StarTropics is a game for the NES. It was both developed and published by Nintendo. The game, despite being developed in Japan, was never released there. The game includes an immersive story, and fun characters (including the main character Mike Jones, Dr. Steve Jones, and others). The game, much like The Legend of Zelda, has gameplay from a top-down perspective. Also, (much like Zelda again.) the game has plenty of dungeons, which includes enemies (the first ones that you encounter being snails). There are an impressive 13 bosses in the game, each one with its own powers.
Similar to RPGs of the era you have a map that you can wander around on foot or using the expanding abilities of Sub C. Things change however when you enter a dungeon to something more like Zelda with the action taking place from an overhead perspective with your main weapon being an upgradeable yo-yo but you can pick up other secondary weapons and magic items. The game is divided into eight chapters each with it's own tasks, story and puzzles to complete to advance the main plot with the protagonist hoping between several islands each with at least one dungeon.
Mike Jones having received a letter from his Uncle Steve inviting him to come and visit his lab arrives on C island. After meeting with the Chief of the nearby village of CoralCola he finds that his Uncle has been kidnapped and after receiving the Island Yo-Yo sets out to rescue him. After Beating the C-serpent and making his way through the island tunnel to his unlcle's lab he activates Sub-C with the help of Baboo and starts to search the island chain for his uncle.
There are several references to past Nintendo video games in StarTropics. R.O.B., the accessory that came bundled with the NES early on in the system's life, appears in the game as a robot nicknamed Nav-Com. The Octots enemies in StarTropics greatly resemble the Octorok enemies from The Legend of Zelda. The Triforce from that same game is plastered on the rug the chef is standing on. Finally, Nester from Nintendo Power fame is briefly mentioned if Mike Jones declines to receive help in order to advance, the character will ask "Is your name Nester?".
- The game was featured on the cover of Nintendo Power V21.
- In the Virtual Console rerelease, the name of the Yo-Yo, which for copyright reasons, was changed to Star.
- Mike getting swallowed by the whale while rafting, which also happened to Baboo, could have been inspired by the Bible story of Jonah, who was swallowed by a giant fish.
- When Baboo and Mike escape the whale by making it sneeze by setting the raft on fire, this may be tribute to the 1941 Disney film Pinocchio, in which the characters escape Monstro the Whale in the same manner.
- The game was known for having a difficult riddle at the fourth chapter, where NAVCOM instructs Mike to dip a letter into water to gain the dive code. Many players got stuck as they thought this was an in-game item, when it was part of the instruction manual. Many copies of Startropics had been acquired from secondhand stores or had been rented, and usually did not include the instruction manual. The instruction manual had one page which was a letter to Mike from his uncle, and when dipped in water would reveal the dive code. Another problem is that water also damaged the integrity of the paper, and future uses were hard to come by. Nintendo's Game Counselors said that that part of the game was the one they received the most questions about, to the extent that Nintendo Power revealed what was needed to be done in an issue shortly after the game's release. The code was 747, which was homage to another Seattle based company, Boeing. At the time of Startropics' debut, the 747 was the largest commercial plane Boeing produced.