TCG Gameboy


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Features
All cards from Base, Jungle, and Fossil Sets.
Special Pokemon Card GameBoy Promo cards, that will not be accessible in real life TCG.
8 Gyms, 8 Gym Leaders, and an Elite 4 + your Rival, just like in the Red/Blue/Yellow Versions.
Collect and trade with players in the game, and your friends.
Use the Card Pop feature to get special cards while trading with your friends.
GameBoy, and GameBoy Color compatible.

I really have to give the kids credit - Pokemon Trading Card Game isn't exactly a cinch to play. The Trading Card Game for Gameboy is very alike the Actual Trading Card Game. It's sort of a combination of red/blue and normal TCG, and more. You can go around and battle many different decks, instead of just maybe 3 or 4 of your friends, and you can collect all of the Base, Jungle, and Fossil sets, and Promo cards that you can't get in the actual TCG. You can also still battle your friends with it by using the link cable, and you can get special cards by trading with your friends. The Pokemon Card GameBoy is based on the RPG games forms, but instead of fighting Pokemon, you play cards, and battle that way. It's a bit on the complex side on how it works, and that's why the Game Boy Color game forces you through a strict training exercise to explain how the Trading Card Game operates. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it - to start the quest; you'll have to spend a good ten minutes with the professor. Now for those already trained in the art of the trading card game, you might find this little routine a bit dull. But for those of us who haven't spent our allowance on booster packs are going to need the extra push down the right path. The tutorial does a great job explaining the rules, but only until you've actually played a few games afterward will you actually grasp the details. The training exercise is a pre-determined script -- it never changes.

The cards in the game are slightly different from the U.S. cards, but are similar enough to understand and use. What you learn in the training exercise is, obviously, how to win the game. The whole concept is to use your creature and item cards in such a way to eliminate every one of your opponent's creatures in his hand and in play - finish him off by eliminating four creatures or all of his Pokemon in-hand or in-play, whichever is fewer. The only way creatures can attack is if you attach a certain combination of energy cards to that creature - each of the creatures attacks have their own needs, so you'll need to study their capabilities to know what they'll require. Some are standard attacks, which whittle the opponent's HPs down; others do the usual Pokemon thing - sleep, paralyze, and confuse. Figuring out how an attack will affect your opponent is definitely key to victory. You'll also learn to evolve characters and utilize item cards to strengthen your side of the table, just as long as you have those cards in your deck, of course.

Once through the training, you get your starter deck. Like the Pokemon RPG, you have your choice: Charmander & Friends (Fire deck), Squirtle & Friends (Water deck), and Bulbasaur & Friends (Grass deck). And like in Pokemon, each type of creature has its own strength and weakness against another type of creature. And since you attack each other with creature cards, it's best to know how to start and set up your decks ahead of time. You can keep a total of four different decks in memory, and it's up to you to make sure you're sorting through your cards, breaking them up to create a killer deck other than the one that's offered to you at the beginning of the game.

So now that you've made it this far, the point of the game is to earn eight Master Medals (much like the Pokemon Badges in Pokemon) by playing the Club Masters of the area. But before these masters will play you, you'll have to locate other members of the club and defeat them. Only then will the Club Master come out and play you. The quest isn't much of one, since you really only jump from one club to the next finding other characters to play - it would have been a bit better if the game followed the whole Pokemon style and offered an entire landscape to traverse. It does mirror Pokemon in the sense that you've got a rival who's always a step ahead of you. Rotten jerk...

But the quest is only a minor part of Pokemon Trading Card Game. The whole challenge is to create and build killer decks from the cards you find and earn. Cards are handed to you after a victorious battle, or through e-mails from the Professor. These booster packs are essentially your prizes for progressing through the game. It's up to you to figure out how to create a deck from these cards - oh, you can have the AI build you one from scratch, but half the fun is seeing if you can anticipate your opponents' styles with styles of your own.

And the quest is only just a mere sliver of what Pokemon Trading Card Game intends in the gameplay department. The further along you get in the quest, the more cards you earn, the more powerful decks you can create. Why? To go up against your friends, of course. Because this is a Pokemon game, it's going to sell regardless what type of game it really is. The more copies out in the market means the more opponents you can challenge. So make sure you have a link-cable with you, since the game has been tailored specifically for one-on-one play. This game arguably focuses more on link-cable support than the original Pokemon does, so make sure you track down a few buddies with the game to really put the game through its uses.

Don't go expecting Pikachu to leap out and give you a big ol' hug - the only Pokemon in Trading Card Game are the imaginary type. Well, you know what I mean - they're only imprinted on the cards you play. Animation during battle is limited to attacks and defensive icons that appear on the cards during play. There's a lot of flash during the game, but don't be floored with elaborate motion between the two players. The game also isn't the most vibrant Game Boy Color out on the market, either, but it's colorful when it needs to be. Like when you're awarded a booster pack after a battle, the pack shown has lots of detail.

The only real problem with the game is its randomness. No matter how powerful you make a deck, you're still at the mercy of the luck of the draw and the flip of the coin. The game does emphasize brains over brawn, though, and if you can't build a decent deck you're up a creek. It'll take hours or even days for you to figure out what combination of 60 cards you should put together for an unstoppable deck, and the value here is immeasurable. Some games, like Tetris, last a long time because you just can't stop playing the game. Pokemon Trading Card Game is going to get a lot of play because of all the micro-management that needs to be done. And the payoff is very satisfying.

Information

Screenshots
Walkthrough Part 1
Walkthrough Part 2



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