Coffee Break #2: StarTropics – Finished

Occasionally, even I need a break from RPGs. I do enjoy plenty of other genres, but it just so happens that good old role-playing games are my absolute favorite that I love to play and talk about most of the time. Thankfully, I have a small selection of games from other genres whenever I feel the need for something different. Through the process of computer generated random selection, otherwise known as the Backloggery’s Fortune Cookie, the game I would play next was quickly determined.

For years, I’ve heard people talk about StarTropics and how much they love it. It was the best Zelda clone on the NES, or so I was told. Good humor, fun story, great gameplay, etc. So naturally, I went into this game with rather high expectations. I should have learned by now to never go into a game with high expectations.

While I can certainly see why someone who grew up with this game would have the mindset of “This game is great”, I still can’t bring myself to love it even half as much as someone that does. This game was a constant, painful reminder of why I don’t like how most NES action games control, and also why I mostly refuse to play anything on the console outside of turn-based RPGs and a select few, well-done games.  No matter how hard I tried, I just could never get used to the turning controls. That alone brought me to my certain doom numerous times.

I also don’t even need to express my hatred of the rooms that go dark and you need to remember where the safe spots are. If you are just the slightest bit off from your memory, you jump into instant death water and that’s it for you. Time to redo the last section all over! I honestly got to a point where I needed to whip out maps of the dungeons to help me navigate rooms like that and to help me from accidentally walking into false exits. Nothing quite like walking out of one of those and having to start the dungeon all over. Thankfully, I only saw this a few times, so it wasn’t too awful. Though I’m uncertain if maybe there was a preventative measure for this back in the day. Did players just reset and start from the last save? Although that would be the start of the dungeon, so that’s kind of a moot point.

I know I’m ranting quite intensely about this game, but like I said earlier, I can see why someone who played this game years ago would be fond of it. It does have an endearing graphical style and fun humor. The music is catchy, though repetitive due to the lack of variety. The music in the ship near the end of the game was pretty reminiscent of Crystalis, which is an old favorite of mine. I feel like with some improvements, StarTropics could be an even better game and one that I would look back on fondly. But unfortunately, it is going to continue to take up real estate on my shelf until the day I decide to play it again. That is, assuming that I will. We’ll see how I feel after I play Zoda’s Revenge, and whether or not these two games will remain in my collection or be passed on to a friend or family member who also collects NES titles. Thankfully it appears that the sequel is just as short as the first and shouldn’t take me more than a weekend to finish.

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