After far too long in development, I've decided I have enough progress in this Dawn of Souls hack to start its own thread. This hack is a fairly comprehensive overhaul of the Final Fantasy 1 half of DoS, with the aim of making gameplay more challenging and interesting without sticking cheap shots in there.
This hack takes the game closer to the NES version in some ways - the MP system has been replaced with the old Vancian casting (at more generous allotments of charges), characters and monsters are relatively low-power, random encounters are tougher, that sort of thing. I've cut way back on the encounter rate too, both because monsters are stronger and it was just obnoxiously high to begin with.
The hack is just about finished in that everything up to Chaos has been tinkered with, but I'm looking for beta testers to play through it to give feedback and report bugs. You can't really balance a game just based on your own experience; it'd be helpful to see how somebody without any foreknowledge going in handles it.
For a detailed (though not exhaustive) list of changes, you can check the readme in the download package. The patch can be found here
And now for some screenshots:
A couple of examples of the new formations, and of the unrunnable battle alert.
I added a item-viewing screen so you don't have to check an external document to see what every weapon or armor does.
One of the edited maps. This was the first map I made with Tiled, and I went a little overboard on the size. Good thing I can adjust encounter frequency by map!