Links Awakening DX

Next post, we come to the game that doesn’t need any introduction. Links Awakening DX is a god tier game on the Gameboy Color. What started off as a side project by Kazuaki Morita ended up being probably the best game on the system. As for the game, there’s a lot going for it. It’s a great top down adventure RPG, with a simple but comelling story, eight freaking dungeons that gives the game a decent run time, and a lot of areas to explore across a huge map.

Overall the only disappointing aspect of Links Awakening was that as I far as I know there weren’t that many clones made of the game. An action RGB seems like one of the best effective uses of the Gameboy’s capabilities, and it seems like Links Awakening is one of the few games to be able to take advantage of the Gameboy’s hardware and present a game with a huge scope.

Rom Hacks

If you want to experience the original game and get an improved experience, the best Rom Hack for Links Awakening DX is probably Link’s Awakening Redux. Which is actually four different hacks rolled into one. It removes some of the censorship, makes the text look a lot better, translates the photos and removes a lot of text.

For Rom Hacks that change how the game is played it looks like there’s New Awakening and Hard Awakening.


Wario Land 2 & 3

I can’t say that I’m too familiar with Wario Land 2 and Wario Land 3 other than that they are really well animated games and have good reviews and great sprites.


There’s not too much in terms of rom hacks. It looks like there is a Master quest romhack for Wario Land 3 that rearranges all of the areas to provide a new experience. Persoanlly thinking abotu Wario Land 2 and Wario Land 3 makes me wonder about the different versions of Gameboy cartridges. There are the grey, black and clear cartridges. And I’m kind of wondering what the difference is.

Specifically I know the gray cartridges are for the original gameboy. So the only graphics are the ones included are shades of grey/green. The gameboy color attempted to automatically create palettes for these games. Then the are the black cartridges which work both on the Gameboy and the Gameboy color. I suppose that these are games built to the specs of the gameboy, but also have color data defined. And then the clear color cartridges are likely games that are built specifically for the Gameboy color, which means they probably use more RAM and VRAM.

In general I wonder if there is any difference between black and clear cartridges. Specifically it looks like a colored ROM hack would basically be a black cartridge and a ROM hack that added more sprites and took advantage of the extra RAM would probably effectively be a complete gameboy color port.


Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (1994)

Up next on the list we have the last “Mario” game which is really a Wario game. From the antagonist in Super Mario Land 2, Wario becomes the protagonist in his own story. I’m not sure what Gunpei Yokoi had against bringing a normal-ass Mario game to the series, but I guess for either expressive or technical reasons the team decided to switch over to Wario completely, as the two games that followed this were Wario Land II and Wario Land 3.

I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of Mario games, but it still seems messed up that Mario only gets one slightly good game with Super Mario Land 1, and relatively good game with Super Mario Land 2. It seems like they could have continue to improve on the progress and make a definitive Mario game, but instead the developers decided to switch over to Wario entirely. That being said the Wario games are pretty good as far as games go, taking control of the antagonist, getting money and saving up to buy a Castle. Overall I can say that this title is enjoyable, but I would have liked to see another attempt at a Mario entry.

Rom Hacks

Unfortunately there are no ROM hacks for this game. With Super Mario 1 & 2 having DX hacks, and Wario Land 2 & 3 being on the Gameboy color, this game seems like an ideal option to have a color hack but it doesn’t seem to exist. I’ve looked around to see if the people who made the colorized ROM hacks left any tutorials, and I couldn’t find any. I can’t say I’m a fan of reverse engineering things that shouldn’t have to be reverse engineered, but at least it seems like there might be something to go off of. If we look at the original ROM and the patched rom and compare the differences we might be able to identify specifically which aspects of the ROM need to be changed to have color implemented.

We could also get lazy and color in screenshots with paint to simulate what a colorized version would look like.


Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992)

Super Mario Land 2 is the next entry in the Mario series, and the last main line Mario on the Gameboy. A lot of improvements were made to the format and Super Mario Land 2 feels like a more conventional Mario game when compared to the first game. The sprites are a lot more vibrant and detailed, and the game plays how you would expect a Mario game to play. The Koopas can actually be kicked around, and Mario’s fireball actually bounces across the ground. The game itself is structured like Super Mario World for the Nes where Mario is able to move around on the overworld and select which levels to play through.

Overall there aren’t that many points to take off from this game as it’s pretty enjoyable from start to finish. While not god tier, it’s definitely not mediocre and ranks in at all around good game.

Rom Hacks

A notable ROM hack for this game is the “DX” version which colorizes the game and adds Luigi as a playable character:


Super Mario Land GB (1989)

The first entry is Super Mario Land 1989 and the first game that I bought with my Gameboy as a kid. Overall this game is pretty short and simple, with the biggest issue is that the game doesn’t feel like a Mario game. And that makes sense since the game wasn’t developed by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto, with development being handed off to Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi. The biggest issue with this game is that it seems to go against series conventions. The game doesn’t seem to take place in the Mushroom kingdom instead being in Egypt and Easter Island, and there are a lot of different enemies like bees, goombas with wings, and exploding koopa’s that are a little off putting.

That being said, the over all game, while short is still generally enjoyable. And surprisingly one of the best aspects of the games is the vehicle sections like the submarine and airplane that play more like a shooting game than a Mario game. Maybe Gunpei Yokoi would have made an incredible shump on the Gameboy given the chance. The game is pretty short with 12 levels, and while not an amazing game for the system is still over all a good game for the system.

Rom Hacks

This is a section where I highlight any interesting ROM hacks that exist for the game. In this case there is a color hack for the game, which colorized the entire game as if it were made for the Gameboy Color.