StarTropics

Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo
Genre: Action RPG
Released: 1990

StarTropics (NES)

Star Tropics is an action adventure RPG developed by Nintendo for release exclusively in North America and Europe, the game is similar to the Legend of Zelda but takes place in a tropical setting.

Star Tropics features Mike Jones who is on a journey to visit his uncle, an archaeologist named Dr. J, on C-Island. When Mike arrives he finds that Dr. J has gone missing. Using a submarine, which is piloted by a robot named NAV-COM, Mike sets off to search the nearby islands for his uncle. The journey leads into the middle of an alien war and forces Mike to have to battle the evil aliens in order to save his uncle. 

The game is split up into 8 chapters, each chapter begins with Mike exploring the world map where he can travel around islands, and enter towns to gain new weapons and talk to the town people. When he finds the entrance to the dungeon the game switches to an overhead action RPG where Mike explores the caverns solving puzzles and searching for the exit which is usually defended by a boss monster.

The original weapon Mike receives is a “yo-yo” called the island star in some versions because of trademark issues. The length and damage of that weapon can be increased, but the upgrades are only active when Mike's health is high. Other weapons and items can be found including a baseball bat, baseballs, torches, slingshots, ninja stars, laser pistol, and laser rifle, lantern and reflective mirrors. Other special items can be found which are only available for the dungeon they are found in like a freezing doll, and double jump ability.

Mike begins with 3 hears but can increase the limit to 22 by finding more heart containers and defeating bosses.

One puzzle in the game that has caused a lot of confusion for players involves a physical letter that came with each copy of the game. The game prompts the user to dip the letter in water, but it is not clear that the letter is a real object and not a virtual item in the game. Also now it is difficult to find the original letter with the game making this an impossible puzzle to solve for most gamers. When dipped in water the letter revealed an additional message which contained the passcode “747” which allowed the user to progress in the game. 

Star Tropics is available on the Virtual Console (the letter mentioned above is included in the digital instruction manual), and was followed up by a sequel for the NES entitled Zoda's RevengeStar Tropics 2.

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