Things have come a long way reliving our favorite classics we all grew up playing, and titles like Mario aren't of any exceptions. Then again, you run into a video gaming burnout where you've already mastered the game(s) so much, you can beat the game playing with your teeth (that was for you, Jimi Hendrix fans). Having said that, what's the next step? Modifying your favorite games.
Not everyone knows/understands that intricacies of game programming/hacking/modding, but there are a chunk of independent (freelance) programmers who have no shame showing off their amazing talents in re-creating a revised, or sometimes, a completely brand new game using the very same animation and character/background designs of a game. This makes hacked/modded, homebrew games the hot new thing in retro gaming, and perhaps that's an ice breaker to most of you unfamiliar in this realm of classic video gaming. I can sense some of you are like, "Kris, is this even a game?" or "Is this game for real, or were you scammed, bro?" Please, don't use the word "bro." Thanks.
Now that you got a little insight, you're looking at the very first modded/hacked Game Boy game review to grace the video game stage here at SHOWSOTROS!. Super Pika Land is a similar gameplay to its million-selling variant Super Mario Land....but with characters and enemies featured from the franchise Pokémon! Being a huge Pokeémon fan myself, it was a must-have.
The game very much plays the same—the stages, the worlds, the enemies, the bosses....it's all there. However, instead of Mario trying to save Princess Daisy, you're Pikachu trying to rescue your trainer Ash (looks like Tracy to me). Along the way, you encounter enemies, representing random Pokémon in place of the enemies featured from the Mario title. Monsters like Unown, Jigglypuff, Ekans, Chansey, Pidgey, Gengar and Magikarp are among the few enemies you'll see on this game. On the fourth world, instead of Pionpi, it's Jesse from Team Rocket. Hah!
The bosses in Worlds 1, 2 and 3 are the same: King Totomesu, Dragonzamasu and Hiyoihoi. The final boss isn't Tatanga....but it's Pidgeot—the evolved form of Pidgeotto.
For powerups, there's the Thunder Stone(?) which evolves Pikachu into Raichu. If it touches an enemy, it transforms back to Pikachu (in opposition to "big Mario" and "small Mario" via the mushroom powerup). Instead of a fire flower, you have a Thunder Bolt, where Pikachu—Raichu—can shoot thunder bolts at enemies and works exactly like the Super Ball: one shot at a time. Instead of question marked blocks, you have PokéBalls; Replacing the Invisible Star is an outlined PokéBall. As for the 1ups, they're represented by Hearts, similar to the original. What's funny is when you get the 1up, you see the text "CHU!" That's Pikachu's celebratory chant when he's all revved up, or in this case, acquired an extra life. For the music, it's the same themes straight from the original game itself.
Aside from those modifications and some added enhancements on the level designs, it very much plays the same way as Super Mario Land. It's fun, amusing but overall cool. The game does present a little challenge, after all, this is Pikachu, not Mario. Without spoiling too much, here's a sample of my very own gameplay of the first world, first stage. Enjoy!
As for the Underworld, accessed when beating the game first time around, yes it exists. Take out your Mario skills and see how fast you can beat the game with this Pokémon-hacked game.
All in all, it's a cool mod of the original using Pokémon. Even the artwork on the cartridge label rehashes its original game design's illustration (see pictures).
It's a neat little mod/hack and recommend this to fans of both Mario and Pokémon!
I also don't think you should pass up getting $5 off orders over $50 at the Warner Bros Online Shop: