Review by Pyro Vesten

Reviewed: 08/18/01 | Updated: 08/18/01

Pokémon Snap is a very original and fun game. Pokémon fans must own it!

Introduction
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Pokémon Snap was the first Pokémon game to make it onto the Nintendo 64. It has received very mixed reviews. I’m here to give you my opinion, on what is at least one of the most original games to come along in a very long while.

Hey, I have a dare for you, count how many times I say “Pokémon” in this review will ya? :P

Gameplay
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
First up I just have to say that Pokémon Snap is a game designed for Pokémon fans. Anyone who thinks otherwise will soon realise the mistake in their judgement. Having myself bough Pokémon Red and Yellow both before Pokémon Snap, I had gotten myself hooked on Pokémon, and really was living and breathing it. When I heard of Pokémon Snap I kept a very keen eye on it, because I’d been hanging out for a Pokémon RPG of some sort on the Nintendo 64 ever since I’d first played Pokémon Red. When I found out that a Pokémon game was coming to the N64 I was very excited, but when I found out that it wasn’t an RPG I was a tad disappointed. I would have preferred a Pokémon RPG a lot more, but as it turns out Pokémon Snap is actually a great game for Pokémon fans… *counts how many times he has said “Pokémon” in this paragraph…………… including the one that a way -->, I’ve said Pokémon 16 times…… that is disturbing.. Pokémon!!! Make that 16.

The idea of a game based around taking photographs of stuff doesn’t really appeal to most people. But Nitendo and their awesome 2nd Party Hal Laboratories can make anything good…. Tennis and golf, even board games as we’ve seen.

Let me start of by explaining a few things. In Pokémon Snap you play a young kid, who is sent out to take photographs of Pokémon for the Pokémon expert Professor Oak. The idea is to take great photos of Pokémon out on one of many locations. You then take them back to Professor Oak, and from your (up to) 60 photographs, you choose one with each different Pokémon you snapped and Professor Oak awards you points for them. The better the photos, the more points you get for them. You are awarded points in a number of categories:
Size – How much of the Pokémon is in the picture, and how much of the frame it takes up
Pose – What the Pokémon is doing, be it sleeping, dancing, getting angry, doing a special move etc
Technique – Is the Pokémon right in the middle of the frame?
Special – Is the Pokémon performing a special move?
Same Pokémon – Is there one or more of the same Pokémon in the shot?

The idea is to score as many points in each category as you can. Your best photograph of each Pokémon is stored in your photo album for you to look through any time you want.

You travel the different courses in a special craft, that runs along tracks where there is ground, hovers where necessary and floats on water too! It also features a boost for catching up to Pokémon or speeding ahead for some other reason.

To help you in all soft of ways you have three main items:
Pester Balls – These have pesticide in them, and are a not so nice way of forcing some Pokémon out of hiding.
Apples – Dresses as an apple, but containing special food that most Pokémon love, use these to lure Pokémon closer to your camera, or perhaps bonk them on the head with them, get them angry or even knock them out… *cough*
PokéFlute – Use to get Pokémon dancing! You can play three funky tunes on this, each of which will have a differing effect on different Pokémon.

There are a total of 7 levels to take pictures of Pokémon in. 6 normal, and one secret. The levels all take place on “Pokémon Island”. Different Pokémon will be seen in different places. You’ll travel along a beach, through caves and tunnels, around, and through a volcano, float down a river, travel through a valley via a fast flowing river and more!

To progress onto the next level is not as easy as just finishing the first level by riding through it. You’ll have to figure out how exactly you will open the next level. Perhaps you’ll need to knock a Pokémon onto a switch, perhaps you’ll need to blow yourself a new path….. Play the game and you’ll find out.

There are a total of 63 Pokémon in Pokémon Snap…….. why not 64 I don’t know…. Hell, maybe it’s a secret that will be revealed years from now. It would have been a lot better if all 151 of the original Pokémon were in the game, but 63 is plenty enough to make this game good. As expected, Pokémon stick to where they like to be.. Water Pokémon will be found in and around water, fire Pokémon near fire (the volcano level), bug Pokémon hanging from trees, or near grass etc.

*decides he wants that world record for most times saying “Pokémon” in a review*

As well as snapping all 63 Pokémon, which will be no easy task, as some are very elusive and hard to find Pokémon. Some requiring a huge chain reaction of events caused by you to even show up. There is also a special “Pokémon Sign” in each level, which is a formation of natural objects, that when viewed from the right angle looks like a Pokémon or two, or three :P. You have to Snap all of the Pokémon Signs to be able to fully complete Pokémon Snap.

Once you’ve Snapped everything you can there is still more to do, for each level has a special Challenge score for you to beat, by taking as many good photos of as many different Pokémon as you can.

For a while back, Nintendo even set up special Pokémon Snap booths in Blockbuster stores across the world for Pokémon Snap fanatics to take their game packs too, and print off their 4 favourite pictures onto little sheets of peel off stickers.

Nintendo, and Hal really know how to make fun games…. Pokémon Snap is one of their best efforts too (but then again, Nintendo hardly ever makes a game that is anything less than great :P).

9.1/10

Graphics
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Well, considering this game is all about taking photos, the graphics would want to be good, thankfully they are. The Pokémon themselves are beautifully polyagonalised. They look just like you would expect them too in 3D. They all feature high polygon counts, and look great.
The levels themselves also look very nice indeed. Long draw distances, high quality textures, nice lighting and environmental effects and more. And to think, all of this was achieved without the use of the Nintendo 64 expansion pak. Good job Hal!
I didn’t say Pokémon enough in this paragraph, damn. Hmmmm I’ll fix that.

Pokémon Snap looks great, the Pokémon look great, as do the levels. The quality of the photographs in the Pokémon album is very high as well. Again, congratulations Hal.

9/10

Sound
¯¯¯¯¯¯
Jiiiiii-gaaaaaaa-aaaaaa-lyyyyy, Puuuuuuuf, Jiii-gaaaaaaaal-llllyyyy yyy yyy Puuuff.
Pika-Pika….. Pikachu…. Pika-Pikachu. Voice wise every Pokémon can talk, and sound very good indeed. Pity the only thing they can say is their name :P

There are plenty of sound effects as well, from the Pester Ball exploding, to an apple knocking out a Pikachu, your PokéCraft boosting or slamming on it’s brakes to avoid making Poké-RoadKill, to the sound of water flowing down a river, to the echo’s inside a cave, it’s all here, and all sounds great.

Onto the music now. Yum is a good word to describe it……. On second thoughts maybe it isn’t… How about really, really good? Yeah, that will do me just fine. There is a bunch of different tunes to help you move around the game menus, as well as a great track for each level. The music is catchy, of a high quality and very well done. The music also varies quite a lot. My favourite level specific music would have to be the in the Valley.

High quality, catchy music, plenty of sound effects and voices as well. Excellent.

9.3/10

Multiplayer
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Pokémon Snap has no multiplayer mode, but that’s fair enough. It wouldn’t have worked too well having two people snapping around at the same time.

When I do have a friend over I often challenge them to take it in turns trying to get high scores for single Pokémon pictures, levels etc.

N/A

Originality
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Damn! Who ever though of making a game based around taking photographs of stuff anyway?
If anyone besides Nintendo, a Nintendo 2nd party or Sega has done a game like this it was almost guaranteed to suck.

It’s amazing that Nintendo could make a photographing game work. Pokémon Snap is one of the most original games I’ve played in my life. I’ve gotta hand it to Nintendo and Hal for this one.
10/10

Controls
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Nothing to complain of here. The controls are well set out, and very responsive. The thumbstick moves the camera around, holding Z will set up a shot, pressing A while holding Z will take a photograph, A normally will throw an Apple, B will launch a Pester Ball, The Right shoulder button when held will boost the speed of your craft, C-Down will play the three different tunes on the PokéFlute, C-Up will bring the way the camera back to the centre (up and down wise), and make it face forward, C-Left and C-Right will rotate the camera 90 degrees right or left each time they are pressed.

9/10

Replayability
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Finishing Pokémon Snap, on the most basic level is just unlocking the final level. To fully complete it you will need to go back and snap pictures of every single one of the Pokémon, as well as each of the Pokémon Signs hidden throughout the levels (which actually unlocks the final level). After you’ve snapped all 63 Pokémon, which let me tell you will be no easy task you then have the challenge of beating your best scores for each of the 63 Pokémon. This will keep you playing Pokémon Snap for most likely months. If you don’t love the game as much as me you probably won’t play it as much as me, but I still today, two years after it’s release still get it out every once in a while to see if I can beat more of my scores.

9.1/10

Difficulty
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Hm…. Actually getting to the final level in Pokémon Snap is not too difficult (but not a dead set push-over either). But, Snapping all 63 Pokémon can be a difficult task, as a lot of the Pokémon aren’t just sitting beside the path your craft takes. Once you are a Pokémon Snap expert no more than about 10 of your photographs will have a perfect score, so there is always the challenge of getting the highest score you can for all of your photos as well.

Load Times
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Load times? What load times, this is the Nintendo 64, and this isn’t Perfect Dark, ShadowMan or Resident Evil 2…. And they are the ONLY N64 games that show the slightest sign of load times.

What do you expect from a cartridge based console anyway?

Pros
¯¯¯¯
(_) Pokémon Snap is a much better buy than a similarly priced camera :P
(_) Finally, Pokémon freaks are able to see their favourite (well 63 of the 151) in full, delicious 3D!
(_) Pokémon Snap is one of the most original games you’ll play.
(_) Lovely graphics
(_) Cool music
(_) Pokémon Snap is very, very fun.
(_) I said “Pokémon” 90 times in this review! 90!!!

Cons
¯¯¯¯¯
(_) Only 63 of the 151 original Pokémon are to be found here, not that I’m complaining.
(_) This game is strictly for Pokémon fans……. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like Pokémon that likes Pokémon Snap

Buy/rent
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
If you don’t like Pokémon, or never played any of the GameBoy Pokémon games, don’t bother with this. For the rest of us, BUY! BUY! BUY! You’ll be playing this baby for well over a month, most likely many more that just one.

Overall
¯¯¯¯¯¯
Pokémon Snap is a must have for Pokémon fans. It’s an extremely original game, great fun, has heaps of replay value and is an overall awesome package. Get out and buy it now! That is an order!

Overall
9.1/10
(Rounded to 9/10 for GameFAQs)

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Would you recommend this Review? Yes No

Got Your Own Opinion?

Submit a review and let your voice be heard.