games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Fan-Made Games

January 24, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. This week, I’m talking about fan-made games and how good some of them are. A lot of them are just light re-skins of existing games, for humor, or games that add in new levels and such, but on occasion, fans can go above and beyond and make something truly impressive. This list is a small celebration of that. Let’s begin:

#8: Green Hill Paradise

Green Hill Paradise is low on this list simply because it’s only one stage. If the creator(s) decide to turn it into a full-fledged game, it would likely be much higher. However, it still makes this list for being the first game to do 3D Sonic correctly. It gives Sonic a big open space to run around in, go up to Mach Speed, and speed around tunnels and loops as much as you want. It also has secrets like Super/Hyper Sonic that you can try to find and unlock. Best of all, the level has no stupid hidden pits for you to fall in (like damn near every other 3D Sonic game in the world), so you can just focus on exploring or trying to go fast.

#7: Goldeneye Source

Goldeneye Source would be amazing if it included the single player campaign. I do like messing around the multiplayer maps in Goldneye, as it harkens back to 20 years ago playing the game with friends on a N64, but it’s not the same. Still, it’s a free thing that looks great and has a ton of weapons in it, and you could do far worse in the realm of online shooters.

#6: Black Mesa

Of the games on here, Black Mesa is the only one to be turned into an actual product, which you can buy with real money. What’s more interesting is that it is on the store (Steam), which created the original game the fan game is based on. I have no great love of Half Life, but I give this game/mod credit for bringing the original game into the 21st century, with a modern graphical facelift. It’s a cool mod though, just because it legitimately is a professionally done project.

#5: Project M

Project M was for super-nerdy fans of Melee. It turned Brawl into a really close approximation of Melee gameplay quirks, increasing the speed of the game and rebalancing damn near everything they could think of. The roster got slightly expanded, bringing back Mewtwo and Roy, and separating out characters like Shiek, or the various Pokemon that the trainer uses. Even though it was discontinued, it’s still a pretty popular mod for Brawl, especially in some of the fighting game scene.

#4: Pokemon Uranium

Hey, a Pokemon game with a dark storyline, who would of thunk it? The basic gist of the game is that radiation has leaked from a plant and the region has been irradiated. So, you know, rosy picture all around. Really, the game looks great, full of color and varied environments, which the actual games don’t bother to touch. The gameplay remains the same as other Pokemon games, but is generally more of a challenge.

#3: Rom Check Fail

Rom Check Fail was and always is a cool game. It’s not a fan game in the traditional sense, it doesn’t ape any one specific game, instead it mixes together about 6 games and you get some cool results. Every 10 seconds or so, your ship, enemies, and the level art changes. So you could be Mario for 10 seconds, then become a Defender ship, then become Pac Man. And if you become Pac Man, you might face off against Goombas or Space Invaders ships. There is also “Rom Check Go!” (which came out before Pokemon Go), which eliminates the random element (letting you pick your own character), but adds in a speed running component.

#2: Super Mario Bros Crossover

Super Mario Bros Crossover is the Mario equivalent to Rom Check Fail. You go through traditional SMB levels but you can change your character whenever you enter a new stage. Aside from Mario, you can play as characters like Mega Man, Samus, Simon Belmont, Bill Rizer and the tank from Blaster Master. Not only can you play as these characters, but also variations of them. Mega Man, for example, has about 25 different costumes/characters, from different versions of Mega Man himself, to Dr. Light, Roll, Protoman, Ice Man, and more. There are also around 15 different tile sets that go through various Mario ages.

#1: AM2R

It truly says a lot that this fan game paid more respect to Metroid than Nintendo did for its 30th anniversary. Still, AM2R is a great game to dive into, especially if you’ve been missing Super Metroid-esque gameplay. Really, it just nails the feel of the old Metroid games, as it gives you a planet to explore, with plenty of new items and weapons to pick up. Plus, AM2R makes substantive improvements over the original Metroid 2, like giving you an actual map, vastly increasing the amount of the screen you’re able to see, or adding in the codex to give you some background information on what is going on. It’s honestly a great addition to the Metroid franchise, even if Nintendo doesn’t want to acknowledge it.

For comments, list which fan-made games you enjoy and why.

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Top 8 Western Video Games

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison