Thursday, June 10, 2010

8-bits and pieces: StarTropics

It's Friday night, you're wanting to play a video game, but you're tired of playing those fancy new games with all the whozits and bells. So what old classic game do you turn to? I'm here for you (not literally of course, that'd be weird and creepy) and your classic game playing needs.

Now Playing (if only):

StarTropics (1990) NES
Genre: Action/Adventure

The game had several innovative things that it will be remembered for. One of them was a piece of paper that came packaged with the cartridge. It was a mock up of a letter addressed to the character in the game you play, Mike. At one point in the game a clue is sent out asking you to dip the paper in water. Something that sucked hard if you threw it out. But fear not, should you ever play the game, just remember 747. Memory's a bit fuzzy on it, but I believe it was used to navigate the submarine. A sequel was later released after the success of the first.

Mike takes a trip to visit his uncle, an archeologist, in the Islands. When he gets there he learns from his  uncle's assistant that he's been kidnapped. Mike does what any nephew would, hops in a submarine, goes from island to island, entering dungeons and destroying weird creatures in search of his relative. It's a silly but great story to follow through.

Similar in style and depth to Zelda, though a lot more colorful. Plus the story elements gave them a chance to really paint pictures. Though like a lot of games at the time, if too much was happening at once on screen, everything could slow down.

Those who remember this game, must surely remember the awesome music. I still find myself, all these years later, occasionally humming that darned tune. Everyone remembers Zelda and Mario cause they never went away, but StarTropics has a really great score.

Very similar controls to Zelda. The screens are set up the same way as well. The jumping was the only thing that really ever bothered me, cause it wasn't fully reliant on your skill at mashing buttons quickly. You had to wait for him to jump.

Replay Value:
High. I must have played it a dozen times through easily. The game features a lot of clever weapons and dungeons to explore. Many odd and fantastic bosses make for unique challenges from the era. The list of weapons you play with through the game is impressive. Your main one that stays with you the whole game is a   yo-yo. Others include spiked shoes, baseballs, bats, bolas, slingshots, lasers, and more. But seriously, any character with a yo-yo as a weapon is clearly awesome.

Hopping around the dungeons can get a bit frustrating at moments. And I don't care for the limited lives you have before having to restart a dungeon.

It's always been a unique game that stands out. The feel, the playfulness, really paved the way in my opinion for future off-beat games. If I knew what happened to my copy, I'd probably be playing it right now instead of writing about it.

Even with a couple minor flaws 5 out of 5


  1. Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, b, a, select, start. A code for Contra, I believe. Why can I remember that, but draw a blank anytime someone wants my phone number?

  2. Nice flashback, TS!

    Ok so glad you mentioned the paper. My friend and I rented this one weekend (super cool party fun, right? ha!) and played the hell out of it to beat it. So we get to the part you mentioned about the paper and remember that we rented guess what? No fucking paper. We had no idea what to do couldn't go to gamefaqs back then) and never finished it!! Sorry needed to vent.

    Up to that point, we thought it was rad.

  3. ok so i just asked hubs who is a video game addict from the old days to the new fancy games and he says he has never heard of this one. i think that is what makes you cool and cutting edge :)

  4. Hey TS! Wanted to let you know that I had trouble leaving my comment earlier. Thought maybe others are having the same trouble?

  5. i haven't seen this in so long!
    good fun.

  6. awesome. I think this ison the wiis virtual console. This almost makes me want to turn my wii on.... nope still not gonna do it.

  7. I got stuck in this game in the graveyard level. Never could figure out what I was supposed to do and this was before the internet and message board and walkthroughs. I should go replay it now.

    that yo-yo was kick ass though.

  8. Startropics was the BOMB, man! (Imagine that in Jason Mewes voice, talking about Ben Affleck, instead, and it sounds cooler.)

    I definitely think that Zelda is way overhyped, because games like Startropics and Illusion of Gaia were better than it in every way. Disappointed that Nintendo hasn't done more with the series; it's definitely a game that could use a new installment on the Wii.

  9. I still play this and Zoda's Revenge all the time, they truly are awesome platformers. Nothing will ever come between me and Zelda!

    ..Still cant beat the god damned sky world in Gaia

  10. Carl, heh, yeah a lot of Gaia relies upon solving some pretty esoteric puzzles. Like in the sky stage, you have push some statues up to clear a ramp to get to a path. The game is really worth it if you stick with it though, much better story than Zelda games of that time.

  11. I once sat through a two hour walkthrough of Star Tropics on YouTube.... That was a good day....


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