Review by Pako Pako

"Rock, Paper, or Yo-Yo? Yo-Yo will -always- win."

Before I begin, let me say that this game is an Adventure, like Zelda. But it will NOT play like Zelda. Exploration is kept to inside dungeons, the pace is slower, and there are more RPG elements outside dungeons. That said, on with the review.

What do adventure/RPG heroes usually carry?
You've got an Energy-Sword, Big Honkin' Gun, some giant 7-story robot, maybe a Bullwhip.. and the Yo-Yo.

Not Mike from Seattle. No. He's a real man's boy. He fights hungry octopii, invading robots, and a Magma God armed with a Yo-Yo and a Baseball Bat. Much like Mother/Earthbound, Star Tropics gives you a plethora of common day-to-day items as weapons. While it may be unconventional, I think of it as a nice touch. In what other game does baseball contribute so much to your offense?

Graphics: 10/10 I was playing one day, and I woke up on the C-shaped Island...

(+) Big, bright, bold colors. The characters, enemies, dungeons, and items are all clear as crystal. Cutscenes are also big and vivid, even if in a Crayola-crayon sense.
(+) No complaints. The sprites, for their size, are detailed and outlined well. (nothing ''blends'' into the background)

Animation: 8/10 Whipping out my Yo-Yo and making ghosts explode is fine.. but what's with your floating hand?

(+) The animation is smooth, fluid, and crisp. Slugs will creep around, Octopii tentacles twitch.
(-) Nothing too special is done for the sprites. The cinematics don't move much. It's almost like you're flipping pages in a book than watching a movie unfold ala Ninja Gaiden.

Sound: 9/10 Nuts to Simon Belmont, the Yo-Yo even sounds cooler!

(+) Everything has a crisp, clear, and DISTINCT sound. Exploding enemies, opening doors, different tones when speaking with men & women, even your Yo-yo whip.
(-) No actual voices, bells/chimes for special events like unlocking a secret ala Zelda (except that annoying low-on-life beep that happens and additional time for each attack)

Music: 10/10 Jammin'... I'm Jammin'..

(+) Distinguishable music, from deep dungeons, to the tropical shores. There's even the American National Anthem!
(+) The songs make you feel like you're in the tropics, underground, searching for something, etc. Nothing wrong here!

Control: 8/10 Turn. Walk. Stop. Turn. Walk...

(+) Control is pretty tight and very precise, like playing LOLO (a puzzle/maze game). You walk across land, and jump across tiles. You cannot control your direction in mid-jump, but you can turn & attack in mid-jump. You can pause and go through your inventory.
(-) Because you MUST jump over tiles, not walk across them, many people I've talked to dislike that ''stop-go-stop-go'' pace. Mike just doesn't move as quick as Link in ZELDA, but the enemies also have this deficit too. Hitting enemies is too easy. Your weapons can hit them before they get too close, and because it's a 2D game, you can hit enemies when you jump too.

Mechanics & Options: 8/10 See Mike walk. Walk Mike, Walk.

(+) There are tons of items (some are even useless) and hidden rooms to find on Mike's journey, like searching for extra Heart Containers, and the occasional secret or two. The control is well laid out and simple.
(-) The RPG element is all linear. You don't get to keep weapons hem inbetween dungeons, unlike in Zelda where you had an arsenal you always carried. If you played Zelda3 a lot, everything will seem sluggish.

Challange: 9/10 Who knew visiting a tropical island meant I had to save the world?

(+) It's a LONG game. The dungeons are long too. There's a variety of puzzles to solve, like how to find a dolphin or put out a fire-beast. There are also plenty of traps to encounter like dark-rooms, sinking-tiles, the Indiana Jones boulder-of-doom.
(-) RPG part is very Linear. Action (even though there's a lot of it) is a bit slow for an adventure game.

Innovation: 10/10 Zelda..! Zelda..! Sorry, but your princess is in another game!''

(+) Zelda's dungeon-romping, Zelda 2's overworld exploration, and an impressive variety of weapons, all in a tropical setting! The plot and writing are also good, even if a bit campy at times.
(+) A breathtaking game that put fresh air into the adventure/RPG genre on the NES when it was released. It continues to be a shining example of a well-made, albeit underrated, game.

Fun: 10/10 Undead Zombies? Invading spaceships? All I have is this yo-yo? What more could I want?!

(+) I couldn't put this one down. When I was finding my long lost Uncle J, to saving the world? I was fighting a variety of enemies, and they all made sense with each chapter/island I traveled to.
(+) Solving puzzles, exploring dungeons, and using various weapons (even though you only have 4 different ones at most) never gets old.

Replay: 10/10 Must.. stop.. eating bananas..

(+) Since it's release, I haven't put this game down.
(+) Much like the original Zelda, it's a pretty big game, and lots of fun to play every now and again.

How My Ratings Work
1.0 (Ow! My Eyes!)
6.0 (Rent it)
8.0 (Keep it around)
9.0 (Still Playing It)
10.0 (Still Playing It While Typing A Review for Another Game)

Average Score: 9.0/10.0
Reviewer's Tilt: +1.0 (a classic hit in my eyes)
Final Score: 10.0/10.0

While some people may be turned off initially by the stop-n-go controls, you have to realize that the enemies have the same issue. Everything in this game is balanced and flows smoothly. The game is a great experience in the entire NES library, and in the adventure/RPG genre.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/27/03, Updated 07/27/03

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