SMW: The After Years

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The title screen of Super Mario World: The After Years.

Super Mario World: The After Years is EvilGuy0613's first ever ROM Hack, beloved by many as one of his more popular works that isn't his Boss Rush Series on YouTube. The Ultra edition was first released in May 23rd of 2012 (according to it's first trailer and the 10 year anniversary melody) where you play as Mute who has been invited to the Mushroom Kingdom in hopes of becoming Mario's sidekick, but ends up becoming the main hero assigned by Peach's daughter, Princess Cecilia Toadstool. There are a total of 96 exits (like the original Super Mario World) and is advertised as part of the "Super Mute World" series and is considered to be Episode 1. Many people on SMW Central remember this hack and consider it to be their favourite, and is prominently featured in snowmaN Gaming's channel whenever he talks about SMW ROM Hacks.

Overview

Top image has the SMW bridges and modified SMW dirt with some Sonic graphics; while the bottom image mixes redrawn spikes, normal SMW pipes, decoration from a factory set, and a switch palace tileset.
  • The main "thing" this hack does is combines two or more tilesets to create brand new environments that aren't anything like what most other hacks presented at the time.
  • Has a prominent use of the Metroid HP patch where it helps make a lot of the more frustrating aspects of the resources available much more tolerable.
  • Has a charming story that explores the friendship between Mute and the other characters more closely than most hacks that use Romi's VWF Cutscene Tool. While there are no visuals for the cutscenes, they are descriptive enough where you can really imagine what the supporting cast looks like (which would be fully revealed later in both Mute's Christmas Quest and the upcoming sequel).
  • One of the first hacks to have a canon spinoff series, with it being called "Super Yoshi Land".
  • One of the first hacks to have a spinoff entry not made by the same creator with |Daizo Dee Von and Scooter102089's "Mute's Chirstmas Quest" that the creator deems canon. 100 Rooms of Enemies being one of the only other cases.

Story

Taking place years after Super Mario World, a young boy named Mute receives an invitation to the Mushroom Kingdom, expecting to meet his idle "Mario" and maybe become his sidekick. When he arrives, he goes after a toadette-like figure named "Lumine" (pronounced "Lew-min-ee") and spends a couple levels looking for her. When Mute arrives at the industrialized Mushroom Kingdom, he meets who he thinks is Princess Peach Toadstool. As it turns out, while she is part of the Toadstool family, her actual name is Princess Cecilia Toadstool and was previously known as "Baby Peach". Mute being confused, is informed that Mario, Peach, and the rest of the cast have all died of old age, and she took charge. Without a hero however, her task was to hold off against the dark armoured Nova who took over after Bowser. Mute is disappointed by the news, but accepts the offer as he survived the trials set by Lumine which were made to see who was worthy of becoming "the next Mario".

Mute's first task is to ask the Koopa Guardian to let them pass since he's been the one who has been defending the Mushroom Kingdom. To do this, he has to prove his worth to him, and so as a result he is the first boss. After his defeat, Mute is assigned to take down the Satelight by traversing the Metallic City, and that's where Mute first runs into Nova's top elite body guards, the Snifit Twins (going by Snifit Brother Red and Blue), making them the second world boss. After successfully taking them down, Mute infutrates Nova's Factory and heads to the mountains using an airship. After seeing an armada heading their way, Lumine activates the self destruct. At first, Mute thinks she is out of her mind, but when she explains that it's to convince the enemy that they crashed, Mute is quick to forgive. They face off against Fry Guy and defeat him (as the world 3 boss), they are quickly caught off guard by the Snifit Twins, in which Lumine had to put Mute to sleep and throw him off the mountain so she can get kidnapped as Mute plummets to the Man Eating Forest.

When Mute wakes up, he is both confused and also frustrated that Lumine betrayed him like that. Still, he treks on, seemingly getting flashbacks of his childhood with his mother (explaining why he wanted to be like Mario in the first place). Things take a bizzare turn when those thoughts turn negative and even malicious, even using Lumine and Cecilia's likeness against him. Turns out, those twisted flashbacks were an illusion brought by dimond-like creatures called Pix. Cecilia manages to get into contact with Mute, explaining that the location he is at is the Starlight Park, a theme park that was a favourite of hers when Mario and Peach used to go there with young Cecilia. As Mute takes down the Pix bosses (the boss of World 4), he manages to also save the theme park from further hauntings....until he encounters Nova.

Mute ends up being sent to prison as a result of defying Nova, which happens to be the location of World 5. It turns out this is also the location of Lumine, whom which Mute is tasked to save. And so, Mute breaks out of prison, treks through various sewers and dungeons, then encounters a magikoopa (not Kamek) who revives the long-dead Lemmy Koopa as the World 5 boss, and you fight both of them at the same time (kinda, it checks if magikoopa isn't around). Mute encounters with the Snifit Twins again, and manages to escape with Lumine. The two put aside their differences, and then they trek through the Ice Mountains. This is the part of the story where Mute, Cecilia, and Lumine are established to be a functional team and start to really get their mission complete.

First they meet a yoshi in a Volcano and then stop a lava monster from blowing the whole island up. Their next task afterwards is to deactivated the Digital Forest. Finally, they infutrate the Sky Palace, where they encounter the last of Nova's elites (a Masked Koopa), then stumble upon Nova himself. Nova reveals that Cecilia's entire kingdom is under attack, and she failed to realize that she left her castle with only the protection of the Toads. Mute agrees to let them deal with the problem as he travels alone to Nova's homeworld, the Industrial Lands.

Now that Mute is in enemy territory, he starts to notice a lot of mysterious coincidences. For example, he manages to trick Nova's AI using his own voice, and has to to "train up" since Nova apparently keeps his strength up and not sit on a throne all day. After escaping the last obstacle, which is an entire factory being flooded, he then books towards the Subterreanean Base where Nova lies ahead. From climbing up vertical shafts, dealing with enemy gauntlets, traversing through dark corridors, to even the final assault from Nova's troops, Nova and Mute finally meet again. After so many obstacles that were the result of Nova's meddling, Mute demands answers. Nova tells of a story of how he was "abandoned by all", where ever since Mute was born he was an outcast by both Mute's mother and his own dad, eventually being abducted by Bowser and trained to be one of Bowser's troops. Eventually, Nova overthrew Bowser using the Dark Armour and took over his army. Mute asks if they were close friends. Nova denies this, because as it turns out Nova and Mute are related. They are brothers. Mute tries to deny that his own mother would abandon anybody, which Nova remarks that she didn't want Mute to know he existed. Mute gets emotional whiplash, on the one hand Mute needs to stop Nova to save the Mushroom Kingdom...but that also means he needs to kill his own brother. Nova asks Mute to join him, as they can rule the Mushroom Kingdom together.

Mute denies Nova's request. Even though they are brothers, Nova still caused a lot of harm to a lot of people. Mute feels guilt from Nova's backstory, but he knows that what he's done has no justification. So the final battle begins. Nova throws shurikens, grinders, fireballs, and can put up a force feild forcing Mute to use the throwblocks that are placed conviniently on each side of the room. It's the longest and most unique fight in the game, but Nova is ultimately defeated. Nova fades away, remarks about how he will die along with the Mushroom Kingdom. So it's the end, Nova sets off the self-destruct sequence just before he is gone completely, and Mute is trapped in Nova's throne room...until a fimiliar face shows up. Yoshi comes to Mute's aid, and the two attempt to make a big escape. It gets intense, with Mute having to hop off to deal with areas that allows the two to pass after some tinkering. Yoshi sprouts wings, then ends up flying out of the Industrial Lands.

Mute and Yoshi fly all the way to the Mushroom Kingdom to meet with Cecilia and Lumine, who've both done a good job defending the Kingdom. Yoshi explains that it was because of Mute rescuing him in the volcano that he realized that Mute was one of the good guys, and so was willing to help out. Cecilia jolts Mute with a hug, then a kiss in the cheek. Lumine also congratuates Mute on a successful mission. Cecilia remarks on Mute maybe leaving, which Mute realizes that he should go back home to his family. It's been a fun ride while it lasted, and Mute had his adventure. Not a bad way to leave...except Mute stands on the Yoshi for a few minutes. He gets off Yoshi, runs to Cecilia and Lumine explaining that he already is home. Cecilia expresses consern if his mother would be worried, which Mute lets her know that she would be happy knowing he is living his dreams. They remark that there will always be bad guys that'll arrive, and then offers Mute a place to stay. The story ends on a slight cliffhanger of there possibly being more adventures, but it's vague enough to where it becomes a satisfying ending. Mute is officially the next Mario, and with SMW: The After Years 2 on the way, it's not over for the blue shirt hero.

Mute's Christmas Quest

Even though Mute's Christmas Quest is a short game, there is a bit of backstory given to both Mute and Nova. As it turns out, Nova at one point attempted to return back to his home in Sunny Island. However, he was refused to come in because of their mother's fear of the Dark Armour. Thus, that is why Nova adopted the mindset of being "abandoned by all," as even his own mother didn't allow him in their lives. Mute learns of this truth if you go for the Betrayal Ending.

Important Characters

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Mute

Mute, the current hero of the Mushroom Kingdom. Originally from far-off island, he is the protagonist of the series.

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Princess Cecilia Toadstool

Cecilia, who goes by the short name "Ceil", is the current ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom. She helps assist Mute through various means, and also never gets kidnapped.

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Lumine

Lumine is the servant to Cecilia with an unknown backstory. She has a very heavy presence being the one to save Mute in one instance, while also being rescued twice. It is also vaguely hinted at that she has a crush on Mute during Mute's Chistmas Quest.

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Allen Yoshi

Originally just "Yoshi" in SMW: The After Years, Allen is Mute's trusted steed. (The character was given a name by Scooter102089)

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Snifit Twins

Nova's top elite body guards who appears frequently in SMW: The After Years, and return in Mute's Christmas Quest to face off against Mute one last time.

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Nova

Nova is the ruler of the Industrial Lands who has taken over after Bowser and also has a tragic backstory, which reveals that Mute and Nova are brothers. In Mute's Christmas Quest, it is also revealed that he had tried coming home from his kidnapping after wearing the armour, but was rejected by his mother assuming he'd been consumed by it's power. The Dark Armour itself is mentioned by name in Krack The Hack, but the canonicity of that game is questionable at best. Nova himself will star in his own adventure in the upcoming "Nova and the Dark Armour" by EvilGuy0613 and Daizo Dee Von.


Ultra Version

The current version available for download is labelled as "Ultra", and that's because TAY1 was released about a year earlier to an unfortunate rejection. Evilguy0613 took it upon himself to not only redo a number of levels, but also completely overhaul the overworld with Daizo Dee Von's help.

There were several changes between this version and the Ultra. [List currently WIP]

The Sequel

One of the bosses from Super Mario World: The After Years II.

It is currently not out yet, but it's been in development since before the "Ultra" edition of the first game was being worked on (a total of 10 years and counting!). This hack was restarted once, going from a game with 14 zones to a game with 7 worlds. It's also been recently announced that TEAM NIGHTMARE is the producer: EvilGuy0613 being the director and Daizo Dee Von, MellonPizza, and Chaser the Ultimate Gamer (Scooter102089) being part of development.

According to this trailer and the 2021 TEAM NIGHTMARE Mini Winter Direct, Mute will have to face off against a new group of villains lead by a grey magikoopa named Gemna and his four deadly allies. So far the only other members known are "The Koopa Assassin" (from this video) and a blue-dressed princess named Alice (judging by this and this video, but also shown in the trailer and direct briefly). It's also hinted at that a weaponized Koopa is among them. The last member is currently unknown, but some speculate it's "Mr Vond", a hooded figure who wants to help Mute (this character was revealed in Mute's Christmas Quest).

Mute will also be guided by "eight mystical spirits" which some will grant him new moves for the fire flower (three shot) and cape (a three-point ground slam). He also has a wider array of emotions thanks to his new player sprite. According to Evilguy himself, various paths can lead to certain outcomes in the story.

The various bosses shown in the trailer include a Bee Blader called the "Giga Wasp" and a giant thwomp. The Giga Wasp fight was shown in full here, but Giant Thwomp isn't revealed in full. There's also a small segment where a gatling gun from DOOM is present in what appears to be a boss arena, but how it's fought is unknown.

Interesting to note: Gemna used to be called "Gemna The Shape Shifter" (from this video) and looked more like a kirby with one red eye. It's unknown if he is still a shape shifter.