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Hacked Rom Reviews!

Mario Dragon!
-a rom hack of "Double Dragon" for the NES-
review by: Dr. Boogie

Before I even began this latest rom hack review, I remember saying that I wanted to get away from the multitude of hacks with only minor changes, such as ďHard-Hat Mario BrothersĒ, and ďMario-has-a-Goatee Brothers.Ē Hell, I just wanted to find one that wasnít some ten-year-oldís attempt to improving Super Mario Brothers by turning the goombas into cupcakes, or giving Luigi some nice Ray-Bans.

Instead, what I found was Mario Dragon, a tribute to Marioís mastery of the martial arts. It seems that aside from being able to utilize the flora of the Mushroom Kingdom to power himself up, Mario earned himself a black belt back in the eighties. Alright, I thought to myself with uncharacteristic optimism, someone has decided to replace the incorrigible Billy Lee with the interminable Italian. Perhaps Iíll get to see Toad somewhere in this hack. I should have known better.

It took 16 manhours to make that toadstool.

No sign of change at the title screen, disappointing in part because the rom hacker didnít take the time to alter the title to reflect his work, but also because there was no byline to identify the author/perpetrator of this hack. Looks like this could be chalked up to either laziness, or foresight on the part of the author for realizing that Nintendo is ever-ready to sue anyone for just about anything concerning the Mario brothers. The only real change is that the heart used to identify which mode you want, as well as to show how experienced you are at stomping Williams and Lindas, has been changed into a malformed toadstool.

But enough peripherals, letís see how the new Mario looks:

No more red overalls for him.

Hey, I like the new threads, Mario. Black is definitely your color. What I donít like, however, is that head of yours. Your puffy, disproportionate head was weird enough before, but now its size fluctuates wildly, and without warning, writhing and pulsating like a burlap sack full of squirrels fighting over an acorn. Stand still before I get sick. Still, it isnít the worst artistís rendition of a famous video game character that Iíve ever seen. At least the author of this hack managed to keep his new model about 80% stable, without any major foul-ups orÖ

Oh no, my fancy suit! Ah, a minute without Mario!

Looks like I spoke too soon. Itís Billy Leeís evil twin brother, who dresses exclusively in red, Jimmy Lee! Quick, youíve got to change back into Mario before anyone notices!! Way to ruin the illusion, Roper. Well, folks, thatís the kind of quality that you can expect from this particular hack.

Fortunately, more detail was put into making the enemies into shells of their former selves...

A good workout turned this Shyguy into a Flyguy.

I just donít knowÖ What the hell was this guy supposed to be? A really fit Shy Guy? Maybe Bowser just decided to take a power sander to poor Williamís face. Such is the price of disobedience in the Mushroom Kingdom. To think that with all the work that went into revamping Billy Lee into Mario Lee, the author couldnít spend more than a minute to give this guy new face instead of a paper plate with three dots on it.

Demure housewife Linda. Bitchin' babe Linda.

Well would you look at this: The author has chosen to replace Lindaís tight spandex with a modest purple dress. More than that, heís replaced her giant 80ís hair with a much smaller Ďdo. The hooker boots remain, but still, could this be the very first instance of a rom hacker actually making a change that doesnít instantly profane the very name of the game being hacked, or is this just a case of the author struggling to make even the slightest change in everything he can think of? I assume the latter. Maybe the author was trying to make Linda into an evil version of the Princess, the only female character in the Mario series (unless you count Toad. Thatís kind of a tricky area).

He's like a really buff Charlie Brown.

Now this one was even more baffling that what had befallen good olí William. As you can see, Chintai has had his head replaced with a flesh-colored motorcycle helmet with eyes and a mouth painted on. What in all holy hell could this possibly be a likeness of? Ok, maybe, JUST maybe, the author wanted this horrible freak to be the humanoid version of the hard-shelled beetle things from Super Mario Brothers. Still, thatís a tremendous stretch of my feverish imagination.

But these are all small potatoes compared to what has been done to your favorite boss and mine, Abobo:

Or is he a Goomba? Still, not as ugly as he was in the movie. I'm calling my lawyer.

Oh dear lord! Someone please kill me!!! Abobo has been transformed into the Batman villain, Clayface. I must admit that I did not see that one coming. Not since my review of Mauntlet (which Iím sure everyone has committed to memory) have I seen a rom hacker disgrace so many different copyrighted characters at once. Then again, it does set this rom apart from all the others; itís a combination of Double Dragon, Super Mario Brothers, and Batman. Man, whoíd have thought that those three elements combined would turn out to be one hell of a crappy rom hack? Bob Kane must be spinning in his grave.

And thatís pretty much it for changes made in the hack. The rest of the changes consist of a few random mushrooms appearing in the first level, including the barrel weapon, which has been changed into a giant Ďshroom. As you can see below, however, even that didnít work out too well:

Mushroom... mushroom... barrel!?  Dammit!

Alright, Iíve had enough of this garbage. Iím going to relax and put in a little time on good old Game B.

Princess Toadstool must be terrified. The winner gets a new head.

There you have it: Nothing is sacred in the world of rom hacking. Not even the near impossible Game B in Double Dragon. The only redeemable quality of this rom hack that I can think of is that it contains neither errant penises, nor the overuse of drugs/drug paraphernalia. Except for mushrooms, and only because they make you grow big and strong really fast. If only the creator of this hack had left some indication of who he was, or better still, an address where he could be reached/beaten within an inch of his life. Oh, well, maybe Iíll get my wish in Mario Dragon II Ė The RevengeÖ

This one's for Luigi, and this one's for Mario is Missing!
Dr. Boogie

You too can play Mario Dragon!



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