Pokémon Red/Blue - Review

Not Just For Kids
By: Roku

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 4
   Interaction 3
   Originality 4
   Story 2
   Music & Sound 3
   Visuals 3
   Challenge Easy
   Completion Time 20-100 hours  

There's actually a lot of strategy involved
There's actually a lot of strategy involved
Pokemon Red/Blue...the game that started it all. Following in its example, dozens of clone games were created. The concept of Pokemon is simple. You travel the world gathering and raising Pokemon in hopes of becoming the world champion. The main character also fights against Team Rocket, and evil group of Pokemon users. Though it may appear simple, Pokemon is not just for kids.

Each Pokemon has up to two elemental affinities that create its strengths and weaknesses and determine which of its abilities gain damage bonuses. Each Pokemon can learn four abilities whether through gaining levels, evolving, or TMs/HMs. The battle system is easy to learn, yet has a lot of strategy involved, especially in the creation of a party. Building Pokemon and selecting their abilities requires strategy. Creating a powerful elementally-balanced party is difficult as well and requires even more strategy. The excellent battle system is the primary reason to play Pokemon, though it is best in multiplayer mode against an intelligent player.

Despite the battle system's potential for strategy, Pokemon does little to actually test the player. A lot of the opponents the player encounters lack Pokemon of more than one or two elements. This lack of diversity is easy to exploit and gain the upper hand. Healing items are easy to find despite a limited source of money. It is easy to defeat most enemies due to easily exploited weaknesses, abundant items, and the large number of power-ups that can be found as well. Even without these things to tip the scales, a well-balanced party can beat almost anything.

Red/Blue has above average localization and a good interface. The only real annoyance is when the player needs to search through menus to perform HM actions that are needed quite often, especially cut and strength. Localization isn't perfect either with plenty of strangely worded phrases found throughout the game. None of these errors are serious enough to harm the game.

Pokemon is very original. There have been a few games here and there where the player can obtain pets that can fight as guest members, but none are anywhere close to Pokemon in both content and quantity. The story isn't anything new, but as that isn't the real focus of the game, Pokemon Red/Blue is very original overall.

There is very little storyline in Pokemon. The main character travels and battles anyone he runs into, gathering badges here and there in order to compete to be the world's ultimate trainer. There is an evil group named Team Rocket that tries to take over the world using Pokemon and now and then the main character tries to stop them. There are only a few major characters and even less character development. Most characters are fairly static for most of the game too.

You'll be coming to these a lot
You'll be coming to these a lot
Pokemon is the ultimate game for spending a ridiculous amount of time on. Although the game can be finished in roughly twenty hours, raising a powerful team and/or collection all 150 Pokemon can take quite a while. It is entirely possible to spend one hundred hours if not more playing through the game.

The excellent boss music and catchy gym music manage to make up for the repetitive dungeon music. Pokemon's sound effects are pretty good, but nothing special. The only noteworthy point is that each Pokemon has its own battlecry which is a nice touch.

Pokemon's visuals consist primarily of average out of battle sprites and detailed in-battle sprites. Though the in-battle sprites aren't animated, they are still detailed and look very good aside from the back of whichever Pokemon the main character is using at the time which is usually a little blurry.

Though it may appear simple, Pokemon is not just for kids. The excellent battle system has a lot of hidden strategy, yet is easy to learn. It's one of the first RPGs with a multiplayer, and it's a very good one. I recommend this game to RPG fans, especially those who don't want to play Pokemon because it's too "kiddy." It's a great game.

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