People tend to associate certain items with smells or sounds. For example, every time I played Yoshi’s Island, I would listen to Nirvana’s Incesticide. So each time I think of that album or that game, I associate themselves with it. I associate Star Tropics with 2 things. Skunk attack, and Chickenpox.
I was in 3rd grade at the time. A Skunk somehow sprayed our house during the night. It was the weekend, so my parents spent most of their time trying to wash all the curtains to help get the stink out. They felt bad that we were trapped inside with a Skunk stink, so they went out and bought a few games for us. The games they picked up were Star Tropics and Skate or Die.
I wasn’t even expecting these games. I just woke up one morning, and there they were. My sisters were going crazy over Star Tropics. The very first thing they did was ripped off the note from the booklet, and dunked it in water. I have no idea what happened to that note, because I did get stuck in that infamous mid-game cutscene where you need to put in the password.
Anyways, I loved Star Tropics. I remember the hype for it too. Nintendo was promoting it as "Zelda in the modern world", or atleast that’s how I remember it. Which was mostly false. There wasn’t anything modern about the game, other than the opening cutscene with the helicopter and the way Mike looked. The Zelda elements to the game were very superficial. It had the top-down view of Zelda, puzzle dungeons and heart pieces, but that was it.
My main problem at the time was how un-Zelda it was, and how some things didn’t make sense. For example, you gained experience points, but you got no reward for them. When I got over that Zelda shock, I was pretty enthralled with the game. The tank controls took forever to get use to, but they were easily mastered and exploitable. The dungeons were pretty linear, and so was the game, so you rarely got stuck. Well, one puzzle I ALWAYS got stuck on was the Piano puzzle on the island with the Parrot. My sister had to do that for me each time. I still can’t figure it out even today.
Anyways, a few weeks later I got chickenpox, which was one of the worst times of my life. I had my own TV and had my NES attached to it, so I was luckily kept sane with my new games Skate or Die and of course, Star Tropics. My cousin would stop in each day after school and he would bring my homework. We would play Star Tropics for a couple hours before going home. He had a copy of Nintendo Power that had the password code for Sub scene. So once we got over that hump we were golden. We eventually beat Star Tropics, passing the controller off and figuring out puzzles together.
Despite a few humps, I had a blast with Star Tropics. It’s a shame I’ll always remember it smelling like a Skunk and itching like Chickenpox.