Pokemon Generation 1 Review

Posted: January 25, 2015 in Game reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

Greetings mortals, I am DracoJames102 and welcome to the Pokemon Marathon.

Pokemon Marathon Title Card

I’m not going to beat about the bush, Pokemon is probably my favourite video game series ever made. It’s certainly the series I spent the most time on. If I wasn’t playing the games, I’d be watching the latest episode of the anime. I always look forward to when the next mainstream game comes out and the game mechanics seem to get better and better.

Now for this marathon, I am going to focus on where it all started and the games I spent the most time on in my childhood, Generation 1 and Generation 2. The series was created by Satoshi Tajeri and was released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996. It should also be noted that Satoshi was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. If that doesn’t inspire people with autism like me, I don’t know what will. The games released in Japan were known as Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green. Both are the same game, they just had different Pokemon to catch in certain areas. The main gimmick of Pokemon was to catch them all and to that you needed a link cable and a friend who had a Game Boy and the other version of the game (or you could do it yourself). A short time after their release, Pokemon Blue was released which had updated graphics and bug fixes. Generation 1 was then released worldwide as Pokemon Red and Blue which are based of the Japanese Blue version. For this review, I am going to look at Pokemon Red version and then I’ll briefly talk about Pokemon Yellow.

Pokémon_box_art_-_Red_Versionpokemon_blue_cover_art_by_comunello76-d4xvjro yellow_en_boxart_741

Story

The story takes place in the Kanto region. You play as a young ten year old kid from Pallet Town who is preparing to go on a journey. The game starts with Professor Oak, a scientist dedicated to researching Pokemon, tells you that you are going to embark on a quest with your very own Pokemon. You are free to give your character any name you want but officially his name is Red (probably to match the whole version thing). Professor Oak also introduces his grandson, who’s been your rival ever since you were a baby. You can give this character any name you want but officially his name is Blue (though I’m pretty sure we all named him Gary because of the anime). After that, the journey is pretty yours to make your own.

gameplay 1

There isn’t much to the story, but the game makes up for it by giving the world you travel in a lot of character. The character you play as doesn’t have much character and doesn’t talk, but everyone else manage to establish themselves rather well, espicially Blue who does his best to mock the possibility of you being any good as a Pokemon Trainer.

Gameplay

The game is an RPG (role-playing game) with an overhead perspective. The D-Pad is used to move your character around the screen and select your commands, the A button is used to interact with NPCs (non-playable characters), objects etc. and to select your command, the B button is used to go back on your choice, the Start button pops up your pause menu where you can access your Pokemon team, inventory, Pokedex and save your game and the select button allows you to change the order of your Pokemon attacks or items in your inventory.

gameplay

You start off in Pallet Town, which consists of your house, your rival’s house and Professor Oak’s laboratory. If you try to leave town by walking in some tall grass, Professor Oak will stop you and say it is too dangerous because wild Pokemon can jump out of tall grass and attack you (if only we had that car that Gary had in the anime). Professor Oak tells you to come to his lab where his grandson is waiting and asks you to pick one Pokemon out of three from the table. These are the starter Pokemon from this generation, Bulbasaur the Grass and Poison type, Squirtle the water type and Charmander the fire type. Because of the challenges you will face on your journey, Bulbasaur is considered the easy mode, Squirtle is the intermediate mode and Charmander is the hard mode. After you have chosen your starter Pokemon, Blue will chose the Pokemon type that is strong against your chosen Pokemon and challenge you to your very first battle.

gameplay 2

After you receive a package from the Poke Mart in Viridian City and deliver it to Professor Oak, he will give you and your rival a Pokedex, which acts as an encyclopedia to all of the Pokemon you will see or capture. One of the main gimmicks of Pokemon is to try and catch all 150 Pokemon in the game. In order to catch Pokemon, you will need Poke Balls which you can buy from Poke Marts with the prize money you win from trainer battles as well as Potions to heal your Pokemon or items that can cure status conditions such as Poison, Sleep or Paralysis. You find Pokemon by walking around in grass or cave areas and you will randomly encounter wild Pokemon. If you want to have an easier time catching Pokemon, you need to lower their health by dealing damage to them using your Pokemon’s attacks. Once you get the Pokemon’s health lowered just enough, you can throw Poke Balls at them. If the ball struggles three times and stays shut, the Pokemon is yours and it is added to your party, but if it breaks out of the ball, you’ll have to try again. Now even though there are 150 Pokemon to catch, you can only carry up to 6 Pokemon at a time. The rest of the Pokemon you catch are stored in a PC Pokemon Storage system which you can access at Pokemon Centers. But in the end you don’t need to catch a certain number of Pokemon in order to proceed with the game. It’s all just bragging rights.

pokedex

Pokemon come in many different flavours and types. These types are fire, water, grass, electric, poison, rock, ground, bug, normal, flying, fighting, ice, ghost, dragon and psychic. Some Pokemon even have more than one type which leads to their own unique strengths and weaknesses. If you want to win Pokemon battles, you need to know what types are good against what and use that to your advantage in order to make the Pokemon faint in battle. If you lose however, you lose part of your money and start back at the last Pokemon Center you healed at. By defeating a Pokemon in battle, you will gain experience points. If you gain enough experience points, your Pokemon will level up and get stronger and possibly even learn some new moves. When Pokemon reach higher levels, they can evolve into stronger forms, although some Pokemon need special methods to evolve such as evolution stones or trading them over to another Game Boy.

evolution

After you get the Pokedex from Professor Oak, your real journey begins. You couldn’t go further than Viridian City before because some old man hurt his back and won’t let you through until after you deliver the package. Beyond the city is Viridian Forest which sports bug type Pokemon. This is also a good place to level grind because some of these Pokemon can barely defend themselves. This is also where you come across your first few trainer battles. You start the battle by walking in front of them and they’ll take notice of you and challenge you to a battle where you have to knock out all of their Pokemon in order to beat them. You can’t run away from trainer battles and you can’t catch their Pokemon either. You must stay and fight. I always take the time to level up my Pokemon though as trainer battles give you more experience points than wild Pokemon battles.

wild pokemon

After getting through Viridian Forest, you reach Pewter City which like Viridian City (as well as every other town for that matter) has a Poke Mart and a Pokemon Center where you can access the PC to access the Pokemon Storage system or the item storage system to stock your items in case your bag gets too full. Pokemon Centers can also fully heal your Pokemon for free. Pewter City also has the first Pokemon Gym you battle in. The true objective of the game is to go around Kanto and defeat all eight gym leaders, gaining their badges and enter the Pokemon League at the Indigo Plateau. Each gym specializes in one type of Pokemon. For example, Brock the Pewter City Gym Leader specializes in rock type Pokemon. If you chose Bulbasaur or Squirtle, he is no problem. But if you chose Charmander, you may want to catch a Caterpie in Viridian Forest, evolve it into a Butterfree and have it learn Confusion. After defeating a gym leader, they’ll give you a badge and a TM (Technical Machine) which contains a new move to teach your Pokemon. Pokemon can learn up to four moves and if you want to teach it a new move, you’ll need to replace it with one of its current moves or just not learn the new move.

brock gym

After defeating Brock, you proceed to your first cave area in the game, Mount Moon. Mount Moon will have you encountering Zubat about 70% of the time and they can suck away your health and confuse your Pokemon to the point where they smack themselves in the face by accident. It’s also here where you first encounter the villains of the game, Team Rocket. Team Rocket is a group of criminals dedicated to stealing and catching rare Pokemon, make money off of them and use them for world domination. One of them has an unfair advantage using a Raticate, which can easily take down your whole team if you’re not careful.

mount moon

Once you get out of Mount Moon, you’ll reach Cerulean City where your next gym is. The gym leader is Misty who specializes in Water type Pokemon. Misty will mop the floor with you if you’re not ready. My suggestions are catch an Oddish or a Bellsprout (depending on your version) in the north route of Cerulean or catch a Pikachu in Viridian Forest.

cerulean city

If you go up the north route of Cerulean City, you will encounter your rival who challenges you to a battle. it should be noted that you will run into your rival at certain points of the game and his Pokemon will usually be at high levels. Make sure your Pokemon are at full health at all times. After defeating your rival as well as a slew of other Pokemon trainers, you will reach a cottage and encounter Bill, who actually created the Pokemon Storage system. After helping him  out, he’ll give you the S.S Ticket which will grant you access aboard the S.S Anne in Vermillion City.

rival battle

Vermillion City is just south of Cerulean City and aboard the S.S Anne, you will come across the captain who is feeling a little sea sick. After rubbing his back and making him feel better, the Captain will give you your first HM (Hidden Machine) move Cut. HMs are pretty much needed in order to proceed with the game. They are used to cut down trees, light up dark caves, move large boulders, swim across water and fly to other towns. But in order to use the HMs, you will need to have a certain Gym badge and only certain Pokemon can learn these HMs. The worst part about HMs however is that you can’t replace them with new moves. Anyway you need Cut and Misty’s Gym badge in order to get to the Vermillion Gym where you need to deal with this annoying switch puzzle in order to reach Lt. Surge who uses electric Pokemon.

vermilion_gym

After passing through the Rock Tunnel east of Cerulean City (which you will need Flash for), you come across Lavender Town which is without a doubt the most depressing town in the entire game. Lavender Town has the Pokemon Tower, which acts as one giant cemetery for Pokemon. You don’t have to worry about your Pokemon actually dying (unless you’re doing the Nuzlocke challenge) but this concept is just disturbing. The Pokemon Tower also has these ghosts which your Pokemon can’t fight back against because they are too terrified.

lavender town

West of Lavender Town is Celadon City, which is hands down the best place to shop for goods. Besides the usual items you can buy, there are also TMs, items to boost your Pokemon’s stats, evolution stones and drinks on top of the building. You can also obtain an Eevee from one of the buildings, who can evolve into one of three types of Pokemon depending on which evolution stone you use on it. You can also fight the fourth gym leader Erika who uses grass type Pokemon. The game corner acts as a hideout for Team Rocket where you fight their leader Giovanni, who awards you with the Silph Scope if you beat him which allows you to get past the ghosts in the Pokemon Tower and rescue a hostage from Team Rocket.

celadon city

The hostage gives you a Poke Flute which wakes up a heavy sleeping Pokemon called Snorlax. Two of them are blocking the ways to the next city you need to reach Fuchsia City. Fushia City contains the next Gym Leader Koga who specializes in Poison types. Fuchsia City also contains the Safari Zone where you can catch all sorts of rare Pokemon. It is also where you can acquire the HM Surf, one of the best water moves in the game, and the HM Strength in order to move large boulders.

safari zone

Saffron City is a city right in the middle of Cerulean City, Vermillion City, Celadon City and Lavander Town. You couldn’t get in because the guards were thirsty. My guess for them not getting off their bottoms and getting the drinks themselves is that they cost over 200 Poke Dollars. After giving one of them a drink from the Vending Machine, they’ll let you into the city where you see that the city has been completely taken over by Team Rocket because they performed a hostile takeover of Silph Co. After taking on Team Rocket and Giovanni once and for all, you have access to the next gym where you can challenge Sabrina who uses the most broken type in Generation 1, psychic Pokemon. Psychic types have little to no weaknesses and their special attacks can pack one heck of a punch. They will fix this in later generations, but back then they were the strongest type in the game (my personal favourite being Alakazam).

saffron city

By surfing across the sea from either Fushia City and Pallet Town, you will reach Cinnabar Island. In order to access the gym, you need to find the key in the Pokemon Mansion. Once you do , you will face off against Blaine who uses fire types. You should already have a water type this late in the game to wipe the floor with him.

cinnabar island

The final gym is back in Viridian City which you couldn’t access before because the gym leader was away and you needed to defeat all of the other gym leaders to get inside. I don’t think I’m giving anything away here but the gym leader was actually Giovanni all along and he and his ground type Pokemon are a cinch to take down. After talking to him again after you beat him, he disappears forever.

viridian gym

Now before you head off to the Indigo Plateau I should talk about some other stuff you can do. You can use this time to catch some special one of a kind legendary Pokemon such as Articuno at Seafoam Islands, Zapdos at the Power Plant and Moltres in Victory Road. There are also certain glitches you can perform such as the famous MissingNo. glitch which many people use to duplicate the sixth item in their inventory. There is also the Mew glitch which is too good I doubt it’s really a glitch.

mew glitch

After traversing through Victory Road, you reach the Pokemon League at the Indigo Plateau where you face off against the strongest trainers in the land, the Elite Four. You need to defeat all of them, including the Champion, without a Pokemon Center break in between so make sure you buy a lot of Revives and Full Restores at the mart. Though if you’re an expert like me, you shouldn’t worry too much because their Pokemon’s movepools leave a lot to be desired.

elite four

After defeating the Elite Four and being inducted into the Hall of Fame, there is one more area to explore and that is the Unknown Dungeon (or another name for it is the Cerulean Cave). You couldn’t access this area before because some guy wouldn’t let you. It is here where you can find the strongest wild Pokemon in the game such as Level 67 Dittos, Level 64 Chansey, and many more. The real prize however is Mewtwo the most powerful Pokemon in the game. Mewtwo can take a lot beatings, it hits hard which its Psychic attack and it can heal itself. Be super prepared for this Pokemon.

cerulean cave

Pokemon Yellow

Pokemon Yellow was released one year after Pokemon Red and Blue came out. It’s pretty much an expansion of those two games with some influences from the anime. You start off with a Pikachu like Ash did however you can’t evolve it into Raichu. You fight Jessie and James (two Rocket grunts from the anime) in places where you would fight more Rocket grunts. Most of the gym leaders have higher level Pokemon that match their parties in the anime. If you play your cards right, you can actually get all three starter Pokemon from Red and Blue.

pokemon yellow

Graphics

The graphics are pretty good for 8-bit Game Boy standards. Each area is distinct and even though the Pokemon sprites look weird and ugly, there’s some sort of odd charm to them. Even though I like the updated sprites in Pokemon Yellow, I like the old sprites more for that reason.

Music

The music is fantastic and each track is extremely memorable. The travel themes, the battle themes, the town themes and the final battle theme are all tracks I like to listen to over and over again.

Control

The game is pretty responsive to button inputs but I’m going to talk about how buggy the battle mechanics are. Even though they work well, they haven’t been quite perfected yet. The Special stat of each Pokemon acts as a means to resist Special Attacks and hit hard with Special Attacks which makes it hard to take down most Pokemon with high special stats (especially Psychic Pokemon). Also type match-ups in battle when it comes to Pokemon with two types are weird. For example if a Weedle uses Poison Sting against a Bulbasaur which is Grass/Poison type, the attack will perform super effective damage because Bulbasaur is a grass type even though its Poison typing would cause the Poison Sting to do neutral damage. They would fix these problems in future generations but for now these battle mechanics still work fine, they just haven’t been perfected yet.

Final thoughts

Overall, the game is still fun to play, but there’s really no reason to go back to it except if you want to see how the Pokemon franchise started. Though if you are interested, I recommend going for either the Yellow version (which many people believe to be the definitive Generation 1 experience) or the Generation 3 remakes on the Game Boy Advance which more updated battle mechanics. Despite having said that, this is one nostalgic trip I really enjoyed.

Final rating: 7/10

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s