What’s this? Another video game review? That’s right, it’s another installment of video game reviews. This time, I’ll be taking a trip back into my childhood and reviewing a game that’s near and dear to my heart, Pokémon Red and Blue. However, to keep this review from spanning into a novel, I will be covering only Pokémon Blue, as the only differences between the two games are the list of Pokémon found exclusively in each version.
Pokémon Red and Blue was first released in Japan in 1996, and was localized and released in North America in 1998. Although I owned both Red and Blue, I played Blue more, as it was the first one I received. The plot is fairly linear and straightforward: You control the protagonist, a brand new Pokémon trainer, and at 11 years old, you are ready to go forth and set out on a journey, the goal of the games to become the Champion of the Indigo League, by defeating the 8 Gym Leaders and then the top four Pokémon trainers in the land, the Elite Four. Along the way, you have another goal, to see and capture all 150 Pokémon, or Pocket Monsters that inhabit the world the game takes place in, the fictional region of Kanto, which was based upon a real life region in Japan.
I will not spoil the storyline of the game, despite how linear it seems, but there is a lot more to this game than just simply becoming the best trainer in Kanto and collecting all 150 Pokémon. Anyone who was born in the 90’s, or at the tail end of the 80’s, like me, will feel nostalgia hit upon mere mention of this game. This is a game I grew up with, and it became a huge fad while I was in elementary school. As simple as the game’s appearance is, given the graphical limitations back in the 90’s, not to mention this game was released on the Gameboy originally, then could be played on the Gameboy Colour later on, I enjoyed this game a lot. Portable gaming was growing in popularity, and Pokémon Blue only helped to further it.
Now for the mechanics and overall game play. You might be thinking, “Mechanics? This game has mechanics?” Why yes, it does. The mechanics lie in the battle system, which is a side-view turn-based system. Along the way, you battle against other trainers, in order to earn Experience Points to level up and make your Pokémon stronger, and when they’ve reached a certain level, they will evolve into their higher evolution forms. The order the Pokémon attack is based on their Speed stat, with the Pokémon that has the higher Speed going first, naturally. Although the battle system is simple, there is a level of strategy required, because you cannot just bulldoze your way through trainers and hope you’ll win.
All Pokémon have a type, such as Water Pokémon, Grass Pokémon, etc. Each type is weak to one or more types, but also super effective against one or more types. By taking this into account, strategy can be used, allowing you to defeat the other trainers while minimizing damage to your own team. Game play-wise, the overworld is in a third-person, top down perspective, as you control the protagonist, and manoeuvre him on the over world.
Overall, while I have no doubt many have played Pokémon Red and Blue, especially considering how popular it was when it first came out, even with a release on the Virtual Console for Nintendo 3DS, in the end, this game will be, for fans back in the day, a nostalgia trip, and nothing more. This is not a recommendation for a game to play, because unless you lived under a rock, you know about the games, and have played it. I personally love the series, even to this day, and being able to go back and play a piece of my childhood, is a joy, and makes me feel like a little kid again.