2006

Game: Aunt Arctic Adventure (Mindware, Amiga)

Compiler: Grizzly

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Grizzly's Aunt Arctic Adventure (Amiga) maps.

 

Charlie the chimp's aunt has been kidnapped, and forced to work as a circus performer in the arctic.  In this game, you will guide Charlie, as well as his friend Penguin Pete, through 50 levels of platforming action in order to rescue her.

 

Past Maps Of The Month have been for the more popular systems.  We've honoured maps from games of the NES, the Super NES, the various Game Boys, the Genesis, and the PC.  But just because you haven't played - or even heard of - a game on an obscure platform doesn't mean its maps can't be worthy!

 

Grizzly, who seems to like taking on the more obscure games, sent in these Aunt Arctic Adventure maps as one of his first submissions a couple years ago, which opened up the Amiga section, which today is still entirely his.  The 39th level of this game was also the 2000th map to be hosted on VGMaps.com.

 

The game isn't a simple platform game.  There are some puzzlish elements, bizarre stage layouts, and many bananas to collect, but if the game is too challenging, the maps will spell out what the entire levels look like.  These maps could save you from trouble - and this game from obscurity.  As of today, the game isn't even listed on GameFAQs!

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these obscure yet worthy maps, Grizzly's Aunt Arctic Adventure maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for December 2006.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Super Mario Bros. 3 (Nintendo, NES)

Compilers: KingKuros, Zeric, JonLeung, Revned, J.J. Maxx & mephea

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to our Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) maps.

 

To celebrate the launch of Nintendo's highly anticipated Wii this month, why not take a look at Nintendo's best-selling game of all time?  (That is, excluding game pack-ins.)  It is also the best-selling console game of all time, stars Nintendo's biggest franchise character (Mario!) at the peak of his popularity, was featured in the film The Wizard, and will likely be a big hit on the Wii's Virtual Console.  Yes, this is definitely worth your 500 Virtual Console Points.

 

This game Introduces Bowser's seven children, the Koopalings, who wreak havoc in the seven Worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom.  The Super Mario Bros. travel across these many lands, using new animal suits that grant them special abilities, to defeat the Koopalings and save the kings, and then take on Bowser's Dark Land to save Princess (Peach) Toadstool.

 

Much less linear than the previous Super Mario Bros. games, the Worlds have multiple paths, allowing a player to take alternate routes each time they play it through.  But there was enough variety in the stages that you would want to play through just about every stage anyway!  There were new enemies introduced here that would become Mario series mainstays, there would be new obstacles and challenges, and new abilities to overcome them with, such as flying and transformation, which would also define the series.

 

Surprised that such a historically important game lacked a proper map treatment on this site, especially considering the popularity of all things Nintendo here, I, JonLeung, suggested that Super Mario Bros. 3 should be the first Atlas Project, and the feature project to relaunch VGMaps.com with at the beginning of 2006.  The fine details of putting together a crew of game cartographers to tackle Super Mario Bros. 3 will be chronicled in a future Atlas Projects page here on the site, but needless to say it was a group project that turned out very well, and complements a game that deserves no less.

 

So to recognize the team effort in making these maps, KingKuros's, Zeric's, JonLeung's, Revned's, J.J. Maxx's, and mephea's Super Mario Bros. 3 maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for November 2006.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Monster Party (Bandai, NES)

Compiler: Chiasm

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Chiasm's Monster Party (NES) maps.

 

In Bandai's Monster Party, you play a baseball player named Mark.  One evening, walking home after a baseball game, a star falls out of the sky and lands in front of him...except it's not a star, it's a gargoyle (or something) named Bert.  Apparently Bert's world is overrun by evil monsters, and he believes Mark's baseball bat is an effective weapon against such creatures.  They fly to Bert's world, and then they fuse their bodies to tackle some monster baddies together.  A very strange story indeed.

 

The game is no less wacky, in fact, it's more so.  The game starts off like a typical happy platforming game.  But soon you'll walk past a smiling tree (or a large bush...well, it's a big green thing) and the next thing you know, the world's transformed into a hellish landscape.  The grass beneath your feet becomes slime.  The hills in the background suddenly look like grotesque faces vomiting blood.  The happy blocks that were smiling at you a second ago are now bloody skulls.  Bert's world is seriously messed up.  You just have to wonder how this got past Nintendo's censors!  You'll travel through eight monster-infested areas, but none are as bizarre as the first.  But the craziness doesn't stop, as there are numerous bosses and sub-bosses (which include a caterpillar in a bed who calls himself Royce, some fried food, the Sphinx, a wooden Transformer-like robot, and the Grim Reaper) with some strange one-liner introductions (including "I...am a slowpoke", "My legs are asleep!", and "Oh boy! Mark soup!", among others).

 

Would you want to face a world like this?  Probably not, but if you did, you'd want some help.  Chiasm has mapped out the whole game to assist you.  It will certainly help you locate the bosses in the games' numerous doors, and it'll be especially helpful for the maze in Round 6.  If you just want to see how messed up a game can be, these maps are worth a look.  Check out how Chiasm handled the transition in Round 1!

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these quirky Hallowe'enish maps, Chiasm's Monster Party maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for October 2006.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Kid Chameleon (Sega, Genesis)

Compiler: DarkWolf

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to DarkWolf's Kid Chameleon (Genesis) maps.

 

Ah, September, the month for going back to school.  So for this month, let's go back to kicking it oldschool.  Back in the late '80s and '90s, when the name "Kid" was cool and dark shades and leather jackets were hip, a shades-and-leather-jacket-wearing-cool-guy named Kid Chameleon was the star of this Sega Genesis platformer.

 

You can't say much about the story.  It's something about a seemingly unbeatable holographic arcade game that captured the kids who played it, and this Kid Chameleon guy takes on the game's boss, Heady Metal, to save everyone.  But the game is considered by some to be a classic.  The various helmets that let Kid Chameleon morph into different forms with unique abilities is certainly fun.  But for a platformer, it was on the long side - there are 100 areas, and some of them are quite vast!

 

DarkWolf has contributed many Genesis maps, including all 100 maps for this platforming classic.  It's fitting that he should be the first to get the honour of Mapmaker Of The Month for a Sega game!

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these classic Sega maps, DarkWolf's Kid Chameleon maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for September 2006.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: The Lion King (Virgin/Disney, Super NES)

Compiler: Grizzly

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

 

Who hasn't heard of Disney's Lion King?  In the 1990s, when it seemed like Disney was at their peak, it seemed like every year there was another big summer Disney animated film.  The Lion King, released in the summer of 1994, was one of the biggest ones.  And with each film - this one included - came a flood of merchandise, including video games.  Normally I wouldn't have high hopes on games based on any movie, as the track record of movie-to-game translations is less than stellar, but Grizzly shows us that at least The Lion King game on the Super NES looks really good.

 

What makes these maps particularly impressive is how Grizzly dealt with the backgrounds.  As are the case of many Super NES maps, they scroll at a slower rate than the foreground, and so are actually "smaller".  Grizzly has applied more gradient colours than in the original in-game images to allow the backgrounds to fill their space - and also making them looking better than in the actual game!  This shows that an already colourful game can be mapped more vividly with an understanding of colour and more patience than what is already required to map any game.  While some cartographic purists would usually frown on any alteration of a game's original graphics, no worries here (hakuna matata!) - the maps all look too good to gripe about.

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these more-beautiful-than-in-game maps, Grizzly's Lion King maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for August 2006.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Super Mario Kart (Nintendo, Super NES)

Compiler: Alex Foster

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Alex Foster's Super Mario Kart (Super NES) maps.

 

Now that summer's here, it's time for some outdoor fun!  Bust out the go-karts!  ...Or at least the Mario Karts!

 

Super Mario Kart is the first of several Mario Kart games, and many maintain that it is still among the best of them, despite its now-antiquated faux-3D.  In truth, the stages are just 2-dimensional planes laid out at an angle.  The Mode 7 scaling and rotation of the "ground" in racing games was, at the time, still relatively new in console gaming, though Nintendo pulled it off well on the Super NES in both this game and F-Zero.

 

Alex Foster has captured the original maps, as seen from a birds-eye perspective.  You would never see the map as a whole like this in the game, so they're incredibly useful if you're planning routes and finding shortcuts to aid you in your quest to be the best Mario Kart racer.

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these useful overhead maps, Alex Foster's Super Mario Kart maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for July 2006.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Mega Man VII (Capcom, Super NES)

Compiler: Geminiman

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Geminiman's Mega Man VII (Super NES) maps.

 

Mega Man VII is a Mega Man game through and through.  Eight Robot Masters whose weapons are obtained to defeat another, Dr. Wily's the final boss, shooting and jumping and platforming action, etc.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, and Mega Man games are extremely popular here at VGMaps.com.  (Mega Man VII does introduce major character Bass, Wily's creation meant to rival Mega Man, and it is the only Mega Man game on the Super NES (unless you count the X (not "10") series, Mega Man Soccer, and the Japanese-only Mega Man & Bass).  So story-wise, it's pivotal, and milestone-wise, it's historical.)

 

One of the biggest Mega Man fans is Geminiman, if you couldn't guess by his name (though his horoscope sign is Gemini as well).  Since those born in June (except for the last ten days) are under the horoscope sign of Gemini, I thought it would be an appropriate month to recognize Geminiman's contributions.  Besides Mega Man VII, Geminiman has also worked on Mega Man: The Wily Wars, Mega Man V, Mega Man VI, Mega Man & Bass, Mega Man X and Mega Man X 3.  His work on the X series' games was instrumental in the April Fool's joke earlier this year, so he deserves credit for that too.

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these complete and classic maps, Geminiman's Mega Man VII maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for June 2006.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder (Sierra, PC)

Compiler: Dan_

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Dan_'s King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder (PC) maps.

 

After two years of recognizing great maps, we only had one map set for the PC that had received the Maps Of The Month honour.  So it's about due time for another one.  And so why not one from another historically pivotal series?

 

Sierra Entertainment is probably best known for their series of PC adventure games.  There's King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, Quest For Glory, Leisure Suit Larry, and all of the aboves' numerous sequels, as well as the Dr. Brain games, the Eco Quest games, and more!  If you are old enough to remember a time when PC games weren't all first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, or massively multiplayer online RPGs, then you should have at least played one of these.

 

King's Quest in particular is the original series, and its first game was a ground-breaking step up from text adventure games.  Sure, the early games still had a typing interface for commands, but soon in all of the Quest games you were playing all the way through just by using the mouse.

 

Of the King's Quest games, the fifth one is visually remarkable and fairly epic.  The hand-drawn graphics (and the series itself, arguably) were at their peak at about this time.  From cozy Serenia, this adventure will take you (and King Graham) through a scorching desert, a snowy mountain, a vast ocean, and the downright creepy castle of Mordack's...and all the while you'll be remarking at how good 256-colour VGA graphics can look.

 

Dan_ didn't play favourites, though, as he mapped all of the first six games completely, and in mere days, by starting another one immediately after finishing another.  As VGMaps.com can only honour one at a time, we'll go with King's Quest V.

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these picturesque maps, Dan_'s King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for May 2006.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Mega Man Solid X: Guns Of The Mavericks (J) (Capcom/Konami, GBA)

Compilers: JonLeung, bustin98, Osrevad, Grizzly & Revned

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to our Mega Man Solid X: Guns Of The Mavericks (J) (GBA) maps.

 

Capcom is no stranger to cross-overs.  There are several games where the title itself makes the cross-overs very evident, such as Marvel Vs. Capcom (and its sequel), Capcom Vs. SNK (and its sequel), SNK Vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighter's Clash (the two Neo-Geo Pocket Color games), and the Japanese game Namco X Capcom.  Prior to Marvel Vs. Capcom, their Street Fighter series have also seen cross-overs with X-Men and other Marvel heroes, but the Mega Man series has its share as well, all with Konami.  Capcom's Mega Man Battle Network 5 can be linked to Konami's Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django for a strange cross-over involving Shade Man - and who can forget Mega Man and Simon Belmont (of Konami's Castlevania) teaming up on Captain N: The Game Master?

Capcom's Mega Man (X) crosses over with a Konami property again here in Mega Man Solid X: Guns Of The Mavericks.  The story is essentially a simplified version of Metal Gear Solid's, with Mega Man X in place of Solid Snake.  The gameplay (much to the chagrin of MGS fans) is more closer to the Mega Man X series' blast-them-ups than MGS's stealthiness.  The bosses are Capcom's take on MGS's FOXHOUND unit, if they were Maverick Reploids.  After all, they share the same style of names (they're all named as "[descriptor] [animal]"), and this was probably the inspiration to even try to mix these two completely different games.

 

The Mega Man series has been a popular one here on VGMaps.com, and for this second VGMaps.com Atlas Project, a group effort of five people worked hard to map out a game...that isn't even available outside of Japan yet.  Will we ever see a North American or European release?  The official web site, http://solid-x.com still reads "Coming Soon to the Nintendo Game Boy Advance"...keep your fingers crossed, MG(S) and MM(X) fans...

 

So to recognize the team effort in making these maps, JonLeung's, bustin98's, Osrevad's, Grizzly's, and Revned's Mega Man Solid X: Guns Of The Mavericks maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for April FOOLS' 2006.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Wizards & Warriors III: Kuros: Visions Of Power (Rare, NES)

Compiler: KingKuros

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to KingKuros's Wizards & Warriors III: Kuros: Visions Of Power (NES) maps.

 

The evil Malkil is not so easily defeated.  Even after Kuros stops him at the end of Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II, his unvanquished spirit is still able to stir up trouble.  Kuros must find a way to stop him...again.  Typical sequel lead-in, for sure, but hey, that means another game in the series, and that game is Wizards & Warriors III: Kuros: Visions Of Power.  The title's quite a mouthful, isn't it?

 

Unlike many action adventure games at the time, and also unlike its two prequels, this installment does not have numbered or ordered stages.  It's less linear in progression, and many areas are large, so it's easy to get lost.  Leave it to KingKuros to help you through this adventure!

 

Rare's NES games are very distinct.  The graphics are very detailed and usually feature very bright colours.  This game is no exception.  Ever seen a rainbow-coloured cave?  In this game you will.  Neon-coloured town?  Why not?  The maps are interesting enough to look at even without the intention of using them for navigation.

 

I think it almost goes without saying that KingKuros loved this game, not just because he mapped it out, but because his moniker is clearly derived from this series' protagonist.  He's also mapped out the two previous games!  While these and other games mapped by him are worthy of possible future Maps Of The Month honours, I think it's best to give his (likely) first to the game that includes his name in the title.

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these long-deserving maps, KingKuros's Wizards & Warriors III: Kuros: Visions Of Power maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for March 2006.

Game: The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Seasons (Nintendo/Capcom, Game Boy Color)

Compiler: TerraEsperZ

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to TerraEsperZ's The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Seasons (Game Boy Color) maps.

 

It's February.  Winter is still here.  Are the dark skies, icy ground, and coldness getting you down?  You could stand around and see if a groundhog sees his shadow, but even if spring is around the corner it wouldn't come as quick as if you were handling the Rod Of Seasons.  Flick it, and voila!  No snow.

 

Link has the luxury (and task) of wielding such a tool in Oracle Of Ages' companion game, Oracle Of Seasons.  Ignoring all astronomy, the sudden changes of the seasons essentially creates a four-world dynamic, double what you would see in several other dual-world games...including Zelda's own A Link To The Past, Ocarina Of Time, and Oracle of Ages.  Okay, maybe the differences are more subtle, but it's just a lot of fun to play with seasons.  The villain here, Onox, throws the seasons into chaos in his attempt to create a world of darkness from the withering land, so Link finds ways to mess with the seasons to his advantage to get to Onox and rescue Din, the Oracle Of Seasons.  The Rod Of Seasons is fun AND functional!

 

You'll want a map, though.  Or maybe four.  Or five.  TerraEsperZ has made maps for Holodrum in each of the four seasons, as well as a map for the "default" seasons for each area.  There is also a map for the underworld, Subrosia.  And all of the dungeons.  No, you can't get lost with TerraEsperZ's maps this month.

 

After Oracle Of Ages' maps were made Maps Of The Month in January, it was only fitting to have its link-up game, Seasons, immediately following.  TerraEsperZ and Revned worked well together in getting these two games done.  TerraEsperZ's been given this honour before, but I think he really deserves this one.  (Especially if you ask him when he sent these in.  Looks like he should've had the Harp Of Ages on his side instead of the Rod Of Seasons.  I kid.)  Nonetheless, congratulations!

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these corresponding maps, TerraEsperZ's The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Seasons maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for February 2006.

Game: The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages (Nintendo/Capcom, Game Boy Color)

Compiler: Revned

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Revned's The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages (Game Boy Color) maps.

 

Happy New Year!  It's a whole new year, the year 2006.  For us to move to a new year, it's just a matter of giving in to the flow of time and eventually a new year simply comes in and replaces the old one.  It's a steady, one-directional flow.  It usually works this way for everyone.  But not for Link.  By playing the Harp Of Ages, he can go back and forth across a multi-century span if he needed to.

 

The two Oracle Zelda games for the Game Boy Color are among the lesser-known Zelda games, and undeservedly so.  Perhaps the launch of the GBA that same year made these and other late GBC games seem antiquated already.  Though developed by Capcom (still published by Nintendo, of course), these games are still very much Zelda games.  But if you check out one, you really should check out the other - Oracle Of Ages and Oracle Of Seasons can link up via passwords to unlock things such as another dungeon, another Heart, and the real final boss...as if you didn't know who that is...  (There were originally supposed to be three games, but it looks like only Din and Nayru made it...poor Farore...)

 

In Oracle Of Ages, Link travels back and forth between the past and the present, once again repeating the two-world/time travel themes already seen in Ocarina Of Time.  This very game made me finally give up the notion that there is only one Link (one can only meet Zelda for the first time so many times) so it wouldn't be the same Hero Of Time.  It's an all new concept for this Link.  And a new villain for any Link, as here he faces the Sorceress Of Shadows, Veran, who has taken over Nayru (the Oracle Of Ages)'s body, intent on wreaking havoc in the past to cement her reign in the present.

 

The past and present of the world of Labrynna share many of the same locations and structures, but as to be expected over a period of time, many of the details are different.  So how would you be able to get around a new world, while doing so in two different time periods?  Well, that's where multi-Mapmaker Of The Month recipient Revned comes in.  Unlike most of the Zelda games currently on VGMaps.com, where the dungeon maps and overworld maps are done by different cartographers, Revned has taken on the task of doing all the dungeons as well as both overworlds.  If you get stuck while playing an unfortunately obscure Zelda game, you might as well get the most complete map sets possible, and now you have them.

 

And as for Seasons?  Ages and Seasons work in tandem, and so does Revned and another cartographer to be honoured soon.  It's Revned this month, though, but I think he gets points for working well in a partnership.

 

So to recognize the effort put into making these underrated-yet-deserving (and as you'll see soon, corresponding) maps, Revned's The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for January 2006.

 

Congratulations and thanks to the Mapmakers of 2006!