeat a Birdo (or Birdo equivalent) and leave the screen, it'll be there again when you come back. You won't need to defeat it again to open the portal to the next level, but it's still an oddity.

It's one of the best hacks I've ever seen, to be honest, although the Blob family theme seems to ruin it a bit. Here are some screenshots in which you can bask in its hacked glory:


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