Pokémon Yellow - Staff Retroview  

Same Game With A Small Twist
by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

20-100 Hours


Rating definitions 

   Pokemon Yellow is an "improved" version of Pokemon Red/Blue. Though there are some differences between Yellow and Red/Blue, they are very minor and don't really justify purchasing a new version unless you must own every version, love Pikachu, or don't have a version of Pokemon to begin with. The changes to Yellow are few in number and include your starting Pokemon being Pikachu, you rival's starting Pokemon being Eevee, and a few other changes such as the addition of Jessie and James.

   The Yellow version retains the deceptively simple battle system found in Red/Blue. Each Pokemon has one or two elemental affinities that create its strengths and weaknesses. Each Pokemon can also learn up to four abilities at any given time, each with their own specific amount of times they can be used without resting. It is quite easy to learn how to use this particular battle system, but there is much underlying strategy as well that keep things interesting. An example of this is attempting to create a very powerful and balanced party. Even carefully building and selecting a Pokemon's abilities requires strategy. The amount of strategy involved in constructing and implementing an effective party creates an excellent battle system and the simplicity of the system makes it easy to learn as well. The excellent battle system is the real reason to play the game, though it only truly shines in the multiplayer mode.

One of the few new scenes One of the few new scenes

   Despite the battle system's potential for strategy, Pokemon Yellow does very little to test the player. Most opponents lack elemental diversity and thus it is quite easy to exploit their weaknesses. Although money is fairly limited, there is still plenty to purchase a great deal of healing items which decrease enemy difficulty even further. Few opponents can stand up to a well-balanced party, especially when it is backed up with several items that restore all hp.

   Red/Blue had above average localization and a good interface. Yellow is no different, but also makes no attempt to improve upon these less-than-perfect areas. The player must still hunt through menus to perform common actions such as swimming, cutting, and using strength to push boulders. Some kind of shortcut would have been appreciated, but it isn't a major annoyance. There are still some strangely worded phrases to be found throughout the game, but they too aren't so serious that they harm the game and are few in number.

   As Yellow is almost a complete clone of the original packaged as a new game, it is highly unoriginal. There are some new additions to the plot and the added emotions and mood of your companion Pikachu are a nice original touch, but they cannot hide the fact that Yellow is ridiculously similar to its predecessor.

If you like Pikachu, this is the version for you If you like Pikachu, this is the version for you

   Even with its small improvements and additions to the story, Yellow still suffers from Red/Blue's lack of plot. There is very little story aside from gathering gym badges and occasionally fighting against Team Rocket, a group that wants to rule the world using Pokemon somehow. There is very little character development to be found either, as there are very few important characters to begin with.

   As with the Red/Blue version, Yellow can be quickly rushed through in about 20 hours. Collecting all of the Pokemon Yellow has to offer and raising a very powerful party for usage in multiplayer can tack on another 50-80 hours easily. Raising alternates and such can add even more time making Pokemon a good choice for a high playtime mobile game.

   This should not come as a surprise, but Yellow features the same selection of music as Red/Blue. While average for the most part, the good boss music manages to pull it up to slightly above-average. Sound effects are also the same as in the original with the exception of some new and improved Pikachu sounds, but they are only a minor addition.

   While visual remain much the same as in Red/Blue, each Pokemon's sprite has been redrawn and slightly improved in general. Yellow still suffers from average out-of-battle visuals, but the large variety of in-battle detail more than makes up for it. Yellow's visuals are quite good as a whole.

   While the story is lacking, the battle system does much to make up for it, especially in the versus mode. There really aren't enough differences between Red/Blue and Yellow to make it worth playing in addition to the original, but it is still a great game if that fact is ignored. It's worth playing if you don't have a version of Red/Blue or want to collect all of the versions for some reason.

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