Pokémon Snap - Review

Gotta catch 'em all? Not this time

By Mike Tidwell, RPGamer Writer

Review Breakdown
   Battle System N/A
   Gameplay 8.0
   Music 6.0
   Originality 8.5
   Plot N/A
   Replay Value 4.0
   Sound 8.0
   Visuals 9.5
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete 12 hours 

    Pokémon Snap is the latest of Pokémon games to be unleashed, and the first one on Nintendo 64. It is the first chance to see Pokémon in full 3D and stereo sound. Pokémon Snap uses the advantages the Nintendo 64 has to offer to the fullest.

   The story is very simple. Professor Oak wants to publicize the Pokémon on a remote island. For fear that a Pokémon trainer would be more interested in cataching them, than writing the report, Professor Oak calls the aid of a famous photographer, Todd. Todd agrees, and is flown out to the remote island to take pictures for Professor Oak so that he may complete the Pokémon Report.

Ride aboard Zero-One

   Then comes the most dissapointing part of the game. In the opening sequence, Todd is walking out in the forest, camera ready, when he hears something. He stops, tries to take a picture of the Pokémon, but fails as the unknown Pokémon is simply too fast. This opening sequence is totally misleading. Instead of walking around, being able to capture Pokémon in secret, more of a true photographer style, Professor Oak tells you that you will ride in a vehicle called Zero-One, and that it will follow a set path through every course. There is no way to leave the vehicle, so you only hope the Pokémon come towards you, and do special things at the right time. While this may be easier, it is also very limiting on what you can do in the game. Certain Pokémon will simply never have a high score, because you can't get close enough.

   Because of the limitation, the game is geared more toward speed and accuracy. As Todd rides along Zero-One, the courses are full of Pokémon. If Todd has to spend too long coaxing one Pokémon out, he will miss the others on his opposite side. Because you can simply take the course over again and again, it's not a real hinderance until late in the game's challenges.

   As for the challenges the game sets for progression, they give a good variety of what needs to be done, so that the game is fully explored. Once that is done, harder challenges keep the avid Pokémon hunter busy. However, since the courses are always the same, and the Pokémon are always in the same place, the less-then-obsessed player will quickly lose interest in the game. Even the first chance to see Mew wears off after a short while.

Beautiful scenery
hiding Pokémon

   To combat this, Professor Oak will reward your hard work with new items to help capture the perfect shot. At first Todd has only a camera, and his skill. After a short while, he is given apples. A handy tool for luring Pokémon closer to the vehicle. After a few more courses are found, he then gains pester balls. These handy balls drive Pokémon out of hiding, and if thrown behind the Pokémon, gives Todd a great chance for a close-up. Next, Zero-One is modifed so Todd can speed up if he so chooses. And finally, Todd is awarded the PokéFlute. With three different tunes to choose from, the PokéFlute is the most expansive tool in the whole game, as it will be used with other items to find new and rare Pokémon, and the different tunes will affect different Pokémon in different ways.

   As for the graphics, they are the usual excellence that we have come to expect from the Nintendo 64. Each course is very well designed, and very realistic, even with the floods of Pokémon around every corner. From sunny, warm beaches to dark, water filled caves, a hot, searing volcano to a floating cloud, the scenes are bright and colorful. The Pokémon themsleves are lifelike, active, and very responsive to the attempts to move them into the perfect pose.

   Overall, the game is a blast to play. However, there are only 63 of the current 151 Pokémon in the game, so finding your favorite Pokémon in full 3D may not be possible yet. If this game was simply an apetizer for Pokémon Stadium, then it has fullfilled its duty. The game leaves the player wanting more, which is the whole theme of the Pokémon craze to being with.

   If you have a Pokémon fanatic in your house, then I would recommend buying this game, as it will keep them busy for many hours. An added incentive for purchasing the game is the ability to create stickers of your favorite four poses. Once you have chosen those four perfect poses, take the cart to BlockBuster, or other certified Pokémon Snap Stations. For three dollars, you will get 16 stickers, four of each pose, to do with what you wish. Not a bad idea... how come they didn't have this when I was a kid? For the rest of us who have sadly outgrown such fun, a good five day rental should suffice.

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