Review by Watcher19

"The last great game for the NES, and a worthy follow-up to the original."

In 1994, the 16-bit era was in full swing. Nintendo and Sega's respective systems dominated the market. Nintendo, however, still kept making games for its old NES. So, in ‘94, we got what was to be the second-last official game for the NES; Startropics 2: Zoda's Revenge. This game serves as a marvelous bookend to one of the greatest systems of all time, and is a fine follower in the footsteps of the original Startropics.

The story's not half-bad. You play as Mike Jones, the hero who bested all the nasty creatures in the original Startropics. Mike and his uncle, Dr. J, crack the code of a mysterious magic book, causing Mike to be flung back in time. Now he has to travel through time, collecting, of all things, “Tetrads”. In a nutshell, they're Tetris pieces. The time-travel element takes you to a lot of varied settings, a welcome change from the first game, which was mainly tropical until the last few stages. In this game, you'll travel from prehistoria to ancient Egypt to medieval England, searching for the Tetrads. Along the way you meet lots of famous historical figures, like Cleopatra and King Arthur. There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek craziness stuck in there as well, which is a plus.

The game plays as a cross between The Legend of Zelda, and an RPG like Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy. You have an exploration mode where you move Mike around, and talk to people while looking for secret passages and items. The dungeons play much like Zelda. Thankfully, the developers improved on the original Startropics; you can now move and shoot in 8 directions, and the movement system is no longer tile-based. It makes for a more fluid and natural control. Your two main weapons are a knife that does good damage but has a small range, or a more ranged psychic shockwave that packs a little less punch. Various other special weapons can be found inside dungeons as well. In a true nod to Zelda, your health is represented by hearts. There are even heart containers you can find! The gameplay is simple, yet very fun.

The music and sounds aren't the most orchestral and booming, but they get the job done. It's still an 8-bit game, after all. Another vast improvement over the original game is that you get more than one theme playing inside the dungeons; now there are about 5 or 6. The overworld themes are very catchy as well. All in all, the sound is good, except for one major flaw. While the majority of the sound effects are alright, some can become annoying, such as firing your psychic shockwave. If you thought the beeping noise when you had low health in Zelda was annoying, be prepared to pull your hair out when you hear its counterpart in this. Although it DOES make you want to get health..

The game is just a blast to play. The overworld sections give you a chance to explore exciting locales, and the dungeons are classic action/adventure fare, with plenty of creatures to kill and puzzles to solve. Regarding puzzles, there are some devious ones, and some plain annoying ones. However, once you figure out the puzzle solutions and how to progress through the dungeons, the game becomes rather short. It will only last a few hours, I'm afraid. But what an enjoyable few hours they will be.

OVERALL: 32/40- 8/10
Startropics 2 gets an 8/10. It's a worthy sequel to its predecessor that fixes the flaws it had, but the game could have been longer. If you've played the first Startropics, I highly advise you to find a copy of this game. If you haven't played the first, then by all means, go find them both! If you love action/adventure games, they'll be right up your alley.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/10/07

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