Review by BrakZero

Reviewed: 05/27/01 | Updated: 05/27/01

Good game... and no, I'm not a Pokemaniac.

Alright, let’s have the first things come first… I don’t like Pokemon is general. Okay, that’s good. Anyway, I have to say that Pokemon came an extremely long way in lots of areas. And I, like everyone else, was completely shocked at the fact that it came so far and got amazing success. Of course, it started out pretty good… a simple role-playing game for the Gameboy in which you must catch all these little “pocket monsters” and become a master at it. But with it’s huge success, the went too far… suddenly everything was being made with Pokemon stuff. Everything from backpacks to watches were made, and it got so much worse for lots of people. So for this reason, I, like many others, do not like Pokemon. However, the original game that came out for Gameboy is actually, quite good. The one thing about it that is so good is that it is mindlessly addictive. When you accomplish something in this game, it kind of motivates you to do some more stuff, and catch more of those little things. It sucks you in and keeps you playing, no matter how much you hate those little monsters in general.

The graphics weren’t horrible. They weren’t very spectacular, either. Let’s face it all of you Pokemon freaks… there are some better graphics for Gameboy. And no, I’m not some stupid person that’s mad because I’m not seeing some spectacular 128-bit graphics like the PS2. I know very well that this is an 8-bit Gameboy, and I can say they’re decent. Most of the environment was somewhat dull, but it does give you a nice picture of your surroundings. The Pokemon pictures are pretty good though. Each one has a unique design to tell them apart, and there is a nice big load of different monsters. Sometimes the evolved monsters seem a tad too similar to its previous form, but overall you can tell from their stances. The battle animation is okay; some are better than others are. So in the end, the graphics are all simply decent.

The music and the sound in this game were pretty good as well. You usually hear chirpy little tunes throughout most of the game. The battle theme is pretty good and the gym leader battle music was even better. All the dungeon themes fit in pretty good depending on the outlook of the dungeon. Sounds in this game are actually pretty scarce, unless you’re in a battle. But the sounds that were in the battle were nice and at least blended in somewhat with the action.

Okay, I’ll be blunt. This story sucks. Badly. And that hurt the game pretty bad. I mean, come on. This is an RPG, for crying out loud! Role-playing games are usually based on a big story, am I right? So if you don’t know what the story is like and you’re dying to know, it goes a little something like this:

“You are a boy named Ash who is on a quest to become a Pokemon master.”

*struggles to keep from laughing at the pitiful story* I swear, my friend’s 3-year-old brother can come up with a better story. (Well, maybe) Honestly, if they just added one or two more things to that line, it could have been a whole lot better. Why not put something like “He wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps” or something like that? Or at least something lame like “Everyone else was doing it”. But they had nothing. Why did he want to become a Pokemon master? Don’t know, he just wants to. So overall, I think you can tell that the story is pretty bad.

At least the gameplay, the most important part, jumped in and made a magnificent rebound. And the gameplay can be explained in one word: Addicting. You start off the game, and after naming a couple of people and walking a few steps, you have an immediate choice for your very first Pokemon: a Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. (Hehehe, I’m surprised the names of Pokemon haven’t been added to computer dictionaries yet.) This one little/big choice already affects the outcome of the beginning of the game. Meaning if you get a Bulbasaur or Squirtle, the first gym leader will be mad easy, but grabbing the Charmander makes him vice versa. That brings a big strategy element into the game. Of course, all role-playing games have some strategy put into them, but out of all the RPGs I have ever played, I find that choosing the right elements is most crucial in this game. It can COMPLETELY change the outcome of the battle. For instance, if you are using an electric pokemon against a ground type, you’re gonna get the crap beat out of you (unless you have some other non-electric moves). But, if you’re using a water type against the ground type, you’re gonna be the one who’s whooping the crap outta him. See what I’m saying? Yes, I know this happens in every other game that’s even slightly close to a role-playing game, but I’ve never seen it so important.

So anyway, you got a pokemon, so you need more. There are little “Poke-Marts” found around the world, which lets you buy various things to take care of your monsters. Among the many things you can buy are “Poke Balls”. To use them, you get into a battle with a wild pokemon. When you find one, you gotta beat the snot out of it until it has barely any life left. Then you browse over to your items, and chuck your Poke Ball at it. If all goes well, the Pokemon will stay trapped inside the ball, and he is available for use in battle! Now, once you catch one, you think “Hey, this is cool”, and you go catch more, and more, and more until you fall asleep and you didn’t even notice how long you’ve been playing. You see, that’s what’s so addictive about it. Catching all of the different kinds, and raising them to be the best. But of course, it’s not so easy to catch those little things, as some Pokemon tend to be extremely rare or even one of a kind. These types are usually very hard to catch. They will usually require an Ultra Ball, which is the same thing as a Poke Ball, but with better chances of catching. (There’s also a Great Ball, which is better than a Poke Ball but worse than an Ultra Ball)

You got some friend who’s as whack as you and likes the game? You can go out and buy a Game Link Cable, and with that you can connect your two Gameboys and either trade your different Pokemon or battle them. Keep in mind that if you are planning to catch all 150 (151, whatever Pokemaniacs), you must trade your Pokemon, or you can take the cheap way and use a GameShark. =P Actually, to tell you the truth, it’s fun. Yes, I did play with the link cable, and that means that yes, I do have friends as whack as me. =P But seriously, it is fun.

Pretty good replay value, I guess. You can keep playing through the game to discover and catch new kinds of Pokemon, but that really doesn’t even require restarting. Once you’ve caught all the different kinds, that’s when the replay value drops to almost nothing. Getting all 150 monsters will trigger a long period of time with nothing new to do at all.

The Final Words
Yes, I know that tons of people hate Pokemon, but really, the game is not bad at all. It succeeds in most of the areas, especially the gameplay. If you haven’t tried this game out, I highly recommend that you do. Maybe you can turn into another Pokemon freak… doubt it though. If you’ve seen that show and got totally disgusted by the word “Pokemon”, (It’s okay, that happened to me too.) you probably don’t want to get close to anything with that word on it. But just try the game out, please… it’s very fun.

Final Score – 8/10

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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