Forget everything you knew about Samus Aran; it’s time to check out the best Metroid ROM hacks of 2021!
The good news is that you don’t have to travel all the way to Zebes to try out these new adventures; they’re already available on the internet.
Samus is, and always will be, one of Nintendo’s best heroes. She’s the hardest bounty hunter on the planet and should, by all rights, be the company’s leading character.
I don’t think Mario could fight Meta Ridley without crying!
The following ROM hacks are testament to how much the fans love this epic series. Reimagining classic games and adding their own spin to iconic levels, the authors of these hacks have proven without a doubt that Samus and the Metroid series are here to stay…
… especially now we’ve got that all-important Metroid Prime 4 release date!
10. Super Metroid: Escape II
First up on our list of the best Metroid ROM hacks is Super Metroid: Escape II!
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no; this isn’t being shown on my mate Josh’s TV which for some reason is incredibly blue (if you’re reading this, Josh, then for crying out loud, fix it…). Nor is it a hack that takes place underwater.
The ROM hack’s creator ‘Hiroshi’ clearly just likes blue. Still, we’re not complaining; it gives the game a unique look and instantly makes it recognisable amongst the other hacks out there.
While the game’s altered story is listed in Japanese, the premise is still pretty similar. Control Samus, and blast bad guys.
Escape II has a Sonic feel about it too in the form of saving animals as you move through each of the levels. Experience a new hub area and pick up bonuses hidden around every corner!
9. Cliffhanger Redux
Now, this is one of the most challenging Metroid hacks out there (I’m probably going to say that a lot through this article, so bear with me). Cliffhanger Redux is an updated version of the ROM hack ‘Super Metroid Cliffhanger’.
So what’s changed?
Well, this version has been turned all the way to 11. It’s got a new story, lots of incredible new artwork, and some exciting new rooms to play through.
Oh, and it’s super hard!
This hack actually has a ‘Challenge’ rating, meaning it’s not for the faint of heart. This is the kind of hack that experts should check out if they want to improve their game.
Can you discover the secret behind the Planet Uviol?
8. Super Metroid: V I T A L I T Y
Yes, I had to write Vitality with those spaces in it; that’s the name of the game!
Hack wizard ‘DMan’ has certainly made a masterpiece here. It’s a Metroid game through and through, but the extra additions, the design of the new world areas, and the new storyline are an absolute joy to play through.
It’s almost as though DMan has spent some time on another planet… maybe it’s some pseudonym for Meta Ridley?
Sometimes it feels as though you’ve left Super Metroid behind completely, which is the true mark of an inventive hacker. Still, every now and again, there are parts that feel incredibly similar to the main game and smack you hard in the face.
Hey; I’m paid to be harsh, and that’s why V I T A L I T Y takes the 8th spot in our best Metroid ROM hacks list and isn’t further down…
(I still love it though…).
7. Metroid Legacy
One way to ensure a place in a future list of the best Metroid ROM hacks is to be one of the first on the scene.
Metroid Legacy was, and still is, a firm fan favourite on the retro gaming circuit, providing Samus lovers with a whole new array of maps to work through, room layouts, and enemies in places where even the most seasoned players wouldn’t expect.
Just in the same way as Super Mario 64: Last Impact, one of the best Mario ROM hacks of all time, is considered the unofficial sequel to SM64, so to is Metroid Legacy considered the sequel to Super Metroid.
That’s how much people like it!
I know that there are newer hacks out there to try and some that are undoubtedly more innovative, but Legacy is a ROM hacking institution, for crying out loud.
This wouldn’t have been a list of the best Metroid Rom hacks without it!
6. Super Metroid Nature
Super Metroid Nature isn’t set in Sherwood Forest, but it does have a leafy-green colour palette that, like Escape II, makes it instantly recognisable.
There’s a reason I’ve put it directly underneath Legacy too; ROM fans consider this a sequel to legacy, making it the unofficial sequel to the sequel of the original Super Metroid…
… still with me?
There are a lot of grassy-looking areas and sharp thorns in this hack, hence the Nature vibes in the title.
If you’re looking for a change from Legacy, then give this redesigned game a try. The levels look stunning, the gameplay is sublime, and the whole hack has a very professional sheen to it.
5. Super Metroid Redesign
Speaking of a redesign, that brings us nicely to the next Metroid ROM hack. Yes, Super Metroid Redesign is, quite literally, a redesigned version of the original Super Metroid (that’s pretty much every game in this list, to be fair… ).
Like Legacy, Redesign is another firm fan favourite. I think some people actually prefer it to the original.
Some of the details in this ROM are frankly phenomenal. For starters, Zebes looks completely different and boasts a whole new feel. There are new abilities for Samus to learn and the chance to uncover the secrets of the Chozo towards the end of the hack.
Instead of feeling like a homemade hack, it feels like a bona fide Metroid game…
… and that’s the praise that all hackers secretly want to hear.
4. Hyper Metroid
Ok, it’s time to bring out the big guns.
If we’re talking about which are the best Metroid ROM hacks in terms of world reknown, then it has to be Hyper Metroid.
Heck, this thing’s like an A-List celeb in the retro gaming world!
Creator RealRed has turned what was already an awesome game into something truly spectacular. Admittedly, it is meant for the Uber-Metroid fans, but the explorative gameplay should easily pull ROM hack newbies into the fold too.
Hyper Metroid feels darker and grungier than the original game. It also has a different storyline that feels sinister and a little unnerving at times, just like the depths of space should feel!
And if nothing else, the epic weapons and insane firepower in this ROM should keep you coming back for more!
3. Metroid Super Zero Mission
Metroid Super Zero Mission, as you might have guessed, combines elements of two epic Metroid games – Super Metroid, and Metroid Zero Mission.
At this point in the article, it’s really tough to place the best Metroid ROM hacks. I love this inventive hack because of the redesigned features from both games.
I also love this ROM because of its visual appeal. It’s not the hardest game in existence, but it sure looks super tidy and has enough clout to keep gamers on their toes.
Especially if you select the hard mode!
2. Metroid: Rogue Dawn
Second place goes to the fantastic Metroid Rogue Dawn.
Many gamers out there on the web consider this to the best of the best Metroid ROM hacks. It certainly is a popular choice for gamers everywhere and serves as a prequel to the very first Metroid title.
And because it’s a prequel, it’s a Metroid game without the Varia Suit.
Players take Samus Aran around using her simple Zero Suit. As it’s technically a whole new game, there are new items, enemies, maps, abilities, and more to uncover.
Oh, and brutal new bosses too!
With a veteran difficulty rating, this is another hack for the hardy Metroid fans out there. If you’re looking for an origins story title that’s hard as nails and a real challenge, then you just found it!
1. Super Metroid: Ascent
Super Metroid: Ascent is the best Metroid ROM hack of 2021!
Listen, it was close between this and Rogue Dawn, but Ascent pips it to the post every time.
Why? Well, for starters, the entire ROM community agree that it’s the best. Still, I think for me it’s the new puzzles that creator Benox50 has included in the hack.
It feels more like a Zelda game at times than a blooming’ Zelda game!
The whole planet setup takes on a new labyrinthine feel and boasts a new look too. Everything about Ascent challenges both the gamer’s skills and their perception of Super Metroid as a whole.
It’s like a full-frontal attack on the senses, but one that leaves you feeling elated instead of crying out for help.
Ascent has it all and comfortable gameplay to boot. It’s the worthy winner of out best Metroid ROM hacks list and a game you should all try ASAP!
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.