Review by Pokejedservo

Reviewed: 03/25/04

My very exposure to the infamous series that is Pokemon and its still one of my better experiences with it!

Ah yes the Pokemon series in the US, before the immense marketing hoopla from its show being on Kids WB, before the huge hype backlash from parents and various older viewers everywhere, before all the stupid ''Pokemon is Satanic!'' claims (which basically happenend to just about anything popular in the US since Rock'nRoll in the 1950s) before all that monstrousity of a mess. Let us think back to simpler times of the Pokemon franchise shall we? Ahhhh yes back when the show was in syndication (mostly UPN), back when it was considered to be a harmless little series, back when the biggest marketing hype was those plushies you can get at KFC. Oh yes those were the times and of course the biggest thing that TRULY started things going was the release of the first Pokemon game namely in 2 versions, Red & Blue.

Both versions went rather well with gamers although the Blue Version REALLY went more popular than the Red. (Though I'm not perfectly sure why.) What are the differences between each version? Namely the Pokemon you can catch in it. (And you'll either have to find a fellow gamer with the Blue Version whom'll let you make trades with via version-exclusives. Among various others but there are other ways...) Cheap trick to spend more money on more stuff? Perhaps but its for the actual games themselves not the various merchandise out there. The premise in here is as well simple its been stated to be, you leave home and you will be out and around trying to catch various Pokemon whil training them to be stronger with other wild Pokemon and ESPECIALLY with Pokemon from other Trainers. However the truly main objective here is to go around and while training your Pokemon you try to find the leaders of 8 various gyms and beat them to get their badges so you can enter in the Pokemon league. There are also various side stories (Especially with Team Rocket though no certain bumbling trios were involved in the making of this game. Its up to you whether thats a good thing or not) and of course your Rival. (Mostly known as Gary, even though he is the only other human character you can name aside from yourself.) And that for the most part is this game in a nutshell.

Fighting a Pokemon owned by a Trainer is easy you fight them with your Pokemon with any fair tactic you can use. Though fighting them in the wild is slightly more complex, even though its not ALWAYS necessary you can attack a wild Pokemon with one of yours until its HP is low. Then you can try to catch it with your Poke-Balls even though it may not always work. (Unless you get the best ones.) You can up to 6 Pokemon at a time while they can have up to 4 attacks each. The most essential places you'll find will be the Pokemon Centers where you can heal (free of charge) all the Pokemon in your party. While thanks to the nearby PC you can withdraw/get different Pokemon, store/get various items and even get help from the known Pokemon Professor known as Professor Oak. Differences to the show? Plenty, Ash is all by himself with a ''Chrono'' syndrome, Brock & Misty are serious trainers whom are just opponents to you, aside from Giovanni all the members of Team Rocket are faceless grunts, amongst VARIOUS others heck Pikachu is just a regular Pokemon here. Heck the ONLY things that really stayed the same are Professor Oak & Pokemaniac Bill of the Lighthouse sans the Pokemon outfits, Ash's mother is still a single young woman and one out of the four ''elite four'' members.

For a Gameboy game the Graphics are generally decent (though the design of a Pokemon in the game can be rather... ''mediocre'' to put it mildly) but other than that its generally alright. Its music may be no classic but despite how tinny it can be the music is generally nice & catchy. Story-wise its basic but effective though the only TRULY cliched aspect is on how ''conveniant'' the timing of the appearances of Team Rocket can be when you have to stop them on your way to be a Master trainer. (Though fortunately I have seen games used a repeated plot device more than once and did it a lot worse.) And while its kinda unfortunate that the characters get barely if any character development at during the series. BUT it is the debut of a known RPG series and like most known RPG series' the character development factor is generally slim. But its paced well and whats one of the better things about the game is that the objectives are generally quite clear as the chances of confusion are fortunately quite minimal. This very easy to get into game can be quite addicting ESPECIALLY the first time around. (However its not so addicting once you went through the events of the game the first time around. But fortunately the replay factor is still quite there.) And even though the strategic monster battling is the main gameplay aspect there are a few certain others like going through certain puzzles (mostly ''moving title'' floors) and more. Basically its another good example of a simplistic game with a certain amount of depth in it.

Even though I mean no offense to the Blue Version but I still do wonder why does it get more attention than Red? My biggest theory is that the pokemon known as Meowth can have a attack known as ''Pay Day'' which makes you earn more money after battles is easily accessable in the Blue Version while you'd have to make a trade if you have Red. Granted some Pokemon in Red CAN be able to use the ''Pay Day'' attack but its no where near as easy to get as a Meowth with one (that'll come in with training). Now I like a good Meowth as much as the next Pokemon fan but still ''Pokemon Red'' is still a very good game to get nevertheless. And of course one known bonus in this game is the VARIOUS comical little things said by plenty of the Trainers. I mean how can you forget such classics as ''Hey! Your not wearing any shorts!'' and ''Your hot but not as hot as BROCK!'' and more. Chances are you'll probably get at least ONE chuckle throughout your progress in the game.

Overall its my first exposure to the Pokemon series which has made me the Pokemon fan I am today. And even though they just recently remade this for the GBA THIS version of the Red Version has not been truly weaken throughout time when it comes to Gameplay quality. It alike its more Blue counterpart are still fairly easy to find in stores and generally inexpensive. The later Pokemon titles may have a lot more various features but slightly alike ''SimCity'' the original is still quite the fun game to play.

+ The debut (well red version of the debut) of the great infamous series that is Pokemon in the US.
+ Wonderfully addictive the first time around, and the objectives are rarely unclear with a pretty good progressive storyline.
+ Good solid simple strategic gameplay with perfectly fine control alongside with nice & catchy music with a pretty good challenge factor as well.
+ Pretty simple to find and afford
+ The various comical quotes from the various trainers are an often amusing little bonus
- This version has no easy access to Meowth (and due to its famous ''Pay Day'' attack its probably one of the bigger reasons why more people went with Blue.)
- Even though its (technically) the debut of the series its still kinda unfortunate that the characters barely develop over time.
- Some of the designs of the Pokemon looked rather...subpar
- Its not quite as addicting once you've beaten the game the first time around, the replay value is still existant but nevertheless

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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