Review by Ice Water

"Oh snap! There's two of them! And they're ALMOST exactly the same!"

You all know the story of how Pokemon came to become one of the biggest Nintendo phenomena's to sweep the nation. This was probably the second largest game franchise to sweep the nation since Super Mario Bros. 3. The game spawned a smash hit TV show, despite what people say they want, is still on the air to this day, a trading card game that acted like a nice spin-off of the Magic: The Gathering TCG, and even its own line of Kellogg's Breakfast Cereal! Now all that's left is this classic game, Pokemon Blue.

Now you may be thinking: What the heck was Nintendo thinking making two copies of the same game in different colors? The answer is this: Innovation. More on this later.

Story
Just like in its mirror image game, Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue stars YOU: a twelve year old boy who decides to become a Pokemon trainer one morning. Your next door neighbor and former friend is jealous of your decision, and decides to become better than you at all costs for no reason whatsoever! And in your small town of only TWO homes, you live near the top professor in Pokemon Authority: Professor Oak. After waking up from your nap or whatever you were doing before you started a new game, you head out of your house to run away from home to start your adventure, when suddenly the old guy shouts at you to come to his lab. When you head inside, you notice that your rival is there waiting around for some reason too, probably for handouts from ol' gramps. The professor then gives you a choice of your first Pokemon and your adventure begins!

Not much of a story at all, but its enough to make sense on why you want to beat everyone down in a Pokemon battle! To start the game officially, you must choose from one of three starting Pokemon: The ever loveable fire type Charmander, the friggin' sweet grass type Bulbasaur, and the awesome water type Squirtle. After you make your selection, your rival will take the Pokemon that is stronger than yours, and your game's difficulty is set! For beginners, the best choice is Bulbasaur, seeing how he will teach you about weaknesses, resistance, and super effective attacks much faster than the other two.

Graphics
Back in the day, these graphics were friggin' sweet! Each Pokemon looked different, and with 150 Pokemon programmed into the game, that's a lot of characters! The animations, although outdated by today's standards, made you feel like you were watching an actual battle in black and white (well, at least on my classic Gameboy, seeing how I didn't get a Gameboy Color until last year or something.) instead of just watching text appear on the screen (although this option was available for those who wanted to finish a battle quickly without seeing every part of the action...probably to relive those Dragon Warrior 1 days or something). Your character sprite is well designed, and is easy enough to see at all times unless you enter a dark cave. The graphics get the job done, but are easily blown out of the water by this games slight upgrade: Pokemon Yellow.

Gameplay
This is why Pokemon became such a smash hit. Introducing the new concept to form your own team by your own methods, there were literally THOUSANDS of ways to beat this game! Also new to the gaming world at the time was the introduction of weakening your opponents to capture them and make them part of your team (as long as they're wild Pokemon that is). Another new innovation to the Gameboy was the concept of trading your Pokemon. This was something COMPLETELY NEW to the gaming world in general, since no RPG before Pokemon even considered letting you trade a friggin' strong character from one game to the other. This would have been awesome in a game like Final Fantasy V or something, allowing you to be level 100 at the beginning of the game.

Too bad Nintendo thought about this and added the concept of Gym badges to end your fun and games right then and there. At the start of the game, any Pokemon that you get in a trade will not listen to you after they reach level 11 and above until you get a gym badge that says otherwise. By collecting all eight (and therefore almost beating the game), you will be able to control ALL Pokemon, even those at level 100, from a trade. Despite these disadvantages, Pokemon brought forth a revolutionary feature that has been used in many more games ever. Pokemon single handedly revived the Gamelink cable.

Along with the ability to trade with another version of Pokemon Blue or Red, you also have the ability to fight with your friends. And with the possibility that your neighbors didn't sell their copies within five or something years, then you still have a chance to test the potential of this option and prove that you can kick more butt than they can. This can lead up to neighborhood tournaments if you get seriously ambitious enough.

Music and Sound
The music for this game is awesome in a Gameboy kind of way. Just about every town has its own theme, and they won't disappoint, unless of course you hate Gameboy music, and there's always the option to turn off your volume. The sound effects get their job done, be it effectively presenting a Pokemon's cry, or producing sound for the crackling of your Ember attack, the sound won't disappoint, and gets its job done.

Replay?
With the task of catching 150 Pokemon between two versions, there's a bunch of replay here! Considering you can also ALWAYS beat the game with a brand new team of Pokemon, there's always the chance that you will want to start fresh and begin again.

This game does not disappoint in the fun factor. It should be about 10 bucks or less now due to the newer versions coming out this year or something. It is definitely worth buying now to get into the Pokemon spirit, or to see what was so great about the classics.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/05/04


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