Review by jerbils

Reviewed: 09/23/02 | Updated: 09/23/02

It's really not bad once you look beyond the name

My friends, I come to you as a gamer, not a pokemaniac. Actually, I am a former pokemaniac, but that really doesn't matter. By the time I had picked Crystal up, I had been long since uninterested with the craze. And I can say, I am happy with my purchase. Beyond the name lies a very satisfying RPG experience.

Concept: Even if you despise Pokemon (like me), by now you should know the basic premise. Basically, you want to collect 251 monsters hidden throughout the world, as well as becoming the world's best Pokemon trainer before your rival. Also, on your way you try to overthrow Team Rocket, a group of evil trainers who want to exploit Pokemon for money. It really hasn't changed since the days of Red and Blue, but it's not bad. Also, one important thing of note is that the Crystal version is a suped up version of the Gold and Silver concoctions. For the most part, it's the same game, but it has some spiffy new features such as Pokemon that actually move, the ability to choose whether you want to be a boy or girl in the game, a whole new adventure relating to the Pokemon Suicune, and basically a whole ton of fun, new extras. 8/10

Graphics: As far as Gameboy Color graphics go, this isn't bad at all. It's not exactly flooring, but they are simple and pleasant. A new Crystal feature is that the Pokemon now have short animations at the beginning of battle. It's cute, but it doesn't add much to the overall experience (though I'd rather have it than not). One thing I don't like about the animations is that they only happen once at the beginning of battles, and not in the pokedex, but it's not really a big problem. One cool thing is how the overworld colors change when it turns from day to night, night to morning and so on. Overall, the graphics are pretty average, but good for what they are. 8/10

Control: This area is nothing spectacular, as it basically entails going through menus and walking around. When walking, you only move in squares, which to some may be annoying, but I have no real problem with it. Moving around gets much less irritating once you get the bike, which doubles your speed. 7/10

Sound: Classic, tinny, lackluster Gameboy Color sound. It's not exactly an aural experience, but it's not irritating to the point where you'll want to turn off the music. Then again, I never listen to Gameboy music anyway. Each 251 Pokemon have their own little cries, which are basically comprised of little beeps and various other random collections of sound. The sound is pretty average, but it creates a nice environment. 7/10

Glitches: None that really come to mind, but don't try Gamesharking it, you'll end up with more problems than you started with. 10/10

Replay: This depends on what you want to do with this game. If you want to have a nice portable RPG-playing experience with some Pokemon catching and battling on the side, then I'd give this about a 5, but if you want to dedicate your life to it and catch all the monsters, train them all day and night, and be the best trainer in your state, then the score is 10. However, one thing that will keep you playing for a while is the tough-as-nails battle tower. Don't expect to bring your old Mewtwo from another version and expect to dominate, or you'll be in for a harsh surprise. It is a very welcome Crystal-only addition.

Overall: Although I am no longer obsessed with Pokemon, I had fun with this game. After getting this, I sold my Red, Blue, and Silver versions (yeah, that's a lot), because this is the only version you'll really need. The battle tower is really fun, but it's a shame they left out battling via a cell phone, it could have been interesting. This is basically what Yellow was to Red and Blue, only for Gold and Silver. The main difference is that this one is worth playing again. 8/10

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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