Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 6+
Pokemon finally comes to Game Boy Advance in two all new
versions. Is this GBA RPGs at its greatest? And is this really a
more advanced version of Pokemon? Read the review.
Posted: December 6th, 2003
Sound

I am used to the past versions of Pokemon, so I knew what to expect from the sound side. But what I got was actually
more than I thought. The music is much better composed than previous versions. The type of music is still present, but
there seem to be many more instruments to help generate a more orchestral feeling to the samples you hear. Some songs
get tedious, but most are okay. I love the new Pokemon battle theme; it's one of those songs that you'll actually want to
get stuck in your head (Pokemon battle, not a trainer battle, mind you).
The sound effects really aren't extremely advanced. Just the usual sounds that make each battle sound good. The good
thing is although they aren't of high quality, there's a lot to go around. A lot of attacks feature different sound effects
that somewhat spruce up the variety and originality. What I really enjoy is that, although the sound effects aren't
top-notch, there is Stereo sound with headphones, which really spices things up. The Stereo sound is amazing, and this a
good game just to buy Stereo headphones for. Overall, the sound is above average with enough variations to be great.
Control

The controls haven't really changed. That's good and bad in ways. The bad thing is that L and R aren't used (only for menu
screens and only if you configured it that way!) We know Select will be used for a quick item, but what about the same for
L and R? This would have really helped. Maybe they'll save this for the next versions that they make. Another bad thing
is like the older games, the fact that you can only move one space at a time. Meaning, you cannot move diagonally and
you do not feel as free when you're navigating.
The good thing is just the fact that they haven't changed the controls. The past controls worked well enough to get us by
and they haven't changed that. I know they could have used L and R, but you'll learn to get over it. Also, one major
improvement is the Running Shoes. You get this practically right when you start the game, and by holding B you'll be able
to run in most places that you could use a bicycle. This is very helpful for people on the go, and is an element that other
RPGs have that Pokemon needed.
Speaking of bicycles, two new bikes are available for you. That also increases your speed on the road. This does increase
Pokemon encounters, but that's what Repel is for. You can choose the faster, but harder to control Mach Bike, or the
somewhat slower but easy to control Acro Bike. These will come in handy for certain tasks that you may need to
accomplish later in the game.
Lastly, the menu design is quick and handy. You can seamlessly activate or use items in a flash. The loading and saving
processes are quick and even improved. What I mean by 'improved' is one time I dropped my GBA while I was saving and
the game froze. I thought for sure that my file was corrupted and it was! However, the game let me start from my last
save! This great feature that protects your save file is in hardly any games, but ups the otherwise low control score.
Overall, the control is improved, despite some mistakes.
Graphics

I thought the graphics in this game were great, but then I bought Golden Sun
and realized the potential for GBA graphics. Don't get me wrong: they are much
improved over past versions, and has a good 3D feel to it. There could have been
better battle animations. Pokemon Crystal featured animations of opposing
Pokemon moving at the start of battle. This was taken out, for some reason. I
also feel that although the artwork for Pokemon is detailed and the game is set
at a slightly higher resolution, it doesn't change the fact that there are some
details missing. The artwork outside is nice, but could have been improvised
before the final version.
Now the good side of the graphics. It can rain in certain areas on certain days,
and sometimes thunderstorm. The lighting effects of this are great, and you
probably will want to search theses areas just to see if it is thunderstorming.
There are more effects in the battles that are new or updated that at least make
it look better for Pokemon fans. The graphics aren't half-bad, but could have
been improved.
Replay

There's plenty of stuff for anyone to do, which is the real reason you'd want to buy this game. Let's start with the
adventure you play by yourself. There are 200 Pokemon to catch. I like this better than previous versions because it isn't
too many or too little. 135 of them are new, which encourages players to discover all the new ones. In turn, this also could
encourage players to find some of the old ones that managed to be put into the game. I don't find a problem with the fact
that all of the old Pokemon aren't in this game. To clear it up, it's not their fault that you can't trade back between
previous versions. It is technically impossible.
One thing that sort of bugs me is the calender in this game. It would be nice to set the day so that events would be more
personalized to certain days of the week. There are also no day and night setting for catching and raising Pokemon like
Red, Blue and Yellow. You can't even adjust for Daylight Savings! All these features from Gold, Silver and Crystal were
taken out for some reason. Since most people won't want to play every day of their life this isn't such a big deal. To make
up for this are events that occur are on random days. For example, after beating the Elite Four, you may once in a while
hear about Game Corner Service Day. Play the slots on that day and supposedly, you'll get luckier. Although you don't
seem any luckier than usual, it is fun to turn up at the event.
The one-player adventure is extremely long and there's much more to do. Although you cannot go back to Kanto or Johto,
you won't want to. Hoenn is as big as it gets! There's 16 cities, and tons of stuff to do in between. Some added stuff
includes the ability to dive underwater. There's more to discover in the ocean and this increases the size of the game.
What really kicks the score up a lot are the link cable features. If you don't want to battle or trade, you can mix records
which does a lot of changes to your game. First, you can see events that are synchronized to appear on the same date as
whomever you mixed records with. Secondly, you can see exclusive TV shows featuring interviews with your friends. You
may even find TV shows about your friend that he/she can't even watch on their game! It's cool to share what you saw
your friends doing on TV. Lastly there's your secret base. All the decorations plus the location are automatically
transferred. See how many bases you can find in your game! You can even battle the trainers there if they've beaten the
Elite Four. The best way to play Pokemon is with a link cable!
I've said a lot more about replay in this review than I normally do because there is just so much packed in this game!
When I say long, I mean that I've been playing for 60 hours, and it's still fun. I know some who have logged in 300 hours!
If you want a game that will last long, get Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire.
Design

I was very impressed with the design of this game. I had my doubts when I bought this game, but it came to be that those
doubts ended up to be positive things about the game I hadn't thought about. Pokemon has always been an RPG that's
slightly easier than most others on the market. This time around, though, they actually put in a little more difficulty.
Like past Pokemon games, you can decide to raise just one Pokemon to be really strong, or level them out to about the
same experience level. Pokemon has also been an alternative to more violent RPGs. Hard-core fans shouldn't stay away
from this just because of that. This is still a lot of fun.
Experienced RPG gamers will appreciate the new 2-on-2 battles. They are just the thing Pokemon games have needed to
make it feel like a true RPG. This is my favorite new feature despite all of the multiplayer stuff. Well, actually, you can
have 2-on-2 battles with four players! Pokemon contests didn't seem exciting at first, but interested players will find a
whole new challenge that won't affect your Pokemon training. If you want a full trainer card, you need to master these
contests. Most people won't go that far, but that's where Berry Blending comes in. Berry Blending is when you place a
berry in with 1-3 other people. You press A at the right time to properly mix the berries together to make a Pokeblock. I
know it sounds confusing, but it isn't, and you can do this with friends too, if linked up with enough Game Boy Advances.
Overall, there were enough advancements to make this an amazing game. There were some setbacks, but none too major.
You'll have so much fun with this game, you'll forget that the setbacks impede minor things. Pokemon has really
advanced, I am proud to report something excellent about the series. Age isn't a factor on who can enjoy this!
Scores
Sound

8.6
Control

8.5
Graphics

8.3
Replay

9.9
Design

9.2
8.9
Final Words

This is the first Pokemon Game Boy game to receive at least a 8.9. The reason is because although you may despise those
little creatures, they sure pack a punch when they come to multiplayer madness and one-player haven on the Game Boy
Advance! Don't take this as a kiddie game. This game beats all GBA RPGs except for maybe Golden Sun. Recommended.