Rom hacks are always made with villainy on the mind. True, most rom
hackers seek nothing more than to profane and disrupt, but there also
exists a small collection of hackers that actually want to do... something
with the original game. Some feel that the original Castlevania wasn't
hard enough, and so they edit the levels to make it more challenging.
Others will take characters and storylines (rarely both, but there are a
few non-slacker hackers) and put them in a completely different game to
create a pseudo-sequel.
These are all best case scenarios, however. In fact, I have recently
discovered a middle ground between rom hack heaven and hell, a sort of rom
hack limbo, where the author attempts to bring foreign characters into a
different game, but ultimate creates only evil in the process. It is in
this nightmarish place that I have glimpsed a hack of Mega Man 3 entitled
Now, of course, I don't need to tell you who Tom Servo is, or why anyone
would want him in a game, but I will anyway for those of you who don't
know, but are pretending that you do to avoid looking foolish in front of
your friends: Tom Servo was one of the robots from the legendary TV
experience known as Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). Known for his gumball
machine-like appearance and extensive underwear collection, it is only
fitting that someone make a game with him as the main character, or
rather, remake a game with him as the main character.
And there he is. It's not an altogether terrible likeness of Servo
considering the graphical limitations of old NES games.
Unfortunately, unlike Mega Man, Servo doesn't have any legs. One would
think this would limit his movements a little bit, and probably scale back
his jumping power. Instead, it merely limits him to a total of around four
frames of animation.
It's more of a shimmy than an actual walk, I suppose. Still, as odd as
that might appear, it can't compare to Servo's answer to Mega Man's arm
Sure, little energy pellets still come out, but only when Tom sighs a
relaxed, "ah". Then again, maybe he's letting out a startled, "AH!!" Then
again, again, maybe the author, Kasady, decided to make energy pellets fly
out of Servo when he says, "HA", but forgot that the game would simply
mirror the sprites for when Servo is facing the opposite direction. All
this kind of distracts from the fact that Tom's voice is apparently a
deadly weapon, just like those weirding modules from Dune.
Weaponry aside, Servo also gets some help from his fellow robot crewmate,
And you thought Crow was just a useless gold spider monkey. Quite the
contrary, he can transform himself into a number of different... vehicles,
I guess would be the best way to describe them: A spring for extra jumping
height, a jet for flying, and even a submarine, which doesn't really get
used that much but is still neat. It's just too bad that Kasady didn't
bother to change the names of these vehicles from "Rush" to "Crow". I
mean, it's only four letters; it wouldn't have been that hard. Moving
Quite a rogue's gallery that Kasady's assembled. Looks like we've got the
Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a snake with an unhinged jaw, a blue tiki head,
a slightly off-center goblin, a cultist, and a trio of rejected GI Joe
characters. The thing in the middle portrait that looks like a bent walker
is supposed to be Servo's dome, I assume. It's too bad that with all the
effort taken to remake the character portraits, as well as the background,
that Kasady didn't bother to change the names under the portraits. Oh
well, that's what I'm here for:
Top: T-1000, Anaconda, T-800, Gamera
Bottom: Kenny, Galvatron, Scorpion, Sub Zero
Of these eight characters, only Gamera (friend to all children) has even
the slightest connection to Servo, on account of all the crappy movies
he's been in that made it onto MST3K. As for the rest, I guess the fact
that they were in movies is reason enough for them to get in Servo's way.
The bosses are pretty much the only enemies that have been changed in any
way. Oh, wait, that's not fair. How could I forget about these guys:
For reasons I can't imagine, Kasady has decided to remove the eyes from
these characters. What could this possibly mean? Possible theories: since
Servo has no eyes on his dome, Kasady felt that some of the more prominent
eyeballs in the game should be removed to avoid hurting Servo's feelings.
More likely, though, the author felt a quick smearing of a few select
characters would make it seem like more work went into this turkey than he
really put in. Are we falling for it? Hell no. Power-ups, on the other
hand, that's another story.
Wow, a life preserver, a cassette tape, a can of soda (or beer, though Tom
strikes me as more of a "soda" guy) and one of Servo's domes. Again, the
trick here is that the author is trying to make you think he's improved
upon the original design, when in fact he's merely removed the original
flashing power-ups and replaced them with his crummy non sequitur power-ups.
But did Kasady stop there? I wish. Our man Kasady also took a few
liberties with some of the levels. Only a few, though, and most aren't
weren't mentioning, apart from two of them.
First, Kenny's stage:
When I said that
Afro Man might be the worst looking hack, I said that it
was only a matter of time before the next candidate for the title would
emerge. Kasady makes his bid for the prize with this impressive showing.
As I've said before, Topman's stage was pretty weak, the kind of stage a
weak villain like him deserves, but it's still hard to say if this is an
improvement or not. Sure, he got rid of the annoying flashing in the
background, but he's replaced all the solid objects with TV static.
People, the bar has officially been lowered once more, putting it right in
Less embarrassing, but still altogether crappy, is the new Scorpion's
(Magnet Man's) stage:
Kinda neat, I guess. It's a pretty clear indication of where most of the
effort put into the hack went. Not that I'm dissing his bloody 8-bit
skeletons, but still, it's only one stage. Also, note the new Proto Man
and his all red jumpsuit. More on that later. For now, continue to observe
the changes to Magnet Man, aka Scorpion, namely the new weapon.
Wowie. And here, I thought it couldn't get any better. Look at the great
attention to detail given to the arrow, I'm sorry, the "Scorpionissile."
The shading is very nice, too. Yes, life is good.
When you beat all eight totally unconnected bad guy characters, as well as
the eight Mega Man 2 throwback bosses, you'll finally get a chance to see
some actual MST3K references for a change.
Look at that, the whole Dr. Wiley's castle sequence is devoted to the
show. Dr. Wiley is now Dr. Forester, Dr. W's castle is now Deep 13
laboratories, and I think Dr. Light is supposed to be TV's Frank. His
hair's a different color, but I mean, who else could he be? Someone
totally unrelated, yeah, I know. Just let me have this.
Anyway, when I saw all these, I ditched my previous skepticism about there
not being any changes made to the later levels of the game. That's right,
I totally threw my early expectations right out the window. When I finally
reached the end of the game, I saw that my optimism was justly rewarded.
Wait for it...
Wait for it...
There! Right there. Remember the new Proto Man? Turns out it was really
Joel, secretly aiding and thwarting Servo all at once. Oh, it was all
worth it. The half-assed animations, the awful new stages, the
questionable cameos, all for this: a substitution of a single portrait
just prior to the credits rolling. Awesome.
In conclusion, there have been a lot of bad movies shown on MST3K.
Unfortunately, they never got around to adding a running commentary to bad
rom hacks. I can only imagine what that would have been like. It probably
would have involved a lot of funny remarks, with a couple really obscure
references thrown in just to keep you on your toes. It would be a lot like
my rom hack coverage, but with fewer angry invectives and curses invoked.
Also, my DVD sales aren't going so well. Oh well, one step at a time.
Have any questions or comments about this piece?
Email Dr. Boogie
*** You too can play Tom Servo! ***
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TOM SERVO ROM FOR THE NES!]
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE NES EMULATOR]
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out:
SUPER CASTLEVANIA 2!
("Castlevania 2" Rom Hack)
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