"Because kids just can't resist the compelling urge to enslave and injure animals..."

Three years after the original monster-collecting game debuted and captured the minds of millions of pre-pubescent children, Nintendo has released a true sequel, causing much pandemonium for the parents of kids who allowed these bizarre Japanese creatures to take them to a magical place full of Rare Candies and villains in black tights. Though the basic story hasn't changed one iota (you're still a boy who has caught Pokemon fever and longs to be the greatest Pokemon trainer that ever lived), everything surrounding it, from the visuals to the gameplay, has undergone tremendous improvements.

For all of you who lived under a rock in 1998, the underlying tale was this: you travel from town to town, catching a wide variety of pocket monsters and beating up on the weak, untalented Pokemon of six-year-olds and newbies to gain experience. This training is then put into full effect by challenging the Gym Leaders, hotshot trainers in most every city who have earned their post by whupping anybody who had the balls to take them on. Beat all eight of these dudes (and dames) and you're worthy enough for the Pokemon League, a collection of trainers stronger than the smell of a sweaty jockstrap. Successfully waste these individuals, and you're top dawg of the Pokemon world. And fans of the series may be unsurprised to learn that you will be doing the same damn thing again in Gold, but fortunately that's not a bad thing. Battling and collecting Pokemon is great fun, and the hours can tick away fast if you're not careful.

The difference here is that you now have a brand new anime continent to circumnavigate, and with it comes new towns, new trainers, new Pokemon, and new just about freakin' anything. A fresh batch of 100 Pokemon has been added to the 151 from the days of Red/Blue/Yellow, making it a total of 251 of the blasted creatures you have to collect. As before, the doddering old professor known as Oak will give you a Pokedex, and instruct you to fill it up by capturing as many Pokemon as humanly possible. In Nintendo's valiant effort at forcing the little spazzes who obsess with this game to have some kind of social life, they've made it so you must trade with another person who has the opposite flavor of Pokemon GS (Silver) in addition to the three earlier games to collect all 251 monsters. Evolution has been revamped as well: certain 'mons traded over the link cable with particular items will evolve into totally new forms, and new prerequisites for evolution (think "happiness"...literally) add some variety and surprise into the mix.

There's twice as many Gym Leaders than in the original games, as you find out midway through the game, the old-school continent from Red and Blue has been stuffed into the cartridge for your training pleasure, complete with many of its old challenges and trainers (plus a bunch of new ones). But that's not all that's been enhanced, no-sirree. For all of you pervs who envisioned the potential for Pokemon erotica when playing the first games, you're in luck (kinda). With the addition of specific genders, you can now breed Pokemon to your heart's content, paving the way for some nifty new infant Pokemon species. Add to all of these improvements revitalized color graphics, a plethora of side-quests to complete (including the return of famed dorko-crime lords Team Rocket) and an overall 50+ hours of gameplay, and you've got one of the best freakin' sequels on the market. Kids who had a mere fling with the first games will be seduced for weeks by Gold (or its twin bro Silver). Lovers of the first game will be electronically orgasming at the sight of this new addition to the series, while devoted haters who think Pokemon is the most horrible thing since gangrene will be nonplussed yet again by the franchise. But on the whole, this is one of the best RPGs a pocket system has to offer.

Story - 8/10 - The storyline ain't Tolstoy, but plenty of compelling side-quests are sure to hold your interest.
Gameplay - 9/10 - Battles and the whole deal can get repetitive, but otherwise this is an engrossing and downright enjoyable experience.
Graphics - 8/10 - Not too complex or beautiful, but they get the job done. The addition of color is a definite plus.
Sound - 7/10 - One may argue that some of the in-game tunes are akin to theme music for electroshock therapy, but on the whole the sound isn't actually bad.
Replay Value - 10/10 - Completing the entire game and obtaining all the Pokemon it has to offer is gonna require some serious quality time with your Game Boy.
OVERALL SCORE - 9/10 - Unless you have a relentless hatred for Pokemon or RPGs, this is an excellent game that warrants a definite purchase.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/03/05

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