SNES emulators and ROMs are a fantastic way to enjoy the nostalgia of games from childhood. They’re also a great way to introduce a younger generation to the games of yore.
Of course, hardcore nostalgia geeks aren’t content playing the old games – they want to modify them. That’s where ROM hacks come in. Using witchcraft and sorcery, it is generally possible to completely modify SNES ROMs and add new levels, graphics, sounds, and other things not found in the original games.
In this top 10 list, we will round up the best and most popular SNES ROM hacks available for download.
Note: ROMs and emulators have been a hot legal target of Nintendo in the past, who takes a zero-tolerance policy towards game emulators. For that reason, we will not explicitly link to any of the ROMs mentioned on this list, but they’re easily found.
Super Metroid – Project Base
This ROM hack for Super Metroid adds a lot of new content to the original base game, while keeping the original map mostly intact. New graphics, special moves, modified bosses, and new map areas are just some of the features in this Super Metroid ROM hack.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Parallel Remodel
This ROM hack is based on Parallel Worlds, which is another ROM hack for A Link to the Past. The original Parallel Worlds was a huge overhaul to A Link to the Past’s gameplay. It added new graphics, a new storyline, basically a new game. Parallel Remodel is a re-balance of Parallel Worlds, which tones down some of Parallel Worlds infamous difficulty. Its basically a ROM hack of a ROM hack, take that as you will!
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts – Super Arthur
The original Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is infamous for its insane difficulty, usually ranking highly on “hardest games ever” lists. This ROM hack directly addresses that infamous difficulty by adding several new gameplay elements. Weapon collecting and switching with the L/R buttons, armor that degrades instead of disappears, and other changes that generally make the game a bit easier.
Super Mario World: Return to Dinosaur Land
This is a complete and total level overhaul of Super Mario World. It adds brand new levels and worlds, and the general consensus is that its almost like an unofficial sequel to Super Mario World. Some go so far as to say its what SMW2 could’ve been!
Zombies Ate My Neighbors: Oh No More Zombies
One of the best multi-player games for the SNES became a whole lot better with this ROM hack. This ROM hack was “10 years in the making” according to the developer. It adds 55 new levels, gameplay options, items, enemies, and other features. ZAMN is still one of the best multi-player games in existence no matter how old it becomes, so give this ROM hack a try.
Chrono Trigger: Prophets of Guile
Chrono Trigger has often been heralded as one of the best RPGs, and this Chrono Trigger ROM hack pays so much tribute to that fact. It adds a whole new story to the game, involving Magus’ rise to power in the Kingdom of Zeal. The amount of work put into this ROM hack really set the bar for how ROM hacks should be done, so give it a go if you’re a fan of the Chrono Trigger series.
Super Mario Kart: Mario Kart R
This ROM hack of the classic go-kart racing game adds whole new levels, graphics, and even Kirby as a playable character. The original gameplay isn’t touched, as this ROM hack is mostly aesthetic changes. However, alternative paths have been added to most of the original courses, which add a whole new element to the original game.
EarthBound – The Giftman Chronicles
This 1994 J-RPG may have been relatively unknown amongst casual Western gamers, but it garnered a strong cult following amongst J-RPG fans. This particular ROM hack won the 2003 Hexmas Hackfest, giving the original game a cute Christmas theme with all new graphics and gameplay.
Final Fantasy III – Final Fantasy IV Enhanced Edition
This is a ROM hack of the USA version of Final Fantasy III (which is technically Final Fantasy VI in Japan). It is basically a huge list of gameplay “patches” and updates, fixing many glitches and item names from the original game. There’s too many changes to list, but if it was broken in FF III, this ROM hack probably fixed it.
Secret of Evermore: 2 Player Edition
Secret of Evermore was a rather disappointing spiritual successor (arguable) to Secret of Mana, one of the most popular J-RPG series from Square Enix back in the early day. While Secret of Evermore did not live up to Secret of Mana, the lack of 2-player support certainly added to the disappointment. This ROM hack aims to clear that up, by adding 2-player support.