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Zoda's Revenge is very similar to it's predecessor, StarTropics, where you play Mike Jones who now wields much more than just a yo-yo to defeat enemies. Also, instead of taking place in the tropics, Mike is now going through time trying to collect "Tetrads" to help him get back home. Gameplay is top down and very similar to The Legend of Zelda.
There is an overworld map but the majority of gameplay takes place in dungeons filled with enemies. Defeating enemies will cause them to drop both long term and instant power-ups and sometimes are necessary to defeat to proceed in dungeons, opening doors and causing hidden treasure chests to appear.
Your goal in each time period is to collect the Tetrad to help you get back to your home in present times.
Mike Jones, hero of the original StarTropics, has returned home to Seattle as well has his uncle. Mica, princess of Argonia, is able to telepathically give Mike a message which will help him solve the mystery behind the book his uncle is trying to decipher.
As soon as Mike figures out the answer, the book sucks him in and he finds himself in the prehistoric era.
The rest of the game has Mike jumping between different time periods, instead of between islands, to locate the mysterious items known as "Tetrads," however the antagonist from his previous adventure, Zoda, is looking for them as well