Video Game Review (Posted on 09-11-2016)
Never forget—September 11, 2001.
The sequel to the amazing StarTropics
is here, and Zoda is angrier than ever. Our superhero Mike will do what ever it takes to eliminate his evil antics, only this time it's a little different. With the usage of the Oxford Wonder World
book, in deciphering Hirocon's phrase "Was it a cat I saw? Was it a rat I saw?" originally, Mike accidentally hummed the magic words to where the World book cracked open and lunged Mike into a different time zone! Onto Chapter 2 (that was quick), Mike's adventure begins in what seems like the Ice Age. You probably feel puzzled but you carry on and play. When you enter in the cave, you'll find a small group of people we referred to as "Cavemen/Cavewomen" or "Cave People," for those who are gender sensitive. In it, you'll talk to everyone and will eventually run into a caveman named "Tink" who makes weapons out of bones and sticks. He hands you your first official weapon: an axe! I'm sure the part where he says "You said you have no money?" may startle you a little bit, but Tink admits he doesn't know what money is (the days before the "art" of capitalism came into play). As you continue on, you'll learn of the evil boss named Yum Yum
, a monster who kidnapped the kids of cavemen and women and freakishly set them up for dinner. Without further ado, Mike's job is to eliminate Yum Yum and save the kids, to which you do so in the dungeon up ahead. Defeat the coon, and you'll save the kids and earn a block.
A block as a prize? Mike gets into a telepathic conversation with Mica, explaining that he slid back in time, and space, and that Hirocon needed Mike to obtain the blocks scattered throughout the course of human history. In other words, since Mike started during the era of the Ice Age having obtained the block called a Tetrad
, a phonetic play in reference to the blocks of the hit video classic Tetris
, you learn that you must travel through time, past and present, to acquire all the Tetrads (Tetrads are a legacy among the Argonians, and were scattered through history of time and space, on purpose to prevent Zoda from getting them, so only a hero can find all those blocks). Throughout the course of it though, there are times when Zoda will stop and challenge Mike, so always be prepared!
As for the controls, if you've played StarTropics
, I'm willing to bet you got used the controls on that game. It's different now: you can control Mike freely, and even move him while on air after jumping (similar when controlling Mario
). While this may satisfy some, this little "loose" movement can lead to Mike falling off holes and water; In other words, these controls may make you lose the game a little more often. As for the tiles, they too are more "loose" since Mike can actually walkthrough the tiles without having to jump tile to tile. I like when you can jump on a tile, a button pops up and it either opens a treasure chest and/or a door to the next room. Here, when you jump on a tile, a sphere with a question mark on it appears and grabbing it opens a chest and/or a door. It wasn't as cool as it was in the first game. Nevertheless, instead of three, you start with 5 hearts on your health meter. Throughout the time, you not only have one weapon as your main-stay, you'll have two weapons with you to prepare your ultimate showdown against Zoda: a Katana
and the Ultra Psychic Shock Wave
! When using them, you'll find that the Katana inflicts more damage but takes a little while for Mike to attack with; When using the Psychic Shock Wave, Mike's attack is much faster but its damage is less than the Katana. Even if you have a rapid-fire controller, it's a give or take with these weapons. Along the way, the more you collect the Tetrads, the more they increase your health. Also, what I didn't like are some of the new enemies that shoot at you. Enemy knights shooting 3 bullets at you doesn't seem very intimidating, to say the least; It's corny, and a bit annoying as it includes a sound effect when fired.
Onto the game, you'll travel through the various occurrences in history as we've all learned about during our childhood. Second adventure is were Mike lands during the rise and establishment of Egypt where pyramids and tombs reign. Here, Mike has to help deliver a pizza that the queen ordered. When he does, the queen not only thanks him but she eats the whole pizza in one sitting! Talk about hungry girl....or hungry hottie. Yeah, hottie, because this queen is Cleopatra! What did you think of the queen of SheCola back at Star Tropics
? Yeah, no worries, at least here Cleopatra looks quite amazing (lucky Mike). Not only that, she upgrades your axe to a dagger! Oh, and I didn't tell you the "wizard" you see when you run out of lives and lose: that's Merlin, who is the magician at King Arthur's court and a close friend of Hirocon. You'll meet him throughout your journey in different disguises (let's see if you can guess those disguises).
Rummaging through history in this game while acquiring all the Tetrads, you enter in eras that are guaranteed to inspire, especially if you're a huge fan of History: the Egyptian era with pyramids, tombs and the Sphinx, Sherlock Holmes, the Gold Rush era, the time of Leonardo da Vinci who, by the way, redesigns his famous Mona Lisa
painting in response to Mike's critique of her look (nice redesign, da Vinci!), Dracula, the reign of King Arthur and "yesterday's" history: CoralCola. Yes, on the last chapter, you visit CoralCola again and become the hero the island has praised you for. Once you defeat the island boss again comes a trick: you enter a room full of hearts and medicines while you ponder thinking you beat the game. Turns out, no: before you challenge the evil Zoda-Z, you must fight ALL the bosses from the beginning in one shot before you fight Zoda. A very Megaman
-esque tactic but, while keeping your health up, you have to do it. After, you'll fight against the evil Zoda in his two forms. Eliminate him and you save Mica and kids once again. Peace has restored again at CoralCola!
With the island chief thanking you once again, he puts the pieces of the Tetrads together claiming to be a whiz at the game of Tetris
. Once the pieces are in, Hirocon appears and thanks Mike for saving him! Mica, happy, gets her father Hirocon to go back to Argonia to rebuild their society. And away they go! The game ends with credits and more awesome character illustrations.
Remember when Dr. Jones in the beginning of the game says to "reverse the cipher?" Apply that to one of the famous last words Mica said to Mike:
(Missing the letter E
That's right: Mica now has a crush on Mike having said, "I'll be thinking about you
Despite the re-modified controls, and some annoying enemies, but amazing storyline, this sequel to StarTropics
shouldn't be passed up. In fact, I find the story on this game more fun than the first one. The game isn't too difficult but enough so you don't angrily throw the cartridge against the wall. Nevertheless, this RPG series is a wonderful accomplishment and I'm a huge fan of this series.
? There is....but it's a fan-made game you can check out here
. There may not be as much fans of this series compared to Final Fantasy
, but I feel it holds up enough to get developers to take a shot at a third game. I really wish they could have done so, but because of its late release during the time when the Super Nintendo
, and then later troubles with Sony in developing the "Nintendo PlayStation" shown here by Engadget on YouTube
which supposed to be a CD-based console, there wasn't much ground left for the NES. Technology was evolving and companies like Sega really punctured through the balloon party Nintendo was having. In that case, a third game for this series wouldn't happen anyway (much as I, along with other fans, would have loved). Today, trying to recreate the beauty of 8-bit won't have the same "love" as it was developed during its time, especially with today's graphical nature of 3D and now virtual reality. In a sense, a third game may be one of my few wishes video game developers of this series can attend to. Nintendo will officially market off their classic NES built with 20 games included, but I doubt my voice is loud enough to get a third and maybe fourth, official sequel of this series. (Well, this review is here online, so if we can get enough fans to rise up, perhaps it may happen, but not any time soon.)
For those of you who read the credits: in it are words that seem like "famous last words" by Mike, especially related to someone whose Time is almost up. I'm not sure if there's supposedly a backstory to these words, but since I feel there might be, so don't be surprised when someone famous utters these very same words before they move on to the next realm of Life. The words are:
"What a wild adventure! If I hadn't lived it, I wouldn't believe it!"
Simple yet deep.
Anyway, before the prices rise, get this game to go with the first StarTropics!
Another big thanks to my father for getting this game for me as a kid. Props, Dad.
(Note: listen to our episode review from season one of our official podcast series PODSOTROS! here!
Speaking of islands like CoralCola, Azores Getaways has got you covered for your next/upcoming trip:
© 2008-2017 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
Video Game Ratings
Video Game Credits
What a wild adventure! If I hadn't lived it, I wouldn't believe it!