For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to KeyBlade999's Pokémon: Yellow Version (GB) maps.
When Pokémon came out on the original Game Boy, Pikachu was not initially considered a "main" Pokémon. You would start the game with Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle, and their fully evolved forms would be featured on the boxes/labels for Pokémon: Green Version (Japan only), Red Version, and Blue Version, respectively. Pikachu is numbered #025 in the Pokédex, and though catchable relatively early, is an uncommon Pokémon to encounter, and gameplay or story-wise, wasn't anything special in particular. But then the merchandising opportunities favoured the "cute" Pokémon such as Pikachu and Clefairy, and it was the animated series that firmly established Pikachu as the series's mascot.
So, not surprisingly, soon came an enhanced version of the original generation of games that was called Pokémon: Yellow Version ("Special Pikachu Edition" on the box), a fitting colour as it is of course the colour of Pikachu and goes well with the other first generation games, which include Red, Green (in Japan) and Blue. Just like in the anime, Pikachu is the only available starter Pokémon and follows the main character around (as opposed to staying in its Poké Ball). Also from the anime, the Team Rocket duo of Jessie and James make appearances here. And as with the different versions of Pokémon, the frequency and availability of Pokémon species is different. Some graphics are tweaked, and enhanced when playing on the Game Boy Color (except for the Japanese version), so despite an overall structural similarity to the original games, KeyBlade999 felt it was worth mapping. This is also the first of the enhanced remakes that the next few generations of Pokémon would have, including Crystal (to Gold and Silver), Emerald (to Ruby and Sapphire) and Platinum (to Diamond and Pearl). And it will be remade yet again, with Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu (and Pokémon: Let's Go Eevee) available for the Nintendo Switch in November 2018.
Though Pikachu is now everywhere with anything that has to do with Pokémon, and a mascot for Nintendo as a whole and even a Japanese pop culture icon, it was this 1999 Game Boy game where Pikachu really started being front and center.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Revned's / Rick Bruns's Mega Man II (NES) maps.
Dr. Wily is causing trouble again! Seeking revenge after his first defeat, Dr. Wily creates eight of his own Robot Masters to counter Mega Man, including Metal Man, Air Man, Bubble Man, Quick Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Heat Man and Wood Man. Can the heroic robot Mega Man defeat them all and put a stop to Dr. WIly's nefarious schemes yet again?
We've featured a few Mega Man games here for the Maps Of The Month honour before, but the only other NES one featured before this one was Mega Man III, which was the first honouree way back in May 2004 (also mapped by Revned)! It is, of course, a little odd that it has taken this long to recognize it, since Mega Man II is by far the most popular of the Mega Man games, making a reappearance on the NES Classic Edition, and more recently rereleased on cartridge by iam8bit.
This is the first time I am honouring two mappers - but not for working together. Revned has fully mapped the six Mega Man games on the NES - and though his maps were certainly more than adequate, he went back and remapped all of them. That's mega-dedication! Rick Bruns of nesmaps.com has also mapped this game, opting to show the placement of enemies. Either way, they've totally mapped this classic from the 8-bit era - isn't it about time we enjoy some more Mega Man?
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to King-Hyrule's Holy Diver (J) (NES) maps.
The Black Slayer, the "Emperor Of The Darkness", wreaks havoc upon the world with his black magic and army of followers and creatures. Our hero, Randy, seeks five emblem seals of the King Crimson family, with which he can draw upon holy magic to expel the Black Slayer and his followers from this world.
This platformer with gothic architecture in a medieval setting swarming with monsters may remind you of the Castlevania series, though now with a heavier dose of magic. Though progression is mostly linear, there are a few places where you may have to step aside to another screen or out-of-the-way part of a room, and later on, alternate paths, in order to find bonuses like extra lives and "Mana Extenders" to help you on your holy quest to save the world. And you'll need everything you can get your hands on - especially King-Hyrule's maps which point all these out - because like the early Castlevania games, it also has a ridiculous difficulty level.
Though it was originally only published for the Famicom in Japan in 1989, if you pre-ordered one of the very limited Holy Diver: Collector's Edition cartridges published by Retro-Bit® and sold at CastleMania Games, you'll now be able to enjoy this on your NES! Though this game is described as "holy", you might be cursing a lot, though...
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Shiny's Pooh And Tigger's Hunny Safari (GBC) maps.
Tigger and Pooh are out to throw a Thursday Party, but of course you can't have a Thursday Party without honey! (Though really, that just goes without saying, right?) It's time to seek out all the honey pots around the Hundred Acre Wood (which are just scattered about, for some reason)!
Pooh And Tigger's Hunny Safari is a portable platformer featuring Disney's version of Winnie-The-Pooh, Tigger, Christopher Robin, and all their friends. Considering it is on the Game Boy Color, its impressive graphics and smooth animation are even more remarkable. Sure, you would expect video games with cartoony characters to be animated well, but more often than not, they are not as fluid as on your TV on Saturday mornings, though this game does an exceptional job. Shiny, no stranger to the Game Boy Color, has mapped this out for all to see, which is good because, let's be honest, licensed games aren't usually known for their quality, but this one at least looks and plays well! Is it "bouncy trouncy flouncy pouncy fun fun fun fun FUN"? Well, it's more so than many other cartoon-based games, at least.
Compiler: Will Mallia
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Will Mallia's Vice: Project Doom (NES) maps.
Detective Hart of the Vice unit investigates the mysterious BEDA Corporation, which is involved in military technology, but also turns out to be a front operated by aliens. The aliens' "Gel" is a substance used as a drug which has serious effects on humans. Hart will have to drive, jump and shoot to get to the bottom of this convoluted story and save the world.
Vice: Project Doom is often compared to the Ninja Gaiden series because of its partly animated cutscenes telling a slightly more mature story (by NES standards) and the highly detailed graphics that make up the dark locales that our hero must traverse. But in addition to the side-scrolling action, the game also features a couple "Spy Hunter"-style driving sections as well as two arcade-style first-person shooting segments. It really is a underrated game that never came close to being as popular as its ninja-themed cousins on the NES, but is still a comparably good time.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to BumFengShui's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (GBA) maps.
Summer is upon us! Bust out your boards, or this sick GBA game!
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Vorpal86's The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja (Super NES) maps.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Zerker's Jazz Jackrabbit (PC) maps.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Eishiya's Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight (PC) maps.
In this prequel to the first Momodora, set four centuries earlier, Kaho the pirestess must stop a curse from the Kingdom of Karst which is spreading across the land. Will she be able to defeat the Accurst Queen of Karst and save her village?
So to recognize the effort put into mapping this indie hit, Eishiya's Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for March 2018.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to G.E.R.'s Sonic Mania (PC) maps.
Taking place after Sonic & Knuckles, Doctor Eggman sends some EggRobos to Angel Island to retrieve the Phantom Ruby. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are sent back to areas from their previous adventures, and must chase down Doctor Eggman and his EggRobos - now the Hard Boiled Heavies - to stop the Phantom Ruby from being used for evil.
The latest 2D Sonic game (as of now) is actually pretty good, very much in the vein as the original games from the Genesis. In fact, many Zones from those early games return, such as Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant Zone (gotta love that music). Fitting, as this game commemorates the series' 25th anniversary. Even if not entirely original, there are some nice surprises, and it's still a standout retro game, in an era where retro games are a dime a dozen. Plus, it's always good to see a Sonic game fully mapped!
So to recognize the effort put into mapping the latest hedgehog game for Groundhog Day, G.E.R.'s Sonic Mania (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for February 2018.
For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to KingKuros's Quo Vadis (C64) maps.
Quo Vadis finally gets its long-overdue recognition for Maps Of The Month, an honour somehow missed until now (though it did make it onto the "VGMaps's 15th Anniversary - 15 BEST MAP SETS!" video. This large, single map also got published in Retro Gamer issue 81! What's notable about this game, you ask? Why, it was the biggest game at the time, the first to be over a thousand screens in size!
Its other claim to fame are the real riches someone could have earned. Has anyone claimed the �40,000 in prizes for solving the riddle within this game? It is now 400 months since its release, and as far as anyone can tell, it hasn't been paid out. There are six clues within this game - five found in this labyrinth and a sixth as you exit. Being the first to solve them and mailing in the correct answer should have won somebody �30,000 and a scepter worth �10,000, but that probably never happened. But at least here, KingKuros finally gets something for scouring this entire cavern! Okay, a Maps Of The Month recognition isn't the same as �40,000, but it's something.
So to recognize the effort put into mapping the first game to be over 1000 screens large. KingKuros's Quo Vadis (C64) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for January 2018.
Congratulations and thanks to the Mapmakers of 2018!