Pokemon Generation 2 Review

Posted: March 30, 2015 in Game reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

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

Pokemon Gen 2 Title Card

Pokemon Generation 1 was a massive success worldwide so naturally a sequel had to be made. Pokemon Gold and Silver were released in Europe for the Game Boy Colour in 2001 with Pokemon Crystal released a few months later. I was exited to play the games after seeing the new Pokemon in the first two Pokemon movies. So does this generation improve upon the first one and does it still hold up?

pokemon goldpokemon silverpokemon crystal

Story

The plot takes place three years after the events of Generation 1. You are a new trainer living in New Bark Town in the Johto Region. Pokemon Crystal was the first game where you can actually play as a girl character. The town’s scientist Proffessor Elm asks you to do him a favour, which is pick up something special from Mr. Pokemon who lives past Cherrygrove City. Proffessor Elm does give you a starter Pokemon to accompany you which can be either Chikorita the grass type, Totodile the water type or Cyndaquil the fire type. After you complete the errand and collect the Pokedex from Proffessor Oak, you’re pretty much doing what you did in Gen 1. Going around beating the Gym Leaders around the land and enter the Pokemon League.

Though there is a little more to it this time, the story is about as simple as before.

Gameplay

The control scheme is exactly the same as the last game, though the select button can be used to use a key item that you registered. The battle HUD now has an experience meter which tells you how much experience a Pokemon needs in order to level up. You do get a new gadget called the Pokegear which acts as a telephone where you can register trainer’s numbers where they challenge you to a rematch, give you items they found or tell you about swarms of rare Pokemon appearing.

pokemon-silver battle

Generation 2 does offer a lot of new content to the game. Pokemon now hold items such as berries to restore health or cure them of status conditions. They can’t use man made items such as Potions, Full Heals and so on. Your bag also splits your items into different categories so it makes it easier to keep track of your items. These categories are your basic items, Poke Balls, TMs and HMs and Key Items. Two new types of Pokemon were also discovered. These two new types are dark and steel and these two types were pretty much created to counter the broken psychic type. Generation 2 is also the first game to introduce a day and night system. This doesn’t affect the plot in any way but it is needed in order to perform certain events or catch certain Pokemon. For example, you can find Pidgey during the day time, but during the night you can find Hoothoot the new owl Pokemon.

MorningGSpokemon night

New Bark Town and Cherrygrove City act as the starting towns which teach you about Pokemon Centers and Poke Marts. Your mother in New Bark Town does offer to do something for you this time and that is to be your own personal bank. Now every time you win a battle, half of your prize money will go to your mother. Cherrygrove City has an old man who can show you around and teach you about Pokemon Centers and Poke Marts. He will give you a town map app for your Pokegear after you’re done talking to him.

new bark town

While you are running the errand for Proffessor Elm, he will call you and inform you that someone broke into his lab and stole one of the starter Pokemon. On your way back to the lab, you will run into the guy who stole the Pokemon and he will challenge you to your first trainer battle. This will be your rival for the journey and he will run into you at the most inoppertune moments. Despite the fact that he can be a total scumbag, he does have the most character development out of all the rival characters in the series, leading him to be my personal favourite rival character in the series.

pokemon gen 2 rival

Once you complete the errand, you will be allowed to proceed to Violet City which contains not only the first gym but the Sprout Tower as well. The Sprout Tower is where you can train your Pokemon for the gym battle and obtain the HM Flash. The gym leader is Falkner who specialises in Flying type Pokemon. After you beat him, Proffessor Elm will call you and tell you that his assistant will meet you in Violet City’s Pokemon Center and give you the Pokemon Egg you received from Mr Pokemon. If you keep the egg in your party, over time it will hatch into a new Pokemon, Togepi.

falkner

After traveling on through a cave, you will come across Azelea Town and the next gym. However before you can challenge it you need to rescue the Slowpoke in Slowpoke Well from Team Rocket. That’s right. Team Rocket is back and they’re up to more mischief. Their latest scheme is cutting off Slowpoke tails and selling them as snacks for outrageous prices. Once you defeat them, you can challenge Bugsy who uses Bug type Pokemon. Azelea Forest is where you can acquire the Cut HM and the TM Headbutt, which can allow you to Headbutt trees to catch Pokemon you can’t normally find such as Aipom and Heracross.

bugsy

After traversing through Azelea Forest, you encounter amother new feature introduced in this generation, a day care centre. If you leave two Pokemon there, not only can they level up but there is a chance that they will produce an egg depending on what Pokemon you leave there. In fact another new feature is that Pokemon have their own genders. So if you leave a male Pikachu with a female Pikachu at the day care centre, they can produce an egg and over time it will hatch into a new baby Pokemon Pichu.

daycare

After the day care centre, you will enter Goldenrod City, the big city of this generation. It has the biggest shopping center, a salon where you can make your Pokemon more friendly towards you and a lady can check on your Pokemon’s friendship level which is actually needed in order to evolve certain Pokemon such as evolving baby Pokemon and evolving Golbat into Crobat. In fact while we’re on the subject of evolution, this game offers a lot of new evolution methods, such as evolving certain Pokemon during a specific time of day and trading a Pokemon while its holding a certain item.

goldenrod

Goldenrod City also has the third gym which specialises in normal type Pokemon and trust me this will be the gym that will give you the most trouble. The gym leader Whitney will mop the floor with your entire team using her demon cow, Miltank. Miltank can use Attract to potentially stop your team from attacking and it can heal itself with Milk Drink. If you want my suggestion, train your Pokemon with the trainers near the National Park. Just do whatever you need to get ready for that freaking cow and her Miltank.

whitney

The National Park does hold a bug catching contest on Tuesdays, Thurdays and Saturdays. There isn’t much variety but it is the only way to catch strong bugs such as Pinsir and Scyther. You earn special prizes depending on what place you come in such as the new evolution stone the Sun Stone if you come in first place. After the National Park, you encounter a strange tree that turns out to be a Sudowoodo. You can only catch it by spraying it with a water bottle which you only get after you beat Whitney.

bug catching contest

After dealing with Sudowoodo, you come across Ecruteak City which contains the Burnt Tower and the Tin Tower. The Burnt Tower is where you can release awaken this generation’s legendary trio, Entei, Raikou and Suicune and they scatter all across Johto but I’ll talk about that later. The Pokemon Center in this town is where you once again run into Bill, who’s actually invented a machine that allows you to trade with Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow. There is this dance place where you can battle five dancing Kimono girls and if you defeat them all, you earn the HM Surf, which you can only use after defeating Morty the Gym Leader who specialises in Ghost Pokemon and he can be just as annoying as Whitney if you’re not careful.

Morty

Now from here on, you can actually challenge the next three gyms in any order you desire. You can go left from Ecruteak and challenge the gyms in Olivine City and Cianwood City or you can go right into Mahogany Town. The gym leader in Olivine City is Jasmine who specialises in the new Steel type Pokemon. However she’s too busy taking care of a sick Pokemon at the lighthouse and she won’t challenge you until you get some medicine from Cianwood City and heal the sick Pokemon.

jasmine

After surfing from Olivine City and past the Whirl Islands, you will eventually come across Cianwood City where you can get the medicine to heal the sick Pokemon. This is also where the next gym is where you can challenge Chuck who utilises Fighting types.

chuck

Mahogany Town is not that far to travel from Ecruteak City. Unfortunately before you can challenge the gym, you learn that Team Rocket is using a strange signal that is forcing all of the Magikarp in the Lake of Rage to evolve into Gyarados. You go to the lake to investigate and you will come across a Gyarados of a different colour with introduces another new concept, Shiney Pokemon. The alternate colour doesn’t affect the Pokemon’s overall stats but it does look cool and it is one of the ultimate bragging rights for any Pokemon enthusiast. They are insanely rare though so if you see one, catch it.

redgyarados

Once you’ve dealt with the Red Gyarados, you will come across Lance who was the Elite Four dragon trainer from the last game. He is investigating the strange evolution occurance at the Lake of Rage and asks you to help him stop Team Rocket from broadcasting the Radio Signal. Once you’ve dealt with Team Rocket, you can finally challange Pryce the Ice type Gym Leader.

HeartGold_SoulSilver_Pryce

After acquiring your 7th gym badge, you hear that Team Rocket has actually taken over the Radio Tower in Goldenrod City and is using their new radio signal to call back their leader Giovanni. So once again it’s up to you to put a stop to their plans for the last time. After you defeat Team Rocket, the Radio Tower director will give the Rainbow Wing or the Silver Wing depending on your version. You get the Clear Bell in Crystal which allows you to catch Suicune at the Tin Tower.

hqdefault

After dealing with Team Rocket and traversing through the Ice Cavern, you will reach Blackthorn City. Blackthorn City contains a new character called the Move Deleter, who can help your Pokemon forget one of their moves which is good if you want to forget HMs. Blackthorn City also contains the final Gym Leader Clair who specialises in Dragon type Pokemon. This can potentially be a long and difficult battle but after defeating her, she refuses to give you her badge unless you retrieve the Dragon Fang in Dragon’s Den. In Pokemon Crystal, you are instead required to pass a test where the elders in a shrine ask you questions about whether or not you think Pokemon are friends. If you answer all of the questions using certain answers, you can get a Dratini that knows Extremespeed, which it can’t normally learn.

clair

Once you have all eight Gym Badges, you can take the chance to go after some super rare legendary Pokemon. You can use the Rainbow Wing to access Ho-oh at the Tin Tower or you can use the Silver Wing to catch Lugia at the Whirl Islands. In fact while we are on the subject of legendaries, Entei, Raikou and Suicune that you released from the Burnt Tower have scattered all over Johto. Let me tell you, trying to capture them can be an absolute catch them. In order to start catching them, you need to randomly encounter them in any patch of tall grass. Once you encounter them for the first time, you can start tracking their location with the Pokedex because they will run away without attacking your Pokemon. They will change their location every time you enter a new area and because of that it can take hours to try and catch them. If you want my suggestion, catch a Gastly, evolve it into a Haunter or Gengar, have it learn Mean Look and Hypnosis and arm yourself with a ton of Ultra Balls. It’s the best chance you’ve got when it comes to catching these scumbags.

enteiraikousuicune

Now that you have all eight Gym Badges, you can challenge the Elite Four at the Pokemon, which is actually in the Kanto Region. Yep you actually go back briefly to the Kanto Region, which is actually to the right of your hometown. The Elite Four consist of a few new faces this time around. There’s newcomer Will who uses Psychic types and Karen who uses the new Dark types. Koga has been promoted from Fuschia Gym to an Elite Four member and there’s Bruno who’s the only returning Elite Four member. After fighting all of them without a Pokemon Center break in between, you fight Lance who became the new Pokemon League Champion. Despite the lower levels, this Elite Four is tougher then last time so I recommend training your Pokemon to the right levels, buy the right items and best of luck to you.

elite four

By this point, you think you’ve finished the game right? Wrong! After defeating the Elite Four, Elm will call you and tell you that you can catch a ferry from Olivine City to Vermillion City in the Kanto Region. That’s right. You can actually go and explore the rest of Kanto which has the exact same layout with a few changes. You can also challenge all of the Kanto Gyms in any order you desire. All of the original Gym Leaders are here packing stronger parties but there are a couple of new faces. The Fuschia Gym is now run by Koga’s daughter Janine and the Viridian Gym is now run Blue since Giovanni disappeared. In terms of plot in Kanto, nothing much happens except you needing to fix a problem at the Power Plant which is required in order to proceed through Kanto. After that, you pretty much go back to Gym Leader Hunting. Another interesting fact is that there’s an old man in Pewter City who will give you the Rainbow Wing or the Silver Wing depending on your version so you can go catch the other Legendary Pokemon.

kanto

Once you acquire all eight Kanto badges and talk to Proffessor Oak in Pallet Town, you can go to Mount Silver where the most powerful Pokemon in the wild reside. But that’s not all that’s there. If you have the courage and the skill to get to the top of the mountain, you will encounter yourself from Generation 1. That’s right. You fight the main Generation 1 protagonist, Red, who packs the highest level Pokemon in any of the Pokemon games. Needless to say, he will serve you your bottom on a silver platter if you aren’t ready for him.

red

Graphics

The graphics hold up really well for not just 8-bit standards but also modern day standards. The bright colours are nice to look at, the sprite work is top notch and each area manages to have its own identity with recognisable landmarks and memorable layouts. Pokemon Crystal was the first game in the series to have animated sprites.

Music

This soundtrack is just one fantastic musical piece after the other. There are so many tracks that are incredibly catchy and memorable such as the travel themes, the rival encounter and battle themes, the Gym Leader battle themes, the Lance/Red battle themes, honestly I can go on. This is easily my favourite soundtrack in the entire series.

Control

The control is just as great as the last game but the battle mechanic glitches from Generation 1 have either been fixed or removed completely. The most notable is the split of the Special stat. Remember what I said about how the Special stat worked and how broken it can be? Well they fixed it by splitting it into two categories, Special Attack and Special Defence. This change either buffed or nurfed certain Pokemon, but it still does a great job at balancing out the game mechanics.

Final thoughts

In case I’m not being too obvious at this point, I absolutely love this generation. It expands upon its predecessor in every way possible. They improved the game mechanics for the better, the world is bigger, more emmersive and incredibly fun to travel through, the fact that you can go back to Kanto is awesome, the music fits the series perfectly, it introduced a ton of traditions that are still being used today and the game is fun without being too hard or too easy. It has just the right amount of challenge. When I was a kid, I would constantly start a new game and travel through the entire game again either to try out a new Pokemon Team or to experience the fun all over again. It was that fun to me. Now while I do think that these 8-bit games still hold up today and you should try them out, if you want a more modern experience with this generation, get Pokemon Heartgold and Pokemon Soulsilver which are remakes for the Nintendo DS. They contain a more flashed out story and it is packed with even more content than you could possibly imagine. In fact this generation probably packs the most content out of all of the Pokemon games to date. This is not only my favourite Pokemon Generation, it ranks very high as one of my absolute favourite games of all time as it played a large part in helping me become the gamer that I am today.

Final rating: 10/10

This review was lovingly dedicated to my grandpa

Grandpa

John Haines (1926-2015)

 

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