Review by del20nd
"Yep, I bought into it as a kid, but retribution comes now."
Are you around 17? If you are, you probably at least have an idea of what Pokemon is, and are only reading this review to find out someone else's opinion on the game. If you are doing just this, or if you somehow missed out on Pokemon, I urge you to read on.
Back when in Elementary school in the mid to late nineties, everyone had some incarnation of this game (Blue, Red or even Yellow.) This game, in fact, is the entire reason I even got a Gameboy. People would play Pokemon, watch Pokemon, trade Pokemon, link Pokemon, battle Pokemon, dream about Pokemon and live Pokemon. Anyone who was anyone had Pokemon.
That was the problem right there. Somehow, Nintendo managed to garner up it's strength and get one last hurrah out of, quite possibly, it's last real blast away franchise. It did this by brainwashing little children with low budget cartoons and gritty Video Games. Those who didn't really ever buy into Pokemon had to get it anyway, because only "losers" didn't have Pokemon, and they didn't want to be "losers." That was me, that kid who just got the game because everyone else had it. It took awhile, but eventually I was led to believe that Pokemon was a high quality game worth my time. I would come into school with my then sleek Gameboy Pocket and wow everyone with my powerful lineup of Pokemon on the playgrounds. Everyone who brought the game with them (and even some spectators) would gang up at the bleachers and link up Gameboys for battle every day. By night, we would probe into the game as far as we could and try to beat the game farther than the other guy by the next recess. If I had known how much of my childhood would have been wasted on this game, I would have never bought it. As for the game itself...
STORY - 3/10
The story for this game (summed up in bout 14 text blocks at the beginning of your quest) is pretty lame. You, a young boy to be named whatever you darn well please, live in a little town called Pallet. Your rival, another boy just as old as you with the same naming status, starts collecting Pokemon and becoming a pompous jerk. You, because you are his rival, must chase him all over the land and train your Pokemon to battle the eight trainers just to realize your rival is one step ahead of you at every turn. If you're really good (or in this game, really patient) you get to battle the elite four and, eventually, the master Pokemon trainer.
Wow. This one looks really thought out. Actually, it was in the fact that it was made specifically to appeal to ten year olds and thereby sell the optimum amount of copies. They make sure to emphasize that every adult in the game hates you for being a kid, and thereby keeping you playing just to "show them whose boss." Other than this, the story is entirely useless.
This game, in a nutshell, uses standard RPG mechanics to pass a very monotonous game by. On the outer shell, you take the role of a tiny sprite boy in a blocky monochrome world. Now, the size of the world for this day and age of hand held gaming is pretty impressive to say the least. There are plenty of towns and cities to visit, and plenty of buildings to visit in each of those cities. Each town/city has between 10 and 25 residents, excluding temporary villains. Everyone on the outer world has something unique to say. Now with all this positive acclaim, you may wonder where the mechanics are losing all their points. This is where the actual point of the game kicks in, the battles.
You may encounter a battle in one of three ways. One (the least common) is to actually walk up to the Pokemon and "talk" to it. This is done predominantly in caves or on paths, and the Pokemon you encounter in this manner are usually rare.
The second is to find a Pokemon in tall grass or in caves. This is how you must find most of your Pokemon, but after you get all of the common Pokemon in an area, it can be a real pain to navigate as you will bump into a Pokemon about every ten paces. The game tries to remedy this by giving you "repellents" to buy, but then you lose out on the chance to catch the rare Pokemon in the area. Overall, a terrible flaw in the game.
The last way is to get into a battle with a fellow trainer. Usually, you will have to walk about four blocks in front of a trainer, at which time thy will sprout an exclamation point in a talking bubble and commence a battle. A few you will actually have to talk to in order to battle. This is where the game really lies, as trainer battles get you more experience, and give you money. You cannot capture another trainers Pokemon, however, and you cannot run from a trainer battle.
Now, as for the battle itself. Your lead Pokemon, whomever it may be, will appear as a blocky pixelated mess at the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Your opponent, a not as blocky Pokemon, will appear at the top right. The battle involves little strategy, and is basically an exchange of blows between two captured animals until one passes out. If you have more than one Pokemon, which you should, you will be able to switch and bring this Pokemon out at any point during the battle, or will be forced to if one of your Pokemon faints. Whoever lasts the endurance the longest wins the battle.
As you progress, your Pokemon will gain experience points, move up levels, and (possibly) evolve to a higher form several times stronger than it's former self. The battle is, 90 percent of the time, weighted unfairly either in or out of your favor, with you either plowing through opponents, or getting stomped by them. Rarely ever will you be truly equally matched. Often, too, will your Pokemon be unevenly trained. Usually, the first you picked out will be strongest, followed by any rare and already strong Pokemon you may have caught along the way, and all the guys you need to complete the HM moves (moves you need to use outside battle.) Hardl ever will you actually take the time to strengthen your strict HM Pokemon, and your as is captured strong Pokemon will not help you much in the later battles.
Sure, you may want to use weaker moves for weaker opponents and stronger ones for strong opponents, but there is a lack of skill needed, and the system gets very boring. So what we have, all in all, is a Japanese version of a cock fight. Except, your Roosters may be of any species and the fights are boring.
GRAPHICS - 4/10
Yep, pretty much an average deal for the overall rating of this game. On the shell, everything looks barley passingly blocky and pixelated. Things are distinguishable from one another, but more could have been done. Animation is very limited, and people look like Munchkins. In battle, opponents looked fine, but there was an extreme lack of detail for yourself. Your Pokemon, as well as yourself, were made of 4X4 pixel blocks. This gives the game a rushed and beta-esque look. Animation is decent, giving you an actual feel for the move being preformed. Weighting everything together, it can be said that the graphics were not anything special.
SOUND - 6/10
Considering that this was released for the Gameboy, and that sound can be expected to be high pitched and whiny, the sound was decent. Most places either had their own tune or shared with a couple of other places. The music itself is alright so long as your not in battle. When you are in battle, music quickly will drive you crazy. There are some decent in and out of battle sound effects, and every Pokemon has it's very own glitchy sounding battle cry.
GLITCH DEDUCTION - 0
I am not one to deduct for glitches as long as normal game play is not hindered. In fact, I think glitches and bugs add something to the game play long after the game has gone dry. Pokemon, being rushed to market AND a giant RPG game, is ripe with glitches. From the infamous Missingno, to Glitch City, to even such little exploitations as getting onto the "Bicycles only" road without a bicycle (then magically obtaining a bike upon entrance), glitches are pretty much everywhere to be found in this game.
In reality, glitches actually help a game in the long run. When they are found, especially in the Pokemon series, they revive that original hype for but a moment, and give die hards one more excuse to power up their dusty old Gameboys with Pokemon at the helm. From these glitches (once again, Pokemon leads the pack in this aspect) come wild stories about such things as Pokemon gods and countless non-existent glitches that cannot be pulled off (getting to the grass at the right of Pallet, which ultimately just freezes the game). This is the reason, in my own opinion, that so many favor the original Pokemon series over newer versions, whether they know it's the reason or not. The raw unfinished feel of the game and the ability to do things you're not supposed to gives you a feeling of power over the system, and is one of the few things that I actually commend this game for. Kudos to you, Pokemon, for being so very popular even when you have more glitches than Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing.
GIMMICK DEDUCTION -(can't take away this much, as ratings cannot be scored in negative points)
This game is absolutely second to none on the gimmick scale. Literally no franchise will ever come close. For starters; in order to capture every Pokemon, you either had to own both versions of the game, two Gameboys and a link cable; have a friend with the opposite version of the game; or learn Japanese and get the rare green version of the game. This one thing probably sold more link cables than anything else ever did on the Gameboy, as well as copies of both game versions. Also, this game has too many sequels and spin off games to count. The amount of Pokemon toys are phenomenal, and I know McDonalds must've had Pokemon toys at one point (automatically putting it on the top kids ripoff franchise list.) It even had it's own card game, which was both expensive and pointless. All of this served to the mother of all Pokemon ripoff brainwash (including the predacessing games), the Pokemon show. Every week, kids would watch this half hour commercial, the whine to their parents for more Pokemon stuff.
Many have tried to emulate this ultimate success, but none will ever be so popular as the mother of them all; Pokemon.
So, from this information you should not need me to tell you that this game is not worth getting. It was a big hit when it first came out, but now it's just a memory for those who were sucked into Nintendo's capitalist venture. Don't buy the hype, as it's been stale for ten years now.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.0 - Poor
Originally Posted: 05/29/07
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