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Bard's Tale The Best Romhacks?

Joined
Dec 19, 2012
Messages
1,671
Hey fellas! :shittydog:

Been having some fun with emulators lately. Other than a few translation patches here and there, I realized that I haven't explored much in the way of romhacks. Unfortunately, it's hard to separate the worthwhile ones from thrown-together graphical mods that make Mario run around with a huge boner.

The Codex, being the #1 resource of all things prestigious, surely must have some expertise on the subject.

What are some of the best, must-play romhacks and translations out there? The platform or genre doesn't necessarily matter to me if the game is good. Even things like difficulty rebalancing interest me if it makes and otherwise pushover game challenging (but not insane). I've heard Super Mario Adventure and Metroid Redesign are pretty good efforts, at least.
 

Hyperion

Arcane
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Jul 2, 2016
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www.insanedifficulty.com

Haven't delved into these yet, but a lot of them sound interesting, though they (obviously) revolve around difficulty. Lots of basic mechanics seem to be turned upside-down, like Calculators being nerfed to the ground in FFT 1.3. They also added Dark Knight from War of the Lions into the PSX version of the game, some 1 v 1 duel between Ramza and Vormav because Wiegraf wasn't enough, and some other stuff you can read about.

FFIV: The Darkness Within seems to focus on bringing the original FF II release in the U.S. more in line with the DS and hard type versions of the game, but apparently also changed dialogue, NPC locations, exposition, and timing of certain events. Most notably they put off Cecil's transformation to a Paladin. Also looks like they added a bunch of side quests "2/3 of the way through" which sounds like either right before or after The Giant of Babil.
 
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deuxhero

Arcane
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
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Location
Flowery Land
Pokemon romhacks are a dime a dozen and likely the most documented after translation patches. There are a lot that make everything obtainable in one game and raise the difficulty, and there are some pretty extensive ones that change almost everything like Touhoumon.
 

Kea

Novice
Joined
Jun 22, 2016
Messages
27
I fuckin' love romhacks

Super Mario World hacking has a very long-running community devoted to it. There's probably hundreds of good hacks by now; these days most make extensive changes to the base game, with new enemies, block types, powerups etc. The ones in the "Most Downloaded" pane are all worth checking out to start with, and I'd recommend The Way of the M on top of that.

Final Fantasy I has been completely disassembled and documented by modders, so there's quite a few tools and ROMhacks for it:

-FFZz Hard Type is a basic difficulty/rebalance mod of the original; it changes the spell list from the ground up and greatly modifies most dungeon layouts too. It's pretty fun, and very challenging.
-Final Fantasy ++ is a pretty comprehensive redesign of the original; maps, spells, enemy types are redone, there's several modifications to the mechanics and the class change system is different - instead of changing to an upgraded form of the current class, most classes change into a completely different class (eg Fighter -> Cleric). It's good fun.
-There's also a sort of sequel, "World of Chaos", that allows you to import your save from the hack above. It's almost completely open-ended and has a lot of new enemies and dungeons.​
-FF Negative One is like ++ in that it's a redesign of the basic framework of FF1 (light the crystals, kill Chaos); it's big thing is that you can pick from 12 classes at the start instead of 6.
-There's probably other ones that are good, but I haven't touched any of them.
 

deuxhero

Arcane
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Flowery Land
No idea, but the Japanese version of 5 has a hack (Ancient Cave Hack) that makes it into a totally different game. You're basically just thrown into a randomly generated (!) dungeon at the start at level 1 and have to grab equipment and jobs (which are now acquired like normal items) as you go.

Speaking of Japanese hacks, there's apparently a Saga Frontier restoration patch.
 

Damned Registrations

Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist
Joined
Feb 24, 2007
Messages
15,229
I wonder how much it changed... I've played that game seven dozens of times so I'd have no trouble at all getting through it, but finding the restored content would be very difficult with the amount of moonspeak I know. So many possible things they could have changed, that game had loose ends everywhere you turned.
 

ghostdog

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Dec 31, 2007
Messages
11,117
My advice is to stay away from jrpg "rebalance/hard" hacks because they're mostly +500% shitty grind.
If you like super mario/zelda/metroid you'll find some good total conversion stuff, but beware because usually they are p.hard.
 

Damned Registrations

Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist
Joined
Feb 24, 2007
Messages
15,229
My advice is to stay away from jrpg "rebalance/hard" hacks because they're mostly +500% shitty grind.
If you like super mario/zelda/metroid you'll find some good total conversion stuff, but beware because usually they are p.hard.
Only one I seriously tried was FFT hardtype, and it seemed pretty well balanced for people who understood the game mechanics well. I find it hard to believe most of the hacks promote grinding simply because most jrpgs don't actually grant significant benefits from merely grinding xp/gold. 90% of your effectiveness comes from either competence, or finding hidden gear you can't purchase. If you're getting consistently murdered, having 10% more hp isn't going to suddenly make things viable, you're probably missing some important detail entirely.

I tried a total conversion for the SNES Zelda, and it was godawful. Insufferable dungeon design that forced backtracking through the same spots over and over again and only opened one path to you at a time.

If you were fond of Chrono Trigger there's a pretty well done romhack for it, I forget the name because they changed it part way through, but it's fairly popular so it shouldn't be hard to find. Wasn't really difficult, but made for a fun nostaliga trip.
 

Snorkack

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Shadorwun: Hong Kong
Haven't played much of them, here's my 2c to the most popular SNES ones I tried.
Super Metroid Redesign is a really good total conversion that keeps the challenge on a bearable level. Recommendation.
Super Metroid Golden Dawn is popular but a disappointment with bullshit puzzles and unfair enemy placement. Avoid.
Zelda Parallel Worlds gets a lot of mention but I think it's pretty shit. Lots of unfair shit right from the beginninng, insane amount of backtracking. There's a romhack-hack called Zelda Parallel Remodel that clames it dealt with those issues. Haven't tried.
Kaizo Super Mario is youtuber bait a la I Wanna Be The Guy. Just insanely hard, requiring pixel-perfect jumps and timing. But I gotta say, it's pretty good at that. Try out if you're into that kind of stuff.
 

Vagiel

Augur
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
319
Location
Greece
I would suggest ffvi brave new world. Not exactly a difficulty hack, although it does make the game harder. What it actually does is completely redesign the esper system with a separate xp for them in order and specialising them to be more like classes so you have a lot more freedom to build the characters. Plus an extensive status changes making stamina actually function.

I would say it makes for a definitive version of ff vi.

It's on insane difficulty site that was linked earlier. By the way there is this grandia redux thing but I haven't had any experience with it yet.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2012
Messages
1,671
Thanks for the suggestions. I probably wouldn't have tried any of the JRPG romhacks, because trying a 20+ hour RPG experience that could be balanced poorly seems like a gamble. But i'll probably give some of these FF hacks a go.

Of the ones I've tried so far, the romhacks I'm having the most fun with are Megaman endless modes. They're ironman hacks that start you with all available powers, and have you run a randomized gauntlet of all of the games rooms. Every 30 rooms or so you fight a robot master. I haven't gotten past 70 or so. I love MM and this has breathed new life into the series for me. You tread spike rooms and pit rooms much more carefully when your entire run is on the line.
 

Somberlain

Arcane
Zionist Agent
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
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Basement
I would suggest ffvi brave new world. Not exactly a difficulty hack, although it does make the game harder. What it actually does is completely redesign the esper system with a separate xp for them in order and specialising them to be more like classes so you have a lot more freedom to build the characters. Plus an extensive status changes making stamina actually function.

I would say it makes for a definitive version of ff vi.

It's on insane difficulty site that was linked earlier. By the way there is this grandia redux thing but I haven't had any experience with it yet.

Is Brave New World actually any good? When I first read what kind of gameplay changes it makes, it sounded very promising. But after I started looking for more information, I became more and more sceptical. First of all, the readme is full of words like 'fuck' and 'shit' which makes it look like something written by a 15-year-old edgelord. Second, this blog post seems to suggest that the mod author has edited the game's dialogue so characters are actually using words like 'fuck'. This has to be a joke, right? :retarded:

Now, the gameplay changes did sound good on paper but I can't believe that this kind of author has the ability to actually produce a comprehensive, large-scale mod like this with any taste, even in pure gameplay terms.
 

Vagiel

Augur
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
319
Location
Greece
Well I played up to the world of ruin and I have to say that the balance was good and there was actual thought put on character development. I can't say I saw any extreme dialogue changes although maybe I didn't notice.

Sent from my D5803 using Tapatalk
 

Skall

Learned
Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
86
Brave New World is fantastic; my favourite RPG gameplay-hack by far. Yes, there's *some* edgy dialogue, but I eventually tuned it out (and it's not like it was any more annoying than the anime cliches that permeate JRPGs these days). If you can get past that, it's a very impressive overhaul of FF6's rickety systems.

Some notable points:

  • Character levels are capped at 50, but mine were around 30 during the end-game. Level progression happens fairly quickly early on, but then slows down and is supplanted by Esper bonuses.
  • Characters are very distinct. In addition to their innate abilities, i.e., Tools, Runic, etc., they're further differentiated via equipment limits (Cyan can no longer equip shields, but his katanas are now always held in both hands with the accompanying damage-bonus) and Esper limitations (each character can only use a handful of Espers and learn their spells, and each Esper's stat-bonuses essentially represent a different type of a character-build).
  • All equipment has been reworked to provide more statistical boosts and unique properties, e.g., Spears automatically give a chance to counterattack, Relm's brushes *always* heal and can bestow other buffs like haste, etc. Note: these bonuses are not always evident in-game due to the UI, so it's worth keeping the hack's readme/spreadsheet handy.
  • Battle algorithms have been fixed and largely reworked making each attribute behave properly; Shadow's a fragile speed demon who's good at dodging physical attacks, a Terrato-equipped Sabin will have 4 times as much Health as Gogo, etc.
  • Up until the end-game, the economy is pretty solid. It's hard to buy all the best equipment and relics, nevermind 99 of each consumable. Respecing Esper allocations is also available late-game and costs a ton.
  • Relying on simply hitting "Fight" will not work very well for random encounters, especially over time, requiring a fair amount of tactical thinking during combat and strategizing for overall dungeon exploration (party composition, build setups, resource management).
These and many other changes make for much more diverse and interesting gameplay. As a more concrete example, here's my favourite party in Brave New World:
  • Cyan - He hits like a truck, brushes off physical damage, has more HP than anyone else, and tends to automatically counter even when auto-protecting allies via the Knight Cape/Hero Ring. These relics also give him a sizable HP and damage boost, the latter of which is further enhanced by the Power Glove/Nirvana Band. The Bushido arts redux is also fantastic. The Bushido bar now fills up twice as fast, pauses time while on-screen (allowing for easy selection of the desired ability), and each of the 8 options are actually useful instead of being linear damage upgrades. #3, Empowerer, is a favourite as its sapping status is useful on bosses AND it drains HP and MP, making Cyan even harder to kill and designating him as the out-of-battle healer due to his endless supply of magic. Finally, in-battle the Kirin Esper is good boss-buff as it casts Regen on the party. All these elements turn Cyan from a boring and mostly useless characters in the vanilla game to the one I used the most in the hack.
  • Locke - Locke is fast, good at dodging physical attacks, and has plenty of damage options: Buttefly/Man Eater do x2 damage to humans, Switchblade auto-steals, Atma/Omega Weapons give him decent damage due to their special stamina-based damage formula, Valiance ignores defense and does more damage if Locke's current HP is low, and Rising Sun/Wing Edge demolish flying enemies without taking any penalties when used from the back row. Locke also gains access to all Fire/Bolt spells, but his true purpose is to be the in-battle healer. He gains all the Cure and Life spells, and his high speed ensures that they go off pretty quickly. Soul Saber can also occasionally auto-cast Osmose to replenish his MP pool, and Ribbon ensures he's not stoned or afflicted by other statuses to prevent party-healing. With the party-resurrecting Phoenix and the Sage Stone -- which changes magic to the dual-casting X-Magic -- Locke is a safety-net that allows for quick healing/raising of allies if something goes wrong.
  • Strago - I picked Strago partly because I hadn't used him much in the original, and partly because him and Relm are better nukers in BNW than Celes/Terra. Strago is also good at dodging/blocking magic attacks and is one of the 3 characters who can equip the Sage Stone for X-Magic. This doubles his Ice-based Black Magic spells and can give X-zone a second chance to wipe out trashmobs. His Blue Magic provides the party-healing Holy Wind and also covers Fire/Water/Earth elemental damage, and if all else fails, Black Omen and the Odin Esper deal massive, defense-ignoring damage to all enemies. All this nuking requires plenty of MP, but his Esper bonuses and equipment can provide that; the Circlet grants +50% MP, as does the Magic Cube. Furthermore, Strago and Relm are the only two characters with access to Osmose, and Strago also gets Raid for MP draining. His attacks are weak, but rods have a chance to auto-cast additional spells (although Strago can't equip veils like Celes/Terra which increases the chance of this happening). His armour options also provide great elemental defenses as the shields can absorb Fire/Bolt/Ice, while the hides can halve Wind/Water/Earth damage. Finally, Strago is a decent buffer: Shield casts Safe on the whole party, while the Esper Zoneseek provides party-Shell and the Esper Carbunkl party-Reflect.
  • Gau - Gau is the fastest and squishiest of the characters, but one of the most fun to exploit. Armour-wise he can use the same shields and hides as Strago, with some additional options (such as the Snow Muffler that blocks all Ice/Wind damage). Once the Bone Club is obtained, his physical Rages become much more threatening, and the Rage Belt can be used to make the skill less of a crapshoot (it increases the chance of the "better" Rages firing off). The Rages themselves provide plenty of physical attacks, buffs, debuffs, and spells at no MP cost. During dungeon exploration I like to use Behemoth and Defender to deal decent physical damage or cast Meteo and the party-healing Sun Bath respectively. Repo Man is also fantastic as Step Mine deals non-Elemental damage and Vanish casts Clear on a random party member which greatly enhances physical *and* magical dodge. Activating Rage gives up direct control over Gau for the duration of the battle so he's a bit tricky to use during boss fights, but summoning Fenrir to cast party-wide Image and then using Repo Man is almost always a safe bet.
This party is somewhat susceptible to status effects, but those can be overcome via swapping in different relics (as needed) or by Locke using consumables. Other than that, it provides a good spread of resistances, various options for weakness-exploiting damage, sustainability in dungeons, tactical options for bosses, and prevents missing out on content (Blue Magic learning, Stealing items, and, to a lesser extent, learning Rages).

Brave New World is not a hard-type hack that requires encyclopedic knowledge of the game going in or incessant min-maxing. Instead, the game fosters experimentation. There are no unusable builds, and I only experienced a few party-wipes (to both random encounters and bosses). I never had to grind, though. I might've died to Atma Weapon 3-times in row, but I defeated it on my 4th try -- in one of the most intense and satisfying boss fights of any JRPG -- with the same exact party, just different loadouts and tactics.
 
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SCO

Arcane
In My Safe Space
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
16,320
Shadorwun: Hong Kong
Super Metroid Redesign has two versions. One is gentler, the other pussies cry about being 'impossible' due to tricky timed segments, a maze puzzle and other stuff. With save states nothing is impossible ;). You decide which you want.

Lufia II has some restoration mods. There is a version of sonic 1-2-3 called 'complete' with all the games and some romhacks. I never really played them.

I'm more into translations myself.
 
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Ash

Arcane
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
6,890
Brave New World is fantastic; my favourite RPG gameplay-hack by far. Yes, there's *some* edgy dialogue, but I eventually tuned it out (and it's not like it was any more annoying than the anime cliches that permeate JRPGs these days).

Don't listen to this clown. The writing is appalling to the point it ruins the whole thing.
 

hackncrazy

Savant
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
415
Brave New World is fantastic; my favourite RPG gameplay-hack by far. Yes, there's *some* edgy dialogue, but I eventually tuned it out (and it's not like it was any more annoying than the anime cliches that permeate JRPGs these days).

Don't listen to this clown. The writing is appalling to the point it ruins the whole thing.

You say like if is there any example of good writing in games.
 

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