Review by The Mighty Mollusk

Reviewed: 08/28/01 | Updated: 08/28/01

A good game in its own right, but....

Firstly, let me say a couple things. I am not a fan of the Pokemon TV show, movies, cards, or other merchandise, I'm only in it for the games. I own all of the Game Boy games, even though I never really intended to (Gold was given to me as a gift, and I found Blue at a yard sale for $5). I have enjoyed them all.
Crystal is yet another good game in the series. On the plus side, it has multiple new features from Gold and Silver. On the minus, it's otherwise the same thing. A good game in its own right. I'll try to be as objective as possible, but some parts do warrant comparisons with Gold and Silver.

Now, on to the ranting.

Graphics: 7/10
This is a Game Boy Color here. You don't expect dazzling 3-D graphics on a 2-inch screen. The battle animations for the pokemon are nice on some and kinda silly on others (notably Rattata shakin' it's bootay), but a nice touch overall.

Sound: 7/10
Again, this is a portable. Some of the sounds get a little repetitive, and some are just plain annoying (Team Rocket's theme, for example). But the sounds are mainly just to add some atmosphere, and in most places it works.

Storyline: 9/10
You're a young boy or girl leaving home to battle trainers and become a Pokemon master. Along the way you find all sorts of miniature subplots and run afoul of Team Rocket. Straightforward and a bit simplistic, but it does its job.

Controls: 10/10
Everything is simple and easy to use. Unless you're either blind or have a severe disorder of some kind (and I mean no disrespect to anyone who does fit into those categories, it's just a comparison), you'll figure it out easily. The only problem is that your character moves pretty slow, and you get a bicycle pretty early to compensate for that.

Replay: 10/10
This is where the Pokemon series has always shined. With 249 monsters (yeah, they advertise 251, but you can't get Mew or Celebi unless you either cheat or go to one of their occassional tours), there's a helluva lotta possible combinations out there. Hold on, let me get a calculator...erm, my calculator's screen isn't big enough. Well over 200 million possibilities. Right at the start, you get a big choice in the form of what starting pokemon to use. If you want to try everything, you've gotta keep at it.

Fun: ??/10
This one's kinda hard to tell. If you hate monsters, RPGs, battling, or strategy, then you'll hate the game (of course, if any of that was the case, you probably wouldn't be reading this). But for the rest of you, this game can be fun if you ignore the initial premise of ''Gotta Catch 'Em All!'' and let yourself get into it.

Comparison to Gold/Silver: ??/10
This is one where I don't think a number is deserved, but I'll talk about it anyway. If you already have Gold or Silver, then whether this game is worth it or not is a judgement call. If you don't, I recommend Crystal instead. If only because you no longer have to chase down Suicune, it's worth it. The improved Ruins of Alph, the awesome new layout on the Ice Path, the fact that you can choose between a male or female trainer (I tend to choose female for a change of pace, even though I'm a boy myself), and a myriad of other small changes add to that.
If only you didn't still have to chase down Raikou and Entei, it'd be a 9 or 10 overall for the game.

Overall: 8/10
My personal rating for the game is brought down a bit by the fact that I own all of the games, and Crystal isn't terribly dissimilar from Gold or Silver. If I hadn't had either of those, I'd probably give it a full 10. But if you don't have Gold or Silver, or if you're just getting into the Pokemon series, this is a better buy.
Just ignore the hype. Pikachu is as bad as ever.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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