I did indeed “catch ’em all”.
Depends what you mean by all.
This review will really be divided into three parts, because I have more to discuss than usual.
ME AND POKEMON
I was 12 or 13 when Pokemon was first released. The anime was on TV just before I left for school, so I had little choice but to watch it (unless I wanted to watch the news or kindergarten programmes). I thought it was okay, so when the game came out, I rushed to go get it. I finished it after only a few days and really loved it.
I never got particularly hooked on the anime (although I did see the first two movies at the cinema), but the Generation I games (specifically Blue) really kept me interested. I somehow managed to discover things like MissingNo. and the item cloning trick and the truck near Vermillion City all by myself!
But I didn’t really play beyond that.
While I played Blue multiple times, I only ever played Yellow and then Silver on an emulator, and even those I never finished. The interest just wasn’t there.
Skip ahead almost twenty years, and two things have changed: Pokemon GO has been released, and I just like that sort of game in general, so I was and am keen to play; and my youngest niece has become quite enamoured of Pokemon (she says it is because I bought her the first season on DVD when she was very little, which I did, but I think she just likes it in general – that and anything else to ever come out of Japan).
We were talking about Pokemon, and she’s been playing Alpha Sapphire. I said I’d play again, and we could trade, battle, etc., but when looking into it I discovered that it is now possible to transfer or trade all the way from Generation I to the new Generation VII games!
Given that I loved Generation I, it seemed as good a place as any to start.
The thing is, to trade up from Generation I, you need the eShop versions of the games for the Nintendo 3DS, and I don’t play console games. And it wouldn’t let me do it in order – I’d have to skip Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald eventually. So instead I hunted down a Nintendo DS with a Game Boy Advance slot and decided to start with the Generation III remakes of Generation I: specifically, LeafGreen.
My intention is this:
- Black 2
- Omega Ruby
- Red, Blue, Yellow
- Gold, Silver, Crystal
I think starting with LeafGreen was a great decision, because it was familiar enough (plot, locations, Pokemon) to be easily accessible again, but also included lots of features from Generation II and III. I could easily engage with those new features because they were the only new things to grapple with.
I also really loved the VS Seeker. I remember the bad old days of having to fight the Elite Four again and again and again and again and again and again and again. Gah.
I really enjoy the basic premise of the first Pokemon generation games, although the story is a bit lacking in certain places: the story often fails to tell you where to go and what to do. Instead, the story unfolds as a consequence of you exploring every doorway, etc. You wouldn’t get Aerodactyl or Eevee, for example, unless you were hell-bent on exploring every passageway, or cutting down every cuttable tree. There aren’t any clues directing you to where they are, or even telling you they exist.
Aside from that, though, it is a heck of a lot of fun all around.
I managed to catch every Pokemon accessible in LeafGreen – every Legendary, every one only available via in-game trades, everything. The only Pokemon I don’t have are the other two starters (and their evolutions) and ones only accessible in other Generation III games, because unfortunately you can’t do the necessary trades when playing it on a DS. That said, I did find a cheap-ish Game Boy Advance SP, and my niece already has a Game Boy Advance SP, so we could possibly fill in those holes (if I can’t fill out my Pokedex in the later games).
Honestly, I give this game the highest possible rating. They even went to the effort of remaking the truck! I still don’t know why it was there in the first place, given that you can only access it through clever trading/beating the system.
Really top stuff, and I look forward to regaining all the Pokemon I caught in LeafGreen once I get back to Kanto in SoulSilver and grab them from the Pal Park.