For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to FlyingArmor's Lennus II: Fuuin no Shito (J) (Super NES) maps.
There are a lot of RPGs on the Super NES (and Super Famicom). We've honoured some of the really popular ones like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, but it would be injustice if we didn't mention some of the lesser-known ones that look just as good, and are mapped just as thoroughly.
Lennus II: Fuuin no Shito (J) is the Japanese-only sequel to (the somewhat obscure) Paladin's Quest. Both of these games don't look like most conventional fantasy RPGs. You know what I mean...the green forests, the brown or grey mountains, the blue seas. But in these Lennus games, right away you can tell the palette choices are unique - look at all that purple! - and the architecture is so varied and intricate! From the domes in Cameron to the egg-shaped buildings in Conshuito, from the organicness of Zorban's Belly to the technological marvel of The Throne Of The Immortals, every area seems a little more inspired than your run-of-the-mill role-playing game.
FlyingArmor has mapped a few RPGs here for VGMaps, including the original Paladin's Quest (honoured back in September 2009). His thorough work here has brought us nearly 90 maps, so you won't miss a single item, whether from those pod-shaped treasure chests, or even those that are hidden! You should have no problem helping Farus retrieve the four items necessary for the "Great Union".
So to acknowledge the effort put into mapping an obscure and underrated 16-bit RPG, FlyingArmor's Lennus II: Fuuin no Shito (J) (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for December 2013.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to maquiladora's Final Fantasy Legend II (Game Boy) maps.
Years after your father disappears, you set out on a quest to find him. He apparently was part of a secret group called the Guardians, searching for 77 pieces of a goddess's statue, known as the MAGI, which can bestow power to its bearer. As you and your party collect the MAGI, you discover new worlds, and others also looking for MAGI who have evil intentions. As well, bringing all the MAGI together may bring about disaster.
It's a JRPG plot, to be sure. But this time, it's a story you can take with you on the go. That's right, it's not (yet another) Super NES RPG, or an RPG on either of the first two PlayStations, but rather the original Game Boy. And a pre-Pokémon one, at that! We haven't featured a Game Boy game for the Maps Of The Month featurette in a long time, so here's a nice reminder that even only four shades of grey is enough for a good tale! (Or four shades of spinach green, if you had the original hardware...)
So why Final Fantasy Legend II? (Or "Sa・Ga2: Hihō Densetsu", if you prefer the Japanese title, as "Final Fantasy" was merely tacked on for marketing purposes.) What makes these maps noticeably, well, legendary? Well, you've got a dozen worlds, fully mapped. Every town with full shop lists. Every dungeon with all the treasures revealed. It's all you could ever want, for a map set of an awesome RPG. You even get to enter someone's body, how great is that?
So to acknowledge the effort put into mapping a legendary handheld RPG, maquiladora's Final Fantasy Legend II (Game Boy) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for November 2013.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Paco's Veil Of Darkness (PC) maps.
Awakening in a small Romanian village after surviving a plane crash, you find that the area is controlled by a tyrannical vampire, and to escape, you must fulfill a prophecy by defeating the forces of darkness. Cue the lightning! It's time for good old-fashioned vampire vanquishing!
This RPG/adventure game is a horror classic! It has a good story, an eerie soundtrack, and a dark, gothic look that perfectly suits it.
Though there is some variety in the different areas, there are many similar-looking rooms within some of them, so Paco's maps can help you keep track of where you are. And then there's a huge hedge maze...thank Paco for covering every pixel of that, so you won't have to worry about ending up like one of those skeletons in there! But best of all, Paco highlighted all of the objects in the game, a welcome effort made on any map, but especially as they are kind of small in this game.
So to acknowledge the effort put into unveiling this game, Paco's Veil Of Darkness (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for October 2013.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to xyzbilliu's Tales Of Phantasia (J) (Super NES) maps.
There are many great 16-bit JRPGs. Unfortunately, many Japanese role-playing games remain just that - Japanese. This was almost the case with Tales Of Phantasia, as it is one of those games on the Super Famicom that didn't see an official Super NES release. It was even mentioned in a Nintendo Power feature about Japanese-only games, but it would be over a decade until it would be brought to western audiences by way of a Game Boy Advance rerelease.
Tales Of Phantasia is the first of Namco's long-running Tales series. It's an action-RPG series known for its "Linear Motion Battle System", in contrast to turn-based, menu-driven combat found in other games. Some would say the Tales series is underrated, never quite achieving the popular success of Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, despite having a comparable number of titles - over a dozen main games. This particular game is just as large as any other 16-bit epic, as you can see from the these maps by xyzbilliu. And you will need these maps. Just look at the Treant's Forest. You know you're going to get lost in that without xyzbilliu.
So to acknowledge the effort put into bringing us the original Tales, xyzbilliu's Tales Of Phantasia (J) (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for September 2013.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Zerker's Rise Of The Triad (PC) maps.
As part of the High-risk United Nations Taskforce (HUNT), you must stop a deranged cult leader from killing millions of innocent civilians. Ludicrous gibs ensue.
An early first-person shooter, not long after the debuts of Wolfenstein 3-D and Doom, Rise Of The Triad differentiated itself from the burgeoning PC FPS genre with its over-the-top weapons (the Firebomb, the "Excalibat"), power-ups (God Mode, Dog Mode), and obstacles (flame walls, trampolines). Blowing an enemy to bits with one of the many missile weapons may result in the aformentioned "ludicrous gibs". It's a ridiculous shooter, and fun because of it. (Oh, and the soundtrack. "Goin' Down The Fast Way", anyone?)
Rise Of The Triad consists of The Hunt Begins, Dark War and Extreme Rise Of The Triad. Zerker has mapped all these, plus the "Comm-bat" and downloadable areas as well, for a total of 176 maps. Using an isometric perspective, the maps are quite impressive, but of course very large - in both area (most are multiple thousands of pixels in both width and height) and filesize (with the largest at 41.6 megabytes). So much so, that the 2.35 gigabytes that these maps take up is actually a considerable fraction of all of VGMaps.com's content itself!
So to acknowledge the effort put into putting together the largest map set featured on VGMaps, Zerker's Rise Of The Triad (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for August 2013.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Paco & Tropicon's Breath Of Fire (Super NES) maps.
When the Dark Dragons kidnap Sara, it's up to her brother Ryu, a member of the Light Dragons, to save her. Along the way he'll travel across the land, meet travelling companions, defeat the Dark Dragons and save the world. Kind of standard RPG fare, but hey, it still works.
There are many great JRPGs in the 16-bit era. Breath Of Fire is Capcom's contribution to the already-plentiful Super NES RPG scene which naturally leads to a few sequels. Squaresoft, king of RPGs, actually published this first game in the series in North America.
Similarly, we have teamwork here for the completion of the maps for VGMaps.com. Tropicon made the raw maps, and Paco did all the labelling. Now you'll have no trouble getting around this vast world and finding all the treasures and defeating the Dark Dragons.
So to acknowledge the effort put into mapping this game as a team, Paco & Tropicon's Breath Of Fire (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for July 2013.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Technos's VVVVVV (PC) maps.
When Captain Viridian and his crew are separated in Dimension VVVVVV, it's up to him to rescue them. But in this platforming game, you don't jump - you flip gravity. Your mastery of this play mechanic will be tested among challenging obstacles - and challenging, they are indeed! There are no upgrades here, except your own skills, which had better be improving if you're going to survive.
VVVVVV has a classic feel akin to a Commodore 64 game, with its charmingly simple graphics, and cutely named rooms. But make no mistake - this game is huge! You can see Dimension VVVVVV in all its massive glory thanks to Technos, who has also mapped out ten bonus levels. They might help you out, and you might lose less lives...maybe. But you'll still lose a lot.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to TerraEsperZ's The Immortal (NES) maps.
In The Immortal, you are on a quest to rescue your teacher, the wizard Mordramir, apparently trapped deep within a dungeon. You must really think highly of Mordramir to take on this dungeon, where danger lies around every corner, and you will surely die, a lot. Bats and goblins and giant worms and a dragon, not to mention a multitude of traps, stand between you and the end of your quest. But hey, it's a neat-looking dungeon, in the rare isometric perspective and distinctive graphics (certainly unique, on the NES at least).
The NES has many difficult games, and some notoriously so, but TerraEsperZ is no stranger to them (we're talking about the guy who mapped Battletoads, after all). Not only has TerraEsperZ managed to map this whole dungeon, he's done it in two flavours: either without spoilers, or with the secrets and traps indicated. You just might survive after all (maybe), thanks to TerraEsperZ, the first mapper to receive the Maps Of The Month honour ten times! Congratulations!
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Zerker's Xargon (PC) maps.
Malvineous Havershim, an archaelogist, finds his way into another world. Apparently, it is a world ruled by an evil being named Xargon, but, hey, Malvineous has the power to defeat him! And so, another computer game adventure ensues.
Xargon (the game) is a platforming action game, perhaps not so much different in style than other 1990s shareware games, but is of decent length and quality. Zerker, who has mapped a number of PC games for VGMaps.com, took it upon himself to map this game, but not by the common screenshot-by-screenshot method. Nope, he looked at the game's code, and found a way to render maps based on it.
But what really impressed me about Zerker's effort was not just that he mapped this game this way, but that he took the time to teach us all how to do it. In the forums, he has a topic called "PC Game Hacking and Mapping Tutorial: Xargon" where anyone can learn to map like him!
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to King-Hyrule's M.C. Kids (NES) maps.
When Ronald McDonald's Magic Bag has been stolen by Hamburglar, it's up to Mick and Mack to travel across all of McDonaldLand to recover it! Along the way you'll meet other classic McDonald's mascots like Birdie, Grimace, the Professor, and (even the short-lived) CosMc before making it to Hamburglar's Hideout. You'll have to collect a bunch of cards as well as the iconic "Golden Arches" in this platforming adventure on your NES.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to mechaskrom's Suikoden (PSX) maps.
In Konami's Suikoden, you will fight against an evil empire (but really, what empire isn't evil?) after being betrayed and branded a traitor. Joining up with a rebel army, you will then recruit others for your cause; these heroes are known as the "stars of destiny". In total, there are a whopping 108 playable characters, each distinct, which is an incredibly high number for a story-driven RPG (that doesn't involve recruiting generic troops or collecting monsters). Boasting a large cast and three different types of battles, this is a unique RPG, that despite being popular enough to warrant sequels and spin-offs, the Suikoden series is still a little underrated.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Peardian's The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (N64) maps.
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time is one of those games that really shouldn't need an introduction. Certainly by now everyone knows of this epic adventure game where Link travels between the present and future to save the land of Hyrule from the evil Ganondorf. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, go grab a Nintendo 64 (or a GameCube or a 3DS) and play this game right now. Make it your New Year's resolution to get this under your belt. Oh, but if you do need help, by all means, come back here and take a look at Peardian's maps.
This game's map set is the 100th to be honoured as Maps Of The Month! (That is, if you don't count the five April Fools' joke maps.) For this milestone, I absolutely had to recognize maps like these! Not only is The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time recognized as one of the greatest video games of all time, but these maps are just straight-up amazing. While the vast majority of the maps on this site are from sprite/tile-based games, these are polygonal maps. Peardian is a pioneer in the mapping of polygonal games, having been previously recognized for mapping Paper Mario and teaching N64 mapping techniques in our forums. Since polygonal maps depend on perspective, he's been kind enough to render us maps from both a top view and a side view. From Kokiri Forest to the Temple Of Time to Ganon's Castle, you'll never get lose in Hyrule again. Even the infamous Water Temple doesn't seem so difficult now! Mapping everything twice is no easy feat, and took Peardian two years to fully map the quintessential N64 adventure game!
So to recognize the effort put into mapping one of the greatest games of all time, Peardian's The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (N64) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for January 2013.
Congratulations and thanks to the Mapmakers of 2013!