In this week’s show, we’re talking about a franchise that consists of small monsters that can’t die. No, it’s not Rayman Raving Rabbids, although I can’t be the only one hoping those permanently shell shocked abominations get rabies and disappear off the face of the earth. I’m of course, referring to Pokémon.
Pokémon started out, like everything in video games, in Japan at the hands of Nintendo and Satoshi Tajiri, a man who for the record, DID NOT DIE last year, contrary to what some people have said. He wanted modern children of the go go 90’s to suffer the same boring insect collection hobby he had when he was younger and formed Game Freak to develop a idea that he’d been developing involving the game boy link cable. Over the next 5 years, complete with financial disasters, staff walkouts and trademark issues, they made and released Pokémon Red and Green.
But there was no Red and Green, I hear you cry. Well, there was, you just never saw it, so shut up. Red and Green were a word of mouth success in Japan and led to Pokémon Blue being made, which was the same game as Green, except with better sprites and music, effectively making Green look like that middle child in the family that no-one ever wants…and who can blame them, look at the sprites used.
He looks like he’s getting crushed by his own plant, there’s a flaw in evolution there.
Looks like someone opened the buffet.
He’s hiding behind a Doduo…I wonder what he’s doing there…
So Blue went on to be even more successful and Game Freak opened the series up to the more famous anime and trading card series that still carry on to this day. And when they brought that stuff over to America and Europe…oh boy did everyone know it.
Soon, it was everywhere, cards, cartoons, lunchboxes, hats, toys, furry porn and a movie. Nintendo decided to add on to the money making machine even more by releasing Pokémon Yellow, a culmination of the series at it’s peak…it was Pokémon red and blue. Except you now had a Pikachu at the start of the game and fought Jessie and James for no reason other than to give the game a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.
Of course, the problem with actually reviewing Pokémon Yellow and satirizing it is the fact that everyone and their mum has made a joke about Pokémon’s first generation. So throughout the course of this review, I’ll just steal everyone else’s.
First we’re introduced to Professor Oak, a moody looking professor who can’t be bothered to look up from his book when talking to you (However, he came when he heard you beat the elite 4). Followed by our main character, who isn’t Ash, but because this game is so anime inspired, he may as well be. Then we get his rival, Blue, or Gary, or Gary Motherfucking Oak, if you like. (You can’t ignore his girth apparently) or as I’d call him if there wasn’t a character limit, fartknuckles, leading to Professor Oak being a dick to his grandson.
The thing is with Pokémon is that while it has the façade of nice friendly kiddy game, underneath is an RPG made from molten hatred of pure evil that takes genuine skill to succeed in. Think you can fight Brock with your Pikachu? You can’t. You’ll die. Again. And Again. And Again. Leading many people who already owned the last couple of games to yell “WHY AM I STILL TRYING THIS STRATEGY? I should have just traded over my mewtwo…”
As stated, the main difference is that you get Pikachu from the start and you fight Jessie and James, the inept duo from the show, but you also get all 3 starters from the other 2 games through some very silly circumstances, some stronger Pokémon are found earlier in the game, the sprites are bit nicer, Game Boy Colour support and Red has slightly pointier hair in the intro video. That’s it. Oh and Pikachu follows you making sound effects that grate the soundcard.
To the games credit though, it’s still a very fun and addictive game, it’s just too similar to its source material to stand up on its own. Some people see it as a directors cut that combines the best of the two games, but it takes out the strategy element of choosing a starter and thinking ahead of what they’ll become and it makes your team wholly predictable, Blastoise, Charizard and Venusaur are overpowered and the best of their types, so they’re in. Pikachu’s your starter, so you’ll use him. Add a flying type and a psychic and BOOM. Game over, you win, Oak came. You’d be better off playing Pokémon Red or Blue for the full experience. But then, the same can be said of Crystal to Gold And Silver…and Emerald to Ruby and Sapphire…and Platinum to…oh this is just stupid.
Of course, whilst it’s not as popular as it was in its heyday, the Pokémon bandwagon churns on. Next year see’s the release of Pokémon Black and White, which will no doubt be followed up by the Ultimate Directors Cut known as Pokémon Beige.