Download (version 3): http://www.mediafire.com/file/v66d57298gew0xu/Layla+-+The+Iris+Missions+%28v3%29.zip
Gameplay footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySFmiBxZa9w
Chinelkov Manitokha once again threatens the galaxy with his army of mutant Chimairan. This time, it's up to Iris to stop him! (Layla can come along too, I guess).
This is a thorough overhaul of the Famicom game Layla that I've been working on, on and off, for about a year. It features new levels, graphics, and a new, much-expanded soundtrack I wrote specifically for this hack. The primary goal is to modernize the game to be less frustrating without compromising the core gameplay. Though the most fundamental aspects remain the same, there are many alterations to the design and mechanics in the interest of making things more fun: no annoying keycards, no penalties for replaying levels, some nonlinear elements....Walkthrough
This hack adds some elements of exploration and puzzle-solving. I hope the additions are intuitive enough that no one will need help, but here's a guide just in case:
Spoiler: Changes from the original game
* Mission 1: Proceed normally and you'll eventually reach the crate with the Machine Gun, then the boss.
* Mission 2: Go up at every elevator possible. You'll eventually reach the Axe.
* Mission 3: Go down at the first elevator, go right, then go up at the next one to get the Flamethrower. Go down the elevator you came up, then down again. Go right, pass the first elevator, and go up at the second one. Go right until you reach an elevator covered by destructible blocks, then use the Axe to destroy them. Take the elevator down to the boss.
* Mission 4: Starting from B4F, take the elevators labeled F, A, S, and T, in that order. Pick up the Skates. Starting again from B4F, take the elevators labeled E, X, I, and T to reach the boss.
* Before starting Mission 5, return to Mission 3. Go up at the first elevator, go right, then go up again at the next one. Run to the right and jump over the pit (requires the Skates). Continue on until you reach the elevator that leads to the Grenades. After collecting them, you can press Start+Select+A+B to exit the level.
* Mission 5: Use the Grenades to destroy the impassable block early in the level. The rest is linear, but make sure you don't jump down the high-walled pit: if you're paying attention, it should be obvious that it leads back to an earlier part of the level!
* Mission 6: Linear, but requires the Skates. You can optionally pick up the Bazooka in the first part of the level. After the second checkpoint, jump over the first two gaps. For the last one, make a jump of maximal height from the second-to-last vanishing block and you should make it into the alcove with the crate.
* Mission 7: Go up at the first three elevators you encounter. On floor 1F, run right, go past the first elevator you encounter, then go down at the next one. Follow the path and go down the next two elevators you see to reach the Saber. Go back up the elevator. The Saber can pass through walls, so use it to destroy the blocks in your path. Go up every elevator you see until you exit the cave area. Go right, pass the first elevator you encounter, then go up the next one to 2F. Go right until you reach a set of blocks you'll need the Saber to destroy. Do so, then take the uncovered passage to the elevator and go up. Proceed to the next elevator and go up.
This next part is conceptually tricky, but easy to do: You need to pass through the ceiling to reach the elevator. To do so, go right. If enemies don't spawn in the sealed-off area, keep going right until the level loops around. Pick off any enemies outside the sealed area, then stand on the glowing floor until your health is almost empty. Now, equip the Saber and use it to kill the enemies in the sealed area. While the food they drop is bouncing around, run to the glowing floor and intentionally kill yourself. If you do everything right, you'll pass through the ceiling during the death animation, then run into the good and return to life. From there, just take the elevator up to the boss.
* Mission 8: Follow the path until you reach the elevator guarded by force fields. You can do the three segments that follow in any order; personally, I'd recommend 3-1-2. Then take the elevator to the boss.
* Mission 9: Surely you can figure this one out yourself!
Spoiler: Known issuesMiscellaneous
* Replaced all levels with new ones, and added an extra stage.
* Redid the soundtrack.
* Managed to scrape together a new title screen that's hopefully passable.
* Swapped out Layla's and Iris' graphics, so you now play as Iris.
* The new music has quieter pulse channels than the original in order to make the basslines more prominent, so the volume of the sound effects has been slightly lowered to match.
* Added a checkpoint system. Dying no longer kicks you back to the title screen; instead, you'll go back to the last checkpoint.
* Added a shortcut to exit a level: Press Start, Select, A, and B simultaneously. Not needed to beat the game, but useful in a couple places (or if I screwed up the level design and you get stuck somewhere).
* Hacked up the credits code to create a little intro sequence if you wait at the title screen.
* Rewrote the ending, added a new one for the extra stage, and altered the credits.
* All weapons except the Shield now have infinite ammo; the challenge is finding them in the first place!
*** To compensate for this, the damage and refire rate of some of the higher-end weapons has been toned down.
* The Shield no longer protects against pit damage.
* Shields do not have infinite ammo, and are collected throughout the level as in the original game. Restarting from a checkpoint makes you lose all your shields.
* Shield pick-ups grant a smaller number of shields (2 instead of 5).
* The special weapon from the original game is no longer available, mostly because I couldn't figure out anything interesting to do with it.
* Related to the above, the ? pickup now always restore life. I also removed the obscure feature where, after picking one up when the tens digit of the score is zero, running into enemies would damage them.
* Weapon cooldowns are now absolute, i.e. you can't mash the button to fire faster than you would be holding it down. Removed because I hate games that do this.
*** To compensate, the refire rate for the pistol is higher, not that you'll need to use it much.
* Bumped up the range of the Flamethrower's shots.
* Slightly increased the initial y-velocity of the Axe, giving it a higher trajectory.
* Made the Saber able to penetrate walls.
* Removed the keycards that were originally required to beat the game, because they didn't add anything except frustration.
* Removed the bonus stages between levels because they were pointless.
* Removed all stat/ammo penalties for falling in a pit or repeating a level. You'll still lose health if you fall in a pit.
* Disabled the tornado that harassed you if you failed to scroll the screen for ~30 seconds.
* The mechanic where your maximum velocity can go up or down under certain circumstances has been ditched; it was too frustrating, and difficult to design around. There's instead a fixed speed cap, with a collectible upgrade to permanently increase it.
* Increased invulnerability time after getting hit; the original game's is absurdly low.
* Enemy projectiles no longer hit through post-damage invulnerability.
* In the original game, touching an enemy damages you by an amount that is based, oddly, on the enemy's current HP (which means it can vary substantially between hits). In LTIM, enemies instead deal a constant amount of damage that increases linearly with each level to create a smooth difficulty curve.
* For balance, the cake and ice cream pick-ups now both restore 2 HP (originally, cake restored 4).
* Fixed a serious bug that can crash the original game. There was no check for overflow when the game assigned sprites to OAM slots from its internal table, which meant that if the game tried to show more than 64 sprites, it would overwrite sprite 0 and usually die. (This can be achieved e.g. on the original level 5, by running right at a high speed while firing the machine gun on a screen with multiple Usumiil enemies.)
* The original game rapidly flashes the background color when your HP is low. The effect is very unpleasant, so I've changed it to flash the white used for the text in the HUD. This unfortunately conflicts with a few other things (e.g. item icons), but it's still a substantial improvement over the original.
* Disabled the low HP beeping sound because it annoyed me.
* When you discover a new item, it uses its real icon instead of being replaced with a question mark.
I'm flattering myself here, but if you're interested in the OST, here's the download: http://www.mediafire.com/file/ainp6rqa6u1chz9/Layla+-+The+Iris+Missions+OST.zip
(Includes NSFe, MP3 renders, and the original .it files used to prototype the tracks. Real rippers will guffaw at my 256 kb NSFe, but I say whatever works...)
For posterity, version 1 of the hack can be found here: http://www.mediafire.com/file/60sm5cne51yp85q/Layla+-+The+Iris+Missions.zip
And version 2 here: [EDIT: Removed because by sheer incompetence, I managed to accidentally put the full ROM in the ZIP file!]
Since the game is so obscure, I had to write my own level and music editing tools. You can grab the sources for Lonely
off Github, and hopefully by the time you read this the Windows binaries will be on the main site.
This hack has been a long time coming and taken quite a bit of effort, so it's great to finally share it. I'm not sure there's much of (if any) audience for it, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on it if you try it out, even if it's just "this sucks".Special thanks
I'd like to thank the following people and organizations for making this hack possible:
* A round of applause to ArstanNeckbeard for taking the time to play through this obscure ROM hack of an obscure game from obscure start to obscure finish and give me feedback on it. Honestly, I was afraid I wouldn't get any replies at all!
* Thanks to everyone else on ROMhacking.net who voiced support, and anyone who tried this out but didn't comment.
* Extra special thanks to the webmaster of Asteria no Layla, who maintains one of the finest and most informative fansites I've ever seen: http://laylairis.web.fc2.com/
* General thanks to all of the following:
* Bluechip's 6502 reference
* Game Center CX
* And of course, the biggest thanks of all goes to dB-SOFT for making Layla in the first place.