It was late at night and I was trying to work on my assignment. I had an important essay to write by tonight or I would never finish in time. This assignment was worth a ton of points. I don't remember how many, but let me tell you, it was a lot. I rubbed my forehead, wiping off the sweat that was forming. Why did I put this off until now? I should have listened to my friend and followed her advice. Never wait too long to do an assignment from college.The assignment involved studying molecular things. You know, the whole atom and neutron things, but in more depth. Physics were involved, and well, I was never the greatest at this sort of thing. It's hard to explain exactly what I had to do. But anyone who has taken Physics might know what I'm talking about. Or maybe I am thinking of something else entirely. Yeah, I tend to get my classes mixed up. Maybe I am thinking of some kind of Science thing...
I stopped and looked at the clock. It was close to ten at night. I had to take a break. I was going at this essay for hours with not much lead way. My head was hurting so much I thought it was going to explode. I rubbed my forehead in an attempt to make the headache go away. I had to do something else, even for a short time, to help me feel better.
I recalled I had an NES ROM of Metroid which I obtained last week when I wanted to try out Metroid. I have played a couple of the later games, but I had never, as a kid, played the very first Metroid. So I downloaded it one day, along with an NES emulator, to try it out. It wasn't as good as the later games and the limitation of control, being only able to shoot straight or up and all, was annoying. But it had some kind of charm to it.
I opened up the folder containing my NES emulator, opened it, and loaded up the ROM of Metroid. It loaded up quickly, just like always. The title screen came up with the blue text spelling out Metroid. The game would stay like this until I pressed the key to continue. Another menu popped up. The screen was all black with two choices, which was Start and Continue.
I stopped and looked at the folder the ROM was in. I saw something I never noticed before. Since I downloaded this, I thought it only had the emulator and the ROM, as well as a folder filled with my saves. But there was something else here now. Maybe it was here the whole time and I never noticed it. Likely since I never pay attention to the Read Me text documents or anything. This text file didn't appear to be any Read Me, though. The title just said “PSWD”.
I opened up PSWD.txt and looked at its contents. My eyes widened with happiness. It was a list of all sorts of different cheat codes for Metroid. Some of them I recognized, such as the Justin Bailey cheat. I always wanted to try that cheat. I couldn't do that tonight, though. I had work to do and I was only going to play Metroid for a short time. Having too much fun with the cheats could result in me playing much longer than I intended to.
I scrolled through the cheats. There looked like to be close to fifty. I didn't know if that was accurate or not. It was possible most of these were duds and were just added to troll anyone who downloaded this particular file. I was annoyed but not particularly angry. It wasn't like this text file was doing anything to the game and I could always delete it later.
I spotted one that looked a little strange. The cheat itself was First Kraid, as in, that's what I would have to type in to activate it. The description of this cheat was even stranger. It was “When something is broke, fix it.”
I didn't know what to make of this. I had never seen a cheat like this before. It was almost as if its purpose was to 'fix' something, but what? I decided to ignore it for now. I didn't want to off put my game through the confusion of this one cheat. I minimized the text file.
I went back to my Metroid game. I thought about selecting Continue and using the Justin Bailey cheat. I stopped myself. I did have a previously saved game on here and I was almost up to Kraid. I took care of Ridley much earlier on. I know you're supposed to defeat Kraid first, then Ridley, but I like doing it opposite. Since I already put so much effort into that game, I thought it was best to just continue playing that game instead. I opened up the File menu and clicked to load from my last save state.
I was surprised at how close I was to Kraid's lair. I was only two doors away. I took a test of what I had at the moment. I had the Ice Beam equipped, most of the other abilities, including Long Beam, High Jump, and Varia Suit. I had about seventy missiles and four energy tanks. This should be more than enough to take down Kraid. He was a pushover in this game, especially given his small size.
I moved towards the left, fighting off the skrees, sidehoppers, and whatever else dared get in my way. There weren't many as I was very close to Kraid's room. I had to stay longer, though, because some of the geegas managed to hit me. I wanted to be at full strength for Kraid so I went back and killed more creatures. But it was hard regaining health in this game because it would randomly give it to you, not like other games that gave you stuff based on what you really needed. It was even more annoying that you could never tell if you'd get just a little bit of health left or a chunk of it. Still, I had no choice, so I continued defeating the creatures until I was close to full health again.
Finally I made it to the final door to Kraid. I took in a deep breath. I checked my health and missiles. Neither were one hundred percent full, but it would good enough. I shot the door open. I moved Samus through it and watched as the screen scrolled over to the right. The music changed to the familiar boss theme, which I enjoyed very much.
What the hell was this? This wasn't what Kraid's room was supposed to look like. I should know. I've played this ROM enough times to know what this room looked like.
The shape of the room was normal. It was supposed to be small. But what wasn't normal was this large...green and yellow mound that seemed to grow out of the ground. It pulsated sickeningly and I grimaced at it. Random colors flashed across the screen, though mostly in small dots. I saw glimpses of the NES version of Kraid flashing where this mound was. It looked almost as if it was attacking it, but I knew that was wrong. NES Kraid is always shooting out his pencil-like barbs.
I attempted to play, despite the horrible glitching. I moved Samus over to the platform above the yellow 'lava' stuff. I started shooting towards the left, where I thought Kraid was. The shots weren't going through, not even the missiles. They would instead explode barely a foot away from Samus' arm cannon. She wasn't taking any damage, but neither was Kraid. Maybe I just needed to be closer. I moved Samus over and attempted to walk through the green blob which most certainly had to have been a graphical glitch.
As soon as Samus touched the green blob, the screen started flashing rapidly. The computer let out a loud beeping sound. I yelped and covered my ears. The beeping lasted several seconds. I stared at the screen as it continued flashing with intense white. I would have moved Samus out of there, but I wasn't able to take the loud sound.
It thankfully stopped, but not before pausing briefly. The pause only lasted a few seconds. But that was long enough for me to see something that stuck in my mind ever since this event happened to me. It was a picture of the Super Nintendo Kraid, aka the Kraid most people know about.
Super Nintendo Kraid...in a Nintendo ROM? What was he doing there? I know that, originally, Kraid was supposed to be giant, but the idea was scrapped, at least for the first ROM. I think it was also because he was way too large for the resource shortage on the Nintendo. But the Kraid I saw, it looked almost exactly how he appears in Super Nintendo. How was that even possible with an eight bit console like Nintendo? You couldn't cram that sixteen bit stuff in a Nintendo ROM, at least not without using something like Game Maker or Game Editor.
The game suddenly crashed, going to a black screen with random letters all around. I scowled at this. At least I didn't do a save state when I entered Kraid's room, so I could always just reload my save point.
But when I tried to load up my save state, nothing happened. The screen remained on the black background and jumbled mess of text. I tried it again. It didn't work. I narrowed my eyes. Something was wrong with this thing. I tried closing out of the emulator and reopening it to see if that would work. I opened up the ROM and immediately tried loading my save state. Instead of taking me to my last save point, it just took me back to that jumbled up page. I screamed in frustration.
I knew I should be working on my homework. I knew I shouldn't be investing so much energy and emotion into one single game. But I couldn't help myself. After what happened, I was determined to defeat Kraid. I would shut off the game soon after that. Yeah, all I need to do is defeat Kraid. That wouldn't be so hard, now would it?
I thought back to that cheat code from before. “When something is broke, fix it.” Well, something definitely broke. My stupid save state wasn't working anymore. All my progress, gone. I cheated, I admit, using a map to see where to go. But still, I still had to travel all through the map to get all the upgrades and weapons and energy tanks that I currently had. And for the game to glitch up and make me lose all that, it made my blood boil a little. I didn't know what First Kraid would do, but at this point, what did I have to lose?
I selected Continue. I was greeted by the password screen. I input the phrase First Kraid, filling in the rest of the space with zeros as indicated by the text file. I double checked to make sure everything was correct. If it wasn't, I would need to write the whole thing again, and let me tell you, it is not fun writing these passwords on this kind of password system. After ensuring myself that I had indeed typed it right, I clicked to continue.
At first, the screen did nothing. It remained on the password screen. I thought it didn't work and I was about to retype it. But then the screen went totally black and then went the game itself. To my pleasant surprise, it loaded up in the same spot I was in before, a few doors away from Kraid. I didn't have as much health or weapons, but I could deal with that. The difference was very minor and wasn't worth mentioning.
I didn't see any enemies. That was strange. Where were they? Most likely another glitch. The Metroid NES game file was crammed with a lot of data, so it was not unheard of that the game would glitch up and not do things it was supposed to, such as spawn enemies in certain places. This didn't bother me because it meant going to Kraid at my current full power. This was going to be fun, I could tell. I moved towards the left, fully prepared for a real fight this time.
I got to the final room before Kraid's room. I still hadn't seen any enemies in this room either. I shrugged it off. I made my way towards the door. I readied Samus's beam weapon to shoot open the door. I pressed the key and it fired a shot.
As soon as the beam hit the door, an image flashed on the screen again, lasting as long as the first one. It was another of SNES Kraid, but this time it was different. I thought I could see the shape of something attacking him. SNES Kraid looked to be in a mixture of agony and annoyance and was trying to attack the individual. I didn't have long to analyse it as the picture disappeared very quickly.
I wondered what that was and why it was appearing in my Metroid ROM. Nothing like this has ever happened before. I wondered if anyone had snuck onto my computer and hacked into my Metroid ROM. Maybe they'd thought they'd be funny by adding in these pictures of SNES Kraid. Ah well, I'll question it later. I pressed on and went through the door.
This time, the room appeared completely normal. NES Kraid was on his platform, completely visible, and was moving around, shooting his barbs at me. I smirked, fully prepared for battle with him. I jumped onto the platform and the fight began.
I used my Ice Beam to freeze some of his barbs to buy me some time. I jumped to the other side and began to pummel him with my missiles. I continued on with this strategy. I growled when I was hit by Kraid a few times and knocked into the 'lava'. I walked across the screen and jumped onto the platform. I nabbed the energy tank there to get myself more health, then I jumped back on the platform to face Kraid.
I forewent my freezing strategy and began to shoot missiles at him like crazy. Most of them destroyed just the barbs, but some of them hit Kraid and each time letting out that satisfying “you just hit some shit” sound it makes each time you land a blow on an enemy, especially a boss. When I ran out of missiles, I went into Morph Ball and started laying bombs everywhere. Kraid must almost be finished by now.
I was right. After my tenth bomb, Kraid disintegrated, like how he always did when you defeat him. I turned around and left the room, satisfied that I defeated him. I walked down a few rooms. There were still no enemies. That wasn't my biggest concern at the moment. I would now need to climb up that tall block tower thing, and that thing is as annoying as hell to go up.
But when I reached the room that was supposed to have it, I noticed there was nothing to climb up on. I cursed loudly and banged my hands against the table. After all that, I was not able to leave this area? Now I knew for certain someone had hacked my copy of Metroid. It must have been one of my college mates. Some of them love practical jokes and picking on each other for fun. Well I would be certain to have a word with them tomorrow.
I turned to shut off the Metroid game. Something caught my eye, so I stopped and looked back at the screen. Something was approaching from the right, seemingly walking straight through the walls. The figure was all black and the shape kept alternating, as if going through a constant walk cycle. The screen flashed again a few times and then, all of a sudden, Kraid appeared again.
The fuck? Didn't I already kill that blasted thing? And why was there a little bit of red stuff on him? Color pallet issue? I scowled and started to blast him with my normal beam. That didn't seem to be doing any damage to him. I sighed softly. I still had some health left, about two tanks, so maybe I should just fight him with the Morph Ball again. I made my way towards him and rolled into a Morph Ball once more. As soon as I did, Kraid started shooting barbs at Samus again. This time, they were all concentrated on the ground. How the hell could NES Kraid even do this? Even SNES Kraid couldn't do this.
I rolled along the ground, leaving behind a lot of Morph Ball Bombs, and while they destroyed some of the barbs, a good portion still went through and struck Samus, taking away health fast. I tried changing back to normal so I could just jump over the barbs, but now Kraid concentrated them towards Samus' stomach and chest. Every time I had Samus jump to avoid the barbs, Kraid would jump about the same height, allowing most of the barbs to hit.
Finally Samus was down to less than ten units of health. The infamous beeping, you know that sound that you hear when Samus was very low on health and was about to die, started playing. I hissed to myself. I was not going to win this unscheduled battle, so I turned around to move Samus through the door.
I started shooting the door, but it wouldn't open up. I tried again with the missiles, desperate to leave, but nothing was working. The door was blue, which meant I should have been able to go through. But it wasn't opening, as if I was either using the wrong weapon or the door was supposed to be grayed out much like in Super Metroid.
I noticed NES Kraid had stopped shooting. He now stood there. He was still jumping around, but he was no longer shooting at Samus. Curious, I headed back in his direction. Kraid stopped moving altogether, but he didn't launch anymore barbs. Once Samus got close enough, a small text box appeared. I knew for certain this never happens in the actual game, but I went on to read what it said.
It said “...replaced....” Then the text box disappeared completely. And when that went away, so did Kraid. In that instant, everything in the Metroid ROM seemed to go back to normal. The enemies suddenly returned as did the platform structure to climb out of Kraid's layer. I didn't know what to think of this. I was unsettled, disturbed even. Before anything else happened, I shut off the emulator and ROM.
I did have another Metroid ROM, this one of Super Metroid, my favorite of the Metroid games I had played. And this one I knew no one could have hacked because I just downloaded it today. I downloaded it because I loved the SNES version so much that I wanted to play it on the computer in my free time. I opened up the emulator and loaded up the Super Metroid ROM.
This was a breath of fresh air compared to what I had just witnessed. The game was completely normal. All the enemies were normal. There were no glitches, no unusual happenings, no nothing. I played through the game, making fast progress. I knew this game very well and knew where most of the powerups were and a general idea of where and when to go to certain places.
Forgetting all about my homework, I tore through Super Metroid. It didn't take me long to get to the first major boss, Kraid. I smiled as I approached the room, killing off Mini-Kraid in the process. Now this was the Kraid I knew and loved. To me, he was far scarier in this game and much more competent. He gave Samus a run for her money with his hard body armor and only one vulnerable area; his mouth.
I went into the room where Kraid was supposed to appear. As soon as I was in that room, I waited for Kraid to appear. He was supposed to rise out of the ground. I waited a few seconds, and smiled when the ground started to shake. I moved Samus to the edge and prepared her missiles.
Something was immediately wrong when the boss started to rise up. I screamed at what I saw. A headless Kraid was rising up out of the ground. His hand was still moving, going through the usual animation cycle, but there was no roar because there was no head. There was a little bit of blood, but I wasn't so much frightened by that as I was the sight of a beheaded Kraid.
He continued to rise up and soon he was completely out of the hole. This is when the battle would normally commence, but Kraid wasn't attacking and he wasn't doing his normal stomping around to get to Samus. I had Samus jump up onto a platform above to get a better view.
Kraid was moving back and forth rapidly, as if he was writhing in pain. He started changing colors quickly, as if he was taking damage. Soon he was that sickly dark color he gets when you almost defeat him. He finally started to crumple to the ground and then broke apart. The scene was very reminiscent of when you defeated Crocomire and he shows up again later as a skeleton to try to kill you one more time. Dust rose out of the ground and quickly dispersed.
This was too much. I couldn't take it anymore. I was creeped out enough by the events of my Metroid ROM, and now my Super Nintendo ROM was acting up? I didn't know what it could have been. I didn't know what to think. My mind was whirling from the events, making me grip my head and try to make sense of it all. I felt my body shaking a little from the pent up rage that was building up.
Why was this happening? Why would my ROMs suddenly behave this way? Was my computer infected with some kind of nasty virus? I pondered that idea, but did that even make sense? I don't know if a virus could alter a ROM in this manner. And what of my Super Nintendo ROM? How could it have been infected when I was on my computer since I downloaded the ROM initially?
I sighed in defeat. I closed out of the emulator. I leaned back in my chair and looked up towards the ceiling. I was scared by what happened, but I was doing my best not to let it get to me, despite the fact my body was shivering. Perhaps I should just stop playing with ROMs and emulators.
I was about to close the folder, but, like before, I saw some kind of file I hadn't seen before. I narrowed my eyes. The text file said IWAS.pdf. I didn't know what it could have meant. Despite still being freaked out, I clicked on the file to see its contents.
As soon as I saw it, my eyes widened in horror and I held my mouth shut, trying my best not to scream. There was a picture and some words, and what I was seeing, I couldn't believe.
The PDF file displayed a picture of NES Kraid attacking SNES Kraid. NES Kraid had a couple of still healing scars on his body and a broken back blade, while SNES Kraid looked pretty much normal, except with the deep cuts in his neck. I saw the reason why. NES Kraid was shooting him with his barbs. The barbs were clearly going straight through SNES Kraid's neck. And below that was a constant stream of a single phrase.
“I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first I was the first.”