StarTropics

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StarTropics

Post by Maetch on Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:18 pm

"What the **** is StarTropics?", the modern Nintendo fan would most likely say about it. To start, it was an NES game released in 1990. Despite the involvement of Japanese game developers, the game itself was released only in North America and never saw any sort of official release in Japan (not even on the Virtual Console). This is probably the main reason why the series never saw any significant popularity.

The game's plot, as the name implies, takes place in a fictional series of islands in the South Seas, where a young, completely-average teen named Mike Jones has just arrived to meet with his archaeologist uncle for summer vacation. When said uncle is reported as missing by the local villagers, Mike sets out to find him. Armed with nothing but a weak Yo-Yo, Mike nonetheless perseveres as he journeys through dark caves and ancient ruins, ultimately learning of the mysterious connection between his missing uncle, a meteor strike, and the involvement of an evil alien warlord named Zoda.

The gameplay is heavily based on The Legend of Zelda, but with significant changes. On the overworld, Mike operates like a RPG character, taking to people, collecting items, and solving puzzles in order to proceed. At one point, the game even requires a bit of fourth-wall breaking: the original game came packaged with a letter that you had to dip in water in order to solve a crucial puzzle (before the Internet, not having this letter was a potential premature game-ender). In caverns and other dungeon areas, Mike fights Zelda-style to clear rooms of enemies and solve puzzles. During these dungeons, Mike moves on a grid (like a Pokémon character) and can only move in the four cardinal directions. Unlike Link, Mike can jump, but only straight up, and he can only leap forward when crossing one-block-wide gaps. Combat-wise, Mike fights with his Yo-Yo (which grows in power as his life meter increases) and whatever other unconventional tools he can find along the way.

In 1994, the only sequel was released as one of the very last NES games ever made (and again, only in America). Subtitled "Zoda's Revenge", the game brought back Mike and, instead of islands, dropped him into a new quest through time to defeat the titular villain's plans. The plot and settings were more generic, but the gameplay got some improvement. Mike was no longer limited to grid-based movement and the dungeons were built to encourage the use of the improved jumping physics. The creativity in the weapons took a hit, though: the Yo-Yo is gone in favor of standard axes and blades, plus an energy blast attack that (like the Yo-Yo) hits harder and with better range as Mike's life increases.

... and that was it. Past that, Nintendo effectively moved on without so much as giving StarTropics even the most minor of mentioning. Even the much-vaulted Super Smash Bros. series, a series built on the recognition and nostalgia of Nintendo franchises both past and present, does not give StarTropics anything more than a inconsequential mention in Brawl's Chronicle list (and only in the American release of the game, no less). Such a shame, for I think there's still some promise left in this series that Nintendo just doesn't want to recognize. All I can ask is that more people take some time to at least know that this series exists.


Last edited by Maetch on Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:19 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: StarTropics

Post by .Luke on Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:35 pm

Obligatory Youtube vid!



it's pretty sad this didn't get a whole lot of attention, it looks interesting, honestly.

Also, felt like I was reading something from a featured top ten games list on GameFAQs. Nicely put, Maetch. ^^
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Re: StarTropics

Post by Maetch on Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:26 am

.Luke wrote:Also, felt like I was reading something from a featured top ten games list on GameFAQs. Nicely put, Maetch. ^^
Thank you.

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Re: StarTropics

Post by Nai255 on Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:11 pm

I remember renting the original Startropics as a kid. I thought it was pretty well put together, though I think I only got up to around the halfway mark, and that was WITH Nintendo Power, heh heh.

I can understand though why some would want to block this one from their memories however: some parts can be pretty brutal for the wrong reasons, especially the last chapter which is somehow worse than Zelda II's Great Palace.

Can't say I ever played Startropics II, but it looked decent enough. Not sure how hard it is compared to the first, but I'm guessing they eased up on the difficulty for poor Mikey's sake. After trying to replay the first game, I wanted to jam bananas in my ears as well Razz

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Re: StarTropics

Post by .Luke on Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:31 am

Cruel difficulty definitely never helps! I sometimes wonder if I'll ever get around to beating Lion King on the Genesis/SNES; that's the closest thing to Ninja Gaiden-hard that I've played. A good challenge is always appealing to me, but without at least a save feature, motivation is hard to come by.

Still thinking about when I could give this game a try myself; if it's not as hard as Crystalis, (DARN FREAKING FINAL DOOR PUZZLE *throws desk out the window*) I think I'll live!
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