Zoda's Revenge Star Tropics 2 NES Review - It had big shoes to fill

by Matthew Maas on Thursday, November 15, 2001
The ultimate dilema of the sequel: How do you live up to players' expectations following a hit? Die-hard fans of the first will be offended by any change, while mild fans will be bored if the sequel doesn't have new interesting touches.

It's a tough problem to solve. Most sequels fail in this regard, and Star Tropics II was no exception.

DIFFICULTY: Easier than the first, but still fairly challenging.

PLOT: Mike's back in Seattle, when he gets a telepathic message from the alien he saved at the end of #1 (remember the aliens?). Now he must travel through time and recover "tetrads" for a reason he doesn't know untill the end of the game.
The plot is both interesting and unsettling. You travel to different historical periods, which all have completely different scenery and enemies. This is the interesting part. However, the plot and the feeling of the game seem so different fromt he original that die-hard fans of the first (like myself) were dissappointed. Also, the designers tried to make the plot funny, which it usually isn't. Nothing's more humiliating than a bad joke.
The plot would be more acceptable if you'd never played the first. But if that were the case, you probably wouldn't know what was going on. Ouch.

GAMEPLAY: Some big improvements were made over the gameplay of #1. Battles are still top-view (bird's eye), but gameplay now makes use of three dimensions. Also, your player now moves freely across the screen, not restricted to squares and open to move diagonally.
As in the original, the boss battles are the best part of this game. The feel of the first is lost, however, because none of the bosses really LOOK impressive. It's still fun to fight them, but you don't CARE about fighting them. They're not scarey anymore. Instead, they try to be funny, and usually aren't.
Zoda (the end boss) is still impressive, and you get to fight him three times (play to find out why).

GRAPHICS: Graphics are pretty much the same as in the original. Battle mode is impressive; town mode is not. They did give Mike arms this time, which was a big improvement.

MUSIC: Interesting, but not as memorable as that of #1. The best part of the entire game (for me) was hearing the remixes of #1 music at the end. I always get nostalgic when I hear than music.

LASTING APPEAL: This game is just as long as #1, but it is easier. As a result, you can beat it much quicker (5-6 hours without hints). And, sadly, the game is still incredibly linear. The only side-quest is the search for heart containers, which plays a bigger role than in #1. However, it won't take hours of hard searching to find them. I found all heart containers my very first time through the game, and I found them very quickly.

HIGHS: Improved battle system over #1, more interesting plot, slightly better graphics

LOWS: Too easy, doesn't have fantasy feel of #1, music is worse

BOTTOM LINE: 4/5 It doesn't live up to #1. But then, nothing could.

-Matthew Maas
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