Zoda's Revenge: Star Tropics II
Review by Sarysa
"An NES game released in 1994, what were they thinking?"
I was one of seemingly few people who purchased this game. Amidst the SNES releases of many Square(soft) masterpieces and Super Famicom wonders, a sequel was released to this long dead gaming system, Startropics II. This game proves that America can still create high quality games, but it also makes us look like lazy procrastinators. The SNES was starting to go south at this point in time, so why didn't they port this one over to boost the SNES instead? Anyway, here's the review.
Pretty good, doesn't have the ''tiled'' look of the first of the series on the overworld. A bit repetitive within the dungeons, though. Too many rooms are just blank, and there doesn't seem to be as much ''scenery'' as the first one had, like skeletons in the water/lava. Flickering sprites aren't very common, and slowdown is almost nonexistant. The bosses are nicely detailed, as are the ''important people'' with images. Sadly, I'm forced to give it a mere 8/10 because it just doesn't stand up to other NES games of, and before, its time. (Final Fantasy and Crystalis have much better overworld graphics!)
Excellent music and sound effects! Bosses, even some normal monsters have one-of-a-kind sound effects, not that irritating high pitched scream from the original Startropics. The music is all catchy, worth listening to again and again. Like in the first Startropics, the music changes throughout the level, but far more often than the original. The main style is upbeat, though each time period has at least one theme song unique to that period, and there are plenty of other styles to listen to. You'll end up wishing that they DID release this one on the SNES, just so you could hear the music with more instrumentals.
It's an RPG, no matter who says it isn't. If Spelunker II or Faxanadu can be considered RPGs, and they don't even have an overworld or have few people to talk to, this certainly can. I consider it an Action/RPG, though some people call it Adventure. (nowadays, I see Deja Vu type games as Adventure) Anyway, the story continues the brainchild of Nintendo of America's minds from 1990. You are still Mike. It's a year after the original Startropics, and Dr. Jones(uncle) has been deciphering more data about the Argonians. With the help of Mica, the eldest of the surviving Argonians, you carelessly stumble upon the secret of the cipher, and find yourself thrown back several thousand years. As you wander aimlessly through time, you discover that your actions can save the Argonian race. It's up to you to find the seven tetrads scattered throughout time. Of course, nothing you do can actually disrupt the flow of time in any way, this isn't Chrono Trigger.
The gameplay is much more significantly different from the original Startropics than most people give credit. The most obvious change is that movement is no longer on an invisible grid, you can move in tiny steps and eight directions now. This will definitely be the hardest part for players of the original to get used to. Tiles are now far less common, and instead of randomly hunting for useful tiles, you just walk on them and jump on the ones that blink red. There are now two ''permanent'' weapons, but sadly the old yoyo is no more. The psychic shock wave would be the closest likeness to the yoyo, having three different strengths and requiring a certain amount of hearts to use the enhanced versions.
Random weapons are back, the infamous try-your-luck sign is also around, but unfortunately they took the -1 life risk out of it! Some new magical items, like the star, are around, while the Snowman, Lantern, and Magic Wand are gone. All in all, there are probably less magic items/weapons in this Startropics than the last, which is disappointing.
Puzzles are much more common, though. Rooms are a bit more three-dimensional now, and height is now a factor. There are also several other puzzles to figure out, both inside and outside the dungeons. Monsters trigger a few more kinds of events, which can make certain later puzzles tricky, or deadly if you aren't careful! The bosses have more unique patterns now, and toss more at you to (try to) dodge. All in all, the gameplay is excellent, even with its minor shortcomings.
Fun Factor: 10/10
This game captivated me for a long time. Even after you've completed it, you'll want to find every little thing you missed. (Did you know you can get the Bronze Knife before Cleopatra? Did you know there are three gold nuggets to find?) The gameplay is tough at first, I died early on because I thought I would get a longer recovery time after being hit, but you'll get used to it quickly.
Overall: 9.2/10 (46/50)
Gamefaqs Overall: 9/10
Enjoy the two Startropics games while you can, because it's unlikely that there ever will be another sequel.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/24/03, Updated 04/24/03
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