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An underrated classic
Star Tropics is one of those games that slipped under the radar. Released in 1990 (as the SNES was being heavily hyped), Star Tropics is a bit like Zelda in its gameplay, but with a flavor all its own. Instead of being an epic story about saving the world or stopping some great evil, Star Tropics features the All-American Mike Jones who's gone on an island adventure to visit his Uncle, Dr. J. Of course, you do get to save the world and stop a great evil, but that comes later. The dungeons have a great tune that keeps you going, even as you die again and again (and you'll die a lot).

I'm not sure quite how to describe the gameplay other than that "it's sorta like Zelda, but different". You get to fight monsters with a Yo-Yo (which is way better than it sounds). Of course, if you're playing on the Virtual Console, you get an Island Star instead... The game starts off simple with the first couple dungeons to ease you in to this Test of Island Courage, but it gets hard quickly. With a bit of quirky humor not unlike the Mother series, an array of unique weapons, such as a flame, a baseball bat, a baseball, spiked shoes, and a laser, Star Tropics has a flavor all its own.

If it's not already clear, I definitely recommend that you play the game if you get the chance, and if you have a Wii, you can purchase it for the Virtual Console, which means that you really have no excuse. The gameplay is solid, and the dungeons are built around the gridlike control mechanism. The game provides the right balance of challenge and fun. The music is excellent as well, pushing the limits of the NES. Although it's not the longest game, and there's no replay value other than to beat it again, Star Tropics is a great game for those times when you just want to relax and go back to reminiscing about yesteryear. So relax, pick up a copy, and enjoy.

Critic's Score: 9.5/10.
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