Hacking showcase: Mega Man 1/Rock Man 1


(Note: This is an archived review. While it’s still a readable article and my opinions will most likely still get across, it is not up to date with how I currently write. Of course, I won’t stop you from reading and greatly appreciate you being here, but I’ll eventually be reworking this review to be up-to-date with my current standards. My apologies for the inconvenience.)

I’ve been pretty open about this but I am a huge fan of rom hacks and fangames. The ideas and creations fans come up with can be astonishing and at times even compete or surpass with the actual game developers. My love for fan creations originally bloomed with Pokémon and Super Mario, but Mega Man was quick to join the fray. I have played quite a lot of them, and today I wanted to share a few experiences with the first game.

I’m specifically taking a look at this first game for this post. Why? Eh I dunno, there are hundreds of Mega Man rom hacks out there and I don’t exactly have that much time. Don’t worry, I’ll get to them in due time since the ones that I have played from 2 and 3 are downright amazing. I’ll also take the Japanese version Rock Man 1 into account simply because the hacks are done on the Japanese versions of this game. Finally, all the rom hacks that I’ve looked at today are available on Romhacking.net, the number 1 source for rom hacks where information on how to hack a game can also be found. That means that I might have missed a hack or two that are not available on said site, apologies in advance if that is the case but like I said, I am limited on time. So without further ado, let’s take a look at a few rom hacks I’ve played in the past few weeks!


Mega Mari NES

Created by: Unknown
Released: 2008
Link: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/1127/

Let’s start right off with a rom hack that overhauls the entire game why don’t we? This is actually a parody on an actual Touhou Project fan-made game on PC by Tasogare Frontier also named MegaMari. For the people unfamiliar with Touhou: it’s a long-running franchise of bullet-hell shooters that has a massive following in both Japan and over here, and managed to spawn its own multimedia franchise. MegaMari puts you in the boots of best girl Marisa Kirisame, one of the main characters of the franchise. Patchouli Knowledge is tired of Marisa constantly ”borrowing” her books and sets up a plan to deal with her once and for all, and requests the help of various well-known Touhou characters such as Sakuya Izayoi and Youmu Konpaku. Talking about the hack specifically, we’re looking at a game that has all stages redesigned in both structure and graphics, and the same goes for the Robot Masters and regular enemies. Sniper Joes for example have been replaced by Lunasa Prismriver, and Lily White is flying through stages occasionally as well as the annoying Bunby Helis. The game has a normal difficulty and does not have the slippery feet the original game has. Unfortunately the music in the stages has not been changed, which is one of the best parts of Touhou in general. Can’t have everything I suppose. For fans of the Touhou franchise, this is definitely a rom hack for you. Or even better yet, you might want to try out the actual MegaMari on PC.

Rockman Gaiden

Rock Man Gaiden

Created by: SOPHIA
Released: 2014
Link: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/1986/

Going straight back to the Blue Bomber himself we have Rockman Gaiden, a pretty impressive hack that changes quite a lot of the original game. Let’s have a fangasm moment first and mention the awesome soundtrack this game has. I already had a hunch when I selected a Robot Master and the selection theme from Mega Man II on the Gameboy played, but that was only the start. The first Robot Master I selected was Guts Man, and the theme that plays in his stage is actually from Mega Man Battle Network! Then I fought the boss which resulted in the battle theme from Golden Sun, and there is much more. But music alone doesn’t make a hack. Fortunately that’s not a problem as the stage design is really solid. I never had a death and felt like it was the game’s fault. One stage even has the gimmick of being in a sunset and for that reason everything being dark, including the health bar. The bosses have also changed slightly, and there’s a new weakness chart for all bosses. Graphics have also been changed and look great. This is definitely one of the better rom hacks from this list, and absolutely worth trying out.

Byte’s Adventure

Byte's Adventure

Created by: DarkData
Released: 2007
Link: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/296/

What attracted me to Byte’s Adventure is its very attractive art style. It takes inspiration from other hacks like Somari or just regular Mario games and transforms them into a Mega Man level, keeping said art styles intact. It also has multiple new designs for regular enemies. Robot Masters do stay the same however, and that can be said about most of the hack. The level design is solid overall, but aside from that and the graphics, there isn’t a lot different about this hack. That of course is not necessarily a negative, but with competition like Rockman Gaiden it might not be on people their priority list. The weaknesses are the same, and the bosses have no different pattern. There’s no new music either. So overall we do have a good hack that is worth your time, but don’t expect anything astonishing from this one except the attractive art style.

MegaMan in the Mushroom Kingdom

Mega Man in the Mushroom Kingdom

Created by: AlexAR
Released: 2006
Link: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/110/

You can’t make a Mega Man 1 rom hacks article without mentioning the one, the only MegaMan in the Mushroom Kingdom now can you? Honestly it isn’t my favourite game of this list, but this is one of the earliest ones so I can forgive the problems I have with this one. Besides, it’s the type of hack that is my favourite: crossovers. Rock goes through levels which are all based on themes from the original Super Mario games, and even one from Super Mario World. Though I would say the ideas are a bit too.. ambitious. Graphics suffer quite a bit from it, especially Wily Stage 1 which is just hard on the eyes. Nothing has changed to the game fundamentally except for the stage layout and well, all the graphics. Enemies have been turned into Mario enemies, the backgrounds are ripped straight out of Mario games etcetera. The bosses, enemy patterns all remain the same and Wily is still the bad guy. I can’t be too hard on this hack though, it does what it sets out to do and does so in a good way. Actually, this might be my recommendation to check out first if you are a newcomer to Mega Man hacks, or rom hacks in general because it gives you an idea of what fans can do with the source material to create an entirely different experience.

Rockman Claw

Rock Man Claw

Created by: Tsukikuro
Released: 2012
Link: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/1026/

Here we have in my opinion the king of Mega Man 1/Rock Man 1 rom hacks, Rockman Claw! This hack is an almost complete change of the original game, and definitely for the better. All enemies and bosses have gotten their patterns adjusted, there are original graphics and stages and even music. The Magnet Beam even has its functionality changed to a double jump, and all the other weapons have also gotten different patterns! The only thing that hasn’t changed you could say is Mega Man’s sprite, though you could probably borrow Roll’s sprite from Roll-chan’s Adventures and use that if you so desire. It is definitely a more challenging hack than most on here, but I never felt like it was truly unfair and had a blast playing it. You thought the Yellow Devil could not be any more difficult? Oh you sweet summer child. This game has even spawned two more sequels, Rockman Claw 2 and 3 which are also both excellent. I probably wouldn’t recommend this as your first hack to try out because it might overwhelm you, but it’s definitely worth a look at when you’re more experienced.

Here are a few more Rom Hacks that I either haven’t been able to play due to time constraints or aren’t big enough to get their own paragraph:

Sonny Bono’s Ski Adventure by Jackass & Adamzier
You want a memey hack? Here’s your memey hack. It’s an.. interesting hack to say the least. I haven’t played it, but from the looks of it it is a well developed rom hack.

Roll-Chan by Zynk Oxhyde
At it’s core this is just a normal Mega Man game with Roll as the protagonist. And that is indeed the case, but I still included it because yay Roll! And you can play as her in every classic NES Mega Man game, and even the Gameboy Mega Man games!

Mega Man: No Skid by FateForWindows
Rock no longer has soap under his feet. Never mind, this is actually the best rom hack on this list. Sorry Rockman Claw.

Mega Man Simplified by Megafield64
This hack makes the entire game easier, making it a good option for people who just want to play casually or suck at the game. I won’t judge.

Protoman: The New Adventures by TLT
Look at this one with caution. It may or may not be good, I’m not sure on that since I haven’t beaten it. But there is one stage (I believe Bomb Man’s stage) that is unable to be finished without the Magnet Beam and that made me put off the hack immediately.

And that’s the most interesting hacks I’ve found for Mega Man 1! There are several more hacks, but I didn’t have the time to play them all. Most are just level hacks however, so it would feel redundant to mention every single one of them. Let me know what hacks you’re planning to try out in the comments down below, and also if there’s a game- or fangame you want me to look at!

About author


A gamer and writer at heart who wants to combine his hobbies into one. I am 25 years old and I'm from the Netherlands. Having played many games over the years, I wanted to express my love for them, however obscure they may be!

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