Ever since the first video games released, people have been trying to modify them. However, it was often a difficult and time consuming process. Sharing hacks and mods was also tough before the internet made downloading files more accessible to players. That has all changed in recent times with many amateur developers going back to their favorite franchises to create romhacks that significantly change the way they play.
In some instances, modes are an attempt to create an unofficial sequel long after the original developers have abandoned the franchise. Many other cases see fans wanting to add new features or switch up the gameplay to improve the overall experience of these classic games. Titles from the 90s are a popular source of hacks and mods. A few, like the ones included in this article, completely change the way you play them.
20 Streets Of Rage 2: TMNT Edition
Streets of Rage 2 was a 1992 side-scrolling beat ‘em up that released on the Sega Mega Drive. Receiving widespread critical acclaim, it sees players fight through a large number of enemies as you fight against a criminal organization. The TMNT Edition hack changes all the playable characters to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, making it a very different looking game to play.
19 The Halloween Hack
The Halloween Hack is a romhack for the cult classic RPG EarthBound. It acts as a sequel for the game, continuing the story after the events of the original title. Released in 2008, it switches the timeline to an alternate version and features much harder battles and encounters. There is also a collection of new enemies and NPCs that you can have conversations with.
18 Zelda's Birthday
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the most well known and influential games of all time. Therefore, it is not that surprising that it has become a popular title to hack. The entire narrative is modified so that you are now traveling across Hyrule to get presents for the princess because it is her birthday. Brand new dungeons are even introduced to make it a unique experience.
17 Final Fantasy VII: HardType
This mod of Final Fantasy VII does little to change the game outside of re-balancing the difficulty. Character’s HP and stats are reduced while enemies become tougher. This is because most players find the base game to be too easy, especially if you collect the best gear. The hack effectively ups the challenge significantly, making it a far more difficult game.
16 Super Mario: Star Road
Super Mario 64 is another game that proved to be hugely influential for the rest of the gaming industry. The Super Mario: Star Road hack keeps much of the base game the same, but significantly changes the ending by adding extra levels and more stars to collect. There are now 130 Powers Stars available and 30 extra levels that were not available originally, while the difficulty in earlier stages is drastically increased.
15 Donkey Kong Country: Boss Blitz
Have you ever played Donkey Kong Country and wished that you could just miss out all of the normal levels and only battle against the bosses? The Donkey Kong Country: Boss Blitz hack does just that. It essentially turns the title into a boss rush game where you have to fight each of the title’s seven bosses in a row without dying. This is a very different experience to how you would normally fight these bosses and makes for an imaginative challenge.
14 Pokémon Red & Blue Self Hacking Mod
The Pokémon Red & Blue Self Hacking Mod is a unique hack in that it doesn’t change any set element of the original game. Instead, it adds an element of randomness to the game. By modifying the code of the game, it introduces a change that will randomly happen at a set time interval. The effect could be anything from your Pokémon randomly switching out for other creatures or you gaining or losing items from your inventory.
13 NARC Uncut
When NARC released for the NES, it was heavily censored. This removed a lot of the violent content as well as references to drug use. The NARC Uncut hack restores the game back to what the developers had originally intended. All cut material is put back in the game as well as improvements to the visuals and sound.
12 The Giftman Chronicles
The Giftman Chronicles is a hack of EarthBound, otherwise known as Mother 2, that gives the gift of the festive season to the entire experience. You have to take control of Ness to stop evil forces from ruining Christmas. Lots of characters have been replaced with holiday versions, while there are new quests, sprites, and items available to the player.
11 Contra: Hard Corps: IT.Gamer Ultra Hack
The IT.Gamer Ultra Hack for Contra: Hard Corps brings with it content that was included in the European version, known as Probotector. This includes adding additional characters as well as completely new weapons to the Sega Mega Drive title. The game has also been made more accessible, giving players extra life points so they don’t die in one hit, although enemies have been made slightly tougher and weapons toned down to make sure the gameplay is still balanced.
10 The Legend Of Zelda: Parallel Worlds
This is a hack of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Instead of taking place in Hyrule, The Legend Of Zelda: Parallel Worlds switches the action to a different location altogether. The overhaul includes a brand new narrative as well as new dungeons and redesigned overworlds in both the light and dark worlds.
Counter-Strike may well be the most well-known mod for any game. Beginning life as a modification for Half-Life, it introduced new character models to create a multiplayer first-person shooter game. Terrorists would fight against special forces in a variety of different game modes, such as hostage rescue. It was a very different experience to the main game, but has spawned multiple full sequels.
8 Super Mario RPG Armageddon
Although Super Mario RPG introduced a number of new mechanics, such as the ability to use timed hits in the turn-based battles, it wasn’t much of a challenge for most players. That all changes with this hack for the original SNES title. With new bosses, monsters, and enemy attacks, the action is far more difficult. Add in a bunch of additional locations and this feels like a completely different game.
7 Oh No! More Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a classic LucasArts that released for the NES and Sega Mega Drive in 1993. This hack reworks the base game to create an unofficial sequel that continues the story of the first game. It took more than a decade to finish and includes a massive collection of 55 new levels, along with additional items and enemies.
6 Brutal Doom
Doom, which released in 1993, has become one of the most important games ever made. It set the standard for first-person shooter games. Brutal Doom is a mod of the title that first released in 2010. It changes almost every aspect of gameplay, adding the ability to use vehicles, perform executions and stealth kills, and added new weapons such as a flamethrower.
5 Super Metroid Redesign
What makes Super Metroid Redesign stand out from the original game is the fact that it adds so much more content. Extra missions and weapons are included with the hack, changing the way you can play much of the game. Elements of realism are also introduced with physics changes, increasing fall damage and making it trickier to wall climb up smooth surfaces.
4 Super Mario World: Return to Dinosaur Land
Super Mario World: Return to Dinosaur Land is an unofficial sequel to the original Super Mario World. It doesn’t change the gameplay or graphics at all, instead focusing on crafting completely new levels and worlds for you to explore. This includes a Water World and an Ice World that were not present in the base game. Thanks to the varied level design, the hack also makes for a tougher challenge.
3 Cry Of Fear
While Half-Life has some horror elements, it can't really be called a scary game. On the other hand Cry of Fear, a full conversion mod based on the Half-Life engine, is very much a horror game. The developers behind it created brand new models, textures, and gameplay mechanics. Players take control of a character who has been hit by a car and awakens to find the city full of humanoid monsters who he must escape from.
2 Ocarina Of Time Four Swords Hack
The Ocarina Of Time Four Swords Hack is a romhack for the classic Nintendo 64 title. It mashes up the gameplay from the original title with another entry in the franchise. This allows players to play through the campaign with up to three friends, each taking on the role of a Link wearing a different colored tunic. As you can imagine, this changes the action significantly as the game was not designed with multiplayer in mind.
1 Pokémon Flare
Pokémon Flare is a romhack for Pokémon FireRed, which is itself a remake of the original classic that released in 1996. Much of the base game has been revamped to provide for additional gameplay opportunities. For instance, there is a completely new type of Pokémon in the form of the Fairy-types, as well as extra moves and locations to explore.
Sources: Romhacking.net, Retrogameman.com, Destructoid.com