Review by Game Magician
"I don't see what's so good about Pokemon"
Pokemon, this game has swept all over Japan, all over America, and no one has figured why they are so addicted with it. My question, why? Why are you addicted with this game called Pocket Monsters? Why are you addicted why a cute, yellow, small Pokemon that hangs around a trainer who seems immature, yet impossible to beat in a battle? Why are you addicted to this game that doesn’t seemingly even have a plot, why are you addicted to this game that takes place on a screen so little you have to squint after a while to actually see?
Gameplay: There are three versions of Pokemon, Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow. They are all seemingly based on the same things, but you can only collect some Pokemon in one thing and not the other. Also, in Pokemon Yellow, you start off wit Pikachu in eventually work your way up to the other three starting Pokemon of Pokemon Red and Blue.
At the beginning, you have a choice between three starting Pokemon, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. Each of them is a different type, and all has their own, unique advantages and disadvantages. Note that whatever Pokemon you chose, your rival will chose the exact one that is strong against you. After you have chosen your first Pokemon, your journey begins!
Your main objective in this game is to, so call, “Catch them All!”. To catch Pokemon, you must have PokeBalls, which can be purchased at PokeMarts scattered throughout the region. You must, first, reduce a Pokemon to the lowest health possible without making it faint (if it does faint, you can’t capture it), and then throw a PokeBall at it. If the Pokemon is not at a low enough health, the PokeBall will burst open and you will have to try again. Be warned that you will not get the PokeBall back, and they cost money to purchase, so be careful on how you capture Pokemon.
As you journey from place to place, the wild Pokemon that you meet will get stronger and stronger, and also give you more experience points to level up with. Also, in every city that you go to, there will also be a Gym. A Gym contains, what else, a Gym Leader, one that you must beat in order to gain a certain badge. You must collect all 8 badges in order to complete the game. Each Gym Leader specializes in one kind of Pokemon, so it’s best to find out the kind of Pokemon that is strong against that type, and exploit the weakness. Gym Leaders are much harder than the random battles and the regular trainer battles, so you will probably want to be at a high level before you challenge anyone of them.
Gym Leaders are not the only way to level up. There are also wild Pokemon, located in the grass or on water. Wild Pokemon can be captured, but they deal out very little experience points. In Trainer battles, you cannot capture the Pokemon, but when you beat a Trainer, you receive much more experience than if you beat a regular wild Pokemon, as well as some money to spend in PokeMarts.
Your Pokemon will lose health as well, so its always important to have a healthy supply of Potions to heal your Pokemon with, you certainly don’t want them to faint in the middle of a Gym battle, do you? But, there are also other, less expensive ways to heal your Pokemon. There are PokeCenters located everywhere, and if you take your Pokemon there, you can heal all of them.
The main problem? You can’t carry more than 6 Pokemon with you at the same time, so you must store your other ones in your PC. If you already have 6 Pokemon in your party, and you capture one more along the way, it will automatically be transported to your PC, and you can deposit and Pokemon and pick that one up if you wish at the nearest PokeCenter.
There’s also a transportation problem. In Pokemon, you do a whole lot of walking, and walking is so slow! But, there is a solution. You can get a bike, and that can make your life a whole lot easier! Trust me, you can definitely see the improvement, you travel so much faster. But when you enter a building and exit again, you have gotten off your bike, and you must mount again! Eliminate this problem by short-circuiting the bike.
The gameplay of Pokemon is definitely its best point. It is well designed, with only a few minor flaws in it. An all-around well designed battle systems, as well as miscellaneous things.
Music: Well, what else can I say? The music is boring and repetitive, to be honest. It has the exact same rhythm, over and over again. Needless to say, listening to it for a long time can be frustrating, but when that happens, you can always turn the music off, but where’s the fun in that? Luckily, it changes when you go into a different area, but not by much. My advice? Turn off the volume completely, and crank up your favorite CD, it’ll improve the mood and your mood.
Sound: Seriously, there isn’t much, just a bunch of random noises. You don’t hear much, and even if you do, the variety is horrible. You hear it when you encounter a trainer or a wild Pokemon, when you enter and exit a building, when you throw a PokeBall in an attempt to capture that legendary Pokemon you’ve wanted for so long, but not much else. The sound is, seriously, isn’t very good, to say the least. But, as with the music, you can always twist the volume knob and crank up your favorite CD!
Graphics: Should I even mention this part? It’s shameful, disgraceful. The background seems like its been drawn by a little kid, the characters look like they’re a mosaic, they’re all short and twisty. I suppose we can’t expect anything more from a Gameboy, but still, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Replay: Yeah, you can replay this game many times, but I won’t guarantee that you won’t get tired of it. The possibilities are wide, however. You can do a lot of things, including collecting all 150 Pokemon, but that needs a link to another Gameboy, maybe your friend?
Overall, Pokemon is a game to be commended, but it isn’t that good, either. My advice is to just rent the thing, and if you like it, then buy it, but in my humble opinion, Pokemon is just a humble game, not differing much from its counterparts. Red, Blue, and Yellow are basically all just the same thing, so do yourself a favor and only get one, all of them aren’t worth it.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/06/03, Updated 04/06/03
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