Review by Psycho Penguin

"What? No Yo-Yo? Great!!"

Star Tropics was one of my favorite classic games on the old NES for a long time. Ever since I first played the game way back in 1993, I have enjoyed playing it and have felt that it is one of the better games ever released for the console. It was definitely a lot of fun to play, and I still play it from time to time, even to this day. It will always have a special place in my gaming collection, even though it does have several flaws.

Those flaws were fixed in the sequel. Star Tropics II: Zoda's Revenge takes whatever good points the previous game had and smashes them with a sledge hammer. Simply put, this game really is that damn good. It is so much fun to play, and it has a lot of good points to it. It is safe to say that as much as I enjoyed the original Star Tropics, I enjoy playing the sequel even more. It really is so much fun to play, and I am so glad I got a chance first hand to play it, because it is simply awesome.

The coolest thing about this game, in my opinion, is the fact that Nintendo decided to keep the same basic gameplay that made the original Star Tropics so much fun to play, but decided to update it as well to make it a great and fun experience. Needless to say, the sequel fixes all of the flaws found in the original, and isn't that exactly what a sequel is supposed to do, anyways? I also like how the storyline works out, which I will talk about right now.

One of the things I did not like about the original Star Tropics that much was the way Nintendo handled the storyline in the game. It was good, but I know and you know that Nintendo could have done a better job. Have no fear, because in Zoda's Revenge they did make the storyline better. Basically, you are living on the island with Dr. Jones, and Dr. Jones finds this book. You are sent through time via the book, and the storyline stars. You are asked to collect Tetards, which are basically Tetris pieces, in order to defeat Zoda. Remember him? The storyline in the game is truly special, as you will head back through time to places like Anicent Egypt and Michalagelan-Era Italy.

The graphics in the game are pretty special, as they are much improved over the original. One of my main complaints about the graphics in the original Star Tropics was that everything looked too similar to each other. It soon got annoying, because mostly every stage looked the same. Fortunately, this flaw was fixed in the sequel. I really like how Nintendo improved the background designs of the game. The maps are classic, as they are so much more varied now. You will go from an Arctic Cave Zone to the Wild Wild West, and the changes are noticeable.

The stage designs are also much improved and are similar to the changes found on the map. There was really only two types of stage designs in the original, but there are a lot more in this game. It is safe to say that you will not see the same stage design repeating very often, it at all. This is definitely a good point, because I got very tired of seeing the same old backgrounds in the original, as I have already pointed out. I am so glad Nintendo decided to fix some of the flaws, because the game really does look a whole lot better than I expected it to look.

The character designs in the game are pretty darn good, and I especially like the updated look of Mike Jones. He has a pretty new look to him, which I expected, after all the game does take place two years after the events in the original game, and he got older, so he should look older. The enemy designs in the game are pretty solid, as I really liked the variety of enemy designs featured in the game. Everything from snakes to wild boars are present in the game, and each of them look great. Nintendo did decide to repeat the same enemy from time to time, but it is no big deal.

Now, onto the music featured in the game. I hate to keep on bringing up the original, but I really did not like the music featured in that game, at all. So, I was interested to hear what kind of music Nintendo would incorporate into that game. Needless to say, the music in this game is much improved over the music featured in the original. I am really surprised by the music, and always will be, because it sounds just so fantastic.

First off, I really liked the boss theme in the game, as well as the final boss theme. They both sounded fantastic. And I liked how there was a variety of music in the stages, and I also liked how good the music was. Yes, I liked almost every piece of music featured in the game. This is definitely a good thing, because I was not expecting to enjoy all of the music in the game, so I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the music.

The sound effects in the game are pretty good, as well, although not up to the quality of the music. Most of the sound effects are your basic fare: knifes being thrown, enemies dying, etc. One of the new sound effects is the sound of you falling in the water and dying, it lets off a sort of splash sound. I really like that sound because I was hoping to hear it in the original, so i was glad to hear it was featured in the sequel. Most of the sound effects in the game are quality, and I have little complaints about the sound effects in this game.

The control in this game is rather solid. I really like how Nintendo decided to improve the control for this game. No longer does Mike do slides upon jumping. No longer is there a lot of precision jumping. This time, there is really less complicated stuff to do. And it helps that the control scheme is significantly simpler. To change weapons, all you have to do is press start and then move the cursor around until you find the weapon you want, sort of like the Mega Man series but not quite. The control in the game, overall, is very solid.

The actual game itself is a lot like the original Star Tropics, only this time there is a lot of changes. You still have the up-down look, and you go through similar types of stages. However, you will almost automatically notice the differences and innovations featured in this game. The innovations in the game are a real highlight to me, because almost all of the flaws have been corrected, and I am really happy to report that. Let me tell you about some of the innovations featured in the game.

First, you no longer have to live life with just a stupid yo-yo. This time, you get a greater variety of weapons. Just some of the weapons you can use include a plasma mace, katana, and tomahawk. You throw most of the weapons in the game, and some of the more special weapons featured in the game are limited to a certain amount of uses, so you are advised to save those special weapons for when you really need them. I really liked the improved weapons featured in this game, as it is much easier to use a plasma mace than a yo-yo, without a shadow of a doubt in my mind.

Secondly, there is now an improved stage and chapter system in the game. The game is divided into eight chapters, and you have to fufill a certain goal in each chapter. Some chapters will have you simply go through a few dungeons, while others are a bit more complicated. The Egypt stage has you needing to get into a boat, but first the Queen needs, of all things, a pizza. Once you go through the stage and get the pizza, you can get on the ship, but the chapter is far from over. It is just things like that, that make the stages and chapters so much fun to play through.

Third, there is not as much tile jumping featured in this game as there was in the original. I am a big fan of this certain aspect, because I got fed up with tile jumping fairly quickly in the original, so I was happy to see Nintendo decided to go a different route with this game. This time, you have to make jumps across floating platforms and spikes, and avoiding boulders, which definitely makes the game a lot more fun to play. There is definitely so much more stuff to do in the stages now, which increases the challenge but also the fun factor.

Otherwise, the game is a lot like Star Tropics. It is not totally different, as the same types of stages are featured, as well as stuff like walking around on maps. The game focuses more on action and adventure and less on tile jumping, but you can tell the instance you play this that it is indeed the sequel to Star Tropics. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. This is still a very fun game to play through, to say the least.

The replay value of this game is top notch. I remember playing this game for a week straight (not every second of every day, but I didn't touch another game for that week) trying to beat it. It has a strange drawing power to it, much more so than the original. The game has a lot of secrets, is fairly linear, and is extremely fun to play. It has all of the basic elements needed for great replay value, and the game definitely delivers in this particular category.

This is one of the more challenging games on the NES, mainly because it is a long game. There are eight chapters in the game, and each chapter has you completing a few objectives, including dungeons and stages. This means that there is a lot of stuff you have to complete, and a lot of bosses you have to beat. This is definitely a very challenging game, and I guarantee you will not beat this game within the first few days that you get it, it is simply that tough.

Overall, I was really impressed with this game, as it takes everything the original did right, and throws it out the window for the most part. This game features so much more fun and exciting stuff to do than just silly tile jumping. For instance, you can now do stuff like chasing boulders or platform jumping. And nothing beats going through time. Take it from me, this is an outstanding game!

Good Points
-The game itself is so much fun to play.
-The storyline in the game is much improved.
-Graphics, music, sound effects, it's all top notch.

Not So Good Points
-It may be too challenging for some people.
-Some might not like the changes.

I Run Down the Ratings... DaLadiesMan style!
Storyline - 9.1/10
Graphics - 9.2/10
Music - 9.4/10
Sound Effects - 9.1/10
Control - 9.6/10
Gameplay - 9.8/10
Replay Value - Way Above Average
Challenge - Way Above Average
Worth a Purchase? - Definitely.
Overall - 9.7/10

The Last Line: I really liked the first game, despite its flaws, so you know I love this game, as it corrects all of the flaws featured in the original. Make sure to get this game as soon as you can!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/08/00, Updated 07/16/01

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