Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition review
Nintendo, I choose you!
Many years ago Pokémon Red & Blue hit the shelves all around the world, and there was born the foundations of today's best selling RPG for Nintendo. Thank you Satoshi Tajiri, I salute you. But Nintendo didn't think just having those 2 games was enough, oh no, an entire year later they released a new game, one to supplement the already best selling game of the year. Of Course, I'm talking about Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition. This game was fully enhanced and took used everything the GameBoy Color had to offer, colour palette and all. Since then I have been an avid fan of the franchise, but what exactly made Pokemon Yellow a success? What could have Nintendo done to make it so popular? What elements caused fans of every age and gender to follow it even to this day? Only one word is needed. Only one word will describe it all. That one word is... Nintendo.
Who knew this would be the foundations of one of the worlds best selling and best know RPGs of all time? It came to a surprise even for Satoshi the founder of Gamefreak and the brains behind the entire concept. This game was the first to Pokemon game to use the colour palette of the GameBoy color - one of the most notorious consoles of that time - and was a fond memory of thousands of peoples childhood, mine included. The idea of new creatures that could be obtained in small balls around a region of Japan was so innovative and creative that there really was nothing to like. No expectations came of it. Not like the modern games, to which people can do nothing than criticise. So, lets see what was so good about entering a fantasy world and taking on the role of a young trainer, who aspires to become a Pokémon Master.
The controls for this game couldn't be simpler, perfect for the aimed age range the games were aimed toward. You use the directional pad to move about the world, the 'A' button to actively choose an option, whether it be to start talking to a stranger or fellow trainer, to finding loose items on the ground, and in contrast you used the 'B' button to deactivate what you were doing, or a shortcut to selecting to run from a fight. You could use 'start' to bring up the menu from which you could view your Pokémon, Pokédex, Bag, Options and the Save option. One of the better features of the game was being able to select an item that you could instantly use with the use of the 'select' button on the GBC. Simple, yet provided optimum game play, and the basis for the same options today.
The player takes the control of a young Pokémon Trainer to which you can customised their name, and even choose from a few select options. They are eager to venture out into the POkémon world and in doing so forget that they require a Pokemon before entering tall grass, to which a character named Prof. Oak stops you and takes you to his lab, from there the game differs from it's counter parts Red and Blue. In the other games you'd choose from either Squirtle, Charmander, or Bulbasaur, but this time you get given a Pikachu because all the others have been given out, and your Rival, to whom you can also name, is given an Eevee. After a brief battle between you and your rival you can start your adventure, to become the best Pokemon trainer in the world - a true Pokemon master.
Pikachu! I choose you!
One of the many things that made this game to different from the counterparts was the fact that your partner Pokemon follows you as opposed to staying in it's Pokeball, something which has returned in the newest game HeartGold and SoulSilver. As well as that it allows you to form a relationship with your partner Pikachu. The more time you spend together to more and more he likes you, from which you can tell from turning around and talking to him, to which he will show some sort of emotion. A brilliant idea on Nintendo's part in my opinion, and again, something which has appeared in later games in a few different forms. Of Course, to become a Pokemon master one must obtain Pokeballs, and as you progress through the game naturally, the Pokemon become a higher and higher level and you are introduced to more and more aspects to batting, the most important being type advantages and disadvantages. It requires you to catch more Pokemon, to which to must train to get through the Kanto Region. The further the game progresses the higher the level of the wild Pokemon. But, is there only wild Pokemon you can obtain? No, where would be the fun in that? Dotted around the region are people who are willing to trade Pokemon with you,mimicking the use of the trade cable that you can buy to trade Pokemon with your friends, which gives some sort of comedic irony to the entire game, knowing that people in the game itself are playing the same game as you.
Ofcourse, what would be the point of training all these Pokemon without testing out your skills as a trainer? Ah yes, the Pokemon trainers. All throughout the game you will have to fight others that are also travelling the region in order to become a Pokemon master and when eye contact is made, you'll have to fight the Pokemon they have trained. However most trainers train only one type of Pokemon that suit their title. For example, Bug Catchers would only have Buh Type Pokemon, which encourages you to train different types in order to beat these people with ease. Also, there are people who are more powerful than ordinary trainers, given the title a Pokemon Gym Leader. In most cities there will be a "Gym" in which will be a powerful trainer with a badge, obtaining this badge is a sign you have beaten the gym leader and can move on further into the game. Gym leaders also train one type of Pokemon, an example being the first gym leader Brock in Pewter City, he only has Rock Type Pokemon on your team, a hard obstacle to over come with just your electric partner Pikachu. Upon obtaining all the badges in the Kanto region, you are granted access to place where the 6 most powerful trainers are gathered - The Pokemon League. This obvious hierarchy. also encourages you to train your Pokemon further, to become a better trainer. With that in mind the Pokemo League are by far your last hurdle to become the Pokemon Master. On your way to the League building you'll have to use all the badges and some of the abilities that the badges enable, for example the use of the Hidden Machine (HM) Surf that can be obtained after the defeat of Koga, Gym Leader of Fushia City. Beating all 8 of Kantos Gym Leader enables you to reach the Elite Four.
Pikachu showing emotion
But what would one do when your Pokemon is low on health after a battle? Well, you use a Pokemon center (Pictured above), simply walk into one of these buildings that is in every town or city and you get free, instantaneous healing of all Pokemon in your party. Brilliant. But then, what if one needs to heal during a battle? Buy some potions! The vast number of items you are able to use helps you further your aim to be a Pokemon master, knowing when and how to use these is a skill unto itself, one everyone must master. Of Course, Nintendo knew the importance of this and introduced you to them at the very start of the game! What's so brilliant about this game is that all the fundamentals are out of the way and done with all at the very start. To all new gamers this could be rather annoying as all they want to do is battle and train, but later you realise the importance of the skills that were drummed into you at the beginning. From the important things such as learning how to catch a Pokemon, to learning how to buy items and even something as trivial as finding loose items on the ground, it's all at the start of the game. Something in which Nintendo has done with every game thus far, and who can blame them? No-one.
As already mentioned this game took full advantage of the GameBoy Color colour palette. Compared to the colours of Red and Blue versions the colours in this game as much more vibrant and "in your face", but you soon get used to them. The battle scenes are like explosions of colours and the music only enhances this, the two complement each other perfectly. Not exactly one of the best features of the games, but the graphics were good for the time period they were released in. Perhaps considered one of the more graphical games of the late 20th Century. Truly amazing what Nintendo had done with the games in a year. Almost somewhat inspirational. Of Course, there aim was to make the games seem more anime and manga like since this game was to promote the popular Pokemon Anime that was released soon after the release of Red and Blue. To be perfectly honest, they didn't fail in there aim, but they could have done something more... extravagant with it. Of course, just personal preference.
The music was the most important part of the game concerning battles. During the battles scenes the new colours and music compliment each other like fish and chips. This music brings back the entire nostalgic feeling of the games, and was the noise of childhood for many, many people. Granted, the music can be annoyingly repetitive if the battle lasts for longer than 2 minutes, often causing the volume to be turned right down. But for the most part the music is somewhat uplifting, and has a poppy sound to it.
Bask in it. That filthy feeling of nostalgia.
What would the game be without these cheeky little creatures? Nothing. Pokemon are the sheer foundation of the entire franchise, and even hold pride and place as the name of it all. There are different types, Electric, Ghost, Water, Ice, Flying, Fighting, Psychic, Normal, Poison, Grass, Fire just to name a few. Each one having their own advantages and disadvantages. Arguably the most original designs of the franchise. All with a wide, wide variety of move sets... all 151 of them. All varying in power also. My favourite aspect of them all is the process most of them go through to become stronger than what they used to be. The process of evolution. When a Pokemon evolves they each become more powerful, some evolve only once, and some evolve twice, each time becoming more powerful. However there are some Pokemon that are hard to find and are one of a kind - Legendary Pokemon. Back in the day these were somewhat of a novelty, a rare concept. I used to love them, and spent many hours finding and capturing them. Now they are over used and arguably too powerful for competitive game play, why can't people keep things simple? Because in a sense we are just like the Pokemon, we evolve.
So, Yellow was a pretty amazing game no? All the different components each adding their own little adventure into the game. From catching a Pidgey to Beating the Elite 4 champion, each thing gives you a sense of achievement. These games inspired a variety of generations, sparking interest in other games and gaming within itself. Allowing them to love the franchise no matter the amounts of the pros and cons. And, do you know what? Good on them, good on you, Nintendo. I salute you.
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