10 Nes games that sorely lacked a map

Modern games spoil us in a number of ways. Easy accessibility with online downloads. In-game tutorials without the need for physical manuals. The ability to autosave without a second thought needed about losing progress. But one of these modern innovations isn’t all that modern, the inclusion of an in-game or physical map. Even retro games such as Super Metroid utilize a dynamic map and minimap as do some even earlier titles like Legend Of Zelda. Simple side-scrollers obviously don’t have a great need of directional assistance but what about the bigger open-world titles? Did the developers have confidence in the player to navigate these labyrinthian titles blind or did it all come down to saving time and cutting costs? Whatever the reason, many players were left to struggle with being lost and confused in these more complicated titles.

Games that predate the Nes such as Pitfall and Adventure get a pass due to the simplicity of that era and the relatively small map size in most cases. These games also had a general air of intrigue from the often obtuse puzzles presented in these early titles. These ten NES titles on the other hand sorely lacked some much needed visual guidance aside from a few rare partial maps featured in Nintendo Power or a hand drawn one created as the player progressed and possibly shared to a friend in need. Here are ten NES titles in which players were asking where the #%&$! Is the map??

10) Friday the 13th – okay so this one HAD and in-game map, but the gripe here is it usually didn’t make a lick of sense and rarely helped at all! Definitely could have been implemented better.

9) Legacy of the Wizard – This one i have to be honest as I have never gotten too far in it. I very quickly became lost and switched games never to return. With a map at my side I may have not gotten so easily discouraged…

8) Dirty Harry – Poor game design in general aside, this is another one to become easily lost and frustrated with. If it were easier to navigate or was packaged with a simple map maybe the overall sloppy gameplay could have been tolerable.
7) Rygar – The Nes port of this arcade game was vastly different with a huge open world to explore and key items to track down in order to complete your quest. A map detailing where exactly to find these items may not be necessary but at least merely to suggest where some places of interest lie and general area locations would have been greatly welcomed.
6) Blaster Master – I shamefully never finished this classic. To some this game wasn’t an insurmountable challenge to navigate but darn it I just flat out got lost!
5) Faxanadu – this one is an excellent and maybe somewhat less talked about action rpg on the Nes. It does however have a maze-like quality with often brownish environments that kind of blend together. A map found online really helped me complete this one. Without it I’m not terribly certain i would have accomplished this feat.
4) Rambo – Another surprisingly decent action rpg that is even easier to become quite lost in. Rather than one solid map this one is fragmented with a series of doorways leading to different portions. This makes the game considerably more difficult to manually map out by hand.
3) Goonies 2 – Tough enough to find all thd secrets and key items in this one nevermind navigating all the various areas. An in-game map and mini map to keep track of what was collected and areas previously explored would have been greatly welcomed.
2) Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest – A legendarily divisive entry in the Castlevania series and the several obtuse puzzles are one of the factors in that legacy. An in-game map system similar to that found in Super Metroid, a game series that would be emulated in future titles such as Symphony of the Night, could have changed quite a few negative opinions of Simon’s quest (and maybe some better hints!).
1) Metroid – speaking of Metroid, the number one pic is the precursor to Super Metroid. 1986 gave us the original Metroid with a huge complex world and often dastardly well-hidden powerups. Super Metroid is revered as one of the greatest 16 bit games ever, but what if its predecessor featured the same intuitive map system? Would original Metroid be as revered for the 8 bit era?

And that will do it for this short list of navigationally deficient NES titles. There are no doubt more and perhaps a number of 16 bit titles that are offenders. What was left out? Let us know in the comments below!

GameTrog Review By


Eringobrad is a perler artist and game enthusiast. If you enjoy retro games and art inspired by them find him on instagram and facebook.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This