Just started playing the hack, and played the guardhouse through. Since there is the "feature" called "no saving before the sword", the sword should be received sooner. I like the idea that there has to be some challenge before even receiving the sword but especially the vine cellar was just too much due to the save-bug (since savestates definitely shouldn't be a given). Would it have been too easy or simple if this one back and forth run for a key wasn't there? I don't think so.
Otherwise it was well crafted, although even without the difficulty a bit too much of running back and forth, and the labyrinths and the spikes in the underground places were boring. Yet, I do understand why they are there: they are simple to make and create content.
As a whole the hack looks of course excellent - especially when I even try to think how much effort has to have gone into this. The overworld also seems interesting.
ed: yep, and I'm apparently playing the older, 1.0 version. Although it seems from the version history, that not much has changed.