Review by Master Rudy
"It's time to catch 'em again!"
Back in 1998 Nintendo decided to bring a RPG from Japan called Pokémon to the States. It was one of the most sucessful games ever sold in Japan. However at the time many people weren't too sure if it would make on our side of the Pacific. It was easily one of the oddest games anyone had seen. However it's unique nature may have been one of the factors that helped it become one of Nintendo's biggest hits. When it started to sell just as well as it did overseas many people started to see how good this game really was. Fast forward to 2000. Pokémon Gold and Silver were the first two true sequels to the original games. This time around people wondered if lightning would strike twice. Were the original games a mere fluke or was this the start of another great flagship series for Nintendo? Well if you look around at the sheer number of Pokémon games avalible in 2009 and upcoming in 2010 I think that's an easy question to answer now. As far as what GS did for the series they took the core features introduced in the first generation games for the original Game Boy and managed to add and improve upon them.
Pokémon is one of those games that's easy to learn yet it manages to be complex in it's own ways. The basic goal is the same as it was in Red, Blue and Yellow. Travel the world and capture/train a team of six Pokémon in an attempt to become the Pokémon League Champion. Overall battles are the same as they were in the first generation games. They occur one on one in a traditional turn based format. The Pokémon you control will be classifed in one or two of 17 different types that will determine various things such as their elemental weaknesses, the moves that they can learn, ect. Think of rock, paper, sissors on a much larger scale and you should get the basic idea behind the battles and how they could flow.
Returning players will notice several changes that started in this generation that tended to become a common theme among the later games for the GBA and DS. First off the bat is that there are 100 new Pokémon. This brings the overall total that you can capture in this generation to 251. As always however there will be some Pokémon you won't be able to get. This could be in part due to your own choices over the course of the game (should I take Chikorita or Totodile as my starter? What should I evolve my Eevee into?) or simply due to the fact that a paticular Pokémon is simply unavalible in your game (using an example from the first gen you could get Meowth in Blue but not in Red or Yellow). As a result if you base the overall game completion on having the Pokédex maxed out you'll need to trade Pokémon with friends that have other versions. Gold and Silver expand on the concept of trading by making a few first generation Pokémon such as the Red and Blue starters unavalible in this generation. However despite being made for the Game Boy Color the games in the newer generation are able to trade with the older games. As far as battles goes there were two new types added starting in this generation. Dark types and Steel types expand the battle chart to 17 different types of Pokémon and as a result this adds in new strategies and balance into battles. Naturally this results in new moves as well for both the new types and the 15 from the previous games. The new moves do however toss a slight monkey wrench into trades with older games however. Pokémon that know moves that are not in the original games can't be traded to them. Likewise it should also go without saying that you can't trade a second gen Pokémon to a first gen game. This can however be used to your advantage in the older games if you know what your doing. Some Pokémon now have new options on their possible moves that they couldn't learn in the original games. Charizard learning Fly in Gold or Silver and being traded back to Red or Blue is a prime example of this.
Other new features not covered above that were introduced in this generation include breeding Pokémon, day/night that change in real time, new Pokéball types, a better organized backpack, new areas to explore and a few other goodies that I'm not listing so as not to spoil any surprises.
On my original review I wrote years ago as a kid I gave this a 9/10 but in hindsight the weak link of any Pokémon game is the story since it's been the same thing for awhile now. Overall it's fairly basic and to be honest you could take the base plot from each game and apply it to all of them. Of course at this point I'm sure most people that play the games aren't playing for the story. The basic story is a young boy in Johto has just become a Pokémon Trainer. In order to make it into the Pokémon League for a chance to challenge the champ he must first win the 8 Gym Badges of Johto. Along the way however a revived Team Rocket and a new rival will be causing problems and getting in the way.
In other words it's like RBY without Ash. There are however some surprises that save the score from sinking a little more.
Considering the system this is on the music and art are very good. Many long time fans of the series think this had perhaps the best soundtrack overall. Also if you played RBY you'll notice remixes of the old music much later in the game. As for the artwork it looks wonderful. The game is far less pixalated when compared with the first generation as a whole and the artwork is more on par with the Yellow version/anime. Many of the pictures look like they could be from a classic NES game. This is one of the better looking Game Boy games if your playing this on the GBC.
As always the replay value of any Pokémon game is high depending on what your looking to do. First off the bat is that once you beat the main game you actually gain the option to explore the Kanto region from the original games. After you complete that area you can then try to capture all 251 Pokémon. It's also a ton of fun to make many different teams for link battles. Depending on the what you come up with it's never the same game twice.
The Bottom Line:
Pokémon GS is a great game that shouldn't be overlooked just because you think your ''too old'' for Pokémon. The main game is fairly simple for the younger crowd but as a whole it can get somewhat complex when other factors come into play. This is the perfect example of a game that can never be finished in five days. If your one of the few that has yet to upgrade to a Nintendo DS then you can't really go wrong on this one if you can find a copy of Gold or Silver used. It plays on all Game Boy models up to the GBA SP. Even without friends the replay value can be fairly decent.
Overall Score (not an average)
9 out of 10
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/11/00, Updated 09/03/09
Game Release: Pokemon Gold Version (US, 10/14/00)
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