The Best Nintendo Fan Projects; Round 3!
Well, it’s time. Well, it’s time. We’ve had the first list of great Nintendo fan games. We’ve had the second list of great Nintendo fan games.
But we’re not done just yet! Oh no, here’s another list of amazing fan projects! Yes, they’re not as well known as Mother 4 or Mushroom Kingdom Fusion. None the less, they’re all still incredibly well made titles, and really do show you just how far the fan game and ROM hack development scenes have really come in the last decade or so.
So let’s get to the list! With a name that quite a few Nintendo fans might know about…
Newer Super Mario Bros DS
Namely, Newer Super Mario Bros. You remember the Wii games, don’t you? The games that introduced new enemies, new music, new bosses and all kinds of fun, interesting new levels and mechanics to the New Super Mario Bros series.
The ones that got this right nice trailer?
Well, the series is continuing. And now it’s on the DS!
Yes, Newer Super Mario Bros DS is now a thing, and it looks great. Made by modder Skawo, the project tries to loosely port the Wii game over to the DS, with some of the features, graphics, music and ideas from the main game coming with it.
Here’s a trailer for the project:
As you can see, it pulls of the feel of the older games really well, and the new level concepts work really well on the DS too. Like that awesome space level, which seems to have reduced gravity befitting the theme.
Talking of space, here’s a better video of that level:
With that nicely downsampled Mario Galaxy music and the gorgeous graphics, it really makes me wish Nintendo considered making more space themed levels for their own 2D Mario games. I mean, why should the 3D games get all the fun stuff?
But, moving on…
Super Mario Sunshine 64 DS
To another Mario hack. Yeah, I know it’s a bit much to have two in a row. But come on, it’s a port of Super Mario Sunshine to the DS. How can you not think that’s one of the coolest concepts ever?
It’s also mighty impressive how precisely these worlds were ported. Remember, Mario Sunshine has some massive stages, especially compared to many of those in the original Mario 64. Bianco Hills is enormous , yet it apparently fits really nicely on the old DS:
But while the idea is neat, it’s the execution that matters here. Porting levels is cool, but it’s also a fairly common thing in the modding scene now. Heck, the Mario 64 scene (at least on home consoles) seems to have made a hobby out of trying to port whole worlds from as many games as possible.
What’s really interesting is how they ported the other mechanics. Like FLUDD and the various nozzles:
Or how they ported the Sand Bird level, complete with its flying pattern around the tower:
It’s a really neat project, and though only a remake, shows just how much the original DS could have been capable of had Nintendo felt like making a few more big 3D games for it. Seriously, it’s a real shame how wasted the DS’ capabilities in regards to running 3D games were. I mean, there was Super Mario 64 DS, Mario Kart DS, Metroid Prime Hunters… and I think Diddy Kong Racing DS? Nintendo basically treated the whole thing like a big GBA, with about ten times more 2D titles for the system than 3D ones.
Mario Sunshine 64 DS shows that more could have been done there. And also, that maybe a proper 3D version of Zelda Phantom Hourglass could have been a possibility too.
But this is about fan games, not wasted opportunities on Nintendo systems. So let’s move on to…
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 2D
Well, the ‘current’ version of the game anyway. It’s been attempted by about twenty different teams at this point, and the results have usually been something akin to ‘gave up after realising the effort required’. Or pretended to die in a car crash if your name was Dampe.
None the less, the current version of the game looks quite a bit more promising. For one thing, they’ve actually got some progress to show up to Hyrule Castle in the released demo, so that’s a bit further than most people got. And hey, with stuff like Dodongo’s Cavern and Jabu Jabu’s Belly in active development, it seems like we may actually get a finished game this time around.
And hey, an online mode seems to be present here, which is something cool. Can’t wait to see that get remotely active!
Here’s a trailer:
So yeah, let’s hope this version gets a bit further than the last few attempts. As well as you know, onto the next item on the list.
Star Fox Shadows of Lylat
Which happens to be one of the only promising Star Fox fan works out there. Shadow of Lylat is an attempt at making a full blown Star Fox sequel in the style of Star Fox 64 and its successors. Made as a Freespace mod and with full co-op multiplayer, the trailer looked rather promising:
Note the term ‘looked’.
Because unfortunately for people who wanted something unofficial to play after Star Fox Zero, the chance of the game actually coming out is now just about non existent. After more than 6 years in development, the game was officially cancelled by the team in 2012, as seen in this forum discussion:
Not surprising given the scope of the project, but it’s a real shame none the less. Fortunately, our next few fan games are not cancelled…
Various Paper Mario Fan Games
Yeah, I know. This is a bit of a cop out. Why not just list one Paper Mario fan game?
Because to be perfectly honest, there are multiple incredible looking projects out there for this. Worry not Thousand Year Door door fans, your prayers sequel have now both been answered.
So what’s available here?
Well, there’s Epic Paper Mario. Which to be perfectly honest, lives up to its title a lot more than Color Splash ever could:
It’s basically Super Paper Mario esque exploration mixed with Thousand Year Door’s amazing battle system, which is a combination that looks a whole lot more appealing that ‘lets fight with cards and stickers’. The really nice Gamecube esque graphics and tons of original characters help too.
There’s also Paper Mario Colours of Creation, if you prefer a wholesale Super Paper Mario successor complete with more action orientated feel to it. Again, it features a ton of original characters, interesting gimmicks and partner mechanics and heck, even integrates the audience into the gameplay more than its inspiration ever did.
The music is nice too:
There are others too, though a couple were mentioned in previous articles. Also of interest are various attempts at hacking the original Paper Mario thanks to an editor called ‘Star Rod’ and the Mario RPG Universe topic about a hypothetical new game called ‘Paper Mario Wonder Journey’.
It’s pretty clear the fans are doing what Nintendo isn’t here, and they’re doing it much better too.
Onto the next game!
Donkey Kong Country 4: The Kong’s Returns
Which is one that’s been posted here on Gaming Reinvented before. Either way, Donkey Kong Country 4 is exactly what it says on the tin. A full blown sequel to the original SNES trilogy with the same art style, all playable characters, new themes and concepts and much, much more besides.
Here’s a trailer for the game:
As you can see, it certainly nails the look and feel of the original trilogy. If Rare made a fourth game (or a best of collection), it would probably be a lot like this.
And while a few people have criticised a couple of the new themes for not being as well integrated as others (like the desert and graveyard shown in the video), it’s still pretty impressive that anyone would go to all the effort of actually making and simplifying 3D models to use in a game like this.
It’s definitely got its flaws, but Donkey Kong Country 4 is a really well thought out game that honours the original series really well.
Super Mario Flashback
Like this one then. Made by MFGG user Mors, Super Mario Flashback is basically the 2D Mario platformer the GBA never got. Complete with an interesting level design concept (2D Mario levels with multiple objectives, Mario 64 style), top notch spritework and great music.
Here’s some gameplay (old):
What’s more impressive here is that pretty much every graphic in the game was made by the developer. As in, he sprited all the enemies, Mario himself, the backgrounds, the tilesets… and yet made something that actually looks a lot like what Nintendo might have made in the early 00s.
Indeed, it actually reminds me an awful lot of Super Princess Peach in terms of the general aesthetic feel, which is incredible for a fan made game.
Either way, it’s a great fan game, and one that Mario fans bored with the New Super Mario Bros style should go and check out right away.
A bit like how Metroid fans should check out the next one really…
Metroid 2 Remake
Cause hey, how much of Metroid 2 have you played?
Not a lot?
Yeah, join the club there, because Metroid 2 is seen as a somewhat difficulty game to get into. It’s got a fairly confusing world to explore without a whole lot of variety and a bunch of objectives that pretty much come down to the same idea over and over again.
But that’s where Another Metroid 2 Remake comes in. This project was designed to bring the game up to the standard of its modern counterparts, using graphics from Metroid Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion to create a sort of Metroid 2 GBA game. Here’s a comparison video for the game:
As well as the developer’s blog with lots of updates on its development:
Either way, it’s a great project, and from the pictures and videos posted there, it looks like an absolutely incredible experience all round.
And hey, the fact it’s in active development helps too, the blog was only updated with news about the revamped Metroid Queen boss earlier this month! So not only is it a great fan remake, but it looks like one we’ll actually see finished and released fairly shortly!
But while the Metroid 2 remake is already pretty popular, that’s more than can be said about the next one on our list…
Namely, this interesting Super Mario Bros ROM hack.
Because yes, this is one of the few genuinely interesting mods of the original Super Mario Bros on NES. Why is it so interesting?
Well for one thing, the maker has shown quite the knack when it comes to turning Bowser into a super challenge, bullet hell esque boss with about six phases, which is certainly something you don’t expect to see from a SMB 1 mod:
But that’s not the only interesting thing here. The game also comes with:
Enemies ported from other games, like the Boo here:
Extra ‘cheat codes’ the player can unlock for in game abilities:
And heck, much more besides. The music is being revamped and reworked. The graphics system is getting a massive overhaul with proper backgrounds and scrolling. Heck, it even seems like vertical scrolling might be making the trip over as well!
That’s just crazy given how old the original game is. How basic the whole thing is. This w7n guy is literally planning to make a game that blows even Extra Mario Bros out of the water, and is all round rebuilding Super Mario Bros 1’s engine to do so.
Either way, I highly advise you to read some of the updates about it on ROM Hacking.net, because damn, Mario Gaiden will be incredible when its finally done.
But the best of this bunch is…
Project Beta Triforce
Yeah, this was a tricky one to judge. We’ve had great fan game after great fan game here, and for the most part, most look to be almost professional quality in general. It’s hard to judge whether say, a fantastic Metroid 2 remake is a better effort that rebuilding Super Mario Bros 1’s engine or trying to port Super Mario Sunshine to the original DS. You could make good arguments for all of them.
But in the end, Project Beta Triforce takes the crown. Why?
Because it’s one of the biggest, most ambitious ROM hacks of The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time in recent memory. Remember the whole URA Zelda thing?
Project Beta Triforce is basically an active replacement for that. A full scale mod with new dungeons, new areas, new game mechanics and god knows what else.
Here’s a trailer showing the game:
Looks rather good eh?
Yeah it does. It’s got some great looking dungeons, some good mini dungeons and world redesigns and even stuff like custom enemies, as seen here:
And what’s also interesting is that the developers of this game plan to finally fix those Triforce rumours once and for all. In Project Beta Triforce, you will be able to get the Triforce. Not see it, not get told it’s in a few cutscenes and currently split amongst Link, Zelda and Ganondorf. Actually collect the Triforce for yourself.
It’s not much now (given how later games like Skyward Sword made it possible on an official level), but it’s a nice touch for anyone who wanted it back in Ocarina of Time.
Either way, Project Beta Triforce tops the list. It’s an impressive Ocarina of Time mod with a lot of cool custom content, reworked dungeons and various large world and mechanics changes as well. As a result, I think it’s a worthy project to finish off the list with.
And that concludes the list. But what do you think? Are these Nintendo fan games and hacks impressive to you? Do you think we chose the right order for the list? Post your thoughts on this here in the forums and over on social media now!