I’ve been following the progress of this game for over four years, but up until now I’ve been a bit reluctant to recommend it to anyone. It was originally too much like the Mario Bros games (Nintendo could have pulled the plug on the project at any time), support for joysticks/pads and other controllers wasn’t very good and the game itself just didn’t feel playable enough. That’s all about to change though as version 1.5 is on the horizon and shaping up very nicely indeed :)
To install it, look for smc in your package manager or type sudo apt-get install smc into the terminal.
Secret Maryo Chronicles started life as an attempt to make an open source Super Mario type game with the added bonus of a level editor so users could create their own levels and worlds. Most of the projects original graphics were basically just copies of the official Nintendo ones, as was the music and sound effects. I’m guessing it was done this way to make it easier for the developers to concentrate on coding the game engine and level editor, without having to worry too much about the more artistic side of the game. This was definitely a good move as the project is currently at its 1.4 release and the game engine and level editor both seem to be working superbly.
Old screenshots from the 0.97 release…
Little by little with each release the temporary graphics, music and sounds have been replaced by new user created content and the games finally getting its very own unique look and feel to it.
New screenshots from version 1.4…
Particle effects have been added to sweeten the graphical goodness, as have multiple layers for the backgrounds, weather effects (that can be made to affect game play) and new music + sound effects licensed with either GPL or creative commons licenses.
The games engine now offers support for multiple exits from a level, hidden rooms, horizontal and vertical extended playing screens, better handling and movement of the player camera, big boss battles at the end of a level, movable or rotating platforms, different surfaces that affect how your character handles and an editable world map view that allows the player to get to the next level or re-visit one that they’ve already completed.
As well as improvements to the actual engine of the game, the developers have been busy with adding tons of new playable features too. They’ve taken the best user ideas (not only from Nintendo’s games, but from other platform games too) and are integrating them all into a well balanced game that will appeal to most people. It’s fun and colorful enough for kids to enjoy and tricky enough to keep the average adult occupied.
You’ll probably find yourself familiar with a lot of the main characters actions and power ups already (if your used to playing Nintendo’s Mario games). So far they include…
Big – Allows you to get hit once by enemies before reverting you back to normal size.
Fire – Allows you to throw fireballs and kill most enemies.
Ice - Allows you to throw iceballs which kill more enemies than the fireballs.
Invincible – Grab a star and become unbeatable for a short amount of time.
1up – Adds an extra life to your character.
Ghost – Allows you to walk past enemies without them seeing or chasing you. It also shows up blocks and shortcuts that are usually hidden from sight.
Smash blocks for power ups.
Pick up and throw shells.
Climb up and down vines and ladders.
Collect 100 coins to receive an extra life.
This is by no means a complete list of the games features, but it should give you a general idea of what the game engine is capable of and how much time and effort has already gone into making it (5 years so far).
One of the best things about this project is that it’s completely open source. Anyone with an idea to improve the game can create a new post on the forum and help the developers implement it. It’s very gratifying to contribute to a project such as this and pretty amazing to see how it evolves with every new update.
Nice work to the developers and everyone that’s contributed so far in the creation of Secret Maryo Chronicles and all the best for your projects future :D
p.s This game will work on any VGN-FS model laptop as it doesn’t require a very powerful processor, tons of free RAM, or use any 3D graphics.