Fan Game Showcase – Rom Check Fail
In celebration of the release of NES Remix, a game that mashes up characters from classic NES games, we have dedicated this week’s Fan Game Showcase to another classic gaming mash-up: ROM Check Fail.
ROM Check Fail is kind of an inside joke among gamers who use emulators to play classic video games. It’s a very simple game, which tasks you to do only one thing: defeat all the enemies in a stage to proceed onward. You start with three lives and clearing a level gives you another life. The game continues on until you die.
Sounds simple right? Well there is a catch. You see, ROM Check Fail is basically played on a glitchy emulator that keeps swapping in assets from several different classic games. When the game starts, you will probably just be Mario on a recreation of stage 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. and your goal is to stomp all the goombas. However, soon the game starts glitching and you will find that you are Link and you have to stab ghosts from Ghostbusters. Then without warning you are the ship from Asteroids trying to destroy blocks from Breakout! Then you are Pac-Man fighting against Space Invaders.
Every time ROM Check Fail “glitches,” the character you are playing as and the enemies you are fighting are randomized. Each character has to defeat enemies in the way they do in their game or origin. Mario has to jump on them. Link can just walk up and slash them. Pac-Man has to get a power pellet first and them chomp them to death. However, characters are also burdened with control restrictions from their games of origin as well. So the Space Invaders ship cannot move up and down and the asteroids ship has to deal with thruster momentum.
Similarly, enemies behave like they do in their games of origin. Goombas will just walk back and forth, making them easy to pick off if you have a sword or a gun. Ghostbuster ghosts, however, will home in on you, making them hard to jump on but easy to stab to death.
ROM Check Fail glitches out once every couple seconds. While the game is glitching you can’t really tell where you or the enemy is. So a lot of the game is about keeping yourself safe until the next transition. The glitches come faster and more often as you get to higher levels, producing quite a challenge. Check the game out on www.farbs.org and let us know your high score in the comments!