Review by Shinnokxz
"A 'throw your life away without really knowing it' kind of games."
The pinnacle of portable gaming is Pokémon. It doesn't matter what version, of the six, you're playing. It doesn't matter if you think Pokémon is nothing but a childish waste of time. The pinnacle of portable gaming is Pokémon.
Whether you choose your name to be Assmasta34, FuLpunlckioI, or RastieMastie; you are on an ultimate Pokemon mission. Your quest is to conquer the continent of Johto and catch, train, and master all 251 Pokemon. Sound difficult? Go out to the nearest store and purchase twenty-five packs of double AA batteries, then I'll tell you.
To start, what is a Pokemon? A Pokemon is a small (or large) monster. You capture these monsters using PokeBalls; and with enough training, these monsters could evolve into more powerful versions of themselves. Cooler looks, deadlier attacks -- yeah.
Pokemon also have many different elements and types to them. Each Pokemon either belong to a Fire, Water, Grass, Fighting, Electric, Ground, Dark, Psychic, Ghost, Flying, Ice, and so on. Each have their own weakness and resistances. For example, Water would be weak against Electric; but resistant to Fire. Grass would be weak against Fire; but resistant to Water. These types and elements are key when deciding who to put up next against your opponents strong powerhouse Charizard, Feraligatr, or Ampharos.
This brings me to the stats proportion of the game. This game is one HUGE RPG, with hundreds of smaller RPGs inside (251, to be exact). Each Pokemon you capture has it's own Attack, Spc. Attack, Defence, Spc. Defence, and Speed. These stats raise by either gaining experience in a battle and growing levels; or you can go the lazy (but expensive) way of buying items (such as Protein and Iron) to raise them.
During your adventure across the land, you'll run into wild Pokemon that you can either capture or gain experience from (or, if forced, run away from). Most of the time, you'll run into common, weak Pokemon that are a cinch to catch and just as much annoying. Other times, you'll run into rare and elusive Pokemon. Powerful beasts ready to attack fully at will, or flee when attacked. These more powerful forms need to be captured in more powerful PokeBalls, right? That's where the GreatBall, UltraBall, and the ultra-rare MasterBall come in. Each have a higher success rate then the one before. Some Pokemon, actually, make home in the water! So in order to catch these, you'll need a Rod. There are three Rods, Old, Great, and Ultra Rod. While you'll be catching nothing but annoying Magikarp with the Old and Great rod, you'll catch a lot more powerful and rare Pokemon with the Ultra rod.
If UltraBalls don't satisfy your capturing needs, you do run into trees all over the continents that house Apricots. Apricots, when brought to a CaptureBall maker, turn into powerful things in just no less than a day. There are some Red Apricots, that help capture heavy Pokemon. White Apricots that help more when capturing Fast Pokemon that tend to run away before being caught.
In edition to the Gold./Silver/Crystal versions of Pokemon, you now have Night, Morning, and Day. So what does feature serve in this game? It's ingenious, actually. During these periods of the day, only certain Pokemon come out for you to capture. Sure, you'll get little annoyances such as Rattatas, Oddishs, and Pidgeys all day long, but there will be (sometimes rare) Pokemon such as Ledyba, Spinarak, Ghastly, Murkrow, and Houndoom that are only found at night or in the morning.
Another edition to Gold/Silver, is the ability of your Pokemon to hold items while battling. The items, whether they're just small things like Berries that automatically heal when damaged, are all helpful. You'll find numerous items throughout lands that help power up certain element types when being held. Such as Mystic Water powers up water moves, etc.
The lands you travel span wider and larger than any worlds you've ever seen. In the land, you'll run into cities which house PokeCenters (little buildings that heals all your wounded Pokemon for free), a Shops (sells you many things that you will need in the field), and Gyms. Gyms are what keeps you driving in this game. Each Gym has a Gym Leader and small underlings you must battle. Each Gym have their own Element fan base; meaning a Gym will only stick to one element type and that type only. If you are good enough to beat all trainers in, you gain a Badge. A Badge tells every to look out, because you are moving up in the Pokemon World of training.
Throughout the land, you'll run into other Trainers that challenge you to battle. Most of the time, the trainers don't usually pose as a threat with their Pokemon usually being about 5 levels below yours. But some managed to capture powerful evolved beasts that knock your Pokemon down one by one with just one attack. But, if you do manage to defeat these foes, you will get the experience and needed cash.
So that brings me to who you are in this game. When starting, you get to choose a name for your trainer (a person that battles and captures Pokemon), set the time and period of the day, and a starting Pokemon. You get three Pokemon to choose (they're actually quite rare, and the only way to get the ones you DIDN'T choose is to trade with friends, which I'll explain later). The three Pokemon you get to choose from are Cyndaquil (Fire), Chikorita (Grass), and Totodile (Water). The one you choose will basically be with you from start to end (and almost always be the most powerful one you have). As a new trainer, you go from town to town, gaining cash for the purchase of items, defeating Gyms, capturing more Pokemon, and making your Pokemon grow more powerful by gaining levels.
Equipped with you, is a Pack (where you put items, Key Items (like keys to doors), Bikes, Rods, Spare CaptureBalls, and TMs and HMs (which I'll explain later on). You also come with PokeGear, which has a map of the continent, a radio (so you can listen to more annoying Poketunes when you are sick of the same dull songs droning on), and the new Phone. The phone system, in this game may seem like a good idea, and may seem like a little feature to make the game seem more immense, but most of the time it's useless. The whole concept is to keep in touch with other trainers; but randomly they call up either telling you about their Pokemon, or telling you they almost caught something. Sound good?
''Hi TRAINER, how is it going? My Pokemon are really energetic! By the way, I almost managed to catch a tough (random Pokemon name) the other day! It was soooo close! Well I gotta go!''
Bare in mind, this feature isn't as worthless as you may think. Some trainers' numbers are key in catching extremely rare Pokemon (or, in other words, ''Swarming'' Pokemon). They'll call you up and tell you that these Pokemon, otherwise extremely rare when there's not a swarm, are popping up in battles left and right.
On your journey, you will only be able to bring 6 Pokemon along with you. You use these to battle and show-off your mad skills, basically. The other Pokemon you catch go to a Storage system inside of a PC. Each Pokemon can learn up to four moves. They learn these moves from evolution and TM's. In evolution, they naturally gain moves according to their element type. TM's are small items you find throughout the land. Depending on the TM, only some Pokemon can learn the move. Even if it's four move slots have been filled, you can still delete a move that you think is worthless or isn't helping out.
Now onto the next type of moves. HMs are more rare items that teach your Pokemon a move that would benefit you on the field somehow. HM Fly is a move you can teach to a bird Pokemon that transports you quickly and painlessly from city to city. HM Surf allows you to float on your Water Pokemon from sea to sea, and gets you places where you couldn't access before. HM Flash helps you in dark caves, and HM Whirlpool gives you the ability to get through treacherous whirlpools that you would normally be swept up in.
For the first 20 hours, your basic mission will be to get every badge and defeat the continent of Johto. Once you've conquered, you'll be faced with extraordinarily difficult masters in the Indigo Plateau. In the Indigo Plateau, you'll be faced with five trainers IN A ROW (meaning you won't be able to heal between fights). Each of them have around Lv. 50 Pokemon that can cream your Pokemon if you're not prepared.
You think ''Wow, this is the end of the game.'' Nope. Be prepared to stray back to the continent Kanto (the one located in Red/Blue/Yellow) and conquer that land! That fact blew my mind, and I wondered how they fit all this info onto one Gameboy cartridge. If any one of you are unfamiliar with the whereabouts of Kanto, it's a continent about the size of Johto, with another 8 cities and Gyms. It also includes Pokemon that were unheard of in Johto.
The size of this game is overwhelmingly spectacular. Once you've completely captured all badges and even defeated the Mystery End Trainer (Which Red/Blue/Yellow players might be surprised on who it is), there is still hundred of hours of capturing rare and elusive Pokemon. Some of the Pokemon evolve in very specific ways, actually. About 3 evolve when traded while holding certain items! About seven ''special'' Pokemon (or otherwise known as Baby Pokemon) are only available when two certain Pokemon breed together in a Breeding Center. There are even some Pokemon not even able to catch in one version (such as Gold), but can easily be caught in the other version (Silver).
This game just has so many addicting aspects to it, and the fact that it has quite a calming design to it helps a lot to those aspects. The menus are clear, and easy to navigate. The grounds that you walk upon are finely detailed, and the buildings are very generic in looks. Where the game performs best in, is the battle scenes. Each Pokemon have their own distinct, colourful, and crisp sprite. Even the view of the back of your Pokemon you're battling with has a satisfying look to it. Sadly enough, the same cannot be said for the music. The MIDI/chiming music, though charming and cute at first, gets on your nerves pretty damn quick. After hours of training and gaining experience, the same cutesy song droning over and over again, it almost turns into a reason why you to turn the thing off. Sound Effects are small and barely noticeable, and the only real distinct effects you hear are the Pokemon's chimes when battling.
It's quite a pity to see that such an extraordinary game goes practically unheard of amongst the whispers of Final Fantasy, Super Mario, and Zelda, just because it includes that ever-so childish stereotype ''Pokemon.''
Overall Score: 9/10 -Shin (6/13/02)
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/28/03
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