Review: Secret Maryo Chronicles Monday 9/13/10Posted by smcgamer in Archive, Technology.
Tags: maryo, Review, Software, video game
My first review is on Secret Maryo Chronicles, a free run-n’-jump (platformer) game based off Super Mario World. It has come pretty far in seven years of development.
- Developed by: Florian Richter “FluXy”
- Written in: C++
- License: GNU General Public License
- Started: January 2003
- Runs on: Windows, Linux and Mac
- Latest Version: 1.9 (Stable), Latest revisions in Git
- Price: Free
The features of this game are numerous:
- 10 moving enemies, 5 static enemies, and 2 bosses
- Eight types of ground tiles
- Any images can be used for ground tile
- About 24 individual blocks, and 10 varieties of large and small pipes
- Five varieties of giant mushroom platforms
- Moving platforms
- Built-in level editor
- Warps and doors
- Five powerups
- Four worlds
- Dozens of levels, both in-world and out
- Levels are in XML-like format and can be easily shared
- Slippery (ice) ground
- Configurable paths
- Sound effects different from Mario
- Dozens of backgrounds; backgrounds can be stacked; and can move at set rates
- A few new music tracks (most are XOC’s Super Mario World tracks)
- An active community at the Forums
And some technical features include:
- Free and open source
- Uses Crazy Eddie’s Game GUI and OpenGL
- Cross-platform, available for Windows, Mac OS X, and several Linux distributions
None. This game has no accepted story yet, but this doesn’t take away from the game, and may even be viewed as a temporary benefit. Most Mario fangames pretty much follow the “Mario saves Princess from Bowser” story, or something like it. Without a story, levels can be created that can follow any story the user chooses.
A story is planning to be included in the next version. Looking at the official forums, several story ideas have been pitched. My favorite has been suggested by Crabmaster (the full thread can be found here) I quote:
A great coder named Fluxy one day wanted to make a world in the computer, he made the landscapes, the people, his own character, and even a friend for himself named Maryo. Now Fluxy was a smart coder and didn’t think that it would be fun just to have NPCs everywhere in his little world so he coded them with a little bit of knowledge so they could control what they do, and he focused a lot on Maryo. But then one day when Fluxy was away an evil hacker hacked into the computer world that Fluxy had made and locked up Fluxy’s character locking Fluxy out of his little computer world. Now before the Hacker was done Hacking he had locked up all the good creatures, made himself an evil version of Fluxy, named Mlarg, took over the land putting forts everywhere, made evil Creatures (They were a quick job for the hacker so that is why they only walk back an forth), and threw Maryo out into a field far away. So now Maryo must secretly travel though the land defeating all the forts and getting better at fighting so he can take on Mlarg and free Fluxy so the land can be good again.
Crabmaster is a long-standing graphics contributor to the game.
Update (9/16/2010): FluXy has told me that he has added a bit of the story into the game. More information will be available shortly.
The included levels themselves are, most of the time, a good mix of challenge and creativity. Most of them are ground-based levels, with several different backgrounds and colors. There are a few underground levels, a castle or two, and few “sparse” sky levels.
Obstacles and Enemies
The game offers 10 types of moving enemies. Some enemies move faster than others, others are more resistant to ice, some cannot be killed by fire. There are about 5 static enemies, including spikes and saws. These can be stationary, or move according to a path.
The two bosses are more configurable than there standard enemy counterparts. There have already been several boss ideas on the Forums, and a few graphics for bosses, as well.
The Overworld Map
In a word: simple. The scenery is relatively low-quality to the rest of the game’s sprites. Also, there is no built-in world creator (but there is a world-editor). One must copy and edit the preexisting world files to create a new world.
The Level Editor
This is a very good level editor. This game is pixel-based rather than grid-based, so anything can go anywhere. All blocks, ground tiles, and background scenery can be solid or not, and there are five solid types (Massive, Passive, Halfmasssive, Front Passive, Climbable). There is no auto-alignment yet, though Oni wrote a patch which allows this, and it can be found on the forums (link below).
Precision key shortcuts have been added. Holding an object and using the number-pad keys will adjust its location by one pixel. Holding the middle mouse button while pushing the number-pad buttons will duplicate the object.
Level design is easy, though intermediate and advanced topics lack documentation. Warps and doors are easy to implement, and the game also has particle functionality. It can realistically simulate rain and snow, and many other particle effects.
One feature not commonly found in free platformers is the moving platform. It can be set to go straight horizontally or vertically, follow a circular path, or even follow a custom path. The path maker is easy to use, but making paths is not as easy. A nice feature would be to point-and-click to make paths.
Most graphics are drawn in Inkscape, created in SVG and converted to PNG for use in-game. Most graphics are 256×256 pixels, but are scaled down. This allows for very-high quality graphics. Graphically, this game is great.
The sounds are different from the sounds of Mario. They are all very high-quality clean effects. The powerup sound of the Ice Mushroom (my logo) has been criticized by many users, including the developer. I think they sound fine.
As for the music, there are some original tracks, but most of the tracks are from XOC’s Super Mario World’s soundtrack. These work well in the game, but the community hopes to move away from Nintendo, not just because of potential legal issues, but the idea to make themselves a separate game.
The music is very high-quality, stored in the open Ogg Vorbis format.
The game’s binaries are hosted on SourceForge and are available for Windows and Mac. Linux users can find the binaries through their packagers. I believe the Debian/Ubuntu command is “sudo apt-get install smc”.
The source can be found both at SourceForge and at the project’s page at Git. The sources are quite difficult to compile in Windows/Mac. No one has asked about compiling under Windows on the forums, I think.
Compiling requires a lot of rather obscure dependencies, including the Boost Filesystem Library. The best for Linux users is to download and install the binaries, and then try to compile the source.
If your copy has no music, don’t worry. Music isn’t included by default to keep the download size down. The music packages can be found here.
- Scripting isn’t yet available, though Luiji is actively working on coding it.
- Sloping ground and swimming don’t yet exist
- The enemy base is rather small
- Lack of a story might drive away some users
- Not packaged in many distributions for fear of copyright issues
The first thing I noticed was how smooth the collision detection systems are. These great physics usually aren’t found in small platformers. Also, the choice of ground tiles was amazing. The editor doesn’t really allow you to place tiles easily, and many levels might be subject to “one-pixel bugs” – if you come to a block even one pixel higher than the one you are standing one, you’ll stop dead.
I give this game four stars out of five.
As most open-source projects, the game needs contributors to help the process along. Graphics developers, C++ developers, and sound and music developers are needed. To get started, join the Forums. New help is always welcome.
Donations are also appreciated. The game also has a store in which you can buy t-shirts and mugs with the game’s objects on them.
If you found a bug, post it in the Bugs subforum. Please check if your bug is already there.
Legal: The screenshots were taken by me using Greenshot – free screenshot taker. The image of the star is the Star power-up of Secret Maryo Chronicles. This image is owned by FluXy and is licensed under the GNU General Public License (version 3).
Edit: Due to a post error, the link to Oni’s patch will not work. The patch can be found on this thread.
Update (9/16/10): Added additional information, which was contributed by rinscewind. Thanks!
You might find a game very similar to this called “Super Michael Chronicles”. Do not buy or download this game. It is a direct ripoff by Michael Hardy, infamous software copier-and-rebrander extraordinaire.