StarTropics is an action-adventure video game released by Nintendo in 1990 for the NES. Unlike most of Nintendo's games, it was never released or intended to be released in Japan. It was released only in North America and Europe, although designed by Japanese designers living in the United States. It was produced, written and directed by Genyo Takeda of Nintendo Integrated Research & Development (who also developed the Punch-Out!! series). StarTropics was followed by a sequel entitled Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II, released in 1994.
The story of the game follows Mike as he travels to visit his uncle, an archaeologist by the name of Dr. Steven Jones, at his laboratory on the fictional C-Island in the so-called South Seas. When Mike arrives at Dr. Jones's home in the tropical village of Coralcola, he finds that his uncle has gone missing. Dr. Jones's assistant gives Mike a special yo-yo to defend himself and permits Mike to use his uncle's submarine to search for him. On a nearby island, Mike finds a bottle with a message from Dr. Jones, stating that he has been abducted by extraterrestrials. Traveling to many of the isles of the South Seas, Mike encounters monsters, labyrinths, quirky characters, and many intelligent animals, including a talking parrot and a mother dolphin looking for her son, all in the search for his lost uncle, Dr. Jones.
StarTropics is played from a 2D, top-down perspective, similar to many other role-playing games of that era. The game is divided into several chapters; in each chapter, players take control of the protagonist, 'Mike,' exploring various settlements and other areas of interest and interacting with non-player characters in order to obtain more information about the surroundings. The player is then usually tasked with locating the source of some local calamity or disturbance. When the player enters a more dangerous locale, the game switches mechanics, bringing the view closer in and introducing various obstacles and adversaries that the player must either navigate or destroy.
Unique to the 'StarTropics' franchise, a yo-yo serves as Mike's primary weapon (renamed 'star' in the Virtual Console release). As the player progresses, other weapons and tools are made available that will aid in Mike's journey, including several items influenced by American baseball.
The game was also packaged with a physical letter, which set up the story and was used within the game's plot. During gameplay, the player is prompted to dip this physical letter in water to reveal a hidden code, which is required to progress in the game. In response to questions from fans, the code was also published in Nintendo Power. In the Wii Virtual Console release, the letter was added to the manual, which instead plays an animation of the letter being dipped in water before revealing the code.
Find digital download of this game on
This version of StarTropics was designed for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which was an eight-bit video game console manufactured
by Nintendo in the years 1983 - 2003. In that time, it was the best-selling video game console for which more than 700 licensed games and a number of non-licensed
games were created. Worldwide, approximately 62 million units of this console were sold at approximately price $ 100 per unit. More information about the
NES console can be found here.
Recommended Game Controllers:
You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, you can buy one of these NES controllers:
Available online emulators:
6 different online emulators are available for StarTropics. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game StarTropics are summarized in the following table:
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