Romhacks have been around since the very first video games were released for consoles. They are often ways for fans to bring back old classics, update them with new features, or make sequels to titles that have been abandoned by their developers and publishers. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes romhacks are done just to try and be funny. Many hackers even release romhacks in an attempt to be as weird or bizarre as possible to impress fellow players.
On the other hand, some romhacks are created with good intentions but actually end up just being broken or downright stupid. Whatever the case, there are plenty of wonderful, yet strange, romhacks out there as well as a fair collection of dumb ones you really avoid.
20 Weirdest: Cutman's Bad Scizzors Day
This romhack takes Mega Man II and replaces the protagonist with one of the villains from the original game. Cutman is then given a more dorky appearance and sent on his way throughout reworked levels to battle new bosses. These include Sissy Aquaman and Pikachu. The romhack is topped off by a mashup of psychedelic colors on every other screen.
19 Dumbest: Sonic 2 XL
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of the best known retro games and so is a popular choice when it comes to classic romhacks. Sonic 2XL was created by Captain Bozo and does nothing other than replace the coins found within the game with onion rings. Once Sonic has eaten too many, he becomes overweight cannot jump or run anymore. The hero will even perish thanks to the unhealthy treats eventually.
18 Weirdest: Merry Gear Solid: Secret Santa
Merry Gear Solid: Secret Santa is a romhack of the earlier Metal Gear titles. It sees a new character, Solid Santa, having to deliver Christmas gifts. The only problem is that the houses are guarded by naughty children who have not gone to bed, requiring Solid Santa to sneak past and distract them.
17 Dumbest: EarthBound Halloween Hack
EarthBound Halloween Hack is the work of Toby Fox, who went on to create Undertale in 2015. It is a much shorter than the original game and was designed for a Halloween competition. In the romhack, players must take on the role of Varik rather than Ness, as the original heroes do not feature. To end the game, players must slay the friendly Dr. Andonuts.
16 Weirdest: Donkey Kong 5: The Journey Of Over Time And Space
Ever wanted to pay through the first five worlds of Super Mario Bros. but as Donkey Kong? Then the romhack Donkey Kong 5: The Journey of Over Time and Space is exactly the game for you. Sprites are lifted from all sorts of Nintendo games, including Donkey Kong Land and Pokémon Pinball, while blocks cannot be broken. This prevents your progress as Donkey Kong in many instances.
15 Dumbest: Chrono Trigger Spoof
Chrono Trigger is widely considered to be one of the best role-playing games of all time. Chrono Trigger Spoof takes the famous SNES title and simply replaces all of the dialogue. The end result is something of a mess, but the overall effect is that rather than trying to save the world, the team of heroes are now trying to conquer it.
14 Weirdest: Pokémon Sweet Version
Pokémon Sweet Version is a romhack of Pokémon Fire Red that was released in 2011. While many Pokémon hacks see the game drastically altered, this particular version just turns everything into candy and desserts. The game takes place in a sweetified Kanto and new types of creature are introduced as well.
13 Dumbest: Somari
As you may have guessed from the name, Somari is a mashup of both Mario and Sonic. The game is pretty much exactly the same as Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, but now works on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The only real change is that Mario replaces the blue hedgehog and that the gameplay is slowed down slightly to accommodate Mario's lack of speed.
12 Weirdest: Mega Man In The Mushroom Kingdom
The basic premise of Mega Man in the Mushroom Kingdom is that Dr. Wiley has acknowledged Mega Man can beat him. To remedy this, he joins forces with Bowser to try and enslave the Mushroom Kingdom. As the player, you take control of Mega Man after he too goes to Mario’s home to defeat his nemesis again. The romhack uses levels from the first three Super Mario Bros. games as well as Super Mario World.
11 Dumbest: Spiney Dodge Ball
Spiney Dodge Ball is a romhack for the 1989 game Super Dodgeball that originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It plays exactly the same as the main game other than the fact that the usual dogeballs have been replaced with the Spiny enemies from Super Mario Bros. Thanks to this, it provides far more brutal gameplay.
10 Weirdest: Wilford Brimley Battle
Many people might not be familiar with River City Ransom. It is a NES beat ‘em up game that saw players having to travel through different areas and defeating the enemies they found along the way. The Wilford Brimley Battle switches things up so that the man from the Kellogg’s cereal is now the main bad guy and Wilford Brimley is the protagonist. For those unaware, Brimley is the man who was in the old Quaker Oats commercials.
9 Dumbest: Pac-Gentleman
There have been plenty of clones of the Pac-Man series over the years so a romhack may not sound necessary. Especially when it just swaps out Ms. Pac-Man with a model of Pac-Man wearing a bowler hat. The only other changes are that the text has been changed so that it appears as if it is being said by an old fashioned gentleman.
8 Weirdest: Super Mario 64: Kirby Edition
Super Mario 64: Kirby Edition is a romhack of the classic Nintendo 64 game. Rather than playing as the famous plumber, though, you take on the part of Kirby. To help this new character fit in with the world, the creators also changed much of the dialogue and sound effects. You can also play as a Thwomp or Boo with special power-ups.
7 Dumbest: Legend of Zelda: The Cage's Mask Mod
Perhaps the dumbest romhack of all time, The Legend of Zelda: The Cage's Mask Mod replaces the faces of every character in Majora’s Mask. That means every single person and creature in Termina now has the face of Nicolas Cage. It gives this nightmarish world an even more bizarre twist that doesn’t change the gameplay in any way.
6 Weirdest: Pokémon Snakewood
Pokémon Snakewood is romhack for Pokémon Ruby. It takes place several years after the events of the original game in a post-apocalyptic Hoeen that has been overrun with xombies. The gameplay has been changed significantly to introduce zombie Pokémon and new types. Characters, gym bosses, and Pokémon all have new sprites to demonstrate their now diseased nature.
5 Dumbest: Duck Hunt: Moonwalk
Most romhacks make substantial changes to gameplay or at least change something significant. That is not the case at all with Duck Hunt: Moonwalk. The only changes made with this romhack are the addition of music by the late Michael Jackson and making it so the dog now moonwalks across the screen.
4 Weirdest: Zelda’s Birthday
Zelda’s Birthday is a romhack that was released for the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Along with some sprite changes, the entire narrative has been altered. Now the quest is to travel across Hyrule to gather presents and gifts to give to Princess Zelda, because it is her birthday.
3 Dumbest: Nude Mario
Nude Mario is exactly what you would expect. It is a romhack of the original Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Mario's originally sprite has been removed and replaced with one wearing no clothing other than his signature hat. Everything else is exactly the same as it was.
2 Weirdest: World Cup 2002
The 2002 World Cup was held in South Korea and Japan, so it is little surprise that football games such as Soccer received attention from Asian hackers. What makes this romhack so strange, however, is that it actually took Japan out of the game and replaced them with China. Oh, and all of the players occasionally appear to be giant rabbits for no apparent reason.
1 Dumbest: Pokémon Jade
There have been hundreds of Pokémon romhacks and pirated games over the last two decades. Pokémon Jade stands out thanks to the fact it is a hack of the bootleg Pokémon Diamond, a totally unofficial game that was illegally released for the Game Boy. The main change it introduces is replacing every single Pokémon within the game with a fake version.
Source: Romhacking.net, NESNinnja.com, Gamesradar.com, Gameskinny.com