Image maps probably have that stigma because they were used for EVERYTHING that time — not just for irregular shapes, but also for square areas (usually unnecessary and can be done more efficiently nowadays).
It’s the same with tables, really. They got a bad reputation because for a while, people abused tables for everything related to layout, not just their main purpose (displaying tabular data), whereas nowadays layout should be done with CSS. But that doesn’t mean that tables have lost ALL their purpose; they should still be used for why they were invented in the first place: displaying tabular data.
I think it’s
acceptable logical to use image maps here because it’s the most obvious way to make irregularly shaped hotspots, and it’s quite the exact reason why image maps were invented in the first place.