Review by Fastkilr

Reviewed: 07/26/04

Catching Pokemon is now a snap, more at eleven.

Pokemon has been celebrated and promoted in Japan like there’s no tomorrow. You’d think that eventually the original of the harmless first-150 would have died over right along with the Dodo bird, and the 5 dollar movie ticket. Good old professor Oak decides to call our photographer in for a picture-scavenger-hunt. As Todd you’ll traverse railed landscapes in search of photographs for the great professor. Nintendo knew that these immensely cute creatures would just have to be natural. It was expected that the Pokemon had to have some interaction with the player, as well as their environments. Originally announced for the 64DD I was skeptical of its release, but it was fortunately ported to the N64. I don’t think anyone really knew that the Pokemon series would have gained such tremendous fan support from the beginning, but Nintendo prevailed on top as always, delivering us this excellent safari-esque experience.

If any of you can remember, Todd was in the Pokemon cartoon series. He was an avid photographer with far too much time on his hands. Upon leaving our friends (Ash, Misty, and Brock) he had apparently become a free-lancing photographer. Professor Oak took advantage of his sorry ass, sending him to fill out a pokemon portfolio of some type. On Todd’s rail-bound “adventure” you’ll be encountering lots of different Pokemon from the obvious ones (Pikachu, Charmander) to the more rare and less thought of creatures (Mew, Ponyta.) I’ve mentioned it several times now, your adventure will take place on rails and you’ll only have control of the camera, and a few other variables that are earned later on. Photographing wild Pokemon may sound like a dry idea to base your gameplay on, but as you progress you’ll obtain objects which you can toss at unsuspecting pokemon, to get them into weird poses.

The pictures will all be judged by Oak himself. They are rated on the professor’s very own critical system. You’ll be rated on silly things such as Pokemon’s size, whether or not it is centered, if it’s happy, or maybe by its special activity its taking part in. While Professor Oak isn’t entirely picky, if you’ve already got an entry for that pokemon and even if he doesn’t care for the picture he’ll give you the option of either over-writing your previous picture, or throwing it out. Possibly the coolest thing about your photo portfolio was the option to take your game in, with 4 pre-chosen pictures, and then print them out at Blockbuster. You’d be hard pressed to find any of those anymore, but at the time it was an awesome idea!

We live in simpler times. There aren’t any game overs here. There isn’t any real way to fail a mission either. You’ll have 60 shots per role of film, if you run out of film you just have to wait out the rest of the level, then you can give it another go. Throughout the game you will be seated in the innovative Zero One on-rail buggy. Near the end of the game you can upgrade your buggy to speed through the un-needed parts of the level which can prove helpful, and also gives you the chance to experiment more. You’ll find innovation in projectiles, and a flute. You’ll have pester balls, and apples at your disposal, so you can aggravate the Pokemon, or you can feed them. With the flute you’ll be able to either piss them off, make them dance, or a variety of other options depending on the pokemon in question.

In great Nintendo fashion the game is packed with innovation. Interaction with the enviorment is key in Pokemon Snap. On the Volcano level you’ll be able to throw an Apple in between wandering Magmars’ only to watch them devour each other instead spitting up flames in every direction. It truly makes for a touching picture, I assure you. The grace of the Laprass, and the undeniable urge to catch a drowning Psyducks picture, and frame it on your bedroom wall leads into heavy addiction. Unfortunately the game won’t last you a full day. I haven’t had any problem coming back to it over and over again climbing my way up to Mew, I’m sure you won’t either!

I can’t stress this enough. I absolutely hate writing about graphics in games that are built from the gameplay up. Fortunately Pokemon Snap Is rounded out perfectly in graphics. What good would a photography game be without amazing visuals? You shouldn’t even sweat it, Nintendo provides some of the best graphics to hit the N64. The sound isn’t too shabby either. Combining clips from the show, and cries for each and every Pokemon in the game ported from the show, Snap is authentic, and breathtaking.

Although I can’t understand all the pokemon haters (It’s a great innovative series) I’d have to say that only a current, or past fan of Pokemon could even enjoy Snap. You’d have to have a real passion for capturing your favorite creatures on film if you want it to last long. While there is plenty to do, see, and snap, I cannot recommend this to all gamers.


Rating:   4.0 - Great

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