Review by Retro

"A great game that should be called a classic"

When Star Tropics first came out, I looked at the back of its box at the store and knew I wanted it. You get to play as Mike Jones, who is on a tropical island visiting his uncle when all of a sudden, his uncle mysteriously disappears. Now it's up to Mike, who is armed only with a yo-yo, to go on a search in this action/rpg in order to find his lost uncle.

But it's not as easy as it sounds. Even though Mike is on an island, it's a HUGE island, and he will have to do a lot of exploring that will take him through many civilizations of people, a dolphin rescue, inside the belly of a gigantic whale, and many more not so expected places and adventures.

As I said, to begin with, Mike is only armed with a yo-yo, but don't be fooled, he is very skilled at using that yo-yo in a powerful way. To start off, you get to maneuver Mike around on the island until you find a village or a level to complete. When you visit a village, you must talk to several people until you find the place you need to go or do a certain thing in order to get by guards. I'm not going to reveal anymore of the plot, but Mike's uncle isn't the only person you'll be trying to help out along the way. A lady who seems to be real psychic will help you out the most, along with a robot that you'll run into a few times during your journey.

Not only are there villages full of people you must talk to, there are even more levels to get past. On the land, most of the levels are represented by holes in the ground. The levels are where you'll be putting Mike's yo-yo to use in order to defeat tons of challenging enemies such as ducks, walking ostrich skeletons, ghosts, snakes, and many many others. Luckily, the yo-yo isn't the only weapon Mike will be able to use. There are many weapons that he can find and use such as fire to fire the enemies up, baseball bats for knocking enemies silly, and the list goes on. At the end of certain levels, Mike must face a terrorizing boss such as a huge squid, a snake that can spit fire, and more.

The levels in Star Tropics aren't all that varied if you judge them by their looks, but gameplay wise is a different story. At the beginning levels, most of them mainly consist of a bunch of enemies you must get past in order to get to the end, with a few other things to do in between. In the later levels, there will be more complicated mazes to find your way through and much more difficult and more numerous enemies. For instance, instead of there just being a few enemies and a few paths to take, in one of the later levels, there will be A LOT of different paths to take and you'll have to do things such as dodge huge boulders and find ghosts and destroy their spirits.

But a few things are constant throughout the game of Star Tropics. Not only is the yo-yo always your main weapon (until the last level), but Mike will have to pretty much do the same things in order to open up the various paths. In some rooms, you just have to kill all the enemies on the screen, in others you must jump on a bunch of green squares until you find the switch that you can jump on to open up a new path, and so on.

There are many other cool features about Star Tropics. But first, I need to tell you a couple of things you'd know if you ever play the game, but I'll go ahead and mention them anyway for you potential buyers. When you pass certain parts in Star Tropics, your game will automatically be saved for you, and your energy is always represented by hearts at the top of the screen. During a level, you can collect hearts and stars in order to fill up some of your empty energy. The best of the cool features that I wanted to mention is that there are a few secrets included that you can, or must, find. For example, in parts of the game, you might be able to just walk into what looks to be a solid stone rock, but that's actually a hidden place that could contain something crucial such as a huge heart or a message in a bottle.

I haven't ever been all that crazy about rpg video games, but I do like Star Tropics. Almost everything about the game gets good reviews from me. It has good graphics, cool sound effects and music, good enough control, and best of all, it's a lot of fun and even somewhat addicting. Even if you're like me and you don't like rpg's that much, give this game a try. You'll be glad that you did!

GRAPHICS - For the most part, Star Tropics had excellent graphics. The 'overworld,' the huge part where you maneuver Mike and his ship around the huge island, has graphics that I've always thought were great. On the other hand, the graphics in the levels are well done for the most part, but they could've had better variety to them.

SOUND - The sounds of Star Tropics are just like the graphics. The sound effects are great and the music that plays, has either a tropical sound to it (overworld areas) or a tune that will get you in a more battling mood (levels and boss tunes), but like the graphics, there just isn't all that much of a variety included with the sound effects or the music. To make it short, what little sound effects and what very little music is included, it's great!

CONTROL - The control is easy to master and well done, but it could've been a little better. It's easy to use weapons, to make jumps, etc., but it could've been a little easier if Mike could jump diagonally and run a little faster.

REPLAY VALUE - Star Tropics is a challenging, but not impossible game, and it's also fun. Even after you've beat it a few times, it's still fun to play from the start or to go back to certain areas. For someone who usually doesn't like rpg's (me) to like it and keep playing it for years, I would say that it has good replay value.

OVERALL - Star Tropics is a great game that any rpg fan, and even not so rpg fans should own. In my mind, this game is a classic.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/15/01, Updated 05/20/02

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