Review by KirbyKollector
"A Great Classic Game from the Land of the Rising Sun"
Pocket Monsters was a huge craze when it released back in the 90's. It spread to the US and many other countries, captivating the hearts of many gamers young and old. Today, the older games for the black and white Game Boy are rarely played, but remain the awesome grandfathers of a great RPG series. Though the general American opinion of the series has been perverted by its appeal to younger gamers and abundance of toys and products geared toward children, the original games themselves are not to be underestimated for that reason. It's a shame many older gamers' opinions were swayed because of the kiddy image, as Pocket Monsters, or Pokemon, as it's come to be called in mostly every country that sells the game series, is an enjoyable RPG series with extensive replay value due to the friend and community aspect.
The game works just like any other RPG of its time: You move around in an overhead view and when you enter certain areas, marked by tall grass, you encounter random battles. The concept that sets this game apart from the others is the manner of which you manage your party. You don't join a group of people and quest about the land. Instead you are a single boy who battles using monsters that populate the world he lives in like animals. You recieve one in the beginning to train for battle, and capture others from the wild using compact technology in the form of a ball to store the creatures. Once captured, you train them for battle as well, attempting to reach the goal of the ultimate party of monsters by gaining strength, which is measured through a generic level and experience system, to face off against highly experienced trainers who lead 'gyms', gaining badges that prove your victory for admission into the Indigo Plateau, where the famed "Elite Four", the highest-level trainers in the country, reside.
Like other RPGs, though, there are many many other things and side-quests to do, jacking the playtime up considerably. Replay time, however, depends on your choice of friends. That is, the Game Boy link feature was implemented as an integeral part of the design, expanding the horizons of your monster collection and battling party. When linked to another friend's Game Boy who has a copy of the game or another color version of Pocket Monsters, you can trade monsters as well as battle them against your friend in one-on-one bouts to see who has the better team. Battling may get old if one of you is on a much lesser skill level. That's where trading comes into play. There are 151 monsters programmed into the original Pocket Monsters games, and depending on your color version, you will not be able to obtain certain monsters. In order to collect all 150 monsters availible through game play, you have to link with your friends and trade monsters. It takes a while to obtain them all, unless you buy copies of all the versions to trade with yourself, which isn't as fun as trading with friends.
Pocket Monsters is a comprehensive RPG that covers what makes RPGs great. It just isn't as epic or as complicated as some, and playable by children who have the appropriate attention span. At its core, however, managing the statistics of your Pokemon and their movesets can be vital keys to victory that take a long time to get a hold of. Pocket Monsters is, by no means, an easy RPG, but it isn't overly difficult, which just adds to the fun. It was a great feat for such an early age of handheld gaming, and to this day remain great RPGs.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/01/06
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