Review by Allidoisreview
Taking Pictures of Pokemon is a Snap!
There's really not a lot to say about this one. The only words that really come to my mind when I think of this game are "money grab", but it's actually a pretty decent game. It's probably worth a play, although some may not enjoy it. Let's get into the review.
Story - N/A
The story that semi-exists isn't even worth mentioning. It certainly isn't the focal point of the game, and it's more or less pointless, so this won't be scored. OKAY, OKAY! I CRACK! I'LL TELL YOU THE STORY! You're taking pictures of Pokemon, and Professor Oak is impressed by your photography skills, so he has you take pictures of more Pokemon. I heard the story got nominated for a Pulitzer prize, but I don't know what became of it.
Graphics - 7/10
They're pretty good. I wasn't overly impressed by them, but they don't hurt your eyes or anything. The environments look like what you'd expect them to, and the Pokemon all look pretty good. I'd say the graphics are average.
Sound - 7/10
Again, they're average. The Pokemon say their catch phrases (their names), the music is forgettable but not annoying, and the sound effects themselves are about what you'd expect. Not much else to say here.
Gameplay - 7/10
So all the gameplay consists of is taking pictures of Pokemon. You travel across different levels in a vehicle that follows a magnetic rail system, so you don't control the vehicle. All you control is your character via a first person view and aim where you want to take pictures. It's very simple and doesn't require a whole lot of skill or knowledge to succeed which could be great for people unfamiliar with video games. Along your travels, you will unlock items to assist you in taking pictures or finding new Pokemon, such as apples and pester balls. These can be thrown at Pokemon to wake them up, trigger them to perform an action, or anger them.
You can take a maximum of 60 pictures per stage. There are seven stages total, although the last stage only consists of taking pictures of Mew. At the end of a stage, you cycle through the pictures you took during that stage to determine what ones to submit to Professor Oak, who is going to grade them and give you a certain amount of points based on criteria such as size, posture, and their position within the picture. When you select a picture of a particular Pokemon, it will allow you to cycle through all of your pictures for that specific Pokemon, which is nice. A lot of times you'll have pictures of certain Pokemon split up as you see them once and then again later on, with pictures of other Pokemon having been taken in between. Anyway, that's more or less the gameplay. I believe once you gain enough points, you unlock new levels, although it may be based on how many different Pokemon you take pictures of.
The gameplay as a whole is pretty damn original, and that alone makes it worth playing. It's strangely fun, at least for a while. For how cheap this game is, it's definitely worth picking up. Anyway, I'll rattle off the issues that I do have with this game.
First of all, it's too short. There are really only 6 levels, and these levels probably consume 1/2 of the total Pokedex if that. They could have easily included more levels and added more Pokemon in, unless they just didn't have room on the cartridge, but I highly doubt that.
Second, you move way too slow (your character, I mean), and there's no way to up the sensitivity. If you choose to turn in a certain direction, you can forget about getting a picture of any Pokemon in front of you or on other side for the next 5 seconds, and that's a lot of time in this game. A lot of the Pokemon move very fast, so if you don't happen to be facing in their direction right when they show up, you'll never get them. It makes it very difficult to catch pictures of a lot of the Pokemon, and it's just an unnecessary, artificial challenge. No one moves that slow in real life, and it's not like he's got 100 pounds of camera equipment; it's just a little digital camera. This is my biggest gripe with the game, but it really isn't a huge deal. It is unfortunate, though.
Finally, Professor Oak's ratings make no sense, and this in turn makes it difficult to know what picture to select to show to him. I'd rather he just reviewed all of my pictures and took the best ones himself rather than putting the weight on my shoulders. I've had him give me much higher ratings for a close up of the back of a Pokemon's head, which should be worth nothing, than of a full body shot picture of a Pokemon from the front. It's just nonsense. Again, this is a minor gripe, but it's worth mentioning.
Overall - 21/30 - 7/10
In summary, this is a fun game, and it's worth picking up at its current price if you're looking for something to do or are a fan of the Pokemon franchise. The main downside is just its length, as it can be beat in one day, and there really isn't any reason to continue playing once you've completed it unless you're obsessed with getting better and better pictures. Overall, it's a fun game for Pokemon fans or haters alike.
Thanks for reading.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Pokemon Snap (US, 06/30/99)
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