Saturday, January 15

Pokémon Red/Blue Review

I played on: Gameboy Color
I paid: £12.24
Available on: Gameboy, Gameboy Color
Notes: I played this game via an Emulator on my phone for convenience because of the Gameboy Color’s terrible screen that lacks any backlight. I own the game, but honestly, given the price of old Pokémon games, I’d recommend most people emulate. It helps preserve older games and makes them far more accessible.

Pokémon Red/Blue is the first game in the massively successful Pokémon series. If you’ve played a modern Pokémon game then you pretty much know what to expect as the series hasn’t changed all that much. Pokémon Red and Blue offer the most bare-bones core of what later, greater, games in the series would offer. What’s surprising to me is how much I enjoyed my time with Red despite how dated it feels.

You begin your adventure with Professor Oak explaining that the world of Pokémon is filled with dangerous and magical creatures known as Pokémon. People have been living alongside these animals for thousands of years now. Some people keep them as pets while others train them to fight each other in Pokémon battles.

After this introduction, you’re allowed to pick your first Pokémon given to you by Professor Oak. These 3 monsters are now iconic. You have the fire-type Charmander, water-type Squirtle, and lastly, grass-type Bulbasaur. This brings us to the combat of Pokémon. You can have a team of up to 6 monsters, each one has a type that is strong against certain types and weak against others. Some of these type-advantages are obvious such as fire being weak to water or electricity being weak to ground. Then you have some that you just need to memorise such as psychic being weak to bug. Each monster can learn only up to 4 moves so you’re limited during battles. You’re able to collect moves without levelling your Pokémon up via Technical Machines (TM’s) or hidden moves (HM’s). If your monster already knows 4 moves then they will have to forget one to learn the new one. This creates a simple and difficult battle system to pick up and master. 

After collecting your first Pokémon you set out on your journey to defeat all 8 regional Gym leaders along with the Elite 4 to become the Pokémon Champion of Kanto. Along the way, you will have to take on Team Rocket. These are a gang of criminals that steal and use Pokémon to exploit and make money. While their without a doubt the antagonists of the story they always felt like a side plot from the main gym challenge.

There is a lot of lore and story here in Red and Blue but very little of it is given directly to you. The game trusts that if you’re interested you’re smart enough to put together the information from old notes, tidbits NPCs will tell you and the environmental story-telling. When this works well it’s amazing. An example of this would be the old burned down lab on Cinnabar Island. There are a few research notes that survived the fire as well as the old equipment. Besides this, the people outside will tell you rumours about the place. Using this information you can put together that the ancient Pokémon, Mew, was revived there and then cloned into a more powerful Pokémon called MewTwo. But then sometimes the game just feels difficult to understand. An example of this would be the HM strength. This move that’s vital to the progression of the story is hidden away. The safari zone warden can’t be understood by anyone in town, someone mentions that he has some issues with his teeth. What you’re supposed to do is find his false teeth on the floor in the safari zone then bring them back to him in his house. You’re never told he has false teeth, let alone that he’s lost them and then you’re never told where he lives. I had to look up a guide for this part of the game as I was stumped.

Pokémon Red and Blue suffers from a lot of little bits of bad design like this. For example, your inventory is limited to 20 items. You can’t sell key items so after a while, this becomes a nightmare. HM’s and TM’s aren’t named in your inventory, they only have a number attached to them. So if you want to teach your Pokémon water gun, remember that it’s TM-12. If you don’t then you will be clicking on each TM you have to boot it up before the game tells what move it is. 

Honestly, there are just lots of very small issues that I came across when playing Red. On their own, these issues are nothing more than small nitpicks, but when put together, Pokémon Red suffers death by a thousand cuts. In a world where we have two remakes of this classic (Fire Red/Leaf Green and Let’s Go Pickachu/Eevee), there is simply no reason for anyone to play the original Red and Blue anymore. The game is a classic fun adventure but one that is needlessly annoying when compared to its remakes. Unless you’re a collector or someone interested in seeing how far this series has come, there is no reason to play Red or Blue.

Recommendation Rating: 4 out of 10

1 comment:

  1. If I had to explain what this blog was about, I'd probably talk about how people love and enjoy playing games. Need to check this exterior house colours nz and get more steps about paints. And I'd talk about how they'll do anything to get other people to play their favorite game alongside them. But that's not newsworthy information like that is everywhere these days.