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Hacked Rom Reviews!

The Matrix
-a rom hack of "Elevator Action" for the NES-
review by: FatSatan

The popularity wave of NES rom hacking seems to have come and gone. In a few years time, several great minds cranked out a series of classic rom hacks involving penii, nazism, racism, satanism, drugs and swearing, only to vanish into the shadows again afterwards. Nowadays, new rom hacks are tough to find and they're usually just "hardtype" versions of existing games, with no changed graphics, but a higher difficulty and re-arranged levels. Finding new hacks to review is becoming tougher on us reviewers all the time, which is why it's nice when site visitors mail us new rom hacks that aren't found on every major rom site. Now, by this I don't mean that we're dying to play your masterpieces "Super Mario Bros: Luigi Has A Beard" and "Megaman Titlescreen Sez Fuck", but if you find a genuinely inventive or repulsive rom hack with enough changes to fill a review, mail it out. That is how I received this fairly recent rom hack of Elevator Action, with an... interesting Matrix theme.

Impressive title graphics.

As soon as the title screen popped up, I knew I'd struck gold here. Half the letters of the original title are gone, and a cute little "the Matr... ix" graphic is added to remind us what this hack was about again. Considering its size, I conclude that it was probably forced onto one tile of the title graphics. Clearly this hack was done by a true visionary. A shy visionary, because he neglected to add his own hacker alias.


Meet your character. With his brown coat and fiery mop of red hair, he doesn't exactly resemble Neo. So, I decide to dub him Hax0r. Hax0r is fairly new to the differences between the "real world" and the Matrix, so he doesn't possess any fancy stunts yet. His skills limit themselves to jumping, crouching and firing a seemingly infinite supply of bullets. Well, it'll have to do.

Weee! Going up?

As the game kicks off, we see our hero swing to the top of a building. His mission here, apparently, is to ride the elevator up and down, steal stuff, and finally make his way to the lobby to escape with the goods. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Yes it does. But it's WRONG.


The moment you start riding the elevator down, doors start opening randomly, and clones of Agent Smith burst out to put an end to your disruptive deeds. Their number seems pretty much infinite, and like you, they carry a limitless supply of bullets.

Think fast.

Your only chance is to put a bullet in their brains before they can put one in yours. Luckily, these guys do very little dodging. They might occasionally crouch to cap you in the legs, but other than that they're incapable of evading your shots.

Only human.

That's not to say you can't still get killed. Wait too long when an agent draws his weapon, or fail to jump or dodge, and you're jacked out for good. Other ways to die are jumping onto an elevator - yes, Hax0r is THAT wimpy - or getting crushed while you're standing on one.

I see a red door and I want to paint it black.

But of course, there's more to the game than just avoiding and killing agents. To amass points, you have to sneak into the red apartments, where you're temporarily safe of all dangers. I have no idea what happens in there, but I guess you're finding out just how "deep" the "rabbit hole" is... Boy, I wish I hadn't just said that. :(

Got the dough, and I'm gonna blow.

When you're done with that, Hax0r emerges with some kind of file or paper. He only holds it for a brief moment, after which it disappears and you can go look for another file in another red apartment. Keep doing this until you reach the ground floor and you'll have turned the tides of the war to the favor of humanity... or not. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell I'm carrying around here.

Lights out!

An interesting extra to the game is that you can shoot down lights while you're on the elevator. This causes everything to go momentarily dark. What the use of it is, I didn't know. The agents could still move, come out of the apartments and fire at me. Neat.

Get some exercise.

But if you're claustrophobic, you can just take the stairs. Yes. In a game that was originally called Elevator Action, you can take the stairs. Yeah, why they don't just call it Elevator & Stairway Action is beyond me. Granted, there's very little action on the stairs, but it only seems polite. Sorry, was I yelling?

Dodge this.

Either the lighting in this building is just really crappy, or the basement starts at the 15th floor. Don't ask me. Maybe these people need a lot of closet space. Maybe these doors lead to the programmer's access. Maybe it's not impossible to bend the spoon. I mean, I saw Uri Geller do it once, and he has a Pokémon named after him. Makes you think.

A glitch in the Matrix?

Interesting to note is that the screen got increasingly more glitchy as I made my way down. Beyond floor 12, it just started flashing uncontrollably, which made play increasingly more fun and challenging. Well. Challenging, anyway.

Vroom vroom.

With a handful of files, I finally reached the ground floor and hopped onto my hotrod. I couldn't make out exactly what it said on the side... ")hot"? "snot"? To my surprise, I didn't drive off to the hardline to jack out and celebrate my victory with the woman in the red dress - instead, I was dropped back on the top of the building to do it all over again. The ingenious additions of sunglasses to the original game failed to hold my interest beyond this point. Screw this, I don't like elevators anyway.

I'm a little busy right now!

You too can play Matrix!



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