The Mezunian

Die Positivität ist das Opium des Volkes, aber der Spott ist das Opium der Verrückten

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 9 – The Warped Void

World J: The Warped Void

Music: “Main Menu”, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!

“It’s just an empty void”. What a great ’scuse to not put any effort into map graphics, like I did throughout this whole hack. The only interesting part is how a lot o’ the level tiles are ?s, making the player figure out how many exits each level has.

I do really like this map song, though.

Easiest Level Ever

Music: “Green Greens”, ’bout every Kirby game

Laziest, too.

Originally this spot held “Let’s Abuse Yoshi”, a level much mo’ clever & fun. I think I replaced it ’cause a few parts were janky — specifically a part where you had to get through a corridor clogged by Chargin’ Chucks using Yoshi’s extra hit point & retrieve him ’fore he goes past the next Chuck. I shouldn’t have; jankiness is better than boring, ’specially for the last world.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 50
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Stratus Travesty

Music: “Green Greens”, ’bout every Kirby game

Message box: best way to deal with flaws isn’t to fix them, but to point them out so people know I made their experience less enjoyable on purpose & hate me e’en mo’.

See, the trick ’bout the end is that you have to not get hit with the feather the level gives you or you can’t fly & are screwed.

There’s nothing interesting to say ’bout this level. It’s mere OK.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 51
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Goomba Path

Music: “Enemy Battle”, Super Mario All-Stars: Super Mario Bros. 3 ( Same )

I don’t know what inspired it, but for some reason this world has a bunch o’ levels revolving round a certain enemy. This level focuses on Goombas & resources I ripped off from Super Mario Bros. 3, the 2nd o’ which is a tradition that continues to today in the bosom o’ Boskeopolis Land.

In particular, the “boss” rooms @ the end are a waste o’ time: I just copypastaed so many Goombas that the sprite engine slows to slime, ’cause repetition & slowness are always fun.

I seemed to like puzzles wherein you have to make small jumps under flat platforms to avoid getting stuck in a higher place & having to go back to go back down. I apologize for that.

In my defense, some o’ the running & jumping sections in the low corridors actually looked neat if you knew when to jump. But its been years since then & I’ve lost all my Super Mario World skills & memory for when to jump, so I make it look like shit.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 52
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Jungle of the Ninji

Music: “Overworld”, New Super Mario Bros.

Replace “Goomba” with “Ninji” & Super Mario Bros. 3 with Super Mario Bros. 2.

¿Did I truly need to make this key require Yoshi, & then force you to ditch him & bring the key all the way to the end? Great: every time I died, I had to go all ’cross the map to get ’nother. ’Nother reason cutting “Let’s Torture Yoshi” was a bad idea.

’Specially since that waterfall jump to the lower mushroom is bullshit. I think I remember adding that midpoint specifically to make that jump less bullshit. ’Cept it’s still bullshit — ’specially for the secret exit — & I should’ve just made it less bullshit. That “Ho, ho, don’t go to high or you have to go back & try ’gain” shit got ol’.

The Ninji “boss” is the dumbest, most trivial fight e’er. & this was a hack wherein a “boss” was a single Goomba as a joke.

  • P-Switch level count: 31 / 53
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Killer’s Fun House

Music: “Shy Guy’s Toy Box”, Paper Mario

The strangest time to insist on using Bullet Bill’s Japanese name. I guess I thought it sounded mo’ ironic.

A’least this level is short ’nough to not get annoying. If you only have 1 trick or 2, you should keep your level to 1 trick or 2.

¿What does a fun house with Alfred Chicken & Wario Land 4 bonus tiles have to do with Bullet Bills?

I think this was 1 out o’ quite a few levels wherein I discovered that making you drag the P-switch back to the start was ridiculous, so I made the switch cause some blocks to make the race back after hitting the switch easier. I think it’s better that way.

The saddest part is that this Warped Void enemy “boss” is the best ’mong them — & it’s puzzle is just going in a loop.

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 54
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9


Music: “Title Theme”, SimCity ( SNES )

This was originally going to be the 1st level o’ the scrapped space world, the remnants o’ which can be seen in the map on the 1st post. The other planned levels, scrapped ’cause they sucked unbelievably, were a level where you had to swim through thin shafts ’tween walls o’ lava with a glowing rocky background called “Helios”, a lablike level with lots o’ shitty layer-2 shenanegans involving lava walls repainted green called “Cryogian”, whatever that’s s’posed to mean, & what would’ve been a haunted, darker-tinted moon level if I’d been able to think o’ mo’ than a straight path with a boo here & there called “Hades”.

I don’t know why I e’en bothered to keep “Lunaria”, since it sucks too — just not as hard as the others. The only original idea was having the secret exit in the Yoshi-wings section, & e’en that had the hitbox jank o’ totally-not-munchers & Yoshi caused by the programmers only intending for them to be used on the ground & not realizing that hacky rom hackers would want to spread them everywhere like weeds. Precise jumps o’er totally-not-munchers is hardly new, nor are Lotus Plants & Baseball Charlies, which are all o’er this world. This is, I believe, the only level in this hack that uses Monty Mole, simply ’cause I hadn’t thought to use them till then ( it’s funny how I took the time to look up patches & custom blocks on SMW Central for new gimmicks, but neglected a bunch o’ sprites, blocks, & general features already in the vanilla game ); but I don’t do anything with them, ¿so who cares?

Extra note: as noted ’bove, this level uses the title screen music from SimCity ( ’twas ’tween that & “The Moon” from Duck Tales; I figured this was the less cliché choice ). I was thinking how I should’ve chosen the SimCity menu theme for the title screen o’ this game ’stead o’ that metal Super Mario Bros. remix popularized by ASMT. It’s not as if the title screen needs to long a song, anyway. In my defense, I chose to use that song before that hack came out ( though the hack that rendition was actually made for, Cool or Cruel, which didn’t get nearly as much attention, already was ).

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 55
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Autumn Hills

Music: “Enemy Battle”, Super Mario All-Stars: Super Mario Bros. 3 ( Same )

Actually, you’d probably see brown grass in summer mo’ than autumn.

Speaking o’ neglected sprites, here’s those Chocolate Island dinos, used nowhere else. ( To be fair, ¿didn’t the real Super Mario World only use them in 2 levels? )

This level bugs me, ’cause its gimmick is ruined by its placement. Its gimmick is that, ’less you’re great with the cape, you need a blue Yoshi to get through, as there’s only a Yellow Koopa… but you’re guaranteed to have a blue Yoshi to get here ’cause the route to here is that Yoshi-wings secret exit that turns Yoshi blue.

This is also why my hack in general has so many bugs: I refused to make limiting choices, like making Yoshis & capes not stay with you after levels, which many hack makers recommend: I wanted to exploit as many stupid weird things as possible, including having a level wherein you needed to get a Yoshi from a totally different level.

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 56
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Attic Antics

Music: “No Eating Crackers in the Theater”, Mother 3 / “Shy Guy’s Toy Box”, Paper Mario

That’s some Rareware level naming there.

Didn’t know ’bout this horrendous game-breaking glitch with the midpoint. For those who don’t know, Super Mario World can easily kill you don’t put the camera’s vertical starting position near where you start. This is a common glitch in Super Mario World hacking. Now with a greater understand o’ game development & just looking @ how you die, I’d guess it’s not caused just by the camera not being where you are but probably caused by your character or the blocks below them not having collision detection while offscreen, causing your character to fall into the ground; when the camera catches up to them they’re already embedded in the ground. Now that they’re on-camera, collision detection resumes; but since you’re inside the ground, the game kills you, as it usually does when you’re smashed in solid blocks.

The 1st half o’ this level’s quite lame. The Piranha Plant section’s nothing new; & the part after that is full o’ filler & enemies that can fall on your head from offscreen. I love how I bothered to put all those blocks on the street in that middle area in some futile attempt to prevent flying, when you can easily fly from the very beginning & fly o’er the whole room.

I actually didn’t know ’bout the trick o’ jumping off Yoshi to reach the goal to skip the entire 2nd room all throughout development; I only learned ’bout it while watching a Let’s Play o’ this hack.

The 2nd portion’s all right. I like the idea o’ using grabbable items to reach a vine — I just wish I did mo’ with it. Also, ¿why’s there a vine in an attic? ¿Mold? ¿Why are some o’ the walls infested with Munchers? Obviously ’cause everything else in Dinosaur World is.

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 57
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Also, while we leave the mainland for good, I need to finally address some weird glitch wherein Luigi’s palette delays changing when returning to the o’erworld from a dark level…

Unforunately, the only way I can address it is with a silly meme:

Golden Bomb Mines

Music: “Mt. Moon”, Pokémon Red & Blue Versions

I remember liking this level a lot near the end o’ development, e’en though I didn’t remember much ’bout actually developing it. There was just something ’bout the trickiness o’ those slopes.

Maybe I was in a bad mood, — not helped by how late this update was coming — but I was less enamored this time. Those slopes seem less “tricky” now & mo’ “inconsistent”.

That said, I’d still call this level better than what we’ve seen so far in this world. In fact, it’s ironic that I was in an impatient mood while recording these next few videos, as looking back, these are some o’ the strongest levels.

This level does have cruft, though. ¿What’s the point o’ the water section? ¿To show off that it’s gold?

& ’course, we have this “boss” which is the same as the Goomba “boss”, but e’en less tricky, since it’s just straight right ’stead o’ going upward.

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 58
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Twinkle Twinkle

Music: “Casino Night Zone”, Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Well, maybe not that strong…

The 1st half’s solid. I remember when late in development I considered that jump off the Yellow Koopas to be the hardest jump in the game ( now we see that that clearly goes to that 1st slope jump in “Golden Bomb Mines” ).

The 2nd half, though. “¿Wouldn’t it be delightful if you had to slowly bounce through small passageways walled in all directions by bouncy blocks like the padding o’ a mental ward?” Actually, I do like how those Koopas always find a way to bounce up into that powerup area you’d think would be safe. I ’specially like how I didn’t design that on purpose @ all — I was as delightfully surprised when I ran into it back when I was developing this.

Something that had ne’er happened to me till now: not getting all the coins on that brown block wall. You can see the point where Luigi matches my expression: freezing in stoic horror as my mind slowly reeled the possibility that I’d have to start all o’er. But, to my own surprise, I was able to fly through.

The rest is just filler meant to be funnier mo’ than fun — just like “Death Desert”. Particular example: the brown blocks @ the end that are s’posed to make you go, “Fuck, ¡I missed a P-switch? Better go all the way back…” only for the solution to be mo’ hidden blocks.

& as an extra hilarious joke, Luigi falls off the ending platform during the victory march, but doesn’t quite reach the bottom ( which would kill him & steal ’way his victory in what is popularly called a “kaizo trap” after an infamous level in that infamous hack ) before the level ends. That was a big gimmick o’ this hack: teasing kaizo without actually giving it, which was probably fresher in a time when kaizo hacks were still the standard, like… maybe the 1st year o’ this hack’s development.

  • P-Switch level count: 33 / 59
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Persistence of Time

Music: “Peanut Plain”, Kirby Super Star

Here’s where I was inconsistent: ¿remember how I just recently said I refused to limit myself to keeping Yoshi out o’ levels he clearly didn’t belong ( like “Attic Antics” )? & yet I refused to apply the patch that allowed you to have mo’ than 19 characters per name ( well, without smushing letter together in hardcoded graphics, like the original Super Mario World did for “Forest of Illusions”’s names ), e’en though I wanted longer names. Here’s an example wherein I not only wanted it to have the word “the” & have it be “Persistence of Memory”, which is what the Dali painting’s actually called, but wanted it to be in its original Spanish, “La persistència de la memòria”, which would’ve been e’en harder to fit.

History repeats itself as I procrastinate allowing Boskeopolis Land to have levels that go beyond 1 line…

The note ’bout there being 1 o’ each color Yoshi is interesting ( not the least the fact that it’s wrong: you can also get a Blue Yoshi from that wings section o’ “Lunaria” ): you can’t 100% the game without finding the Yellow & Blue Yoshis, so they’re not all that secret. Only the Red Yoshi, which I showed off up ’bove the beginning o’ the 1st level, is truly secret.

Spreaking o’ the Yoshi section, its layout is odd. There’s just ’nough Koopas to feed Yoshi & leave 1 mo’. Knowing me, you’d think I’d leave just ’nough with none extra. The blocks are also setup so that it’s as awkward as possible to feed Yoshi, which I guess was the point, since I for some reason thought “awkward” meant “challenging”. ’Course it wouldn’t be LOTFS level without that awkward design leading to some hilarious glitches that kill you instantly. LOTFS teases you with intentional kaizo bullshit but doesn’t deliver, but does deliver kaizo bullshit by pure accident.

“HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME” is a reference to a line spoken a few times from a poem by T.S. Eliot called “The Wasteland”, a famous example o’ modernist poetry ’mong the literati. Despite said popularity with serious literati, the all-caps & lack o’ punctuation are true to the poem — ’cept LOTFS actually adds punctuation: the original line said “ITS”, not “IT’S”. ’Cause o’ this, I was always surprised “HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME” ne’er became a meme.

In the earlier 2012 version o’ this hack, this level had a blander background & “Green Greens” music. I always wanted this level to have “Gourmet Race”, what with the focus on speed, but there was no rendition on SMW Central & I was too incompetent to make any decent renditions, as my attempt @ “Sea Turtle Rock” showed. I later found “Peanut Plains” & settled for that, since ’twas close & was a’least mo’ fast-paced than “Green Greens”.

I think this is 1 o’ my better-designed levels. It’s full o’ things that can delay you; but if you’re clever, you can speed them up. For instance, you can actually jump o’er the Pokeys with precise jumps, skipping the delay o’ eating them, & you can skip building some o’ the bridge o’er the Lotus Plant if you know that you can run o’er block-wide gaps by holding the jump button.

2 flaws: I remember the goal being higher up, requiring you to hop off flying Koopas to reach it. Maybe I thought that was too hard, but I think it makes for better design. I also think the time’s not nearly tight ’nough: I wasn’t e’en going all that fast & I made it to the end with 50 whole seconds left. I think I wanted to time it so that the timer kept reaching 100 seconds so the song would keep getting faster & faster, thanks to the famous Funky glitch.

  • P-Switch level count: 33 / 60
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9


Music: “Flower Garden”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

The trick with this level was that I simply didn’t add a normal exit & set the normal exit to have no event. Thus, while most levels have no secret exits, this is the only level in this hack to have only a “secret exit”.

This was ’nother level I always liked, though it has its problems, too. That message box in the middle with the reset pipe is there ’cause some glitch I couldn’t figure out would sometimes cause the vine block to not make a vine when hit by the Rainbow Koopa, forcing you to warp to refresh the map.

There’s something to be said ’bout the oddness o’ this level’s layout. It’s s’posed to be a long stretch o’ a football field, only to be full o’ pipes. I guess that was the point. Strangely, despite this, the level does stay rather focused on the theme o’ Chargin’ Chucks & pipes & Piranha Plants. Then ’gain, ¿doesn’t most o’ this hack focus on those enemies?

¿Is that Muncher jump in the middle that I kept getting hit by e’en possible to make if big? I couldn’t do it @ all in my recent attempts.

  • P-Switch level count: 33 / 61
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Wonka Factory

Music: “Fear Factory”, Donkey Kong Country

After 2 strong levels we get a meh level. Clearly the aesthetics & the underutilized mechanics o’ conveyor belts & Li’l Sparkys masquerading as Super Mario Bros. 2 Sparks were s’posed to carry this level. Most o’ the 1st room is easily-dodged enemies on conveyor belts, with the only difficulty being the silly 1-tile conveyor jumps, & most o’ the 2nd room are easily-dodged Thwomps & Ball-’n-Chains, with the conveyor belts not doing much to change anything. Finally there’s ’nother autoscroller with unpredictable Podobos. The most interesting part is Wendy being a boss ( ¿Why didn’t I call this “Wendy’s Factory”? ¿Did I think nobody would get the reference or did I want her to be a surprise? ), marred by a wonky camera.

  • P-Switch level count: 33 / 62
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

@ this point we’ve reached 84 exits ( & 62 levels, oddly, which means I must’ve miscounted somewhere, ’cause I remember there being only 60 levels ). That leaves 1 mo’: the aptly-named “The Last Levels”. As the plural “levels” indicates, it’s a big exit, which I’ll go into next update.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 8 – Clean Up

We’re going to skip the world intros, since we’ll be jumping round rather erratically & they’re getting ol’.

Bootropolis ( revisited )

Music: “Shy Guy’s Toy Box”, Paper Mario

Probably should’ve done this back when I did the regular exit, but forgot that its “prize” was so inconsequential. You’ll see what I thought it unlocked in the next update.

Something I don’t show in this video: you don’t need to go to the hassle o’ getting the silver P if you already know where the doorway is; it works whether you hit it or not. The silver P just reveals it. Probably should’ve let myself die for a ’scuse to demonstrate that.

The graphics for the attic area are from Garfield & his 9 Lives for the GBA, which was surprisingly a decent game with nice graphics & music, unlock its bretheren Garfield: the Search for Pooky, which is shit — e’en shittier than this hack.

’Course, I can’t talk ’bout this level without mentioning the infamous game-breaking glitch that probably was the prime reason this hack wasn’t accepted into SMW Central 1 o’ the 2 times I tried. I don’t know how it happened, but the top block o’ those move-throughable blocks ’bove that ladder was solid ’stead o’ a ladder, making it impossible to get the golden mushroom, & thus impossible to get this exit & 100% the game. Considering how oft I tested this game, I have no idea how that flaw made it in, but somehow it did.

Though you were expected to use the shell o’ 1 o’ the yellow Koopas, as I show, to hit the turn block so you can get back o’er the wall, you can just throw the key @ it. This was unintentional, but is a nice way to keep players from accidentally screwing themselves o’er by destroying both shells.

  • P-Switch level count: 29 / 48
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 14
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Shroom of Streets

Music: “Dark Cave”, Pokémon Gold, Silver, & Crystal

& our message is just a hilarious 4th-wall-breaking joke ’bout everything wrong with these shrooms. Deleting my save file & filling my computer with viruses would’ve been a better reward.

The 50s & 60s ( revisited )

Music: “Hippie Battle”, Earthbound Beginnings

Finally we see where the “60s” part comes in.

While the palette gimmick feels cheap, I feel I did rather cleverly use it by forcing the player to puzzle out where the blue Koopa is. ’Course, as the end o’ the video shows, the player can just fly straight up @ the start & skip mo’ than half the level; & I could empathize, size that 1st part is annoying, ’specially if you fuck up in such embarassing ways as I did. I e’en feel bad ’bout having to raise the P-switch count, since the use o’ both P-switches is actually clever in psychedelic land. Then ’gain, if I didn’t use so many switches in superfluous ways, this wouldn’t be a problem, so I don’t feel bad, ne’ermind.

I read some people complain ’bout the palette in the 2nd area somehow being “godawful torture to the eye” or something. Yeah, making the gimmick o’ a level just a different palette, ’specially 1 as lazy & ugly as “invert all the colors” is, well, lazy. This is from the same person who, when much younger & making awful sprite comics ’stead o’ awful rom hacks, thought “Mario & Luigi with inverted colors” & “Mario in grayscale & 5 times as big” were compelling character designs.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 48
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Lab of Secrets

Music: “Revenge of Meta Knight – Halbert”, Kirby Super Star

Those lava sections are completely pointless. Due to the recording setup I have ( using Zsnes movies for recording, believe it or not ) I couldn’t show me turning off layer 3; but if I could, it’d show you that there are no fireballs anywhere nearby — they’re all way up ’bove the screen. The idea was that this was s’posed to be sort o’ a troll, sort o’ what I called @ the time “psychological challenge”, or something. Basically, it’s s’posed to make players worry ’bout cheap hits only to realize that they’re perfectly safe. It’s dumb & wastes time on subsequent attempts.

Which is relevant, ’cause I die all the time in that 2nd section, as shown. I actually expected to die many mo’ times, but I think I found a kind o’ rhythm to it that I didn’t know ’bout before. This was a case wherein I struggled ’tween what I thought was a clever & unused gimmick & my worries that ’twas too cumbersome & hard & not worth keeping. However, looking @ other playthroughs, it didn’t seem as if other players had much trouble with it.

What truly shocked me, though, was the section that came after it, which must be so late in development that I forgot ’bout it. I remember this level having you go through each o’ the previous lab bosses ’tween each room & having trivially easy ice section followed by some buggy sewer room wherein you bounce o’ breaking blocks or something, which is easy to screw yourself out o’ any chance o’ victory, & which I did see other players get annoyed with. Since neither o’ these rooms were any good, nor were any o’ the bosses save for 1, who was not good ’nough to fight ’gain, the replacement was definitely a good idea.

Though I die a lot, I don’t think this section is bad. I’m surprised I hadn’t done such an obvious gimmick as that till then, & it’s certainly 1 o’ the few all right layer-2 parts. It doesn’t o’erstay its welcome a’least. I can’t say my problems with this level were due to anything but my incompetence.

The Thwomp boss is all right — not much o’ a boss, but then none o’ the Super Meat Boy bosses were, either. I just don’t like how Thwomps are used in a 2nd boss. Since I couldn’t get the Custom Boss Sprite @ SMW Central to not make my rom shit its pants in Zsnes & didn’t want to reuse the boring Koopa Kid fights, I didn’t have many tools for making bosses but regular enemies.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 49
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

& with that we finally enter the true final world o’ the game: the bonus “Warped Void”.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 7 – Bowser’s Secret Sea

World E: Deserted Skies

Lab of the Mirage ( revisited )

Music: “Revenge of Meta Knight – Halbert”, Kirby Super Star

Yes, e’en this world’s lab’s secret exit involves flying.

The reason for my clumsy playing is that I just started using a real SNES controller & was getting used to it.

  • P-Switch level count: 27 / 45
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

World I: Bowser’s Secret Sea

I was a’least wise ’nough to hide the water levels ’way in a secret world that doesn’t give you anything for beating it.

Sea of Secrets

Music: “Underwater Tunnels”, Wario Land II

Nice awkward tiling o’ the bottom row o’ the background.

Not much to say ’bout this level. It’s not terrible — it’s just not terribly creative. It’s just a bunch o’ places where you need to dodge Urchins & swim round Electros. As the bonus ending shows, this level does reward you for noticing alternate routes.

Speaking o’ which, that brings up a point that annoys me: while I play rather clumsily in this video, when I was playing up to the part o’ the 2nd route, I did so well & smoothly, making early cycles with Urchins & squeezing through Electros with minimal movement. But I didn’t start recording till I got to just before the secret path, since it’s not as if I expected that to happen.

Also, that the “multiple paths, right path is 2nd-to-last” is a “puzzle” I’ve done a’least 1 other time, & probably mo’. It’s hilarious ’cause it wastes a li’l bit o’ the player’s time, & nothing else. Actually, to be fair, if the answer is this consistent for a few times, it does make for an OK puzzle in terms o’ challenging players to learn & remember. I did remember it ’cause it’s so common it’s solidified in my mind; I only intentionally took the last path to show it off.

The lack o’ P-switches & my foggy memory leads me to believe this was extensively remade late in development.

  • P-Switch level count: 27 / 46
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

S.S. Devil Koopa

Music: “Jib Jib”, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

For some reason I reference a lot o’ Japanese Mario names like Teresa ( Japanese name for Boo ) & “Devil Koopa”, which is actually what Super Mario World calls Bowser @ some point. I think I found it exotic, like how I always found the inaccurately translated enemy names in Super Mario RPG exotic.

The silver P-switch is a nice reward for exploring. I didn’t e’en know Boos turned to silver coins till I made this level. I also like how the dynamic o’ the 1st room changes if you take the key with you. As you can see, I couldn’t control myself worth shit & careened into every obstacle I could — but still didn’t die thanks to this level babying me & giving me plenty o’ powerups. The only problem is that savvy players would probably think to take the silver P-switch with them only to ne’er find a place they need it — ’nother flaw caused by my o’eruse o’ P-switch puzzles.

Speaking o’ which, the 2nd area has a needless blue switch, presumably to force the player to explore the left area on the top deck, where they can find a bunch o’ empty space & a single hopping Koopa.

That’s OK, ’cause it turns out my memory was wrong: I thought the ship went straight down, preventing you from swimming under everything, @ certain points, like just after the keyhole alcove. Turns out I changed that & allow you to straight swim past everything. Guess that was to give the player a back-up in case they stupidly waste the P-switch without getting rid o’ the brown blocks.

I have no idea why Luigi’s fiery palette is messed up in this area. ¿Does he e’en have a different palette scheme in this area? Other than the fiery palette being his normal palette, everything else is the same. ¿Why does this exist?

You’ll also notice the water surface tiles choppily jutting into each other when the open surface meets the surface in front o’ the ship. No matter how much I tried, I could ne’er fix that problem. I don’t think I could e’er figure out the frame speed o’ the original surface.

& our reward for this secret exit is… a warp to the middle o’ the forest for some reason. Makes me wonder if this route would make for better speedrunning — as if anyone would be masochistic ’nough to speedrun this gem.

  • P-Switch level count: 28 / 47
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 14
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Sea of Classics

Music: “Underwater Theme”, Super Mario All-Stars ( Super Mario Bros. ) ( Same )

Now we get some truly shitty level design: an obnoxious maze with cliché references to the original Super Mario Bros., glitchy turn-block graphics, & a P-switch. I love how I didn’t e’en go all the way with the classic references: the music is from All-Stars & the end has the Super Mario World goal post, not the flagpole. It’s the only level with the goal post, too, so that means that if one’s stupid ’nough, they could use this level to get the bonus level that otherwise is defacto edited out. I’d be interested to see how glitched that looks.

Also, the outlines on everything is wrong: it’s dark gray when the original Super Mario Bros. obviously used pure black.

The 1 interesting point ’bout this level is that it’s while copying the graphics from Super Mario Bros. that I learned that the clouds & bushes are the same graphics, just with different palettes.

  • P-Switch level count: 29 / 48
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 14
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Shroom of Seas

Music: “Underwater Theme”, Super Mario All-Stars ( Super Mario Bros. ) ( Same )

¿Do I have déjà vu or did I not also see this message somewhere else? Considering how many messages are just stupid jokes, it amazes me that I couldn’t come up with ’nough messages that I had to stoop to repetition twice. Truly these were here just to give me a reason to have mo’ multiple exits, since it’s not as if I could’ve made level layouts mo’ creative than a straight line to the end. I mean, we already saw what kind o’ bizarre shit I come up with when I don’t just use shrooms with that warp star to the middle o’ a forest shit.

I want to emphasize: your reward for beating this secret world is a fucking shroom. A fucking shroom with a message that’s a copy o’ ’nother & randomized item blocks that don’t e’en seem to work & aren’t worth e’en 10 coins.

Next update will be e’en shorter, & hopefully mo’ prompt, since it’ll just be a li’l clean-up & build-up to the true final world.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 6 – King Koopa Kastle

World A: Valley o’ Bowser’s ( revisited )

¿Have I mentioned that I loved making you go back to the start @ the end ( well, the end o’ the main game )?

King Koopa Kastle ( revisited )

Sorry the video’s so long. I forgot to edit some parts @ the beginning, such as the boring walk through the o’erworld all the way to Bowser’s Castle. Feel free to skip ‘head to ’bout 8 minutes if you’re busy.

Music: “Bowser’s Castle ( Second Time )”, Super Mario RPG

Ugh. I forgot what a pain this level is — made e’en worse by recording errors that made me have to redo a bunch o’ it, which is why the footage is so uneven. I don’t know if I mentioned it yet, but my method for taking footage is odd: I record Zsnes videos & dump them as avis. This normally is mo’ stable in that I don’t need to worry ’bout rendering mess-ups happening while playing; but on rare occasions Zsnes somehow makes an input mistake @ a point, causing all footage hereafter to be desynced & messed up. This usually leads to an hour o’ footage wherein Luigi keeps entering the level & jumping right into spikes. @ 1 point our rogue Luigibot e’en decided that he was sick o’ this level & decided to hop round randomly in “Ghosts ‘n Goblins”. Can’t blame him too much.

I should admit here that my original mortifying death to Bowser was part o’ that. Most would be thrilled to have a ‘scuse to cut out such embarassment, but since I had a dumb joke to make, I decided to reenact my failure & edit it in. If you look @ said footage, it may look as if I’m making obvious mistakes… till you see the winning footage where I was trying to win & see me make some o’ the same mistakes — just not ‘nough to be killed. I have no idea how I managed to beat all the stuff in the Green Switch but apparently have trouble gainst Bowser.

If you’re curious why I keep insisting on keeping a Mecha Koopa round after the 1st round, e’en going so far as to kill a Mecha Koopa when I only have 1 left & still 1 hit left, it’s a silly speedrun strat ( not e’en the full 1, either ) to make the 2nd, harder section faster & easier. Despite fucking it up so much in the failed attempt ( as I reenact here ), you can see that I still attempt it in the winning run — though a’least I succeeded that time.

Some o’ the deaths in the 1st section are also reenacted. It seems disingenuous, — & I take the authenticity o’ footage ’bout electronic toys with the same seriousness as war photos in major newspapers — but I’d say it’s mo’ honest ’bout the actual experience I had playing the level, which is what I wanted to show. The fact that I lost the footage doesn’t mean that the stuff didn’t happen.

As an easter egg, throughout the level I hid a bunch o’ secret mushroom blocks. I can’t remember if ’twas 30 or 50 I put in, but I could only remember where a few o’ them were, & a few others I found by surprise. I can only guess that the secret mushroom block @ the end o’ the thunder section being solid black, appearing when the screen flashes, was intentional.

This level’s difficulty is incredibly imbalanced. The 1st room is the hardest; past the midway point is a joke. ’Twas annoying, ’cause in my 1st recording I got to the vine ( ¿why are there vines in a castle? ) section quite quickly, only to die in a dumb way by going o’er the ball-&-chain’s block & nudging the top o’ the block with my feet just ’nough to lose my grip o’ the vine & careen right off. After that, it took fore’er to e’en get back to that section. Compared what comes before, the vine section & everything hereafter is easy.

That said, I think the 1st room is the best part o’ the level. I like the mazelike nature o’ the level, & some o’ the jumps are tricky — ’specially the jumps round the Thwomps. My only problem is I think the section under the Thwomps is needless padding. It’s unlikely that if you fall from the Thwomp section you’ll land on solid land — I ne’er did, a’least — so it might as well just be a bottomless pit.

1 note I will make ’bout the video is that despite all the idiotic mistakes I made in what must’ve been mo’ than 3 dozen attempts, including the lost footage, I didn’t once get hurt by the shell the Blue Koopa kicks @ you that you need to bring to the Ball-&-Chain place.

The cloudy section before the vine section is so empty & pointless that I actually forgot ’bout it when I was 1st writing this till editing the video ‘bove. I wish I sped it up in the 2nd run, since it’s far too boring to watch a 2nd time & the video’s already way too long. Sorry.

After the midway point is mixed. The autoscrolling section actually isn’t that bad. Forcing the player to duck & let the edge o’ the screen push them past the spikes @ the start is clever ( but goes on a bit too long ). It’s also why I had to change the safe way to leave this level @ the beginning I mentioned in the 1st part, as the sprite that makes you leave the level by touching the edges o’ the screen for some reason propagates to further subscreens. Other than that, I actually felt pressure to keep up with the screen, rather than in most autoscrollers wherein you spend most o’ your time waiting ( “Donut Plains 2” & “Valley of Bowser 2” come to attention ).

The thunder section looks nice, but has mediocre level design. It has some o’ the most uncreative jumps in a video game: here’s a bunch o’ rows o’ vines, & here’s a bunch o’ cloud platforms that all look the same. Actually, I take back what I said ’bout the section looking nice: the thunder effect looks nice, but the clouds look way too bright & tacky. In these red levels like this & “Sea of Sangre” I turned way too many things red that didn’t look good red.

The water section looks nice, & is a nice callback to the original Super Mario Bros., but is brainlessly easy & mostly just a slow slog, ’specially through those tunnels with the Fish Bones.

The final tower climb has no puzzles you haven’t seen before. It does have the hopping statue sprite, which doesn’t appear anywhere else in this hack; but it oft doesn’t spawn for mysterious reasons. This hack was ne’er good @ sprite management; everyone would always tell me to apply some patch, but none o’ them e’er did anything. This was ‘nother edit I forgot to make: there’s a part where you’re climbing up the vine to the top where a hopping statue finally appears. I wanted to have a word balloon pointing to it that said something like, “Hey, sorry I’m late”.

I have no idea why Peach’s dialogue’s letters are glitchy in some places. I don’t remember that happening before.

Also: no credits. ’Stead, we get yet ’nother Mushroom — ’cept this 1 gives you powerups for free & has the most useless message box in the game. The reason for the lack o’ credits is that, ’cause o’ how I edited the graphics in this game, they became glitchy. Also, it wouldn’t be too accurate, since some o’ the vanilla Super Mario World enemies like Magikoopa or all but 1 ( ¡Spoiler! ) Koopa Kid don’t show up & custom sprites like Birdo or Beezo obviously won’t show in the credits. But moreo’er, the game would end without letting the player save, & I always hated it when games didn’t save you beating the final boss; & this hack was, über alles, ’bout me avoiding all those tropes in video games that I always hated as a kid like not saving beating the final boss or lives & game o’er.

  • P-Switch level count: 27 / 45
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

We’re only 3/4ths through the levels, though. We should still have ’bout 4 or mo’ posts left.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 5 – The Green Switch

Highway to Hell ( revisited )

Music: “Dark Cave”, Pokémon Gold, Silver, & Crystal

A’least the secret exit is rather clever. Here we see the importance o’ being able to take Yoshi from level to level, which is usually considered bad design in Super Mario World hacks: some exits require it. You’d think that since the idea o’ being able to take Yoshi from level to level was so important that I’d do a better job o’ planning for the happenstance in other levels. You’d think since you’re definitely expected to take Yoshi into the room with the key that I wouldn’t put Balls ’n Chains in it with the magical powers to make Yoshi’s head & neck disappear.

Here’s also a case wherein SMW Central’s advice helped: originally the pipe to the keyhole room had brown blocks o’er it, requiring you to go & get the blue P-switch ’gain, double-carrying both it & the key. I wasn’t sure whether to go with this or not till SMW Central made the decision for me, telling me not to require such glitches. I agreed, & am glad, since it would’ve just made this exit excessively annoying.

( Note: you saw me double grab in the secret exit to “Caves that is Cool”, but it wasn’t required there, as you can just carry the blue P-switch o’er to the brown blocks & go back to get the key. Nowhere in LOTFS is double-grabbing required. )

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 32
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

World G: The Lost Woods

There’s quite a difficulty leap here. I remember 1 o’ the people who looked @ this hack @ SMW Central complained ’bout my hack getting too hard too quickly ’cause he played this section near the start — a lesson on the risks o’ giving the player a lot o’ control o’er what level they play next.

This world takes inspiration from “Forest of Illusion” in that it has many circuitous paths. Also, earlier on levels had a theme o’ having names that indicated how lost you were, like “Still lost…”. I found these level names to be too generic & gave mo’ indicative names.

Playing in the BG

Music: “Forest’”, Kirby’s Adventure

Welcome to the world o’ gimmicks, which reveals how late most o’ the forest levels were in development. Having run out o’ ways to make you carry P-switches from point A to B, I’d just read through SMW Central’s lists o’ patches, blocks, & RAM addresses for ideas, & that’s where this came in. I’m surprised I’ve ne’er seen these blocks used in any other hack; you could do so many mo’ interesting things with them than I did.

I thought I remembered being able to skip most o’ this level by just using the changing blocks themselves as platforms, but when playing it this time it didn’t seem to allow me to do that so much. I dunno, maybe I fixed that problem later on.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 33
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Teresa’s Triathalon

Music: “Shade Man – Ghouls ’N Ghosts”, Mega Man 7 ( Based on 1st stage theme from Ghost ’N Goblins games )

Despite its name, this level actually doesn’t have much to do with racing, ’cept for maybe a few areas, but timing. I think I started with the idea o’ racing the Goomba disguised as a Boo, but found my ability to design levels round it limited, since if the distance ’tween you & the Boo is too great you’ll get hit; thus I found that timing ’tween the Boo being on wooden parts worked better for puzzles, but then didn’t bother changing this level’s theme to match that or e’en give it mo’ interesting graphics than vanilla Super Mario World’s usual ghost house graphics.

( Fun fact: I believe this level was originally “Ghosts ’n Goblins” & what is now called that was called “Teresa’s Revenge”. I also think that other level originally had a Boo boss, which made that level name actually make sense. )

Also, ironically, the level’s quite slow if you don’t cheat. I have no idea how I missed the fact that someone has ample room to just fly to the main goal without bothering with the long hopping & floating bullshit, but I can understand anyone who takes the faster route. Similarly, one may be better off just damage-boosting to the left to the key room rather than wait for that sluggish Boo to go all the way right & then all the way left. This was a case o’ me coming up with a clever idea, but 1 that wasn’t particularly fun.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 34
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Orchid Orchard

Music: “Flower Garden”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

This level name must be so late in development that I didn’t e’en expect it on this playthrough, though I recall the level itself exactly as it was ( though with a slightly better palette now ). I can’t e’en remember what ’twas originally called, though — ¿“Still lost…” maybe? I remember these forest levels originally had level names all talking ’bout how lost you were till I later decided those names were lazy.

Don’t have much else to say ’bout this level, though. Nothing in it is particularly surprising, though it doesn’t feel too ol’ hat, either. We see a variation o’ sorts on the “Some Igloo Level” Muncher puzzle wherein now you start going through with a star & then go back through with a newly-gained Yoshi so you can go back to a pipe near the start & tongue a P-switch out o’ some brown blocks. It’s ’nother instance o’ that ubiquitous blue P-switch, but a’least you don’t have to carry it anywhere. It’s basically just a way to ensure you have to have Yoshi.

Though I just realized that, with that aforementioned ability to take Yoshi into levels, & this level’s conspicuous lack o’ a no-Yoshi sign, one could simply enter the level already with a Yoshi & beat it with li’l effort. Great testing.

  • P-Switch level count: 22 / 35
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Inferno Forest

Music: “Forest Frenzy’”, Donkey Kong Country

I don’t hardly remember e’er playing this level with Yoshi, despite the inevitability o’ beating “Orchid Orchard” with him, & doing so now makes the level much easier. In particular, the fact that Yoshi can walk on fire is somewhat funny — though I guess it’s no odder than the fact that Yoshi can just walk on Munchers. Usually I have a fire flower & accidentally sabotage myself by trying to spin jump off a Piranha Plant, only to kill it with a fireball & land right in the lava.

This level actually originated from a different, mo’ linear hack ( the secret exit was thrown in after I transfered it to LOTFS ), which used icegoom’s Super Mario World Redrawn graphics, which is why they’re used here for the level graphics. I think it works well with the Donkey Kong Country background & music. Mixing forest & fire is also a cool gimmick, though I don’t think I did ’nough with it.

The fire blocks is 1 case where I disagree with SMW Central’s advice, but caved in since I didn’t care that much & didn’t want something so trifling to get in the way o’ submission. They were originally ice blocks, but SMW Central said that didn’t make sense for a fire level. I always found it weird how much o’ sticklers they could be for “sense” in Mario games. It’s like how they complain ’bout floating Munchers, e’en though Mario games have had floating ? blocks fore’er. I always felt the fire blocks made less sense, ¿since shouldn’t fire blocks be mo’ resistant to fire? Then ’gain, I guess they’re kinda like the fire blocks in Wario Land 3.

  • P-Switch level count: 22 / 36
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

The ’50s and ’60s ( 1st trip )

Music: “Hippie Battle’”, Earthbound Beginnings

As the info box says, his level requires 1,000 coins. Normally I’d show off how great “Pain in My Temple” is, but it turned out I already had 1,000 coins ( you just can’t see it thanks to zany 1-player Luigi glitches ), so it let me go through. If you didn’t have ’nough, an invisible wall would stop you.

Also note: you only have to pay the fee once, a’least till you reset, so don’t worry ’bout dying.

Not like it matters, since as this level shows, it’s a simple, easy level. It makes you wonder why the game e’en bothered to lock out Yoshi or power-ups. It seems this level hardly does anything but make everything grayscale. Big woop.

  • P-Switch level count: 22 / 37
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Rope-Bee Trees

Music: “Forest Frenzy’”, Donkey Kong Country

For some reason I think the sound o’ the saws goes great with this music.

This is ’nother level that changed quite a bit from what I remember. I remember the secret exit had you follow a rope down to a pipe in the middle o’ the rope section, not @ the end. I guess I feared — or maybe SMW Central told me — that the secret exit was too obscure & required suicidal guessing.

Gotta love that rope that just hangs out down there, though.

I don’t know how I feel ’bout making you go back & forth for the secret exit here. On 1 side, it’s repetitive; on the other, a’least this is challenging, as opposed to “Teresa’s Triathalon”, which was just boring.

I love how the main path ( the room with the blue background ) has so many parts where you can trivially skip harder parts, but I take the harder parts due to my instinct to avoid skipping parts I want to show ( since it’s too easy for me to know how to skip parts, having played this hack millions o’ times ).

  • P-Switch level count: 22 / 38
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Nose-Bleed Trees

Music: “Forest’”, Kirby’s Adventure

As this video shows, there’s a major glitch for the secret exit ( which is necessary to open the rest o’ the path to the green switch ) in that if you get the midway point & then die, you lose the “golden mushrooms” you collected & have to beat the normal exit & restart from the beginning.

While I like how big & explorative this level is, & like the on-&-off water gimmick’s gameplay, — though I wish I’d had the savvy to change the background in some way so that it actually looks like you’re underwater — I think this level has too much. ¿Did it truly need a blue P-switch just to get to the normal exit? ¿Did it truly need a Blue Yoshi to reach the secret exit, which already needs 5 golden mushrooms?

  • P-Switch level count: 23 / 39
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 10
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

World H: The Sewers

Probably the most exotic level theme in this hack, other than the city theme in that not-truly-much-o’-a-world. I wish this hack had mo’ interesting level themes.

This is the only map to have custom graphics, though I didn’t do much with them. I always felt bad ’bout the blandness o’ the o’erworld’s graphics. 1 o’ the reasons I’d ne’er remake this hack is that I’d force myself to redraw the whole o’erworld, & that would take years.

Pipe Pollution

Music: “Underground ( Super Mario Bros. 3 )’”, Super Mario All-Stars ( same )

This is the 1 level where I’d say I did OK with the layer-2, ’specially the 2nd half. My only problem with it is the beginner’s trap near the end o’ the 1st area: there’s no way to know that you need to bring a shell ’head o’ you to make a vine ( if you don’t have a cape, a’least ), & the level kills you outright if you don’t have psychic powers.

Also, 1 flaw with the 2nd half is that I think it’s almost impossible during the downward portion if you’re big, ’less you’ve memorized the level, as you have to wait a li’l bit as the toxic sludge is going down to see where solid land is, but still have ’nough space ’bove to jump without diving head-1st into the sludge. Then ’gain, I guess you could duck when jumping; but it’d still be much harder, I’m sure. I dunno: I guess it’s not a huge problem. Still, a lesson: always test levels with multiple power-ups, which I definitely didn’t do.

  • P-Switch level count: 23 / 40
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 10
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

Trash Pack Pipes

Music: “Underground ( Super Mario Bros. 3 )’”, Super Mario All-Stars ( same )

My only problem with the 1st half is the pointless & dickish silver P-switch, which, if you didn’t think to go on a detour, makes you restart the 1st half if you didn’t bring it to the end. I guess, to be fair, you can clearly see it up there @ the start, giving a huge hint that you’ll probably need it. ( ¿Does this game have any optional P-switches? I don’t think it does. )

In the original version o’ this level, the 1st half was the whole level; I later decided the level was too short, so I added the 2nd half. I’m glad I did, as I quite like it & its tricky jumps. I also like its graphics — the trash blocks from Wario Land 4 & the background from the GBA Garfield & His 9 Lives, o’ all things. I wish I’d used these graphics mo’, as the rest o’ this world looks a bit generic ( not helped by the proliferation o’ that clich&eactue; Mario underground music ).

My only problem with the 2nd half is the obvious mistake o’ having 2 midway points, 1 structure-less 1 right in front o’ the pipe & a normal 1 a few blocks afterward. I’m not sure what my thinking was there, but I’m sure ’twas a mistake. Maybe I thought having that white line just floating in front o’ the pipe, e’en for just a few seconds, was tacky & decided to just create a normal midway point, only to forget to get rid o’ the original.

What I find funny ’bout this footage is that I always found the 2nd half hard & usually died a lot in it; but in this playthrough, though I die in stupid ways in the 1st half, I make it through the 2nd half, 1st try, without getting hit @ all.

  • P-Switch level count: 24 / 41
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 11
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

Climb of Clogginess

Music: “Underground ( Super Mario Bros. 3 )’”, Super Mario All-Stars ( same )

Not much to say ’bout this level. Other than the downward floating section @ the end ( which isn’t all that original, but a’least was ne’er done anywhere else in this hack ), it’s color by #s, “go somewhere to get P-switch, go back to use it to get past brown blocks / Munchers”.

I like how the Bullet Bills round the vines offer almost 0 threat, as the chances o’ them firing ’fore you pass them are thin.

  • P-Switch level count: 25 / 42
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 12
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

Lab of ‘Difficulty’

Music: “Fight Against an Armed Boss’”, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

@ the time I liked parodying kaizo hacks, since I hated them & their proliferation @ the time ( remember, I started making this hack round 2007 ). It’s a joke that isn’t as relevant anymo’, since I don’t think kaizo hacks are as popular anymo’. Maybe if I’d retinkered it into parody o’ terrible Super Mario Maker levels…

I always liked the “puzzle” o’ this 1st room, as it does what I think good puzzles should do: challenges fallacious preconceptions. In this case, the puzzle is based on the idea inherent in Mario games that pipes always have the possibility o’ being transitions to other rooms, conflicted gainst the absurdity o’ re-entering a pipe you entered the level through. ¿But why should that pipe be an exception? It shouldn’t — & there lies the fallacy. It’s not a genius “puzzle”, though — “The Second Reality Project” had already done it back in, ¿what, 2002? Plus, the info box almost tells you, “Hey, go back into the pipe whence you entered”, e’en if hid ’hind a seemingly casual cliché line.

The rest o’ the level is mediocre to bad. The only high point is the cool palettes in the water section that e’en affect Mario & Luigi, which was a bigger pain than you might think ( Lunar Magic itself doesn’t let you give Mario & Luigi custom palettes for each level — a’least it didn’t when I made this ). ’Cept, as you can see, I fucked up, & Luigi temporarily becomes Mario for this section. Otherwise, the P-switch is pointless & the star makes the rest o’ the section pointless.

The 1st section is generic Thwomp dodging. I remember in an earlier version the part where you go upward was harder ’cause the camera refused to scroll upward. Not sure how I fixed it here.

& then there’s the smasher section. I only had that ’cause I for some reason felt bad ’bout not using the smashers a’least somewhere. The problem is, the smasher sections were ne’er good in Super Mario World & they can ne’er be good ’cause they’re slow & boring. Autoscrollers are, in general, boring-as-death levels & I’m glad they’re rare in this game. But this smasher section is terrible ’cause I didn’t time anything well, making it so that you have to already know the level well to avoid death as you need to jump before you can see where you need to jump to to avoid being smashed & knocked off platforms.

This boss is the worst. It’s e’en worse than just the Goomba in the 1st lab, since a’least that was a joke. Not only were Koopas already used for the better desert lab, I was so lazy & incompetent that I didn’t e’en recolor the blue Koopa so that their colors would match the actual Koopa Bros., e’en though it’d’ve been too easy to contemplate.

& then we have the dimwitted secret exit, which is just “notice coins ’bove hole & use that to indicate you can fall in”. Luckily, it just leads to ’nother useless Shroom level.

  • P-Switch level count: 26 / 43
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 12
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

Shroom of Sewers

Music: “Underground ( Super Mario Bros. 3 )’”, Super Mario All-Stars ( same )

A’least the message is actually useful info this time.

The Green Switch

Music: “The Axem Rangers Drop In’”, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

I’d say this is the best Switch. While most are trivial “hop from block to block” with li’l thought to them, this feels like a coherent level with a coherent theme. I die a lot, but I still had fun doing the tricky jumps. I particularly like the subtle difficulty o’ the final jump.

I somewhat wonder if I should’ve made it a bit longer. Then ’gain, too long & this level would’ve been too frustrating.

I do like how I tried to give each Switch ( ’cept the Red Switch ) a theme: the Yellow being flying, the Blue being icy physics, & this 1 being bouncy blocks. I only wish the Yellow & Blue Switches did mo’ with their themes, ’specially the Blue Switch. I also wish the Red Switch weren’t utter garbage.

  • P-Switch level count: 26 / 44
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 12
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

We’ve already hit all the Switches. Next is Bowser’s Castle, & then off to the postgame.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Programming, Video Games

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 4 – The Blue Switch

World C: Shroom City Mainland ( revisited )

3 mo’ levels from this disparate “world”.

Piranha Trap Pass ( revisited )

Music: “Overworld”, New Super Mario Bros.

As expected, the secret exit that clearly leads to that wide space on the left side o’ the map to the left is on the left side o’ the level.

Mo’ evidence that I redid this level @ a later time: I wisely got rid o’ the blue P-switch that was here before & just had the pipe open @ the end. Originally, the blue P-switch was where the fire flower now is in the cave section, on the far left side, a copy o’ a trick I use later, so ’twas redundant here. Similarly, the pipe @ the end used to have brown blocks round it, in a much less interesting copy o’ a few levels we’ve already seen.

As I show in the cave section, while I added an extra pipe to allow one to get back up, this only added a way to get stuck & be forced to start-select out or wait for the timer to kill them if they haven’t beaten the level yet. That pipe was added @ the behest o’ SMW Central back when the P-switch was still there as it made it impossible to beat the level if you made it past there without grabbing the P-switch & you didn’t have a cape. ’Course, since the P-switch is gone, there’s no reason to need to get back up anymo’, so it would’ve been better had I ne’er added that pipe @ all.

I have mixed views ’bout the main challenge o’ the part after the cave: though I like the way the tricky jumps don’t outright kill you if you fail, which is nice for an early level, the fact that you have to swim all the way back makes it almost worse. Also, the ease is a bit silly considering all the levels with plenty o’ bottomless pits round this level. If you can’t handle these simple jumps, I don’t know how you’d handle the level after the next — or the level before this 1.

  • P-Switch level count: 14 / 22
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Totally Stoned

Music: “Marble Zone”, Sonic the Hedgehog

The name’s a joke my teenage self clearly thought was funnier than my current self.

Here’s a level that taught me a devious hack to trick people into thinking a level’s design is less boring that it truly is: spruce up the visuals. The level’s mainly just the same simple gimmick o’ breaking open clogged passages with Koopa shells, which I found rather boring. But I ’specially found the original graphics, which were just a typical tree BG from a few levels & the normal graphics found in many other levels in this hack, so I changed them into Sonic graphics to make it a’least look mo’ interesting. Now ’stead we have to deal with tacky cut-off thanks to the top o’ the grass being move-throughable.

’Course I also spruced up this level by cutting out a lot o’ the filler pap. I remember an earlier version had this long section where you had to go up some stone tower & dodge a bunch o’ Koopas to get a throw block, & then you had to race down so you could throw it @ a brick to pass through. Actually, I think just moderating that would’ve been better than cutting it out completely; might’ve made this level a bit mo’ interesting.

The layer-2 section is 1 o’ the least bad implementations I’ve done, ’specially thanks to the weird gravity-defying Spike Top.

I do like the final trick o’ the shell-kicking gimmick @ the end.

  • P-Switch level count: 14 / 23
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3


Music: “No Eating Crackers in the Theater”, Mother 3

O, this level. This is 1 o’ those levels that’s big, but quite a bit o’ it is irrelevant — a’least parts o’ the night section. One could also argue that this level falls into a bout o’ trying to do too much & not keeping focus. ¿What do Munchers on pipes have to do with a city haunted @ night? ¿& why would the pipes be high up in the sky? ¿Wouldn’t it make mo’ sense had I put it underground — specially since I don’t think there were any bottomless pits in the day portion, so it shouldn’t have conflicted with the upper portions. There’s also some copied parts: the whole “Disco Koopa chases you through spike blocks you have to navigate through” gimmick’s already used later, & here it’s easily made trivial by just rushing forward, not allowing the Disco Koopa to drop from its perch.

The dark half is also mixed in quality. On the good side there’s the death holes scattered in the formerly solid streets, emphasizing the uglier side o’ the haunted night section, as well as just how generally mo’ twisted the dark side looks; on the other, some parts are just jarringly off, like the big holes o’ nothing in many places, such as round the top, & the weird section with the weird white Piranha Plants with the spike holes that slowly kill you ( since you can’t jump out o’ them ). Also, I’ve noticed that Boo Carousels — whatever they’re called — aren’t truly challenging; they just waste your time.

Still, I have a bit o’ a tenderness for this level. The way the level changes @ night & the weird Muncher-infested pipelines in daytime have character, & while SMW Central complained ’bout the need to intentionally kill yourself to continue past the “Ghost Mushroom”, or whatever it’s s’posed to be ( while admitting that the infinite lives makes it less mean ), I still stand by it as clever & no harsher than some o’ the puzzles considered legitimate in other hacks. It’s basically a power-up filter that gives you some power-ups afterward, which is mo’ lenient than some hacks give you.

I’m surprised the puzzle I made for fighting the Boo boss hasn’t been done mo’. I’ve seen convoluted pipe mazes you have to kick shells through, but ne’er a straight race to hop up platforms with a throw block before it disappears. But as the video shows, mine was a bit mo’ lenient: there’s a Koopa that offers a’least 1 guaranteed hit; & technically one could get 1 o’ the many Koopas lower down, if desperate.

I should also probably ’splain the arrow coin pointing down next to that pipe in the 1st area:

That was a friendly li’l riff on SMW Central who kept complaining ’bout blind jumps in LOTFS. Sort o’ imagine some asshole hacker saying, “Uh O: better warn the player that it’s OK to fall down this long fall”. I’m not sure why I felt the need to tease them, since I’m sure I should’ve agreed with them — I’m certainly no fan o’ blind jumps, & they certainly don’t fit in LOTFS’s main mission o’ not being a bullshit kaizo hack.

Finally, I always hop off the side o’ the building as the Boo boss reaches the bottom o’ the screen ’pon dying, causing us both to plummet back to the bottom o’ the tower ( since the Boo boss doesn’t die till it goes off-screen, regardless o’ where the camera moves ), & was saddened when purplegoomba64 didn’t do it. ( Also, I forgot all ’bout that o’erworld glitch that happens afterward in that video. )

  • P-Switch level count: 15 / 24
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 5
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 4

World F: Mt. Windsnow

Music: “Walking the Snowy Mountains”, Final Fantasy V

Earlier on, this world was much shorter: there was just “Mt. Windsnow”, “Caves that Is Cool”, “Celsius Lake” ( though as I’ll mention when I get to it, it changed immensely, too ), & the lab & switch levels. Feeling ’twas unfair to have this world so short, I lengthened it; now, ironically, it is probably 1 o’ the longest.

’Bove: original Mt. Windsnow o’erworld, circa 2007
Below: latest Mt. Windsnow o’erworld

& the very original version, when ’twas called simply “JJW Game” & none o’ the levels were e’en made, it looked completely different:

Mt. Windsnow

Music: “Freeze Man Stage – Iceberg Area”, Mega Man 7

A simple but challenging romp that I actually had fun playing. It helps that I wasn’t as familiar with this level as most o’ the others, so it actually felt fresh. I particularly like the part near the end where you have to walk down staircases with spikes, something that’d be trivially easy if not for the ground being slippery.

You can tell I changed this late in development by the use o’ quite a few custom sprites. For some reason I hardly e’er used custom sprites. It’s not that I found them hard to use; I just ne’er thought ’bout it for some reason.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to tell players to use Birdo’s egg to continue through the level; ’twas a trick ripped straight off from Super Mario Bros. 2, & that game didn’t have to tell players what was an obvious use.

  • P-Switch level count: 15 / 25
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 5
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 4

Caves that Is Cold

Music: “Blizzard Buffalo”, Mega Man X3

I’m thoroughly satisfied with the 1st half, which was also spruced up late in development. The level design was simply tightened up, with the P-switch run actually being timed so that there’s some challenge, & not just me trying to guess when would be the right time to end it; but the true improvement are the foggy graphics. The original version was just a bland blue cave.

The 2nd part is still lame. I think I tried to shorten the raft section from the original version, but it’s still a slow-ass raft. I ’specially love the bat that’s pointless, since it’ll always flutter below you as your raft rises. I think the keyhole secret was the only reason I kept the raft section.

The blue P-switch is useless. Yeah, it challenges you to realize you can go left sometimes; but that’s it. Also, this level reuses the “go to end to get switch so you can race back to a pipe near the beginning” gimmick already used back in “Basidio Bridge” & “Dark Desert”.

  • P-Switch level count: 16 / 26
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 6
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 5

Celsius Lake

Music: “Underwater Tunnels”, Wario Land II

A nice bonus level that’s hardly challenging @ all. There’s not e’en much to say other than to point out how sparse this level looks ( the background’s just some Game Boy style kelp ) & how lazy I was that I couldn’t e’en make whatever it is that’s keeping you from freezing to death not blue mushrooms — ’cause it makes sense that blue mushrooms warm you up. Also, ¿why’d I let the bar go red when you’re close to freezing? Should be the opposite.

Originally, there was a different level here: 1 where you had to hop on dolphins hopping o’er deadly water, with some sections in which deadly water ( purple ) & safe water ( cyan ) jarringly stood right ’side each other. It sucked hard, which was why ’twas replaced. Just wanted to remind you that as weak as these levels may be, there were far worse before.

  • P-Switch level count: 17 / 27
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 6
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 5

Shroom of Shivers

Music: “Freeze Man Stage – Iceberg Area”, Mega Man 7

I may be misremembering, ¿but wasn’t the secret sea world already hinted @ in ’nother “Shroom” level? God, these levels are so repetitive, I couldn’t e’en stop myself from repeating messages, ¿could I?

Hotel Baltic Ave.

Music: “Fortress”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

Not long after the long “Bootropolis” we have ’nother long level.

This level has a history. When I was making it I had grand plans that this would be my “magnum opus”, a’least for this hack. I think I was watching raocow play The Second Reality Project 2 & was champing @ the bit a bit @ how nice it looked, so I decided to make a super snazzy looking level that uses 6 whole graphics “banks” all for itself. I certainly think it still looks nice, since it uses graphics from Wario Land 4, which looks great. I only wish I could’ve done mo’ with the outside graphics. I also wish I’d had any talent with porting music & could’ve made a port o’ “Crescent Moon Village”.

That said, I think the level fails to keep up with my expectations. The 1st problem is that my expectations were high: I wanted this to be some huge, nonlinear level full o’ secrets & exploration — something close to “Hotel Horror”1, which is where these graphics originate. But as you can see, it’s quite linear, actually: there’s just a bunch o’ rooms with short puzzles to get 1 out o’ 4 topaz quarters, or whatever they’re s’posed to be, to get through the door to the midway point, with a few pointless rooms with power-ups & coins. I dunno, I feel like I could’ve done mo’ with the different floors.

Worse, this level’s imbalanced: after the midway point you have a long ice area that, as the video shows, is literally just a troll job — a self-inflicted jab @ my o’eruse o’ “take item @ point A to point B to get item to unlock point C, etc.” All you get for completing it is a fire flower… which you need to start the puzzle. & after that you have a short hallway with the cheapest Fishing Boo e’er ( I swear in 1 o’ those deaths in the video the flame just warps to where Luigi is ), & then a short climb upward. What we had for a exploratory level turns into pure linear, color by #s level design.

But the absolute worst is the secret exit. You have to go through the whole 1st half ’gain, & then you just go left in the hallway with the Fishing Boo. That room has no challenge & the puzzle was done in a much funnier manner in Brutal Mario. ¿Why bother with the secret exit when ’twas so clearly thrown in & just makes the level mo’ repetitive & annoying? ’Cause this was my magnum opus & ’course there needed to be a secret exit, e’en if it serves no purpose.

If the secret exit were gone, it wouldn’t be too bad, though. I guess some o’ the puzzles are clever, like Yoshi-jumping bridge-building or that secretly challenging room with the Chargin’ Chucks… or a’least they would be clever if you couldn’t mow through them with a cape, as the video shows later on — a cape you’re pretty much guaranteed to have since the level gives it to you & you need it to reach the switch.

  • P-Switch level count: 18 / 28
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 7
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Some Igloo Level

Music: “Blizzard Buffalo”, Mega Man X3

See, this 1’s almost the opposite: it has much cleverer level design, but banal graphics. A’least it’s secret exit is something different.

Just a few points to say ’bout this level:

  • That midway point is hilariously devious — though not in a particularly punishing way, since there’s a fire flower right there.

  • I don’t demo it, but the purple water is instant-death. Probably should’ve put a message box warning ’bout that. Funny, since I read a SMW Central person complain ’bout “Highway to Hell” not warning ’bout its deathly water, e’en though there is a message box telling you exactly that in that level, but didn’t say anything ’bout this level.

  • I don’t know why getting in that passage to the keyhole is so hard while big.

  • I probably should’ve shown off where the vine area leads ( ¿why are there vines in an igloo? ), but I’m sure it just leads to a power-up — a power-up not worth the effort to get. I wasn’t great @ balancing challenges & corresponding rewards.

  • I like the last puzzle, the way it challenges you to do platforming to get through the Muncher patch @ 1st, but lets you easily run o’er it with the star. I generally like sections you go back & forth through, but in a different way ( such as that 1st “Dead Shallows” section ).

  • P-Switch level count: 19 / 29
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 8
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Holy Shit It’s Cold

Music: “Freeze Man Stage – Iceberg Area”, Mega Man 7 / “Hot Head Bop”, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

This was the place I was talking ’bout when I mentioned saving my swear words for someplace special.

But the funniest thing is, as purplegoomba64 mentions, this is probably the worst level to have this name, since it isn’t that cold: ¡half o’ it is a molten volcano! The whole gimmick is that it goes back & forth through ice & lava, àla “Hailfire Peaks”.

I don’t like this level. It’s not terrible; it’s just lame. There’s not much to the switch ’tween the 2 types: sometimes lava turns to water & sometimes ice cubes melt. You have to go through the 1st section in both versions, & it hardly changes ’tween them, making it repetitive.

Also, the use o’ the P-switch here has to be the worst in this entire game. Not only is it a copy o’ the “go backward to find it hiding in a corner”, but it makes you wait right after the brown blocks you turn to coins so that a brown block you do need to use as a platform turns back to a brown block. I guess the idea was to challenge the player not to go too fast & grab the coin, but that’s stupid. Worse, it’s a tricky jump that’s easy to fail, forcing you to go through all that ’gain.

The graphics also look like shit: brown Donkey Kong Country mountain background looks tacky. The various clouds @ the top look stupid & are pointless. In general, the level looks thrown together — like that pipe that’s just there in the middle o’ nowhere in the lava version o’ the 1st section. I guess it’s s’posed to be hard to notice, since you need to go into it to beat the level, but it just looks lazily designed.

The lava version is particularly worse, & it takes up more o’ the level than the ice section, e’en though this is an ice world. I don’t know — this level just feels wrong. It irks me. Let’s speak o’ it no mo’.

  • P-Switch level count: 20 / 30
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Lab of Blizzards

Music: “Hunffin’ and Puffin’”, Paper Mario

Here’s a much better level. It’s definitely the best lab level, with the best boss.

If I remember correctly, originally this level was just the 1st half, which I found trivially easy for where ’twas placed, so I added a 2nd half. This half, in contrast, has quite a ridiculously hard jump o’er instant-death… ¿cold lava? I don’t know what that’s s’posed to be.

Also, I think the cracked frozen lava edges in the 1st half are @ the behest o’ SMW Central, who are infamous for hating cut-off. Can’t complain ’bout the decision; cut-off is tacky.

The boss is the only good 1, since it’s an actual clever puzzle, & it’s not just a Goomba or a bunch o’ Koopas. The only problem is you have to be careful, ’cause if you lose all fire flowers, you’re screwed.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 31
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

The Blue Switch

Music: “The Axem Rangers Drop In’”, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

This level, meanwhile, is too easy ( e’en if I die a bunch in the video ). Most o’ the switches in this game feel anticlimactic; this 1 could’ve had much mo’ depth.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 32
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

We’re already halfway through all this game’s levels & have only 1 mo’ switch to hit.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 3 – The Yellow Switch

1 odd part ’bout the Yellow Switch is that, ’cept for the 1st level, it’s much easier to get than the Red Switch, e’en though my “canonical” sequence ( & as I mentioned in the intro, once a mandatory sequence till I came to my senses ) had the Red Switch before the Yellow Switch ( hence why I do so here ).

Adding this to the fact that the Yellow Switch opens access to mushroom-producing Yellow Switch blocks makes me recommend doing the Yellow Switch before the Red Switch for beginners ( well, other than recommending not playing this dreck @ all ).

World C: Shroom City Mainland ( revisited )

We still won’t be here for too long…

Highway to Hell ( 1st trip )

Music: “Dark Cave”, Pokémon Gold, Silver, & Crystal

This name isn’t an exaggeration: this level is a pain in the ass — & I only did the 1st exit.

I’m not sure whether to think the 1st pipe structure is clever or stupid: as the video shows, it leads you into thinking it’ll be some convoluted maze, only for most o’ its contents to be useless & that you’re actually s’posed to just go o’er it. E’en better — spoilers — 1 half o’ the secret exit actually is hidden in there, which only pulls the rug back under your feet after pulling it.

On the other hand, the path ’bove the pipe “maze” is just a boring straight path with a few Bob-Ombs you might get hurt by if you’re not paying attention out o’ pure impatience.

The part just after the midway point is quite dickish: it leads you to think you’re s’posed to use the springboard to get o’er the pipe wall, but as the video shows, you’ll want to use the convenient invisible blocks ’long the side. ’Less you’re good @ aiming your cape flight ( & you still have your cape ), you’ll need the springboard for later.

The 2nd hub doesn’t have much: mostly filler enemies round pipes that lead to different areas. There’s only 1 point o’ interest, but that’s for our next visit.

1 point o’ historical interest: I thought I remembered the 1st pipe leading back to the exit pipe in the 1st hub. I’m not sure if I took it out ’cause I thought ’twas useless & just an annoying beginner’s trap or if I’m just misremembering. Considering the bewildering ( & sad ) ’mount o’ stuff I do remember ’bout this dumb game, probably the former.

The next room you’re s’posed to go to is just a clusterfuck o’ enemies; but as I demonstrate when I finally beat it, you can clear out most o’ that cluster by kicking the shell o’ 1 o’ the Koopas @ the beginning. I actually kinda like it: it reminds me o’ an original Super Mario Bros. level.

’Course, as the video also shows, in order to get back o’er the wall in the 1st hub — back to that tantalizing floor o’ brown blocks covering the pipe, if you remember — you need a cape; so if you lost it, like I did, you have to go back into the 2nd hub & find a new 1 while keeping ’live & keeping the P-switch. If you die, you have to get both the P-switch & the cape all o’er ’gain.

I have mixed views on this level. It’s a pain in the ass; but you have to admit it’s a clever use o’ tools. It’s just way too early in the game. This is the kind o’ deviousness that should be reserved for a latter area — possibly as a bonus. Worst, it’s a huge bottleneck for the game. All the switches but the Red Switch require you to beat this level, 2 the normal exit, 1 the secret exit. That’s what makes the level particularly assholish.

Other than that, the 1 problem is that some areas, like the toxic water areas & the Piranha Plant area ( which we don’t see yet ) are fillerish: mostly many tiny jumps o’er death pits.

  • P-Switch level count: 10 / 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 3
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Piranha Trap Pass ( 1st trip )

Music: “Overworld”, New Super Mario Bros.

Interestingly ’nough, “Highway to Hell” & “Piranha Trap Pass” are the 2 main gatekeepers to the rest o’ the game. “Highway to Hell” guards all but the Red Switch ’hind its normal & secret exits while “Piranha Trap Pass” guards the Yellow & Blue Switches ’hind “Highway”’s normal exit. Luckily, “Piranha Trap Pass” is much easier.

’Course, as the video shows, this level trolls the player a bit — as we’ll see I liked to do a lot. Tricking the player into Koopa hopping o’er Muncher pits when they’re truly s’posed to go left & bring a silver P-switch is ’specially silly considering the following levels will actually demand enemy-hopping o’er Muncher pits ( though there will still be mo’ trolling soon… )

As an extra trick, the level makes you think you can make going back past the reams o’ Piranha Plants easier by hitting the silver P-switch as soon as you reach it; but as the video shows, nope, you won’t make it, & you’ll be completely screwed out o’ getting the normal exit ’less you leave & come back.

I don’t know how many o’ these tricks were intentional. I know the last 1 I mentioned wasn’t, ’cause I literally was just trying it for the 1st time in that video footage.

Also, I like the palette on this 1. This was a later change & was probably when I started using Photoshop / GIMP filters to devise the colorsets for levels rather than just guessing colors like a buffoon.

Speaking o’ which, I should talk ’bout the gradient backgrounds ( which gorgeously leave parts visible when the screen fades, a prevalent glitch that literally made SMW Central rightfully reject this hacky hack ): people @ SMW Central did praise me for my use o’ HDMI, some complicated SNES effect that I couldn’t figure out how to get working well in SMW. As that should hint, this doesn’t use HDMI @ all, but simply uses pixelated tinting & a gradient o’ shades ( which can easily be done in Lunar Magic’s palette editor by holding Alt & back clicking 2 colors @ either end o’ where you want to gradient to be ).

I simply created tiles o’ flat colors & a blend ’tween 2 side-by-side colors & put 1 ’bove the other for the illusion o’ smooth color transition ( actually, in my defense, since HDMI does not use pixelated transitions, but just flat bars, my version actually is smoother, which probably ’splains why people found my “version” looked so nice ). Hawk-eyed viewers will notice that in these backgrounds the gradient always starts ’bove the picture ( the jungle plants in this case ), while the part actually ’hind the picture is flat. That’s why: it’s part o’ the same background, & since the gradient takes up too many colors to share a row with the picture ( a tile can only use 1 palette row ), the gradient & the picture can’t share tiles; & since the gradient goes clear ’cross horizontally, they can’t share any vertical space.

Note: the solid tiles aren’t pictured, ’cause they’re just the solid tiles that already exist in 1 o’ the 1st graphics “banks” that comes with the original Super Mario World to save space.

The lack o’ HDMI also ’splains why the gradients ne’er blend with the rest o’ the graphics, as real HDMI can do — & which makes HDMI worth it in the 1st place. Nor could I do any wavy effects. Compare my levels to this level from Brutal Mario, which actually uses HDMI, & one can see the clear difference:

  • P-Switch level count: 11 / 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 3
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

World E: Deserted Skies

Music: “Map Medley”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

You’ll get the “skies” part later.

Dusty Desert

Music: “Area 8 – Raddish Ruins”, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror

After 2 clever levels, we get utter mediocrity. The only interesting thing ’bout this level is that it has actual Koopa-hopping o’er Muncher pits — albeit, small, simple bouts — in contrast to the previous level.

But most o’ the level are hashed-together small jumps o’er spiked enemies or holes. Mo’ bewildering, despite being a desert, most o’ this level takes place in the clouds ( in fact, as we’ll see, all o’ these desert levels take place high up in the sky for some reason; if I had intentionally made this a sky/desert combo theme, I’d think this was clever ), which are just a ’scuse for tiny jumps. It’s copypasta level design to its max. It sucks.

  • P-Switch level count: 12 / 17
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 3
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Death Valley

Music: “Area 8 – Raddish Ruins”, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror

& here we get the big troll level. Yes, as the video shows, it makes a big deal ’bout how you’re s’posedly s’posed to Koopa-hop o’er the long Muncher pit ( which, as the video shows, is actually quite easy if you bring a Yoshi ), only to provide 2 cape feathers that can be used to fly o’er it all, making this the easiest… Nope: e’en that’s not true. That’s ’nother troll level.

This was meant to be a satire on a common complaint ’bout Super Mario World & the cape feather & how people can just fly o’er some levels. The idea is that people have been so conditioned that flying o’er levels in Super Mario World & its hacks is wrong, is cheating, that it’s a puzzle to run into an actual level that requires it. & yet, it makes sense: the infinite flight isn’t some glitchy exploit, but an intentionally-designed game tool put in not just this hack, but the original. It makes sense that you’re s’posed to use it to beat some levels.

( Interestingly, ’nother theme I just now noticed in Desert / Sky World: the Yellow Switch, as I mentioned in the Red Switch, heavily focuses on flight to beat it — ’cept it’s actually challenging. So in addition to a troll, you could consider this level a stealth tutorial ).

  • P-Switch level count: 12 / 18
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 3
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Dark Desert

Music: “Area 8 – Raddish Ruins”, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror

The 1 thing I can say ’bout this level is, man did I make it much mo’ concise. I remember the original version had the 1st part go on far longer, which meant that the swim under the 1st part took super long, which was ’specially tedious on the way there, constantly tapping the B button. There’s still a Cheep Cheep that jumps through dirt, but I guess you could make up some ’scuse for that. It’s better than an earlier version where there was a Blurp that outright swam through the sand.

Actually, in general I’d say this level makes good use o’ space, with the only exception being that random bowl-area with a single Pokey inside.

Granted, I’m not so fond o’ the reuse o’ the “hit P-switch to re-enter 1st area so you can rush to reach the pipe @ the start” for the secret exit, which had already been done much better in “Basidio Bridge”.

I’m also mixed on mixing the “enter pipe you entered from to enter a subtly different version o’ this room” for the water room keyhole with a separate secret for the key. On 1 side o’ it, having just, “Just enter 1 o’ the pipes you enter from” as the sole “secret” seems lame; on the other, this feels like a waste o’ ideas. I think I’d lean toward keeping it as it is.

You know, I used to remember thinking this level was worse than it seems now. I actually think this is quite a good level.

  • P-Switch level count: 13 / 19
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Shroom of Sands

Music: “Area 8 – Raddish Ruins”, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror

I’m not sure why I bothered to e’en mention this, since it’s the exact same thing as the last 1 we saw — & the 5 or 6 we’ll see hereafter.

1 difference is that the message is e’en mo’ useless than the previous, which actually gave useful, albeit well-known, advice, while this just spews out a shitty joke that was already made in “Flaming Femurs”.

O well. I’d much rather go through the secret exit o’ “Dark Desert” than “Volcanic Valley”, so it’s not nearly as much a disappointment.

Pain in My Temple

Music: “Temple”, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link

The original version o’ this level was “Temple of the Cat”, an incredibly lame pun off the band, “Temple of the Dog”, which most people probably wouldn’t get. Sadly, this change means that my attempt to twist this post into a Chris Cornell tribute, which wouldn’t be cynical @ all, is ruined.

Anyway, it’d be a terrible tribute, ’cause this level is poop. The only good thing ’bout it is its graphics & music, which, as the message box that gets its own room for no good reason says, were just stolen by some jerk1.

The main problem is that maneuvering through a lot o’ places is awkward. As the video shows, Koopa-hopping o’er the Spear-heads is awkward; & if you accidentally kill 1 with a fireball, you’re fucked ( fireballs truly suck compared to the cape in this game; they’re almost worse than just being big ). But the alternative is ladder-hopping, which is fine for the normal exit, but a pain to do if you’re carrying a P-switch & don’t want to accidentally drop it into a pit. The skeleton fish are hard to see in the sand.

& then there’s that bullshit secret, with is just move-throughable wall which can only be discerned by noticing a slight color difference. Move-throughable walls are the laziest secret in all gaming.

There’s also a lot o’ empty padding. In addition to the empty room with the hilarious 4th-wall-breaking message box there’s a split path that leads to the midway point & key. ’Cept 1 path has literally nothing while the other has tricky-to-dodge Thwomps only 2 blocks from the ceiling. ¿Why bother with the hard part when you can literally just skip it? I guess if you haven’t hit the switch, you have to take the dangerous part to get the midway point — but not the key; but if you’re willing to risk that, you might as well be willing to risk hitting the switch, which is easier, & getting both. It makes no sense.

The 1 thing I do like is the dynamic o’ having a simple & easy normal exit to the left ( which pulls a bit o’ a “Chocolate Island 3” on you & simply creates a path back to Dry Desert, as if you e’er wanted to play that awful level ’gain ) & a mo’ challenging secret exit to the right. Also, Wario Land 3 chest in night sky as keyhole is a nice touch.

As an extra note: I’m not the only one who noticed that this level is the best way to grind money ( which, as we’ll see, we’ll need later ).

  • P-Switch level count: 14 / 20
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Lab of the Mirage

Music: “Revenge of Meta Knight – Halbert”, Kirby Super Star

¿“Mirage”? ¿What mirage? ¿Why wasn’t this called “Lab of Sands” to both be consistent with the “Shroom” & to take advantage o’ the fact that “sands” is both alliterative with “shroom” & rhymes with “lab”?

This lab probably fits the least with its theme; but it’s still a thousand times funner than “Lab of Darkness”, ¿so who cares? I guess one could make a connection ’tween this level’s focus on yellow blocks & sand… Not sure the 2nd part fits in, though. ¿’Cause the electric bolts are yellow? I guess everything’s slightly yellow.

It’s short, but that makes it sweeter than the giant mound o’ shit that’s “Lab of Darkness”. Sorry, there’s not much to say ’bout this level other than comparing it to the previous lab.

I can say that the boss is mo’ interesting than the “Lab of Darkness” boss. I’d say it’s the 2nd best. It’s not exactly brilliant; but when you don’t want to reuse Super Mario World’s e’en lamer bosses & can’t figure out how to use the Custom Boss sprite from SMW Central, you use what you have. ( I guess I could’ve used some other custom sprites — which I rarely used in this hack, for some reason. )

  • P-Switch level count: 14 / 21
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

The Yellow Switch

Music: “The Axem Rangers Drop In”, Super Mario RPG

& this Switch is much better than the Red Switch.

The only problem is that Yoshi, who should ne’er be ’loud to enter this level, ruins it.

I wish this level did mo’ with flying. Just dodge a few spike balls. As the video shows, e’en if you get hit by 1, it’s still quite easy to make it to the pipe.

  • P-Switch level count: 14 / 22
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Only 3 posts & we’ve already been through half the Switches & mo’ than 1/3 the levels.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Programming, Video Games

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 2 – The Red Switch

( Note: an idea I unfortunately hadn’t thought o’ implementing till now: each level’s music, most o’ which is custom [ stolen from SMW Central, adaptations o’ songs from real games ], as well as the game it’s originally from & whether or not it’s a spot-on adaption [ labelled “same” ]. I’ve also gone back to the previous post & added them. )

World C: Shroom City Mainland

Music: “Map Medley”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

I don’t know how good a name that is for this area; like I said, none o’ this game was broken up into any kind o’ coherent “worlds”.

Unfriendly Forest

Music: “Forest Area”, Kirby’s Adventure

I question whether I should include this in this world, since it has nothing to do with cities; & as you’ll see soon, we won’t be staying in this world for long, anyway.

Early on I considered this 1 o’ my better levels. I just think it’s all right now. It does have a subtle quality in how fun the jumps are if you do them correctly. Unfortunately, thanks to both the jitteriness o’ trying to record emulator playing & my weakened game-playing skills after years without playing not only this hack, but Super Mario World in general, I don’t show off this level particularly well.

1 thing I will say ’bout this level is that I think I did do the nonlinear thing well. This 1 feels legitimately open-ended & has multiple paths & uses almost everything, rather than having a bunch o’ useless fluff everywhere. If I had any complaint, it’d be that there seem to be a few too many basic jumps & naked Koopas.

I would e’en say I don’t mind the use o’ the P-switch here. ¿Have I mentioned yet that I had an affinity for making you go somewhere to get something that allows you to get past something blocking a path right @ the start, like Wario Land 4?

I still stand by the trick to getting the keyhole — ’specially since it’s not e’en necessary; you can just run & jump up there if your timing’s right. In fact, from what I’ve seen o’ people playing this level, I don’t think many have gotten frustrated, since all always found an easier alternative. I like that: it’s a cute li’l trick that you get o’er with soon. It’s like a parody o’ bullshit jumps in bad Super Mario World hacks, but thankfully doesn’t make you endure 1 in actual.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

  • P-Switch level count: 6 / 7
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

World D: The Darkness

Music: “Welcome to Crocodile Island”, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

Hmm… Isn’t this familiar…

Flaming Femurs

Music: “Hot Head Bop”, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest ( Same )

This music’s so amazing that I didn’t mind having to hackily turn off sound effects seemingly arbitrarily to get it to work well.

Surprisingly, the sound doesn’t crack @ all in this playthrough, e’en though I always remembered kicking a Koopa shell somehow disobeyed the sound-effect-canceling sprite.

You’ll see soon ’nough that I like very dark levels — not for any sake o’ difficulty, but simply for aesthetics, not thinking @ all what problems this might cause for anyone who didn’t have a monitor as bright as mine or had weaker eyesight.

This actually might be the only time I intentionally used the darkness as a form o’ difficulty, @ the end with the blocks that blend in with the background. This level also originally had a block that was s’posed to change the palette to a brightened-up version to simulate turning the lights on, but I couldn’t get that to work without causing the palette to become a psychedelic mess, — & that’s not s’posed to happen till much later in this hack — so I had to scrap it.

These layer-2 rooms are god awful. I don’t think I’ve e’er done 1 well & knew it e’en @ the time, but forced myself to do them ’cause I tricked myself into thinking they added variety. The timing’s always off, forcing you to wait, which is always boring & awful. & this is the least-awful iteration.

Finally: the message box that tells you to jump into the lava to find a secret key isn’t just a parody o’ those cliché schoolyard rumors; in a much earlier version o’ this level I actually had that as a way to find a secret exit. That was back when I thought the best puzzles were those where I just changed the behavior o’ a block & hoped the player randomly guessed that the game rules changed for no reason — ’cause that’s always great game design.

Otherwise, there’s not much to say ’bout this level. A’least it’s short & simple for once. O yeah: & no P-switches.

  • P-Switch level count: 6 / 8
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Cave of Misfortune

Music: “Mt. Moon”, Pokémon Red & Blue

I still think this level’s great & am still proud o’ the main gimmick. Too bad I suck @ games & fucked it up in this video.

’Nother detail I’m glad I added was changing some hex code so that the Koopas are no longer in the shells that pop out o’ the ?-blocks, which always made me wait for them to pop out & fall into a pit on earlier versions. Forcing yourself to play your own games the natural way is a great way to push yourself to optimize things, just for your own selfish goal o’ minimizing tedium.

I do worry that the secret exit might be too easy to find. I think if I were to do it now, I’d make it look like there’s a full ceiling, ’stead o’ that conspicuous line o’ empty dirt, while still having the beanstalk eat through it. This would do what I just mocked as lazy earlier, but in this case I think it’s fair, since the idea that vines eat through solid dirt isn’t necessarily solid, as evidenced by the fact that it ate through that solid middle dirt in the current version. If anything, the conspicuous line o’ empty dirt looks too much like cutoff, which was surely the core reason why this hack wasn’t accepted by SMW Central.

Also, I’m not sure what I was thinking when I designed the palette for the secret room. I’m also not so fond o’ how it’s the same thing as the main level. O well: a’least it’s short.

  • P-Switch level count: 6 / 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Volcanic Valley

Music: “Hot Head Bop”, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest ( Same )

& now we get into some true shit. You have no idea how many deaths I had to edit out — & most o’ them were caused by the wonky hit detection o’ these slopes. In particular, the last slope before the pipe is, I think, impossible to do ’less you’re small or you’re super dexterous ’nough to duck & slide jump before falling into the lava. The saddest thing is, it’d be easy to solve, too: just make the slopes go deeper into the lava. That’s how Nintendo programmed the lava after all: the top block doesn’t kill you; just the body below it, allowing some padding before you die.

The inner caves are no better. They’re mostly the same, but now there’s a boring-ass skull-raft ride, which is so slow, it sucks. & as, um… raocow says in the video, the raft disappears if you let it leave the screen. & since you need to to enter the pipe, — e’en if you had a cape & could float o’er to it, the raft is the only ground you could use to enter the pipe — leaving you utterly fucked.

This was the 1st level to legitimately piss me off. It won’t be the last. E’en the lack o’ P-switches doesn’t save it.

  • P-Switch level count: 6 / 10
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Shroom o’ Darkness

Music: “Mt. Moon”, Pokémon Red & Blue

Hey, it’s 1 out o’ a million o’ these. ’Cept without the cool bonus items that Super Demo World had which actually made them interesting. Look: you get to pay to get o’erpriced powerups you can easily get in a regular level; ¿isn’t that a great reward for all that bullshit?

But a’least you get some advice every Super Mario World hack-player knows.

Also, this doesn’t count for the P-switch count, since it doesn’t e’en have a goal.

Dead Shallows

Music: “Ghost House”, Super Mario World ( Same )

I was proud o’ this level till I found out The Second Reality Project already did its main gimmick years before me.

Going through the level backward underwater to get a P-switch you obviously couldn’t get, & using that P-switch to go through the main room a different way are cool, but not used to their best extent. I think putting them together is a waste o’ 2 good gimmicks. I love how I just threw together 2 clever gimmicks & did li’l with them while o’erusing P-switch puzzles & layer-2 bullshit in a dozen other levels ’cause I apparently didn’t have ’nough variety.

I thought I remembered an info box @ the end o’ the water room hinting that you should try to go through the 1st room ’gain without using the Torpedo Ted; but maybe I removed it ’cause I thought the solution was too obvious.

  • P-Switch level count: 7 / 11
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

World A: Valley o’ Bowser’s ( revisited )

Music: “Valley of Bowser”, Super Mario World ( Same )

The Haunt

Music: “Shade Man – Ghouls ‘N Ghosts”, Mega Man 7 ( Based on 1st stage theme from Ghost ‘N Goblins games )

I remember this level being harder; surprisingly, I had less trouble this time than with “Cave of Misfortune”. Must’ve toned it down.

I know I must’ve toned down the P-switches, since I remember the original forced you to get both a blue & silver.

That said, other than the atmosphere, there’s not much to say ’bout it. There’s a subtle cleverness to the jump down the hill, which was much worse in earlier versions; I remember the jump through the plants in the upper part could be done quickly & flashily, which I don’t do, ’cause I’ve lost all skills I’ve developed in this game; the fact that you can use the silver P to go through the part easier is nice; though this was done better in other levels.

O yeah, & there’s keys all o’er, as some kind o’ joke… I guess. You’d have to ask teenage me. There’s no secret exit in this level, & there’s no keyhole anywhere.

  • P-Switch level count: 8 / 12
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Sea of Sangre ( revisited )

Music: “Decisive Battle”, Final Fantasy VI

’Course, anyone watching the video o’ the 1st trip must’ve noticed that this was a red level with a secret exit.

Though it’s mo’ a hindrance to this level than a help, I decided to show off that there’s a red Yoshi hidden @ the top o’ the beginning o’ this level as an easter egg. The game’ll mention later that there’s 1 o’ each special color Yoshi in each level ( technically 2 levels for the blue Yoshi, thanks to the wing bonus ); but the red Yoshi’s the only 1 that’s hidden ( the others you have to encounter to 100% the game ), & most playthroughs I’ve seen hadn’t found it.

This is ’nother level that’s rather hard to comment on simply ’cause it’s just OK. I guess I thought having the goal in the middle o’ the room clever, though I bet I’ve done it better in ’nother level. Also, having ’nother “Find the P-Switch” puzzle loses whatever points it might’ve gained. Same with a long-winded bridge-building puzzle that’s only made bearable by flying & hitting them all @ once. I guess maybe that could be a clever way to reward those who think o’ that; I didn’t plan it but came up with it while testing the level in a desperate attempt to speed it up, since I tested these levels dozens o’ times.

Note how I tried to make this a trainer’s wheels version o’ Koopa hopping by making there by ground below. Also, ’twas pointless, since by this point it’s immensely likely you have a cape & can just fly o’er everything. You can see in the video that I started to do just that, only to stop & decide that I probably ought to show off the way you’re “s’posed” to do it. These trainer’s wheels are e’en mo’ odd if you do this exit on the way back, which is what I expect, you’ll have to go through much harder challenges ( ’specially if you play through that “Volcanic Valley” bullshit ).

  • P-Switch level count: 8 / 12
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 2
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 2

Lab of Darkness

Music: “Fight Against an Armed Boss”, Super Mario RPG

’Stead o’ castles or fortresses, this game has laboratories, with a li’l green & gray icon I drew myself. I actually still like this decision, though I wish I’d picked better Mega Man graphics to steal.

It cracks me up how there’s a cutscene showing Luigi jump off Yoshi, as a way to keep the game from glitching with Yoshi’s existence, & then slowly walking inside ( after Luigi the Magician makes the door open just by looking up @ it ), only to start you outside the castle ( to keep the darkened palette o’ the 1st inside room from infecting the cutscene ). Maybe it’s just the entrance to the courtyard.

Also, if this is s’posed to be a lab, ¿why’s it look so much like a castle? Just gotta use your imagination. It reminds me o’ when I was young & had to pretend a green hacky sack was Kirby & Leonardo’s blue triceratops ( from some prehistoric TMNT toys ) was Bowser. That’s just what you have to do when your resources are limited.

But this level blows. It’s too many mediocre sections taped together. I can’t help noticing that the best levels I did were those that were concise; this is bloated. The graphical gimmick — having the 1st section be dark & the 2nd section light — isn’t used beyond looks, & looks tacky. I guess in fairness, you can skip some o’ it; I only wish you could skip the worst o’ it: that god awful layer-2 section right after the 1st room.

Like always, the main goal is to find a P-switch & bring it back to the 1st dark subroom to get past a brown-block wall in ’nother sublevel. Unlike the other levels, I don’t like this use: it only adds fluff to a level that’s already stuffed with it. There are actually 2 places where you can get the P-switch, & this version makes those places much better; in the original, the P-switch in the light room was in the hall that led to ’nother room that already had 1, whereas going the other hallway & through the room that it leads to would give the player no P-switch @ all, while leading them back to the start. Considering the midpoint in the light room, that takes them back farther than if they’d died.

& then we have the final boss. I couldn’t figure out how to get the “Custom Boss” sprite to not crash my game & didn’t want to reuse the Koopa Kids, so I made up li’l puzzles with regular enemies & called them “bosses”. 1 I truly liked later; but here we just have a joke. I still think it’s all right. It’s a 1-time thing, & a relief after what a pain in the ass the level itself is.

“The Angry Exterminator” is a reference to some silly rom hack. I made a few satirical references to other rom hacks — making satirical references to other works in the same medium is something I oft do; but the truly good 1 comes much later.

  • P-Switch level count: 9 / 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 3
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

The Red Switch

Music: “The Axem Rangers Drop In”, Super Mario RPG

But the true boss isn’t the lab, but the switch itself.

I like this dynamic: a ( s’posedly ) all-round-hard castle-like level followed by a simpler, puzzle level. I also like the aesthetics. It’s just too bad the design o’ the levels themselves were mostly lame.

This 1’s unquestionably the worst. There’s no focus @ all. It starts with a bunch o’ mindless jumps, has some awkward but easy section to get a spring, with an awkward way to get out ( which makes it impossible to bring Yoshi back with you & keep the spring ), & then has some dumb “run, but duck under the spikes” strewn round a long, empty hall ( which made bringing Yoshi impossible, anyway ). Padding. It ends with a short flight section that would be better if a better version wasn’t done in the Yellow Switch.

  • P-Switch level count: 9 / 14
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 3
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

& this week’s journey ends with the best glitch: when you return to the map, you’re stuck on the switch. I have no idea why this happens, but I couldn’t fix it, no matter what I tried. You just have to reset the game. Good thing this game autosaves almost everything — ’cept Yoshi, which means it didn’t matter whether we could bring Yoshi with us or not.

Next week we truly explore Shroom City Mainland, starting with… ugh… a truly tiring level.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Programming, Video Games

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 1

( Note: went back & added music notes to each level analysis. )

It’s hard to divide Legend of the Four Switches into “worlds”, since, as I mentioned in the intro, they sometimes blend into each other. Mo’ importantly, the main path I’ll be going through will leave & return to worlds. However, I’ll try to divide the levels into bunches & describe them as I introduce them.

World A: Valley o’ Bowser’s

In a strike o’ irony, the 1st world is Bowser’s land. You start with 2 levels unlocked: “King Koopa Kastle” & “Sea of Sangre”.

King Koopa Kastle ( 1st visit )

Music: “Bowser’s Castle ( Second Time )”, Super Mario RPG

( Yes, this is some frankenstein o’ classic & modern ¡Let’s Play!™s wherein I embed uncommentated videos accompanied by text below. Technological advancements are slow in my village. )

However, the 1st level is blocked off from completion till you hit all 4 switches, leaving you with just a taunting info box & a pipe that shoots you out o’ the level.

Having the exit be due to a pipe shooting you offscreen was a way to fix an earlier glitch: having the castle itself make you exit the level by touching the screens makes the functionality carry into all the following sublevels. It turns out that a sublevel later in the level actually requires you to touch the edge o’ the screen, making the level impossible. However, I didn’t want to force the player to kill themselves to leave the level. Luckily, I thought o’ this solution. I’m actually glad, since I find the shooting out o’ the pipe — specially with its solemn ghost house music — quite amusing.

Sea of Sangre

Music: “Decisive Battle”, Final Fantasy VI

Despite how ridiculously edgy the use o’ blood for water is ( though, to be fair, it’s ne’er explicitly stated, save for the use o’ a Latin term in the title; it could just be metaphorical ), I do like the aesthetic o’ having the 1st level be dark, with the dramatic “Decisive Battle” music from Final Fantasy VI. Not so fond o’ the sound glitches that happen when you do things, though. Didn’t remember that.

The level itself, though, is… ehhh. Interestingly ’nough, it’s linear, though there is a nice pointless use o’ a P-switch right @ the end, just so you can reach the exit.

Most o’ the level is rudimentary, & much o’ it feels empty. There’s also a random pattern o’ blocks just thrown ’bout @ the end o’ the water section.

Ghosts ’n Goblins

Music: “Fortress”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island ( ¿Same? )

In addition to nonlinear levels, I was big on just weird levels that make you think, ¿What’s the point o’ this? This level starts you in the middle o’ a long empty hall with the only door on the far left side. It’s dumb.

The next room is a li’l better: it’s a li’l puzzle wherein you have to grab a Koopa shell @ the end & bring it back to the middle to throw it @ a vertical column o’ blocks helpfully pointed out by an arrow o’ coins to make a vine grow upward, allowing you to climb up & grab the P-switch.

Granted, as a few o’ the SMW Central people pointed out, despite the holes in the floor, one could still spin jump off Boos to reach to the top early. But I don’t mind that so much, since that’s probably harder to do than the main way to complete the level. Unlike some SMW hackers, I was less obsessed with ensuring people played my levels the “right” way & was quite fine with alternate ways to beat levels, which was why I allow the player to take cape feathers into any level they want, which most SMW hack designers recommend gainst, since it allows one to fly o’er entire levels. To me, if ’twas fine for one to do so in the original SMW, ’twas fine to do it in my hack.

As an aside, I’m now going to keep a counter for levels with P-switches. So far we’re @ 2 out o’ 2. ( “King Koopa Kastle” doesn’t count, since we haven’t gone through it all yet. Also, spoiler alert: it has P-switches, too. )

Then take the P-Switch to the pipe @ the end o’ the level, which leads back to the empty hallway. Hitting the P-Switch creates a door @ the far right side o’ the room, which leads to the goal.

I’m not sure how to feel ’bout this last part. It’s not exactly spelled out; but I’m not sure if it’s particularly hard to figure out, either. It’s not as if the game punishes you deeply if you hit the P-Switch too early; you’ll just have to redo the level, essentially, without needing to kill yourself.

Still, this trial-&-error puzzle could easily get tedious. If I were to remake this level, I’d cut out that whole empty hallway, make you start in the grayscale room, & just put the goal where the P-Switch is. Cuts out the fat. Sure, it makes spin-jumping on boos skip the entire level; but it’s the 2nd level, for god’s sake. Diddy’s Kong Quest had warp barrels that let you skip whole levels in every level in the 1st 2 worlds. Plus, I like the dynamic o’ having the 1st level be a relatively long but simple level & the 2nd level be a short puzzle.

World B: Mushroom Island

After you beat “Ghosts ’n Goblins”, you unlock a pipe on the o’erworld. Go into that pipe, & you’ll be taken to the 1st level spot o’ “Mushroom Island”.

I want to emphasize that last part: there’s no pipe back to “Valley o’ Bowser”. It’s a 1-way trip. Don’t worry: unlike certain hacks ( [cough] Super Demo World [cough] ), it’s impossible to screw yourself out o’ 100% in this game. There’s an alternate entrance back into “Valley o’ Bowser” later.

I’m still proud o’ this design choice. I feel it makes the o’erworld feel mo’ mysterious.

Island of Ergot

Music: “Flower Garden”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

While the true 1st level was a twist on 1st levels, being a dark & red level with ominous music, the 1st level o’ “Mushroom Island” is what a typical game would have as a 1st level: a green grassland. Granted, the sky’s still a nighly dark blue.

Though it’s not particularly brilliant, I like this level. It’s a simple romp with a few choice enemies, broken by 2 simple “puzzles”, if you could call them that. I like the use o’ the P-Switch as to build the coin bridge & the level ends @ a dead-end with power-ups & expects you to enter 1 o’ the many piranha-plant pipes just before the dead-end to find the goal. As I mentioned, these early levels were made when I still had some creativity & wasn’t just copying the same ideas.

O yeah, & an STD joke. ¿What? ¿Was this programmed in C++? ( Ho, ho, ho… O… ).

P-Switch level count: 3 / 3.

Fungi Forest

Music: “Forest Area”, Kirby’s Adventure

Here’s probably the best P-Switch puzzle I created. It’s a twist on the usual puzzle: collect the coins in front o’ the wall o’ brown blocks so that when you inevitably find the P-Switch, you can reach the brown blocks, which will then be coins. ’Cept, ’hind the brown blocks is just a pipe that leads back to the start o’ the level. Careful-eyed players will notice that the tip o’ the wall o’ coins is under a pipe that otherwise looks like it’s just a part o’ the o’erall pipe construction. You’re s’posed to hit the P-Switch so you can stand on the coins & enter that pipe.

You can’t bring the P-Switch with you from the top o’ the pipe construction, either, as you can only enter it from upward-only cloud blocks & can only leave by hitting the switch to make the brown blocks turn into coins, making it a bit o’ a race o’ sorts.

There’s not much to say ’bout the cave interlude. It’s just a boring raft ride forcing you to hop anytime a Blaarg pops out or a bat flies down @ you. I tried to make it a li’l mo’ interesting from the original version by giving the ceiling weird patterns. But it’s still not notable. Probably be better if this section were cut.

The last “puzzle” is OK. You need to grab a throw block & throw it @ the wall o’ turn blocks so you can go through it to reach the goal. To reach the turn blocks, you’ll have to defeat the Amazing Flying Hammer Bro & use his platform to reach it, which means you’ll probably have to go back afterward to get the throw block so you’ll have time to use it.

My only problem is the superfluous use o’ the P-Switch to get through the brown-block-wall ’tween the throw blocks & the turn blocks. I guess the “puzzle” was ’sposed to be that you’re ’sposed to pay attention & notice that there’s land under the throw blocks, which otherwise seem to be o’er a bottomless pit. But that’s a lame puzzle, & would’ve worked better somewhere else. I’d cut it.

Also, Yoshi & turn blocks are great:

If I have any problem with this level, o’erall, other than the 2nd P-Switch & the cave section, it’d be that it doesn’t fit the theme well. It’s s’posed to be a forest level, but most o’ it is pipe structures.

  • P-Switch level count: 4 / 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Basidio Bridge

Music: “The Tidal Coast / Sea Turtle Rock / Beneath the Waves”, Wario Land 3

I really liked the puzzle @ the beginning, where you have to kick a shell down in the small passageway @ the bottom to hit a block @ the end & create a vine. I also like the use o’ the P-Switch to create a race to the beginning to enter the pipe just @ the start, surrounded by brown blocks. I think it’s probably the inspiration from Wario Land 3 & 4, but I like levels where the goal is @ the beginning, which must be unlocked by getting something @ the end, & then take a different path back to the start. In fact, now that I think ’bout it, this puzzle is a lot like Wario Land 4: the P-Switch is like the also-blue frog switch, forcing you to race to the beginning before the switch runs out.

Speaking o’ Wario Land 3, this level’s music is from that game — though, strangely, not from the level that takes place on a bridge. It’s the only song I converted myself, & it shows.

  • P-Switch level count: 5 / 5
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Pepsi Lake

Music: “Underwater Tunnels”, Wario Land II

This level completely changed since the 2011 version o’ this hack. You can see an early version here. Also, in an e’en earlier version, the water was the boring ordinary blue ’stead o’ cola-brown-&-black.

The main change is that the level is vertical now, ’stead o’ horizontal, & it’s simplified. It’s just a short swim-through, dodging piranha plants & munchers. @ the time I remade this, I felt the original was too ordinary, & noted that vertical water levels were rare. I also like the alcove that the midway point is in. Just a li’l divergence.

E’en better: ¡there’s no P-Switch! This was after I realized how o’er-used they were & cut it out. The original, as the video shows, makes you go into some generic ice subroom found in some random pipe ’mong millions to get a P-Switch so you can pass through ’nother brown-block wall. None o’ this hasn’t been done before, & much better. I don’t miss it @ all.

You know, I just noticed ’pon reviewing the footage that the 2nd message box references “upcoming Torpedo Teds” that aren’t in the newer version o’ this level.

  • P-Switch level count: 5 / 6
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

That’s it for now. We’ll continue on the mainland next update.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Programming, Video Games

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Introduction

Since I’m writing ’bout some dumb game I’m making now, I might as well write ’bout an e’en dumber game I worked on way back in high school — & by “dumber game”, I mean a Super Mario World rom hack.

Also, I just realized that it’s been 10 years since I 1st started working on LOTFS, back in 2007. O, the time wasted.

Legend of the Four Switches was a hack so bad, it wasn’t e’en accepted @ Super Mario World Central after a’least 2 submissions.

It wasn’t the absolute worst. In fact, there are quite a few decisions I still stand by, such as the main gimmick: ’stead o’ being a straight path from world to world, ’twas simply a quest to find & hit all the 4 colored switches. Once you do that, you can go to Bowser’s Castle @ any time & complete it.

The 4 switches could be hit in any order, too. ( An improvement o’er an e’en earlier version: my original plan was to make the red switch always 1st & the green switch always last, with the player only getting the choice o’ order ’tween the yellow & blue switches. Thankfully, I realized how lame such a limit would’ve been & broke it ) . This lead the o’erworld to have the kind o’ looser division I praised the original Super Mario World for having.

Having the Star Road map down in the bottom right is a bit misleading, since that was rejected from the final hack.

That said, I could’ve done a better job o’ it: an idea I later had, though long after I stopped working on this hack, was having multiple paths that converged on a single switch.

I also tried to make this hack mo’ like an actual game in terms o’ difficulty, which makes it much easier than the average hack. I remember I aimed for Diddy’s Kong Quest level difficulty, which is my favorite linear ( i.e. non-Wario-Land ) platformer & insisted on being able to beat it without save states. Nowadays this is mo’ common, which sapped some o’ the use o’ this hack; but remember, I started making this hack in 2007, when e’en the most prominent hacks like The Second Reality Project 2 were full o’ kaizo-like elements.

Legend of the Four Switches is full o’ problems that it’s hard to sum them up — though this page gives a nice litany o’ sloppy problems. Though some o’ those problems — such as the unbeatable attic area — have been solved since then, many others — like the fade-out glitch or the glitch that makes your characters freeze after beating a switch palace — I couldn’t figure out how to fix.

But Axemjinx summarizes the true core problem with this hack, which would make it lame e’en if these glitches were fixed:

I played around 15 levels, and speaking for myself, it just seems like a slightly above-average joke hack that over-relies on item ferrying and needlessly labyrinthine levels. That’s not nonlinearity- it’s just tedium. There’s no emphasis on obstacles at all, there are plenty of empty areas with nothing going on, and it seems like the wisecracks are more important than the level design.

The “over-relies on item ferrying” is far too modest. ’Pon looking back @ these levels years ago I was shocked to find almost every level involved finding a blue & gray P-switch to continue, usually getting 1 to get ’nother to finally continue. Levels oft had pointless filler areas simply for the sake o’ avoiding linearity. I was obsessed with avoiding linear levels, with the assumption that linear levels were somehow less “creative”. But using blue & gray switches o’er & o’er apparently was.

I still stand by some o’ my nonlinear levels — mainly the earlier ones, when I still had some creativity. But if I were to redo this hack — which I’m 100% not doing — I’d ease up & do some mo’ linear levels, as well as some shorter levels. I also fell into the trap o’ thinking that long levels were also mo’ sophisticated, not unlike those people who think that large epics are mo’ sophisticated literature than short writing, which is ironically usually the opposite.

I’ll try to go o’er all 60 levels & talk ’bout what I still stand by, what I think was disastrous, & other fun background notes.


There are 2 major versions o’ this hack: a 2011 & 2012 version. The one I’ve seen in most YouTube videos is the inferior 2011 version, whereas I’ll be showing off the latest 2012 version & will point out major differences when they happen.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games