Fans of the early Mario adventures are constantly searching for new releases, remasters, and compilations to re-engage them with those legendary games.
However, the first Original Super Mario Bros was released in 1985.
Even if it’s your favorite game of all time, you can only play through its eight worlds so many times before they start to feel a little too familiar.
Therefore, ROM hacks are the way to go if you can’t bring yourself to give up SMB but need a little more diversity.
- 12. Starlight Mario: Underworld
- 11. Super Mario: The Daisyquest
- 10. Super Mario Bros: Peach Edition
- 9. Super Mario Bros: Time & Place
- 8. Kirby’s Adventure 2
- 7. Two-Player Hack
- 6. SMB Special for NES
- 5. Luigi’s Chronicles
- 4. Super Mario Bros: The Forgotten Worlds
- 3. New Mario Bros. Hack
- 2. Extra Mario Bros.
- 1. Super Mario Unlimited Deluxe
12. Starlight Mario: Underworld
A sequel to Starlight Mario consisting of 12 brand-new levels (3 worlds), along with new custom music and animations.
Mario has found himself in a dark realm and must retrieve the skeleton key before it’s too late.
- 1-1: The Dead Lurks
- 1-2: Darkness Falls
- 1-3: After the Storm
- 1-4: Battlefield of Bones
- 2-1: Skulls & Rust
- 2-2: Fire Trials
- 2-3: Spider Sprint
- 2-4: Land of the Damned
- 3-1: Spring Into Fire
- 3-2: Forbidden Factory
- 3-3: Through the Catacombs
- 3-4: The End Is Near
Note: None of the warp pipes can be entered.
11. Super Mario: The Daisyquest
Bowser’s cool uncle has kidnapped Daisy to show Bowser how it’s done. After fighting your way through 4 worlds, you find him chilling in his pool.
This is a hack of the PAL version of Super Mario Bros., make sure your emulator is set to PAL. Works fine in FCEUX and Mesen, but glitches occur in Nestopia.
It is not recommended to play this hack in Nestopia. Was not tested on the original hardware, but Mesen is supposed to be a high-accuracy emulator and it works fine in it, so it probably would work fine on the original hardware.
The hack has 4 worlds of 4 levels plus one secret level, so 17 levels total.
All custom graphics are made by the author, except the jumping lava fish (podoboo) which was taken from Super Mario Land.
10. Super Mario Bros: Peach Edition
For a girls-only adventure, fans of Mario’s frequently kidnapped love interest had to wait until Super Princess Peach (2006) on the Nintendo DS.
If only there had been ROM hacking during the NES era.
Little in the way of new levels or other changes of the sort are made by this straightforward modification. Instead, Peach and Daisy, the royal equivalents of Mario and Luigi, are used.
All of the sprites were created from scratch and adhere to the traditional style of SMB.
These princesses appear to have been born to climb those goalposts!
For any fans of the brunette Princess of Sarasaland, this hack is also fantastic. It’s not even funny how little screen time the poor girl has recently received.
9. Super Mario Bros: Time & Place
The Time & Place chapter of the independent platformer Braid served as the inspiration for SMB: Time & Place.
In this hack, how quickly Mario moves determines how the adversaries and everything else around him move.
He and the rest of the world would both remain still.
It’s less of a brand-new adventure and more of a proof of concept. But your time is still entirely worthwhile.
8. Kirby’s Adventure 2
Fans of the original Kirby’s Adventure will like this fan-made sequel, which uses the Super Mario Bros. engine.
In this new adventure, Kirby lacks his copying ability.
However, he is not helpless in the face of the nightmares that stalk this country of dreams.
The Dream Halo may be upgraded using collectible Dream Shards to produce Dream Fire, which will burn foes to a crisp. You can utilize the Dream Halo to defend yourself.
The game only has 12 stages, therefore it isn’t very long. Although it doesn’t have Kirby’s hallmark move, the game nevertheless looks and sounds exactly as one should.
And this is among the better NES Kirby hacks.
7. Two-Player Hack
There was a “multiplayer” mode in the first Super Mario Bros. game.
However, it was hardly an authentic co-op adventure; rather, it was more like a built-in turn system.
Giving SMB a true multiplayer mode is the goal of this two-player hack.
Once implemented, you and a friend can progress through World 1-1 and beyond together.
For many people who grew up passing the controller back and forth with their siblings and friends, it’s a realization of a dream.
So this hack offers a fun multiplayer experience, albeit one that is very chaotic.
6. SMB Special for NES
SMB Special, created by Hudson Soft and released for the Japanese PC8801 way back in 1986, is one of the most obscure games in Mario’s lengthy history.
The original SMB Special’s notoriously difficult levels are brought to the NES by this brilliant ROM hack, with a few tweaks to make it more appealing to modern players.
These modifications include brighter colors as well as smooth scrolling in place of static screens.
It’s not entirely true of historical events.
It’s still a fantastic way to approach a historical aspect of gaming, though.
5. Luigi’s Chronicles
The taller Mario sibling is followed on his own 8-bit adventure in Luigi’s Chronicles.
The only thing this green plumber needed to do to emerge from under the shadow of his illustrious brother was for Mario to vanish (and a plethora of ghostly apparitions to take over the Mushroom Kingdom).
These levels will keep you busy because they are imaginative and difficult.
The music, however, is without a doubt this ROM hack’s best feature.
It’s unsettling, ominous, and extremely unsettling.
SMB surprises you by being this ominous.
4. Super Mario Bros: The Forgotten Worlds
It’s not quite as challenging as its predecessor, Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, but it is a sequel nonetheless.
However, it will still be a fair challenge for all but the most experienced platforming specialists.
However, The Forgotten Worlds does not rank highly on our list because of its difficulty.
The game is jam-packed with originality and brand-new concepts that you won’t find anywhere else.
It takes components from the base game, like hidden blocks and climbable ropes, and gives them new life by putting them to unexpectedly creative use.
It’s also a visual delight for the eyes.
Even more absurd, it only spans four Worlds. However, every one of them has an appealing own flair.
3. New Mario Bros. Hack
This fantastic hack, which should not be confused with New Super Mario Bros. The Nintendo DS, adds 20 new levels in the original SMB1 style across five brand-new and distinct worlds.
Some stages remind you of a (perilous) afternoon stroll through the Mushroom Kingdom and unlike the eerie catacombs from the original, the underground spaces are much brighter and more colorful.
However, it still has a very similar feel to the original SMB.
The difficulty in this hack gradually increases from level to level without ever overwhelming the average player, and each course actually has an obstacle course-like feel to it.
Now I’ll admit that it doesn’t alter the fundamental formula in a particularly radical way.
However, if you want more levels for your preferred game, this is the way to go.
2. Extra Mario Bros.
SMB hacking has developed significantly over time.
However, this 2005 classic is still relevant today because of how it cleverly combines the groundbreaking Mario game with clever concepts (and even resources from the original Metroid).
The most obvious new mechanic is the requirement to go back to earlier levels after obtaining upgrades that reveal new regions to explore.
The five worlds in the game resemble little mazes. And if you’re not careful, it’s simple to go lost.
This hack is one of the strangest yet most rewarding SMB experiences available, featuring new maps, graphics, enemies, power-ups, and a fantastic final boss.
1. Super Mario Unlimited Deluxe
Super Mario Unlimited Deluxe has to be the best SMB ROM hack ever.
It’s a thorough redesign of the vintage NES game that plays like a totally new game.
This hack adds a whopping 41 brand-new levels with fresh concepts, updated graphics, and a totally original custom soundtrack.
There are new game mechanics as well, such as the ability to super-jump off of enemies by strategically holding down A. There are also some new power-ups, like a stopwatch that freezes enemies for a short time.
As if this weren’t enough, the hack also features a strategy manual to assist you in overcoming the trickiest challenges and obtaining all 32 secret Mario coins (and unlocking secrets!)
I refer to that as paying attention to detail.