Radiation's Halloween Hack, also known as "Press the B Button, Stupid!" is an award-winning ROM hack Fan Sequel of the 1995 cult-classic-role-playing-video-game EarthBound.The story starts off several months after the end of EarthBound. Bounty Hunter Varik is hired by ex-mayor B. H. Pirkle (who now runs the theater in Twoson) to track down a mysterious creature who mutilated and ate a little girl's parents. Along the way, he encounters increasingly horrible things as the adventure takes him all the way to Winters. This isn't your average Halloween game, though — its content is comparable to games like Silent Hill and Yume Nikki. This game also has the added effect of making you depressed as you play. This is easily one of the most disturbing EarthBound hacks to come out... well, ever, really.You can find out more about it here as well as download it.
This hack provides examples of:
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Twoson Sewers are covered in hippies and rats. And then they take you all the way across the ocean to Winters, where the water is replaced with blood, the hippies become zombies, and blobs and roaches join the fray.
Alternate Timeline: This game is set after the end, but the Chosen Four didn't return since they were sent to a timeline created when Giygas was killed in the past. Dr. Andonuts went mad with grief because he thought he killed them.
Alternate Universe: It seems to begin this way, as an alternate reality in which the Chosen Four won but seemingly died defeating Giygas. It turns out that this reality is the original, and the Chosen Four were sent to a new timeline. It's just that everyone THINKS they're dead.
And I Must Scream: One of the citizens of Dr. Andonuts' Magicant invokes this by telling you that they're all doomed to repeat the same action over and over again. Funnier than it sounds.
Dearkhart represents Jeff's supposed loathing of his father.
The NO trio represents Dr. Andonuts' homosexuality. Notably, you can choose to run away (in which case the game moves on) or fight them for the experience, and the game progresses the same way).
Phaze Destrotur represents Dr. Andonuts' guilt over the "deaths" of the Chosen Four.
Anticlimax: Played for Laughs with the "good" ending. After beating the Final Boss, Varik returns to the lab and finds Dr. Andonuts dead inside his machine. He shrugs the whole thing off and goes home to get drunk and find some chicks. AND THEN A GHOAST POOTS ON HIM to boot!
Bounty Hunter: Varik. Hired by B.H. Pirkle to kill the "monster."
But Thou Must: Happens a lot. Radiation said this was one of the major themes of the game. Even the Interface Screw choice isn't really a choice because the outcome is the same. Dr. Andonuts still dies. But hey, at least Varik doesn't!
In the final Boss Room, the party gets their sprites changed into their MOTHER 1 counterparts.
Dr. Andonuts' unfortunate situation is certainly reminiscent of Porky's role in the original game.
Contrasting Sequel Main Character: According to Radiation, he changed Ness, the baseball-hatted tweenage protagonist of EarthBound into Varik, a mysterious, shadowy-faced medieval bounty hunter. This serves to alienate the player from the idea of the EarthBound theme, and set a darker mood.
Creepy Cockroach: The Preemptive Scavenger is a Palette Swap of the Violent Roach. The Preemptive Scavenger is more creepier because it looks rotten.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you actually manage to make it all the way to the Peaceful Rest Valley entrance, you'll find it blocked by a rock with an angry note from Brick Road.
Did Not Do the Bloody Research: Assuming Dr. Andonuts is a native Foggylander (which is the equivalent of the United Kingdom in the EarthBound verse), it seems weird that he would use the word "fag" as an insult rather than a cigarette.
Downer Ending: If you press A when it tells you to kill the monster. Even though Dr. Andonuts was going to die in the "good" ending anyway, the game mocks you for being a puppet. That, and Varik was implied to have died too.
Eldritch Abomination: The whole game is packed full of them, both enemies and bosses alike. Starting when Varik enters deep in the heart of Twoson's sewers. The Desire Dog is one particularly hideous and disturbing creature, with melting, dripping, oozing tentacles for a face.
Flesh-Eating Zombie: The Monster and the Uberhaunt enemies. Both have sprites with blood dripping from their hands and mouths, implying that they eat flesh. Word of God said that one of the Monster enemies was the one who killed and ate the Rosemaries in the beginning of the game.
Genre Shift: Turns the game's original upbeat mood of lighthearted, courageous adventure into that of a fearful, psychologically warped tale based on the willingness of game players to fulfill what they are obligated to do, even when it goes against their wishes. According to Radiation:
"It was born of a combination of many things I had been thinking about at the time - the lack of non-stereotypical, major homosexual characters in media, the staleness of a fifteen-year-old video game, the player's conciousness of their own decisions in video games, and the fact that it seemed that most people generally thought I was just 'another funny guy.'"
Go Mad from the Revelation: Dr. Andonuts, upon coming to the false conclusion that the Chosen Four are dead or trapped in the past.
Gorn: Twoson Sewers part 2 in particular, but everything from there on features some degree of gorn.
Guide Dang It: This hack has a bizarre subversion easily described as a Fan Nickname Dang It. At one point, you're presented with a choice that appears to only have one real option, and that option just gives you a Downer Ending.note In that case, Press The B Button, Stupid!
Hell Is That Noise: The background music for the Evil Ecto battle is just a single groaning sound played over and over again. Several other songs from the original Earthbound that were only meant for brief disturbing scenes have been repurposed as battle music, too.
Humanoid Alien: In the concept art for this hack, the Giegue League is actually based on a doodle Radiation drew, and it's kind of a parody of itself so to speak. Giegue League resembles Giygas before his breakdown, which is fitting for a custom ROM hack foe.
Intended Audience Reaction: Radiation made the beginning of this game charming and humorous, wanting you to think it was just another Arn's Winter Quest. He also made the Twoson enemies simple, goofy palette swaps to make you think he was lazy. It makes the "Wham Level" that much better.
Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game: You get to name Ness' dog in the naming screen, but he's not in the game. The same goes for your favorite food and special power entries.
The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: If you examine the Halloween Candy item, it'll tell you that it comes in Cinnamon Crap, Grape Gasoline, Cherry Chafe, and Mint. Mint is very disgusting, according to the narration.
Mind Screw: Varik is the main character of the story who is joined by Jeff, Paula, and Poo...but not Ness. Where is he? The game often draws strange parallels between the two, as if they're the same or Varik has replaced him in more than a story role...
Missing Mom: Jeff's mom is shown in a flashback and is seen leaving Dr. Andonuts, explaining why she's not seen in EarthBound.
Monstrosity Equals Weakness: The Id is frightening looking, but it doesn't even try to fight you. However, after defeating it, Dr. Andonuts goes back to looking human...and then uses his mind power to turn into a PSI-wielding, profanity-spouting superhuman.
Mood Whiplash: The game starts out silly and irreverent, just like the canon Mother games. Than you open a door in the Twoson's Sewers and the game transforms into something much darker. Than you enter Dr. Andonuts mind, which is nothing but mood whiplash in all directions.
Mordor: The World of Doom, a ruined version of Winters.
Museum of the Strange and Unusual: The Death Museum. It features models of Paula, Jeff, Poo, and Dr. Andonuts's wife. Most creepily, it has a pedestal perfectly fit for Varik. The blank pedestal is confused about Varik. A mental image of Dr. Andonuts in said museum claims he is proud of killing the Chosen Four.
My Greatest Failure: Dr. Andonuts blames himself for the deaths of his wife and the Chosen Four.
Nineties Anti-Hero: Varik is made to look like this, what with being a brooding, alcoholic bounty hunter with a Dark and Troubled Past. We quickly find out this is not played straight at all - his stats suck, and he's honestly scared of the undead monsters.
Nintendo Hard: Radiation even tells you to spam the save states if you need to.
No Indoor Voice: The...THINGS in Dr. Andonuts' consciousness tend to yell a lot. It's creepier than it sounds.
The New Age Retro Hippies get another Palette Swap in the form of the zombified Overrecycled. The Overrecycled look rotten in comparison to the Obsessive Recyclers and end up being an obstacle to Varik's journey like their counterparts.
The Remnant enemy is a goopy, melty version of the Starman Mook from EarthBound. They were probably beaten by Ness and came back through sheer will and determination.
When the Uberhaunt dies, it blows up into confetti.
Palette Swap: Used to great effect. The early parts of the game use cheap palette swaps and out of place enemies like dinosaurs and Frankenstein Mark 2's, in order to lower expectations. Than extremely elaborate palette swaps begin to appear alongside entirely new enemies, to the point that nearly nothing from Twoson Sewers on isn't heavily modified.
Point of No Return: Lots, since But Thou Must is a major theme of the game: entering the Winters sewers, entering the World of Doom, entering Dr. Andonuts' lab, entering Magicant, and finally, entering the final Boss Room.
Dr. Andonuts: I will burn you to such a crisp, your ashes will scream for water!
Pure Energy: Psycho Psource. It can cast various PSI and shove itself down the group's throats.
Railroading: Varik can explore the town of Twoson, but he cannot leave it because there are really tough enemies on the outskirts of town. If he manages to get past these enemies, the exits are blocked off. Using cheats to go past the boundaries leads to some glitchiness thanks to the massive map edits.
Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: PSI Flash (Whiteshock) works on undead, Hypnosis (Sleepstun) works on living enemies, and Paralysis (Timestop) works on dead enemies.
The Id boss was based on one of the Final Bosses from SaGa 3. Specifically, it was meant to be an inversion.
The "Blue Antoid" enemy is named after a forumer on Starmen.net
NO NO and NO are Cho Aniki sprites that have been edited to be a little creepier. And to focus on the parts Andonuts likes.
Stylistic Suck: The early areas of the game don't have much scary or technically impressive things, but that's to trick the player, to lower expectations.
Take a Third Option: When you examine the Magicant machine, you are given two choices: "Kill the monster" and the text box border (which the game tells you to pick a "real answer"). To see the rest of the game, you must refuse by pressing the B-button.
Unprovoked Pervert Payback: One of the Twoson department store clerks freaks out at you because she think Varik is somehow ogling her.
Useless Useful Spell: Averted. Radiation said in a walkthrough he placed a few "idiot killers" in the game. If you fly in and just attack without any form of strategy, you will die very fast to them. However, if the player uses a technique that inflicts status ailments, they will be disabled and unable to deal major damage.
You Bastard: The Desperate Survivor "enemies" are bloodied, weeping men who always run from you in Winters. They apologize for fighting you, cough and wheeze with the effort of staying alive, can only deal scratch damage to you when they do choose to attack, and finally apologize for your murdering them in turn. Killing them (an act that is discouraged by Word of God, but is otherwise not punished) serves no real purpose other than to provide an actualchoice for once, and fill your inventory with healing items if you're feeling paranoid.