Hack Showcase: Crystalis QoL & Ungrind (NES) and Doom 32x Resurrection (Sega 32x)

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with additional content, dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. Non-rpgs I try to give a full run to, or at least enough for a solid review. Rpgs I will stick with titles that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, show parts later in the games where more differences appear. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream fully in the future or play on my own. Reviews are open to later revisions due to bug and content updates or me playing them and finding anything new I wish to bring up.

Note: Seeing how I streamed both games together, I kept the gameplay video together along with this double review.

Crystalis QoL & Ungrind is a hack of Crystalis for the NES by Mentil. The aim of the hack is to reduce the time to grind for leveling and gathering gold, along with some other quality of life changes:

Changes:

  • Equipping orbs and bracelets is no longer necessary. Upon exiting the inventory screen, the respective Power will go into effect for your equipped sword.
  • Attempting to cast a spell with insufficient MP now leads to a single error beep and no interruption of gameplay, rather than a pause and a window opening up.
  • There is now an additional way to get Tornel to return home, that is a more reasonable prerequisite. In the God Slayer version of this patch, Stom now gives a hint to this instead of a red herring; a hint was also changed for how to progress at Mt. Sable to reflect a different stumbling block.
  • Dialog boxes should no longer cause screen wobbling on certain emulators (credit to steve_hacks for inspiration/vector). Running on Fceux/Mednafen is confirmed fixed, at least. If your emulator of choice (such as gnes) now has wobble or other issues when it didn’t before, use the respective anti_antiwobble IPS for your ROM version.
  • Fixed a bug preventing one from using level 3 charge attacks when current MP was exactly equal to their MP cost. Additionally, level 3 Bolt had its flashing toned down (it couldn’t be fully removed yet still display the associated graphics).
  • Fixed the Skeleton so that it now has paralysis immunity instead of poison, and shoots bones instead of webs. (I suspect someone typed in data from the line above in the spreadsheet (Blue Spider) here.)

Additionally, in the ungrind patches:

  • Most enemies had their gold and XP rewards increased to 200-300% of their original values, so almost no grinding should be required in order to progress or complete the game, if you defeat every enemy that crosses your path.
  • Several enemies had their damage nerfed to more-reasonable levels, and some damage sponges were adjusted so that they should no longer require more than ~6 hits to defeat (at expected levels/equipment). A few enemies had their elemental resistances modified.
  • Bosses had their level requirements lowered to 1, so there should be fewer cases of encountering a level gate. Note: despite this, late-game bosses have high defense that is insurmountable at too low a level, which isn’t fixable without substantially nerfing them (or some recoding effort that’d have broad balance implications). This precludes completing the game below approximately level 14.
  • Halved MP costs for level 3 charged sword attacks. They should be more useful relative to other spells now.

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