Hacksterpiece Theatre: The Lost Hacks of DahrkDaiz, Part 3 (Luigi’s Coin Quest)

June 27th, 2006 by Benj Edwards

VC&G's Hacksterpiece Theatre[ Hacksterpiece Theatre is a regular column devoted to fun, odd, and interesting retro game hacks. ]

Greetings! Thanks for joining me once again for Hacksterpiece Theatre. This week, in the concluding segment of the “Lost Hacks of DahrkDaiz” series, I’ll be examining another incomplete and “lost” DahrkDaiz NES game hack as usual — but this time it’s a more recent one starring a certain iconic Italian plumber’s green-garbed, typically overlooked brother.

Luigi in the Spotlight

Shortly after completing his 2004 magnum opus, Mario Adventure, DahrkDaiz got straight to work on a totally new hack of Super Mario Bros. 3 which would feature Luigi in the starring role, eschewing the usual Mario vehicle cliché. Luigi’s Coin Quest, as it would be titled, would have numerous similarities with his previous SMB3 hack, but would greatly improve upon them. Over the next eight months, only one world of this epic project would be finished. And yet, despite being incomplete, the resulting work is one of the most sophisticated and highly playable examples of sheer technical mastery in the field of NES game hacking that the gaming world has never seen.

The object of Luigi’s Coin Quest is to find a special coin in each level. Every stage has at least one rounded switch block that looks similar to the “!” switch blocks in Super Mario World. Hitting this switch will reveal the coin somewhere in the level, which you then have to find and collect to end the stage. The original idea for the game’s structure was that “boss fights” with the Koopa Kids would end each world. You’d then enter a warp pipe in the overworld — completing another extended transitional level in the process — and when you came out, you’d be at a new world map with new levels. Well, plans are wonderful, but they don’t always work out. DahrkDaiz completed the game up to the first transitional level (including the first Koopa Kid, as you’ll see in the video above), but stopped just short of World 2.

Luigi's Coin QuestHad he finished all eight worlds, this hack would vie with Mario Adventure as one of the greatest NES hacks of all time. Yet even in its incomplete state, DD managed to squeeze in a myriad of innovative features. Let’s take a look at some of them:

1. As usual with any DahrkDaiz hack, there are many extremely well-done graphics and animation changes and enhancements. There are so many that I’m not going to try to list them all — just try the game yourself and you’ll see them all over the place.

2. A notable graphical change is that the Luigi graphic has a “modern” Luigi head — i.e. long-faced instead of the usual palette-swapped squat-headed Mario sprite.

Luigi's Coin Quest3. DahrkDaiz has added a “breath bar” that represents your air supply while underwater (located in the former position of the “P” flight meter in the original SMB3). If it runs out, you die. However, if you become Frog Luigi, you can “breathe” underwater indefinitely.

4. Regular coins have been replaced by cherries. When collected, they build up your stop watch meter (represented by the graphic in the lower right-most box on the screen), which, when full, allows you to temporarily stop time by pressing Select + Down on the control pad.

Luigi's Coin Quest5. Awarded points have been divided by ten (i.e. 100 is now 10, 200 is now 20).

6. Your previously collected power up is stored in a box on the status bar, ala Mario Adventure. You can switch between two power-ups (your current one and your stored one) by pressing Select.

7. DahrkDaiz has added a random power-up block in some stages that resembles the “roulette” power-up block in Super Mario World. It is a vigorously animated square that shows all the power-ups scrolling by within. Upon hitting it, a random power-up is ejected from the top of the block.

Luigi's Coin Quest8. In at least one level there is a “koopa generator” pipe that continuously and unrelentingly spits out yellow koopas.

9. When holding a koopa shell, Luigi can kick it upwards (again, like Super Mario World) by pressing Up and releasing the “B” button.

10. Pressing Up + Select while in a Kuribo’s Shoe put it into storage (the shoe will then show up in the second box from the right in the status bar). You can retrieve it from storage at any time by pressing Up + Select again.

Luigi's Coin Quest11. The Tanooki Suit can nolonger fly; however, if you press Down + B with the suit, Luigi turns into a mini-thwomp that can break special Super Mario World-style blocks from above.

12. The Hammer Luigi power-up lets Luigi walk on lava with impunity.

13. In one stage, there are Super Mario World-style switch blocks that toggle square “!” blocks between being in an outlined, intangible placeholder state to being actual blocks that Luigi can stand on.

Luigi's Coin Quest

Luigi's Coin Quest14. If you collect enough points, a special power will show up in the second box from the left on the status bar. DahrkDaiz never finished the code for the abilities and is not sure if they even work. The only ability I have found thus far is called “double star time.” DahrkDaiz says that this ability is supposed to either double the amount of time you remain invulnerable after you get hit by an enemy (i.e. while blinking) or to double the amount of time that you are invincible after collecting a star power-up. He can’t quite remember which, or whether he ever even finished coding it. According to DD, other abilities in the game include “higher jumping and making shell based enemies stay in their shell when stomped.”

DahrkDaiz worked on Luigi’s Coin Quest between February 2004 to October 2004. He stopped development because he felt that the immense scale of the hack had gotten out of hand. After the taxing and exhaustingly complicated experience that was Mario Adventure, he longed to get back to basics and work on something simple again. That decision would prove incredibly ironic, considering that his most impressive, massive, and all-encompassing hack lay directly ahead of him — a work that has yet to be fully revealed to the public. It seems that a man of his ambition cannot simply stick to small projects. And I think, for our sake, that it’s a very good thing. I have the feeling that we’ll be hearing much more from Mr. Daiz down the road.

Gimmie Filez d00d

Luigi's Coin QuestYou can download Luigi’s Coin Quest here. The game (as it stands in this file) is currently incomplete, but DahrkDaiz hopes to finish it some day when he gets a chance. I really hope he does, because it is an awesome hack. As always, you will need an emulator such as FCEU to play it. Have fun, and let us know if you discover anything new.

Have you found or made any cool, funny, or weird retro game hacks that you’d like to share? Send ’em along!

15 Responses to “Hacksterpiece Theatre: The Lost Hacks of DahrkDaiz, Part 3 (Luigi’s Coin Quest)”

  1. MegaKitsune Says:


  2. MegaKitsune Says:

    although I DO like the video…

  3. Xerone Says:

    Yeah, the video looks sweet.

  4. DahrkDaiz Says:

    Just a side note, if you have hammer Luigi, you can jump into the lava below to a secret area. Also, if you climb the fence all the way to the top and head right, you’ll go through the wall (Sonic 1 Marble Zone style) to yet another secret area.

  5. Dan Edwards Says:

    That is crazy. However, it is really awesome too. This mod completely changes how I think of Super Mario Bros. 3. Really cool mod, DahrkDaiz. I like it!

  6. Ximena Says:

    I liked it a lot! Unfortunately, I got stuck in 2 stages ;o; the one after and the one before the fortress.

    I wonder why in the video the bridge to get to the pipe it’s not there. It should appears after you finish the stage right down it, no?

  7. Landon Says:

    Um… There’s a glitch: If you keep hitting select and jump around with any two items, you’ll get a random item sometimes… (Example: One leaf and one mushroom. Hit select like crazy and jump like crazy and you’ll get a Racoon suit instead of a mushrom/leaf.)

  8. Landon Says:

    Ha! I did it and I got a hammer bros. suit and I can walk through enemies!

  9. dudman 5533 Says:

    I found out the same thing as landon.

  10. Estlib(youtube) Says:

    Could DahrkDaiz create an actual super mario world onto smb3 engine?
    That would be interesting.

  11. johannes Says:

    wow great hack trough,i was allway,s fantesizing about a extended/hacked version of smb3 with improved graphics.
    i was wisching a jungle world and that mario will meet donkeykong and yoshi + that he will finely meet bowser in his airship instead of a castle.
    i was thinking a airship with 8 parts and that you have to beat in each part a koopa kid before you will finely meet bowser on his airship.
    who ever knows what this final hack will be !!!

  12. luigi Says:

    SWEET! i need this game

  13. Justin Case Says:

    Why not use a more powerful game sometime? I mean, with Super Mario World you would be using the SNES instead of the NES and with one of the two Advanced games you could use an even more powerful engine. If you wanted to, you could even downgrade the graphics to make the spriting easier. Also, I find that I’m more comfertable (I know I spelt that incorrectly.) with the SMA4:SMB3 controls. I’m sure that if you hack on such a magnitude then the GBA version shouldn’t be to much harder. It will already be laid out for you so you won’t have to make any levels. It would still take a lot of time, but it might be worth it. Besides, then you could get one of those flash card things and play it on a GBA as aposed to a labtop if you have one. I love Mario Adventure, even though I am horrid at it, and that is really saying something. It’s just the way you present it makes me feel like I was the problem. This will probably be even better, but with multiple saves, etc. it would be great. In addition it wouldn’t be to large though perhaps a bit monotonus (I misspelt that and I know it.). I’m sure that once you get back to this, this will top Mario Adventure. One other thing I’ve wanted would be a level editor so I could create levels that could slowly push me into the difficulty level of the great game. I hope I’m not asking to much but I don’t want you to feel like it’s neccessary or that I’m presuring you. I’m happy with this as is, so don’t worry. Also, I’m just curious, but are Mario games the only games you hack. Personally I would like to learn how to hack games in general but with great hackers like you we don’t feel that great impossibilty. I’ll encourge you to take your time so you think out all your ideas.

  14. Justin Case Says:

    I’ve got a few more ideas. 1) Instead of just having Kuribo’s shoe, perhaps you could have other accesories, like Wario’s Cap. They could even provide other abilities as well, like with the aformentioned cap, perhaps there could be a Wario waft power-up that is linked with Wario’s Cap and allows you to leave a cloud that hurts foes which is used with Down+B. 2) Perhaps during fall leaves will fall on to the ground to create obsacles. 3) New Super Mario Bros. might be another engine.

  15. Sato Says:

    Head over to Dahrk’s YouTube channel for videos of the in-progress Mario Adventure 3, and subscribe to the tumblr if you really want to stay up to date. Links below.



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