Review by AdamBigott
"A Great Game is One that Stands the Test of Time"
The other day I, as many of you gamers with facebook have I expect, filled out my five favorite video games of all time. While I knew some obvious games that would go on my list such as GTA: San Andreas it was hard to pick the game that would be my number one game of all time. It then came to me that it was obviously and undisguisedly pokemon red and blue for gameboy. Since I was always a bit more of a pokemon red fan than a pokemon blue fan so I picked red.
The first thing that I love about the pokemon games is the sheer number of characters. Your typical fighting game will have 24 characters and most RPGs will have somewhere between 4 and 16. However the first generation of pokemon games has 151 characters. That is an unprecedented amount in popular video games. This immense number of characters leads to the game having a great replay value. I could not tell you how many times I have beaten either red, blue, or yellow and the truth is it is probably a large and embarrassing number that is best kept secret. But just how many different teams can you have really. Well if you were to go with just different pokemon and disregard move sets you would be able to have 14,888,600,760 teams. Yeah just under 15 billion teams. And while my junior year of high school algebra skills may be pretty boss, they are totally overshadowed by this massive in-game diversity.
Another thing about these games is the wide fan base that they have. From the time I got my first pokemon game up until this very moment, I have considered myself a pokemon video game fan. Now, more than ever, the pokemon games are a main component of my video game experience. Pokemon has done a great job at making its game one that can be enjoyed by all. For one it is not too difficult to play, and while when I was little and only would train one of my pokemon and let the rest be weak I found the game darn near impossible, today I find beating the elite four a mere matter of time rather than a challenge. And while the actual story line may not be difficult for older players it still has challengers that will be difficult to be. Now you may be wondering, who are these difficult challengers? I beat every single trainer in that game easy. Well that is just fine and dandy but your friend across the street can probably say the exact same thing. So why don't you go fight him? The pokemon games have had a lot of hardware made by Nintendo just for them. The link cable, while compatible with other games too, was primarily used for pokemon. This battling with friends inspired what is today known as competitive battling. Trying to make the very best team possible with the best DVs (precursor to Ivs) and the most effective move sets made the game marketable to even the most skilled gamers.
While I may have said that the actual story mode is not a difficult one, that does not mean it is not a great one. The plot is simply that you a 10-year-old (yes that's a little young but don't look at me, game freak choose that one) boy, loosely based off of Red from the pokemon manga and Ash from the television series, who is leaving home to become a pokemon master. Before you do, you need to get a pokemon from the world-renowned pokemon professor, Professor Oak. Once you are given your starter pokemon, pokedex, and some pokeballs, you are free to go out into the pokemon world (later known as the Kanto region) and try to catch the critters. As you soon discover there is a pokemon league in which you compete with eight different trainers who increase in power as you progress. In exchange for beating them you are given more than they typical victory spoils. You are given a gym badge. Each badge will do various things such as increase one of the stats of your pokemon, allow higher level traded pokemon to obey you, and in many instances allow you to use special field moves, HMs, outside of battle to allow you to get around obstacles and explore new cities where you can earn even more gym badges. Along the way you discover that while most trainers use their pokemon for good, there are those out there that choose to use their pokemon for evil. After defeating numerous grunts of Team Rocket, the evil pokemon gang, you eventually fight their boss. After several run ins with him you finally discover that your last and most difficult gym battle with the Viridian City gym leader is in fact with the leader of the notorious Team Rocket leader, Giovanni.
After earning all eight of the gym badges you have earned the right to travel through Victory Road, a tough series of trial in a system of indoor caves (weird I know and nobody really pays attention that detail either) filled with strong wild pokemon and even stronger trainers. After making you way through the troublesome trials you wind up at the indigo plateau, home of the Elite Four. They are four of the most powerful trainers you will encounter, each with his own or her own specialty in pokemon. After beating each trainer you must head out to fight the next without getting to visit a pokemon center and only use the pokemon medicine you have on you to heal your pokemon. After beating the fourth and final member of the Elite Four you are informed that while you have beaten all of them, there is still one more trainer, your rival trainer and the grandson of Professor Oak. After beating the your rival Professor Oak comes to tell you that you beat your rival because you love your pokemon while he does not. Beating him also allows you to go to one last area where the strongest wild pokemon in the game are found, as is one last legendary pokemon, which you can catch.
At this point you have essentially beat the game. However, there is still one challenge left. It is in fact the first challenge proposed to you in the game and really the slogan of all pokemon. That challenge is to catch one of every pokemon. This is another challenge in the pokemon games that is usually only performed by top gamers who really know the game inside and out and is another example of how the games draw in the more serious video game audience.
This basic pokemon structure, while slightly altered every time is essentially what every pokemon game is, just with different characters. And while each game has made slight improvements in the formula, it is this original as nostalgic introduction of that formula that makes the game a model of video game perfection. From the time you receive your first pokemon and battle your rival with it to adding that last pokemon to your pokedex, Pokemon Red Version is sure to be a game that you will pick up and play again and again. It's mix of simplicity and complexity makes it a game for people of all ages and proves to never be the same game two times through. All this adds up to one of the greatest videogames ever made, even if you are too afraid to admit to your friends that you still play pokemon, we know that every long car trip you bring it and your gameboy with you and immerse yourself in the world of Pokemon.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/06/09
Game Release: Pokemon Red Version (US, 09/30/98)
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