It’s kind of hard to believe that making illegal games was ever profitable, but judging by the amount of work that went into some of these, there must have been some market for it. Either that or some really smart folks just had nothing better to do with their spare time. Either way, we get some interesting gems such as Kart Fighter to check out thanks to their efforts…
Kart Fighter is an unlicensed game released for the Famicom in 1993. While its title screen may lead you to believe its going to be a 8-bit verison of Super Mario Kart, its actually a fairly high quality Street Fighter II type game featuring familiar Super Mario Bros characters including Peach, Bowser, Koopa Troopa, Yoshi, Toad, and Donkey Kong. The characters look kind of goofy, and the music is pretty out there as well. Some of the backgrounds are blatantly stolen from other games too. However, the gameplay itself is fairly stable and impressive considering it’s the NES. The giant characters (made up of multiple sprites moving in unison) actually play pretty well and you can see how this game could be seen as a sort of ancestor to Super Smash Bros. It answers a less-common question of “could this N64 game have been done on the NES?”
Mario Kart R
We are counting this one as a cross over since Kirby appears in it, and he was not originally part of Super Mario Kart’s cast. This hack is more than just a sprite swap of Koopa Troopa for Kirby though. There are all new tracks and a few other nice suprises. This is a really high quality hack. Although the basic things like music and game items has not changed, the new maps and graphics breathe some new life into this classic game.