Review by EPoetker

"You trade in your plasma mace for a katana. Am I missing something here?"

StarTropics 2! What more do you want, considering how fun the original was? Suffice to say that this game delivers more of the same puzzles, action, and bad puns of the original!(''Don't Asp me anything. I'm just a snake!'' Get it? Asp...oh, never mind...) Enough talk! Must describe game!

GRAPHICS: Great last-generation NES work done here, from the ''overworld'' backgrounds to the sprites in the platform stages. The slowdown and flash are almost nil, always a plus. Essentially, it's the same as the last game with just the tiniest bit more polish and detail added to the classic Startropics feel. But there are a few major improvements. For one thing, you're not just traipsing around similar islands now, you actually go to differnt stages in history(with a cool ''time-traveling'' animation in between.) Whether it be the Ice Age or Leonardo da Vinci's Italy, each unique stage is a joy to just walk through talking to people, and affords a nice calm before the reflex action of the main underground sections. And instead of seeing your stock portly island chiefs when you want an update on major plot points, you get to see such historical greats as Cleopatra, Sherlock Holmes, and Leonardo da Vinci. But one musn't forget the evil dude ZODA, who comes back in so many new evil(but well drawn) iterations that you'll be endlessly wondering if this battle is the time when you FINALLY get to mount his head on your wall. Soon, soon enough...but first you have to KO the innumerable enemies and ''minor'' bosses(all with those cute little elaborate death scenes, too!)Meanwhile, listen to the very well played

MUSIC: At first I sorta irrationally thought that the FIRST StarTropics had better music. Then I realized I was thinking of the ending. Aside from that one AWESOME theme set, the first one really didn't score all that high in the musical field. THIS one, however, has a rather wide variation of tunes, sometimes(gasp)switching themes right in the middle of a level, even if there isn't any boss to justify doing this. And they also made me VERY happy with a cool remix of the original Startropics cavern music. Awww...just how to warm a crusty old videogaming heart. Like it wasn't made toasty already with the cool themes in the Egyptian marsh and the CACTUS DANCE! Oh, how I love the cactus dance! Everybody do it with me, its the...ach, there I go again. But if you ever want to know how much fun a dude named Y. Hirai can have with an 8-bit synthesizer, you know the's the CACTUS DANCE!

GAMEPLAY: The most obvious advancement from the original is that you can now walk, attack, and jump in 8 directions, rather than 4. You also can change the dircetion of your jump in midair, although I'm not so sure whether this is a good or bad thing. You see, in the original, whenever you jumped, you were GUARANTEED to jump where you wanted, and no amout of spinning around in the air(and attacking enemies on either side of you)would change this fact. Now a little turnaround spells DOOM if you're jumping near a hole. But then again, being able to move around in midair has a few enemy-dodging benefits. Plus, there's now a 3-d element, where you can jump higher onto boxes and terraced ground. And some flying enemies can only be hit by jumping. Also, rather than just one main weapon(yo-yo? Ha!), you have two: a thrown sharp object(can always use regardless of how much life you have, but it doesn't have much range)and the Psychic Shock Wave, which gradually increases in power as you gain more life. Some enemies can only be killed with the Shock Wave, some only with whatever sharp object you have in your possesion, and some are just unkillable things that piss you off. Both weapons are incrementally upgraded throughout the course of the game. You can also find powerful, but limited weapons and recovery items in chests. And the perennial fun of tile-jumping, quicksand floors, and hidden doors is here in much larger quantities. In short, all the necessary improvments to the StarTropics engine that are possible on an 8-bit system have been added. Fortunately, these improvements add MORE depth to the game, rather then less. A few enemies also have some interesting new movements and attack patterns-yet another fun experience for the challenge-hound. This game seemed a little easier to me than the original StarTropics, but that's probably because I've gotten so good at those kinds of games now. If you can find it, buy it. But most definitely emulate it if you can't buy.

Nintendo Logic: This is what gave the game a 10. This game has possibly the greatest number of Nintendo in-jokes in video game history(SPOILER: You might not laugh as hard at these things if you don't experience them while playing the game, so don't read on if you like these things to come naturally with the game.) Here's a few...

Mario lives in Italy and runs the ''Caesar's Hut'' pizza place. You can tell it's Mario because he(or one of his miniature henchmen)delivers pizza on the back of a Koopa troopa.
When in Italy, a guy offers you maps to the artists homes. He says: ''I have Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo.'' Call me old-fashioned, but that Turtles reference was just what I needed that day.
You're collecting Tetrads. Is Nintendo just trying to rub it in Tengen's face that they STILL have the rights to those pieces?

And now for the really demented stuff...
EVERYBODY speaks English. No matter whether they're caveman, Egyptian, or Italian. Well, Italians speak it with an accent. So when i go to Italy, I can just say: ''Its'a me, EPO! Whera tha bathroom?'' and expect to be immediately understood. Well, if you can impersonate a Nazi soldier in the movies by adopting a German accent, I suppose that MIGHT work...

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/11/00, Updated 05/11/00

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