2022

Game: God Of War (Sony, PlayStation 2)

Compiler: VGCartography

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to VGCartography's God Of War (PlayStation 2) maps.

 

Kratos, a Spartan warrior who serves the Greek gods of Olympus, seeks to destroy his former master, Ares, the God of War.  Guided by Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, Kratos learns of Pandora's Box, an artifact that grants the power to slay a god.  His quest to find it takes him to the Desert of Lost Souls, Pandora's Temple on the Titan Cronos, and even the Underworld, before returning to Athens to exact his revenge on Ares.

 

This PS2 action game launched the God Of War franchise, a renowned video game series with entries that are often counted among the very best of all time.  Here on VGMaps.com, it is also the first PlayStation 2 game recognized in the Maps Of The Month featurette, honouring VGCartography, a mapper skilled enough to manipulate polygons, and with the thoroughness to mark all the items of interest, creating usable maps for a game in this sixth generation of video games.

 

So to recognize the effort put into utilizing his divine cartography skills, VGCartography's God Of War (PlayStation 2) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for November 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Crystalis (SNK, NES)

Compiler: zagato blackfist

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

 

"1997, October 1, The END DAY." So begins the premise of Crystalis. The Great War has ravaged the planet.  Animals have mutated.  Science and technology are shunned because they were responsible for mankind's downfall, leading to a revival of magic and sorcery.  A magician named Draygon combines his powerful magic with forbidden technology in an attempt to take over the world.  You play a hero of the Great War, but with no memory upon awakening from suspended animation.  Will you be able to find the elemental swords and combine them into the almighty Crystalis to take down Draygon?

 

25 years ago would have been "The END DAY" as explained in the game's opening sequence, but the Great War thankfully didn't happen then, so why not use this anniversary as an opportunity to recognize the mapping of the NES classic?  zagato blackfist has dissected this 8-bit action RPG for us to fully appreciate - shop prices, treasures, and hints written on some of the maps.  This is an above-average size for an NES game - you won't get lost in the various mountains and caves, nor the fearsome Goa Fortress.  zagato blackfist has also mapped the Game Boy Color version!

 

So to recognize the effort put into scouring the post-"END DAY" world, zagato blackfist's Crystalis (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for October 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Trip World (E) (Sunsoft, Game Boy)

Compiler: TerraEsperZ

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to TerraEsperZ's Trip World (E) (Game Boy) maps.

 

In Trip World, peace is maintained by the presence of the Maita Flower on Mount Dubious, where Yakopoo and his grandfather live.  One day, shadowy beings attack Yakopoo's grandfather and steal the Maita Flower, causing Trip World's inhabitants to quarrel.  Yakopoo uses his shapeshifting abilities to traverse five worlds to recover the flower and restore peace to Trip World.

 

This game, however, never made it around the real world, as it was only released in Japan and Europe.  That means many of us missed out on this great Game Boy platformer, with gorgeous graphics and sweet music, created by Sunsoft in their prime.  Thankfully, TerraEsperZ has captured all of Trip World for us to appreciate visually.

 

The game is similar to Gimmick!, another Sunsoft platformer from the same year that North and South Americans also missed out on - which TerraEsperZ also mapped!

 

(Some Trip World trivia: Yakopoo also appears in other Sunsoft games, including Galaxy Fight - as a "mirror match" opponent - and Blaster Master Zero 2.)

 

So to recognize the effort put into sharing Trip World with the world, TerraEsperZ's Trip World (E) (Game Boy) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for September 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Konami, Super NES)

Compiler: Will Mallia

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Will Mallia's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Super NES) maps.

 

Channel 6 presents "Tournament Fighters", a televised fighting tournament.  It happens to feature aliens and mutants and even... Shredder?  Is it part of some evil plan?  The Turtles will join the tournament to prove they are the strongest.  Or, in the "Story Battle", Karai and the forces of the Shredder Elite have kidnapped April O'Neil and Splinter, so the Turtles will fight through anyone that stands in the way of their rescue attempt.  Either way, prepare for some of the best 16-bit fighting action based around licensed characters, ever!

 

Interestingly, there are three completely different versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters - the NES, Super NES, and Genesis games are nothing alike, despite all being developed by Konami.  (Will Mallia also mapped the NES version and zagato blackfist mapped the Genesis version.)  They are three separate stories taking place in unrelated settings and therefore have exclusive arenas.  Aside from the four Turtles themselves, the rosters are almost totally unique per game.  The only exceptions are Casey Jones, who is playable in the NES and Genesis versions, Shredder, who is in the NES version, but appears as "Cyber Shredder" on the Super NES, and Karai, a boss character who is playable in the Super NES version with a code, and the 2022 Cowabunga Collection rerelease of the Genesis version.  If any other character is your favourite, you're only going to find them in one game.  While the rare NES game is one of the only fighting games - and among the last few games overall - on the 8-bit platform, the Genesis one may be the first fighting game to have instant replays, and the Super NES version is one of the earliest fighting games to have a "super meter" with its "Ultimate Attack gauge", and the only one to feature online play in the Cowabunga Collection. All three of them would be of some interest to Ninja Turtles fans.

 

So to recognize the effort put into mapping this tubular tournament, Will Mallia's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for August 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Pocky & Rocky (Natsume, Super NES)

Compiler: MagnetiC

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to MagnetiC's Pocky & Rocky (Super NES) maps.

 

In a world based on Japanese mythology, Shinto shrine maiden Pocky, along with her new friend, Rocky the tanuki, must restore order after the Nopino Goblins seem to have gone insane.  It turns out the Goblins' rampage is due to the hypnotic influence of the evil Black Mantle, who seeks to conquer all of Japan.

 

Pocky and Rocky traverse six stages on the way to facing Black Mantle in his floating fortress, including a kappa-filled river, a cemetery plagued with tremors, and a battle aboard a demonic airship.  Playing like an arcade-style shooter (unsurprising, as it is a sequel to the Japanese arcade game, Kiki Kaikai), its stages are indeed quite linear.  However, these maps by MagnetiC are due praise for capturing one of most colourful and cutest games on Nintendo's 16-bit platform.  It really dives into the mythology, with kappa and yokai and other creatures of folklore, which gives it even more charm.

 

So to recognize the effort put into mapping this fascinating journey across feudal Japan, MagnetiC's Pocky & Rocky (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for July 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Atlantis no Nazo (J) (Sunsoft, NES)

Compiler: Jackster

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Jackster's Atlantis no Nazo (J) (NES) maps.

 

A mysterious island has appeared in the Atlantic Ocean.  Adventurers go to investigate, but are never seen again.  You play Wynn, an amateur adventurer, whose master disappeared there months earlier.  Armed with some dynamite, Wynn sets off to find his master.  Will he also discover the mystery of Atlantis, find lots of treasure, and defeat the evil within?

 

Atlantis no Nazo (J), or "The Mystery Of Atlantis", is a Sunsoft game for the Famicom - had it been released worldwide, it could have been called "Super Pitfall II".  This challenging platformer includes 100 Zones, but you don't go through them all sequentially.  There are many possible routes to take, and they are not always obvious.  You may have to reveal hidden doors, blast yourself down into hidden warps, or fall down certain pits that aren't deadly - even though they don't look any different from the ones that are.  Zone 1 has a door in plain sight that leads to Zone 2, but jumping over it, you can instead take a different door to Zone 11.  Or, from the starting position, you can drop off the ledge to your left - it looks deadly, but it actually takes you to Zone 33!  But even though you can jump to that much-higher-numbered Zone, it might not actually be the quickest route.  This was designed to be a difficult game, and would certainly be moreso without any guide!

 

Jackster took a few weeks to map this all out... Just grabbing the screens was already a lot, as there are 100 Zones - and he did them all twice!  Every map here shows a Zone as both unmarked and marked.  That's where the real effort was - marking the maps with all the secrets and helpful information, and he had to refer to a number of sources - various online guides, mostly in Japanese, including scans of a Japanese guide book & a code site with addresses to help access different parts of the game, and watching a few speedruns.  That's a lot of work, and for a very difficult Japanese game that's rather obscure to the rest of the world, but now we have one more resource in English for anyone that wants to solve the mystery of Atlantis!

 

So to recognize the effort put into consolidating all of the secrets of this mysterious and challenging game, Jackster's Atlantis no Nazo (J) (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for June 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 (Capcom, NES)

Compiler: RyuMaster

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to RyuMaster's Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 (NES) maps.

 

It's been years since the original Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers, where they were at the top of their game, and even got Fat Cat put away.  But now, Chip 'N Dale return for another adventure.  Does this pair of chipmunk sleuths still have the skills to crack the case?

 

Many people regard the original Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers as one of the greatest NES games based on a licensed property.  Games based on existing characters often get a bad rap, but those handled by big-name developers like Capcom are actually great games, not just lazy cash grabs.  The original Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers, and another Capcom-developed Disney Afternoon game, DuckTales, are often revered.  Their sequels are also pretty solid, but not as talked about, because they were late releases on the NES in 1993/1994, when the Super NES had already been out since 1991.  They are definitely worth a look if you want to experience more adventures with Chip and Dale and all the other Rescue Rangers!  RyuMaster's got you covered when it comes to the maps.  Even though the game is more linear, we can appreciate the high-quality NES graphics possible at the tail end of the NES's life cycle.

 

So to recognize the effort put into mapping one of the last great NES games, RyuMaster's Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for May 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Knuckles The Echidna In Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Sega, Genesis)

Compiler: G.E.R.

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to G.E.R.'s Knuckles The Echidna In Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Genesis) maps.

 

Would you like some Knuckles in your Sonic The Hedgehog 2?

 

Sonic & Knuckles is a Genesis cartridge with a unique feature: "Lock-On Technology", allowing another cartridge to be inserted in the top.  When Sonic The Hedgehog 3 was released without all its originally-intended content, due to time constraints and cartridge costs, this workaround allowed the game to be complete and, when combined, is known as "Sonic The Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles".  This was before the Internet was widely available, so patches or DLC wasn't yet a thing for consoles; hence, this "Lock-On" was the fix.

 

Connecting with other cartridges has other effects.  Most other games generate a "Blue Sphere" minigame stage, with the specific layout determined by the cartridge inserted.  (Don't insert a game that allows for saved games, as it will erase them!)  Inserting the original Sonic The Hedgehog game allows all variations of "Blue Sphere" to be played.

 

When Sonic & Knuckles is "Locked-On" to the Sonic The Hedgehog 2 cartridge, the game, "Knuckles The Echidna In Sonic The Hedgehog 2", emerges.  As the title implies, the titular echidna is now playable here, instead of Sonic or Tails.  With his gliding and climbing abilities, Knuckles can access areas that couldn't originally be reached, and so, some of the Zones now include 1-Up Monitors where there weren't before.  Revisit the rocking Chemical Plant Zone, the glitzy Casino Night Zone, the massive Metropolis Zone, and the dramatic Sky Chase Zone, as you stop Dr. Robotnik from threatening to dominate the world again with the power of the Chaos Emeralds.  G.E.R., one of the most prolific mappers here on VGMaps.com in recent years, is no stranger to Sonic games, who has mapped a few, including most of Sonic The Hedgehog 2, and it's good to see him continue his streak with this version of it (even though it stars Knuckles).

 

So to recognize the effort put into "locking on" to this unique game, G.E.R.'s Knuckles The Echidna In Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Genesis) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for April 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Mario Kart: Super Circuit (Nintendo, GBA)

Compiler: CLon®

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to CLon®'s Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA) maps.

 

It's March again, and you know what that means... another "MAR10 Day" to play Mario games - as if you need an excuse to play them!  This March in particular gives us the start of the Booster Course Pass for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which revisits tracks from previous Mario Kart games.  The first wave of this downloadable content includes Sky Garden from Mario Kart: Super Circuit.  Mario Kart Tour for mobile begins this month with an event featuring Sky Garden - again, from Mario Kart: Super Circuit.  And after this March, there will only be one year left for the Wii U's eShop, so this is a good time to consider grabbing some Virtual Console games while you still can - one of which is Mario Kart: Super Circuit!

 

The third entry in this popular kart racing series is the first on a handheld, and the last to use sprites for the characters.  It is most similar in form to the original Super Mario Kart on the Super NES, with the track and ground being a flat image that is angled and rotated.  CLonŽ brings us maps that have been extracted, so you wouldn't see these area maps from an overheard view during actual gameplay.  But they are accurate, so they would still be of value as you drive, drift, and jump through these many courses.  Including the Extra Cups that revisit all of the tracks from the original Super Mario Kart, the total is 40, so this game had the most courses until Mario Kart 8 received downloadable content!  That's a lot of kart cartography - thanks, CLonŽ!  Love that Sunset Wilds map, which is animated to cycle through the colours of the sunset.

 

So to recognize the effort put into mapping the first handheld Mario Kart game, CLon®'s Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for March 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Barbie: Magic Genie Adventure (Mattel, GBC)

Compiler: Eishiya

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Eishiya's Barbie: Magic Genie Adventure (GBC) maps.

 

Barbie Genie and her genie friends - Fiera, Terra, Sylvia, and Marid - were having a picnic, when Kardal, the evil sultan, stole their magic lamps!  Barbie Genie must recover them to restore her friends' powers, as well as peace to the world.

 

This adventure has Barbie Genie flying her magic carpet from Crystal City, through four other mystical (and element-themed) lands, and then to Kardal's Palace to confront the villain.  You will be interacting with many people in this game, as well as looking for various items.  Thankfully, Eishiya's maps will help you locate everything you need to be able to create the Magic Rainbow Potion you need to succeed in this quest!


So to recognize the effort put into mapping this magic adventure, Eishiya's Barbie: Magic Genie Adventure (GBC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for February 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

Game: Metal Gear Solid (Konami, PlayStation)

Compiler: VGCartography

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to VGCartography's Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation) maps.

 

Shadow Moses, a remote island in Alaska's Fox Archipelago, is taken over by a rogue special forces unit known as FOXHOUND.  The island is a nuclear weapons disposal facility, but also the testing site of Metal Gear Rex, a destructive mecha with nuclear capabilities.  The legendary infiltrator, Solid Snake, is called out of retirement to neutralize FOXHOUND and the threat they pose to the US government.

 

Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear series, especially this entry, popularized the stealth genre in video games.  Solid Snake has limited weapons and should avoid enemies whenever possible, or dispatch them quietly.  Unlike the silent actions taken by Snake, this adventure of his did not go unnoticed, and is frequently considered to be one of the best games on the original PlayStation, and even amongst the greatest video games of all time.  The series is also known for its complex stories presented in lengthy cutscenes, drawing comparisons to films and, at the time of its release, set a new standard for what video game narratives could be.

 

Speaking of standouts, VGCartography, who has mapped a few PlayStation games already, has proven to be very adept with mapping PlayStation games.  Besides manipulating 3D data, which is already a feat, VGCartography has labelled these maps thoroughly.  Sure, sub-areas are named, and items are indicated, which any good map would have, but here, we see routes to take, mine placements, codec conversations, extra overhead views for boss rooms, as well as other embellishments.  Besides the area maps, we even get a full map of the entire game in a single image, but in two forms - either overhead or isometrically.  You could definitely use these to help Solid Snake complete this mission of "tactical espionage action", and we look forward to featuring more of VGCartography's efforts here on VGMaps.com.


So to recognize the solid effort put into mapping this iconic PlayStation adventure, VGCartography's Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for January 2022.
 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Congratulations and thanks to the Mapmakers of 2022!