Weekly Flashback: StarTropics (NES)
StarTropics really isn’t a game that I played growing up, only a title I knew of. It was the suggestion of a fellow compadre at Ganon Fodder, Dave, that I play and blog it. Lord above knows that I tried to keep shit PG while writing about what I think of this NES game but it is of my humble opinion that this is a feat that cannot be accomplished.
Having said that,
Is it a good game? YES. In fact, I might go so far as to say that it seems like a great game. And that is precisely why it’s such a total shitty dickstorm!
Let me calm down and explain. . .
This is it: C-Island. Because It looks just like the letter ‘C’. Clever, guys. Though I might prefer ButterCroissant-Island or Tree-and-Rock Island.
The opening of the game provides you with the following deceiving image:
It looks like a damn paradise, doesn’t it? Well it is. All the beautiful palm trees, the mesmerizing, oceanic surrounding, only two clouds in the sky. . . That is, until you notice that you are not alone. . . There is people living there! And they’re not just any people . . they’re a colony of LEPERS! Aaahh!
Okay, so there aren’t any lepers in StarTropics. There aren’t any zombies from Zombies Ate My Neighbors that were edited in Paint to look (barely) like lepers either.
However, this is a perfect analogy for this game. The dudes at Nintendo clearly had the means, by way of Zelda, to make me really like StarTropics and they did so in a few ways. I figured I was in for a real treat (i.e. paradise). Too bad they only give you three damned lives! Lives that are EXTREMELY hard to come by. It doesn’t take long to realize that they’re fucking with you. In so many scenarios you have to lose a life to figure out shit that will kill you. This is a dynamic that you simply cannot have in a game that only gives you three friggin’ men! Ever hear of leaving the difficulty spikes until later in the game? Actually, they probably did (god forbid) but will I ever play far enough into the game to see? Doubtful. Or is it?
The best example of the shenanigans that StarTropics pull on you is the hidden “fuck you!” areas. Sometimes it’s just a hidden room that you think must have some sort of goodies inside and it ends up just being a room full of bats that you have to kill (and sometimes waste life on) before you can leave. Other times it will be a secret room with a potion inside (you really need this shit) and, by way of stepping on panels in the floor, you uncover another secret entrance into an identical room with another potion inside. Now, once you uncover the opening of a third secret room there, wouldn’t we all assume there will either be another potion, a secret weapon, or at the very least a decoy room with a few bad guys?
Oh, it’s a decoy room alright:
Yeah, you guessed it. You can’t swim. Right into the drink you go. You fall into a deadly pit of water, full of skulls and bones. The remains of past adventurers who dared take a dip in such a menacing, sharkless pool of water. The game’s biggest challenge soon becomes determining which monsters to waste your life on, as there is sometimes only a certain species in the room that you have to kill before advancing. Sometimes you only need to take out all the blue rats and not even worry about those bastard starfish in order to open the door to advance. Sometimes you need to kill everything. Die twice and find out!
“Please visit my wife. She enjoys company”
All I heard was “Please, my wife is alone daily and enjoys when you visit her. Please give her your sexual company. As you can see I am too busy, spending every day and night in this cursed lighthouse, to please her.” And just when I was about to stop playing, too. Another dead end, though, as you could imagine. Apparently all he meant was that she simply enjoys my platonic company. And not even, really. . She merely tells me where some stupid item is hidden. And not a secret item that is hidden deep within her magic box, for which the only key to unlock it exists solely in my swimming trunks. She barely even says hello.
StarTropics? I like it. It really is immersing. If it was just another shitty, too-hard-for-its-own-good nintendo game then it wouldn’t grind my gears so much. I would just frisbee it to hell and move on. It’s the fun (submarining from place to place) and funny shit (protagonist doing the Cha-Cha throughout all cave/dungeon gameplay) that shines through. Do you get it now? It pulls me into its punishing world like a battered wife who just won’t leave the.. wait, what? Sorry. Like a . . It’s just, you hate it unimaginably it but you stick to it for some sick reason. You know? Like Black Ops. Theres a reference we should all get.
How about this: How about under the southern cross, you can heal my ass with your lips. Everything is possible? Yeah, everything except beating the second chapter of this titheaded game. God!