Review by BigCj34

Reviewed: 05/30/06

The Pokemon Yellow of the G/S series, with improvements added but hardly any significant changes.

Pokemon was originally released in the US and Japan back in 1998, with a European release in 1999, for the original Game Boy format. Pokemon Yellow was released in Europe in 2000 and was supposed to be more orientated on the TV series but wasn’t in many cases. Pokemon Gold and Silver was released in Europe in 2001 featuring full colour and 100 new Pokemon, with this improvement added. The Pokemon games launched a huge franchise among kids back in 2000, with a trading card game, books and quite a respectable (although a bit cheesy) TV series, but Pokemon cards are probably those kind of things in supermarkets which you would hardly notice nowadays.

Pokemon Crystal is basically what Pokemon Yellow was to Pokemon Red and Blue, a few changes made and added bonus features here and there, plus there’s a change in what Pokemon are available. There really isn’t a great deal to say it’s a new game really yet people buy it. Several of the new features include a new mystery surrounding legendary Pokemon Suicine, who you can catch at the Tin Tower instead of looking for him in the wild; a sign appears every time you enter a new area; there’s a new Unown mystery to solve; a woman in Cianwood tells you about your Pokemon when you caught it, it goes on. The major new additions are that you have the ability to play as a boy or a girl, the gameplay is the same apart from your gender, plus there’s a new Battle Tower off Olivine City where you can use 3 Pokemon to battle trainers.

Lets start with the new significant feature, the battle tower. The battle tower is an extremely hard series of trainer battles where you can use up three Pokemon who are at or below a certain level, so you need to make sure your Pokemon are at a level divisible by 10 to stand a chance, as that’s also the opposing trainers level. The trainers are darn right impossible to beat, so unless you are the ultimate tactician around here, make frequent use of attribute boosting drugs and have the right moves, getting through it is extremely tough. I admittedly have beaten a couple of trainers but what annoys me the most are that trainers in the game are normally trainers with Pokemon 5-10 levels lower than yours and who are a walk-over while this is unbeatable AI. Something you can safely miss to be honest.

The basic Pokemon formula is simple, and the formula used here is just a slightly enhanced version of the original Red and Blue series. The battles are played using a turn-based system, where one Pokemon fights the other taking turns to attack. Faster Pokemon can generally have first hit in a battle and maybe skank another go in that turn. Turns such as quick attack can ensure that your Pokemon uses that move first, before the enemy strikes. As always, with a typical RPG, all Pokemon have elements of type and attacks (most associated with their type, duh), plus the legendary Normal type complete with their own weaknesses as well. Then you have statistics such as speed, attack, defence, evasion, etc. but you never have to worry about them so much as you would with other typical RPG games.

The great thing about the Pokemon games is that anyone can pick up and play. It is really a no-brainer exercise, in about 5-10 minutes of play and you’re out there battling other Pokemon, raising them, and hopefully win some badges. RPG’s, particularly Final Fantasy usually have the first 15 minutes of story before you get any taste of action, and then you are traipsing through quite a lot of story before you get freedom to do other sidequests. No offence to Final Fantasy, used as an example and I being a fan myself, but not all players like to read story then eventually get into the game.

As always on Pokemon, the aim of the game is to collect all the gym badges, by Gym leaders who each specialize in a certain type of Pokemon, and then own the Elite Four. After that there’s even more to explore in Kanto (the world from Pokemon Red and Blue) and you can also beat another eight gym leaders. Furthermore, to truly beat the game you’ve got to go out and hunt, train, trade or win to get every Pokemon. There’s a total of 251 Pokemon to catch out there; can you catch every single one? The answer for that is highly unlikely, because on top of beating trainers you’d have to keep fighting the elite four (because they provide the most exp. points) OVER AND OVER to evolve Pokemon. You’d also have to do a lot of searching for the rarer Pokemon plus a lot of training to get anywhere near 251, and unless you are a hardcore extremist like me you probably won’t. Although most RPG’s have their sidequests, it’s debatable whether you have completed the entire game or not. With this is catch ‘em all. And me? Since starting this game in September 2002, I’ve been playing this game whenever I’ve been on holiday, and I’ve “only” got 232 to this date.

Pokemon are found anywhere, in long grass, water, caves, trees, dungeons, fishing, to name most of them. Other Pokemon can be obtained as prizes in gambling casinos, breeding Pokemon to get an egg, goodwill, or in-game trading. There’s 100 new Pokemon, some being pre-evolved forms or new evolutions of the existing ones, and most aren’t too shabby. They have been well designed and look the part, while new and old ones have been evenly distributed around the world. My party favours the older ones, with only 4 old ones, and 2 substitutes that are old ones, only 2 new Pokemon. Shame on myself.

The game features the multi-player features as standard, fight or trade and you can trade back to the RBY series (you have to), also there’s the mystery gift feature where you can link the infrared ports of your game Boy Colour and you both get a new item, note this isn’t available with the Advance as it simply doesn’t have infrared.

The graphics on Pokemon Crystal have been improved with added detail on some buildings and a few changes to key buildings in the game, for example the light house looks like a light house at the top and the burnt tower is actually burnt, plus Pokemon appearances have changed. Other hardly notable features are that the Pokemon animate when they enter battle and a sign pops up telling you which area you’re entering. The graphics are pretty good, Pokemon drawings look good but while animations would be a bonus it’s probably not possible with the GBC. The field maps look the part although a bit samey at times, while battles are spot on. Bad news for Game Boy Classic/ Pocket owners, Pokemon Crystal is a Game Boy Colour only game, so it won’t work with one unlike Gold and Silver. Fortunately, you can probably find a used Game Boy Colour for around £10, so that’s no biggie.

The music soundtrack sounds great as always, with upbeat tempos and jolly music. The music hasn’t changed at all from Pokemon Gold and Silver, and while the tunes all sound ace, the Pokemon centre music is annoying…ughhh…especially when you’re searching for a Pokemon in the computer. The sound effects have been well done also, with a sound effect for every move in the game.

Normally here I’d put something in how long the game is, but seeing I’ve lectured you about how sad it is to complete the game, we’ll have to keep it short. This game takes over 200 hours to fully complete without cheating, and that’s just completing the game properly and filling the Pokedex, not getting a perfect game save. If you choose to just beat everyone, you can get quite a lot of fun out of this game, and will keep you going for a few holidays. In fact I always looked forwardto this in a holiday in Ireland once, but then we toured round the country in a week.

Graphics Beautifully drawn Pokemon, nice field scenes, but quite a bit of repetition. 8/10
Sound Lively upbeat music does the job well. 8/10
Gameplay Classic Pokemon action with enhancements, and great to play against a mate, but unfortunately a bit easy not many tweaks. 7/10
Length Lasts a good while just getting through, but an extremely long time catching them all. 9/10

Pokemon Crystal, although it should really be called Pokemon Platinum, has it’s improvements but back then it wasn’t worth the £30 to play the game again. If you have Pokemon Gold/ Silver then you decide if there’s sense in buying it to play the same game again almost, complete with it’s great points and it’s flaws such as a lack of challenge. If Pokemon is new to you and or have never played Gold/ Silver, you should get this. A cheap way of Nintendo to make money, yes, but still worth having if you want to play through the game again with an added twist, or never played through Gold or Silver.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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