Laser's Ratings and Reviews
Metroid: Spooky Mission by Magconst [MZM Exploration], rated by Laser on Feb 28, 2018 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 1:35
Metroid: Spooky Mission v1.2 Review

For me, personally, this is the best exploration kind of hack for MZM ever. The graphics, the design, the aesthetics, the text, the intro, the demo and the overall concept is astonishingly good. However, while playing, there were a few things that made me want to rate this hack 4 out of 5, and I will try my best to explain why (beware of spoilers):

So, first of all, I really liked that this game removed basically all the cutscenes from the original game, including the Kraid and Ridley statues activating, as they don't exist in this hack. Instead, there are 3 spooky items that you have to collect, but ALL of them are very easy to find, as they are just lying in a room close to the boss of each area, so I don't really get the point of changing it, but at the same time I'm don't think that's a bad thing. What IS a bad thing, though, is the absolute removal of Power Bomb Packs, just for the sake of that stupid item counter being on-screen for the rest of the game. I genuinely think that was a poor decision, not because it made exploration harder, but because it made exploration very, very easy. Without Power Bombs, there was no way the hack could have something truly hard to find, because it would mess with the player to find it without power bombs. The result? Everything (except for the 2 energy tanks you can only obtain with screw-attack) is basically given to you, from start to finish, and that really made me lose the feeling of accomplishment while playing this hack.

Second of all, this game is both too easy and too hard at the same time.
The bosses are a joke, as their amount of health (even though increased) is too low to actually keep the fights threatening, ESPECIALLY Mecha-Ridley. For those who don't know, in the original game, Mecha-Ridley's health would be either two values: very low health if you hadn't gotten all the items, or a shit-ton of health if you did. In this hack, it is absolutely impossible to fight him while he has a lot of health, since he is no longer the final boss of the game, which means he blocks the way to obtaining items that count towards completion. In the end, I felt like I was watching a Tool Assisted Speedrun, where the boss "approaching" animation is 5 times longer than the fight itself. A few supers and he's done in the blink of an eye, not even changing color from blue to red. Can't say I'm not dissapointed.
As for the hard part, it's not the end-game. It's the first half hour (that is, until you find Plasma Beam completely out of nowhere), especially in Castle (a.k.a. Kraid's Lair). The problem is, the enemies used here are the space pirates from the end game in the original. They don't do nearly as much damage, and have way less HP, but their A.I. is BRUTAL for the beginning of the game, especially with a map layout that you're not familiar with at ALL. I've run across several doors, dodged some crazy shots, died trying to get the hidden energy tank with the Missile-Proof flying enemies, dived into the lava (or beer, in this case), but only to find out that I needed Super Missiles to go on. Backtracked all the way to Hell, got Plasma, and now I'm unstoppable.

Also, I've found a glitch with the space pirates health value. For some reason, when they are chasing me and I enter a screen transition, they will still be chasing me in the next room, just like in the original game. However, Space Pirates that come across screen transitions have more health (I think the same amount as the original game) than the ones that are already inside the room. It's fairly easy to test: pirates in this hack only need one missile to kill, but if you enter another room and shoot a missile at the guy who's chasing you, he won't die that easily - He will need at least two missiles to kill. That was a great chunk of what made that section so difficult to do at first.

And last of all, I want to talk about the item placement. I don't find it bad, for the most part, I just find it a little off. Sometimes it just tosses an endgame item in your face, like Plasma Beam and Gravity Suit. Sometimes it tosses midgame items in the end, like Hi-Jump Boots. Other times it just tosses two extremely important items at once, like Morph Ball and Bombs, and most notably, Space Jump and Screw Attack.

Edit: Played this game a couple times already, and I've seen some stuff that could also be improved in future updates:
1. There are no special settings for when you beat the game on normal and hard mode for the first time (probably due to the removal of the ending cutscene, as it just jumpcuts to the credits sequence). That means there is no "Sound Test", no "Original Metroid", and most importantly, no "Gallery" option, which is always a nice feature to have in a romhack that changes the ending images.
2. The message box that appears when you collect Energy Tanks always says "+100 health points", even if you choose to play on hard mode, where they only give you +50.
3. On the file select menu, the name of the area you last saved still displays the names of the original areas of the game, even though they have being changed. For example, when you last save in "Pumpkin", the file select will still say Tourian.
4. If you choose hard mode, you can't do that escape shinespark (the one where you run into Mother Brain's explosion animation until you begin speed boosting), because those flying enemies are immune to shinesparking in hard mode. I haven't looked too much into it, but you guys may want to verify if there is any kind of softlock potential there. It just seems that you could get stuck between the respawning speed booster blocks.

Overall, this hack was very fun to play, and as a Metroid Zero Mission Speedrunner, I will definitely speedrun it, as I did with Deep Freeze and Metroid Other ZM. I just felt like I had too much to say about this game, and that I should point out my observations for future improvements, mainly because this really seemed to have potential to be one of the best metroid hacks out there. Keep up the awesome work.
Metroid Fusion Repalette by MollyAncalime, Doc 4non & JKMaxx [MF Improvement], rated by Laser on Mar 08, 2019 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 1:07
Metroid Fusion Repalette v2.1.4 Review

This hack is fun, to say the least. Biospark's IBJ/Single Wall Jump Patch definitely made playing it more interesting, but what the hack aimed for still seems mostly presentable.

The best changes were definitely the Underwater Sector 4, which just looks incredible; most of Sector 6, being a lot darker; and the Varia Suit, finally appealing to look at. The worst changes, at least for me, were the excessive use of the color white and all of the unnecessarily modified dialogue, especially Samus's.

First of all, I like the removal of those giant red borderlines, present in almost every tile in the original. It helps viewing both the background and foreground as one single area, not obviously separated. As for changing the tiles themselves, I would prefer if they were changed to look more realistic, and not just looking the same with a modified color. Sadly, it's only done noticeably in the yellow portion of the Main Deck, while most of the game remains flat-looking.

As for the changed colors, I've noticed most sceneries were made more white. The "pink" portion of Sector 1 (like the 1st Eye-Door room), the blue portion of Sector 4 (like the elevator room), the cold rooms in Sector 5 (as well as frozen Ridley room), the Reactor Core room in the Main Deck, and so on, ALL have been changed to be more white. That directly makes the game less colorful, which, while arguably helping it "create a more tense atmosphere", doesn't change the fact that it goes AGAINST the idea of recolorizing the original. My problem with Fusion's tiles doesn't come from its colors, it comes from its flat 2D aesthetics, something that was greatly improved in Metroid Zero Mission.

Now, as for the dialogue, yes, there are still some glitchy textboxes that need to be fixed, but that doesn't really affect the gameplay experience, and therefore is irrelevant to the point I'll try to bring here. The thing is, I don't have a single problem with the writing, pacing or storytelling in Fusion. For me, it could stay the way it is. However, if you do want to see it changed, I don't think this is what you are looking for.
From what I've read, the intent here was to make the dialogue simpler, removing some technical terms and shortening explanations, which is fine. Unfortunately, that also came With making existing dialogue more bland. I can't really explain what I mean, but here is a really good example of how this was all changed:

Original:
"'Do not worry. One of them will understand. One of them must.'
I've reflected upon his words, and I see the wisdom in them."
Hack:
"'Do not worry. One of them will understand. One of them must,' Adam says.
I see the wisdom there."

It somehow makes the game less immersive, like a constant reminder that this is a hack, when in the original it sounds more natural and impactful.

In the end, this makes for an OK romhack, a bit disappointing considering the potential it had to be a great hack, but OK nonetheless. Definitely worth a bit more work on it, fixing some textboxes, maybe speeding up elevators, and making so that Bob (The Sector 3 Missile Tank) doesn't disappear in future visits, even if you haven't collected it. 3 out of 5.
Super Metroid: Unambitious by dewhi100 [SM Quick Play], rated by Laser on Jun 03, 2017 (Star Star Star Star Star )
212% in 0:42
Metroid Unambitious v1.2 Review

Metroid Unambitious is a nice and short hack, with a lot of missing itens, missing bosses and glitches. For the bosses:

1. I actually like that there's no Phantoon or Golden Torizo, but I do miss Botwoon.
2. I hate Spore Spawn in this hack, as the spikes in the field deal 60 damage so early in the game, which makes it quite difficult to defeat and very annoying, especially because after you beat Bomb Torizo, you trigger "escape sequence", which makes it impossible to save the game on your ship: you have to run to the other side of the map to save.
3. Crocomire and Draygon are a PAIN: They're too strong to kill with the amount of missiles an supers you get along the way, especially without Charge Beam, an essential item that isn't in this hack. Other thing is defeating Draygon without Speed Booster nor Grapple Beam. Look, if you're gonna let us so short on ammo, you HAVE to nerf the bosses a bit, or at least change the number of ammo you get from each tank, as you did later with power bombs.

About the glitches:
1. There's a hidden passageway behind Crocomire. If you drop him on the lava, go through there and go back, you will make Crocomire spawn again and you will be spawned in front of him in a very strange screen-scrolling thing, but this time, you're screwed, as you are left with no ammo. Trust me, Crocomire does NOT cooperate for you to refill all your ammo. Just die and start over instead. Note: to solve it, you can put a grey door that only opens after Crocomire is oficially dead instead of an open path.
2. There is a tilling error in front of Wave beam, which can make you softlock inside the floor in the ceiling in a neverending falling stante by unmorphing at a certain spot.
3. Below the place where the elevator to norfair should be, there are two itens: a super missile and an energy tank. The super missile does not spawn if you haven't deafeted Bomb Torizo, which can be solved by backtracking and killing him. The energy tank is simply UNLIMITED! Seriously! You can just pick up the tank, leave the room, and when you enter it again it will be there! Again! Just for fun, I've beaten the game with all 14 energy tanks, and that's why I've put 212% above.

Overall, its a very entertaining hack, but all these flaws really do show off. 2 out of 5.