Review: Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald (GBA) ~ Here Come The Horns

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Bulbapedia entry

My family and I take yearly trips to the seaside. I remember on the trip of 2003, we stopped in a big toy store. There was a Gameboy SP present with a demo version of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. I played it in the store and knew what I wanted to buy at the end of the trip. I wanted my own Gameboy Advance SP with the new Pokémon games. It didn’t take long before I got my very own copy of the games and that I started playing it. Now, after I have finished all three games, it’s time to take a look back to the games and decide if it was a good decision to buy and play these games or that these games actually belong in the trash. So, let’s review these games. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your opinion on the article and/or games.

Plot and such

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This game starts like every other Pokémon game starts. You move to a new town where you are asked to help the professor to set out on a journey to explore the new region. In this game, the characters are rather interesting. For some reason, the rival characters and various other characters are one of the most memorable in the whole Pokémon series.

Truth to be told, I think most has to do with the fact that Pokémon was right at it’s absolute peak where I lived then. Everybody was talking on the playground about the latest Pokémon they caught and how the new anime season was running at the same time then you progressed in the game. This made the game more memorable to me. So, it might possibly be nostalgia blinding me.

So, I really think that the writing in this game is really well done. Also, the secrets you could discover in the game were fun too. There was a way to catch three new legendary Pokémon in a complete side quest. In this side quest, you had to read braille to enter a door. And I didn’t look it up on the internet, I actually used the guide provided to me in the manual to translate the braille into readable letters and figured it out that way.

What’s even more interesting, you can use these three Pokémon to trade them into the next generation and unlock a special Pokémon that way. That’s a big positive in my book!

Horns & flutes

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This game has quite amazing presentation. I dare to argue that even to this day, this game holds up quite good. Just think about it, this game’s engine is the basis of most Pokémon Rom Hacks.

It’s the last 2D Pokémon game, since the 4th Generation went into 2,5D. But, Pokémon Platinum, Pearl & Diamond are for another review.

Something a lot of people point out about this game is the soundtrack. In nearly every track, there is a (French) horn and/or a flute present. While I enjoy listing to the soundtrack, I have to admit that this soundtrack lacks variaty in its instruments. But back in the day, I didn’t really mind it. The jump in quality from the previous generation was just too big.

Visually, this game is bright and colorful. I really love exploring the Hoenn region. I love exploring it so much that I even explored it several times. Yes, I played through this game several times. Something that added even more life to the game are the animations in the overworld. Things like the rain and the sandstorm or the tracks you made riding your bike in the sand made the game come more alive then ever.

A lot to do

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So, this game introduces quite a lot of interesting new mechanics to play around with. Let’s first start with the new battle mechanics. This game introduced double battles. This is such a great addition to the series that to this day, spin off ideas are put into the main series Pokémon games.

That reminds me, the gameplay of this game is really good. The whole adventure in this game is one of the best adventures you can have on the Gameboy Advance (SP). But honestly, isn’t that a given with a main series Pokémon game?

So, in this game you also have secret bases. I have to admit that this was one of my favorite features ever. I wish they implemented into more Pokémon games. I had high hopes when they were re-introduced in the next generation as bases in the underground side-game.

And let’s not forget about the Pokémon contests, berry mini-games and the truckload of changes to the battle and breeding system. This game brought so much new things to the table, there is a lot to do in this game before you have seen and done everything.

Do I have something negative to say about this game? Honestly, one thing. That this game works with a battery. Now-a-days, the battery will have run dry and time based events won’t happen. If you can look passed that, you have a great game ahead of yourself.

This game’s difficulty curve is pretty great. Apart from the rematches of trainers. I rarely lost those. But that’s a nitpick, since you can choose when you do those rematches and I did them when my team was overleved.

The last thing I want to talk about is the controls. And guess what, they work brilliantly. I have nothing to complain here.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time we go to the conclusion of this article.

Conclusion

The bad:

-The internal battery can run dry.

-No multiple save slots.

-A bit more instrument variety would have been great….

The good:

+ … yet the overall soundtrack is pretty great.

+ Good writing and pacing of the story.

+ Good difficulty curve.

+ Interesting and fun side adventures can be had.

+ Trading with the next generation!

+ Secret bases

+ Pokémon Contests.

+ …

Conclusion

If you would ask me which generation is the best Pokémon generation. I would honestly doubt. Each generation has something I really love about it. And this game is no different. When I was preparing and when I was writing this review, I had trouble finding flaws in this game.

It might be because a lot of nostalgia, it might because this Pokémon game is that good. If you are a Pokémon fan and you haven’t play this game, I urge you to check this game out. It’s really good. I might not have mentioned a few things in my review, but you’ll find out soon enough. The post-game content is the best in Emerald by the way.

In any case, thank you for reading this review and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to see you in another article on my blog but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

Score: 100/100

My top 10 GBA games. (Part 2/2)

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After a crazy busy week, I finally found time to announce my top 5 GBA titles. The comments on the first part were exactly what I hoped them to be. Popular titles that everybody puts in their top 10 will be mostly absent in my top 10. Since I go for the more obscure titles, that deserve the spotlight. Games that are good, but never get a spot in any top 10 due to some flaws. Anyways, enough talking. Let’s take a look at my top 5 GBA games. As usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section about your top 10, the content of this article and things like that. 

#5: Tomb Raider Legend

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I own both the PC version and the GBA version of this game. My young mind was blown when I saw how many similarities there are between the GBA version and the PC version. While the GBA version isn’t as much fun as the PC version, I did have quite a lot of fun with it.

This game gets also a special award from me, for the most easiest final boss ever. I can beat the final boss with my eyes closed, on hard difficulty. It’s just ridiculous.

One advice I should give is that the DS version is just a big mess. The GBA version is just a nice game that takes the portable Tomb Raider games to a new height. Give it a chance and remember that it’s a GBA game. Also, the final thank you in the credits is just amazing.

#4: Scooby Doo – Mystery Mayhem

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A game about a TV-show, what can go wrong.. I mean, what can go right? Well, this is a great platformer/adventure game that is totally Scooby-Doo themed. The reason why I love this game is mostly because the nostalgic value to the show. This game is thankfully no cash-in.

When I discovered that one of my favorite bands at that time actually made one of the theme songs for the show, Simple Plan, my love for the game grew even more.

While I haven’t fully beaten this game, I can’t get passed the final boss, I did see a friend beat it and I saw the ending. The final boss is brutal. That’s one of the only remakes I can give at this game in my opinion. Maybe I should replay it to review it…?

#3: Nicktoons – Battle For Volcano Island

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The people who have read my review might have seen this entry coming. I truly think that this game is one of the best platformers besides Mario that the GBA has to offer. While I don’t own a copy anymore since I mostly remember this game from rentals, I still do hunt for it.

Every time when I go to a garage sale, I hope to find it. I would accept any copy, even without the box.

If you want to read more about my opinion, go check out the review.

#2: Pokémon Ruby – Sapphire.

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This game is the black sheep in the series. The 3rd generation wasn’t very well received. Which is strange to me, since the pre-orders for the remake at the end of this month are quite high.

The only complaint I have with this game is that the soundtrack has a lot of trumpets. I know that this is going to get me some hate, but Ruby and Sapphire are actually my 2nd most favorite games in the series. Most has to do with the introduction of secret bases. The next entry, Diamond and Pearl, perfected that with making it multiplayer.

I’m quite curious what the remake has in store for us. I actually have high hopes. I try to avoid reading other content to not get spoiled. Sadly enough, it already happened. The hype grew even more for me. I just wish it doesn’t let me down…

Some honorable mentions.

Okay, before I talk about the obvious number one, let’s have some honorable mentions.

  • Golden Sun: This game can’t go in my list since I haven’t beaten it. Sorry Q, it might be for another time.
  • Avatar – The Burning Earth: Such a great game to play. I enjoy it quite a lot. The password system is just amazing.
  • Crash – Mind over the mutant: If only I finished the final area before the time of the rental was over, then this game was allowed to be on my list.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Blue Rescue Team: The reason why this game didn’t make it on my list is because the DS versions already made it on the top 25 DS games list. Yeah.
  • WarioLand 4: I still have to beat WarioLand 4. I enjoyed WarioLand I and II quite a lot. I never got a hold of the 3rd game, but I got the 4th game for free.
  • Metroid Fusion: I still have to beat you.

#1: The Legend Of Zelda – Minish Cap

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Yup, my fans might have seen this entry coming from miles away. Not the GBA remake of the very popular “A Link To The Past” but the Minish Cap.

This handheld title is quite a lot of fun. There are sadly enough some flaws. The game is quite short, easy and the Kingstones aren’t so much fun in practice.

I had beaten this game while I was renting it. My honest advice is that you rent it, unless you are a Zelda fan. No, I’m joking. Play this game, since it’s one of the best adventure games the GBA has to offer.

I think that this game is more meant for the younger, newer Zelda fans. To get new players hooked to an awesome series. That’s the reason why it’s so… well, easy.

Closing words

This list was a bit tougher to put together then my DS list. The main reason is because my memories of the GBA time are fading a bit since the DS was such a huge hit with me. And back in those days I also played a lot of other games. So, my connection was less strong the with the gameboy or the DS.

In any case, I hope that some games you didn’t know got your attention. Feel free to play them, since I recommend all the games that I talked about in this top 10. And with this article, I close my GBA month. Thank you for sticking with me, and I hope to see you next week for a new article. Take care~

Gaming Music – Number 7: Moar good tracks

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More music articles

Oh yes, it’s time to write a new article for this series again. In this article, I didn’t look for artwork that has to do with game music but I used the first screen from Electronic Super Joy. A game that’s good because of the music. Anyways, I’m a huge fan of game music. I admit that I listen to it nearly all the time. Even when going to work. It’s just addicting to listen to the amazing tunes they create for games. The atmosphere is just so… amazing thanks to the music. Now, I do have some rules. I can’t pick two tracks of one game in each article. Also, I avoid picking two tracks from the same series in one article. I hope I never slip up and pick one track twice. If that happens, feel free to leave a comment. Oh, and do feel free to comment on my music picks for this article. Anyways, here we go!

#1: The Legend Of Zelda – A Link Between Worlds (3DS) – Lowrule Overworld Theme

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Such a shame that I haven’t finished this game. Yet, the music is amazing. I really enjoy the melody of this tune. Yet, I have written a first impression of this game.

You truly recognize the melody of the overworld from Hyrule. This theme gives a more acapella-remix, one where the major leading instruments are taken out.

To be honest, this was my ringtone while I was playing the game. It happens frequently that a track from a game I really like becomes my ringtone.

Something I dislike about this track is how it doesn’t fit the mood of Lowrule as I image it. I honestly think it should be a lot darker. Then again, this track might be in such a light mood since our hero is bringing light and peace to this realm.

Yeah, this must be it.

#2: Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright (3DS) – Objection Theme

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Remember my extremely long review of this game? Or my first impression. The game is amazing in my eyes. It really deserved all the hype and it totally met all my expectations. As usual, I ignored the posts with new screenshots to avoid spoilers. This way I can totally hype up myself.

I’m still enjoying the additional content for this game. Maybe one day, I might write a game quicky about it. Who knows. I’m changing the formula of game quickies anyways.

But I really enjoy this theme, it’s one of the best in the series. I’m hoping they are making a sequel for this game in the future since it deserves one. This is one of those kind of games where you’re sad it’s over. And be sure that I put the music of this game on replay. Just like this track. No question about it.

#3:  Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald (GBA) – Legendary Pokemon

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When this track played when I found the legendary Pokémon for the first time in Ruby, I was hyped. While I think that the second generation is the best Pokémon generation, the 3rd game is the actual game I really got into the series.

This track still stays with me until this day. I fondly remember decoding the braille marking on the stones on get the Reggies.

I love listing to this track when I’m riding my bike home through the rain. I get the same vibe then from fighting a legendary Pokémon.

What kind of memories do you have with this track? Please let me know in the comments. Since I’m really curious.

#4: DuckTales: Remastered (PC ~ Steam) – The Moon

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I haven’t played a lot of this game. Yet, this track got posted on my forum by one of my friends who finished the game. He says that they keep this track until the end of the game. And dayum, is this a track to close off the game.

I really liked the music in the original but the remix for the remastered version is really amazing. Thumbs up for the creator of this track, or the remixer. It’s really well done. It’s almost perfect. I feel a new ringtone coming up. Yeah, I think I might take this one as a ringtone for a while.

#5: Okami (Wii) – Giving Kushinada A Ride

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Man, I’m so bummed out that I saved over my save file. I need to restart this game. Now, this game isn’t too hard so it’s no real pain. The biggest issue is that I have to restart. And this game is pretty long.

Strangely, I haven’t written any article about this game. Well, I have mentioned it in an article of games I want to finish. But that has been an article of last year. Now, I added this game to the list to write a first impression about in the future. Maybe you will see this game appearing on my blog in August.

This game has beautiful music. That’s why I’m mentioning a track in the article of course. The music is very amazing. You really can image giving somebody a ride (to safety). Through a beautiful painted landscape, this moment is really memorable.

The rest of the soundtrack is pretty amazing, but none is so memorable to me as this one. Yeah, when you play it and get to this moment… You will understand what I mean.

And yeah, this track is my alarm in the morning. When I need to wake up and go to work. It really wakes me up. (And my mother, who is in the room next doors.)

Final words

There we go, another music article. I hope you enjoyed this one. For my next article in this series I have an amazing idea. I’m listing the remixes and game-related music tracks I love to listen to.

I have a few great tracks in mind. And it might not be the only one of it’s kind. So yeah, keep an eye on my social media for more updates on the releases.

Anyways, I think I’m going to end this article here. Thanks for reading and until the next time!