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Say Cheese! Nintendo brings you the first Pokemon game to the Nintendo 64. It was big on the selling charts, just like any other Pokemon game. Pokemon Snap places you in the position of Todd, a young boy and gifted photographer hired by Professor Oak to take pictures of your favorite Pokemon. Oak prefers pictures of Pokemon facing the camera and especially likes it when you can catch more than one of the same Pokemon in one frame and Pokemon performing their moves! Pokemon Snap is, at its core, a game about snapping photos of Pocket Monsters in order to earn points -- and it's on rails. But through clever design, intuitive control, lots of traditional secrets and, of course, more than 60 Pokemon to snap pictures of and toy with, it's a game that is a lot of fun in spite of its seemingly simplistic design and nature.
The Facts
 Snap pictures of your favorite Pocket Monsters in 3D environments.
 More than 60 Pokemon.
 Seven levels.
 Save 60 of your favorite photos to cartridge.
 Interact with Pokemon by throwing objects at them, playing songs, etc.
 Loads of hidden characters and secret signs.
 Create your own Pokemon album.
 Rumble Pak support.
The premise behind the HAL-developed Pokemon Snap is simple: Players roll through 3D environments (on rails) and try to snap the very best possible pictures of various Pokemon characters. Of course, there is a lot more to it than that. The game features seven big levels (fully 3D polygonal backdrops and characters), The six worlds are all based on one small island called "Pokemon Island" and there are more than 60 Pokemon. That's a lot of picture snapping. Adding strategy to the process, players need to accomplish a number of different tasks before certain Pokemon will respond (either purposefully or accidentally) and pose for the camera. For example, in the game's Beach level, Snorlax sleeps peacefully as players cost by on rails, unable to take a decent picture of the giant Pokemon as he rests on the ground. The only way to wake Snorlax is to play him a song on the Poke Flute, which isn't attainable until much further in the game. Therefore, players must build points, advance a few levels and grab the flute, at which time it's possible to come back to the Beach, play the flute for Snorlax, wake him up and snap an award-winning photo. This sort of strategy is common in Pokemon Snap and works wonders to extend the life and replay value of the game.
Players control Todd, a photographer contracted by Professor Oak to travel to Pokemon Island and snap pictures of the Pocket Monsters in their natural habitat. Helping Todd on his adventure is Zero-One, a vehicle built by the professor himself designed with only two goals in mind: One, take Todd for a cruise through all the areas of Pokemon Island and two, keep the Pokemon safe. Because of this, the vehicle comes to a stop whenever players are about to hit a Pocket Monster, giving the creature a chance to escape unhurt.
Todd begins each level with a film roll capable of snapping 60 photos. Players must decide when to take a picture and when to hold off, but they also need to determine what object to use in order to entice the Pokemon to pose for them in any given situation. Some Pokemon, after all, don't respond to the sound of music; others want food; still others only react to pester balls. Each Pokemon may dictate a different course of action in order to capture the best possible picture. Once players are satisfied with the pictures they have snapped, they can take them to Professor Oak for judgement. The better they are, the more he likes them, the more point's players are awarded.
Control is very intuitive. As players don't have a say in what direction Zero-One takes them in, nearly all of the buttons are freed up for other purposes. The analog stick is used to control the direction player's face as they coast along on rails. The B button throws pester-balls generally bother Pokemon. The Z-trigger zooms the camera. The A button throws food (an apple) and, when the Z-button is pressed (thus zooming the camera), the A button snaps photos. C-down plays the flute, which causes certain Pokemon to dance or react and the R button speeds up Zero-One. Everything controls wonderfully and it really is a lot of fun to just try out different methods on the various Pokemon. Or, if you're anything like us, laugh at them after they have been hit with a stink-inducing pester-ball.
Pokemon Snap does have a fair amount of problems, however. The biggest of which lies in game-depth -- or, as it were, lack of it. The title features only seven levels and takes roughly a few hours to complete. Though developer HAL has done its best to enhance replay value with hidden goodies, the overall quest is far too easy.
Courses include:
 Beach
 Tunnel
 Volcano
 River
 Cave
 Valley
 Rainbow Cloud
Each course takes an estimated three to five minutes to run through. There is no getting around it; Pokemon Snap is a short experience. This game can beat the game in one sitting or about 4 hours top's Well, now you are saying that it must take a long time to snap pictures of all the Pokemon and complete all the extras. Wrong. It only takes about another 4 hours to complete everything in the game. There are only roughly 63 out of the original possible 151 in all.
Pokemon Featured in the Game (and their accompanying number):
 Bulbasaur (001)
 Charmander (004)
 Charmeleon (005)
 Charizard (006)
 Squirtle (007)
 Meatapod (011)
 Butterfree (012)
 Kakuna (014)
 Pidgey (016)
 Pikachu (025)
 Sandshrew (027)
 Sandslash (028)
 Vulpix (037)
 Jigglypuff (039)
 Zubat (041)
 Vileplume (045)
 Diglett (050)
 Dugtrio (051)
 Meowth (052)
 Psyduck (054)
 Mankey (056)
 Growlithe (058)
 Arcanine (059)
 Poliwag (060)
 Weepinbell (070)
 Victreebel (071)
 Geodude (074)
 Graveler (075)
 Rapidash (078)
 Slowpoke (079)
 Slowbro (080)
 Magemite (081)
 Magneton (082)
 Doduo (084)
 Grimer (088)
 Muk (089)
 Shellder (090)
 Cloyster (091)
 Haunter (093)
 Ecectrode (101)
 Koffing (109)
 Chansey (113)
 Kangaskhan (115)
 Goldeen (118)
 Staryu (1200
 Starmie (121)
 Scyther (123)
 Jynx (124)
 Electabuzz (125)
 Magmar (126)
 Magikarp (129)
 Gyarados (130)
 Lapras (131)
 Ditto (132)
 Eevee (133)
 Porygon (137)
 Snorlax (143)
 Articuno (144)
 Zapdos (145)
 Moltres (146)
 Dratini (147)
 Dragonite (149)
 Mew (151)
Depth, quite frankly, is our only complaint about Pokemon Snap. Had the game been longer and featured more Pocket Monsters, we would have only criticized the fact that everything runs on rails, which is not really as bothersome as one might think.
Pokemon Snap takes place in full Polygonal 3D environments with a graphic style that screams, "I might very well be running on the Super Mario 64 engine." What we mean by this is that levels are generally very bright in appearance and polygon models are equally low in detail and construction. This creates a somewhat generic overall 3D terrain that HAL has done its best to avoid with lots of variation in textures and overall atmosphere, but has not been entirely successful. Hills and grass are a clear-cut example of this as both lack proper curves, giving off an appearance that is much more blocky and polygonal than most games of this type.
With all of this said, Pokemon Snap is by no means an ugly game. Think Super Mario 64, add in more texture variety, improved animation and the like. The characters themselves are what really make the experience worthwhile, and they look exactly as they should only in full 3D. You'll laugh wholeheartedly as Pikachu jumps out in front of you in polygonal glory and you send a pester-ball his way, knocking the creature off his feet. Or maybe you won't... but we will. You never catch your yourself saying "Wow that looks amazing".
Happy, Generic, and Funny. All three of these words sum up the audio in Pokemon Snap, which is, for all purposes, neither bad nor particularly good. Throwing objects results in your standard "throw object" sound -- a cross between a beep and a flute. Balls bounce off Pokemon with a clunk. Pikachu says, "Pikachu!" Other Pocket Monsters sing in harmony. It's everything you'd expect and nothing more. On another level, some character reaction sounds are amusing and the music, which is definitely repetitive, is not terribly annoying.


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