2017

Game: Chip's Challenge (Epyx, PC)

Compiler: Peardian

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Peardian's Chip's Challenge (PC) maps.

 

The nerdy Chip McCallahan wants to gain membership into the exclusive Bit Buster Club, led by Melinda The Mental Marvel.  To do so, he must pass through 149 levels of Melinda's "Clubhouse", full of hazards, creatures and puzzlish scenarios.  Do you have the brains to help Chip survive this virtual nightmare and take Melinda to the E-Prom?

 

Mario game mapper Peardian actually gives us maps for a non-Mario game (and last month featured a Mario game not mapped by Peardian)!  There may have been a number of top-down view puzzle games on the PC at the time, but Chip's Challenge had some renown.  It was originally developed for the Atari Lynx, and despite (or maybe because of) the Lynx's unpopularity, it was ported to a few other platforms.  It found some popularity on Windows 3.1 by being featured on Microsoft Entertainment Pack 4 and Best Of Microsoft Entertainment Pack.  But it would take 26 years for a sequel, also made by the original creator, Chuck Sommerville.

 

What makes Chip's Challenge particularly challenging is its limited view.  Peardian's maps show you each whole level, giving Chip a better chance to clear these challenges and meet up with Melinda.  Thanks, Peardian!

 

So for mapping a real Windows classic (that's not Solitaire or Minesweeper), Peardian's Chip's Challenge (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for November 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Nintendo, Game Boy)

Compiler: RyuMaster

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to RyuMaster's Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Game Boy) maps.

 

Super Mario takes on a variety of Zones in his last big adventure on the first Nintendo portable, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, in search for, well, six golden coins.  These will unlock the door to Mario's castle which has been taken over by the evil Wario. Can Mario reclaim Mario Land?

 

This game is a decent Game Boy adventure, if a little strange.  The setting and the enemies are definitely cartoony, but not quite like in other Mario games.  For example, the Pumpkin Zone has... hockey-masked creatures with a knife in their head?  Even if they are just Goombas dressed for Halloween in this Jack O'Lantern-styled zone, it does seem a little strange - a Mario game is the last place you'd expect to see a Friday The 13th reference.  And when has Mario ever lived in his own castle?

 

Mario's ownership extends past his castle, as before Wario took this over, this was all "Mario Land".  It includes the Mario Zone, which is a giant mechanical Mario (for some reason).  The other Zones include the Tree Zone, the Space Zone, the Macro Zone, the Pumpkin Zone, and the Turtle Zone, which RyuMaster, master of Game Boy maps, has dissected for us!  This portable odyssey of Super Mario's is immortalized here on VGMaps so it can't be forgotten.  This interesting take on Mario does have one lasting thing, though - it introduced the Mario's rival, the greedy Wario!

 

So for mapping this Super Mario oddity, RyuMaster's Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Game Boy) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for October 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: F-Zero (Nintendo, Super NES)

Compiler: Rick Bruns

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Rick Brun's F-Zero (Super NES) maps.

 

F-Zero is a futuristic racing series that began in the 16-bit era, and this first game introduces us to Captain Falcon, driver of the Blue Falcon.  (Well, he's not any more than a lump of a silhouette here, but still!)  As he says in Super Smash Bros., "Show me your moves!"  As a launch title for the Super NES, F-Zero certainly showed what it could do, as it demonstrates the console's "Mode 7" ability to scale and rotate graphics.  By taking these track graphics, which are flat planes, but angled with respect to the "camera", and rotating them as the player turns, the sort-of-3D effect is achieved, something the competition isn't capable of.  ("Super NES is what Genesisn't"?)

 

Thus, Rick Bruns had to grab these graphics as they actually are (as if a bird's-eye view), not as they are presented during the race.  But these are extremely handy.  When you're driving at hundreds of kilometers a second, it's good to know when the turns are coming up, especially the sharp ones!

 

If you didn't experience the game at the time, don't fret!  F-Zero is one of the select few games to make it onto the Super NES Classic Edition, so you can still put the pedal to the metal, assuming you are able to get a hold of one.

 

So for revisiting this Super NES classic, Rick Brun's F-Zero (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for September 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishijyuurokubei no Karakuri Manji Katame (J) (Konami, Super NES)

Compiler: gocha

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to gocha's Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishijyuurokubei no Karakuri Manji Katame (J) (Super NES) maps.

 

In the third main Goemon game for the Super Famicom, The Wise Old Man creates a time machine to chase after women in other time periods.  But in the future Neo-Edo, Ebisumaru's descendent, Sister Bisumaru, captures the Wise Old Man and has him build a robot army to take over the present-day Edo.  Once again it's up to the mystical ninja Goemon, Ebisumaru, Sasuke and Yae to save the day, in their usual wacky fashion!

 

Each of the four main characters has unique skills, to help them traverse this action-adventure game that has a lot of variety.  There are overhead areas, there are side-scrolling areas, there are times when you run away in little mechs (with Mode 7 scaling!) and there are times that you pilot the giant mech, Impact.  Thanks to the mapper gocha, VGMaps has got you covered.  Some areas are huge, and many of the side-scrolling platforming sections have two "layers", "front" and "back".  It's quite a sizeable game!

 

Now, two Japanese-only games recognized for "Maps Of The Month" in a row?  And the longest title by far (longer than even May 2006's King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder)!  Though the Goemon franchise includes quite a number of video games in Japan, only four of them have been released in North America: one each for the Super NES and Game Boy, and two on the Nintendo 64.  That being said, it's nice for gocha to have given one of several Japanese exclusives some attention, and shared its maps with us!

 

So for bringing us another look at the underappreciated Goemon, gocha's Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishijyuurokubei no Karakuri Manji Katame (J) (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for August 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Magical Vacation (J) (Nintendo, GBA)

Compilers: Tropicon & Eishiya

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Tropicon's and Eishiya's Magical Vacation (J) (GBA) maps.

 

School's out!  It's time to go on a vacation!  How about...a MAGICAL vacation?  Like going to Valencia Beach, where you and your summer school classmates (from a MAGICAL school) can enjoy a view of the ocean, beautiful sunsets, and a creature known as Enigma that might capture some of your friends!  Or check out the Plane Of Light, where you can check out the market at Pippurusu Town, and marvel at the wondrously cheesy La Roche Tower.  Or the Plane Of Darkness, with its way-cool Icy Island, or take a trek through Riginio Jungle.  And then there's the oh-so-welcoming Plane Of Death...maybe?  (Okay, maybe not.)

 

The first game by the Nintendo-owned studio Brownie Brown (now 1-Up Studios, orginally comprised of ex-Square staff) is Magical Vacation (J).  This gorgeous game is reminiscent in look to the Mana series, which they also worked on (as they did Sword Of Mana and Heroes Of Mana).  This picturesque, yet often labyrinthine game - which is also underappreciated, as it didn't see a release outside of Japan - is a great choice for recognition here.

 

So for taking us on a magical RPG vacation, Tropicon's and Eishiya's Magical Vacation (J) (GBA) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for July 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Jill Of The Jungle (Epic MegaGames, PC)

Compiler: Will Mallia

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Will Mallia's Jill Of The Jungle (PC) maps.

 

Jill, an Amazon woman and apparently of the jungle, travels underground and rescues a prince in the Jill Of The Jungle trilogy.  She can throw daggers and transform into animals to traverse 50 levels of classic 1992 platforming action with VGA graphics!  What a wonder woman!

 

In the early 90s, games (mostly platformers) were popular on PCs via shareware.  Popularized by Apogee, games were encouraged to be copied and shared, with the idea being that if you like the game, you would buy additional episodes.  Epic MegaGames's major foray into shareware platforming was Jill Of The Jungle.  It was fairly successful, and allowed Epic MegaGames to create other classic games such as Jazz Jackrabbit and One Must Fall 2097.  And Epic would go on to make the Unreal Engine, a game engine now in its fourth iteration, which powers many video games today.  So this 25-year-old game may be, at least in part, responsible for some of your favourite video game memories.  And, hey, it's a decent game on its own, and a classic!

 

So for jumping into the jungle with Jill, Will Mallia's Jill Of The Jungle (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for June 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: RollerCoaster Tycoon (MicroProse, PC)

Compiler: RoberTime

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to RoberTime's RollerCoaster Tycoon (PC) maps.

 

It's May!  Now that it's late spring, the theme parks are opening up - so it's time to get on those coasters!

 

There are many simulation games on the PC, but only a few of them really stand out.  One of them is MicroProse's RollerCoaster Tycoon, where one can manage a theme park, and build some attractions, which include roller coasters (of course).  The track editor has a great variety of configurations, so from slow simple rides to speedy death-defying loops, you can build pretty much any kind of coaster you can imagine.

 

Various scenarios have you managing an already-existing park, whether already booming, or failing and in need of revival, or, of course, building one entirely from scratch.  Including the "Corkscrew Follies" and "Loopy Landscapes" expansions, you have 86 such areas to work with.  RoberTime has captured all these areas, and if not primarily navigational (while one can easily get lost in any theme park, you can't really get lost here, from this perspective), they are certainly quite nostalgic, for anyone who has enjoyed this theme park simulator on the PC.  Either way, you won't have to buy these maps at any kiosk - all these maps are here for your perusal!

 

So for taking us for a ride down the tracks of nostalgia, RoberTime's RollerCoaster Tycoon (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for May 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Brain Lord (Enix, Super NES)

Compilers: Tropicon & FlyingArmor

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Tropicon's and FlyingArmor's Brain Lord (Super NES) maps.

 

Remeer's father is the last of the dragon warriors, but never returned from a quest to hunt down the last dragon. Remeer and his friends go on a journey to find out what happened. And thus we have the story of this action RPG on the Super NES, Brain Lord, developed by Produce! and published by Enix, just like the similar Super NES games, The 7th Saga and Mystic Ark (J).

As the title of this game probably suggests, this is a game that features a number of puzzles, so as you work your way through these rather large dungeons, you'll have to use your brain! Rocks, blocks, keys and locks...

Two heads are better than one, and that is true with these maps. Though these maps probably would not have been much of a challenge for veteran Super NES mappers Tropicon and FlyingArmor, it is still nice to split up a task by working as a team (like Remeer and his fairy sprite things). Tropicon mapped the game, with FlyingArmor adding labels. This game may try to stump you, but at the very least you know you won't get lost, thanks two these two Brain Lords!


So the recognize the effort in easing our brains, Tropicon's and FlyingArmor's Brain Lord (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for April 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: The Legend Of Zelda (Nintendo, NES)

Compiler: Rick Bruns

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Rick Bruns's The Legend Of Zelda (NES) maps.

 

After Ganon, the Prince Of Darkness, seizes the Triforce of Power and kidnaps Princess Zelda, Hyrule is engulfed in chaos.  As per Zelda's command, the royal nursemaid Impa searches the land for someone courageous.  When she runs into trouble with Ganon's henchmen, she is rescued by the heroic Link.  Link learns of the Princess, and sets off to rescue her and reassemble the Triforce of Wisdom to counter the evil of Ganon and save Hyrule.

 

The Legend Of Zelda on the NES is truly legendary.  Developed near-simultaneously alongside Super Mario Bros. by famed Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, it is also notable for being the first home console game to include a battery for saving progress.  It also came in a gold cartridge, showing that Nintendo had the utmost confidence that this was going to be something special.  And indeed it is, spawning a series widely considered to be one of the best video game franchises of all time, if not the best.  It is the first series to have two games get a perfect 40/40 score in Famitsu (Ocarina Of Time and The Wind Waker) - assuming that counts for anything anymore - and includes a number of beloved classics such as A Link To The Past, Link's Awakening, and Majora's Mask.  The series is still going strong with Breath Of The Wild simultaneously releasing on both the Wii U and the new Nintendo Switch, and though this newest installment is noteworthy for being an open-world game, the original NES game is also open-world, in the sense that you really could explore quite a bit and tackle the dungeons in any order.  And certainly for its time, such non-linearity was special.

 

It's almost surprising that maps for this game hadn't been honoured earlier.  While we certainly have looked at a number of Zelda games here on Maps Of The Month (including a couple April Fools' jokes), the original game is special here on VGMaps.com as Rick Bruns has made a SWF (Shockwave Flash) interactive map, with which you can toggle elements on or off (such as monsters or secrets), to assist you in planning your route across Hyrule.  Besides the Hyrule overworld, he has also mapped the dungeons in full.  As they say, "it's dangerous to go alone", so take these maps!

So the recognize the effort in mapping the legendary Zelda, Rick Bruns's The Legend Of Zelda (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for March 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Solar Jetman (Rare, NES)

Compiler: mechaskrom

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to mechaskrom's Solar Jetman (NES) maps.

 

As Jetman (hero of Jet Pac and Lunar Jetman), you are hunting for pieces of the Golden Warpship (though the European box art says "Warship"). To do so, you will have to traverse a dozen planets, using a small pod to maneuver through caverns, and utilizing a tow cable to collect valuables, fuel, and the pieces of the Golden Warpship and bringing them back to the mothership. The caverns, which can become increasingly maze-like and narrow as you get to farther planets, make this quite the challenging experience. As if it wasn't hard enough just knowing your way, you'll have to contend with gravity and inertia, and of course dragging heavy items around affects your flying ability. Will Jetman be able to collect and reassemble the Golden Warpship?

Luckily, mechaskrom's got this covered. Not only has he fully mapped out all of the planets, he's also provided mini-maps with the items being more clearly indicated, as well as a few tips concerning the warps and wormholes. Thanks to these efforts, Jetman has a greater chance of success. Though we are talking about one of the most difficult games on the NES, so it's still going to be tough, but at the very least, you won't get lost in this galaxy.

So the recognize the effort in paving the planetary path to the pieces of the Golden Warship, mechaskrom's Solar Jetman (NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for February 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

Game: Crystal Warriors (Sega, Game Gear)

Compiler: zagato blackfist

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

 

The evil Jyn are conquering the land, so Princess Arliel assembles her forces to reclaim the stolen elemental crystals and then take on the evil emperor Grym.  This is the story of Crystal Warriors, a Fire Emblem-style tactical game on Sega's portable, the Game Gear.

 

Though we have had quite a number of epic fantasy games featured here, including those of the tactical variety, this is the first time that a Game Gear game has been recognized for the Maps Of The Month honour!  Thank zagato blackfist for bringing this to our attention (as well as its Japanese-only sequel, Royal Stone (J)).  zagato has also provided the stats of the units that you will encounter on Princess Arliel's quest.  Plus, zagato had also noticed that the areas in each Round are actually continuous with each other, so he has also assembled a full map showing the game world in its entirety.  Now that's going above and beyond!

 

So to recognize the effort put into mapping this gem of a game, zagato blackfist's Crystal Warriors (Game Gear) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for January 2017.

 

Discuss the Maps Of The Month here!

 

 

Congratulations and thanks to the Mapmakers of 2017!