- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Hudson Soft
- NES: December 1990
- Wii: January 2008
- Genre: 2D Action-adventure
- NES: Common (US$1-10)
- Wii: DLC (US $5)
The character you control in this game is a young teenage boy named Mike Jones (Who? No, not that one.) whose archaeologist uncle Steve has gone missing. Your journey starts from his house on C-Island, where you get to take his submarine, the Sub-C, off to your first destination, the island of Coralcola. The overworld segments play in a zoomed-out top-down perspective like in Dragon Warrior, but without any random battles to worry about. Note that all the island names in this game end in "cola" for some reason. This gets funny when one of the NPCs asks if you're from "Americola". The ending half of the story takes a turn or two for the weird, but I won't spoil anything.
|All the island names end in "cola". |
Learning how to move effectively is only a small part of the challenge; much of it comes from the game itself. You get multiple lives in StarTropics, but all the enemies and traps you'll have to deal with can drain them quicker than you can say "smoke monster". As high as the level of difficulty is here, it's not exactly prohibitive; with each failure, you'll have an idea of how to get through the trouble spots, and you'll be prepared the next time you have to go through them. In one more comparison to Zelda, there is a battery-backed save system in StarTropics. The game saves automatically when you enter or finish a dungeon, or on special occasions. You can also continue as many times as you need, but since you only get three hearts filled on your meter when you do so, it's better to just reset and reload one of your save files.
|You'll have to deal with a lot of jumping puzzles. |
StarTropics is another one of those cult classics that doesn't have much else to its franchise. It received only one sequel, StarTropics II: Zoda's Revenge, for the NES in 1994. Both games are available for download on the Wii Virtual Console if you want to check out either one or both. If you enjoyed The Legend Of Zelda but have memorised its secrets to death, then by all means, give this a try. You'll be blown away by both the later half of the story and by the difficulty, which is inordinate by either NES standards or overall. But like so many other classic games known for beating you around, it's worth slogging through this to witness everything it has to offer.
The Call: 85% (B+)
1"StarTropics - NES Screenshots". MobyGames. http://www.mobygames.com/game/nes/startropics/screenshots.