Discussion Game Boy DX - Hacks that convert GB games into GBC ones

Robin64

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So something that's become quite a thing among the ROM hacking community is taking Game Boy games and giving them an appropriate Game Boy Color facelift, as if Nintendo themselves released a DX version. I thought it might be nice to have a thread about these, as I think they're awesome and there are people who might not even know it's a thing.

Super Mario Land 2 DX

In my opinion, the king of this is toruzz, and this is is his first release. Maybe not the first game to be DXified, but probably the one brought the process into the limelight for many people. As well as fully colorizing the game (and I think his work there alone is stellar), the game adds playable Luigi complete with his own physics and removes a lot of the slowdown present in the base game.

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Super Mario Land DX


toruzz's latest release does to the first game what he previous did to the second. Full color, playable Luigi, selectable graphics, lag removed, and tons of minor additions, animations, and fixes.

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Metroid II - EJRTQ Colorization

I seem to recall that Nintendo were going to do this one themselves at one point, or maybe it was simply a rumour, I'm not sure. Either way, fans have gone and done what Nintendon't, and it looks gorgeous. A much better way to play the original game in my opinion.

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Kirby's Dream Land DX


One of the most colorful game series in the entire world, and yet its roots are firmly embedded in the world of greenscale. So thankfully, this has been addressed, and now the original Dream Land looks better than ever. This particular hack has a few issues, so you'll want to patch this on top of it, and then patch this on top of that. Worth it though.

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Donkey Kong Land DX


The original DKL was notorious for looking a bit messy on the Game Boy. All those pre-rendered graphics using just four shades looked a bit messy and it was generally hard to make things out. Nothing a spot of color can't fix, of course, and once again we have a fantastic new way to play this game.

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Pokémon Red Full Color Hack


This is one of the big ones. Taking the original Pokémon Red, it's fully upgraded to give it the same look as Gold/Silver/Crystal.

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There are many other hacks, of course, and though I personally think some of these don't quite hit the quality of the ones above, they are definitely worth checking out:

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 DX
Kirby's Pinball Land DX
Dr Mario DX
Alleyway DX
Balloon Fight GB
Snoopy's Magic Show DX
 
I love these.

Toruzz is also working on one for "For the Frog the Bell Tolls" (Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru), which I'm really looking forward to.


May take a while yet as this is their most important project and they want to get it just right.

Marc_max is also working on one for Rockman World 5 (Mega Man V)


For people who never played it, this is not a port of NES Mega Man 5, it is a original game and one of the best megs games.
 
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Zellia

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Oh these are cool. Kirby's Dream Land holds a lot of nostalgia for me so I might take the opportunity to revisit it in colour.
 
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Dcubed

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These are really great, but SML2 DX is really on another level. It's just incredibly well made; to the point where it honestly feels like a real, honest to goodness Nintendo-made product.

It even has that special screen telling players that they can't play the game on an original DMG Game Boy!
 
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Robin64

Robin64

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These are really great, but SML2 DX is really on another level. It's just incredibly well made; to the point where it honestly feels like a real, honest to goodness Nintendo-made product.

It even has that special screen telling players that they can't play the game on an original DMG Game Boy!

Yeah, the effort he put in is astonishing, to the point where he even made a Super Game Boy border despite the fact it can't be played on a Super Game Boy.

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blondkayvon

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Super Mario Land 2 was actually my first Mario game (outside of playing a couple levels in SMB over and over again at other people's houses) and it still holds a special place in my heart. SML2 DX looks so freaking good! What a beautiful effort.

Can't wait for For the Frog the Bell Tolls, I'll likely use that to do my first playthrough of the game.
 

2B

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I recently beat Super Mario Land in a sitting. I would have never thought the game would look that good in full colour. Impressive!
 
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P.Scoop

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Haven't tried out other DX romhacks, but yeah SML2 hack is incredibly well made. It pretty much set the bar of what a good DX hack should be.
 
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totofogo

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There any chance of Nintendo implement colors into GB games in NSO in a distant future?
There are rumors indeed!


EDIT: oops, I read over the word colors lol. That is much less likely imo. They seem content with leaving NSO / VC untouched. The best we could hope for IMO are the existing Super Game Boy enhancements.


Sadly, all signs point to no on that front so far.
 
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shoptroll

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I wonder if the lack of SGB support in pretty much every Nintendo GB emulator to date stems from Hori’s involvement with the device?
 

JoshuaJSlone

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These are definitely cool, but I'm kind of surprised we still don't see things like this for other systems. For 3D era games it's not uncommon to see people offer texture replacement packs, but I can't think of any emulators for primarily 2D systems that allow things like replacement of sprites with higher color and/or resolution versions. Game Boy is in the unusual position of having an official big jump mid-stream so people can do that and still remain Game Boy Color games playable on standard hardware (or standard emulators).
 

VolcanicDynamo

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These are definitely cool, but I'm kind of surprised we still don't see things like this for other systems. For 3D era games it's not uncommon to see people offer texture replacement packs, but I can't think of any emulators for primarily 2D systems that allow things like replacement of sprites with higher color and/or resolution versions. Game Boy is in the unusual position of having an official big jump mid-stream so people can do that and still remain Game Boy Color games playable on standard hardware (or standard emulators).
The Mesen NES emulator allows you to do just that, actually! You can download HD packs and apply them to certain games.

Here are a few examples under the spoiler:




Apparently the GBE+ emulator can do a similar thing, which is news to me!
 

Mekanos

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Donkey Kong Land DX is one I'll definitely have to try. For Pokemon I would have liked to see attempts to color the gen 1 sprites, but I get that would have been a lot of work. I'd have just used the Yellow sprites.

And echoing all the praise for Mario Land 2 DX, as I did in a previous thread recently. It really does feel like an official Nintendo product, and playing as Luigi is really fun. Speaking of Land 2, I really hope someone can make a Kirby's Dream Land 2 color hack happen.
 
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Robin64

Robin64

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Donkey Kong Land DX is one I'll definitely have to try. For Pokemon I would have liked to see attempts to color the gen 1 sprites, but I get that would have been a lot of work. I'd have just used the Yellow sprites.

Actually there are two patches for Pokémon, so you can pick either Gen 1 or Gen 2 sprites.

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JoshuaJSlone

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The Mesen NES emulator allows you to do just that, actually! You can download HD packs and apply them to certain games.
Very cool, thanks for sharing! I've always enjoyed emulation enhancements like the better smoothing filters, but anything that allows a human to approve the changes is going to make less a mess of things (and waste tons less processing time recalculating the same changes 60 times a second).
 

goldenpp72

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I actually love this kind of stuff, I've always wished Nintendo would formally go do these efforts on a broader scale, would be great to see other non Nintendo properties get the treatment like the whole Mega Man series.
 

P.Scoop

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I wonder if the lack of SGB support in pretty much every Nintendo GB emulator to date stems from Hori’s involvement with the device?
Not really, it's moreso due to how complicated it was to fully emulate the feature. Most GB emulators out there would support the color palette and boarders at most. With Higan being the sole emulator so far to fully support SGB features.
 

Zellia

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Actually there are two patches for Pokémon, so you can pick either Gen 1 or Gen 2 sprites.

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It's cool that they provide the option, think I'd pick Gen 2 though. GSC have some of the best spritework in the entire series.
 
The Mesen NES emulator allows you to do just that, actually! You can download HD packs and apply them to certain games.

Here are a few examples under the spoiler:




Apparently the GBE+ emulator can do a similar thing, which is news to me!

That Zelda remaster is actually nuts. Do you know if I can play it on Mac? Mesen is not available for it, but I use OpenEmu and Retroarch, so maybe there's a chance, but I dunno.

Edit: After a bit of research and tinkering I was able to run it on Retroarch!
 
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shoptroll

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Not really, it's moreso due to how complicated it was to fully emulate the feature. Most GB emulators out there would support the color palette and boarders at most. With Higan being the sole emulator so far to fully support SGB features.
Was that because the SGB enhancements call into the SNES architecture? I remember reading that the extra audio samples in DK 94 and Kirby's Dream Land 2 go through the SNES hardware not the GB. Higan supporting that would make sense given the multi-system nature and near's experience with SNES emulation.
 

P.Scoop

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Was that because the SGB enhancements call into the SNES architecture? I remember reading that the extra audio samples in DK 94 and Kirby's Dream Land 2 go through the SNES hardware not the GB. Higan supporting that would make sense given the multi-system nature and near's experience with SNES emulation.
Yep. You're basically emulating an SNES game at that point. I don't know how hard it is make a GB emulator that also supports SNES specific hardware that SGB would uses. But I can imagine it's pretty complicated.
 
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fiendcode

Bob-omb
I hope we get DX hacks for Kirby's Dream Land 2, For Frog the Bell Tolls, Trip World, Donkey Kong '94 and Final Fantasy Adventure some day. My Analogue Pocket is waiting...
 

Gingerbread Man

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@Robin64 :
Aside from Retroarch (witch I stopped using because of their harassment against multiple devs), witch GB / GBC emulator do you recommand ? BGB is back from hell but it seems that there is some bugs in DKL 2 DX.
SameBoy is pretty good.
I hope we get DX hacks for Kirby's Dream Land 2, For Frog the Bell Tolls, Trip World, Donkey Kong '94 and Final Fantasy Adventure some day. My Analogue Pocket is waiting...
AFAIK various hackers have expressed interest in working on all of them, with the exception of Trip World. Notably, Toruzz (Land DX, Land 2 DX) has been working on Frog DX for years, and if everything goes as planned it should be released this year.
 

Tatsu

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I love these.

Toruzz is also working on one for "For the Frog the Bell Tolls" (Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru), which I'm really looking forward to.


May take a while yet as this is their most important project and they want to get it just right.

Marc_max is also working on one for Rockman World 5 (Mega Man V)


For people who never played it, this is not a port of NES Mega Man 5, it is a original game and one of the best megs games.
Is the for the frog tolls being worked on though? Last update i found was 5 years ago.
 

Mekanos

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Mega Man V would also be nice to have colorized, given that Capcom planned to colorize the GB games on a collection before it was canceled.
 

SpecialAgentApe

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@Robin64 :
Aside from Retroarch (witch I stopped using because of their harassment against multiple devs), witch GB / GBC emulator do you recommand ? BGB is back from hell but it seems that there is some bugs in DKL 2 DX.
Hi, original hacker here. Those bugs are because the game tries to update graphics during the horizontal blank period and the GBC has different clock timings that screw up that process (happens on official GBC hardware with the original games for this reason, it's the famous "random lines are showing up in my sprites!" bug.) I recommend trying it on VBA-M or VisualBoyAdvance, as neither of those emulate that specific hardware quirk. If you'd rather the feel of buttons, use 3DS virtual console injection.
Follower Kong in dkl2 would have meant so much to me when I was young
I was really happy I was able to implement it! The way it works is wild; the Wrinkly Kong sprite that appears in Kong Kollege had no coding, so I basically used it as a dummy I could throw animation data onto. I hope people enjoy the hack :)

It's not a perfect hack, but I'm overall happy with it; just don't ask me about world 2 and what an absolute nightmare it was to get working, oof.
 

Koren Lesthe

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Hi, original hacker here. Those bugs are because the game tries to update graphics during the horizontal blank period and the GBC has different clock timings that screw up that process (happens on official GBC hardware with the original games for this reason, it's the famous "random lines are showing up in my sprites!" bug.) I recommend trying it on VBA-M or VisualBoyAdvance, as neither of those emulate that specific hardware quirk. If you'd rather the feel of buttons, use 3DS virtual console injection.

I was really happy I was able to implement it! The way it works is wild; the Wrinkly Kong sprite that appears in Kong Kollege had no coding, so I basically used it as a dummy I could throw animation data onto. I hope people enjoy the hack :)

It's not a perfect hack, but I'm overall happy with it; just don't ask me about world 2 and what an absolute nightmare it was to get working, oof.
Oh cool, thanks !

Really loved DKL 2 back then so I'm enjoying this quite a lot ! Superb work !
 

SpecialAgentApe

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Thank you! This project wasn't easy because the pre-rendered backgrounds don't lend themselves well to being colorized, so if I ever do another colorization in the future I'm definitely hoping to do one with a less complicated artstyle, but I love the Land series and it felt weird to have the middle entry not in color so I'm happy there's interest at all. I almost didn't bother with it since it's a watered-down DKC2 but after colorizing the first game I got a lot more questions about the second game than I expected to, so I'm happy people seem to overall like it! :)
 
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VolcanicDynamo

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Posted about SML DX in the dedicated thread, thought I'd share my thoughts here too:

Bumping this thread to say that, after over a month, I finally got to play the new version of Land DX.

...and despite what I thought I would do, I actually played on the new graphics mode, not the old graphics mode. I didn't notice it when the hack came out (even though the description mentions it, oops), but the Mario sprites were redrawn to make them more proportionate with the classic style sprite, and it looks much nicer than in Version 1. What I also didn't realize was that Version 2 does a much more extensive job to re-draw the game's objects and enemies. They both better resemble the official art and help the new Mario sprite feel more cohesive with the experience. And the best part is that if you don't like those changes, you can choose the original sprites and still get the colorized experience. Best of both worlds.

I haven't gotten the chance to try Luigi, just the base Mario, but he's a great option to have. I also like all of the little touches in the menus, from the selected brother being the one at the top of the screen to them changing their overall color or expression to match your graphics or difficulty selection. Very glad I gave this hack a second go with the new version.

I previously played SML2 DX by the same creator and thought it was brilliant as well!
 
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Mekanos

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Oh wow I totally missed this. Definitely want to give this a try.

Wait, you can play as Kiddy in this? lol
The awesome marc_max has released his colorization of Mega Man V -- aka Mega Man World 5. This is the only GB Mega Man game with 100% original content, and now, in color, it is on par with NES Mega Man games.

I remember years ago when I tried to emulate MMV on my PSP, for some reason without fail it would always crash on a certain level, no matter how much I tinkered with it. In any case, gonna check this one out as well.
 
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