For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Peardian's Mario Vs. Donkey Kong 2: March Of The Minis (DS) maps.
It's time to pick out your toys, girls and boys! Would you pick a Mini-Mario, or a Mini-DK? In Mario Vs. Donkey Kong 2, the original video game damsel in distress, Pauline, chooses a Mini-Mario toy over a Mini-DK toy, causing an enraged Donkey Kong to kidnap her (again) in a fit of jealous rage. Mario sends in his army of Mini-Marios, and the clash of the toys begins!
Like its predecessor (which was honoured back in March of this year), the game is heavy with puzzle elements. Unlike its predecessor, rather than controlling Mario, you will be micro-managing the movements of your Mini-Marios with the help of the mighty stylus. Once you figure out what to do, you still need to be able to carry it out. Peardian's maps can at least help you with that first part. And the colourful and cute graphics just look great.
So to recognize the effort put into making these maps to guide us through this action puzzler, and our first fully-mapped DS game, Peardian's Mario Vs. Donkey Kong 2: March Of The Minis maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for December 2008.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to LDK's Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 maps.
In the second installment of the Command & Conquer: Red Alert series, the United States are invaded by the Soviets, who are armed with mind control technology. Playing as the Allied Commander, you will work with General Carville and Special Agent Tanya to defeat Yuri's Soviet Psychic Corps. Playing as the Soviet Commander, you must "defend the motherland", take over the world, and eventually have to deal with the traitorous Yuri as well. The expansion, Yuri's Revenge, sees the Allies and Soviets trying to stop the Psychic Dominator devices which would allow Yuri to take over the minds of everyone on the planet.
As with other real-time strategy games, like Blizzard's WarCraft and StarCraft games, each faction has their own set of missions, and therefore a unique set of maps to have to play through. As you gather resources and manage your units, you should also have knowledge of the terrain to achieve victory. LDK, apparently a RTS fan, gives us a good atlas of the world as seen through the eyes of both the Allies and the Soviets, as well as in the expansion.
So to recognize the effort put into mapping yet another PC RTS classic (as well as its expansion), LDK's Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for November 2008.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to TerraEsperZ's Castlevania: Bloodlines maps.
As Hallowe'en draws near, it's fitting to revisit some video games that feature ghouls and ghosts and goblins. And here's one game whose honour here as Maps Of The Month is long overdue: Castlevania: Bloodlines (or Castlevania: The New Generation for those of you in Europe), as mapped by TerraEsperZ.
The only Castlevania game on the Sega Genesis is set in 1917, and sees John Morris and Eric LeCarde on a quest to stop Countess Elizabeth Bartley from reviving Count Dracula (again). As ancestors of the Belmonts, Morris and LeCarde have the skills necessary to take down all the baddies that threaten WWI-era Europe. And thanks to TerraEsperZ, we have the maps to help them out!
The stages are few, but they are long and varied. From Romania to England, every pixel of every leg of the journey is here. Check out the bizarreness of the Leaning Tower Of Pisa! And the Munitions Factory in Germany provides the requisite climb up giant gears. This game may not be as well-loved as other games in the series, but it's still classic Castlevania.
So to recognize the effort put into mapping a Castlevania game (and who doesn't love Castlevania?), TerraEsperZ's Castlevania: Bloodlines maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for October 2008.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to LDK's WarCraft II: Tides Of Darkness maps.
Who hasn't played a WarCraft game? Some people are playing so much World Of WarCraft that they're practically living it, but before WarCraft's insanely popular MMORPG were the original real-time strategy (RTS) games.
WarCraft II: Tides Of Darkness (and its expansion, Beyond The Dark Portal) sees the Orcs and the Humans going at it against each other again, from the shores of Lordaeron to Black Rock Spire to the Great Portal and beyond! Here, we have maps for your trek back to and across Azeroth!
Over the past little while, LDK has completely mapped several real-time strategy games (and their expansions) and submitted them to VGMaps.com. Of these, I chose WarCraft II: Tides Of Darkness, though any other could also be honoured someday.
So to recognize the effort put into mapping one of the most classic RTS games ever, LDK's WarCraft II: Tides Of Darkness maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for September 2008.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to rocktyt's Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA) maps.
Twenty-one years ago this month (or twenty-two if you live in Japan), gamers were introduced to the original Metroid game on the NES. In one of the first "retraversal" adventure games, bounty hunter Samus Aran ventures deep into Planet Zebes to stop the Space Pirates' misuse of Metroids. After destroying the Mother Brain and escaping an explosion, Samus removes the Varia Suit. The ending is hardly a spoiler to anyone now, but this reveals that Samus is a woman, more surprising in a time when video game heroines were uncommon.
More recently, Samus's original mission was revamped for the Game Boy Advance as Metroid: Zero Mission. While it's mostly a retelling of the same story, Zero Mission has better graphics, new items, more bosses, as well as a continuation of what happens after Samus removes her suit, allowing her to demonstrate her stealth skills and touching upon her origins as a defender of the Chozo.
rocktyt has recently mapped out the reimagined Zebes, including the new area, Chozodia. It's nothing short of amazing to see every detail of each area of Zebes all at once. Great job, rocktyt! And zerofighter, too. Be sure to check out their Metroid: Fusion maps, which are equally impressive!
So to recognize the effort put into mapping the definitive version of Samus's original adventure, rocktyt's Metroid: Zero Mission maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for August 2008.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to DarkWolf's Wolfenstein 3-D (PC) maps.
It's World War II, and you are B.J. Blazkowicz, "the Allies' bad boy of espionage and terminal action seeker". In six episodes, you will fight through German castles and take down Nazi forces, including a version of Adolf Hitler in mechanized armour! Though historically inaccurate, this game should at least be in the history books of video games, by being one of the first first-person shooters. Certainly the first really popular FPS to really start up the genre, at least.
While running around shooting Nazis, B.J. may find secret passageways, leading to rooms filled with treasure, or ammo, or guns! But how will you find all of these secrets, when it's hard enough to find your way at all? DarkWolf's got you covered! Mapper/hacker DarkWolf brings us all sixty maps of this timeless classic. Not only should the game be recognized as being one of the first FPSes, but here on VGMaps, Wolfenstein 3-D is among the first 3-D games to be successfully mapped! By extracting the map data from the game, and applying that to an isometric perspective, DarkWolf gives us exciting maps that are both accurate and aesthetically pleasing! (Also see his Blake Stone: Aliens Of Gold maps, mapped using the same technique.)
So to recognize the effort put into applying new techniques to a timeless classic, DarkWolf's Wolfenstein 3-D maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for July 2008.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to RT-55J's Contra III: The Alien Wars (Super NES) maps.
There's not a whole lot to say about this game's story. It's the year 2636. Aliens attack Earth. You're a macho guy, and you have a macho friend, and both of you have some big guns. Run-and-gun gameplay ensues.
Like any other Contra game, you'll have a blast just running ahead, blowing up every alien unfortunate enough to cross your path. You probably won't truly need RT-55J's maps - but they're fun to look at, especially if you want to relive this classic when you're nowhere near your Super NES (or Wii). The many big bosses, the incredible detail, even a stable look at Stage 2's and Stage 5's rotating Mode 7 maps. For any oldschool fan, what's not to love?
So to recognize the effort put into this Super NES classic, RT-55J's Contra III: The Alien Wars maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for June 2008.
Compiler: Dammit 9x
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Dammit 9x's Wonder Boy In Monster World (Genesis) maps.
The main character in this game is a man named Shion. Shion is on a quest to rid Monster World of, well, monsters. And at some point he saves a princess.
While the story could use more work, the game is much better. It's a cute action platformer with RPG elements. And yes, it is cute. And very colourful. Seeing those large, not-too-monstrous-looking boss monsters makes you wonder why sprite artwork isn't appreciated more than it is!
The Wonder Boy games are classics for any Sega fan. Dammit 9x was enough of a fan to map this game out in its entirety, bosses and enemies and NPCs and shops and all, doing justice to a game that should not be forgotten.
So to recognize the effort put into this Genesis classic, Dammit 9x's Wonder Boy In Monster World maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for May 2008.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to JonLeung's The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Hours (GBC) maps.
The third game in The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle series for the Game Boy Color is finally mapped! In this game, Link finds himself in the land of Falsia, where he meets Farore, who turns out to be the Oracle of Hours, responsible for the movement of the sun and moon. An evil entity named Proodyl captures Farore, threatening to cause an eclipse to fully awaken its evil energies, and Link sets off on another adventure to save a doomed world!
Like the companion games, Oracle Of Ages and Oracle Of Seasons, this new world also has different states. Whereas Labrynna has two time periods and Holodrum has four seasons, Falsia has both day and night. During the day, flowers are open, the tide is low, and gargoyle statues block paths; during the night, flowers are closed, the tide is high, and gargoyles come alive, among other things. Once Link obtains the Lamp Of Hours, he is able to use its captured sunlight to light (or extinguish) the Moon Lanterns to switch between day and night in order to traverse Falsia and make his way to Proodyl's Fortress to rescue Farore. And just like the other games, the true ending comes if you've finished one of the other Oracle games and continued with a Linked Game.
Two years after Revned's mapping of Oracle Of Ages (January 2006) and TerraEsperZ's mapping of Oracle Of Seasons (February 2006), the three Zelda Oracle games are now complete! As Link knows very well, it's always just a matter of time.
So to recognize the effort put into finishing off the "Triforce Trilogy", JonLeung's The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Hours maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for April FOOLS' 2008.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Peardian's Mario Vs. Donkey Kong (GBA) maps.
Besides being featured together in the Super Smash Bros. series, Nintendo characters have met each other a few times by way of cameos in each others' games. But the two earliest franchise characters have competed and clashed a few times since the beginning, and continue to do so even in recent times. Mario and Donkey Kong faced off in the first huge Nintendo game, named after Donkey Kong himself, before their futures split into two distinct franchises. Mario may be Nintendo's main man, yet Donkey Kong was always nearby, ready for some kart racing, or other competitive sports, or some of the annual parties. Whether or not the current Donkey Kong was DK Jr. and that Cranky Kong was the original DK is beside the point - the clash of Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a constant in the Nintendo universe. Or at least, revisited, reenacted, repackaged and replayed...
It comes as no surprise that there would eventually be a game named as such - Mario Vs. Donkey Kong on the GBA is a relatively recent adventure that pits, well, Mario against Donkey Kong. Looking to reclaim toys stolen from the big ape, Mario (now apparently in the toy business) must make his way through more than a hundred puzzlicious rooms! Expanding upon the platforming puzzle elements first seen in the Super Game Boy release of Donkey Kong in 1994, the game is an incredible challenge to work through! Cue my standard line about needing maps: well, you'll need all the help you can get, and Peardian (resident Mario mapper and multi-Mapmaker of the Month) at least provides these. Timing your jumps in Expert Stage x-8? You're on your own there!
So to recognize the effort put into making these maps from a modern classic, Peardian's Mario Vs. Donkey Kong maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for March 2008.
Compiler: Captain Drake
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Captain Drake's Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II (NES) maps.
With the worst of winter upon us, wouldn't it be nice to break away to a tropical paradise? Yeah, that'd be nice, wouldn't it? But the sequel to StarTropics isn't as much of an island-hopping adventure, but a time-traveling journey! Well, whatever gets you out of the snow. ...Except that the first stop is an icy mountain in the past. So much for that idea.
In any case, (and in any time period,) now's a good time as any to honour Captain Drake's Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II maps! The first game was a decent hit, thought the sequel came at the end of the NES era that many people may have missed it (because they were too busy debating whether the Genesis or the Super NES was cooler). If you do play/replay Zoda's Revenge, Mike Jones' second (and last) game will take you on a quest that includes encountering the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Sherlock Holmes. The maps here include every area, even every pitfall, so with these maps, you should be able to save Mica and your other alien friends from the evil Zoda. (But unfortunately you won't be able to save Mike Jones from Nintendo's choice to pull the plug on this franchise.)
So to recognize the effort put into making these maps from an underappreciated game, Captain Drake's Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for February 2008.
Compiler: Will Mallia
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Will Mallia's Ninja Gaiden Trilogy (Super NES) maps.
It's another year, but for many of us, maybe it doesn't feel any different. We still go through the same motions we did last time around.
The same could be said about Ninja Gaiden Trilogy, the upgraded/repackaged trio of Ryu Hayabusa's adventures, as we first saw on the NES. Now they're all on the same cartridge, with upgraded 16-bit graphics and a new password save system! The flying enemies still hit you when you're trying to make critical jumps, and the Jaquio's not any easier to defeat! But at least the adventures are the same, intact with those nifty cut-scenes, and revisiting them is certainly not a bad thing.
The stage layouts are identical to the original NES games, but both are exemplary examples of oldschool platforming action for either generation. Will Mallia has mapped all of the Super NES trilogy and most of the NES trilogy - truly, few people can survive three ninja adventures (or even these games) - and Will Mallia braved them twice!
So to recognize the effort put into making these "ninjatastic" maps, Will Mallia's Ninja Gaiden Trilogy maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for January 2008.
Congratulations and thanks to the Mapmakers of 2008!