Pokémon Gold/Silver

Game Description: This popular series continues to add new innovations and features with each release. The object of Pokémon Gold is still to become the "World's Greatest Pokémon Master" by capturing, training, and battling different creatures, this time with all-new creatures and moves. Also, elements such as day-and-night gameplay and the ability to breed and mutate Pokémon add an exciting new dimension to the game. You'll be able to transfer Pokémon from the Red, Blue, and Yellow editions—even train them for new tricks--but you won't be able to transfer your newly caught creatures to any previously released games. Also, expect special, limited-edition gold and silver Game Boy Color units decorated with Pokémon characters.

Pokémon Gold/Silver – Review

When the original Pokémon Game Boy title debuted, I don't think even Nintendo's closest insiders could have anticipated the kind of insane endurance and head-scratching international popularity the franchise has enjoyed over the years. After all, not only was this title strangely different from most other games in concept, but all outward appearances gave the impression that this was a game tailored to the often fickle taste of the Japanese populace, who are known for buying in and out of fads faster than the time it takes Michael Johnson to complete the 400-meter sprint.

Yet the thing that Pokémons most ardent pundits failed to understand about the runaway success of the franchise is that it wasnt built purely on aggressive advertising or sound business strategy. The main reason why Pokémon flourished—single-handedly elevating portable gaming to a new plateau in the process—was that it was simply a great game. It's still hard to believe that with all the catchy "gotta catch 'em all" jingles, feature films, Saturday morning cartoons, collectible toys and trading cards flooding the market, at the end of the day, innovative design and addictive gameplay prevailed above all else.

The main objective of the original game was to capture, accumulate and train squads of little wild beasts affectionately known to as Pokémon and pit them in friendly sportsman-like battles against other trainers and their team of Pokémon. Of course what made the title so unique and popular was that there were two versions of the game (Blue and Red) and players needed to digitally trade found Pokémon (some available only in one version) with one another in order to round out their roster and complete their Pokédex (a electronic directory of all existing Pokémon) listings.

The sequel follows an identical format, only this time around with Gold- and Silver-colored editions. The latest entries are no longer the quantum leap in design that their predecessors represented, but the games are still of impeccable quality in nearly every facet of their production nonetheless. And just because the titles aren't a quantum leap in design doesn't mean that the developers over at Game Freak didnt try to add more diversity and improve on the previous efforts, either. There is certainly a long list of new features—many of which are notable.

Chief among them is an internal real-time clock, which actually keeps track of the day of the week and time of the day in accordance with reality. Not only do the environments change visually to match the morning, afternoon and night times, but the gameplay dynamically shifts as well. For instance, some Pokémon will only appear during the day, while others will only appear at night. Some events may only occur on particular days of the week, while some people can only be located at certain times of day. Beyond just a gimmick, the time feature is definetly one that the developers thought through and implemented into the gameplay nicely.

As for the actual Pokémon themselves, the original roster of 152 has now been updated to over 250. In addition to all the regular favorites, new Pokémon of every conceivable size and shape have been included. Along with that, there are also plenty of new attacks, abilities, evolutions and types of Pokémon. In addition to typical methods of acquiring Pokémon (i.e. trading, capturing), there's also a new breeding feature. Carefully breeding different male and female Pokémon together may result in the birth of new types of Pokémon that can't be found through any other method. Some of those new Pokémon designs are of questionable quality, but for the large part most hold up and stay within the style of the original designs that have become so lovable and enduring.

On top of all the new features, just about everything else about the game has been polished to craftsmanlike quality. Graphics and sound, while impossible to describe as technically impressive in this day and age of whiz-bang 3-D graphics, can still be described as attractive and spotless. Nearly every part of the interface has been tweaked and streamlined. Organizating Pokémon and items has been made many times easier thanks to the inclusion of some nifty features like the ability to assign the use of certain items to the "select" button, or the updated file-manger style organizer for Pokémon boxes.

In the end, there's nothing terribly wrong with Pokémon Gold/Silver. The new features held my interest, the game is still loads of fun and can be rather engaging at times. I just wouldn't describe the title as truly ground-breaking. It delivers what I expected in a nice all-around package. What ultimately kept it from achieving a higher rating was that despite all the extra additions, it doesn't really seem all that dramatically different from its predecessor. It's a great sequel only in a evolutionary sense, but still worthy of Nintendo's great moniker. Rating: 8 out of 10

Pokémon Gold/Silver – Second Opinion

After more than a year of Nintendo's persistent Pokémon marketing blitz, the fact that Pokémon Gold/Silver had me glued to my Game Boy Color's LCD to the extent that it did is quite amazing. As Chi said in his review, the game is not that much different from Pokémon Red/Blue, but it is such a solid overall game that it picks up where its predecessor left off without much of a hitch. While Chi covered most of the important points of the game, there are a few noteworthy features that deserve further discussion.

Pokémon Gold/Silver's addition of a real-time clock was one of the better design decisions that Nintendo could make. We've all seen what real-time clocks can do to the gameplay of a role-playing game (Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask), and it is no different here. Being that some Pokémon can only be found at certain times of the day or night and key events in the game can only take place at a certain time on a certain day, players have little choice but to play the game at all hours of the days to truly discover all that it has to offer. It was amusing when I realized that I was not immune to this. I found that I was playing at 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 12 a.m. and so on, just to find some new breeds. Just think what determined little children with nothing but time on their hands will do—putting such a feature in an addictive game aimed at kids is almost sinister.

The other more minor features in the game are great in that they offer plenty of diversions for the areas where the game may drag. The Breeding feature that Chi mentioned is indeed a nice way to fill your Pokédex. For example, breeding two Pikachus, a male and a female, yields a Pichu (the first generation of the yellow electric rat). The only knock against this system would be the inability to create a freakish Pokémon of my own design. Try as I might I could not combine a female Hoot Hoot and male Pigeotto to create a Hooteotto (or Pigehooto). This was one of my favorite features in last year's Jade Cocoon, and I was a little disappointed to learn that it wasn't a feature in this game.

Trading, still the bread and butter of the franchise, can extend beyond simple Pokémon exchanges. Using the Game Boy Color's infrared link, you can now trade mystery gifts between games (owners of the separate handheld, Pokémon Pikachu 2, can trade mystery gifts as well). The gifts are never anything substantial enough to affect the story, but no price can be placed on seeing Chi turn green with envy as I acquired a Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a mystery gift. One of the bigger surprises was that trading could also be done with the older Pokémon game paks (Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow), though it is limited to exchanges between Pokémon that can be found in both Pokémon Gold/Silver and Pokémon Red/Blue and Yellow.

In conclusion, I do have a few issues that I feel need mentioning and that is in regard to the time it takes to manage my Pokémon. Though likely due to the technological limitations of the Game Boy hardware, the length of time it takes to perform a single trade is enough to drive me nuts. I also have to believe there is a more efficient way to change Pokémon boxes and withdraw and deposit Pokémon on Bill's PC. These were peeves of mine since I first played the original, but they do not detract from the game too much. All in all, Pokémon Gold/Silver is a very worthy sequel to a revolutionary videogame. Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Pokémon Gold/Silver – Consumer Guide

According to ESRB, this game contains: Mild Language, Violence

Parents, youve probably already gotten an earful from your kids already, and theres not much I can say or do to discourage their enthusiasm. While youre going to find it hard to justify paying for something that is very similar to the original, Pokémon Gold/Silver is a game of good quality and content.

Whether youre a diehard fan or tired pundit of Pokémon, the Gold and Silver versions will do very little to change your mind about the franchise as a whole. While the sequels dont have as much revolutionary impact as the original, they are still very well made games and nothing to be ashamed off. All the new features are sure to hold the interest of previous trainers so long as they arent expecting too much change.

RPG (role-playing game) fans should also note that Pokémon Gold/Silver is a pretty decent genre piece. It doesnt have an overly engaging storyline (which starts to fall apart by the latter third of the game), but the turn-based battles and bond that develops between trainer and Pokémon through all the level raising is vintage console RPG stuff.