Review by MetalIceWolf
"Red is the colour of love!"
Back in 1998, the world was consumed by a Nintendo franchise known as Pocket Monsters. I still remember coming home that afternoon, flicking through the channels and seeing Ash capture a Pidgeotto with a Pokeball. It was during November that the first Pokemon games came out, in the form of Red and Blue versions. Instantly they sold millions, and the Pokemon fanbase rapidly increased, until it became a huge worldwide fad in 1999, thanks to the television series and trading cards. The very first games are also the most nostalgic and fun things ever. Pokemon was what got me into RPGs. I played them for hours everyday, until my eyes were too sore to continue.
You've just turned 11 years old, and you're set to obtain your license that allows you to become a Pokemon Trainer. The main character gets to be named whatever you may decide to call him, as does your rival. You start off in Pallet Town, the character's home, and you obtain your first pokemon and Pokedex from Professor Oak, and from there you'll travel all over the place and collect both badges and pokemon. Along the way you'll come across your rival and a bunch of other trainers. But your main goal is to collect all of the 151 pokemon, and to obtain all eight badges so you can take on the elite four and become the greatest pokemon trainer in the world. The story, at the time, was unique, and therefore remains great.
Controls are super easy to understand. I was only 8 years old when I first played it (which was when it first came out), and I got a hang of them perfectly. The control pad is used to control your character and make selections. The usual A button is for confirming selections while the B button cancels them. Select is used for re-arranging items and attack moves, while start brings up the menu that allows you to save your game or check out your stats and other things.
The music was great, though perhaps a bit too cheery, I greatly enjoyed them and found them really catchy. For a Gameboy game, the music was impressive, there are loads of different tunes to listen to, so there's a lot of variety. Each pokemon even has a unique sound that plays while they are sent out, which is really cool.
The game, when played on an original Gameboy, is obviously black-and-white, but is clear enough and easy to see. On a Gameboy pocket, there is more detail, while playing on a color system is even better again. The areas you visit look interesting, and even more interesting are the Pokemon themselves. They look nice, as do the trainers you'll face in battle. The graphics are good for a game of it's age.
Capturing creatures has never been more fun! Since this is a RPG, you'll be battling in turn-based style with your pokemon. Each pokemon can have up to four moves, which you can customize yourself, by using items called Technical Machines and Hidden Machines. The attacks are based on certain elements that pokemon have, for example Poliwhirl is a water type, and thus can use the attacks Hydro Blast and Bubblebeam. The whole element idea is like rock-paper-scissors, certain types are weaker to others, while some are immune to their attacks (such as thunder type attacks being ineffective against ground types). Pokemon also evolve, either from leveling up, trading, or by a special stone. Their evolutions are stronger and usually bigger than the previous. Battling is the key element of the game, since you'll be doing it a lot, it's required, and the good thing is that it's fun. Other than battling, you can explore the field for items, talk to anyone you see to gain useful information, and even ride around on a bicycle or ride on top of a Lapras. Probably the most important goal in the game, though, is collecting all 151 pokemon. You capture pokemon you see in the wild via random battles by throwing a item called a pokeball at them, usually when their health is low, and then it's either added to your team or sent to the PC. PC's are located in Pokemon Centers (which are areas you go to in order to heal your Pokemon party, which can be up to a total of six with you.) Thanks to the PC, there are loads of space for you to capture plenty of pokemon. Getting all 151 will take a long time, especially since each version has unique pokemon, and some pokemon even require being traded before they evolve! So, if you want to catch 'em all, you'll have to trade with someone who has a copy of Blue version! This increases the replay and overall lasting value greatly. You'll even want to restart the game too, just to see what it's like starting with Squirtle instead of Charmander or Bulbasaur, and vice versa.
Pokemon Red is an awesome game and a must-have for all fans of the RPG genre. It was unique (and still is even to this day, despite the plenty of knock-offs and sequels), Red version (and Blue) provide plenty of fun and replayability, and you'll want to keep playing until you catch 'em all!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/12/08
Game Release: Pokemon Red Version (US, 09/30/98)
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