#753 – Zoda’s Revenge: Star Tropics II


                                                  Zoda, at his book signing. “To Mike: Deadest Wishes! MWAHAHAHAH!



                                                                                                         Don’t forget the opium!





GENRE: Action/Adventure

RELEASE DATE: March 1994


Mike, the innocuous, yo-yo lovin’, all-American blank slate returns for more island hopping in the sequel to Star Tropics. This time, Mike travels through time to rescue seven Tetris pieces (labeled ‘tetrads’) and stop the clones of Zoda, the final boss from the first game. The original Star Tropics was Nintendo injecting a few summer cocktails in the Zelda formula: it was light, refreshing, and didn’t take itself too seriously. Zoda’s Revenge continues this tradition. Mike’s interaction with historical figures like Cleopatra (who won’t help Mike until he brings her a pizza), Sherlock Holmes, and Leonardo DaVinci are ridiculous and occasionally hilarious. The core gameplay remains dungeon exploration, though again, the dungeons feel like simpler (and yes, lesser) Zelda creations. Most rooms involve killing creatures in order to open up the next room, while avoiding dark pits and spikes (the chasms are one-hit kills – jump wisely); puzzles are more rare, though there are a few sprinkled throughout. Mike is no longer the rogue yo-yo slinger he once was, either. He starts his journey with an axe before upgrading to a dagger and katana later in the game. He also learns a psychic ability from a monkey in Egypt, which gets strengthened via a donkey in the Old West and Merlin in Camelot; almost Earthbound-esque, in its way.



                                                                                                          When worlds collide.


Quirky humor aside, Star Tropics isn’t one of Nintendo’s strongest series, which is probably why it hasn’t seen another game in twenty years. The historical locales are a nice change from the repetitive islands in the first game, but even still, there’s only so many times one can kill enemies to open up rooms. While Zelda was able to expand upon its dungeon exploration formula in later entries, Zoda’s Revenge‘s dungeons never exceed the boundaries set by the original Legend of Zelda. That being said, there are far worse games to steal from, and Zoda’s Revenge injects enough of its own personality between dungeons to remain compelling throughout. Our paths may never cross again, Mike, but… we’ll always have yo-yos.




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  • Robb K

    Played the original, but not the sequal. Looks like I have a project this weekend, I really enjoyed the first game wouldn't mind giving the second one a run through.

    #753 eh? It's been a long road but the end is in sight. Bravo for keeping your reviews fresh and entertaining even after having to do so many of them, a weaker man would have quit ages ago.

    • DylanCornelius

      Thanks Robb. The end of this quest is indeed in sight, but the next one is just over the horizon.

      • Robb K

        Excellent. Looking forward to your next project. you have some impressive journalism skills my friend.

  • J. Parish

    OK, Grand Unifying Theory time. Mikey Jones, the yo-yo-wielding hero of StarTropics, is actually Mikey Walsh, the yo-yo wielding protagonist of The Goonies, whose fascination with archaeology was kindled by his father the historian and ignited by the discovery of One-Eyed Willy's treasure. Mikey travels with his uncle, the archaeologist Dr. Jones, who took his nephew under his wing. Meanwhile, Data from the Goonies looks exactly like Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, so clearly they're related. Ergo, we can deduce that Data is Short Round's grandson, Dr. Jones is an elderly Indiana Jones, and StarTropics proves that The Goonies and Raiders of the Lost Ark exist in the same universe.

    Also, I should probably play this game at some point.

    • DylanCornelius

      I love the idea of Short Round as a grandfather. Perhaps he can team up with Mikey and Dr. Jones in later Star Tropics adventures.

      • lol His character's name was Data in Goonies, Dylan. Short Round was the character he played in Temple of Doom. Although, if you're entertaining a fantasy in which Short Round was also in Goonies, then don't let me stop you! 😉

  • This was a game I really sunk a lot of time into. 🙂

    Z's huh. Nearing the end? 😛

  • Personally, Star Tropics was one of my favorite games from my childhood. In fact I was thrilled to learn that very late in it's life (1994) my beloved NES would be getting a Star Tropics II. I grew up poor, so I didn't even get a SNES until Christmas 1995 as a hand-me-down. So I was blessed somewhat by the fact that NES lived so long, and continued to get great games well into 1993, and still got a handful in 1994. In fact, I still maintain that Hudson Soft should have released Adventure Island 4 in NA. It was a really great late edition to the NES library also.

    But I digress. Star Tropics II wasn't as good, to me, as 1. It had the 8 directional walking this time, and that could be neat, except for tricky jumps. The controls, while seemingly stiff, were more precise, and honestly rhythm based in the first game, meaning if you got a “rhythm” to your jumping and attacking down pat, you could master the game. Star Tropics 1 was one of the best gaming experiences of my childhood, a totally satisfying ending and everything. Star Tropics 2 was neat, with the different times you go to, and the quirky humor was still there. But while it was certainly a good game, I'd still say 1 was way better. But at the end of the day, I'm still glad NES got it, and not Game Boy or SNES. NES deserved that one last, great Nintendo-made game, and while Wario's Woods was alright, ST2 is the kind of send off it deserved.

    • DylanCornelius

      Well said.