Review by Revchu
"Exactly what fans of the original were looking for."
The new editions of the Pokemon series provide exactly what fans of the original versions of the game wanted, and that is simply new Pokemon. One hundred more, to be exact. Of course, you still can't catch them all unless you have cooperation from the both versions of the game, and the Crystal version, pretty much the Yellow to Blue and Red, will be the same. All in all, I wasn't really expecting major breakthroughs over the previous incarnations, and it still maintains the same atmosphere, a game with a simple premise and very linear gameplay.
Plot: 4/10. Okay, the story is practically identical, switch the neighbor rival with some random antisocial thief rival, and there you go. You're some boy (Crystal has the option to be a girl) in some small town. You turn ten (which I believe is the entire guidelines for Pokemon training: being ten) and the resident Pokemon researcher (who, it appears, all have to be named after trees) gives you a rare Pokemon. There doesn't seem to be a reason for this, maybe it's the norm for all Pokemon researchers in small towns, but we don't know. And there you go, another ten year old trainer is sent off to wander the world alone, your mother gives you the 'I don't want to see you go, but this is what you have to do' speech and sees you off, but she pretty much doesn't seem to have any problem with it. And you're off, with, like before, some unforeseen reason to strive to be the best trainer in the world. You're off to travel to the eight gyms of Johto, collect the badges you need to go to join the Pokemon League and defeat the Final Four and the Pokemon League Champion, and only then will you become the greatest trainer in the world. It's pretty much the same thing as last time. Though afterwards, instead of going and catching Mewtwo and basically wandering the world endlessly trying to complete the collection (which you can do afterwards anyway), you then go back to Kanto, where the previous games took place, and you can follow Ash's path.
Sound: 5/10. Erk, most of music isn't anything to clamour over, most themes at the root are particularly annoying, but most of them grow on you after prolonged exposure, and can seem catchy at times. When you get eventually out of Johto, all the music is changed, even the battle theme, which seems even more annoying than before. Sound effects aren't very exciting either, battles have the typical swiping, clawing and the usual bad flame sound effects. Each Pokemon still have their own sound effect, which is hard to describe, usually a series of beeps and dings.
Gameplay: 9/10. Controls are very simple, if you're all ready used to the main characters painfully slow movement, then it shouldn't be a problem. Your character doesn't have the same quickness to move as before, since he pauses for a moment for the allowance to turn on the spot. It's the same basic worldmap, with closely plotted towns and numerous roadblocks along the way which can only be passed with certain Pokemon abilities. You get the bike pretty fast, and a smart new feature is the ability to assign the select key to an inventory item, which I always had assigned to the bike when I wasn't fishing. The battle system hasn't changed at all, two Pokemon square off and basically take turns, most of the same physical effects apply, and of course, there are a lot more moves. The difficulty as far as getting the badges goes has been lowered a bit, there shouldn't be any trouble going through the gyms, so if one's path is to get the badges and defeat the Final Four, then you shouldn't be playing for very long. Otherwise, with the influx of 100 more Pokemon, there are quite a few more things to do.
Graphics: 8/10. As far as the Game Boy Color goes, considering that they wanted to maintain it's functions with the original Game Boy, the graphics couldn't be entirely that much better. There are some components that look identical to the original, like almost the entire world, but all the old Pokemon have been redesigned, and there are completely new game sprites and animations.
Overall: 8/10. A much appreciated sequel to the often-duplicated Pocket Monsters games. It's not much in the way of innovation anymore, but a rather enjoyable experience, Nintendo can always rely on their mainstays to provide the basic needs of gaming.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/29/99, Updated 10/07/01
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