2019

Game: Samurai Shodown (SNK, Super NES)

Compiler: gRE3N744

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to gRE3N744's Samurai Shodown (Super NES) maps.

It's the year 1788.  The martyr Amakusa is brought back to life 150 years after his original death, and now a demon, threatens to unleash chaos!  An assortment of warriors from around the world come to feudal Japan to stop Amakusa, and as in any fighting game, each comes with their own goals and story, and of course unique moves and abilities - but in this case, weapons too!
 

The original Samurai Shodown was for Neo-Geo hardware, but of the numerous ports, the Super NES one is one of the better ones, retaining all of the characters and stages.  While maps are not really known to be useful for the fighting game genre, they are still interesting in that they showcase a variety of unique areas, oftentimes associated with particular characters which may add some personality and style.  In this case in particular, we have animated maps!

 

gRE3N744 has mapped every area as an animated GIF, except for Kochi and Texas which are static, however, having added a second version of every map with the featured fighter at that location, ready for battle, every map has motion!  I've raved about animated maps before - like TerraEsperZ's map of "The Revolution" stage in Battletoads for the NES back in September 2011 - but I think it's particularly cool to have an entire game mapped out like a short looped video of the time and place, than just a singular snapshot.  The crashing waves of Gairyu Isle, the flaming sky at Yamagata, the rushing waters of Ixipalotal - you don't just see them, you watch them.  If only there are more maps like this!  (We've always wanted 3D maps on VGMaps.com, and while this isn't three-dimensional in the typical sense with the third being depth, we could bring in the fourth dimension, time, in place of it.)


So to recognize the effort put into mapping - and animating - the arenas of this fighting game classic, gRE3N744's Samurai Shodown (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for June 2019.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Popful Mail (J) (Falcom, Super NES)

Compiler: George s

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to George s's Popful Mail (J) (Super NES) maps.

Mail is a bounty hunter down on her luck, repeatedly unable to capture the technomancer, Nuts Cracker, who gets away yet again. But she soon learns of a new bounty, a magician-turned-criminal, Muttonhead, worth two million gold. Mail eventually teams up with Muttonhead's apprentice, Tatt, and a creature named Gaw, in her adventure which will turn out to be more grand than anything she has ever imagined (even if the stakes are totally expected from any Japanese fantasy adventure game)!

There have been many versions of Popful Mail, with different ports handled or published by NEC, Sega, SIMS and Working Designs, but the Super Famicom version was remade by Nihon Falcom, the creators of the original PC-88 version. While Falcom is known for their Japanese RPGs, Popful Mail is a 2D platformer with some RPG elements. But for any platformer, RPG-like or not, the areas here can be quite sprawling and twisty. Good luck trying to navigate the Gades Ruins or Castle without some help from George s!

So to recognize the effort put into mapping this Japanese gem, George s's Popful Mail (J) (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for May 2019.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue (Konami, Game Boy)

Compiler: qwert_vs_qwerty

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to qwert_vs_qwerty's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue (Game Boy) maps.

"Yikes!! We gotta go save April." That's what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles say, yet again, as Shredder has made a prison break. But this time, April O'Neil isn't the only one in trouble, as the three Ninja Turtles that stormed Shredder's fortress get captured as well! It's up to Michaelangelo, who was not part of the initial rescue attempt because he was at the pizza joint, to save the other turtles and Master Splinter, and together they can stop Shredder and save April yet again!

This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game features a large fortress for the Ninja Turtles to explore. They'll have to use their unique abilities to get around, and look for key cards to unlock doors and get deeper into the labyrinth to face Shredder. By defeating mutant bosses they can obtain keys to unlock cell doors to free another Ninja Turtle to use, or their friends Splinter and April. It's not linear like some other games featuring these heores in a half-shell, but while not as deep as a Metroid game, you will be happy that qwert_vs_qwerty has already taken on Shredder's fortress and mapped it all out to help you save the day (and April) yet again!

So to recognize this underrated but actually radical rescue, qwert_vs_qwerty's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue (Game Boy) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for April 2019.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Inindo: Way Of The Ninja (Koei, Super NES)

Compiler: zagato blackfist

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to zagato blackfist's Inindo: Way Of The Ninja (Super NES) maps.

The year is 1582, and the demonic warlord Oda Nobunaga has destroyed your village. As an Iga ninja seeking to avenge your clan, you must travel across feudal Japan. But the path to killing Nobunaga is not an easy one. It could take years, yet you only have until the year 1601 to complete your quest. And being a ninja is not a lonely existence - here, you will need to earn the trust of a number of different allies, to have them aid you in battle and survive maze-like dungeons.

Inindo: Way Of The Ninja is different from many other Super NES RPGs. It's a bit less fantastical, taking place in feudal Japan, though a fictionalized version of it. It's less linear than more story-heavy RPGs, and has a very large number of recruitable characters, but you have to earn their trust first, usually by talking to them at inns and tea houses. Turn-based battles take place, as you would expect, but in this game your position on the battlefield is important, so you will be moving around a lot. Fighting for or against certain daimyo can affect these feudal lords' possession of provinces, which affect your progress. And there are two different storyline paths, and the one you are on is determined upon exiting the first cave, the Password Dungeon. So there are a few things that make this game unique.

The various floors of any dungeon, however, are not so unique from each other in design, and there tends to be a sameness across the levels of any particular cave or mountain. Without help, you will most definitely get lost in these mazes - good thing zagato blackfist has taken on this game. In fact, he has mapped this once before in 2010, but redid these maps in 2019, consolidating the floors per dungeon and providing lots of information. Sure, there's the usual treasure contents in dungeons and the price lists of town shops, but also, the times there are differences based on which storyline you are on are indicated. Here at VGMaps.com we value improvement, and so it's good to see when someone takes the time to perfect their work. Thanks twice over, zagato!

So to recognize the effort put into mapping out the way of the ninja, zagato blackfist's Inindo: Way Of The Ninja (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for March 2019.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: The Flintstones: The Surprise At Dinosaur Peak! (Taito, NES)

Compiler: TerraEsperZ

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to TerraEsperZ's The Flintstones: The Surprise At Dinosaur Peak! (NES) maps.

Fred and Barney find Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm trapped on the other side of some lava flow on Dinosaur Peak. Our two heroes must venture around the islands to get to a pterodactyl nest to fly to Dinosaur Peak to save their children. But before that, they'll have to cross prehistoric terrain - and also a giant's house, a witch's tower, and play hockey and basketball in minigames for some reason...

Maybe the story isn't the greatest, but The Flintstones: The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak! is an above-average licensed platforming game. The graphics are colourful and cartoony, just like one should hope for something based on the Flintstones. You can now switch between Fred and Barney, each with different abilities (unlike the first Flintstones game, The Rescue Of Dino & Hoppy, where you could only play as Fred). And the areas have nice variety, something that regular mapper TerraEsperZ has found joy in mapping for us.

And the other thing definitely above average about this game is its price. Probably due to its late release, it was produced in limited numbers, and is now considered one of the rarest NES games ever. If you are a collector, you might expect to pay around or over a thousand dollars for an original cartridge!

So to recognize the effort put into mapping this rare game, TerraEsperZ's The Flintstones: The Surprise At Dinosaur Peak! (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for February 2019.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Silva Saga II: The Legend Of Light And Darkness (J) (Seta, Super NES)

Compiler: FlyingArmor

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to FlyingArmor's Silva Saga II: The Legend Of Light And Darkness (J) (Super NES) maps.

Waking up with amnesia, one of the few things you do remember is that you were on a quest to defeat the forces of the evil Zuhl. But now you must find and catch up to Kyral, the Light Warrior, and together you will be able to defeat the son of Zuhl, the evil Zolde.

Okay, the story is a little simple, and even a little cliché. What IS unique is the battle system. As you go about your jounrey, to defend yourself from the world's many monsters, you will have to hire powerful mercenaries and utilize magical idols. And speaking of battles, the enemies are often animated and there are fancy battle transitions. Though I guess you wouldn't be able to tell that from these maps...

And speaking of maps, FlyingArmor once again helps any 16-bit adventurer with this complete map set to the world of Minelvaton (which looks quite different than in the original Minelvaton Saga on the Famicom). As you might expect from a JRPG, the epic adventure will span the entire world. The world of Minelvaton is fairly vast, though its features might not be hugely different from many other fantasy RPGs... grass, forests, mountains... it may be familiar, but it does seem a bit more mountainous than most RPG worlds, and a quarter of the map, the whole northwest quadrant, seems to be dedicated to Zolde's castle and the four coloured towers that surround it. From the Village of Beta, through the Temple Of Thor and the Pantheon, all the way to Zolde's Castle, FlyingArmor, through his trademark thoroughness will ensure that you won't miss any items on your way to meeting up with Kyral!

So to recognize the effort put into mapping the finale of the Minvelvaton trilogy, FlyingArmor's Silva Saga II: The Legend Of Light And Darkness (J) (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for January 2019.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

 

Congratulations and thanks to the Mapmakers of 2019!