For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Will Mallia's Kirby's Adventure (NES) maps.
King Dedede appears to be stirring up trouble in Dream Land again by stealing the Star Rod and dividing it into seven pieces which are protected by his allies. With the inhabitants of Dream Land now unable to dream, Kirby sets forth on an adventure to recover and restore the Star Rod to return it to the Fountain Of Dreams.
Did you manage to get one of the hottest items this holiday season? No, not a Hatchimal... I'm talking about the NES Classic Edition, of course! Of the thirty classic 8-bit NES games built into it, Kirby's Adventure is the one that was released latest for the original hardware. It's also the game that was most recently mapped, and now VGMaps.com is your source for all of the maps for all of the games on the NES Classic Edition! An entire console mapped, wow!
Kirby's Adventure made it onto the short list for the NES Classics Edition because, well, it's one of the best NES games ever! Just play it! Great gameplay, great graphics, and it's just a whole lot of fun playing as Kirby (previously in Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy, but here in his console debut). It introduces Kirby's power-absorbing ability, so it's a pretty big deal. And speaking of big, it's one of the biggest NES games too, at six megabits!
So to recognize the effort put into mapping the last huge Nintendo-published NES game, Will Mallia's Kirby's Adventure (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for December 2016.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Tropicon's Gunple: Gunman's Proof (J) (Super NES) maps.
In Gunple (or Ganpuru): Gunman's Proof for the Super Famicom, alien vessels crash near Strange Island, which is apparently an 1880s western setting. An alien criminal named Demi is causing havoc, but is being pursued by Space Sheriffs Mono and Zero. Zero possesses the body of a young cowboy, and seeks to find Mono and hunt down Demi. Along the way, he'll have to tackle a number of dungeons and find the items within that will aid him.
If you took the 2011 film "Cowboys & Aliens" and gave it a dose of The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past, you might end up with something like Gunple: Gunman's Proof. Seriously, take a look at those dungeons. The features found in A Link To The Past are all there, from doors and stairs and ledges and even the "welcome mats" before the boss rooms. The big thing missing from Zelda are the puzzlish elements. It seems ASCII would rather forego the puzzles in favour of more action.
Despite the western setting, this game never saw a western release. As a Super Famicom game released only in Japan in 1997, when the next generation, the Nintendo 64 was already out, I can't imagine that most gamers have even heard of this, but the A Link To The Past engine put into a wild west setting is bound to pique the interest of those who do hear of it. Thanks to longtime VGMaps contributor Tropicon, "the legacy of Zero" (see what I did there?) is mapped out for us, if we dare to take down an alien criminal with a six-shooter.
So to recognize the effort put into mapping the only sci-fi/western Zelda-style game I've ever heard of, Tropicon's Gunple: Gunman's Proof (J) (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for November 2016.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to DarkWolf's Haunting: Starring Polterguy (Genesis) maps.
After being killed in an accident involving defective skateboards manufactured by Vito Sardini, Polterguy, now a poltergeist, seeks revenge on the Sardini family. By using his powers of possession, Polterguy can control and haunt hundreds of household objects to scare the Sardini family out of four different homes.
This game is unique in its premise, or at least the use of possession as a gameplay mechanic was fresh in 1993, predating 2000's Messiah (PC) and 2005's Geist (GameCube). The possessions can be startling, gross, or downright disturbing. Ultimately the Sardinis are scared out of a house, only to move into another one, but Polterguy pursues them, and each house is bigger than the last, furnished with different things to possess.
DarkWolf has indicated all the "Fright 'em" points (indications of items that can be possessed) on these isometric maps. He has even made aesthetic versions of houses without those marks and showing what they would look like if all the rooms were continuous. That goes beyond the effort most would do...or shall we say, the great beyond! DarkWolf actually made these maps long ago, but was somehow overlooked, and finally gets its long-deserved recognition this Hallowe'en season.
So to recognize the effort put into taking possession of these houses, DarkWolf's Haunting: Starring Polterguy (Genesis) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for October 2016.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to KingKuros's Star Trek (NES) maps.
"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."
The Star Trek franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary this month! The original series premiered on September 8. 1966. Between then and now, a few games were made to celebrate its 25th anniversary, including this NES game. Though the in-game title is just "Star Trek", the full title on the box is "Star Trek: 25th Anniversary", but not to be confused with the PC and Game Boy games of the same name.
In the NES game, while the Enterprise investigates the Sigma Iotia system - featured in the original series' second-season episode, "A Piece Of The Action" - they encounter a tear in space-time. You will join the Enterprise's crew in investigating at least four planets, to over a dozen. KingKuros has got you covered, no matter where you boldly go!
So to recognize the effort put into exploring strange new worlds, KingKuros's Star Trek (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for September 2016.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to mechaskrom's Suikoden II (PSX) maps.
Suikoden II takes place years after the first Suikoden game. Here, the kingdom of Highland is invading the City-States of Jowston. You play the adopted son of a hero from a previous war. Though you start off as a member of the youth brigade in the Highland Kingdom, you will soon end up leading the New Alliance Army and fight against Highland, and the evil prince that leads it.
This is a big JRPG with lots of variety. There are three different modes of combat, from one-on-one duels, group battles, and massive battles. There are crazy side-quests and mini-games. "Iron Chef"-style cook-offs? Whacking moles? Recruiting squirrels? Why not? It's all here in this huge game. Like the first game, there are 108 possible recruits (the "stars of destiny"), which is quite a large number of characters, considering that each of them have a part in this epic story! Also like the first game, you have a base of operations that grows during the course of the game, and mechaskrom has mapped out its various forms. It's a feat enough that mechaskrom has mapped all of this!
It's not the first time, either. Back in February 2013, mechaskrom was also recognized here on "Maps Of The Month" for mapping the first Suikoden game in its entirety. He's definitely a fan of this series!
So to recognize the effort put into mapping yet another entry in this underrated JRPG series, mechaskrom's Suikoden II (PSX) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for August 2016.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to TerraEsperZ's New Ghostbusters II (E) (NES) maps.
This isn't the Ghostbusters sequel you were expecting. No, really. If you are a North American gamer, you may remember Activision's Ghostbusters II game on the NES. This, however, is "New Ghostbusters II", a different NES/Famicom game developed by HAL for Europe and Japan, though both games are based on the same 1989 film.
The spirit of the evil Vigo the Carpathian resides within a painting of his likeness, and seeks Dana Barrett's baby as a host to return to life on New Year's Eve. Meanwhile, the Ghostbusters investigate the emotionally-charged slime beneath the city, and discover that it flows directly under the museum which houses Vigo's portrait.
In this overhead-view game, you control a Ghostbuster and use a Proton Pack to wrangle some spectres, while a second Ghostbuster follows along and uses a ghost trap. You make your way through environments from the film, including the courthouse and the river of slime in the sewers. There is also a very lengthy stage in an apartment building, so you can thank multi-honoured VGMaps regular mapper TerraEsperZ for bustin' out these floor plans.
So to recognize the effort put into mapping a good Ghostbusters sequel, TerraEsperZ's New Ghostbusters II (E) (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for July 2016.
Compiler: Will Mallia
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Will Mallia's WarCraft: Orcs & Humans (PC) maps.
Blackhand the Destroyer has commanded the Orc Horde to attack the Human Kingdom of Azeroth. Will you help the humans defend themselves from the orcs? Or will you assist the orcs and drive the humans into Lordaeron?
The original WarCraft game is a real-time strategy game. Playing as either the orcs or the humans, you manage resources, build structures and train units to create an army to defeat the opposing side. Each side faces twelve scenarios. This may be a short and simple story but keep in mind this is the original game, released a whole decade before the neverending saga of the MMORPG, World Of WarCraft, had even begun.
Being in real-time, knowing the terrain is essential. While you are building your army, so is the opposition, and so knowing the locations of and best routes to resources or the enemy settlement will give you an edge. And Will does give us that edge - Will Mallia, that is, a proficient VGMaps contributor who has brought us maps of one of the most quintessential PC games of the 1990s.
So to recognize the effort put into mapping all the battlefields of Azeroth, Will Mallia's WarCraft: Orcs & Humans (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for June 2016.
Compiler: George s
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to George s's Lady Stalker: The Apocalypse Engine (J) (Super NES) maps.
Behold! The apocalypse is nigh! Lady, a mischievous young woman, travels the world looking for adventure. Followed by her gardener Yoshio and her chef Cox, she seeks out Deathland Island in search of treasure. But what about the titular Apocalypse Engine, a rumoured ancient device that supposedly transforms monsters into larger and more fearsome creatures?
Also known as "Lady Stalker: Challenge From The Past", The Apocalypse Engine is the sequel to the Genesis game, Landstalker: The Treasures Of King Nole, which George s also mapped, and was featured in the Maps Of The Month featurette last April! Like the console libraries they belong to, this Super Famicom sequel is more RPG-like (with random battles) than its Genesis predecessor. But both games are isometric, which make great-looking maps - and incredibly useful, as it's easy to get lost when you deal with three dimensions instead of the usual two! You'll travel across typical idyllic grassy landscapes, to labyrinthine mines and towers. But there are of course some interesting and unique areas too, like when you shrink and fight atop a monster's body while he's taking a nap!
So to recognize the effort put into taking on this Japanese-only "Challenge From The Past", George s's Lady Stalker: The Apocalypse Engine (J) (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for May 2016.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to feos's Zen: Intergalactic Ninja (NES) maps.
As Earth Day is coming up, this game is a reminder that our world is threatened ecologically by our own actions. Pollution, waste, destruction of the environment - if these were personified, they might take the form of the evil Lord Contaminous. You don't necessarily have to be an intergalactic ninja like Zen to fight back and make a difference, though who doesn't want to be an intergalactic ninja, really? And in this game, you are!
Many NES games have horizontal scrolling. Some have vertical, or both. Zen: Intergalactic Ninja certainly does, and even has diagonal scrolling! Whoa! Not only is Zen intergalactic, he's also multi-directional! Besides the presentation, there's some variety in the gameplay too, including bonus games about recycling!
Like other Konami NES games, the graphics are detailed and colourful, the animation is smooth, and the music is catchy. It probably didn't get the attention it deserves - especially in comparison to other NES games - due to being released in 1993, after the next generation, the 16-bit consoles, were already in their prime. But hey, at least feos took notice, and mapped this out for us!
So to recognize that he has helped us to "find our Zen", feos's Zen: Intergalactic Ninja (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for April 2016.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Peardian's Yoshi: Topsy-Turvy (GBA) maps.
As it's Easter, let's take a look at a game with our favourite egg-laying hero! In Yoshi: Topsy-Turvy (known outside North America as "Yoshi's Universal Gravitation"), a powerful spirit named Hongo magically puts Yoshi's Island and its inhabitants into the pages of a storybook, in order to trap Bowser, who is causing trouble yet again. Yoshi sets out to lock away Bowser so that Hongo will release Yoshi's Island. Along the way Yoshi will have to appease various book spirits by completing missions to clear each course.
The biggest feature (or gimmick) of this game is the tiltable world, hence the title. Using the tilt sensor built into the cartridge, one can tilt the entire storybook world, causing effects such as unrolling platforms or turning sheer walls into slopes. This pre-Wii motion control was simple yet effective, and though this game is not as well-remembered as other Nintendo platformers, one might wonder if the gyro technology built into Yoshi's Topsy-Turvy (and a few other GBA games) paved the way for Nintendo's Wii Remote, as the Wii was released shortly after this.
It comes as no surprise that Peardian (a Mario and Yoshi fan) would take on this game, so that this Yoshi game will be remembered as more than just a footnote. Thanks, Peardian!
So to give universal gratitude to Universal Gravitation, Peardian's Yoshi: Topsy-Turvy (GBA) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for March 2016.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to RyuMaster's and KeyBlade999's Pokémon: Red, Green (J) & Blue Versions (Game Boy) maps.
Pokémon, the original "catch 'em all" game series, turns 20 years old this month! The original games, Pokémon: Red Version and Pokémon: Green Version came out in Japan on February 27, 1996 for the original Game Boy. It would still be another two years and seven months until Pokémon comes to North America as Red and Blue at the end of September 1998. In any case, it's been a long time, so if you remember playing the original games at the start of "Pokémania", well, you probably feel old right about now. And if you haven't, Nintendo is rereleasing the original games for the 3DS!
Back then there was only one region and only 151 Pokémon (not like the 721 there are now, most with two different genders, and some with different "formes" and variations). But among all the Pokémon that exist, the first 151 species are often regarded as the most popular ones. And this is where it all began!
The Maps Of The Month honour goes to both RyuMaster and KeyBlade999, but it should be noted that these are two separate mapping efforts. RyuMaster mapped the game using the original monochromatic scheme but unobscured, and KeyBlade999 mapped them as coloured with lots of annotation. Both are good map sets on their own merits. Though as stated, they didn't work together, but if they did, it would fitting as it's just like playing the games...always nice to have a friend with another version!
So to recognize the effort put into mapping 'em all, RyuMaster's and KeyBlade999's Pokémon: Red, Green (J) & Blue Versions (Game Boy) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for February 2016.
Compiler: Dammit 9x
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Dammit 9x's Adventure Island IV (J) (NES) maps.
Tired of the cold weather? Why not take a trip to a nice tropical climate, like the settings of the Adventure Island games? How about Adventure Island IV (J)? Well, it would be a nice time if only the evil Eggplant Wizard (probably no relation to the ones from Kid Icarus) hadn't kidnapped Master Higgins's girlfriend Tina and all their dinosaur friends.
Adventure Island IV (J), or "Takahashi Meijin no Bouken Jima IV (J)", if you prefer, is the fourth game in the classic Adventure Island game series. What makes it different is that it is not linear like the previous games, instead requiring "retraversal", i.e. revisiting areas with new abilities to access new areas. And that's why, more than any game in the series (except Super Adventure Island II, which is also not-so-linear) you will really need Dammit 9x's maps.
Perhaps this is borrowing a page from the later Wonder Boy/Monster World games (like how the first Adventure Island game was an adaptation of the original Wonder Boy), or the many other now-more complex platformers that have already long been out on the NES, like Blaster Master or Ufouria (E). The fourth Adventure Island was released for the Famicom in 1994, even Super Metroid had already been released in the West by then. (Is it just me, or does the boss of Area 1B look kind of like the Metroid series's Chozo statues, complete with a ball?) In fact, this game is so late, it is actually the last Famicom game released!
So to recognize the effort put into mapping the final official Famicom game, Dammit 9x's Adventure Island IV (J) (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for January 2016.
Congratulations and thanks to the Mapmakers of 2016!