Review by IAX
"It came. It conquered."
It came. It conquered.
That phrase can be used to describe pretty much everything that comes as a fad these days. And, hell, that was how it was back when out grandparents were young. Flappers back in the 1920’s dressed in short skirts, wore way too much lipstick, and bobbed their hair, making them look like something that came from Planet of the Apes. In the seventies, hippies existed. They did things like growing their hair out, listening to song’s about peace, protesting the Vietnam War, using crack and marijuana, wearing bell bottoms, and many more things. In the 1990’s, things like pogs, yo-yo’s, and rap took the land by storm. Hell, there probably have been fads since the beginning of time.
What the hell do fads have to with this?
One fad, that recently stood out was Pokemon. Pokemon was a Japanese anime series that made it big over the Pacific Ocean, and apparently 4Kids Entertainment or whoever the hell brought it to America saw something that could make money. They were right. Pokemon grew into a multi-million dollar empire with such merchandising as comic books, trading cards, underwear, and even its own TV show that we all grew to know and love. The TV show stars a boy named Ash (I always liked to call him Ass, but that’s just me.) with his companion, the ever-so annoying, but lovable in its own maniacal way, Pikachu, who sought to become the greatest Pokemon Master in the world. Along the way, he battled gyms, met up with some friends, and battled Team Rocket, the villains on the show that never won. That was the sad apart about the show; the bad guys never succeeded. A good show needs to have its villains win at least once in time the program was on the air. Besides that fact, the TV show was decent. The shining star in the Pokemon franchise, as considered by many people, is the video games. Pokemon video games follow the same lousy story, you are a character, a person who wants to become a Pokemon master! Oh boy! Time for me to crap in a field of flowers! Now behind the lousy story, cutesy looks of the game, and the cheesy Blastoise and Charizard on the boxes, was a video game that had some amazing gameplay, wonderful sound, and some awesome graphics for a Gameboy. In short, Pokemon is an amazing game that you can’t judge by its cover.
Despite one of the lamest excuses for a story ever, Pokemon is indeed a good game that is worth a play even if you think Pikachu is a Japanese conquistador. The game plays rather smoothly. You go through an intro that explains the game and the world of Pokemon with some slight depth. The person giving you the intro is none other than the world-renowned Pokemon scientist Prof. Oak. I didn’t even know a video game character could be famous for being smart. Look at Lara Croft. She’s famous because she has boobs. Now anyway, after the intro you find yourself in a room with nothing in it that is not normal. Just a bed, table, a computer, a picture of a hooker on the wall, nothing more, nothing less. You go out of your house after being ridiculed by your mom looking for Prof. Oak. He’s not in his lab. I wonder where he could be? Up a tree perhaps? How about in your bedroom? Find him and he takes you back to his laboratory. He shows you some crap, and you meet the main antagonist of the game, your rival, (insert random name here). Choose a Pokemon and he chooses one. As you walk out of the lab, (insert random name here) challenges you to a battle. Kick his ass and you are free to go wherever the hell you want.
The Pokemon world is actually fairly vast with a lot of area to explore and a lot of Pokemon to fight and capture. This is all presented in a fashion that is pleasing to the eyes, despite it being able to run on the original Gameboy. For the green and black screen it’s presented on, (referring to first Gameboy, it can be run on Gameboy Color or Advance to some color variations into your experience. Most of you probably use that anyway.) the graphics are actually fairly good. Environments are rather vast, giving the user a lot to explore, to see, and do. There are a lot of things that will be perceived in this game. You’ll definitely want to check everywhere at least twice. Buildings, trees, fences, flowers, and cliffs are all captured well, taking the power of the original Gameboy to it’s maximum. I don’t really have any complaints with the environment in the game.
The only real issue graphically is the designs of the characters in the game and the Pokemon themselves when in battle. People in the game do look all right but the facial features are limited to just the eyes, ears, and maybe a mouth if you’re lucky, kind of like Elton John. For a Gameboy, they’re merely all right. Nintendo could have done a better job and gone in and gave that character a mouth, gave him a nose, or gave the black guy an afro. Pokemon in the game look better than the people but don’t look like they do in the TV show which I know for a fact they could have been. Spearow for example looks like a bird, but looks nothing like his counterpart in the anime. The same could apply to a few others. But some do look reminiscent of the anime. Other than that, Pokemon was a visual wonder for portables during its time.
When it comes to sound, Pokemon is basically split in half. It has sound effects that make me want to listen to rap (excluding Eminem. Don’t hurt me. Please.). On the other side though, it has music that is utterly amazing for a Gameboy game. The sound effects come at a price. They’re being run on the Gameboy which may have effected the outcome but it doesn’t really matter at this point. Every time you go into battle, an annoying, nails on a chalkboard like sound signals a battle. Then when we get to battle, the Pokemon make a cry that sounds like delivery room at a hospital. That can basically sum up the sound effects in Pokemon. Musicwise however, Pokemon is a masterpiece. It comes with themes that set the tone and mood of a battle. If a battle is just between you and some unknown, there’s a theme that says, “You’ll probably kick his ass. Don’t screw up,” but it’s composed rather well. When you’re battling a gym leaderlike person, a really bad guy, or a member of the Elite Four, a theme plays that says, “He may actually provide a challenge for you. You’ll probably kick his/her ass as long as you play straight.” Also, the theme when you’re traveling signals an on the move like feeling that can be fine. Hell, the sound overall is just decent and gives the overall impression of what I got of the game= decency.
Pokemon plays like an experienced or skilled worker doing their thing. Don’t get any ideas about what I just said. I was really trying to specify that that it plays really well and it actually fairly easy for even a newbie to understand. You have the opportunity to start with three different Pokemon in the game, Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur. I think that Charmander kicks the most ass but that’s just me. And as the game progresses along, you have the opportunity to get 147 more Pokemon (148 if you cheat.). All those Pokemon are one of several different attributes. Some of those are Grass, Fire, Water, Ice, Electric, and even Psychic types of Pokemon. Now we need the politician, celebrity, and random hobo on the corner types. You essentially go around fighting trainers and wild Pokemon. Some trainers are Gym Leaders. Defeat those Gym leaders and they will give you badges. Collect all of the badges in the game and you will be able to battle the Elite Four. The game’s strong and most powerful trainers. Battles in the game are actually fairly easy. The Fight command lets you do an attack while item lets you use an item. PKMN lets you switch to another Pokemon and Run, well, lets you run.
The game really isn’t all that difficulty if you take the time to fight and level up your Pokemon. Control in this game is easy. You merely move around, and that’s all you do. Seems like a kids game, eh? Not really. After you complete the game, you may want to level up your Pokemon so they could be on the level of competitive battling. But other than that, there really is no reason to finish the game. It’s worth another try with another, but that’s really it. You probably would want to borrow it from a friend or buy a cheap copy somewhere on the black market.
Pokemon is fairly good game with some flaws but it is the series that started it all. I don’t know why in the hell and how in the hell it got so big, but then again, tell that to the hippies or the flappers.
Overall- 7/10- Times have come and gone. Pokemon has come and gone. But it will always be in our hearts. Somewhere.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/06/03, Updated 07/26/03
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