Gotta Catch ‘Em All in 1998
Pokemon Red and Blue… where do I begin with this? Pokemon has been a worldwide phenomenon since the pair of Pokemon Red and Blue came out for the original GameBoy in 1998. With over fifteen games in the franchise, six generations, and thousands of children crying to their parents to buy a plush Pikachu, it’s important to go back to the golden era where only the first two games were created.
Turning on the game and ready to play, you first see a professor named Oak who tells you about the wondrous creatures known as “Pocket Monsters”, or “Pokemon” for short. Over a hundred of creatures exist in the world of Pokemon, all with various types and abilities. From reptiles with flaming tails to giant dragons, Pokemon has a lot of variety. Your task from Professor Oak, is to capture as many of these Pokemon as you possibly can, while battling a group of eight powerful opponents named Gym Leaders. In order to be the best,, you must travel across many towns, forests, and caves, collect information, and attempt to fight off against an evil organization known as “Team Rocket” who are looking to take over the world by using Pokemon as slaves.
This is where the meat of the game comes into play, Pokemon Red and Blue are turn based RPGs where you use your Pokemon to battle and defeat others in order to become stronger. Pokemon shine in this area perfectly, as there is an intricate balance of types, where one is stronger than another. This game of rock-paper-scissors (Or in Pokemon’s case, Grass-Water-Fire) make each move you make all the more thoughtful. There are fifteen types, all which can resist and are strong against other types. In addition, Pokemon have a set of four moves, all which can be different types as well. Strategy is the name of the game, particularly during the later half where the game ramps up in difficulty. While no means the hardest RPG, the original Pokemon games offer a fair bit of challenge, especially if you don’t have every time memorized. Pokemon get stronger after every battle, and most go through a process known as “Evolution” where they turn into a completely separate creature that is stronger and can learn different moves in battle.
The main draw of Pokemon was always to catch as many of the creatures as possible, and Game Freak knew that. The differences between Red and Blue are extremely light besides one major factor: each game had a few exclusive Pokemon that can only be found in one or the other. In order to truly collect them all, you had to trade with fellow humans who had a different version. This is what made Pokemon into such a big community that it is today, as it made people come together that may otherwise not speak while playing video games. You can also battle each other, which started a community that still has massive tournament with the current generation of Pokemon games.
Pokemon Red and Blue have some decent graphics. While not pushing the GameBoy to its limits, every one of the 151 creatures has a unique sprite and most areas look different from each other, The story is pretty light, as the series was always meant for kids to enjoy. However, the music is some of the best that the GameBoy has to offer. Many tracks pump you up while in battle, and some are downright creepy, such as the Lavender Town music. Each Pokemon have a different cry as well, which while jarring, also made them all just a bit more unique.
Pokemon Red and Blue are both fantastic games, and I highly recommend anyone who did not start out playing the original generation do so now. It’s now quite easy to get one of the games too, as both Red and Blue were released on the Nintendo Virtual Console just a short time ago, while adding the ability to trade and battle other trainers wirelessly. While each game has a few bugs (the infamous Missingno. comes to mind), Pokemon Red and Blue are still great achievements in video game history and deserve at least a quick look.
Final Verdict: 5/5
Version played for this review: Pokemon Red; Available on: Nintendo GameBoy (Reviewed), Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console; Publisher: Nintendo; Developer: Game Freak; Released: 1998