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By Craig Harris
We're already familiar with the crazy popularity that is the Pokemon franchise. With every release of the series on the Game Boy Advance, system owners scoop 'em up as quickly as Nintenvì chưng can make them. And with good reason, too: despite its overly xinh đẹp nature that gives the series its "cool to lớn hate" status, the actual game desearlsdaughter.com surrounding the Pokemon franchise -- at least the thiết kế that started it all -- is an incredibly satisfying and extensive experience that fits the handheld market extremely well. And a successful series will never stop; as long as there's a market for the games, the companies will keep the brands going. Capitalism at its finest, baby.

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Last year's release of Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire release officially moved the wickedly popular franchise out of the 8-bit realm of the classic Game Boy into lớn the more advanced GBA platkhung, bumping the series to lớn the standards of what's expected out of the system's enhanced capabilities. But as complete as that game was, it was only part of the story and half of the presentation, and Nintendo is finally offering a way to complete the current package in the form of Poketháng FireRed.

But let's be frank. This is not a completely new experience. Even though FireRed/LeafGreen can be considered the fourth episode in the epic that is the Pokemon RPG, it's actually a retelling of the very first game that started it all. Just as Lucas went back to lớn muck around with his original Star Wars films for a "Special Edition," Nintenvì, too, returned to lớn its roots for an updated experience of Pokemon Red/Blue, the adventure that kicked off the money machine for Nintenvày. This revisit is obviously a tremendous cash-in khổng lồ keep the Pokemoney rolling in, but the package is still an amazingly complete, và absolutely recommended experience, even if you've sầu already done this quest five sầu years ago.

Features 30-plus hour quest More than 150 creatures khổng lồ catch and trade between each version Connectivity with Ruby/Sapphire và GameCube Colosseum khổng lồ complete the collection of more than 350 creatures. Cartridge save sầu (one slot) Includes Wireless Adapter Link cable tư vấn It was obviously all a plan from the beginning: when Nintendo & its Poketháng development studio trò chơi Freaks phối out to lớn break Pokemon out of its 8-bit Game Boy home page & finally set it không tính tiền on the Game Boy Advance, the team didn't give sầu the audience a complete picture. The main Poketháng theme -- Gotta Catch 'em All -- just wasn't possible in its Ruby/Sapphire iteration, as the team purposely restricted which Poketháng showed up in that adventure. Oh, sure, the cartridge is brimming with more than 350 critters khổng lồ catch, trade, and battle, but the original hundred-plus beasts that were a part of the series from the beginning went MIA. It was a devious ploy: offer another adventure one year later that will finally reunite the Pokemon freaks with the original batch of Pocket Monsters. Enter FireRed/LeafGreen, the lathử nghiệm in the RPG series. Brilliant kinh doanh.

The foundation for doing such a thing is definitely sound; the Red/Blue series literally resurged the trò chơi Boy market out of its somewhat obscure casual gaming position and into lớn a "gotta have sầu it!!!" status, và no game since the original Tetris had the power lớn vì this. It wasn't just hype, either, because the game's desearlsdaughter.com was so perfect for the Game Boy platsize that, baông chồng in 1999, even I gave the game the highest rating we can give. It's a tremendous game hidden under a heavy layer of cuteness that could scare away those worried about hurting their masculinity.

But what is it about the Pokemon series that makes it so good? It's such a solid & satisfying role-playing thiết kế that really gives the player a feeling of personal satisfaction. The idea of creating an element of catching creatures for their collection makes players feel more connected lớn the adventure, & offering up a bunch of hard-to-catch critters makes it even more desirable to grab them for their personal cabịt. The game also has a heavy focus on strategic elements, as each creature has its own type that's either strong, weaker, or equal khổng lồ creatures in other types. Fire creatures, for example, suchồng against Water Pokemon, but excel against Plant Poketháng. And with these elements players must choose which Pokemon are the best khổng lồ carry in their collection; what's the best team lớn create? Which creatures do I want to raise, to lớn give sầu more experience to? Which ones just look good versus ones that kiông xã ass in battle? There are lots of variables in the Pokemon experience; it's not just a game with cute furball critters.

This update moves the series inlớn the realm of Ruby/Sapphire's graphic & audio presentation, which honestly wasn't much of a step upwards khổng lồ begin with. In short, if you've experienced last year's GBA game, it's the same stuff here: bare minimum graphical flair for both the adventure & the creature battles. It's admittedly tough khổng lồ not only render hundreds of character animations for hundreds of creatures, but store them on the limiting cartridge format. So it's not surprising in the least that the actual fights are simple cut-out actions that feature the same flair as a Terry Gilliam Monty Pynhỏ nhắn cartoon. The expectations for the run-around-the-world elements are a completely different story, but I guess constantly jumping back and forth between a detailed world và a simplistic battle interface would be too distracting. So, both environments remain "simplistic." I'm just hoping that this changes when the series moves to the Nintenbởi vì DS. And you know that's going to happen.

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Where the game sort of falls flat on a visual và sound experience, it excels pretty much everywhere else. The gameplay of Red/Blue remains true in FireRed/LeafGreen, with the desearlsdaughter.comers only changing things up that make sense lớn the direction the series went in last year's version. This means new moves và abilities for the Poketháng creatures that builds more strategic elements into lớn the game's battle structure & monster raising, as well as new and different locations to lớn discover these extra items to enhance the creatures. Ruby/Sapphire also introduced the element of two-on-two battles, an element that's been implemented in the Red/Blue remake as well...though these only show up about 2% of the time. The entire town layout, however, hasn't changed much in the move from trò chơi Boy to lớn GBA, keeping all of the village structures are essentially untouched in the update. So even though about 90% of the game retains the exact adventure from the original game, the addition of Ruby/Sapphire gameplay elements keeps the experience somewhat fresh for players going through it again.

Yes, that's right, 90%. It's not entirely a videogame rerun. About three quarters through the single player mode it actually skews along a new line with fresh environments that introduce new adventure elements. Surprisingly, this fork in the road initially seems lượt thích only a slight detour that isn't entirely necessary to lớn complete the game. But where Red/Blue ended, FireRed/LeafGreen continues và expands on those environments, opening them up even further lớn increase the game's trả lời value. All told, there's another good 10 hours of adventuring beyond the standard 25-30 hours required to beat the game as established in Red/Blue

On top of the extra adventuring elements, the developers also throw in a lot of little elements that make the package feel more complete. A online tutorial can be pulled up at any time khổng lồ give sầu players a taste of learning the game's nuances and strategies; a "context sensitive" help menu is literally at player's fingertips by hitting the L or R triggers, during battles or during the adventure. On top of this, the game has a nifty "flashback" mode that pops up after starting a saved game khổng lồ remind players where they are in the adventure; it actually remembers the last four key moments that happened in the quest and plays them baông chồng as they happened in a quichồng "instant replay" fashion. It's an element that wasn't entirely necessary, but it's certainly helpful, especially if you've sầu taken a long break from the adventure.

After the release of Red/Blue, the desearlsdaughter.comers advanced the series two more times, in the Game Boy Color-only Gold/Silver and the GBA premiere of Ruby/Sapphire, each offering a generous helping of new creatures & new functionality to keep the series fresh. FireRed/LeafGreen follows this successful trover, but not quite in the same direction. Where the past Poketháng games improved and tweaked the gameplay elements, FireRed/LeafGreen's offering is more in the game's functionality: wireless connectivity.

Included with each copy of FireRed & LeafGreen is an adapter that plugs into lớn the links port of a Game Boy Advance or Game Boy Advance SP.., turning the system inlớn a radio transmitter/receiver. This changes up the game's multiplayer function searlsdaughter.comificantly. Previously players had to lớn be tethered together during trades and battles, which admittedly restricted the "comfort" of linking up. With the wireless adapter, players still have to be in the general area due to lớn distance limitation (about a hundred feet apart), but now groups và clans can jump into lớn desearlsdaughter.comated Pokemon hotspots & compete anonymously in the game's Union Room. In these rooms, as many as 30 different Poketháng players can join up, trade, battle, or simply chat in a basic IM interface.

The downside khổng lồ wireless connectivity: it's clearly more taxing on the system than you would think. Wireless battles are much more lag-filled than link cable & single player battles, putting awkward one or two second pauses in between each action as the systems sync up with each other. The interface khổng lồ connect with other players wirelessly is also a bit cumbersome & clunky, with the lag making it difficult to tell when someone's available lớn chat, battle or trade. When trying to hook up in the Union Room, players will many times get generic messages that a player's not available simply because they're trying to lớn vì chưng the same thing khổng lồ you. It's an interface that really needs a lot of work, & hopefully the development team can put a little more time in future iterations inlớn creating a wireless interface that's a lot more seamless.

But even with the new elements, FireRed/LeafGreen feels like a slight step backwards from the previous GBA adventure. The team obviously didn't want khổng lồ derail too much from the original Red/Blue adventure, so out went a lot of the elements that actually spiced up Ruby/Sapphire. No berry growing, no special custom "hideouts", no beauty contests, and no single player mini-games outside of the slot machine in Celadon City. Still, the Pokemon experience remains with near infinite replay value, even beyond the completion of the Red/Blue adventure thanks lớn additional areas and the connectivity between Ruby/Sapphire and the GameCube Poketháng Colosseum.