Review by calendron
"Third in the series but not very original."
This was the third pokemon game to come out, it has the same map as red and blue and has few differences yet people were still hooked on it. The thing that hooked people was the mad rush of trying to be the first of your friends to catch all 150 pokemon and having tournaments to find who was really the best. Those times are over now but the fun lives on online now as there are still thousands of poke fans who play in world tournaments over the modern internet.
This is exactly the same storyline as red and blue. You are a young boy that lives in a world full of magical monsters called pokemon. Your goal is to become a professional pokemon trainer by collecting all 150 pokemon and defeating a group of powerful trainers called the elite four'. Along the way you must help people in trouble, save cities and defeat gym leaders. As with the popular TV series, you have to defeat the rival gang, team rocket' at various points throughout the game.
This is not just your normal RPG, there is no health meter, lots of items or endless puzzles to solve. However, you can black out' if all of your pokemon are made to faint, this results in you losing half of your money and being teleported to the nearest pokemon centre where they are healed; even if they haven't fainted they can be healed to full health by going to one of these.
The main difference between this and the previous two games is that you have to start off with a pikachu. Also, as long as the pikachu is in your set of six then it will walk after you as it does in the TV series. The pikachu is a very weak pokemon and must train it up by defeating wild pokemon or trainers. As you progress through the game, the foes you battle become stronger so you have to keep on raising your teams stats to be able to defeat them.
You are in an area called Kanto' and you can walk about wherever you want, through various towns, forests and you can enter many buildings. Outside of towns, there are a lot of areas covered in long grass. As you walk through this, you encounter many pokemon that want to battle you. It is not only wild pokemon that want to battle you however, if you walk in front of a trainer, he or she will walk towards you for a battle. There are also more powerful trainers that specialise in one type of pokemon, they are called the gym leaders. There are eight of these you must defeat in order to move onto the elite four. Some gym leaders have puzzles that need to be solved in order to get to them for a battle. Some of these puzzles are very challenging and have battles along the way.
The battles are the main part of this game and they can take a long time to master. You send out one of your own pokemon to defeat an enemy one by selecting which moves. There is quite a lot of skill in deciding how to attack as each move has a different type and depending on which type you use, you will get a very weak, or strong attack. This in turn, means you have to choose different types of pokemon to put in your team so you always have at least one pokemon that is good against the enemy. The aim of battles isn't just to train up you pokemon though, you can catch them to put in your own team.
As you win a battle, all the pokemon who took part get experience points. These points move the pokemon up levels so they learn better moves and eventually evolve into a much stronger beast. Some special pokemon can't be evolved by training. Some, need to be given to a certain stone but others need to be traded to a different game. This is done by linking to another gameboy.
The only point of linking isn't only to evolve pokemon though. If you are determined to catch all 150 pokemon, it helps to trade with somebody who has pokemon blue or red as it is extremely tricky to catch them all on your own. By linking up with the other game, you can also battle against your friends or if you get really into it, there are many tournaments to prove you are the best.
The fun factor of this game is great. It can be annoying at first as there is a lot of walking around as you learn what pokemon is all about and you only have about two moves to choose from but as you get your first badge and your pokemon get better it gets very addictive. As you near the end it gets harder to catch pokemon and you will find yourself hammering the A or B buttons in the vain hope of making the poke ball work better.
The graphics aren't anything special. As you walk around, the colours change depending on which city you're in. It is unlucky that the game was designed before the game boy colour was released as there could have been a much larger range of colours. Throughout the world, there are lots of flowers blowing in the wind and waves in the water, this gives the game a bigger sense of adventure as you feel like your in the game a bit more. These touches are nice but they are repeated many times over the map; it would have been better to have a bigger variety.
The battles do let the game down on this part though, you face the enemy pokemon from the front and it looks fairly realistic but your own pokemon is viewed from behind and it just looks like a blob of colour. If it wasn't for the text, it would often be impossible to tell which pokemon is in battle. Lots of the animations for the moves are the same but with different names. However, some of the more powerful moves do look quite nice and you can definitely tell more work has been put into them.
The sound is quite nice. As with the colours, the back ground music changes depending on which city you are in. This is good because when you enter a cave, the music changes from being very happy outside to murky and dangerous to give the cave a more realistic feel. The only downside to this is that if you are in one place for quite a while, the music gets very repetitive and boring.
In battle, every move has a sound to go with it, they are nothing special but do give the game more feel'. Every pokemon also has its own cry, these are played when the pokemon goes into battle but sound very tinny'. Each cry doesn't differ that much from one another and have no real purpose. The best music in the game is definitely the pokemon centre' and gym music. It is very catchy and unlike most games, you won't be looking for the volume control in a hurry.
This game could certainly last a few years. The storyline in itself will take a few weeks but the real length of the game comes from trying to catch all 150 pokemon and getting a team of all level 100's. Once you have completed the game once, you might want to go through it again to play with with a different starter pokemon so you can see which is best.
Should you buy it?
If you don't have red or blue then I would definitely say yes. This has a great storyline and you don't need to trade in order to get all pokemon although it does help. If you do have either of the previous games then it's probably not worth the money as it isn't very different.
Overall score - 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/24/06
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