Guest Post – Nintendo Blacksheep: StarTropics

For those of you readers who don’t know me (which I’m sure is 99.9% of you), my name is Anthony DeVirgilis, and I’ve been writing at for around 4 years on and off.  I consider myself a well-rounded gamer, owning just about every console and willing to give a game in any genre at least a chance.  Enough about me though, the reason I am here and writing this article is to defend my case for the NES Quest to have started with StarTropics, the often overlooked and forgotten about franchise in Nintendo’s vast library of Intellectual Properties.

Let me give you a little background on the history of StarTropics, one of my favorite NES franchises (yes franchise, there was a second game on NES: Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II).  Developed by Nintendo IRD, best known for Punch-Out! and Super Punch-Out!, in StarTropics you play as Mike Jones, visiting your uncle Dr. J on C-Island.  As you arrive you find out that he has gone missing.  You are then sent on a quest to find your abducted uncle.  I am going to stop there because I expect, nay, demand that this game be played at some point on the NES Quest.

The gameplay is reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda franchise when in “dungeon” areas, where you will defend yourself from enemies with a yo-yo, baseball bat, cleats and a plethora of other weapons. The overworld map has the feel of an old school RPG overhead view, which you traverse when exploring from location to location.  The game also features a broad range of NPC characters and a leveling up system, similar to that of an RPG.

There are a few things that make this game special for anyone around my age.  First, I remember reading each issue of Nintendo Power from cover-to-cover multiple times.  This was our only source of Nintendo news at the time.  There was no Internet, there weren’t really any demos or ways to try games out (besides the then thriving video rental shops).  I remember just being amazed by the screen shots from StarTropics at the time.  It was like The Legend of Zelda but with better graphics and in a more modern setting. Second, it was targeted for North America, which is still almost unheard of from Nintendo, as most of their titles hit Japan earlier.  In fact, Nintendo never even released StarTropics in Japan, though it did see a European release shortly after it hit the shores of NA.  Lastly, it saw Nintendo taking innovative steps and thinking outside the box with the inclusion of  “The Letter” inside the box with the game manual that was essential to your progression through the game (And I’m not talking about the 15 minute long eShop title).  They included “The Letter” in the eManual in the Virtual Console release as well.

Nintendo has been known to stray away from their franchises and rarely revisit them with titles such as Kid Icarus, Ice Climbers, Clu Clu Land, Earthbound and, even more recently, Star Fox and F-Zero. StarTropics was released in 1990 and its sequel in 1994, long after the SNES had launched and a game on the NES had a snowball’s chance in hell to sell well. With Nintendo’s huge library of titles, I’d love to see them revisit the world of StarTropics and with enough fanfare maybe that could one day be a possibility.  For now though,  fans who have missed this title should jump at the opportunity to experience a true gem from the company we all have grown to love, Nintendo.

In addition to being a girl gamer, Holly prides herself on being a red-head. Consequently, the blue shell in the Mario Kart series is her natural enemy. Don't worry, though: she still loves Mario Kart and is very good, despite the occasional blue shell-sabotaged race. Like any Nintendo fan, Holly also loves Zelda, Pokemon, Mario, Donkey Kong, Metroid, name it. But she'll try just about anything (besides horror games) and has a soft spot for unique, little-known rhythm games like Rhythm Heaven and Samba de Amigo. NNID: Aeroweth