Review by Ice Water

Reviewed: 12/06/04

A worthy sequel to a noteworthy game series.

It has been about 2 years or something since the phenomenon known as Pokemon had hit the American shores, and the original games had brought with them a vast majority of chaos. Ever since the days of Red and Blue, there had been pictures of Pokemon from the future that had leaked onto the internet that made everybody think they were some sort of 'Pokegod' that would be nearly impossible to capture, and even more impossible to defeat in a battle. Fortunately, the good people at Nintendo shut these rumors up for good when they introduced the long awaited sequel to the good thing they had going on, and brought some peace back to the world.

Taking place three years after the events of the original Red and Blue, Gold takes place in a whole new region known as Johto. You yet again start out as a 12 year old boy living in the new town known as New Bark Town. You live next door to the Pokemon research lab of Professor Elm, who one day calls you up on an errand. Taking up the call, Elm offers you a brand new Pokemon to take with you for protection. Choosing from either the grass type Chikorita, the water type Totodile, or the fire type Cyndaquil, you begin your quest to go see what Elm's buddy wants you to pick up. After you make your selection, you head out to see what all the fuss is about.

Well, it seems that Nintendo got a bit lazy on the story, but its still a bit better that you just get swept up into becoming a new Pokemon trainer instead of just heading outside of your hometown and getting stopped by an old guy who tells you what to do.

Changes in two years of time
Within two years worth of time, Nintendo created a few new ideas and concepts that have changed the Pokemon world forever. For starters, with this whole new region to explore, all new Pokemon were needed, and Nintendo answered the call by creating over 100 new Pokemon to bring the count up to a whoppin' 250 now. With many more Pokemon to capture, you would think this would take less effort since there are yet again two versions of this game to trade with. WRONG! There are still a few Pokemon you must trade with the original Red, Blue, and Yellow versions to literally catch them all. This would be the biggest fault with this game, seeing how you won't have an easy time trading back to the older versions without taking some special precautions since new Pokemon and new moves can't be traded back to the classics. It’s more of a hassle to trade with the Color versions than it is to trade with the other Metal versions (gold and later crystal).

Speaking of which, Nintendo added in many new moves! With the addition of new Pokemon came even more moves to lay the smack down upon your opponents. With these new moves, the invincible Psychic type has finally become balanced! No type is better than another now thanks to the introduction of the two new Pokemon types: Steel and Dark. Now with the balance of the types, all 17 are totally balanced and there truly is no ultra powered type any longer. Great job on Nintendo's part there.

Probably the newest feature to sweep the nation at the time was the introduction of TIME. That's right, actual time! Your copy of Pokemon Gold now acts like a watch, being able to keep actual time. This comes into effect by introducing the new feature of Day and Night Pokemon. The only problem with this is most people don't wake up at 6 AM to start playing a game, and people who make their schedule based on a video game seriously have some issues or something. The average player will probably be playing this mostly at night, so that means there's a bunch of Pokemon they will probably never see unless they manage to sneak this into school or work or something early in the morning. Another problem with this new feature is the weekly events. With the events only occurring during certain times of the week, you only have one shot during the week to achieve this even and if you are even 1 second too late to get to the exact location then you will have to wait an entire week to be able to achieve this goal again, much like in real life.

Another awesome feature is the ability to save your money. Your mom offers to save up some of your cash at the beginning of the game. This REALLY comes in handy if you need to do some serious leveling up but don't have the cash to afford healing items. NO PROBLEM NOW! Instead of getting all of your Pokemon knocked out and losing half your cash to go back to the Pokemon Center, you can now store all of your cash at your home and pick it up later to buy the necessary items to keep alive during the course of the game. Periodically, your mom will buy a doll or something for you that has little to do with the game in general, but it is pretty cool to see in your room whenever you decide to go home.

Speaking of dolls, you can now decorate your room with stuff! The way to do this is with the new Mystery Gift feature which takes advantage of that lame infrared reader on the top of your gameboy color that was never really used. With this feature, you and your friend could put Gameboy's together once a day (or more if you both had several versions of the game, and only up to 5 per game pak) and get a random item or doll after you meet the certain requirements. This feature is a great way of getting some nice things without having to pay for them, or it could be really lame if you score something like a berry.

Probably the best features of Pokemon Gold are the new Pokemon Gear, the new Backpack, and the new Daycare center. With your Pokemon Gear, you can do so much with so little space. The most noteworthy of these features are the ability to tell time, see the town map, and more noteworthy: make a phone call. Making a phone call yourself is just plain worthless unless you are calling your mom to check your funds or checking in with Bill to see how many more Pokemon you can catch before your box is full. Everyone else just has lame info on how their Pokemon are doing and other lame stuff. The only benefits of the phone was the fact that certain people would call you up for a rematch every now and then. Too bad it was so far and between gameplay that this feature just never became useful in the long run.

The backpack is WAY BETTER than it EVER was before! Not only do you have your original 20 spaces to hold whatever it is you have, but now you have SEPARATE POCKETS to hold extra crap! You now have separate pockets to hold your regular items, your TMs and HMs, your Pokeballs, and your key items. This is handy since you will no longer run out of space when trying to make enough space to get your essential items along with your extra junk you don't really need, but have to haul with you in the long run. Needless to say, the extra items space was REALLY needed in the original games, and is a fine edition to this game.

Last but not least is the new Daycare center. With this center, you can not only put in one Pokemon but put in TWO! This leads up to special events leading up to some things that the old couple doesn't know about and eggs appearing out of nowhere. After a while, a level 5 Pokemon will hatch and you will now have a new Pokemon to deal with. This feature is GREAT for when you get this point in the game. Instead of waiting forever for the part in the game where you can get your favorite Pokemon, you can trade with your friends and then put their Pokemon into the center, breed your own version of it, and then BAM! You'll have your own level 5 version of the Pokemon you wanted and your friend can continue to use his own. On top of that, if you know how to breed correctly, you can have a level 5 Pokemon with AWESOME moves like Flamethrower or something. Breeding is awesome!

The graphics of Gold are friggin' great! If you put this game with Red and Blue, you would see how much work the creators put into this game to make it look way better than before. Hell, even the attack animations have been redone so they look even better than before, so there is no complaints here. Pokemon Gold pushes the Gameboy Color to the max, yet keeps them stable to play on the classic Gameboy, which is awesome seeing how that's the only way I could even play this game at one point in time. Nintendo did a great job of making this game way better than the first graphic wise.

Music and Sound
The music is like three times as good as the classic Pokemon music! With music that doesn't sound like your stereotypical Gameboy game, you actually get some friggin' awesome tunes out of this game! And there's even a few remixes of some classic tunes from the first game that sound really good as well! The sound effects are all from the original game for the most part, with some new sounds that are even better than before! Try comparing the move Tri Attack between the two versions. You'll see that the Gold version has a MUCH better sound to it than the classic.

With all of the classic features that made Pokemon Red and Blue friggin' awesome, Gold brings to the table even more fun to the table with weekly events and whatnot. You can pretty much play on one file for the most part for a good long while and not get bored with it like you may have been with the original. The introduction of time takes care of that problem seeing how there's always something you probably missed because you were sleeping.

So with a price tag of about 15 bucks since this game is only about 4 years old by today's date, this game is definitely worth grabbing, especially if you can find it new somewhere. If you liked the first game, you'll love the sequel and what it brings to the table. And if this is your first time playing a Pokemon game, then this wont disappoint you at all!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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