2018

Game: Pooh And Tigger's Hunny Safari (EA, GBC)

Compiler: Shiny

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Shiny's Pooh And Tigger's Hunny Safari (GBC) maps.
 

Tigger and Pooh are out to throw a Thursday Party, but of course you can't have a Thursday Party without honey!  (Though really, that just goes without saying, right?)  It's time to seek out all the honey pots around the Hundred Acre Wood (which are just scattered about, for some reason)!

 

Pooh And Tigger's Hunny Safari is a portable platformer featuring Disney's version of Winnie-The-Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, and all their friends.  Considering it is on the Game Boy Color, its impressive graphics and smooth animation are even more remarkable.  Sure, you would expect video games with cartoony characters to be animated well, but more often than not, they are not as fluid as on your TV on Saturday mornings, though this game does an exceptional job.  Shiny, no stranger to the Game Boy Color, has mapped this out for all to see, which is good because, let's be honest, licensed games aren't usually known for their quality, but this one at least looks and plays well!  Is it "bouncy trouncy flouncy pouncy fun fun fun fun FUN"?  Well, it's more so than many other cartoon-based games, at least.

So the recognize the effort put into mapping the Hundred Acre Wood, Shiny's Pooh And Tigger's Hunny Safari (GBC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for August 2018.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Vice: Project Doom (Sammy, NES)

Compiler: Will Mallia

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Will Mallia's Vice: Project Doom (NES) maps.
 

Detective Hart of the Vice unit investigates the mysterious BEDA Corporation, which is involved in military technology, but also turns out to be a front operated by aliens.  The aliens' "Gel" is a substance used as a drug which has serious effects on humans.  Hart will have to drive, jump and shoot to get to the bottom of this convoluted story and save the world.

 

Vice: Project Doom is often compared to the Ninja Gaiden series because of its partly animated cutscenes telling a slightly more mature story (by NES standards) and the highly detailed graphics that make up the dark locales that our hero must traverse.  But in addition to the side-scrolling action, the game also features a couple "Spy Hunter"-style driving sections as well as two arcade-style first-person shooting segments.  It really is a underrated game that never came close to being as popular as its ninja-themed cousins on the NES, but is still a comparably good time.

So the recognize the effort put into mapping this "dystopian future Ninja Gaiden with aliens" that deserves to be better known, Will Mallia's Vice: Project Doom (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for July 2018.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (Activision, GBA)

Compiler: BumFengShui

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to BumFengShui's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (GBA) maps.
 

Summer is upon us!  Bust out your boards, or this sick GBA game!


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 was a launch title for the Game Boy Advance way back in 2001. While scaled down from its console counterparts, what is still here is technically impressive for a handheld at the time (and this GBA game is leagues above the Game Boy Color version). The skaters, despite being small because this is on a handheld, have enough detail and are animated smoothly that you can make out what they are doing, be it an ollie or a 900. (Well, if you can make out what is happening at all on the infamously dark, non-backlit screens of the original GBA model, that is...)

Despite being technically 2D, the isometric perspective does a good job of conveying the three-dimensional landscapes of half-pipes and ramps. From the Hangar to the Warehouse, from the streets of New York to a skate park in France, there are all sorts of opportunities to shred and grind and all the other things you can do with a skateboard!

Fun fact: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is considered one of the best sports games ever, and according to Wikipedia, shares this recognition with Pong, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, NBA Jam and Wii Sports, all games that not-really-sporty gamers (like myself) can, and most certainly have enjoyed. And we can enjoy this game on the go, and also now with a deep understanding of all the skateable areas of this game, thanks to BumFengShui.  Hit all those crates and spell S-K-A-T-E!

So the recognize the effort put into mapping this GBA launch title, BumFengShui's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (GBA) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for June 2018.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja (Konami, Super NES)

Compiler: Vorpal86

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Vorpal86's The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja (Super NES) maps.

In this Konami action game, Kid Ying (Goemon) and Dr. Yang (Ebisumaru) first investigate a ghost woman at the local temple, but soon find themselves fighting against the Otafu army while attempting to save a princess.

The Goemon series is very wacky, and very Japanese. So much so, that only a handful of Goemon games (out of dozens) were released outside of Japan - the first was The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja, for the Super NES, in 1992. But in this game, Goemon (based on Japanese folk hero Ishikawa Goemon) is instead named "Kid Ying", and his friend and partner Ebisumaru is known here as "Dr. Yang". Localization has its quirks, but what isn't lost in translation is the fun and zaniness of these bizarre adventures in a cartoon-like version of Feudal Japan. Ninja, samurai, kabuki, sumo, tengu, tanooki, saunas, cherry blossoms... if it's at all associated with Japan, it's probably in here somewhere.

These solidly-made maps by Vorpal86 show us this colourful and cutesy, yet diverse world. We've got the Otafu base, with rooms that rotate! We've got a bridge guarded by a giant (but somehow adorable) octopus (tip: you can walk by it without fighting it)! We've got villages thoroughly mapped (including price lists of shops)! Do you need passwords? Vorpal86 has provided those too.

So the recognize the effort put into mapping this mystical legend, Vorpal86's The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for May 2018.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Jazz Jackrabbit CD (Epic, PC)

Compiler: Zerker

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Zerker's Jazz Jackrabbit (PC) maps.

The mid-1990s were an interesting time for PC gamers. Shareware was a way of distributing games (essentially, free demos, legally allowed to be copied and shared, in an age before the Internet), CD-ROM technology was emerging, and PC gaming started to take on more cues from game consoles, including gamepads without joysticks, and the platforming genre as a whole. And for 1990s gaming in general, regardless of the market or platform, anthropomorphic animal characters seemed to be popular.

Jazz Jackrabbit is at the center of all that. Jazz Jackrabbit was distributed as shareware, soon republished with more content as "Jazz Jackrabbit CD" on CD-ROM, advertised within the game itself that the Gravis PC GamePad was the official controller of the game (and popular enough at the time to almost be considered standard for PCs), and at the time, there weren't many big-name platforming games for PCs (though certainly Apogee Software/id Software's output, including the Commander Keen series, made its mark before Epic MegaGames's Jazz Jackrabbit). And this was indeed big, kickstarting the career of Cliffy Bleszinski, the force behind Unreal and Gears Of War. Even if Jazz Jackrabbit may not have been as big as Sega's Sonic The Hedgehog, he certainly was, for a short time, the mascot for Epic MegaGames, and made a cameo appearance in another of their games, One Must Fall 2097 (another "must-play" from that era).

An interesting thing to note is that since these map rips go well beyond the normally playable area, there are some interesting features in those outlying areas. An interesting thing to point out - though also a warning - is there are some features that spell out some words, even some rude and crude statements. In particular, see (or beware of) the Guardian areas, since those are boss stages that don't take up much room, and hence have a large canvas for developers to play around to test things - or just to be testy. Zerker's included all of this in these Jazz Jackrabbit maps, as well as the special "Holiday Hare" episodes - this is the complete Jazz Jackrabbit package!

So the recognize the effort put into mapping this '90s PC icon, Zerker's Jazz Jackrabbit CD (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for April 2018.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight (Bombservice, PC)

Compiler: Eishiya

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Eishiya's Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight (PC) maps.

 

In this prequel to the first Momodora, set four centuries earlier, Kaho the pirestess must stop a curse from the Kingdom of Karst which is spreading across the land. Will she be able to defeat the Accurst Queen of Karst and save her village?

Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight is a platforming retraversal game, often referred to as a "Metroidvania" type of adventure. As Kaho, you will be travelling back and forth across the eastern Kingdom of Karst, which, as is often the case with many Metroidvanias, is a fairly large world full of dangerous obstacles and hostile creatures but also helpful items that will grant you access to more dangerous areas. It will be a much easier journey with the aid of these maps, thanks to Eishiya. Every pixel of this indie game's world is here, from the Sacred Odalia Grove to Karst Castle (and even the Development Room accessible only with 100%).

 

So to recognize the effort put into mapping this indie hit, Eishiya's Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for March 2018.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Sonic Mania (Sega, PC)

Compiler: G.E.R.

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to G.E.R.'s Sonic Mania (PC) maps.

 

Taking place after Sonic & Knuckles, Doctor Eggman sends some EggRobos to Angel Island to retrieve the Phantom Ruby.  Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are sent back to areas from their previous adventures, and must chase down Doctor Eggman and his EggRobos - now the Hard Boiled Heavies - to stop the Phantom Ruby from being used for evil.

 

The latest 2D Sonic game (as of now) is actually pretty good, very much in the vein as the original games from the Genesis.  In fact, many Zones from those early games return, such as Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant Zone (gotta love that music).  Fitting, as this game commemorates the series' 25th anniversary.  Even if not entirely original, there are some nice surprises, and it's still a standout retro game, in an era where retro games are a dime a dozen.  Plus, it's always good to see a Sonic game fully mapped!

 

So to recognize the effort put into mapping the latest hedgehog game for Groundhog Day, G.E.R.'s Sonic Mania (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for February 2018.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Quo Vadis (The Edge, C64)

Compiler: KingKuros

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to KingKuros's Quo Vadis (C64) maps.

 

Quo Vadis finally gets its long-overdue recognition for Maps Of The Month, an honour somehow missed until now (though it did make it onto the "VGMaps's 15th Anniversary - 15 BEST MAP SETS!" video.  This large, single map also got published in Retro Gamer issue 81!  What's notable about this game, you ask?  Why, it was the biggest game at the time, the first to be over a thousand screens in size!

 

Its other claim to fame are the real riches someone could have earned.  Has anyone claimed the �40,000 in prizes for solving the riddle within this game?   It is now 400 months since its release, and as far as anyone can tell, it hasn't been paid out.  There are six clues within this game - five found in this labyrinth and a sixth as you exit.  Being the first to solve them and mailing in the correct answer should have won somebody �30,000 and a scepter worth �10,000, but that probably never happened.  But at least here, KingKuros finally gets something for scouring this entire cavern!  Okay, a Maps Of The Month recognition isn't the same as �40,000, but it's something.

 

So to recognize the effort put into mapping the first game to be over 1000 screens large. KingKuros's Quo Vadis (C64) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for January 2018.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

 

Congratulations and thanks to the Mapmakers of 2018!