"I always found that rather easy," said Adam, so I mentioned the unlockable "more difficult mode."
"Hard mode...?" he said, "Do you mean when all the enemies change and it becomes autumn? Is it harder? I hadn't noticed, heh."
The website dedicated to Super Mario World ROM Hacks is "Super Mario World Central" or SMWC, which is a community where designers can get together and upload all sorts of hacks.
I will rate the game just how they are rated on SMWC.
Although only mildly Lovecraftian in its execution, the dialogue and events are excitingly reminiscent of the style. There's a trapped Princess, though, which is perfect for Mario and ties in nicely.
There is sadly no Overworld at all until the end of the game when the paths unlock. This means, if you die, you return right to the very beginning which (although not a problem since using Save States) it is mildly disheartening.
Every level is different and takes us deeper in R'lyeh. We begin on shore of slime, then we are taken into the level of "Non-Euclidean Geometry", and onwards into a pure black-and-white level until finally entering the cosmic catacombs where Cthulhu sleeps.
Very well constructed. I think a few sprites could have been changed to look a little less like Koopas and more like Shoggoths, but I think a large amount of effort and thought has gone into this.
I've not played enough Hacks to compare, but simply from gaming, this is something good. The particular outstanding moment for me was the "Non-Euclidean Geometry" where the background is made to look like platforms, but they move as you run - hard to describe, but brilliantly good at messing with your head.
There were some very good sprites on display; all sorts of Cthulhu statues and cosmic backgrounds. There were even flashes of floating red eyes appearing in the sky, and black discs of lightless realms far off in space.
Many aspects are exciting here: tentacles that grab Mario and disable him from moving, and clever screen wrapping, so a fall off the bottom continues above. There is even a bit where Mario "dies" and you have to climb out of the Game Over screen.
It is actually rather short. Took me two weeks and Adam 2 hours (or so.) I do not think this is a bad thing, though. I think the ideas were strengthened in their placement of individual levels. It may have felt stretched or repetitive if made longer.
I found it a little frustrating in places, but then, I'm not a skilled Mario Jumper, really. It was more difficult that I am used to, but it was fun to have a challenge - I did have to use a lot of Save States.
The music was well suited, the puzzles were well constructed and the game was certainly entertaining. I was excited to see how it unfolded, and was entertained differently by each individual level.
Overall [74%] But I would give a solid 80%.
Final Fantasy IV - Golbez, Clad in Dark
A Link to the Past - Agahnim & Ganon's Theme
Twilight Princess - Twilight Realm
Castlevania III - Destiny
Castlevania III - Nightmare
Terranigma - The Underworld
Tetris Attack - Encounter With Bowser
Breath of Fire II - Lethal Dose
Tales of Phantasia - Fighting of the Spirit
Custom SMWC Music
Now It Begins - ThinkOneMoreTime
Passat of the Hero - ThinkOneMoreTime
The World Ends Epic Mix - Jascha
This is a very intelligent, well thought-out game. It is a shame Yashum doesn't want it hosted any more, but I can only praise him for the strength of his efforts.