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Eff It, I'm Going Through The Whole Zelda Series (And Then Some) Until I Get Bored (Now Playing: Zelda's Adventure)

ASandoval

Old Man Gamer
(he/him)
Probably obvious by now but the change in movement is what I meant about some changes being contentious. :)

It made me appreciate the grid movement in the first game a ton more - there, everything is very deliberate, where learning how Mikey operates vs. how the enemies move are two parts to solving a puzzle, much like movement in the classic Castlevanias.

That being said, time traveling antics to save the Tetris pieces is too goofy of a premise to not appreciate, and it's a shame such a plot wasn't given to a better game.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
I think a StarTropics 3 could be a spectacular thing
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
I think a StarTropics 3 could be a spectacular thing
I am manifesting a StarTropics duology remake that has 80s cartoon VHS aesthetics and makes the gameplay less needlessly mean. It happened for the region-exclusive Famicom Detective Club, it can happen here
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
My biggest issue with Startropics as a whole is how incredibly rare health upgrades are; Stars are uncommon enough, and the fact that you need five to refill one measly heart is preposterous, given the games already high difficulty.

What platform are you playing Startropics 2 on? The macguffins change depending which port it is
 

RT-55J

definitely not a robot
(He/Him)
IIRC the Virtual Console releases of StarTropics 1/2 change a few things for trademark reasons (e.g. the Yo-yo in the first game is called the "Island Star" in re-releases). Apparently the tetrads in the second game were renamed into "blocks", but I dunno if that's reflected in the visuals or not.
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
ZODA'S REVENGE: STARTROPICS II (1994): CHAPTER 4

Unfortunately "Sherlock Holmes but without actually making Sherlock Holmes an interesting character" is exactly what I had in mind when I mentioned time travel plots as an excuse for boring public-domain settings, and on top of that the bulk of this chapter is a sewer level - even after introducing the concept of foiling a museum heist! I have to imagine Sherlock would be pretty disappointed in "oh I killed the criminal in the sewers" as an explanation from his Watson, and "ah, if there was Zoda-X, there must also be Y and Z!" is an insane conclusion for him to reach. If this ever gets a remake I'd love to see this chapter be expanded on and/or entirely redesigned, because I'm a sucker for a good Sherlock pastiche, but as is it was pretty boring. The platforming the game is asking you to do with its unresponsive controls also keeps getting more absurd, which sucks. I'm complaining, but honestly I enjoyed this one well enough with rewind in hand, even if it's the worst chapter so far by a pretty wide margin.
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
i want the startropics 2 remake where sherlock sees zoda-x and immediately does a bbc sherlock-style mind palace scene where he determines there are clearly three of them
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
Sherlock would clearly come up with all of these and swipe them away in his mind palace scene. Then his face would turn into a 3D axis
 

nosimpleway

(he/him)
He pronounces it Zodax, and if there is a Zodax, there must be a Zoday and a Zodaz.

(Zoday is present, Zesterday is gone and Zomorrow isn't around yet.)
 

spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
well obviously from the outside perspective it represents three-dimensional coordinates but i don't know how that would be clear to characters within the story
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
ZODA'S REVENGE: STARTROPICS II (1994): CHAPTER 5

The overworld here is cuter/goofier than ever! I genuinely laughed out loud at the cactus dance (partially due to the unintentional humor that every NES demoscene track sounds exactly like the generic hip-hop beat they used here), and the chicken nugget gag is maybe the ultimate in this game's "committing to a dumb bit so hard you can't help but laugh with it". The actual puzzle was pretty obtuse, though, and I ended up using a guide - the path forward isn't anywhere near the cactus the game tells you to use as reference, unless I missed something. Anyway, here I decided to cut back on the rewind abuse a bit, and it actually did help make the game better - I mostly reserved it for instant death from fucking up the weird diagonal jumps this game sometimes makes you make, making direct contact with bosses that take out a third of your health bar, and taking a billion hits from one enemy because this game barely gives you mercy invincibility. Turns out the abundance of healing potions compared to the first game meant most hits are actually pretty tolerable. That said, there's one complaint I have with this game that I haven't mentioned before: the dungeons are so fucking boring. The overworld sections have this goofy sense of humor and commitment to their settings that make them really memorable, but all the dungeons so far have been boring, interchangeable caves. Why not spice up the abandoned Old West mineshaft to actually feel like a haunted mineshaft? Why did I pursue Zoda-X into the sewers last chapter instead of chasing him through the museum he heisted? Hell, even the pyramid in the Egypt chapter is another generic dungeon with a yellow tileset instead of doing anything interesting or pyramid-y.
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
ZODA'S REVENGE: STARTROPICS II (1994): CHAPTER 6



The plot here was actually fairly bland, given that it was mostly just people doing Italian accents at you. Mike convincing Leonardo da Vinci to give the Mona Lisa a trendy 1994 haircut was cute, at least. For once, the highlight here was the dungeon! I used a map to tell me where to go, then closed it so I could fall into the pitfalls normally. I'm starting to get the hang of the movement, and unlike where the first game was around this point, most enemies aren't doing a ton of damage to me, so the action stays fun more than frustrating. Zoda-Y sending you to Dracula at the end was cool, I guess, even if it's not any functionally different from Mike sending himself through a time vortex like in the rest of the game - maybe the opening of the next chapter will set up some stakes there.
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
ZODA'S REVENGE: STARTROPICS II (1994): CHAPTER 7

The plot in this chapter is basically nonexistent, which means all there is to talk about is the dungeon... which, as Wildcat says, is pretty much the best one in the game so far. Mike gets teleported to Dracula's Castle, and it's... not quite as much of a Castlevania riff as you might think, but it's still kind of a Castlevania riff - in particular, the boss fight with Zoda is a full-on parody of Castlevania's Dracula, with a first phase where he teleports and fires a three-fireball spread and a second where he turns into a bird and jumps around. The dungeon design is pretty solid, especially where the handful of puzzles are involved, and a bunch of new enemies are introduced that are mostly fun to fight - I could do without the ghosts that drift around with gravestones on their back, though. Still: pretty fun! According to my guide there's only two chapters to go, and this is definitely going by faster than the first game - I'm a bit worried about another last-level difficulty spike, though.
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
ZODA'S REVENGE: STARTROPICS II (1994): CHAPTER 8

This time we're in Camelot - the most generic setting yet by far, but much like Live A Live, it's kinda earned it. In keeping with the "Japanese devs drawing from their favorite games American kids might not have played" idea I brought up last game - am I crazy for seeing a lot of Dragon Quest and, to a lesser extent, Final Fantasy III influence here? Beyond just being a fantasy world in a top-down semi-RPG, a lot of the visual design here is referencing both games - all of the NPCs look directly inspired by Dragon Quest overworld sprites, and the tileset for the castle is extremely FF3. Maybe I'm reading too much into things. The dungeon here was Fine - I liked the pitfall gimmick in the first part. The dragon boss was kinda bullshit, though - I needed to look up a guide to learn I had to jump and hit his head, something that was only the case for clearly flying enemies up to this point, and it's especially bad because you can damage him without jumping when he lowers his head, just not fast enough to outrun the timer on the fight. Anyway, now it's off to the endgame - I already know the big gimmick of Chapter 9, so don't worry about spoiling it.
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
ZODA'S REVENGE: STARTROPICS II (1994): CHAPTER 9 & RETROSPECTIVE

It's cool that the game ends with a return to C-Island, including the first game's first dungeon! I feel like this sort of callback hadn't become super common yet, though obviously both Castlevania and Dragon Quest had played with it to similar extents by now. The boss rush was a bit of a lazy finale, and I had to heavily abuse rewind on the final boss, but other than that it was a pretty satisfying conclusion. I like how Mica never explicitly becomes Mike's girlfriend.

So, retrospective. I think I enjoyed this more than the first game overall! The time travel gimmick is a bit more generic to me than the original game's tropical sci-fi adventure, but it was still consistently goofy and fun. I think the controls here are worse, but other than that the gameplay is improved from the original IMO - I really wish they didn't have pits instantly kill you with how imprecise jumping feels, but the design is generally much less mean overall. It's a shame this is the end of this series - it could have been really great. Maybe we'll get remakes or a sequel or something?

Next up: Zelda's Adventure! I'm excited for this one - if it wasn't obvious, I already had an appreciation for the Animation Magic CD-i games going in, but I know almost nothing about this one other than that it looks like a shitty PC game and it's got obtuse puzzles. I'll be using a guide, of course, and I've also been told I'll need to use savestates at least a little because the emulator freezes when you die, but other than that this will be a completely blind experience.
 

Kzinssie

(she/her)
ZELDA'S ADVENTURE (1994): SHRINE OF EARTH

haha what

I went in with no expectations and this game has simultaneously been less and more than I could have ever imagined. The game looks like a nightmare, with poorly-compressed digitized actors, and the voice acting is terrible on a level far deeper than the Animation Magic games - between that and the hilariously fake-looking costumes the game feels like a high school theater production. The controls are mostly servicable, but there's some bizarre bug that causes you to turn around if you mash attack while moving either left or up (right and down are fine, inexplicably). The "wand" attack (functionally a sword) has some kind of bizarre hitbox that both hits things that should be out of range and has enemies pass through it, and the best strategy is often to stand at the edge of the screen and mash attack while enemies walk into your wand. The first boss's name is Llort, which is "troll" backwards. The basic cannon fodder enemy is a tumbleweed with a face. This is goddamn stupendous. I think I love this game.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Forever ago, I read that this was the best of the three games. But that was probably a gamefaqs review.
 
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