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PLAYERS:   1-2
October 15, 2000
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 Written by Jonathan Nicklas  on November 03, 2000

Review: Pokemon goes for the Gold!

Pokemon Gold and?its Silver counterpart are the successors to the games that began the craze are officially released. The titles that revolutionized the handheld industry, contributed to Nintendo's ?kiddy? image, the games that inspired multiple anti websites devoted to Pokemon, and much, much more? are back, refined, expanded, and kicking. The everlasting ?fad? has inspired many competitors to blatantly copy Pokemon, in games and television. In actuality, most of the latest Game Boy role playing games seem to adapt ideas from Pokemon Blue and Red. And of course, Pokemon has obviously inspired Digimon: Digital Monsters. Bandia produced a cartoon, a tedious and awful game, and merchandise in an effort to support Digimon, and I think they may have taken a bit out of Pokemon's stranglehold, but not much of it. Let's move on to the extensive review.

Pokemon G/S follow the same roots as their predecessors. You are a boy that's ambition is to become the greatest Pokemon trainer in the world. I think we all recognize this plot. There are two separate versions of the latest Pokemon game obviously, Gold & Silver. Both games are identical, except Pokemon images during battles differ. Also, each version as exclusive Pokemon, which concludes two trainers will have to trade Pokemon to be able to collect all 251 Pokemon. As you know, Pokemon's battle method is in a ?rock-paper-scissors? format. That means all Pokemon will have advantages and disadvantages against different species of Pokemon.

It is evident that instead of the conventional role-playing game where you control an individual that gains strength, Pokemon emphasizes on combat with monsters instead. As always, the main character of the Pokemon series is always granted with a Pokemon to start off. Once you have control of a Pocket Monster, you continue your quest and so on. Throughout the journey, the main character will come across rare Pokemon, battles against villains, and ?Gym Leaders?. The point of gym leaders is to defeat them and claim a unique badge. If you happen to collect all the badges, you will enter the ?Pokemon League?. The Pokemon League is a league where the best trainers are there, and for yourself to be the greatest Pokemon trainer you are obligated to defeat the ?Elite? trainers, and finally a master.

The addition of the internal real-time clock is a deep addition that adds to the fun. At the start of the game, you are required to enter the time. If you set the real time of your clock to coincide with the game, when it is night, the game is night. Nifty. Among those features, the most important aspect is that certain monsters come out during nighttime. Therefore, you will have to time yourself right to catch certain Pokemon. The internal clock also helps in various other ways. Some events like the bug hunt contest are set at specific times on particular days. Attention is apparent?

Another interesting addition is the cell phone. After defeating trainers, they will request for your phone number to schedule for a rematch or to note their recent findings. The character's mother will also update you with the items she has bought with YOUR money. Can't she pay for you? Blah, moving along, professors will also note vital information and other happenings.

Graphically, Pokemon have never looked better on a handheld. Unlike Pokemon Yellow, which made better use of the GBC's color palette, Gold/Silver takes full use of the GameBoy Color's aging hardware. The Pokemon look more complex in full color, and the attacks look adequate too. The cities too look incredible, and the animations can be credited for excellence. I never knew witnessing Pokemon in color would actually make much of a difference, but it is definitely more pleasing for the eyes. For a handheld game, Pokemon G/S looks sweet.

I'd never thought it'd happen again, but Pokemon is fun. After the disappointing Pokemon Yellow that became tedious after minutes of gameplay, fans and veterans of Pokemon will have a game to rejoice over. Sure, Pokemon G/S follows the roots of its predecessors, but is that necessarily a terrible aspect? I haven't found a handheld that has been as addictive in a while, although that too isn't saying a whole lot. Sometimes the game gets tiresome, but after multiple battles, ingenious gameplay will sometimes be available. This time around, two new types of Pokemon are available that are supposedly to be more effective against physic Pokemon since they're so darn powerful at times. Sometimes though, Pokemon G/S gets me furious with the frequent battles after just a few steps. It gets tedious, and I immensely dislike that aspect. The best addition of Pokemon G/S is the backpack. The backpack stores all of your HMs, TMs, potions, and other items neatly in different sections of the backpack.

As for the sound, it's the normal stuff. There are tunes for each of the cities, so repetitiveness is not an issue. There's nothing overly impressive, just the same old, same old. Lame cries by the 251 Pokemon are visible, and decent, but uninteresting composed tunes are also present. Somebody get me some coffee.

The controls are simple and user-friendly. A selects, B cancels, and the direction pad navigates the main character. The select button finally has a good function. Now, you may preset an item so when you press the select button, the item goes into action. For example, do you dislike going to the start menu and selecting the bicycle every single time? Well now that's no sweat, just set it so when you click select, you automatically get on your bicycle.

Perhaps the downfall of Pokemon G/S is too much to do. You'll have to revisit locations, and explore all around caves to collect some vital items. The game also somewhat pulls a Jet Force Gemini in a way, but I wouldn't want to give too much away. New gym leaders, stones, breeding will keep you continuously playing? and the good old man that looks the same at each town that's always available to help you.

Bottom Line
Pokemon Gold owners will become addicted to the unraveling gameplay that gets better every time you play it with interesting puzzles and a decent story line that's not overly linear for a Game Boy game. I'd like to see a sequel on the Game Boy Advance done right one day, though. Pokemon Crystal will be tedious like Pokemon Yellow was, so I'd like to see the inevitable Pokemon Advance make use of the GBA's superior audio hardware and of course visual power. Until then, Pokemon Gold, exactly like Silver, is a must-buy for any Pokemon freak out there.

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