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Pokemon Gold & Silver Review

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Gold & Silver is the only core Pokemon game that’s allowed us to explore two different regions. So how well did it age and is it still the best Pokemon game? 

The Great:

Gameplay:

Pokemon’s gameplay has roughly remained the same since the first game. There have been improvements to the formula, but it’s always been turn based and the only difference today is that we’re not looking at sprites anymore. The Pokemon are fully animated now. Replaying this game made me realize how much I missed the old Pokemon games. Pokemon Gold (that’s the one I played) has aged beautifully in my opinion. It’s a perfect case of don’t fix what ain’t broke. It gave us one of the best regions to explore and added more Pokemon to the game too. The only downside is the starter Pokemon. Only one of them are worth training, but I’ll get into that later. 

You can easily see the age of this game. The sprites aren’t animated as beautifully as the ones in future Pokemon games, the Pokemon don’t move whatsoever when they perform attacks, and this is a very slow paced game just like Pokemon Red & Blue before it. All of that would probably drive newer Pokemon fans crazy, but I grew up with this. I get nostalgic whenever I boot this game up and it’s still fun to play.

Pokemon:

This game introduced us to Steelix, Crobat, Mareep, and Totodile. That’s just a few of the great Pokemon that’s available to catch in this game. This game mixed the old Pokemon from Red & Blue with the newer ones and it worked out well in my opinion. You can catch a Gastly, Bellsprout, and even get an Onix (if you trade Bellsprout) before you win your first gym badge. That’s awesome and I love the placement of the Pokemon in this game. No Pokemon game would be complete without some badass legendary Pokemon and the legendary Pokemon in this game are fantastic. I don’t think they’re as good as the iconic Moltres, Articuno, Zapdos, and Mewtwo, but they’re still awesome. 

Gym Leaders:

This game has some of the most unique gym leaders in the entire series. The first gym leader uses Flying type Pokemon. He’s not hard by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s unique. The next gym uses one of my favorite types with Bug Pokemon. You’ve also got Normal, Ghost, Steel, Fighting, Ice, and Dragon to finish it off. A Dragon type gym leader. That’s awesome! That’s not even including the other eight gym leaders from the Kanto region. Do you remember the guys you went up against in the original Red & Blue games? They’re back! And they’re better than ever too. This game has 16 gym leaders in total. No other Pokemon game to this day has as many. 

The Good:

Graphics:

It’s to be expected that the graphical style of this game would age. It’s 18 years old (19 in Japan)! Still… this game hasn’t aged horribly in my opinion.I love the use of colors, different environments, cities, and sprites. For a game that’s pushing 20 years old it still looks pretty good to me. I’m not going to go on a rant about how ugly a 20 year old game is. Games today have nice shadows, particle effects, and all sorts of high tech features that games back then simply didn’t have. For the time that this game released it still looks really good. 

Sounds:

I would say that I would love to hear this soundtrack remastered, but I already have in HeartGold & SoulSilver. The soundtrack in this game is amazing. Every city has its own unique song playing in the background and you have your battle music and exploration music. None of it is bad, but it doesn’t sound as good as the remastered versions and that’s why it’s in this section. There is no voice acting whatsoever unless you count the sounds every Pokemon make when you first encounter them. Fantastic soundtracks is what Pokemon is known for and it does not disappoint here all these years later.

Story:

You know the drill with these games. You want to be the very best that no one ever was. And I totally have that theme playing in my head right now. What theme you ask? This one – 

There’s a twist to the story this time around. Your rival isn’t given a Pokemon at the beginning of the game. He steals it from Professor Elm and battles you with it a little later in the game. He doesn’t care for his Pokemon the way you do. He mistreats them and only wants them for their power, but he fails every time. It’s a nice little story and I love how real life time factors into it. Depending on the day of the week depends on what could happen in your game. Do you want Lapras? You’ll need to go to a specific location on Friday to get it. Do you like Bug type Pokemon? Then go to the park every Tuesday and Thursday to catch the best Bug type Pokemon in the game including Scyther and Pinsir! Not everyone will enjoy this mechanic, but I did. 

The Bad:

The Starter Pokemon:

The only starter worth using is Totodile. It (and Gyrados) are the best water Pokemon in the game. You can go for Lapras if you want, but I love Totodile. Cyndaquil is quickly outclassed by Magmar and Growlithe. Chikorita is utterly useless and is the second weakest Grass Pokemon in the game next to Sunflora. You get Bellsprout at the very beginning of the game and that’s a far superior Pokemon to Chikorita’s dumbass. 

You can find my review of Pokemon Red & Blue by clicking here. I also wrote my a list of my top 10 least favorite starter Pokemon. You can find that here. If you want to read my top 10 favorite starter Pokemon click here

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The Verdict

Pokemon Gold & Silver are still fantastic games, but I prefer the remakes. This game does feel old with its slow pace and it took some getting used to. There's minimal hand holding in the older Pokemon games and I really like that compared to the super easy ones we have today. Pokemon Gold & Silver have held up really well, have a unique time mechanic, that I personally love, and two whole regions for us to explore. What's there not to love about these games? They're classics and still have a very special place in my heart. Now if only Nintendo will make the Pokemon Company port these games to the Nintendo Switch...

9.5
Final Score:
9.5

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