Review by Chunkey Simmons

"Pokemon lives on, and this is where it all started. See for yourself."

Pokemon had began right here. After the game came out in 1998, so many pieces of merchandise had came out. For once, I can actually say I was around for this time. Usually when I review games, they are usually games that I wasn't actually around for, but with Pokemon, I had become a fan around when it first came out on the Gameboy. There was toys, clothing, cards which were extremely popular and worth a lot of money today, and lets not forget the television show, which was where I was first introduced to Pokemon. For those not familiar to Pokemon, it's a concept that brings originality, and that's something new when it comes to video games.

Pokemon is a game full of monsters, over a hundred of them total, and the goal is to catch them with a Pokeball. It's a mixture of that and an RPG where one verses the Pokemon before catching it. However, not always can the trainer get there hands on the Pokemon. Some Pokemon are extremely rare. That's the gist of how Pokemon works. When one begins, you have an option of taking one of three Pokemon, Bulbasuar, Charmander, or Squirtle. From there, your free to roam the towns in search of more Pokemon. However, there are other challengers which wish to battle your Pokemon. Typically the challengers are pretty easy, but the Gym leaders are more difficult. In order to get further in the game, you need badges from the Gym leaders. The only way to get them is through beating them in a battle. As your Pokemon battles, their experience points go up when using them. When their points go up, they're level rises. Some Pokemon can evolve when they reach a certain level, making them more powerful. That's the gist of Pokemon now does it all work?

The game plays really well. It's really neat to see so many Pokemon. It was cool to see at my school everyone's different Pokemon, their nicknames, their level, and their attacks. Usually, Pokemon can naturally learn attacks, but other times, you can also teach them attacks by giving them TM balls. These TM balls are labeled with numbers. For an example, TM01 contains Mega Punch. If you give TM01 to Abra, which is a physic Pokemon, Abra will instantly learn Mega Punch. Meanwhile, if you try to give a TM01 to a MagiKarp, that simply will not work. Not all Pokemon can learn certain moves. In this case, MagiKarp is one of the worst Pokemon since it cannot really do anything. That's another great thing about Pokemon; the lack of consistency makes the game really fun. Sometimes the community can give you hints on the location of Pokemon, and certain areas that are hidden. The best part about Pokemon is watching them evolve. For some reason, it's very worth it, even though it's simple and it takes ten seconds. A lot of the trainers have interesting Pokemon you have to go against, some that are harder to find. It's almost as if the developers did that on purpose to advertise that there are more Pokemon, and it works, because half of the time, I'm sitting there in bushes looking for wild Pokemon. When it comes to finding Pokemon, it's pretty hard. Usually you can find them in bushes, but some trainers like to trade with you. For an example, there's one trainer that gives you a Farfetch'd if you give them a Spearow, which is recommended to do since that is the only way to get a Farfetch'd. As mentioned, rarity makes the game shine. Can you picture this? Think about it in my situation. You have the game, you discover all kinds of new Pokemon; they have some sort of value almost, even though it's just a game. Now think about your friends who also have the game. You can go head-to-head with your friends too if you have the Gameboy cord. Basically, the game then was loads of fun, but for those who are being introduced to Pokemon today, I recommend buying a newer version, since Pokemon Blue today it outdated. Several people, including myself like the RPG style arena your Pokemon is in while battling. Picture this; Your Pokemon is on the bottom left hand corner facing the front, with the life meter on the right. The opponent's Pokemon is facing you on the top right hand corner with the life meter to the left. It's neat the way it's set up, and even in the newer version of Pokemon, this way hasn't changed. Overall, the Gameplay is great.

While the game itself sounds straight forward, there's so many ways the game can be hard to play. The game is not always good at inciting where you're supposed to go. Usually the people you engage in conversations with are pretty straight froward on where you're supposed to go or what you're supposed to do, but other times, they're not specific enough. Sometimes, you have to rely on entering a building and hoping it leads to what you're supposed to do next. Here's a good example. There is a route that is blocked by a Snorlax, which is a sleeping Pokemon. You cannot walk pass it, so really, the only way to get past it is through waking it up. How do you do that? You need to play the Poke Flute. How do you get one? Well that's the point. The game isn't straight forward enough. You end up talking to every person, going in every building, and battling every trainer before finding out what to do next. It's a mess sometimes. When you find the flute, then you can wake up the Snorlax. Don't even get me started with this. Basically when it comes to some Pokemon, they usually have at least attack move that really makes you mad. Snorlax is easy to beat, but it has one attack called Rest, which replenishes it's life, but in return, it falls asleep. What does that mean? There are several casualties that can occur to a Pokemon. Falling asleep is one of them. Let me lay it out for you.

Sleeping Pokemon (SLP) - Pokemon falls asleep, either from an attack, or in some rare cases, sometimes the Pokemon rests in its own during a match. Any Pokemon that is asleep simply can't do anything. They do not lose any HP unless attacked by the other side. It can wake up though, and you can heal it at a Pokemon center or have the correct item to treat it.

Burned Pokemon (BRN) - Pokemon gets burn marks in a battle. A burned Pokemon can still attack, but after every attack, it suffers burn marks and loses some HP. It cannot be revived unless you heal it at a Pokemon center or have the correct item to treat it.

Poisoned Pokemon (PSN) - Pokemon gets poisoned in a battle. A poisoned Pokemon can still attack, but after every attack, it suffers loses some HP. It's like being burned except the Pokemon continues to lose life even when not in a battle. It cannot be revived unless you heal it at a Pokemon center or have the correct item to treat it. So basically, better burned then poisoned.

Frozen Pokemon (FRZ) - Pokemon gets attacked too many times, typically by an attack known as Ice Beam. Any Pokemon that becomes frozen simply can't do anything. They do not lose any HP unless attacked by the other side. It cannot be revived unless you heal it at a Pokemon center or have the correct item to treat it.

Now that we have that cleared up, I can focus on my frustration towards half of the attacks in the game. Going back to Snorlax, most of the time, when the Pokemon is almost finished off completely, he uses Rest, which restores his life completely! A simply one minute match becomes five minutes, and that's where patience starts to go away. Rest is not the only attack that is bothersome. There are many other attacks that can be named. Another problem with Pokemon is the fact that some of the Pokemon that trainers have are not even legitimately in the game! Right off the bat, some trainers that you go against have Ekans, which is a decent Pokemon that can poison others and it sports the attack known as Wrap, which is very useful. My point is that Ekans does not exist as a wild Pokemon in the blue version. If you want to catch Ekans, that's too bad. You have to buy the red version if you really want to catch him. Keep in mind you cannot catch Pokemon that are already owned by trainers. Also take notice that the red version probably has about five Pokemon that are not in the blue version, and vice versa. Right off the bat, I can confirm that Magmar is in the blue version, but not in red... but who cares about Magmar? I want Ekans! Now for my last problem. One big thing I noticed is the fact that some of the Pokemon do not obey half of the time. It can be annoying when your most powerful Pokemon in the batch takes the most damage simply because it's "loafing around" as the game says. The rebel Pokemon can also choose to use a different move. For some reason, my Wigglytuff is the only one not to obey.

With that, there's the gameplay. Now for the other stuff. I can say that the music in the game is sort of annoying. The music that plays in the Pokemon battles sounds fine, and the music when your Pokemon is swimming in the water is probably the best tune in the game, but roaming the cities really isn't recommended unless your Gameboy audio is broken like mine. It's not the worst music in the world, but it's annoying. Not much to expect anyway since it's the Gameboy. The audio on the other hand is appropriate. It matches pretty well.

For a Gameboy game, the graphics are excellent. The Pokemon are really designed perfectly. Some of the Pokemon look like animals (I can confirm a Pidgey looks exactly like a regular Pidgin), rather then monsters, but Game Freak and Nintendo did a excellent job designing the Pokemon. The special affects used in the battles are nice too. My only complaint is that your Pokemon is shown on the bottom left during a battler, and it looks extremely distorted compared to the opponent's Pokemon. Look at a picture of a Pokemon Battle in play, you will see what I mean. Luckily, this was fixed in Pokemon Gold/Silver.

Is the game replayable? Of course it is! There are so many Pokemon one still has to catch; it's amazing. That's the magic of Pokemon: there's never a time when you can get bored of Pokemon. There are still so many creatures one still has to catch! Do I recommend you buying this game? Absolutely not. In fact, why are you looking at this review in the first place? It's 2009, you should be reading reviews on Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. This review was meant for me to share my personal experiences with this game, and to really give you a review on where it all started. A little fun fact for later: there is this girl I have a crush on who's birthday is September 30. She shares her birthday with the release date of this game! Anyway, if you have not yet seen Pokemon, now is a really good time to step out from behind that rock!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/15/09

Game Release: Pokemon Blue Version (US, 09/30/98)

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