Review by TheRetroPlayer
Reviewed: 07/02/14 | Updated: 05/12/15
Only bother if you're a hardcore fan of the series.
After all these years I decided to try out a Generation II Pokemon game, and I have to say is that it's pretty much same old game, but with different and not so interesting Pokemon with some new features and moves thrown in along with a longer overall game. Some of the new features and enhanced graphics that are this time made for the Game Boy Color in mind are nice at first, but the feeling of newness wears off after some time. Anyway, this game fells dull in comparison to the older games from Generation I, and you have to really be a hardcore Pokemon fan or this has to be your first Pokemon game to actually be into all the way to the end and beyond. Even though Generation II added new concepts to the franchise such as gender, giving Pokemon items to hold, and a day/night feature that I could live without as examples, Pokemon Crystal by itself still nearly ruined my interest in exploring other games in the franchise as well until I discovered the goodness of Emerald on the Gameboy Advance that revived my interest in the franchise after all these years in turn. Does not mean I'm going to play every single one of them though. I doubt that.
I really like the graphics in the game. The last game was either black and white, green and black, or on the Game Boy Color, a few shades of color which is what I remembered it when I first played the series back in 1999. Now, since this game was dedicated to the Game Boy Color, you get a variety of colors that add more vividness to the world, especially during the early morning hours of the game. The sprites are pretty much the same except for a few, and the Pokemon sprites are a huge improvement over generation one and even Gold and Silver which is what this game is a clone of, but with more frills, though there are still a few back sprites that still look ugly, but not as ugly at its worst. I like how the Pokemon even have short animations in the game though this only applied to remakes in those days for some reason, even though I'm aware that was changed overtime.
I really don't know what to say, but the music in this game seems to not be anything too special. Even the Gym Leader theme, sounds like a normal trainer battle. Oh yes that is the problem, the music during certain battles don't feel right for some reason, even the remixed version of the Kanto battle themes feel off. It's like its trying to sound retro in a game that is not that older than this one. It's weird. My big problem with the music in this game was the lack of epic feel you got with the 1st generation games, but other than that, the music isn't bad, it just feels like it's missing something along with it feeling off somewhere. There are a few halfway above decent themes in this game, but overall, the game just has a few uninspiring themes that are literally forgettable. Sound effects are pretty much the same except for some new variations for the additional Pokemon and they seem fine. Nothing else to say here
The game has the same controls as ever. You get a backpack that separates your items which is a good thing to get to them faster this time around, but the controls are very simple. You can't mess up simple controls like these.
Typical pre-teen from a small humble town goes out and tries to become a Pokemon Champion. Through out your adventure, you'll will encounter trainers that will want to challenge you to a battle in grassy fields, caves, and roads. They also involves you dealing with Team Rocket and putting an end to their latest plot like the last game, and competing against a rival who this time is actually annoying enough for me to give him a rather fitting name I'll not reveal here. You help people out along the way as well. It's not a bad story and a story for these games is a break from the grindfest out on the grassy fields, that is for sure. Average story.
Pokemon games always has the same gameplay, but for some reason, especially in the newer games, the formula never gets old, but this game, it does get old thanks to the type of Pokemon that is often available which is meh in comparison to what I like to use, and this overall dullness of this one. I lost interest in getting all 16 badges and got up to 11 before I said to myself there is no real reason to keep going outside of this. The main story is even over at the point as it is and you already officially completed the game. I was never into Pokemon to literally Catch Them All as well. The Kanto region you go back to seems to be a stripped down version of it that is of little interest as well outside of fighting Gym Leaders and unable to find any more Pokemon at that point that you can find easy in Johto. Speaking of that, many of the Pokemon in this game are mostly the same throughout, and you don't get too many variations of what you want. I am picky about who I use since Pokemon who are going to be with me through the whole game, and not too many I could find that were like this. I barely found five and they were not my idea Pokemon except Alakazam and Gengar and some of the ghost Pokemon feel toned down comparing to Generation I consider how this game has a bunch of normal types and ghost are bad against normal types in this one.
Now you get one of three starters, Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile. Cyndaquil is the best starter to begin with early in the game, but I honestly didn't like it's default learnset, and most of the good stuff outside of fire blast and flame wheel that you learn late, especially if you evoke it early like I did. I never cared about collecting Pokemon, and only used Pokemon that I liked, so this means for me that I didn't feel any desire to try to catch on of the legendaries this time around. The only thing I was missing was a Pikachu/Raichu that I always use in these games. It could have been because I kind of rushed through the game or was suppose to be found during certain time of day due to the new time feature. Speaking of that, I have mixed feelings about this one but I am glad you can change the time with a button code or gameshark since I honestly like it early morning for the most part. The game pretty much is battle, battle, battle, grind, grind, grind. This game is even bigger since after you are done with the first region of the game, and already became a Pokemon Champion, you get to go back to the old Kanto region, and take on the 1st Generation Gym leaders again, who had improved as well, but you'll ind that they are easy since your Pokemon by then should be around or level 50-52 and theirs collectively vary from 30-50 while the 40s being the average for their Pokemon, except for the last Gym leader in Kanto who's pokemon are much higher than that.
As always with them, they are much tougher than the Gym Leaders of the Johto region who are actually have no business being Gym Leaders considering how weak they are. For one, you had a gym leader who was known as a bird master that had some rather weak bird Pokemon you can easily find in the grass early in the game that your own starter can take down easily, and a gym leader who is a bug master who is on the same level as all those bug catchers out there? Really? I am talking about a weak bug master at that mind you. I do admit, I was a bit surprised by Steelix in one of the gyms since I never fought a steel type before, but that was it. It doesn't help that almost everyone has duplicate Pokemon which is also an issue with most all the trainers you fight in the game, and you even still fight Rattatas and Raticates well into the game in the Johto region for goodness sakes! I grew sick of fighting Magnemite after Magnemite because of this. That was one of my biggest issues with this game that brung it down a bit since it comes off as laziness or a cheap way to make the game easier for newcomers to the series. Even the Elite Four was toned down a bit, even though the Champion has Hyper Beams on all his Pokemon and two of them have paralyzing electric moves which is more irritating than challenging. I didn't bother to find an Ice based move to make things easier though I had blizzard, but I was stupid enough to overwrite it due to it's low PP to high power ratio.
Forget about it and just skip over to Generation III I say. There are better games outside of Gold, Silver, and Crystal. Either Leaf Green/FireRed will do it or Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald. I say skip this one again, but If you are a big Pokemon fan or this is your first Pokemon game, then this is going to be the game for you very likely.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Pokemon Crystal Version (US, 07/29/01)
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