Game Review: Pokemon: Red Version (1998)

Release date: 1998 (original Australia date) / 2016 (3DS Virtual Console)
Version played: Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console Version in 2016

Please note this review contains full spoilers for Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow Versions (and I suppose the FireRed and LeafGreen remakes, technically). If you don’t know them by now, then I salute you.

Released all the way back in 1996, who would have guessed what the Pokemon franchise would become. The pair of first generation games, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue, were originally released on the Game Boy, and required the trading of version exclusive between each of Red and Blue to complete the Pokedex (with a few exceptions). In what would become the first of many similar adventures, players took control of a new Pokemon master as he endeavored to travel the Kanto region defeating Gym Leaders and filling out the Pokedex.

+ the nostalgia factor is still there. I still got a thrill when my Charmander first evolved, and I loved every second of capturing the legendary birds. Even knowing the story points, I hated that the rival beat the Elite Four first
+ the story does progress at an even pace; none of the gym leaders are particularly easy or difficult (aside from maybe Sabrina, the psychic leader) and by the time you get to the Elite Four not too much grinding was needed
+ I really love how absolutely horrible looking some of the sprites are. Blastoise being such a big fatty never ceases to make me smile

In hindsight, and after having played games from the same series nearly two decades later, some of the game mechanics here are quite unfair. These include:
– even trading between versions was not enough to get all three of the Eevee-lutions (thankfully I had a friends’ third version to use)
– Tauros appearance rate in the Safari Zone was 1%, and had a capture rate only slightly higher than the elusive Chansey. I spent more time trying to catch a Tauros than I did the bird trio and Mewtwo combined
– when Pokemon boxes were full, you could not catch any new monsters; this could end in situations where you would finally run into an aforementioned Tauros but be unable to catch it (which happened to me. “Mad” would be an understatement)
– having to save every time you wanted to change boxes on the PC is, in 2016, a very outdated mechanic and time consuming

> My final team was Charizard, Raichu, Victreebel, Fearow, Alakazam and Gyarados. We were absolutely unbeatable.
> I admit it: I did cheat to get Mew. I said I would.

Should you play this game: For once, I have no comment; if you haven’t played it by now there is no real reason to choose it over the new games, and if you have played it then this answer is irrelevant. This entire post was basically just me bragging about this:


Eat your heart out, Ash Ketchum. Now I’m the very best.

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