Pokemon Yellow

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What you've just clicked on, is the review to easily the most popular videogame ever to hit Nintendo's little black-and-white portable. The game has been available in the states since the end of 1998, but the original Red and Blue editions of Pokemon continue to sell like gangbusters. And there's a reason for that the game isn't just a fad. It's an awesome game worthy of any gamer's Game Boy library.

151 Creatures to Capture
Link cable support for two players
For Game Boy, Super Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advanced

Pokemon started, believe it or not (and you'll be amazed at how many people don't realize it) as a Game Boy RPG back in 1996, in Japan. After two incredibly successful years as a game, a TV show, and a huge merchandise license, decided to bring this over to the US. And guess what? It caught on. And chances are, you've caught it as well.

Here's the deal in Pokemon: you're a kid named Ash (which can be changed within the game, but for now, you'll be known as Ash), who dreams of being a Pokemon master. So, you leave home to fulfill your dream. You'll travel from town to town, defeating each town's Gym master with the Pokemon you've captured and trained, until you earn all the badges necessary to be considered a Pokemon Master.

Pokemon is a very traditional oriented Japanese RPG overhead view, super deformed characters, tile-based dungeons, random creature encounters the works. The appeal of Pokemon, however, is the sheer amount of personality in the game. There are literally more than 150 Pokemon to uncover and capture, and your collection becomes a status symbol how many Pokemon have you found Or, more importantly, how many Pokemon have you captured

See when you encounter a wild Pokemon, you must do battle with it and the only way to do battle with a Pokemon is with another Pokemon. Each of the game's Pokemon has its own strength and weakness, its own attack and defense capabilities. All Pokemon belong to one of fifteen categories, and some types of Pokemon can utterly destroy Pokemon in other categories Fire to Water, Water to Rock, and so on. It literally becomes a game of Rock/Paper/Scissors as you try and discover which Pokemon works best against others.

And the Pokemon you've caught can be traded between your friends in fact, that's the only real way you're going to be able to catch every single one. Between red and blue, there are about a dozen Pokemon you'll never be able to find in each version. You'll have to find someone with the other color version of Pokemon to trade and catch all the Pokemon in the series.

The quest is not extremely difficult, and in some cases it's very straightforward. Still, you'll have to learn strategies in battle to progress through the game, and which Pokemon you choose to train and evolve may affect your progress throughout the quest. Pokemon will literally take you at least 30-40 hours to get through, but that's just to finish the game. Even if you finish the quest, you still might not have all the Pokemon in the game. The challenge to catch 'em all is truly the game's biggest draw.

Okay, so that's Pokemon in a nutshell. What does Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition bring to the table?

First of all, the story of Pokemon Red and Blue has been altered slightly to mirror the cartoon. In Pokemon Red and Blue, you had your choice of three Pokemon at the start of the game. In Pokemon Yellow, Professor Oak captures and hands you Pikachu as your first Pokemon. Because Pikachu is a rather rare and powerful Pokemon in the game, Pokemon Yellow is slightly easier to play since battles are a lot easier to win - but during the first big battle with Brock, Pikachu is useless, so you're best to capture as many other Pokemon and train them before the first Badge battle. And like the cartoon, Pikachu doesn't like being housed in a Pokeball - so he follows you around like a companion. He cannot be traded, or let go, and he will never evolve. You can check out how well you're treating your Pikachu by "talking" to it - this will bring up a window showing its mood. Take pride in knowing you're taking care of it.

Because the game somewhat mirrors the cartoon, the graphics have been altered a bit. It's nothing major - Brock looks like Brock in the cartoon, and Jesse and James from Team Rocket now make an appearance. Other small tidbits have been added, like Jigglypuff showing up to sing the Jigglypuff song (putting Pikachu to sleep in the process).

Speech has been added - when you use or talk to Pikachu, it'll say its trademark "Pika!" "Pi!" or "Pikachu!" in crappy, low quality digitized audio. It's obvious the existing game engine was never meant to have speech - and the sound quality shows.

Game Boy Color support has been improved a bit, but it's still not the most colorful portable game out there. In Pokemon Red and Blue, when you played the game on a Game Boy Color each game had a blue or red hue throughout the adventure. In Pokemon Yellow, the color palette changes depending on what screen you're on -- battle sequences are slightly more colorful, and you'll notice the color change as you walk from town to town - the color switch is pretty obvious. Pokemon Yellow will most likely be the last game from Nintendo to not feature true Game Boy Color support.

Finally, Pokemon Yellow features Game Boy Printer support so you can create stickers of the creatures you've seen or caught. Essentially, this is simply a screen dump of the Pokedex, including text that describes the Pokemon you printed out. It's not a big deal, but it's a cool little feature.


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

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