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FF1: Dawn of Souls - Hard Mode

Hack of Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls


Important: Please read the patching instructions before trying to play this hack.

This is a hard difficulty hack of Final Fantasy 1 - Dawn of Souls. No changes were made to FF2. It is based off of Ludmeister’s “Mod of Balance” version 2.2 hack, so it is required that you download and apply that first. Please read the Set-up Instructions below, or check the readme document. You must follow the steps. :)

The reason for me basing this off his 2.2 version is because after his 3.0 update, he radically changed the “Job System” by allowing you to choose any of the 12 classes from the beginning of the game. For those that didn’t like that, he recommended downloading version 2.2 which used the original Job change mechanic, but lacked some of the new updates. The goal for this hack was to combine all the updates from version 3.0 and up, and put them into version 2.2. (minus the 12 Job feature, of course) While not everything made the cut, there is plenty more that’s been added to make the adventure fresh and challenging. (well, hopefully!)

One thing you’ll notice right away is stats being listed in-game for each weapon and armor piece. You’ll know exactly what it offers, without having to look them up in the readme document. :) You’ll also notice that this version is much harder in difficulty - which is the most important part!

This project was originally intended for personal use only, but a lot of work ended up being done to make the experience new. Thanks goes to Ludmeister for his fantastic work on DoS, and his Mod of Balance! Thank you!

What’s New?

  • Much harder difficulty.
  • More enemies inflict status ailments with their basic attacks. They were assigned based on the monster’s habitat, or design, so they don’t feel out of place.
  • Enemy stats increased; HP, Atk, Def, Eva, Etc. Bosses have a lot more health so they don’t feel like weakling pushovers. Of course if you grind, no enemy will offer a challenge.
  • Enemy AI; Added spells and abilities to some enemy AI tables. Also increased/decreased the attack rates for some enemies.
  • Enemy encounters; Some enemies were relocated or removed from certain maps in the game. The rare monsters in stock FF1 DoS are even more rare.
  • Enemy loot; Each monster has treasure, and that treasure was given to monsters at strategically chosen points of the game to allow you to get benefits from grinding - If you love that sort of thing. Gear scales accordingly and is fair.
  • Character stats; Lower starting stats for each character.
  • Stat growth; Rebalanced the gains of Accuracy and Magic Defense when you level up. Other stats, such as Strength, Agility, etc., are unchanged.
  • New weapons; Some weapons in the stock game were kinda useless, so they have new stats, gfx, skills, magic abilities, etc. They are rare, though, since they are ultimate weapons now.
  • New Armor; Some new armors that are worth your time to find. Also, each armor piece provides HP and MP % boosts. Find the best ones!
  • New Spells; changed the properties of a few spells, made some new ones.
  • Greatly increased MP costs of magic; You’ll feel the pressure early on, and you won’t be able to stack those Tempers to 1-shot bosses. The goal was to give the feeling of limited MP like original NES FF1. (to some extent at least, hopefully it succeeds)
  • Swapped the contents of a few treasure chests; This made some items even more rare. (for example, Genji Armor can’t be found in a chest anymore)
  • Item descriptions include various stats (atk, def, crit%, etc.) Now you can make an informed decision as to what weapon/armor you want to buy. As a result, of course, all flavor text is gone.
  • Item/magic prices have been increased.
  • You can no longer buy Phoenix Downs from shops. They are dropped by various enemies as loot, instead. Refer to the read me for the best drop rates.
  • Drastically increased the drop rates for enemy loot. The ultimate weapons/armor still have low rates, though, cause they are awesome.
  • Shops have smaller inventories.
  • The caravan sells plus items, but at high prices. This is for the end-game, when you earn lots of gil.
  • Renamed a few enemies/items/spells/equipment/stuff. Redid a lot of item descriptions, as well.
  • Many other small things; re-balancing stuff, etc.
  • For more info, please read the read me. It’s like a miniature guide to the many changes.

Ludmeister’s Mod of Balance Features:

  • HP and MP caps increased from 999 to 9999.
  • Stat caps increased from 99 to 255.
  • Number of hits and Magic Defense are displayed in the character status screen.
  • Hit rate cap removed so characters can hit more times per attack.
  • Increased exp required for leveling up.
  • Stat-boosting spell stacks are capped at 50, instead of 255. (spells like Temper and Protect)
  • Dia spells now affect undead and evil foes.
  • Added enemy encounters to Astos’ castle.
  • A few other minor changes to the game’s mechanics/formulae. You can read about them in Ludmeister’s mod description.

Set-up Instructions:

  • 1: Download Ludmeister’s Mod of Balance 2.2 version. The file version at says version 3.0, but it includes version 2.2 in the same package. You can also download 2.2 from Ludmeister’s website, as well.
  • 2: Next, apply the 2.2 Mod of Balance patch to a clean Dawn of Souls rom. Download LunarIPS to apply the patch.
  • 3: After you apply Ludmeister’s 2.2 Mod of Balance, apply my hack on top of that same rom.
  • 4: Done!

It’s very important that you first apply Mod of Balance version 2.2, before applying my hack. If you try to apply my hack to a clean rom, there will be many item/magic bugs, and other weird things. If you can buy Genji Armor in Cornelia’s armor shop, you didn’t patch it right. ;) Also, another way to see if you patched it correctly is check your starting gil for a new game. It should be 300 gil. The reason for the glitches is because ludmeister made a lot of changes to various pointers. So my hack relies on that, and even changes them further in a couple of instances.

ROM / ISO Information:

  • No information available.




ContributorType of contributionListed credit

User Review Information

My thoughts over a brief experience.

Reviewed By: Vuubik on 07 Oct 2017

Early levels are extremely brutal, where if you don’t pack it in at a certain point and head to town to rest you can risk an unavoidable loop of death you can’t escape, but I will give credit where credit is due and mention the addition of the Mod of Balance and the A.I this mods adds, especially to goblins at early levels, is useful, exemplifying the importance of spells like sleep at early levels, much reminiscent of classic Dungeons and Dragons Gameplay for the wizard class as the Dark Mage. However, I will admit, the luxury of ether being lost completely fucked me at the point where I was to defeat the Earth Fiend, as there seemed to be an everlasting need for my cleric due to the enemy roster that appeared there, and worst of all, the fucking petrification which I had no preparation for beforehand as I only had one soft, and items became so extremely expensive I could no longer afford to buy in bulk, or at least 5 of the things, (and i’ve already forgotten whether or not they were even being sold) But what really fucked me was this glitch where YOU’D RANDOM ENCOUNTER FOR EVERY STEP in that dungeon, and it completely drained me, with 3 party members left useless and immobile to the point where I couldn’t escape or move forward after having to go through it all again post Vampire to get to the Earth fiend.

So it was a promising Hack, but Bugs and the lack of spellcaster support I could provide, and I think some other times that completely grinded all my progress and preparation to a halt. I will say it DID emphasis the importance of fleeing over fighting much moreso that what occurs in average FF gameplay, and it was good to pick your fights carefully.

You can take on a massive stack of enemies if fully rested and healed, but consider yourself fucked if the spellcasters are low on mana if you ever encounter a certain number of enemies above the current party available, and fuck ressing members at any church except the first, not with those prices, you can kiss my asses priests, that shit goes towards gearing up for the next dungeon, else i’d spend that much more time grinding on the sea because frankly the cash comes and goes opposed to having a some sense of stability, it does add to difficulty but for me it became practically tedious and wasteful and more of an informed choice based on you running roulette with whatever monsters and their formation that show up in encounters in the area to get a good idea of what to pile on before meeting an objective.

Above all, you’re going to be gearing a black mage up somewhat more to D&D standards, with utility in mind, because if you don’t you’ll fuck yourself like I did due to not having a teleport to escape the utter difficulty spike/casual filter in the Earth Shrine to escape the shitty glitched encounters and the fucking petrification happy mobs if you ended up running low.

Just to mention I did have the No escape! notification hack applied in addition to this, but I’m doubtful of it breaking anything given it’s nature. As for why I stopped, long story short, I screwed myself back to the Dark Elf King via accidentally loading a save state when I was using the regular save system, I hate that it does that to your game. Also, this issue of extraordinarily high dungeon encounters featured in that place, and the dungeon for the kings crown there also, as if you dare fucking enter a treasure room-

Fuck, now I remember the worst part about this mod- FUCKING WRAITHS. Any more than three mean a TPK, and you can’t even run, Sleep then they ice your ass, rinse and repeat until desired player butthurt is achieved, I’d actually prefer the unforgiving early levelling grind to what they put on the plate the moment they began to show up, if you didn’t pop a DIA, you’re dead.

It’s a good mod, but as I said, if shit hits the fan that hard, then God knows what i’d be in for post Lich. Also, the MOB mod is on 3.56 now and the current site’s version isn’t up to date, so yeah, I’m giving that a go.

But seriously as a Black mage, get goddamned utility spells to help in conventional situations, the best things in mind is crowd control, utility, then damage with spells, if you don’t you will not get anything done as a Black mage, and your White Mage is almost D&D cleric tier, so check monsters for reasons to pop Dia on them. Also, the fighters and other classes can learn spells, so give them what they can get, cure goes a long way and saves you wasting spells from the white mage better used offensively or when it’s actually needed.

And don’t use heals if you can predict the strong possibility of an enemies death before the spell is cast, it’s a waste of precious mana.

Version 1.2 Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
A good effort, but misses the markRed88Rex09 Feb 20201.2No
Great for diehard hardcore fans, too grindy for casual runsDrewDragoon14 May 20191.2No
My thoughts over a brief experience.Vuubik07 Oct 20171.2Yes