Mario's Keytastrophe is S.N.N.'s SMW hack. It is a hack that is themed around music, and is a sort of accent on the fact that music hacking was the last medium of SMW that had yet to be controlled, and now it is. The in-game title in the earlier builds of this hack is "The Great Big Keytastrophe Starring Mario". The latest demo, Demo 4, was released on November 17, 2009. This hack was later on cancelled by SNN.
History of the Hack
Believe it or not, this hack started as a joke. SNN was playing around with the spiffy new addmusic tool, when he decided to take a break and open up an SMW ROM. He was always a fan of Donkey Kong '94, so he thought. "Hey, let's have a bit of fun with this." After making one level, he was hooked. The whole musical theme of the hack was inspired by addmusic. After SNN became more acquainted with the tool, he learned how to write his own melodies, and used them in the hack. From his mind came Boothoven, Baritone, and a whole cast of characters. After learning ASM and sprite hacking, he decided to take this hack to the next level, and try to make unique puzzles that the player has never seen before. After releasing Demo 2, and having it instantly fly to the number 1 hack, SNN was given the boost needed to continue his hack. Not only that, it encouraged him to cram as much replayability in this game as possible. He added a shop with 15 purchaseable items, from upgrades to levels. He added in an Inventory for quests, and an Exit Displayer, better known as the Key Spirit tracking meter. He finally added in "Seal" levels, where you must play a tune to break the seal, which was also counted. Currently, SNN has just released Demo 4 - the final public demo - which he hopes will nail the hearts of all SMW players in some ways, and, if all goes well, hold the first place position.
What started as a small thing out of boredom, turned into a convoluted piece of work. SNN never thought he would be where he is right now.
Instead of breaking the goal tape at the end of a level, the player must instead find a key and take it to the keyhole to clear a level normally. Secret exits still exist as notes. This core gameplay change causes the game to be centered around solving puzzles rather than beating enemies and reaching the end. The challenges get increasingly difficult as the game continues, and sometimes, the only way to get the key is to perform certain tasks.
While there is one main storyline, there are also sub-storylines that follow it .. plus, there is usually some background behind some levels. (which is revealed when you enter)
This is not your typical SMW Hack. With new features being added almost every level, the amount of eagerness to enter a level will always be high. From a shop that tracks the amount of Key Spirits you've earned, to an interactive storyline, to composing a song to proceed, to doing quest that change the way the levels play and act, to busting your brain on the new style of gameplay, there will never be a dull moment in Keytastrophe.
Some have said that this may be the best hack ever made. SNN begs to differ, and leaves with the quote, "Time will tell"
Every piece of music in the game, save a few like the Final Jeopardy theme, is original music by SNN, further emphasizing the music theme.
All worlds are named after some sort of musical terminology, then some sort of environmental descriptor.
'legato' means "notes that flow together". The first world, consisting of Legato Shrine, Legato Highlands, The Cobalt Pond, Legato Caverns, and Chopin's Stronghold, contains very simple and short puzzles. An alternate path can be found in Legato Highlands, which leads to Cobalt Pond and Musae Mercatus. The boss is Chopin, who is a grey Lemmy Koopa in a room of rising and falling lava. Six Key Spirits can be obtained here.
Decision of the Clef
The first three levels of the game, The Intro Level, Shell Shockers, and Cliffside Field, while not really part of the first world, are in the same general area. They have no puzzles and are very short, and serve to give the player a tutorial of the new style of gameplay. They do, however, offer the first three Key Spirits of the game.
'andante' means music with a good tempo; not very slow or fast. This world is ice/tundra themed, and has 10 levels- Andante Fortress, The Lamentable Sea, Blue Melody Palace, Andante Causeway, Andante Freezecave, Trumpeteer Cliffs, The Pianist's Rest, Clarinet SnowWood, Snowpath of Andante, and Chateau Mozart. Coin-gathering puzzles are introduced, and the player will meet Mr. Baritone in some levels, who will tell the player to go get something when met. This is also where the first Seal level of the game is found. There are three bosses, Boothoven, who is a Big Boo Boss with some new clothing, the Blue Guard, who is a Ground Pound Koopa that speeds up slightly each time when hit, and Mozart, who is Iggy Koopa with two additional platforms. 14 Key Spirits can be found here.
While the Blue Melody Palace is technically in the next world, Staccato Jungle, it can only be accessed from the Andante Region.
'staccato' means to play a note abruptly or short. There are 9 levels in this world - Staccato Westwood, Grove of Lost Clefs, Muddy Staccato Cave, Staccato Swamp, Staccato Shrine, Staccato Eastwood, Staccato Exodome, Lair of Leopold, and North Staccato Clifftop. This world is teeming with vines, rope puzzles, and even a level which requires you to play a song with the blocks given. The main secret in this world is the Skyway Entrance, which requires much more then just beating a level to reach. The other secret levels include Grove of Lost Clefs and North Staccato Clifftop. Boothoven is fought once again here with a new trick up his sleeve, and this is where King Lamentando and Lord Grazioso are introduced in the story. 12 Key Spirits are found here.
'moderato' means moderately played. This world has the largest map, and contains 11 levels. They are Great Moderato Fork, Synthsine Badlands, Synthsine Plateau, Con Dolore Church, Yellow Melody Palace, Synthsine Gorge, Border of Synthsine, Moderato Fortress, Moderato Summit, Piccolo Peak, and Bach's Bastion. The puzzles here are all based on high-altitude platforming, and never-before-seen elements which turn the tides of the levels in all directions! In addition, another seal level can be found here. The most recent demo ends upon the "completion" of Moderato Summit.