The Pokemon franchise has seen many releases, but the official Pokemon RPGs stand out above all others. And perhaps one of the most shining examples lies in the original Pokemon Red/Green/Blue/Yellow games on the Game Boy. Now, Nintendo has decided to release the original adventure once more with updated graphics and gameplay, as well as including new features. The titles? Pokemon Fire Red and Pokemon Leaf Green. On his own, Alex Lucard gave this game an 8.5 rating, a score not normally bestowed on games we review. But what are the results when the new Pokemon RPGs get tested in…THE TRIBUNAL?!?!?
THE SESSION HAS NOW BEEN CONVEINED
*The crowd gathers into the fabled Inside Pulse Tribunal Stadium*
Attention! Attention! All will come to order!
*The crowd refuses to quiet down.*
I said, ALL WILL COME TO ORDER!!
You! Yes, you in the back row! Stop your wireless battling IMMEDIATELY so we may begin these proceedings!
*Lucard leans over and whispers something in Williams’ ear.*
*Turns off his own GBA, as the crowd goes silent.*
This Tribunal will now officially come to order. Pokemon Fire Red and Pokemon Leaf Green, you will stand and step forward.
*The games do so. (Have some imagination, people.)
Fire Red and Leaf Green, you have been brought forward by the Tribunal today for one purpose: to prove yourself to our judges, and to the world. We have seen you grow from two simple games on the Game Boy into a phenomenon beyond all forms of measurement. Now we come to you, two remakes of those very successful GB cartridges. Do the two of you have what it takes to not only relive the memories of yesteryear, but keep the series vibrant and fresh as well? Or are you two simply mediocre marketing tools pumped out by Nintendo in order to fatten their wallets? This is what we’ll decide today.
Your judges today are Alex Lucard, A.J. Angeloni, and myself, Alex Williams. The three of us have followed the exploits of your predecessors for many years, and now we are here to decide what YOUR fate shall be. Now…
LET THE JUDGEMENT COMMENCE
JUDGE #1: Alex Lucard
The original is back and better than ever. This Shining Force proves that remakes and graphical updates can be amazing games in their own right able to break through Nostalgia and help new gamers to become fans of a classic series while keeping the old fans die hard fanatics. Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green does nearly everything right, and with These games, SF, Astro Boy, and hopefully Advance Guardian Heros as well, 2004 is proving to be the year of the GBA, not the consoles. Rock on little portable for keeping the best games of all time alive! More importantly, rock on Game Freak for continuing PokemonÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ'”Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢??s streak of nothing less than amazing games that appeal to gamers no matter their age or experience.
It’s still not as great as Crystal, which is by far and away the best Pokemon game there has ever been, but this real does manage to surpass the original black and white version of the games. Any skepticism that Nintendo and Game freak were looking to make a quick buck has been dispersed.
There’s so much to enjoy in this game, it really does feel fresh and original. But with a massive dose of Deja vu.
THE SCORE: 8.5/10
JUDGE #2: Alex Williams
Who says you can never go home again?
I remember way back in 1998 when I first started my Pokemon journey with the Pokemon Red cart. It was, quite possibly, the most fun I’ve ever had at the time. And now, I’m literally reliving it with my copy of Pokemon Leaf Green. When going into this, I though it would simply be a Ruby/Sapphire game with the Kanto region, but BOY was I wrong. This game is a MUCH different experience than R/S, but still retaining the same qualities that made the original R/B/G/Y so enjoyable. All your favorite Pokemon are back, and better than ever. The graphics are beautiful. The new help system is king. And all the extras Game Freak threw in here SO make the game worth picking up and playing over and over again. I should know, after I logged in close to 20 hours of game time in 3 1/2 days, and I was not even close to facing the Elite Four by then.
Of course, there are some things that I would have liked to see that Nintendo didn’t include. For example, the Pokemon portraits DID NOT CHANGE between R/S and Fr/Lg. None of the Pokemon animate outside of jumping up and down without moving a limb. And other odds and ends that I didn’t find appealing. However, all of that is forgiven in the long run. There is so much to do here, it’s not even funny. Both before and after the end credits role. Nintendo has successfully taken the first games and upgraded them only the way Nintendo can. It makes me feel like I’m 16 again, first popping in my Red cartridge, and leaving home with only a Bulbasaur, and a dream.
THE SCORE: 8.5/10
JUDGE #3: A.J. Angeloni
I remember the first day I played Pokemon back in 1998. Now Fire Red and Leaf Green have only served to make me realize how great of a series this is. You get all the same experiences that you got with Red, Blue, and Yellow, and at the same time you also get so much more that only screams that these games are must owns for everyone. Everything about Pokemon that gives the series it’s heritage, uniqueness, and overall finish is very nicely displayed in these two remakes of the games that started it all. These games are great for any level of Pokemon player too, which adds to their charm. Whether you are a beginner, or a hardcore fanatic, FR/LG has a little bit of everything for everybody.
The best part about all of this though is that I can finally come close to completing the Pokemon collection. As a hardcore Pokemon addict I have all the games, and the cables needed, to complete my Pokedexes on my main Sapphire and Leaf Green carts. Now with nearly every Pokemon available (don’t get me started on the ones that aren’t at the moment) the amount of customization that anyone can do is limitless. With 386 Pokemon in existence there is no doubt that anyone can build a unique and powerful team according to their own personal tastes. Now Nintendo just needs to take the next step…I look at FR/LG as the end of a Pokemon chapter if you will. This *should* be our last look back at how this series has come to be. The next logical step is to expand the world of Pokemon like never before with online gaming. Make no mistake about it, these games are truly excellent. Sure, more could have been done, but the overall product is smooth and polished. Nintendo, once again, does not disappoint when it comes to Pokemon. Hopefully the future only gets bigger and brighter from here.
THE SCORE: 8.0/10
The Tribunal has spoken! And now, to the final judgment…
SCORE #1: 8.5
SCORE #2: 8.5
SCORE #3: 8.0
FINAL JUDGEMENT: 8.3
It is the decision of this Tribunal that both Pokemon Fire Red and Pokemon Leaf Green are deemed to be “Great” games. They have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are not ordinary remakes. Rather, they are yet another unique experience in the Pokemon universe that MUST be experienced in order to be fully appreciated. We now excuse these twin Pokemon RPGs to offer their enjoyment to a multitude of players, old and new alike.
THIS SESSION HAS NOW BEEN ADJOURNED
We now dismiss all the attendees to this gathering. But we shall require your presence again, once The Tribunal deems another to prove itself…