Ever found yourself asking which are the best SNES ROM hacks? You’re only human, so we’re going to assume that the answer is a firm yes.
The SNES had some absolutely amazing games, there’s no denying that. Still, a lot of them are decades old now, and some have never even seen a sequel.
That’s where the retro gaming community come in.
Ever keen to keep classics alive for younger generations and to bring fans new games where developers failed, this dedicated community never rests in their quest to bring new ideas to life.
And we couldn’t be happier with the results.
From unofficial sequels to expanded versions of classics, these SNES ROM hacks are something to behold. Take a step into a parallel universe and experience the past you never had with these epic retro hacks!
Let’s crack on with Number 18!
Table of Contents
18. Starfox Ex
Starfox Ex kicks things off on this list of the best SNES ROM hacks of all time!
The Starfox team are normally just trying to fight for their universe, but now they are trying to stop the Mario Bros. from wiping them from Nintendo’s back catalogue.
Yes; Mario and Luigi have decided that they don’t want the Starfox crew to exist in any form at all. I never had the mustachioed plumbers down as being that hungry for fame, but apparently I was wrong!
It’s up to Fox and the gang to defeat the Mario Bros and the Star Wolf team if they have a hope of keeping on Nintendo’s payroll and any chance of saving the Lylat system.
17. Final Fantasy VI – Divergent Paths
The best way to describe Divergent Paths is a more advanced and, ultimately final and more in-depth version of Final Fantasy VI.
Every named character has their own story arc which culminates in their very own ending. No one is missed out, which means that this is one of the most exciting FF rom hacks for people who love the lore of the world.
With secret characters added into the mix and even more players to take on the road with you, there’s tonnes of exciting elements added into the mix for fans of the original to experience.
And the original game still does feel present all the way through too – this is like a finely crafted reimagining rather than a complete hack, pulling out aspects of the original that deserved to have more limelight and making a feature out of them.
If anything, it’s the ultimate version of FF VI!
16. DKC Mania
If you loved Donkey Kong Country the first time around, then this hack will feel like a comforting blanket while still providing some new surprises.
It’s essentially a reimagining of classic DK levels, and there’s more reasons in this hack to switch between DK and Diddy rather than just user preference too.
With new colour schemes added into the mix aswell, it feels like an old classic that has been given a much-needed refresh, with some exciting ideas thrown into the mix to give old fans something new to sink their teeth into.
15. New Super Mario World: The Twelve Magic Orbs
In at number 15 is New Super Mario World: The Twelve Magic Orbs!
I think it’s safe to say that this is a bonafide classic ROM hack, a beautifully created ROM hack that certainly could be its own stand alone SNES title if Nintendo wanted to start re-releasing SNES carts.
If it was possible to download DLC levels to SNES carts, then this is what it would look and feel like. The levels are designed perfectly and the boss fights are ‘bellissimo’ as Mario might say while slurping down some spaghetti con polpette.
And as an Italian, I know that’s exactly what he does after every adventure.
14. Hyper Metroid
What word is better than Super? Hyper, surely, right?
This isn’t just a hack that changes the game slightly and adds a few new colours, it changes pretty much everything about the original title.
We’re talking a dark and brooding storyline in which Samus loses her child, her home, and everything she loves dear in a terrible attack.
Expect new levels, a whole new intense feel, and lots of epic weapons.
All of which you will need to beat this super difficult game.
13. Mario is Missing!: Done Right
I guess the title shows that if you’re going to make a ROM hack, then you should make sure it’s ‘done right’ and not just half heartedly.
This was actually based on an educational game called Mario is Missing with Luigi as the main character.
How cool is that; an educational Mario designed to teach kids about geography!
Well, it should be cool, but the game was a bit of a dud. Now, however, it’s been done right, and the game is superb, with Luigi more than stepping up to the plate.
Admittedly, there are so many new elements added into this game that it can hardly be called an updated version of the original. Still, I’m kind of glad that it’s not a direct clone… mostly because I’m terrible at geography and would probably be really bad at it!
12. Oh No! More Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Oh No! More Zombies Ate My New Neighbours is up next in this list of the best SNES ROMs of all time!
If you liked the original bloody-thirsty game, then this exciting ROM hack adds 55 brand new levels for you to sink your zombie teeth into!
As unofficial sequels go, this has to be one of the most intricate and in keeping with the original. It could have been a secret add or an expansion for the original game!
With more collectibles, exciting new bad guys to trounce, and tonnes of other new gameplay features to keep gamers smiling, this hack keeps the Zombies Ate My Neighbours dream alive for fans new and old.
And it’s blooming’ fun to play too!
11. The Second Reality Project: Zycloboo’s Challenge
There are many games on this list that have had a direct effect on me losing all of my hair, but this is one of the biggest contenders for the top spot.
I would like to introduce you all to Zycloboo, a terrible Boo that not only wants to rule the Mushroom Kingdom as his own, but an enemy that can, and definitely will, transport Mario into a completely different dimension.
This is a ROM hack for someone that likes to get stuck into their games. The levels are long and the difficulty is very tough, so it’ll keep you occupied for a heck of a lot time.
Some ROM hacks go the extra mile too which we absolutely love, and this one has all brand new music to experience too!
10. Super Spongebob Kart
We all love Super Mario Kart, one of the best SNES games of all time. I think we’ve probably all thought at some stage that it can’t be beaten, absolute perfection in a plastic kart.
And while sticking Spongebob into the mix might not trump the original, it certainly makes me giddy with excitement. Racing with Patrick; what could be better!
Going head to head with a friend is probably the best way to play, especially in the new battle mode.
Instead of firing red and green shells, attack enemies with Neptune’s Spatula, Pineapples, and lots of other crazy items as you prove to Mrs Puff who the best racer in Bikini Bottom really is!
9. Super Mario World: The Secret Of The 7 Golden Statues
Super Mario World: The Secret Of The 7 Golden Statues takes the 9th spot on this list of the best SNES ROM hacks of all time.
This ROM hack is so well done that you’d be hard pushed to tell that it even was a hack. If anything, newbies might think that the original game is the hacked version of the hack…
That’s some kind of weird wizardry right there, and not the Hogwarts Legacy kind.
I like the fact that while this game is tough, it’s not impossible. Some ROM hacks just feel like a playground bully laughing at you over and over, but this game is clever rather than brain-meltingly annoying.
It has some incredibly tough bosses to go up against too, including some flying wigglers which, while they sound cuter than flying ants, are just as annoying.
8. Hyper Street Kart
And if you thought that Super Spongebob Kart was a laugh, then get a hold of this; Hyper Street Kart!
Yes, experience all the thrills and spills of Super Mario Kart with the classic characters from the Street Fighter series.
Every character from the original game has been replaced with the likes of Guile, Chun-Li, Ryu, Blanka, and the gang.
Play through original levels and try some new Street Fighter-esque levels too.
And the best thing is that green shells have been replaced by Ryu’s HADOUKEN!
7. Chrono Trigger: Prophet’s Guile
Next up in our best SNES ROM hacks is a modified version of one of the top rare SNES games on the market; Chrono Trigger.
Prophet’s Guile is a fan-made expansion to the original game, adding an extra storyline that follows Magus’ rise to power.
Remember the original storyline in Chrono Trigger? Well, gameplay follows Magus after your first battle with him. The year is 12,000 B.C, and there are two lengthy chapters to play through.
If you’re a fan of origins stories and side-quests, then this is definitely for you. If, however, you’ve never played Chrono Trigger, then it won’t make much sense at all…
Well … if that’s not an excuse to spend $245 on a Chrono Trigger cartridge, then I don’t know what is!
6. FFVI: Return of the Dark Sorcerer
Some of these entries in our list of the best ROM SNES hacks are expansions of other games or modified versions, but not FFVI: Return of the Dark Sorcerer.
This is a brand new game entirely, making it the perfect ROM hack for fans of the series looking for a brand new challenge.
Sure, it might use the same engine as FFVI, but there’s a whole new set of characters to discover, new enemies, and tonnes of new moves to learn how to wield.
You might even be able to pick out a few cameos from other famous RPGs too!
It wouldn’t be one of the best ROM hacks without some extra settings for hardened players too. You can now ramp up the difficulty if you’re finding things a little too easy, which also adds to the ROMs replayability (there’s my favourite made up word again…)
5. Yoshi’s Strange Quest
I’ve always been a fan of Yoshi games and games where Yoshi is a playable character. It’s partly why I love Super Mario 64 DS, one of the best Nintendo DS games, so much!
If you loves Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story, then Yoshi’s Strange Quest is one of the best SNES ROM hacks out there for solo-dino play.
Play through this side-scrolling adventure without having to worry about ferrying Baby Mario and keeping him safe. Find your stolen eggs and beat back dangerous enemies in cleverly designed levels.
And as with most fan-made ROM hacks, this game has humour and dialogue that you wouldn’t normally find in a Nintendo game.
It’s a tough cookie to crack, especially if you’re not used to defeating enemies with eggs. Once you get the hang of it, however, you’ll be blasting through these colourful levels with a huge smile on your face, making the trademark ‘YOSHIIII’ sound every three-and-a-half-seconds.
4. New Super Mario World 2: Around the World
Super Mario World is undoubtedly one of the greatest SNES games ever made. So, it’s no surprise that New Super Mario World 2: Around the World is one of the best SNES ROM hacks ever made too.
This game oozes cool. Seriously, everything about it is perfection. The only reason it hasn’t topped this list is simply because I’ve got a soft spot for the next three that are coming up.
With a whole new storyline to play through, Around the World provides a tasty treat for Mazza fans to delve into. So Bowser’s still kidnapping Princess Peach, but he’s taken to her a Robotnik-style space station instead.
Your job; show Bowser that Italians can kick ass in space just as well as they can in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Wall jump like in SM64, enjoy updated graphics and a barrage of new features, and sit back while marvelling at just how vast this game is!
3. The Legend Of Zelda: Parallel Worlds
The Legend of Zelda: Parallel Worlds is up next, one of the best Zelda ROM hacks of all time!
Listen, we all know that swords are sharp, pointy, and can kill enemies. But so can a ceramic pot.
You’ll need to use both carefully in this epic ROM hack. We all know how much Link loves his pots; almost as much as he loves working his way through the new dungeons in this fantastic fan-made phenomenon…
… I wish that started with an f too.
While Parallel Worlds is undoubtedly based on A Link to the Past, it plays and feels like an entirely different game. There’s a whole new plot, and the dungeons are so hard you’ll be left crying into your sandwich.
If you’re new to retro gaming, maybe start with something easier for a few months (or years) first.
Like every other Zelda game, collecting and exploring are key elements to the gameplay. Plus, there’s a an even harder mode to try your hand at once you’ve completed it!
2. Super Metroid: Ascent
The silver medal goes to the super-colourful Super Metroid: Ascent!
This Super Metroid hack is über vibrant and textured, bringing exciting new visuals and absolutely fantastic original levels to computers (and SNES consoles using blank carts) everywhere.
In terms of length, Ascent takes roughly the same time to complete as the original but is way harder. The rooms are bigger and the puzzles are designed for a mind as great as Sherlock’s.
The thing I love the most about this game is that there are multiple ways to solve each problem. I’ve played it though a couple of times now and found different ways every time.
It’s the brain-tingling gift that keeps on giving!
1. Earthbound: Halloween Hack
Earthbound: Halloween Hack takes the top spot int his list of the best SNES ROM hacks of all time!
It’s one of my favourite games when it hasn’t been hacked, so to see a brutal version that feels like a cross between Silent Hill and Grand Theft Auto makes my brain boil with excitement.
Seriously, this hack is widely known as being a disturbing game. I don’t know what that says about my personality…. probably nothing good or that I want to find out about…
Halloween Hack is hilarious, if a little disturbing at times. Its not for the faint of heart, but if you’re a sicko inside, then you’ll love it!
… I’m fine, honestly…
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 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.