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In Japan, Pokemon Crystal was released as the main reason to pick up a Mobile Adapter, the interface between the Game Boy Color/Advance and a Japanese cell-phone. In Crystal, kids can dial up to Nintendo's game server and trade/battle Pokemon with other users in remote locations, as well as attend set events by dialing in at a specific time. The updated title's existence was justified because it incorporated these new elements on top of a slightly updated quest and engine. To keep the Pokemon property going on the Game Boy Color, Nintendo has released Pokemon Crystal to US gamers, but without the element that Nintendo capitalized on in Japan. It's the last hurrah for the engine we've known and loved for almost three years in the US, and more than five years since its inception overseas. The final (hopefully) Game Boy Color edition is definitely the version to get if you aren't already one of the umpteenth billion owners of Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon Gold, or Pokemon Silver, with Crystal's slight updates to the design and graphics. But there's not much in this edition that makes it a "must buy" for folks who already own a copy or two of the previous editions.

New female character
More than 100 new Pokemon unique to the GS series
New items including the Pokegear
Real-time RPG using internal clock
Game Boy Printer and Link Cable support
Infrared port and Pokemon Pikachu 2 support (will not work on GBA) Only for Game Boy Color

Just like Pokemon Gold and Silver, Pokemon Crystal utilizes the general design blueprint supplied in Red/Blue/Yellow: Main character wanders the land to become the greatest Pokemon trainer in the world, with an arch rival out to take your glory every step of the way. Both versions are identical in every way, except for the character images during battles, and the characters that can be caught in the wild, keeping with the "trading is necessary" design. The game has the familiar Japanese-style RPG engine, meaning top-down scrolling provides the perspective, and bigheaded people inhabit the world. The hook in Pokemon is the fact that you yourself don't do your own fighting. Instead, creatures you capture in the wild supply the brute force of your battle skills. The creatures are Pokemon, or Pocket Monsters, and like in Pokemon Gold and Silver there are exactly 251 different species of these animals hiding in Pokemon Crystal, waiting to be caught and trained. Through the use of items called Pokeballs, you can trap wild Pokemon and bring them to your side. Each species of Pokemon has its own strengths, weaknesses, as well as defensive and offensive attacks, and the more they fight for you, the stronger they get in battle s. Some creatures are more rare than others, only showing up in different locations and at different times of the day, and some are more difficult to catch than others. It's up to your skill and logic to figure out how to catch 'em all. Strategy plays a huge part in this game, which means that it's not just tailored for the kiddies.

Pokemon Crystal is a near identical version of Pokemon Gold and Silver with very little added to the question The overall quest is separated into "chapters" in the form of Gym battles -- the only way you can proceed on to the next town and series of puzzles and tasks is to defeat the town's Gym Leader. When defeated, the gym leader will supply you with what you need to access the next portions of the adventure. If you've played the original Pokemon series, you'll be right at home with the Gold and Silver renditions. The internal clock is an outstanding feature in this Pokemon universe, and you'll use it often. At the beginning of the game you'll have to enter in the appropriate time and day of the week, and this is stored in the cartridge from minute one with the game. The cartridge actually houses a working clock that keeps real time whether the system's on or off. When you play at night, its night in the game. Playing in the morning? It's morning in the Pokemon world. The clock serves many functions, most important is the fact that specific Pokemon only show up at certain times during the day -- some creatures are nocturnal and will only attack at night, so to catch 'em all you have to play in the morning, afternoon, and night. Plus, there are events that happen on certain days and times, like a bug hunt contest or a lottery drawing. This element adds so much to the gameplay, especially when you have to play in the morning and night to acquire specific creatures.
Some defeated opponents will call you over at certain times of the week to give you hints on where to find the rare and cool Pokemon creatures to capture. The Pokemon Professors will call you to offer their help whenever they can. Your mom (the game's characters mom, I mean) will call you to tell you that she's bought items for you with the money you've sent home. And defeated opponents will call you for a rematch. The cell phone is an integral part of your pack, and it's used to its fullest. The Pokemon can procreate, which means that every Pokemon (with the exception of Ditto) has a gender, whether it's male or female. Breeding is important and useful, for not only does it give you more Pokemon to train or trade, it's also necessary if you want to find all the Pokemon in the game -- a few Pokemon can only be obtained through Pokemon breeding. Items can now be attached to the Select Button (like a bicycle for faster movement), special Pokemon HM moves (like Flash, Headbutt, or Cut) can be performed automatically without a menu selection, fun stuff can be transmitted between systems through the infrared port of the Game Boy Color (sorry GBA owners) and there are just so much more little things to discover. Yes, there's a disease that the Pokemon can catch and spread to other Pokemon, and other systems through the link cable. There are different colored Pokemon. There are little gambling mini games. There are even two new Pokemon types in Gold and Silver. The cartridge is just stuffed with all sorts of good items.

And since the game is using the same engine as Gold and Silver, the graphics have the same upgraded look from Red, Blue and Yellow. Quest portions of the game look nearly identical to the previous edition of Pokemon, but the engine is a lot more colorful and vibrant. It doesn't look washed out anymore. In fact, the game doesn't have the usual "dark" appearance on the Game Boy Advance systems as many Game Boy Color titles do.

Okay, with all that out of the way, what's different about Pokemon Crystal? Not much, but there have been some improvements made to the overall design. First and foremost, a female character has been now you can act out your Poke-fantasies as either gender. Nothing changes when playing as the opposite's purely a cosmetic change in the overhead and battle screens. Second, a couple extra quests have been either altered or added, including the new Unown cavern story imprinted on the floor of the ruins, and the Pokemon Battle Tower near Olivine City. You can also catch Suicune in a rare opportunity only available in Crystal. Anything else? Cosmetically, very little. You may notice that before a Pokemon battle, the critters will pop on the screen with a three or four frame animated "taunt." You may also recognize that location names now pop up on the lower half of the screen when wandering from one place to the next -- which is actually quite handy considering you'd have to refer to the map every time you wanted to know where the heck you just stepped.

Crystal Lists - HM's & TM's, Pokemon Center Items, Etc.

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