Negative World has spoken: 9 out of the 28 cool people who voted chose our first Retro Game Club game, easily obtainable on the Virtual Console for the low price of $5:
1991. Things happened that year. Operation Desert Storm started in Iraq. An amateur video captures the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles, California police officers. But above all, people will remember 1991 as the year Nintendo released StarTropics on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Well, alright, maybe not.
StarTropics was made by a team of Japanese designers living in the United States (Nintendo Integrated Research & Development, the developers of Punch-Out!!), for the American and European markets. Not only was it not made for the Japanese market in mind, they had no plans to release it there at all.
The game is almost classic Zelda and wears its inspiration on its sleeve: the menu for starting a game or choosing a save file, the hearts, dungeons, puzzles... the game will be instantly familiar to most of you.
You play as Mike Jones, a typical American kid. Loves yo-yos. Plays baseball. Umm, wears a t-shirt? That's basically the extent of his "personality". Mike is visiting his uncle, an archeologist, on C-island, but upon arrival learns that his uncle has been kidnapped. From there, it's all dank caves, snakes, submarines and yo-yos.
Be warned: the game can be tricky. There are rooms that you will learn you should not have explored only once it's too late, and secret passages you need to push up against. Oh, and if you ever need a "code" for something, don't explore the map twice over. Instead, RTFM!
Progress Milestones Here I'll try to give a rough idea of how long it takes to get to certain milestones, i.e. "Dungeon 2, about an hour into the game". I'd appreciate help from you guys too, for this!
Chapter 1 Takes no more than 20 minutes to complete. If you need help for this one...
Chapter 2 - Dolphins To get to the bottle, go through the mountain. To get the heart, same damn thing as above. Takes about 25 minutes to go through depending on how much you die in the dungeon.
Chapter 3 - Storm and Calm Tips from Triforcebun: Where there is a slug, don't forget to check for a wall passage right before one of the exit stairways. In the tomb, you must navigate through a labyrinth of false walls and dark rooms. When you reach an area that looks like a dead end (lots of water on the north and south sides), head south, and Mike will jump to the next screen. Takes about 2-3 hours to finish, but thankfully that is spread out over about 4 dungeons.
Chapter 4 - Confessions Tip from Triforcebun: Listen to what NAV-COM says verrry closely. If you're playing this on the VC, you've got access to what you need to do. If not, you better hope you have more than just the cartridge available! If you really want to know the secret password, it is747. Done in about 15 minutes.
Chapter 5 - Captain Bell If you hit a dead-end in those mountains, you missed a fork in the path. Done in... I dunno, 1.5 hours?
Chapter 6 - Reunion I did this one in two sittings, and lost track. About 2 hours?
Chapter 7 - Alien Spaceship Tough, but don't get discouraged! Keep a cool head and don't rush at the enemies, and you will overcome.
Chapter 8 - Final Battle
Pandareus - Finished it! Zero - Starting chapter 6 Anon_Mastermind - Starting chapter 5 X-pert74 - Mired in chapter 2 TriforceBun - Starting chapter 7 Paleo_Orca - In chapter 2? (give us updates!) ShadowLink - In chapter 1? (give us updates!)
CPA Wei? Ploot? Orbital74?
Below: the discussion!
Feel free to discuss every aspect of this game or your experience with it! Music, graphics, gameplay, story, or your personal history with this game! Maybe try to be mindful of spoilers, though? Simply mention which dungeon or chapter you are at, and then use the spoiler tag appropriately.
EDIT: Oops, sorry! I thought this was for people who've already played through it. I'll black out the details.
StarTropics is great fun, and one of the better NES games, if you ask me. I especially love the rather beefy third chapter, where among other things, you head into a volcano, explore a crypt, and to get into an all-woman castle, get transformed into a girl. The writing is bizarre and silly, with strange running gags involving bananas and islands that have the word "Cola" in their names, and the plot is the strangest mix of tropical island culture and aliens this side of Lilo & Stitch.
I have a complete copy of this game, box, (unsoaked) manual, the works. And two extra cartridges of it! (one was a gift recently)
For milestones, I'd guess the full game is about 6 or 7 hours long, a decent length. There're plenty of auto-saving spots and a nifty "chapter replay" option when you want to revisit your favorite stages. Saving the dolphins was awesome, so was Sub-C in general. And the ROB-like navigational computer, NAV-COM! The bosses were plentiful too, a giant sea serpent, ghost, lava man, octopus, and Zoda himself. But I'm afraid I've got to quiet down for now unless I get a fresh worm. After all, as a wise bird once said,
I remember seeing the commercial for this game then telling my mom I NEEEEEEDED it. Luckily, it was the time of year that I got a game so yay! I have always been a huge fan of Startropics, mostly due to the atmosphere I think. Lots of great stuff there. It's a pity it never really caught on (I didn't even play the sequel, shame on me).
I may boot this one up with y'all. And I'll play it on the NES.
Also, the NES version calls Mike's weapon a "Yoyo," not a stupid "Star."
Alright, I am dead tired and can't play beyond the start of chapter 2. I had a save file at chapter 3 from back when the game came out, but erased it and started fresh. Already, some impressions:
- "World Map Mike" sure is chubby - The controls are indeed stiff. Stiffer than I remembered them being. But I've read so many reviews for the sequel that said "Well, we got what we wished for, less stiff controls, only now we realize it was better before. Now they're just not precise enough and frustrating", that I can't complain too much. - They just won't take no for an answer on this island, will they?
In many "overworld" areas, you may be blocked by a guard or someone that won't let you pass. Talk to everyone in town to proceed.
All of Dr. Jones' passwords for Sub-C are relevant numbers in US history.
This one I was stuck on for awhile:
Chapter 3 In the tomb, you must navigate through a labyrinth of false walls and dark rooms. When you reach an area that looks like a dead end (lots of water on the north and south sides), head south, and Mike will jump to the next screen.
Chapter 4 Listen to what NAV-COM says verrry closely. If you're playing this on the VC, you've got access to what you need to do. If not, you better hope you have more than just the cartridge available! If you really want to know the secret password, it is747.
The game is moving along at a swift pace in the beginning, I gotta say. Maybe simply because I've played these chapters before (though a while ago)? How many chapters are there in total anyway?
Nothing too unexpected in this chapter. The enemies can be brutal, though, their speed really put the stiff controls in perspective. You have to be a bit strategic when approaching enemies, but at the same time it's pretty hard to be strategic and careful when "bullets" are flying at you.
I'll have to look up the manual to see what the "snowman" item does.
This is bad timing. I want to play through with you guys, but I'm already a member of the Okami Club, and I'm currently trying to prove I'm not crazy by playing through Ocarina of Time and finding the Mirror Shield in the Spirit Temple. And the remaining game time I have is spent brushing up on Marvel vs Capcom 3.
I get the feeling Chapter 3 is the point a lot of people will give up. I now remember why I stopped playing at that point.
Someone please tell me how the hell to get past that boss in the second cave? The one in the middle of the screen shooting fireballs at you while you try to jump on a bunch of switches to open the door?
I am not seeing any possible strategy. You HAVE to get real close to him, and there is no way to predict whether he's gonna shoot or not. More often than not, he does. So how the hell do you get past that?
I sure could use a snowman or a potion, but I haven't found any in that dungeon.
edit - I am a dummy. I had not noticed that you could just straight up jump to that switch near him from the green stripe below. Instead I insisted on making the trip there and back from the left.