Review by DarkRider X
"An overrated sequel to an underrated game"
Startropics II: Zoda's Revenge is the sequel to a underrated NES adventure game called, oddly enough, Startropics. In a perfect world, the sequel to a game fixes the faults of the original and improves the good aspects. In some instances, this occurs. If that is so, then why is this game inferior to the original?
The story has a good bit to do with it. Admittedly, the first Startropics didn't exactly have a Shakespearean plot, but this game actually manages to lower the bar. As Mike, the main character from the first game, you must travel through various periods of time in search of the magical Tetrads. While looking for magical Tetris pieces may appeal to you, it doesn't appeal to me. All of the hopping throughout time makes the game seem less cohesive than the original. It just seems that the designers should have thought things through a little more.
Is it possible for something to be both good and bad? Technically, the graphics are superior to the original. The addition of vertical height to the dungeons was a step in the right direction, too. The graphics are well done, but they just lack a certain soul, so to speak. They appear to be flat and devoid of life. The graphics of the original were bright and vibrant due to the tropical island setting. I feel that the time travel schtick hurt this area of the game, too. Maybe if the setting had been more complete and smooth flowing then the graphics could have reflected this.
The music is about the same as the original Startropics, which is to say that it is barely better than average. There are a few tunes that stick in your head, but overall the music is rather forgettable. The sound effects aren't much better, but I actually expected this. Come on, people, it is the NES! You can only do so much!
This is, by far, the biggest improvement over the original. Oddly enough, it is the most simple of the changes. What could this great change be? Let me put it like this:
''That's it?'', you ask. You would be amazed how such a thing can change the way you play a game. I can't tell you how many times I wished I could move diagonally on the first one. Diagonal movement makes it much easier to dodge enemy attacks as well as adding more realism to the controls. The only reason that I gave Control the same rating as Graphics is that you still have little midair control when jumping. In fact, it seems to be a little worse, but I think it's just because you have overall better control. It just seems worse because the rest is so good!
It's apparent that I have a strong bias for the first Startropics. It's one of the best games that I ever played on the NES. As such, when I review a sequel to a game that I like I ask myself this:
Would I have liked this game more if it didn't have the name (insert series name here) in it?
The truth is, I probably would have liked it better. It just doesn't hold a candle to the first game. So the question is: ''Should I go and find a copy of this game?'' Yeah, you should. If you never played the first Startropics then you will probably like Startropics II just fine. It's a solid NES adventure worthy to be put in your aging machine. If you're a veteran of the series, then you should still play the game, if only to see what happened to all the characters from the first game. Just keep in mind that it is an inferior game.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 01/19/01, Updated 01/25/01
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