Review by KeyBlade999
"Aside from the graphics, a great game!"
Ahhh... my first ever Pokemon game. Yes, this is the one that started the whole franchise back in 1998. The one most people know for being a great game, having horrible graphics, a decent story, and, most of all, the glitches! But, even here, in 2010 (at least, when I wrote this), does it even stand up to the fourth generation of Diamond and Pearl? Well, it pales in comparison to those, but still can make other games pale in comparison to this - Nintendo's first attempt at RPG gaming!
This game, being the first in the series, has little prior history. Back in 1998, Nintendo decided to go for something a bit different from their famous Mario franchise. The idea was Pocket Monsters, or, as it was known in other countries, Pokemon. It was a relatively new concept at the time, seeing as there were few RPGs other than the first few Final Fantasies around. They had to come up with a concept that would be able to compare to them. They later released one of the multi-version games in '98: Pokemon Red and Blue Versions. Yellow and Green came about in the next few years, also on the Game Boy.
Pokemon Red and Green both got a remake in 2004, as Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen Versions for the Game Boy Advance. They kept the main story and everything, but some minor changes (graphics, etc.) and major ones (new Pokemon, glitch removal, etc.).
This game started off the whole series, and some of its concepts have even managed to stray into the fifth generation (Pokemon Black & White Versions). That should tell you how good and enduring these concepts are!
Most of the walking will take place outside, in fields or across oceans. Along the way are patches of grass. Whether you are in these, in a cave, or in water, you can encounter strange creatures called Pokemon. Pokemon are your basic actual or fictional animals with amazing abilities (such as making lightning!). Your goal is to attempt to catch all 150. Well, I think there are actually 151 if you count Mew from the Nintendo Events and a few dozen more if you count glitch Pokemon.
This is not your only goal, however. Since you are on a journey to catch the Pokemon, you are going to be traveling all over the region of Kanto, are you not? Throughout most regions, Kanto being one, are Pokemon Gyms. In here, you beat a powerful Trainer to earn his badge. Getting all eight earns you the right to fight the Elite Four to become champion of the Kanto region.
The battle system is somewhat primitive from the player's view. In Pokemon battles, you simply send out one of your maximum of six Pokemon to battle another. Select an attack to deal damage to the opponent. He/she will attack you. However, it is not just normal damage. Each Pokemon and move has a type, and certain move types work better on others. For example, it is best to use Fire moves on Grass types. However, using Grass moves on Fire types will lessen the damage dealt, you see?
THE GAME'S GLITCHES: Missingno. /10
Like most games, glitches will be there in the game. Later after the year 2000 or so, you needed to hack games to really see some glitches. However, "primitive" games like these, Super Mario Bros., and so on, are victim to many glitches that can be revealed through normal gameplay!
The most popular of these is Missingno. (or MissingNo, as some see it). This glitch may be the most popular of all time, seeing effects on even games of Generation II (Pokemon Gold and Silver Versions). These can be accessed through simple processes that Nintendo never thought you would do in such an order. Most of these are caused by missing or messed up variables in equations, or simply the Game Boy having little space for data.
These glitches can harm your save file (some, anyhow). I am simply warning you that if you get this game, you can expect to see some odd things if you mess around with cheating devices. Some are interesting, but some could erase your file altogether!
Pallet Town, in the Kanto region, is where this all begins. The Pokemon Professor of the town, Professor Oak, has deemed that you and his grandson, and your rival, Gary, and of age to be able to have your own Pokemon and embark on your own journey. At his lab, you are given a choice of three Pokemon, the Starter Pokemon of the Kanto region. You and Gary choose one and battle. You both then leave on your own journeys.
Along your journey, you will many Pokemon. Your goal is to catch them so that your Pokedex can be complete. This is not your only goal, however. As there are animals that live in different areas, Pokemon can live in different areas. Some species are unique to only one part of the region! Along the way to such areas, you will come across big cities and small villages, mountains and oceans, forests and caves. There can be Pokemon Gyms in the cities nearby, in which you can battle to get a Gym Badge, permitting your Pokemon to use new abilities. These will become necessary as you journey to complete the Pokedex. Once you have all eight Gym Badges of the region, you challenge the Kanto Elite Four and Champion, the five strongest Pokemon Trainers in the whole region.
However, there are villains in Kanto. Team Rocket isn't trying to get in your way, but to get super-strong Pokemon to help them rule the world. They will do everything that seems necessary, from robbing people to completely changing climates in the region to actually killing Pokemon. You, and you alone, are destined to defeat them and rid them from the region once and for all!
Okay, this is DEFINITELY not fair. Sure, I can understand there is a lot of data that goes into these games, but even other games on the Game Boy (in fact, the crappier 1990s games) have better graphics. Try imagining this: all of the graphics seem to be based on dot art (like Scott Pilgrim VS. The World, I think). That would tolerable (remember, this isn't professional or good, since it is the Game Boy). However, try imagining ALMOST EVERY SINGLE PIXEL IN THE GAME as some shade of red! This will be the main area where you decide whether to get it or forget about it. Either you get a good story with bad graphics, or some other game.
I am not joking, here. Go find some pics somewhere of battle scenes and compare them with the Generations II - IV images. The Pokemon (especially Bulbasaur and its evolutionary chain) are barely recognizable. They only that may even seem like work went into it are the glitch Pokemon (in fact, rumors are going around that rearranging a certain glitch's pixels result in Yoshi!).
MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS: 7/10
Seeing as this game is being played on is likely the first handheld ever made, you have to be a little generous on the score. The sounds are rather tinny and annoying at times, and sometimes I wish that some sounds went into my FireRed and other games. All Pokemon are given a unique cry. It is unique, no matter how similar it is to another' is. In fact, some glitch Pokemon are given very odd cries (one's is the sound of a flute!). Like in other RPGs, there are sirens and such that even denote when you are in trouble (even in games now!). Each situation has its own music, and some situations, such as the fight with the champion, get their own unique track. Overall, for a Game Boy game, the music isn't so bad; by today's standards, considering every other game, the music could use some improvements.
The initial goal of becoming champion of Kanto could take anywhere from 20 to 50 hours of gameplay, depending on how involved you are with other quests. Completing the Pokedex is almost impossible without the use of a glitch. Using the glitch only one time (to get Mew) will still make you play about 100 hours to finish the Pokedex. Using the glitch the whole time will reduce the time needed to complete the Pokedex to maybe 30 to 50 hours.
Truly completing the Pokedex, including glitch Pokemon, may take up to a year. The glitches are very hard to obtain (you'll what I mean when you find the glitch and how it works). Despite the fact there are only about 15 to 20, it can still be hard to designate precisely what you need. So, I recommend sticking with the Pokemon League goal and the 1 - 150 Pokedex goal.
The game has a decent replay value, I'll give it that much. However, you are essentially doing the same story all over again. It is a good thing to re-experience those memories, but it will just be the same, over and over again. However, seeing as there aren't any tournaments now for it, you may as well restart. However, you COULD just use it for glitch experimentation, seeing as you'd be essentially losing a useless file at the worst.
THE END. Overall score: 9/10
There you have it. Yes, Pokemon Red does not stand up well to later generations of Pokemon, but it stands over most other games you see nowadays. I understand the bad graphics will make it harder to want to buy it, but you will love it once you get it! The glitches may harm your file, but they interest many. Simply put, the beginning of the franchise can appeal to those who enjoy glitches or simply playing a good game.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/04/10
Game Release: Pokemon Red Version (US, 09/30/98)
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