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Hacked Rom Reviews!

-a rom hack of "Gauntlet" for the NES-
review by: Dr. Boogie

Ah, the early eighties. They brought us such wonders as the raw, simplistic action of the classic arcade game, Gauntlet. The good old days of a digitized voice belting out such memorable phrases as "someone shot the food," and "warrior needs food badly." How could anyone ruin such a noteworthy game as this? Well, the author of this hack has found the way.

Mauntlet: a pointless adventure.

Notice the new streamlined title screen with an "M" instead of a "G," plus the words "rom hack" inserted underneath Tengen just to clear things up so that no one thinks that Tengen actually made a game called Mauntlet. The author has also taken special precautions to remove the Nintendo copyright from the bottom because frankly, if Nintendo knew about this abomination, they would have sued the author all the way back to the eighties.

Umm yeah... heroes. Sure...

Here are our intrepid heroes now. Instead of the original barbarian, Valkyrie, archer, and wizard quartet, you have crudely drawn versions of Mario, Megaman, Link, and Bart Simpson. Each one has their name written underneath them so that you know for sure whom they are. For the most part, I could tell without the benefit of names, except for the poor man's Megaman. He looks like some sort of evil blue ant. Bart is the only one without a name underneath his portrait, which is again the result of the author trying to avoid being sued for his shameless revisionist Gauntlet. I know the episodes of the Simpsons have really stunk lately, but putting one of the characters in a hack this bad is overkill.

Already, you can see some evidence that the author has taken it upon himself, like so many others before him, to try and ruin the original. Plus, the characters will occasionally revert back to their pre-hack appearances, before the Valkyrie was Megaman and such. I was especially surprised, however, when I saw this:

Jeez, don't let this guy ever remodel your home...

The walls and other textures, if you can call them that, have been completely redone so as to make them even more base and uncomplicated than before. I couldn't tell you why the author would want to do something like this. The whole place looks less like a scary gauntlet, and more like a much scarier Chuck E. Cheese's. Never has so much work been put into making something look so crappy.

Will the horrible graphics ever cease?

This is the second occurrence of the author putting effort into making something look worse than it really is. I still don't get it; he/she didn't even need to make a new key or magic bottle, yet there they are, looking like so much crap. The food power-ups have been changed from the typical bowl of rice and jug of ale/moonshine/whatever to a star with a smiley face and a vase with flowers in it. That star I know came from Mario Brothers, but what about the flowers? At no point did Megaman or Link ever cram a fistful of flowers into their mouths while fighting one of those late 80s, early 90s power battles. Sure, they might have kept a few fairies in jars, or cracked open a few cans of "E," but even they had their limits. As for Bart, there are no flower-eating episodes of the Simpsons to date. I suppose Mario did have those flowers that gave him the ability to shoot fire from his fingertips, but he never clipped the flowers and threw them in a vase before.

The author also uses a coin in lieu of the chests stuffed with riches. Great tradeoff. Unfortunately, getting a hundred of these coins doesn't give you a bonus life, like in the Mario Brothers games. It's probably because the old coins would flash and spin and do all sorts of crazy stuff to prove that they were authentic, whereas these ones just sit impotently on the floor. For shame!

The rest of the Gauntlet power-ups remain the same, and at this point, I'm glad for that much. I can't imagine what the author would have changed about the box with an arrow on it, or the box with three lines on it. Well, surely the author must have put a little more work into make the enemies look like something, right?

A game of "Pong" is sounding REALLY good right about now...

Wrong. Yes, folks, Goombas and Koopa troopers (Or troopas, I forget which name) have also crossed over with Mario from the Mushroom Kingdom. That's it, though. There aren't any monsters from the Megaman, Legend of Zelda, or even the Simpsons series of games. The rest of the monsters have simply been held over from Gauntlet. To break up the monotony, the author has brought new icons for the monster lairs. The Goombas are spawned from what looks like a pipe from the Mario Brothers series, but the rest of them come from a hut with a skull on top, which then turns into a ladder, and finally, a brown spot on the ground.

The only redeeming factor here is that the horrible landscaping dries up after the first set of levels, just like in many of your favorite/most despised rom hacks. Unfortunately, that's more than I can say for the crossover enemies and their hole-in-the-ground dwellings. At least the author chose to leave Death the same way as before.


Take me away, Death. After playing this hack, I have lost my will to live yet again.

Even I wouldn't unleash evil like this into the world.
Dr. Boogie

You too can play Mauntlet!



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