Tag Archives: game freak

Haven Review: Pokemon Snap

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Oh snap! It’s Pokemon Snap!

Professor Oak did SCIENCE! Through being a scientist in Pokemon Snap, he made a floating self-propelled observation platform and a portal. After creating these marvelous artifacts, he hired a photographer named Tracy to utilize them, in order to take stunning wildlife pictures. Capturing nature’s unrivaled beauty through a camera lens, from dark caves to rapid rivers and space, is the name of the game.

The face of SCIENCE! Research and poetry

Pokemon is weird and there are very few inherently bad or broken games. Pokemon Snap is one of those spin-off games that was launched on Nintendo 64 and was later put on sale through the Wii Store. The game is a unique take on the idea of a “rail shooter”. Instead of pointing a gun, the player points a camera and the goal is to take pictures of every Pokemon and maximize the score. There are several tools to achieve this, such as an infinite apples, pester balls and a “pokeflute”. Apples distract monsters, while the pester ball aggravates them, causing various effects to occur. The flute wakes up those that are sleeping. The scoring system is based on various factors, such as whether the creature is in the center of the picture, or whether there are multiple Pokemon captured in the photo. There’s even a bonus if the creature is striking a pose or doing something fancy.

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Our protagonist for this game, he has not aged well.

After the track is complete, Professor Oak will rate the pictures and a score will be set, perhaps resulting in new “unlocks”. Pokemon Snap starts out with one track, but more become available by interacting with the environment at specific points. I’m not entirely sure if there is music in the game; I can’t remember any other track than that damn ear worm of a menu theme. That and Professor Oak’s creepy upbeat, very exited voice. A great deal of the first generation Pokemon does show up, but not all 150 creatures. However they did include Mew as the last “boss”.

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The most advanced picture platform in the world!

There is not that much to say about the game play, other than that it provides a fresh and innovative take on the world fans know and love. Pokemon Snap is very a very calm game with a very relaxed atmosphere, despite being surrounded by vicious beasts that can tear a man limb from limb, or turn him into a frozen meat Popsicle. It’s a highly recommended title for any fan who wants to see a different take on the world of Pokemon without having to grind for hours and fight every deluded trainer on the way. It can be bought on the virtual Nintendo store, but keep in mind, this game has not aged well.

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Point and click!

Njål H Sand

Haven Review: Pokemon Gold and Silver

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Greetings trawler and welcome to the magical word of Pokemon, a place of untold mystery filled to the brim with mighty beasts, fluffy critters, a bucket load of weird things and a fair share of Eldrtich abominations wanting to feast on your soul. In this lovely pastel-colored world, children as young as ten are sent out to become a Pokemon trainer; someone who can wield the mighty powers each Pokemon contains. However I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s mostly children who did badly on their aptitude tests that have to travel across the land. This might also explain why fishermen with only “Magicarps” are in the party. In other words, these poor uneducated buggers throw fish at you…weak aquatic creatures that flop around on the ground.

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A move that involves only flopping and Splashing around in front of the opponent. It has no effect. Image found on Google.

As Pokemom participate in vicious fights against other monsters, they will eventually become stronger and “evolve” into a bigger and much more vicious version, though the process should be called a metamorphosis. After all I was taught that evolution was something that happened over a very long time through generations. But I’ll crack that up the likelihood that the local scientist in town could quite possibly be bonkers with no formal education. So I’ll stick to the term “evolution”.

The most common way to proceed through the game is via combat, though some rare exceptions occur. Either through elemental rocks or when night sets, some evolve through trading with other trainers, and a selective few by holding an item while being traded. These also seem to grow strong faster, as well. A new trend that recently occurred a well, is the ability to breed Pokemon by putting two of the same gender at the ever-friendly Caretaker’s place. Eventually they lay an egg that will hatch into baby, and if its nature is right will get a little stronger than the rest, by fighting certain Pokemon. Rumor has it that a Pokemon with different color might just appear…and it’s ultra rare! On my journey I got some new tools, as well. This includes a snazzy phone with a map function, though I’m not sure why these deadbeat trainers I fought on the way want to have my number. It’s not like the eventual rematch will be any less one-sided.

Fact of Pokemon life.
Fact of Pokemon life.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for several decades or in The Congo, you have probably heard of or seen a Pokemon product. Whether this is a good thing or not is for you to decide. My first encounter was the pesky Trading Card Game (TCG), which almost no one played (yet everyone and their mother had a card or ten). I was clearly a target demographic when Nintendo launched its nefarious plot to make money off funky critters that fought each other in an arena…essentially a combination of cock fighting and match of rock-paper-scissors.

The old and the new version.
The old and the new version.

The first in the series I actually played through was Pokemon Gold, the sequel to Red and Blue, which added more of everything; new monsters, new locations and a lot of post-game content. The formula mostly follows the idea of fighting eight gym leaders, then challenge the elite four and lastly the champion. As part of the post-game content, there were eight more gym leaders to beat and to have a climatic battle against. Red was the champion from the previous game.

Slightly upgraded graphics.
Slightly upgraded graphics.

Eventually Gold and Silver got a remake named Soul Silver and Hearth Gold, which included a lot of the new elements introduced in later games. This includes Pokemon that need a certain level of happiness to evolve. Aside from better graphics and the addition of some mechanics the game includes a pedometer, a device that counts the number of steps the user has taken during a walk. It is also possible to transfer a Pokemon into the device to level it up while walking, and trade a random item with another person who also has such a device.

The main series is formulaic as all hell and is an example of how to make a highly addictive, turn-based role playing game correctly.

Disclaimer:  We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

While you’re at it, check out this Pokemon fancomic.
http://pokeventuras.smackjeeves.com/

Njål H Sand