Fine, I guess I'll make Dungeon Explorer maps since no one else will

Introduction

I haven't looked at stats for this site in roughly ten years now. The last time I did it lead to being comically frustrated that I easily out-performed a massively hyped site with millions in funding run by people likely smarter than me. Likewise, search optimization is something I've never thought of. Since I have no intention of making money off this site it's kind of unimportant.

I was surprised when someone recently contacted me because they were looking for Dungeon Explorer maps and my site was the first result. This was of course a confusing experience since I didn't have Dungeon Explorer maps. Rather than assume Google was wrong they asked where I had them on this site. Now of course I have some Dungeon Explorer II maps because I think it's an underrated game. As 16-bit action RPGs go, it's maybe not Ys IV but still one of the best.

The original Dungeon Explorer is just kind of "eh" for me. It's like a much more frustrating version of Gauntlet. The soundtrack is great, it has that going for it. The graphics are nice too. I don't like playing it all that much though. The story is roughly "the king sends you to look for a magical stone, it's not in the place he sent you so he sends you somewhere else, repeat". For sure it's a better story than I can write but I'm not asking $39.95 in 1990 for anything I've written. I suppose the story is merely a pretense to get you from one dungeon to the next. I played a lot of Gauntlet on the NES so I like the general idea of Dungeon Explorer. Clearly I'm a big fan of the sequel. I don't know how to put it exactly, I'm just not into the first Dungeon Explorer.

There really aren't maps for this game anywhere online now. I'm as surprised as everyone else searching for them. Dungeon Explorer isn't mainstream by any definition. That's hardly a barrier. If anything, games outside of the mainstream are more likely to have excessively detailed information about them published. I'm honestly surprised there isn't some odd site listing the blood type and backstory of each Dungeon Explorer character.

I vaguely recall some other web 1.0 site that had maps 10-20 years ago. Maybe it was hosted on ClassicGaming.com or some other long-gone site. If such a site existed and isn't a figment of my imagination, then let me assure you these maps are not copied from there.

So against my better judgment I decided to make maps for Dungeon Explorer. This is for no reason other than I guess no one else will. This isn't a walkthrough but the maps are listed in order of appearance. While making these I remembered all the reasons why I haven't gone back to this game. I might even add some commentary on each location to this effect.

I debated whether to include the enemy spawn locations or leave the maps "clean" like the Dungeon Explorer II ones. Then I remembered that whichever I choose will lead to someone complaining I didn't do the opposite. If there's one thing I've learned over ~20 years of posting free video game maps that I don't charge anything for on a site I don't even run ads on it's this - someone will complain about them. It's very liberating when you realize nothing you choose matters in this regard. So this time I included the enemy spawn locations. If you want some other style of map then I suggest you download GIMP and get to work on it.

A few notes to cover other potential complaints:


Maps

Before you complain about how absurdly dark these maps are I suggest you go back and play the game again. Dungeon Explorer isn't quite Doom 64 level of darkness but it will test your TV's contrast settings. Taking snapshots in an emulator means getting the images in the colors the developers intended for better or worse.

Let's start with Axis Village since that's where the game starts. It also serves as the central hub of the world map. It now occurs to me this is an appropriate name for the village.



Axis Village



Before I get too far, here's my attempt to map out how all the areas in Dungeon Explorer connect. This might be helpful.



Dungeon Explorer connections



Here's the inside of Axis castle.



Axis Castle



The first dungeon you explore is south of Axis village and connects to the second town. It's called Loch Dungeon despite not being water-themed at all.



Loch Dungeon



Melba village - voted "Worst Vacation Spot in Odessa" 20 years in a row now.



Melba Village



Gutworm Dungeon is when I started to remember why Dungeon Explorer kind of annoyed me. There are a couple long corridors lined with fire-breathing dragon heads. If you try to run past them you'll probably die. Killing them, while not killing yourself, requires hitting them from a diagonal angle. They also take a ton of hits at this point. Add those up and you're now dealing with the blue death flames that spawn if you stay on a floor too long. Also some of the dragon heads can't be shot diagonally. This is only the second dungeon and I'm already super-annoyed.



Gutworm Dungeon



Now for the smallest map in the game - the path connecting Gutworm dungeon to the prison and the one lonely home there. If it wasn't next to an unguarded prison entrance then this would be an awesome place to live. No one can visit you without first crossing a dungeon filled will fire-breathing dragon heads. I need to get some of those for my walkway.



Path to Prison



The underground prison connects a number of locations. The first time around it's used to get to Baron Castle. Later on the Reraport dungeon exits here.



Prison



Other than the long walk around the perimeter, Baron Castle is a short dungeon. You need to visit each floor and destroy some statues.



Baron Castle



West of Axis Village is the Water Castle. Here's the path to it, which is also the path to Cherry Tower and Stonefield if you need to backtrack to them later.



Path to Water Castle



Finally, a castle with a different interior layout. The annoying fire-breathing dragon heads have been replaced with even more annoying fire-breathing insect heads.



Water Castle



Exiting Water Castle leads to the path to Cherry Tower. At this point the game really cranks up the number of enemies you have to fight. This walk is painful.



Path to Cherry Tower



Cherry Tower sounds like such a nice place too. Who wouldn't want to go there? Unfortunately it's filled with whirling death spikes.



Cherry Tower



After Cherry Tower the path to Stonefield opens up. Unlike Cherry Tower, Stonefield definitely lives up to its name. It's by far the most accurately named location in the game.



Stonefield



Rallymaze is the largest dungeon in the game and connects several areas. It could be mistaken for three separate dungeons that all have the same aesthetic. This was really a pain to create and I nearly quit this whole bad idea while working on it.



Rallymaze



Karma Castle is next - this was the most boring map to make.



Karma Castle



Cursoka village is completely overrun by monsters. You need to make it to the house in the back corner to re-enter Rallymaze.



Cursoka Village



The next dungeon is Reraport. I didn't create these maps in the order they appear on this page. This was the last one I did. As such, it's likely to contain some subtle mistakes.



Reraport



For the Ratonix map I labeled the path to the exit. There are so many up/down stair combinations and the map would be unreadable if I marked them all.



Ratonix



Mistos was the second-to-last map I created and brought me close to rage quitting. I could see the end in sight though and kept plugging away. This is also an unpleasant dungeon. There are way too many enemies and fire-breathing whatever they are. There's no way to avoid getting hit a ton by the boss at the end. If you make it through this part of the game then congratulations.



Mistos



Rotterroad was such a massive pain. Both to play through and also to map. The layout is very simple but it was tricky to line-up right with all the jagged edges.



Rotterroad



Ciria village seems like a nice place other than being next to the source of all evil in the kingdom. That probably hurts property values a little.



Ciria Village



The last dungeon is Balamous Tower. I have a strong suspicion the developers intended it to be Baramous Tower.



Balamous Tower



Alright, so I hope somebody found these minimally useful. After creating these I am so burned-out on Dungeon Explorer that I think I'll never play it again. It will probably be a while before I map out another game. There are a couple others I'm thinking about but they will likely have to wait for the next global pandemic before I start.


Here are Some Passwords to Save You Another Search

Invincibility/debug password: DEBDE DEBDA, press Run+I after entering

Princess Aki password: JBBNJ HDCOG

Harmit password: IMGAJ MDPAI


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