The Best NES Rom Hacks That Feel Like Original Games!
If you're wondering what is a ROM hack, we'll that's simple it's a modified version of your favorite NES downloadable ROM image that let's you unlock a brand new piece of code and inject it into the original game. The end result is in most cases an entirely new game.
In some cases you'll get new levels, language translations or even adding new features like maps or being able to save your game where you wouldn't originally be able to.
From new characters, fan translations and entirely new games, these are the best NES ROM hacks you can download today. Each of the games covered will feature a link to where they can be downloaded.
Check out a list of our other great ROM hack articles:
Best Zelda ROM Hacks | Best Metroid ROM Hacks | Best SNES ROM Hacks
Best Castlevania Rom Hacks | Best GBA Rom Hacks | Best Pokemon GBA ROM Hacks
Table of Contents
- Zelda II - Amida's Curse
- Super Mario Bros. 2-Player Hack – SMB
- The Beatles Adventures in Pepperland
- Ninja Gaiden III Restored – Ninja Gaiden III
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Castlevania: The Holy Relics
- Mother: 25th Anniversary Edition – Mother
- Royal Flush: Princess Sidestory
- Final Fantasy VII Advent Children – FFVII (NES)
- Super Smash Bros
- Mario Adventure
- Deadpool (Ninja Gaiden)
- Super Mario Bros. 3Mix – SMB3
- Castlevania: Chorus of Mysteries
- Rockman No Constancy (Mega Man 2)
- Extra Mario Bros
- Rockman 4: Minus Infinity – Mega Man 4
- Mega Man in the Mushroom Kingdom
- Zelda Challenge: Outlands
- The Legend of Zelda - Perils of Darkness
- Metroid: Rogue Dawn
- Kirby's Halloween Adventure
Zelda II - Amida's Curse
We love bringing awareness to quality releases and Zelda II - Amida's Curse is no exception. The custom sprite work is simply fantastic, bringing some of the icons in Zelda 1. With an all new soundtrack to keep you submersed in the gameplay. There's even added temples that you'll be able to explore which aren't part of the original Zelda 2.
We really enjoyed the updated level designs that include some unique puzzles to solve in some of the towns. Just being able to cancel the fairy is such a quality of life improvement for fans of the franchise. It simply amazes us how Ok Impala! was able to create such a masterpiece in Amida's Curse.
Super Mario Bros. 2-Player Hack – SMB
If you're like us and you've enjoyed the original Super Mario Bros countless times but then are sitting there wondering if you could play it in a coop setting. We always hated having to take turns switching from Mario and Luigi with two controllers.
That's where Super Mario Bros 2-Player Hack comes into play. Instead of taking turns whenever your player loses a life you'll be able to play together on the same screen. This is how we felt that the game should have been in the first place!
The Beatles Adventures in Pepperland
In 2021, a ROM hack of Super Mario Bros 2 gives you an entirely new game featuring The Beatles. That's right, George, Paul, Ringo and John are here to choose from. They still have the same abilities as the original characters with all brand new levels and item locations.
Some of the levels are incredibly clever like the Yellow Submarine. The music also gives you some 8-bit renditions of your favorite Beatles song. It's truly fantastic being able to play an entirely new NES game.
Ninja Gaiden III Restored – Ninja Gaiden III
For those of you that have played Ninja Gaiden III before on the NES, you'll know how hard it is. Dare we say it's considered to be NES hard?
The North American version of Ninja Gaiden III had only 5 continues, increased difficulty over the Japanese version and no password system.
This is where Ninja Gaiden III Restored comes into play. It brings you back all of those features with an all new password system using the icons featured in the game. This is for sure the go to way to play Ninja Gaiden 3.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Power Blade 2 is considered to be one of the most expensive NES games. Having a ROM hack that allows you to play as Captain America is simply great to see.
With an all new storyline and sprites to choose from. Instead of throwing a boomerang in the original game, you're able to throw your shield in true Captain America fashion.
Castlevania: The Holy Relics
Castlevania is an incredibly popular NES game. It's no wonder that there are an abundance of NES ROM hacks available for this franchise. The Holy Relics is an all new game built from the ground up.
You'll get to select from your choice of 5 brand new stages and make your way to Vrad Manor to take on Dracula. An entirely new adventure awaits featuring Simon Belmont.
Mother: 25th Anniversary Edition – Mother
If you're a fan of Earthbound and the Mother franchise, you owe it to yourself to check out the 25th Anniversary Edition ROM. The sprites are updated, the text is brighter making it easier to see on the screen. The text was always an issue with Mother on the NES, being able to read it faster is a massive improvement.
There's also design changes like the enemies give you more experience points. This makes the game feel less like a grind heavy game and gives you back some time and a bit more easier.
Royal Flush: Princess Sidestory
Super Mario 3 ROM hacks are extremely popular. It's really cool to be able to play as Princess Peach as the main character. Everything is highlighted in pink and is extremely vibrant.
You'll also get some new cool levels and wonderful powerups like the ability to throw bombs. Being able to play a game with a female protagonist is extremely cool!
Final Fantasy VII Advent Children – FFVII (NES)
The term demake is often used when you take a game that was designed for a platform greater than the one it's produced on. It's like how Final Fantasy 7 was originally released on the PSX and this mod had it made for the NES. A console that was released 8 years prior!
All of your favorite characters are here, from Barret to Tifa and Cloud. This ROM hack took 4 years to be produced but it's finally here. You can't rush a quality product like this!
Super Smash Bros
What do you get when you take an incredibly popular Nintendo fighting game with popular characters and make it on the NES? Super Smash Bros let's you kick Kirby's butt in a battle arena.
This ROM hack is incredibly fun as you take on Jigglypuff, Mario or PikaChu. You can also play this game in a coop setting with up to four players if you have the four score accessory.
One of the oldest ROM hacks is Mario Adventure. It almost feels like you're playing the original Mario 3. With all new levels and rules you have to go through.
The use of weather makes the levels either easier or harder if you end up losing a life. Coins are used at coin houses to buy items, something we wish was a feature on the original game.
You can also keep powerups like in Super Mario World. Mario also has new powerups like Fire Mario can shoot in front of him instead of on the floor. There's a ton of things to see here in Mario Adventure so you'll want to check it out!
Deadpool (Ninja Gaiden)
Comic book heroes should have gotten more games, especially on the NES. Deadpool got it's chance here with an almost entirely new game using the Ninja Gaiden engine.
Make your way through with Wade Wilson with all new weapons, stages, there's even some new cool cut scenes starring Deadpool. The levels are incredibly detailed with the use of parallax scrolling and all new enemies.
Super Mario Bros. 3Mix – SMB3
Ever wonder what it would be like to take the best NES game, break it all down and rebuild it from the ground up?
You'll get new power ups like the carrot from Super Mario Land 2, the Boomerang Flower from Super Mario 3d Land.
Some of the levels are designed like other popular Mario games like Super Mario World. It was really cool seeing the Shy Guys like in Super Mario Bros 2!
There's plenty of things to see in Super Mario Bros. 3Mix, you'll definitely want to check it out.
Castlevania: Chorus of Mysteries
A really challenging hack of Castlevania being set out as a side story to the original game. With all new levels, updated graphics and new enemies and bosses there's a ton to choose from.
We liked how it feels like an entirely new game the way it's played. Castlevania is an extremely popular choice for ROM hacks and Chorus of Mysteries is one you'll want to check out.
Rockman No Constancy (Mega Man 2)
Mega Man is another one that's incredibly popular among the NES ROM hacking community. Rockman No Constancy let's you have new level layouts, music and updated sprites.
The regular difficulty is a bit on the easy side if you're familiar with Mega Man games. Good luck with the hard mode because it's tough as nails.
Extra Mario Bros
Imagine how cool it would it be to take Mario and Metroid and blend them together. A true masterpiece that works extremely well.
The dark theme sets the tone extremely well. There's also some new physics that let you turn on blocks to make your way to new paths. This makes you have to backtrack in order to get further in the game.
Rockman 4: Minus Infinity – Mega Man 4
One of the most impressive ROM hacks is Rockman 4: Minus Infinity. There's language and difficulty options in the main menu.
You'll see all new attack patterns by each of the bosses. Something that veterans of Mega Man would love to see on the NES. There's also some secret robot masters Crash Man and Wave Man. This is the version of Mega Man 4 that you've been waiting for!
Mega Man in the Mushroom Kingdom
This Mario inspired ROM hack feels like you're playing through the Mushroom Kingdom as your favorite blue bomber.
The 6 main stages of the game are entirely new from the ground up with new graphics and enemy placement. Mega Man is also sporting a new costume that's similar to your favorite plumber.
Even the powerups are new, like the ability to throw a bomb similar to Super Mario Bros 2. This cross up between Mario and Mega Man is fantastic!
Zelda Challenge: Outlands
We as gamers hoped that the Legend of Zelda 2 was really more like the original. We ended up getting something slightly different that didn't sit well with many retro gamers.
Zelda Challenge: Outlands is a brand new experience. For starters the map is entirely new. You won't recognize any of the item locations or enemy placements from the original game.
There's also updated graphics and new bosses to go up against. When loading up this ROM hack, it's clear to see that this is an entirely new game.
The Legend of Zelda - Perils of Darkness
Another fantastic ROM hack starring Link in an entirely new quest is The Legend of Zelda - Perils of Darkness. The game is incredibly non-linear as the dungeons can be completed in any order and are not numbered.
The graphics are updated and feel so close to a 16-bit release. Some of the sounds from A Link to the Past are featured here such as the sword swing when fully powered up.
If you're a fan of the Zelda franchise and want to try something new, check out Perils of Darkness.
Metroid: Rogue Dawn
An unofficial prequel to the events of the original Metroid. The game itself is a complete rework with most of the original features left intact. There's a ton of quality of life improvements here on full display.
A map is such a useful feature and it's right on screen for you to navigate through each of the areas. This ROM hack feels like an entirely new game and is a must play if you're a Metroid fan!
Kirby's Halloween Adventure
Kirby deserves more attention in the ROM hacking scene. There's updated sprites and level designs everywhere. It's a great Halloween game that you can enjoy during that timeframe given that Kirby is taking on flying skulls and bone fish.
Kirby's Adventure pushed the limits of what the NES had to offer and this ROM hack is a great way to push the boundaries even further. It's an incredibly solid playthrough.