It’s the year 2000. Pokémon is extremely popular and the first game for on the gameboy is about to reach store shelves. And critics praised it for one of the best games for the system. And it was a launch game. As a child, I played this game an awful lot. Not understanding a word from what they were saying, but I continued on. My basic English comes from this game. But let’s review it now. Has this game given me some nostalgia goggles? Will I rate this game high because it has child hood memories or will I rip it to pieces now that I’m older? Well, let’s take a look into the cult classic Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow for a proper review.
While writing this review, the game is running on the TV next to me. Thanks to the SuperGameboy and my trusty SNES. But what I noticed is that many things are shouted. Like “TEAM ROCKET” or any attack name. Image Pokémon like this in real life, each time something important is used, you have to shout it out loud.
What’s Pokémon about? Well, your goal is that you capture monsters living in the wild, train them to become stronger and so defeating the elite 4. On your journey you need to defeat the eight gym leaders to prove you are worthy to challenge the elite 4.
This concept is great and works extremely well. But in your journey you will have to fight the bad guys named Team Rocket and stop their evil plans. The plot, while basic, is great. It doesn’t go too deep and it’s great for a kids game like this. It’s understandable for the younger audience. At the end, there is also a plot twist. But I’m not going to spoil it since I’m quite sure most of you readers know what I’m talking about.
So, with a good story, let’s move on to the graphical side of things. The graphics of this game are great and not that great at the same time. While it surely looks pretty on the gameboy limited hardware, some sprites for your own Pokémon look bad. Take for example Metapod, he looks kinda scary when you use him as a Pokémon.
A battle of sounds
So, I said that the graphics look good? Yes, the caves look cave-y. The forests look forest-y. But it doesn’t do anything special. In the sequel, the graphics are way better, but there it’s improved for better hardware.
I can’t be too harsh on the graphics. The artwork and the design of the game follows the anime series extremely well and surely make you feel like you where actually travelling along side Ash. Especially when you played Pokémon Yellow, where Pikachu walked behind you. You were able to click on him for seeing his mood in a small animation.
There is a nice use of animations in the game as well. For the more powerful attacks, the screen can flash and or shake. But some effects have minor issues. For example, when your Pokémon is at low health, the sound effects and the music are having a sort of battle in terms of which sound-effect is allowed to play.
Let’s talk about the music and sound-effects. They are top notch. The music is melodic and sets the tone just right for any situation. Each track might just be around a minute or two long, but it rarely gets old. I even like to play the music when I’m on the road. And when the music plays, I truly can image being on a bike or on the sea.
The sound-effects are doing what good sound-effects are supposed to do. Draw you into the gameplay even more. The let you know if an item is used, when your Pokémon is getting attacked and so on and on. And the library of sound-effects is pretty expansive since all the 151 different Pokémon have their very own tune.
Walking and more walking
Okay, we all know the complaint that psychic Pokémon where overpowered in the first generation. But the different Pokémon types are such an amazing addition to the gameplay. It truly makes you think in which Pokémon you are going to take in your party.
Pokémon is set up in such a way that it’s extremely replayable. You can set up yourself many different challenges like the Nutzlocke challenge. (Releasing a Pokémon when it fainted) or trying to catch all the Pokémon.
But you can only do that when you have a friend with the other version of the game. Which worked for friends to have some amazing trades and battles. If I remember correctly, one or two Pokémon only evolved when you traded them, but that could have been in later generations tough.
Is this game perfect, well no. There are some issues with this game I think bring this classic down. For starters, something I don’t see a lot on other reviews is that the characters are so bland. No one of the characters really gets depth nor explained. they are just there. And congrats to the writers making such an amazing tale with such “empty shells” of characters.
Another thing is that some Pokémon spam one status attack. Like attacks that make you sleep or steal health. It’s frustrating seeing this happen over and over again.
The inventory is a mess. Items are everywhere. Lucky for us, in the sequels they have addressed this issue and improved upon it.
Also, this game has hands down, the strangest glitches I have ever seen in a gameboy game. And there are a lot of them. Many glitches I wished where patched.
So, I’m going to leave it here for Pokémon. Let’s get on to the conclusion.
+ Nice tale.
+ Epic world.
+ Quite lengthy.
+ Highly replayable.
+ Memorable music and sounds.
+ Amazing gameplay.
– Sound issues.
– “Empty Shell” characters.
– Spamming of one attack.
You can’t escape the fact that this Pokémon game is pretty amazing. While it has it’s flaws, it still is able to keep up a certain charm. It isn’t old, and it will never be. Thanks to the various improvements of the sequels and later entries, this game looks dated.
Yet this game stays fun for picking up memories. It’s an easy RPG and it’s fun with the capital F. So, play it now and enjoy it.
Score: 90 / 100