Review by JohnSPal

Reviewed: 05/09/04

A lovely little game for your GBC. Buy it.

The Pokemon series was originally put on the map by the great games that were Pokemon Red, Blue, and later Yellow. Pokemon Gold (and Silver) are the sequels to these original game. Though these games had a lot to live up to, they not only exceeded my expectations, I suspect a fair few people thought these games improved on the originals in many ways.

I recommend you buy this game. Anyone who doubted that the GB wasn't a good purchase would be put to silence by what this game does.

Firstly to get the boring stuff out of the way. The story:

The games start in the world of Johto - New Bark Town to be exact. You are a young trainer who is about to embark on a journey to become a great Pokemon trainer much like in the originals, but will inadvertently get mixed up in other plots which, despite seeming slightly childish and farfetched (well this is a world which revolves around little creatures and are fought with - what do you expect?), manage to divert your attention without becoming totally pointless and boring.

In order to progress through the game, you navigate your way from town-to-town throughout Johto, completing the various tasks which confront you. Namely, your aim is to battle as many trainers throughout your jorney in order to increase the power of your team of Pokemon (thus incorporating RPG elements into the game), and in order to gain money which you can spend at the various shops in each town. Buying items and levelling your Pokemon up will allow you to defeat Gym leaders. Defeat all the leaders and you will be able to battle the Elite four and the Champion, which will acknowledge that you are a great trainer.

However, the game doesn't stop there. Once you complete all your fighting and other errands in Johto, you can get to Kanto (though I shall say no more so the story isn't ruined). This is the world featured in Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow but with some graphical updates. BUT note that this section of the game isn't a direct remake of the original games.

So now on with the more interesting sections.

Gameplay: 9/10

The gameplay is quite brilliant in this game. Simple.

The main part of the gameplay revolves around time. If you play between 4am and 6pm, the game is in the day. Otherwise it is in the night. This inclusion really gives the game an extra dimension as you can only perform some action at certain times or even on certain days (but nothing that affects progression through the game is controlled by this so it doens't hinder getting through the game). Inclusion of an in-built clock also made the game have more depth I thought, as when I played at night I found the game very easy to get into (yes, I am a very sad person, haha).

As for the battling, the RPG sections have been handled brilliantly. Though the battling options sometimes feel slightly limited (especially for those who have played and enjoyed a Final Fantasy game, such as myself), the battles overall provide an adequate challenge; and the typically included Critical hits, Pokemon weaknesses (namely elemental weaknesses) add much-needed depth to the limited choice of attacks allowed to be used by any one Pokemon.

Graphics: 9/10

As far as GameBoy Color graphics go, this game is wonderful to look at.

The world is composed of what seems like thousands of colours, which really make the worlds come to lifes. The brightness of the game is one of the most endearing qualities of the game - I even remember them a coulpe of years on.

In battle, the attention-to-detail on each Pokemon is also brilliant. But despite the animated attacks being a great improvement on the original games, they are slightly disapointing (if it weren't fr this, I'd have definatey given 10/10 for graphics).

Though the defining greatness of the graphics lie in the attention-to-detail between the night and day modes. In daytime, there are many bright colours which make the game great to look at. However, come night-time, the areas seem much more peaceful and quiet, and a range of dark colours are used in the same areas - oh yes, and little lights appear in buildings which add to the attention-to-detail. The contrast between the two different graphical aspects of the game both are great and what made the game really memorable for me.

Sound: 5/10

Nice, but also nasty.

The one area which really let the game down. Though sound isn't really important, is it? The melodies that are played when walking around towns, and when in battles aren't bas at all - infact they were quite catchy as I remember. However, the noises that the Pokemon make are so basic and are repeated with many Pokemon. This really grated on my nerves from time-to-time. However, such a small niggle didn't affetc me too much on the whole.

Replay value: 6/10

Depends on who you are, I guess.

I can't really comment too much here. I personally didn't feel like playing through the game again. However, this was because the whole game was so large (you could get well over 30 hours of gameplay if you play properly, which ain't half bad) that I felt that I got my value-for-money simply by playing through once.

Although, some of you may feel that you want to play through the game again because of it's loveliness. Overall, there isn't any amazing elements of the game that will want you to specifically play through again.

Final recommendation: Buy, Buy Buy!

Overall score: 9/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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