SB Recommends ROM Hacks and Game Mods

Modifications of games done without the consent of their authors. They can range in scope from minor tweaks to “total conversions”. While ROM hacks and mods are technically the same thing, there are various differences between them, such as their perceived legitimacy and histories, that warrant the distinction.


  • Dodgeball
    • Cycle: This game had lots of unique mods, but this was my favourite to play. No one had weapons, but you could pick up balls of your colour and launch them at other people. If a ball of another colour touched you, YOU DEAD. Just remember, if you throw a ball and miss, you're defenceless while you go back another one up. Was lots of fun.

Doom II

  • Alien Vendetta
    • T.: Malde's maps are meticulous and beautiful, overflowing with unique areas and held together by a real sense of tension and Johnsen's (particularly ep3) are expertly strung together hordes where every encounter is the most exciting one yet. And even though his hell is not the most detailed one, I still find it particularly unsettling and grotesque (oh right and all of the other maps are excellent too)
    • SplashBeats: Each of the 12 authors of this wad created one section of the map, and it was then thrown together. the results are pretty interesting! The most notable transition I noticed was stepping into a small elevator in a sleek, brown & gray space-ish area, only to arrive in hell after a short trip down.
      It's only one level, and entirely too fucking hard for it's own good (play with monsters off and just admire the architecture) but it's a rather charming application of a literary/visual art technique to videogames.
    • Slipstream: It's a shame the people who made the maps that went into this don't understand what makes a good level. The buildings and structures were well designed, yes, but it was a chore to move around in. It's great to look at and admire from the perspective of a Doom player, but very few parts of the map are really playable.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

The following Morrowind mods are game enhancing/fixing add-ons for the original game, rather than new things in, and of, themselves.

    • Tulpa: Fixes some of the last remaining bugs in the game. I don't know if this is compatible with Steam.
    • Tulpa: This herbalism mod removes the tedium from plant gathering without otherwise changing it

Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures (FRUA)

  • The Sect
    • T.: The Sect is a gold box engine FRUA mod designed originally in '95 (but was released only recently) which I fell in love with damn near immediately. It takes the humor and puzzles of mid-90s fantasy adventure games (Discworld, Kyrandia, Simon the Sorcerer) and puts it on the lengthy, exploration heavy structure of Ultima 4-7 (secrets everywhere! and expect to take notes!) and all the while still playing essentially like a great and difficult gold box game <3


  • Half Life 2: Jaykin Bacon - video
    • crouchjump: It would be impossible to list all the awesomeness in this multiplayer mod, but a few select features include MGS's cardboard box (you're invisible when still), a handgun (your fingers, making a gun noise. sneak up behind dudes to hold them up and make them drop their items!), the machinegun from MGS3 (you scream while shooting it), throwing chainsaws, and a scoped knife. Also features a Snake VS Monkey mode (all players but one become Ape Escape monkeys and must beat Snake to death with their bare hands), and a version of MGS3:S's Capture the Kero-tan mode that's much more fun than MGS3:S ever was.
  • Rocket Crowbar - video
    • crouchjump: It's vanilla HLDM, except every weapon has completely new and bizarre ass-kicking functions. The crowbar now fires drunken missiles! You can use monsters like drivable vehicles and also drive some vehicles like vehicles!
  • Science And Industry - video
    • crouchjump: Team-based objective mod in which two rival corporations send their cloned goons (that's you) to sabotage each other by kidnapping scientists. Features a big ol' democratically selected tech-tree that gives each team a unique arsenal. Slick and sterile presentation before PORTAL MADE IT COOL you assholes

See also

Half-Life 2

  • Dear Esther
    • tacotaskforce: There are something like three different stories with the same characters all told by the same narrator along with historical information about the island. Snippets of each story will activate as you walk through the island, some of them randomized, some not. By the end of the end of the mod you'll have an idea of who the avatar and the island are, but the pieces won't all fit together because they can't all fit into a single interpretation.

See also

Knytt Stories

  • Spiral - by 'Bennity'
    • Tulpa: A challenging level somewhat hampered by its use of randomly deadly enemies (you know the ones I mean, the kind that result in all arbitrary deaths)
  • Change the View - by 'Ble'
    • Tulpa: Just short of being one of my favorites. It goes too far in the direction of pixel perfect jumping and feels too artificial but the design of it is really interesting.
  • Level 5 - by 'BloxMaster'
    • Tulpa: Fun and not nearly as hard as I expected. It has a password that I can't decipher so I'm only on level 4 of the 5.
  • Harvest - by 'Farik'
    • Tulpa: Different from everything else. It is the most narrative of the stories and actually has pretty decent writing. The environment is nice too.
  • Temple of the Sun - by 'Fegon'
    • Tulpa: A beautiful classic Knytt Stories level. I'm a better player than the game expected so I got to some areas earlier than intended and skipped an entire item. Its sense of place is unbeaten by anything except The Life Ruby.
  • Temple of Death - by 'Harumbai'
    • Tulpa: A lot of fun borderline platforming hell, I like its moxie. Bad music.
  • Another Journey - by 'Imaddo'
    • Tulpa: An attractive 'wandering around environments' level. Probably one of the best of its kind.
  • Knytt 8bits - by 'Jerom'
    • Tulpa: Beautiful and impossible.
  • The Life Ruby - by 'Ranger X'
    • Tulpa: Easily the best level I have played. Even though it is merely rated “Hard”, it is harder than some of the 'platforming hell' levels. I can't recommend this highly enough and I wonder why I put off playing it for so long.
  • Colors - by 'rrc2soft'
    • Tulpa: A pretty neat level. I played it ages ago and found it really difficult. This time I went through the main areas in a different order and found it too easy. There's an ideal path through it. It has a boss fight!
  • Going Left - by 'SecretGlitch'
    • Tulpa: Probably impossible. I at least can't beat it, either because my reflexes are too slow or this crappy keyboard destroys my input timing. Play it for the joy of ultra hard platforming without any bullshit.

See also

Mega Man 2

  • Rockman no Constancy
    • T.: A Rockman 2 hack that is IMO the best NES Mega Man game. Entirely new levels/music/stage design and stupidly, wonderfully difficult.

Mega Man 4

  • Rockman 4 Minus Infinity
    • Rudie: There is only one Megaman/Rockman game in existence it is Rockman 4 Minus Infinity. All others are fragments of the master work. I've only played Pharaohman and watched Diveman. I had to keep pausing to go. You are kidding me right?
    • Deets: my god it is the best Megaman game ever and it's a romhack of Megaman 4 of all things. It's remarkably generous, particularly for a romhack. You start out with the weapon energy balancer and other convenient items you typically had to buy from the store in other games. The Rush weapon you start with has him scavenge for items, including E-Tanks and 1ups. When midbosses die, they stay dead, even if you restart from an earlier checkpoint. All of the weapons are powerful and useful, and when you die the game refills all of your weapons by about 50%. And the designers take the design space afforded by that generosity to put in crazy, crazy shit that you will not believe is coming from a romhack of an uninspired sequel megaman game. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say the sense of place in the castle stages are the best in any game in the series, and the last half is almost Treasure-like in terms of how hard it keeps cranking the dial higher and higher, to the point where every time you think “okay, it's over, this is it, it can't get any crazier than this,” there's one more turn, and you realize that yes, these guys are serious. They are not fucking around. And then you just have to laugh and wonder why no one's ever gone here with territory this well-worn. It feels a little like it was someone's dream to make this game, to make the Megaman 4 that could have, should have existed, but didn't. Until now. (the only caveat I have is that I wish they'd kept the music the same instead of turning it into a weird megamix of semi-garbled themes from other games, but oh well)
    • spectralsound: Pharaoh Man sold me on the game, then i decided to check out the Cossack/Wily stages and i was saying, out loud, “HOLY FUCKING SHIT” about once every five seconds. and i'm not talking about the difficulty (it really isn't that hard (until the final boss)).

Neverwinter Nights

  • Tortured Hearts
    • T.: If a game opens with the main character being blindly ambushed it's bound to be a favorite. A bit awkward and clumsily self-referential in parts (a lot like Fallout 2, actually) but unmatched for ambition (it's an attempt at merging Fallout/Arcanum-style malleability and Morrowind-style open-endeness) and with excellent world and quest design, lots of stat-checks, choice-dependent quests/dialogue options.


See also

Quake II

  • Action Quake 2
    • Tulpa: A wonderful shooter, the minimalism of the mechanics and the guns/powerups makes for a surprisingly balanced experience. Possibly started the 'action movie' game subgenre (Quake's Navy Seals might have been the real start, but I have never played it). The best video game take on the western action movie though.

Quake III Arena

  • Hunt Mod - by J Hoffmann
    • Cycle: Basically, a quad damage spawned randomly in a level, and a beeping sound told you how close you were to it. You have to collect a certain amount to win. BUT there are demons all around the level. They can't see you, but they can hear you, so you have to sneak all around them. Got very tense, especially when a quad was surrounded. The final version of the mod was this massive.. thing with new weapons and items like a grappling hook and even has a random level generator, and had more focus on the action rather than stealth, but you could still edit the options to get the old school gameplay.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

  • Sonic 2XL
    • Loki Laufeyson: Replaces the rings with onion rings, that cause Sonic to gain weight the more he collects. Hilarious and infuriating.


    • internisus: The Complete packs improve the games a great deal without changing them. A desire to play as was originally intended blah blah is generally understandable, but in the case of Complete it would be misplaced. I have to echo the recommendation.
    • remote: In general I do feel like the Complete mod has improved things and added a few nice features, but it also seems to have taken away the game's raw edge, somehow.

Super Mario World

See also

Super Metroid

  • Super Metroid Eris - Forum thread
    • diplo: Akin to the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2, rather than one of those mind-bogglingly specific hacks of the original SMB; which is to say, it's about exploiting the idiosyncrasies of the source, specific to the medium, for a stranger and more demanding product, but without coming across as too dense in challenge for most potential participants.
    • glossolalia: You've stumbled into this inconceivable hell world where even mundane things are deadly to you, like Metroid II but even worse.
    • Bo 0: It looks like the Super Metroid 2 of my dreams, but the fifteen years gap between the original title and this hack shows a fundamental change. I feel that the maker of this game knew in advance that everyone would watch a speedrun or read a FAQ somewhere, so he adapted the level design to this new reality.
    • Sketchz: this guy has nailed the Metroid atmosphere perfectly.
    • RT-55J: It [is] so alien, bizarre, hostile, wonderful, unnerving, and impenetrable. After about two hours of play time I had only found the morph ball and two missile packs, and ended up looping right back to my ship with no idea where to go next (multiple times). It was wonderful. Eventually I started making actual progress (at an accelerating rate), and began to understand the world's structure and logic, which was a very satisfying feat given my prior difficulties. Unfortunately, this sense of impenetrability doesn't (can't) exist on replays, but it's a well-made enough game that it's still worthwhile just to play it.
    • spectralsound: the atmosphere is damn perfect, but the gating and linear nature of the original Super Metroid are at near-ridiculous levels here, often necessitating running back and forth between opposite parts of the map, and the difficulty and sparse save points mean you might end up replaying the same ungodly-hard section two or three times unless you use save states. i did like the claustrophobic nature of the map, until it opened up into a lower area and became kind of bland. not a game for the impatient or easily frustrated.
  • Super Metroid Eris 2012 - download
    • A more streamlined update to the 2009 release.
  • Super Metroid: Y-Faster - Download
    • RT-55J: A non-linear hack with a time limit of one hour. Somewhat unpolished, but quite replayable.

See also

 sb/recommended/mods.txt · Last modified: 2017/07/24 19:16 by rt-55j
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