Review by MaxH

Reviewed: 11/13/01 | Updated: 11/13/01

I wear a white lab coat in this game, as I am rather sad

Hello Pokemon lovers, Professor Oak here! Bringing you up to the date on this wonderfully bizarre photo safari simulator, or a 'snap-em-up' as I hilariously call it!

Well, I had a part in this story if I remember correctly, but my memory's a bit foggy, that's senility for you! Oh that's right, being a strange old coot, I wanted a lot of pictures of the Pokemon to cater for my sick needs. But obviously I'm too old to go and do it myself! I'd be ravaged by a metapod or somesuch fierce creature! So I called a young boy to my island, his name escapes me. 'Right' I said to this boy (What funny hair he had, I often called him mullet boy in my spare time to amuse myself) 'you must travel in my newly stolen - er, invented vehicle, Zero One and take pictures of the Pokemon around the island. You will be on a fixed rail, so don't you go off exploring or stealing motorbikes or whatever you young ruffians do these days'. He agreed. I told him to wear something that would blend into the background, so he brought his favourite pink and purple T-shirt.

So off he went! With six courses to run through, and a few secrets to unlock, he had a lot of fun! He starts a level with 60 pictures worth of film, his view is first person, with a crosshair (Like a target in a shooter) representing the centre of the picture that will be taken. Truth be told I'm a fussy old sod, and won't look at any photo's of some old rock. No, I want pictures full of action and interesting pokemon! These are the five rules of how to take the perfect picture, and what I look for when I'm grading them:

1. The first rule of pokemon photography is you don't disrespect your subject. So be professional and don't take any rear-view pictures of the pokemon. I have no patience with perverts or part-timers.

2. Action! I need action! Pictures of Pokemon grazing, sleeping or just staring into space are no good to me. If I'm going to complete my study, I need to see some reactions. Never insult my intelligence with some useless shot of a comatose monster. I'll kill you.

3. Get close. Get personal. Become one with the monster in front of your lense. If you try to fool me into thinking some distant blob on the horizon is actually Mew, my fist will be making an urgent appointment with your chin. Got that?

4. Use the items I so kindly supply. I don't spend half my salary on pesterballs and apples for nothing.

5. Points will be allocated on size, composition, rarity value and pose. My decision is final - do not mess. Here endeth the lesson.

Well, now that you know the basic criteria, I suppose you'll be wanting even MORE details. What are the pesterballs and apples you mention I hear you say? Well, the apples can be thrown near pokemon to lure them closer towards you, like a serial killer and his victim you might say! Some pokemon will also give a special reaction when they are fed. Pesterballs, well this is my mark of genius. throw them at a sleeping or otherwise idle pokemon and it will give them a near fatal electric shock! Such fun! But of course, the main point of them is to get those pokemon moving! Or perhaps knock them off a ledge. Damn! I've said too much! Also unlockable (Once you get enough points from me) is the poke-flute. This will have some pokemon dancing like fools, and it's also the only thing that can wake up lazy buggers like snorlax. Obese useless bear that he is.

And don't you go thinking that this is a simple play-it-once-and-you've-mastered-it game, ohhhh no! If you really want to please me with a good shot you will have to take time perfecting your timing, your style and your creativity. It's not just snapping wildly and hoping for the best you know, to get the best shots you will have to experiment with everything! What happens when you lure horrid old Pikachu onto the surfboard by throwing apples on it? Well if you can't guess then, quite frankly, you're a daft old buffoon. So there are loads of secrets and hidden paths to uncover with a bit of cunning and experimentation. and getting them all will be very rewarding too! Seeing the result of your frenzied camera snapping in the album is quite satisfying let me tell you, as is triggering the path to a secret! If you love Pokemon, all the better!

And if you don't, then you'll be all the more likely to point out the shortcomings of my marvellous game. Basically it's a bit limited. I know I should have added some variety, but I'm an old man! And I busy my days colouring in my illustrious eyebrows with felt tips, I've no time to create masterpieces! So yes, it's just taking pictures and abusing pokemon with pester balls really. It is an original idea, and I have executed it with enough flair to make it seem more than a novelty, but if you don't like Pokemon then you won't like this game. It's not a cheap cash in, I wouldn't dream of participating in such a thing! But the appeal lies directly with the furry little creatures. How tasty they are.

Also, and this will be a complaint for fans of the series, there are only 63 monsters! Well okay maybe it would have been a lot more exciting with them all, but you try finding an island with all of them on! Bloody hard I can tell you! Besides, I'm not moving now, I've already built my shed. It has a special slit for bird-watching, and also a special hole so I can gun them down with my rifle, bluebirds make such a racket! Taste good in my pie though.

Also, the last complaint, it's quite short. Surely that's a testament to how enjoyable and effortless I've made the ride for you, but no! You 'gameplayers' say that you need more challenge, and more courses. Bah! Is what I say to you sir. But then again, I have been told that it is enjoyable for one to visit one's favourite course every once in a while, murdering little animals never gets old. Drown Psyduck, drown! Oh, errrr....

But what a splendid looking island it is! Lots of detail, heapfuls of colour and it all runs at a smooth pace. The surroundings really retain that pokemon atmosphere if I do say so myself, which I do. And you won't be disappointed by the pokemon either. Perfectly representing their cartoon counterparts, they are simply bursting with personality and are so utterly charming, makes it harder to snap their necks. So although it doesn't break any records, the graphics are always solid and delightfully vibrant. Those pokemon are so cute and juicy! Except for metapod. My uncle was killed by a metapod you know. Nasty things.

As for sound well it's so-so. I gathered together my finest collection of instruments and banged together the usual load of plinky plonky tunes. They don't really grate on the nerves and turn you insane, as I intended, in fact they are quite catchy, but they are unspectacular. Sound effects are decent, functional and sometimes cute. Then of course you have the trademark voices. It all sounds like what you'd expect really. Dearie me, I'm old. Somebody get me off this god-forsaken island!!!!!!!!! Ahem...

As I said before the trip won't last too long, but you're always welcome back for a visit with old mullet boy, and a lot of fun you'll have too. The game that I so skillfully created has enough appeal to make this a keeper if you are a huge fan of pokemon.

So overall, I thought I put together a charming little game that was original, fun to play and full of surprises. But you lot say it's not quite varied enough, doesn't have enough different pokemon and doesn't last long enough. Oh well, in my opinion the good far outweighs the bad, and you can't miss it if you're a pokemon fan. Oh, and lastly, look out for my directors cut, where you wield a chainsaw and hack them all to bits!!!! They said I was mad, and that the idea would be harmful to the franchise, but they can't keep me on the island forever! I've already mooned the security cameras, how rowdy do I have to get before they allow me back home eh? Oh right, the review. In summary, limited but novel and compelling.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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