Review by Quilavatrainer

Reviewed: 10/19/09 | Updated: 11/30/09

A picture is worth a thousand words. But this game is not

Pokemon is an addictive series that has managed to keep fans hooked for years. But nothing says that a little change is bad. However, change wasn't kind to Pokemon. The result is Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo 64.

STORY
In Pokemon Snap, you aren't out to catch em all. Instead, you play the role of a young photographer who comes to Pokemon island with Professor Oak. Your job is to go out and take as many quality pictures of Pokemon as you can. That's about it. There isn't much else to it. But that's Nintendo for you, not big on story except a reason you are where you are.

GAMEPLAY
As a photographer, you travel to several locations around Pokemon Island to take as many pictures of Pokemon in as best quality as possible.

You're armed with an apple,smoke ball, and Poke' flute. The apple will stun the Pokemon, the smoke ball will have a different reaction depending on the pokemon, and the poke flute will play a short melody that will cause the Pokemon to dance or strike a pose.

The challenge is that you can't stop moving. You take control of the all-terrain vehicle, the Zero-One, which moves on rails. You have to angle your camera as closely to the Pokemon as possible. At the end of each level, you can choose which pictures you want to send to Professor Oak. You will then be scored on how close the Pokemon is in the picture and the style of it. You will score more points by using the three tools to make the Pokemon as appealing as possible in the picture.

You can also use these tools to effect the environment such as opening new paths. This is important to learn because it will lead to new areas to get pictures of new pokemon.

You can replace old pictures if you take better ones or you can save them in an album. The best possible pictures you take will be stored in a Pokemon guide book.

The game doesn't even begin to take advantage of the Pokemon license. Out of all the 150 Pokemon that were known of at the time, only a handful are seen in the entire game. You'll encounter the same familiar faces on each level.

This is all you do in the game. Take pictures. While some Pokemon are more difficult to catch a good photo of, they still don't put up much of a struggle. There is no multi player mode or anything else to come back for. Once you complete your album, there will be little reason to take this game back off the shelf.

MUSIC
The music in Pokemon Snap fits the mood of the level, but is nothing interesting or memorable.

SOUND
All the voice actors fill their roles of the Pokemon characters, but Professor Oak and the character you play as are stuck with simplistic one-liners. Other than that, get used to text dialogue just like must other Nintendo games on the N64.

DESIGN
The illustrations look nice and the Pokemon look fine in 3-D, but the scenery such as grass, rock, and lava look blurry and feel like a lazy effort on Nintendo's part. The smoke ball being a 2-D sprite is also a bit lazy. Yes this is N64 standards but the blurry backgrounds up close look downright ugly.

OVERALL
Pokemon Snap is a nice change of pace, and Pokemon fanatics should definitely consider it. But hardcore Pokemon trainers may want to overlook this title as there's very little substance that will keep them entertained for long.

Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Product Release: Pokemon Snap (US, 06/30/99)

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