StarTropics (NES)

Game Profile

Mike Jones is an ordinary kid on an extraordinary adventure. When his archaeologist uncle goes missing on a tropical island, Mike sets off to uncover the dark secrets lurking in paradise.

StarTropics boasts two styles of gameplay: explore the island on foot or in your uncle's submarine, and battle monsters using a variety of weapons and items. The original NES release included a letter in the game box, with a hidden message. For the Virtual Console version, this has been reproduced in the electronic manual.

Game Review

Wii U eShop Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Conor McMahon

Sun, sea, sand, and aliens

Winter is slowly creeping up on us, so it's as good a time as ever to explore warmer climates and take your mind off of the bad weather. For some NES-filtered beams of sunshine, why not step into the shoes of young Mike Jones, an American kid who's headed...

Game Review

Virtual Console Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Embark on an extraordinary adventure

On first sight, StarTropics looks eerily like Zelda (in fact, when you start it up, there's the same name entry screen!). So you might be thinking, what's all the fuss about? StarTropics is about a typical American teenager, Mike Jones, who heads to the...

Game Screenshots

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Two cult classics for the US today. First is StarTropics, the first in an (unfortunately) dead Nintendo series which spanned only two games. The game borrows heavily from Zelda, but is a lot more light-hearted and, according to quite a few people, more fun. The original game required a letter which came packed with the game in order to progress at one point - If anybody who played the game on NES can download it on VC and see for us how they fixed this, it would be appreciated.

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User Comments (83)



CuzinMike said:

I remember cursing at this game b/c I borrowed it w/o that special invitation to give you the code to progress to the next chapter...this was way before the internet. So long as you can find that code online, this is a really enjoyable game quite distinct from zelda.



Drake said:

Yup, Zoda's Revenge is just as good. It's got loads of nifty new features which make it just as enjoyable as this.



deggs said:

to be honest, this game lost my interest at times... like the review says, it gets kinda hard in the later caves/dungeons... still, i'll prob get it because, for what it was, it was truly a great game and well worth the money. though, the one i really can't wait for is zoda's revenge, this one will surely tide me over...

by the way, i did like zelda 1 and 2 better but that's just me... zoda's revenge was supposed to be better than all 3 of those games but i was never been able to find a copy before my nes was stolen...

the best nes zelda-like game that i played in my nes days was Crystalis by SNK... if they release that, that one should def be a must get game...



Sharecrow said:

I never did beat this game, but I liked it a lot. I will definitely download this one shortly after it comes out so that I can play it all the way through. How exciting!!!



Boredom_v2_2 said:

Drake, have you played Warioware Touched before? If so, correct me if i'm wrong, but wasn't this one of the games in 9-volt's set of minigames?



Drake said:

Yes I've played it (And own it), no, this is not one of his microgames. I think you're referring to the one where you tap a button on a NES controller - All games in that microgame are made up.



I still have the NES version and will download this to support the game. I never dipped my letter in water as I did not want to damage it as I was like that with games and manuals even when I was a kid so got the code from a friends copy who was brave enough to do it. I know the code if anyone wants it Ill post it here. I have never played the sequel and would love to play that one day. I remember reading about it in NMS and really wanted it but it never was released over here and I had no idea at the time how to play import games on the NES. In Europe this game is less known as the NES was not as big as it was in America but being one of the lucky NES owners in Europe as a kid I can not recommend this game enough to those that missed it. I really hope it hits the EU VC soon so EU gamers who missed it can catch it. One of the reasons I imported a North American Wii was to finally play the sequal to this game and am glad the first one has come along as a start.



Sharecrow said:

Maybe they'll just put the code in the online instructions coupled with the download....without the water, of course. That's my guess.

I'll definitely download this tonight though I may not get to play it for awhile...work's keeping me busy



Stuffgamer1 said:

This game is way more than worth your 500 points. I am proud to say I've beaten both StarTropics games on the NES (my Dad had awesome taste in obscure NES and SNES games), but I think they might be a bit easier now that my gaming skills overall have improved. The last stage is HARD, but very satisfying to beat.



catfud said:

This is a great game!
I played it so much as a kid. I plan on getting this for sure, even though I already beat it. haha

The Number from the letter can be found on gamefaqs so if the game doesnt help with it, it can be found online.

I bet its gonna be in the help file though.



zman said:

Hey guys, I just downloaded the game, and the letter IS in fact in the Operations Guide.

They even have an animation you click on to wet the page in a bucket of water to get the code!



Adamant said:

Honestly, Zoda's Revenge isn't AS good. It may have better controls, but the level design was downright lousy, puzzles were badly designed (the western one, anyone?) and the game as a whole lacked a lot of the charm from the original.
I'm not saying it's a bad game, because it isn't, but the original IS better.

Ok, back to this game: One of the best for the system. Buy!



toma said:

I just downloaded the game and here's how they handled the hidden message. In the instructions under the story section, the word "letter" when talking about the letter is highlighted blue and underlined like a hyperlink. Click on it and you get a picture of the letter. At the bottom there is a small picture of a bucket of water. Click the bucket and it plays a little animation of the letter being dipped in the water, then the secret message fades into view on the larger picture of the letter above it. It's actually handled better than I thought they would do it, I figured they would either change the in-game text or just blatantly say what the code is in the manual.



yoda31419 said:

I got this game without the manual, from my aunt as a Christmas present! I never could beat it, and now I know why! Wow, I wish I had known all of these years that you couldn't beat it without the manual! Now I can download it and beat it in my apartment without having to buy an NES. Thank you NINTENDO! YOU RocK!



Phant said:

As a relatively dedicated old school gamer, I can't believe I've never come across this title... I can't wait to check it out!



WoRMaSTeR said:

Now this is exactly why the virtual console kicks ass. I have never played this, but based on the review and comments will definitely download!



Stuffgamer1 said:

Mip and Adamant: I'm not sure why you guys think Zoda's Revenge is so bad. I'm not knocking your opinions, but I've always thought it was better than StarTropics 1, which is also awesome. The controls are better, it has the best NES graphics ever (the only NES game released after it, Wario's Woods, looks like garbage, especially since a SNES version of it was made, and is far superior), and the story is sweet (but I've always been a sucker for time travel). I say this because I don't want any fans of StarTropics to avoid Zoda's Revenge if it hits VC because of your opinions. I fear too many people might miss out on an awesome game.



Bensei said:

How similiar is it to Zelda? I heard it's more fun, so I'm thinking about buying it.



Drake said:

Bensei: Most people refer to it as The Legend of Zelda (The game, not the series) with jumping.



Adamant said:

Just beat it today. Man, it's even better than I remembered. BUY IT! NOW!



Betagam7 said:

IS this much better than Zelda 1? I ask becasue try as might have done with the collectors disk I just could never get into the NES zelda games. I never played them as a youngster (being a c64 owner) and so the nostalgia factor just isnt there for me and like the first metroid I just find the game samey and boring. Is this more complex?



Sharecrow said:

@betagam7 - I like Startropics much better than Zelda 1, but that is just my humble opinion. I did not play Startropics until years after its release as an emulation, and I can say that it is much more approachable without the need for nostolgia than Zelda (and, frankly, than Metroid too though Metroid: Zero Mission is awesome). I highly recommend it. I would give it five stars again, but I already did that and that wouldn't be fair to vote twice....



Thomas said:

Barely got a few chapters into this game as a kid, now I'm able to slowly-but-surely fight through the dungeons. The puzzles are cool, and the traps cruel, but the overall game is so fun and charming it's won me over.



Gameguardian said:

This is a great game and a must-buy for everyone with the adventure urge =) Amazing, and to think I didn't play this as a kid. Oh well, better late than never! Great stuff Nintendo, keep at it!



lordbowser said:

Got this as soon as it was downloadable. Definintley a must own game if your a fan of the Zelda series.



sonar said:

I loved this game even more than the Zelda games. It is a big adventure with a great story and all the details are very well done. Even the ending is the most beautiful I've seen on the NES. I personally think this belongs to the three greatest NES games of all time.



Garlyle said:

I gifted this to a friend for a Christmas present (A little late...). It was an expert piece of work back in its day and it still continues to be. This game will take quite a while to finish for an NES game, and will still get you to come back for more to enjoy it. I highly recommend this game.



Nigel said:

This game's alright. I gave it 4 stars, it could have used some atmosphere, and it started getting boring after awhile. Maybe I've just played too much Zelda.



ejamer said:

Although I was really excited to hear that this game was being released on the Virtual Console, it didn't live up to the nostalgia.

StarTropics isn't bad - but there are quite a few small issues that detracted from my enjoyment of it: traps that you can't avoid without dying once, the inability to carry over weapons and special items after finishing a dungeon, some odd limitations because of the grid-based layout, and the huge jump in difficulty for the final level. Individually these shortcomings don't matter - but added together they can make the game less enjoyable than it should be.

That said, StarTropics does have many strong points. At the top of the list are very good graphics (for a NES game), a fun story, inventive puzzles and challenges, and generally a very good combat system. There is a lot of good here, but just not enough to lift the game into the top tier of VC downloads.

For $5 you might want to give it a shot... It's a good game, but just might not pull you in as much as some other classic titles.



hand2097 said:

If you like the kind of samey game where you discover traps by dying and have to replay the entire level again and again... the music is repetitive but the characters and story is ok. The no-diagonals restriction sucks, too.



zelda_freak said:

What a great game. While it has some major frustrations like the diagnal direction thing it has a certain challenge that keeps me comin back for more. I was also very pleased to see the letter from dr. j was in the manual and let me finally continue a point i have been stuck on for years and hopfully i will comlete the game to. i am a proud owner of this game and its sequal.



sym1 said:

i love this game. The only downside is that to complete a dungoen you need to know it inside and out to get through it. It gets mega hard later on!!! Its very rewarding tho and its great fun. I'v just beat the last boss on the space ship and finally got the final third cube! Nice ending sequence. Classic game. Cant wait for Startropics 2 to be released on VC, tho i have heard its not as good but mike can move diagonally which would be good.



Sharecrow said:

@Jupiter Adept - The game is pretty linear so, although you will have to complete some tasks before moving forward, it is never that difficult to tell what you are supposed to do next. It can be tough to get through some parts, so don't think I am saying that it is easy all the way through, but there isn't really any wandering.



Sharecrow said:

I can't answer that as I haven't gotten to ALttP yet. It's on my list, but I've never played it....



zelda_freak said:

Jupiter Adept-it is kind of like ALttP, but has puzzles that need more real-life knowledge. like knowing the music scale
thing(do ray me fa so la tee do). i would say ALttP is a little easier.



Slionr said:

The "happy video game nerd" had too a review of this game. If it is so good, I guess I will give it a shot and download it. It is just 500 Wii-points for it, so why not



Marvel_Maniac said:

I just downloaded it. I now have a love/hate relationship with this game. It frustrates me, and yet, I love it.



Adamant said:

It's not like LttP, no. The game is divided into chapters, and at no given point will you have access to more than one dungeon at a time. It's all extremely linear, and though there are some puzzles that block your way at times, you'll never be in doubt as to where you're supposed to go.



zelda_freak said:

true, Adamant. but one could still compare the difficulty of levels of both games. while startropics and zelda are completely different in a lot of ways, i cant help but feel a solid conection between
the two.



juhok said:

Oh man, this was SO difficult when I was a kid. Yes, it can be very challenging and a bit frustrating at times. Nevertheless, character controlling is very fluid (Yeah, there's no diagonal jumping, but that is just part of the challenge and the gameplay actually makes use of it) and the storytelling is superb.

Definitely worth 500 points.



Terra said:

Awesome game, great value for 500 Points. Now the wait for Zoda's Revenge.



MVP said:

I discovered the game now, when I was a kid didn´t know about it, but now I see it is addictive, nice graphics and a curious story, if you like adventure games, and very retro games, this is your game.



PsychoFish said:

I really like this game. It has always been one of my favorites. Greate tunes, good story. Definitely worth 500 Wii Points and everyone that doesn't know the game: try it out!!



Kingston said:

I have only beat the first dungeon, and I already have had two game overs... I think it's going to be a long night.



Ricardo91 said:

I didn't pay much attention to this game when I first heard about it, but since a lot of people say it's so good I think I'll download it.



Andio_Pandio said:

Man, I love this game, but that octopus boss is giving me hard time.
Still keep coming back to it tho!



CanisWolfred said:

Gah! I can't believe I passed this up for Super Mario Bros. 3! I got Zelda 2 at the time, so I figured that was enough Zelda for one day, but in the end Zelda 2 wound up being nothing like Zelda, and SMB3 wound up being very unenjoyable. I'll correct this now and go enjoy this game.



Twilight_Crow said:

Finally, after getting some wii points, and wasting most of them on Bomberman Blast, I DL this one, I waited a lot because of wiiware good releases, but now I'm playing it and enjoying myself. This game is everything a was told and more, a crazy story, funny dialogs, and a challenging game play, a 5/5 for me.



Fignuts said:

Such an amazing game. Can get alittle frustrating in some parts, but all around one of the most solid titles on the NES back in the day.....basicly cause its a zelda clone with way more style.



Corbs said:

I remember buying this game while on vacation with the family because the tiny little electronics store only had about 5 NES games in stock. It looked quite mediocre but turned out to be amazing. Still one of my NES favorites.



Big_A2 said:

They put this on, yet they still ignore EarthBound.

Ah well, I should download this when I get some more points.



Goompapa said:

I borrowed this from a friend back in the day, but was never able to get very far--I remember it fondly, though. I 'll definitley be giving it another shot.



Terra said:

I'm heading back to play this again and finally finish it to try and wait for Zoda's Revenge: Startropics II. Hopefully, the wait won't be long.



Myst said:

One of my favorite NES games... as soon as my NES dies (which will probably be soon T_T) I'm buying the VC version of this (along with Zoda's Revenge)



MrLopez said:

It's a hidden Gem! One of my favourite NES games ever!!



GN0LAUM said:

Yeah, after finally beating this thing, and comparing it to the second one, I have to say this isn't the best in the series. The controls are my biggest problem as they are totally stiff and unreliable. The storyline is entirely based on this set of tropical islands, whereas I prefer the time travel storyline of the second game. Lastly there are some cheap traps, such as in the first level whereby entering a room, you die instantly in a trap!

Its rough around the edges, but if you're a fan of the genre then you will enjoy it.



Goomba2996 said:

Good game worth 500 wii points. The thing I like about it is that it's alot like Zelda.4/5



NotEnoughGolds said:

I just bought this game, and I must say... I hate it.
The game is too hard for how poor the movement is.
Being able to move or shoot only up/down/left/right (no diagonal) is infuriating. Being able to jump only straight up in the air, unless you are jumping to a platform, isn't so bad, but you can also jump straight to your death if you are in front of water.

Rooms that can kill you if you don't know they are death rooms are bs as well. What game does that, seriously? It was I think only the first "dungeon" where you grab 2 potions then head into the third room and you are dropped into a pool of death water.

I love playing retro games, even ones that I haven't played before (so I'm not biased by nostalgia). Ys Book I & II was awesome.
Neutopia was decent, Neutopia II is excellent from what I've played so far. It goes without saying that Super Metroid is one of the greatest video games of all time (and I had never played it before!).

I can't find a single person that hates this game. Let me be the first.
I also hate that you lose all your items from dungeon to dungeon.
And there are rooms where the lights turn off and the door locks behind you, and you have to do some death jumps in the dark. If you weren't paying damn close attention when you entered the room, you will die. And there's nothing you can do about it.



Pastry said:

I'm going to get this as my free NES.

I played it on vNES and it rocked the house!!



SeniorDingDong said:

Yes, I lost my letter back then and had to figure the code out by guessing(!). "747" - how could I ever forget...



vitalemrecords said:

so they're putting this out because of the new president, huh? cool I guess... something about these releases make me miss Iwata a bit more...

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