The 1994 sequel to StarTropics, Zoda’s Revenge again features the red-haired hero, Mike Jones, only this time he’s on a time-travelling adventure searching to find a series of puzzles shapes called “Tetrads”.
These Tetrads are actually a nod to Tetris, and in the Virtual Console re-release of StarTropics II their names have been changed to “Blocks”, probably to avoid any legal problems. But anyway, I digress…
StarTropics II is very similar to the first game, BUT… it does have one major difference that makes it unique in its own right, and that’s with the movement of the main character. In the first game Mike would move around dungeons using a ’tile-based’ system, meaning: if he moved north he would move one tile north. In StarTropics II Mike can move anywhere – he’s not restricted by moving from tile to tile. This means that he can change direction when jumping, and even jump around corners. He can also fall off the edge of a platform (to his death) more easily too, so it’s a double-edged sword.
Otherwise: the gameplay – and the structure of the game – follows pretty much the same template as before, which is: a scrolling overworld map for exploration between dungeons, and single-screen, monster-infested rooms inside dungeons. You fight your way through each room; solve any puzzle put in front of you, and defeat the boss at the end.
Personally, I prefer this sequel over the original, because it’s more challenging and more varied. Also: some of the animals in StarTropics II have pixel bumholes, which made me laugh, and for that I can only praise the game’s graphic designers. 🙂