Hello ladies and gentlemen, once again as we follow yet another installment of Cody’s weekly throwback. I review a game from my childhood while bearing in mind the time era and what other games were releasing around that time frame. The only criteria I meet is that the game had to have been released during the time period of 1990-1999. This time we have an electrifying “pocket monster” game that leaves you hungry to collect them all, so without further hesitation, I present to you Pokémon Yellow and it’s sidekick Pikachu!
Name- Pokémon Yellow
Developer- Game Freak
Release Date- September 12, 1998
Gotta catch ’em all
We control our protagonist Ash (or whatever you decided to name him) from a third-person overhead perspective, battling and exploring our way through the Kanto region- home to 151 Pokémon. The ultimate goal of the game, of course, was to be the very best, and in order to do that we are required to defeat the Elite Four and become champion of the Pokémon League..but it’s not just that easy. We have to prove our worth by battling and defeating 8 Gym Leaders, and only after collecting the 8 badges from the Gyms are we granted access to Indigo Plateau. Don’t worry, that’s not completely everything. Professor Oak, the man who gave us our very first Pokémon, has entrusted us with a faithful Pokédex in hopes that we catch and collect 150 Pokémon and help him on his journey of understanding the Pokémon world! During the various parts of our journey we often encounter the devious Team Rocket, finding them red-handed in their evil attempts to steal Pokémon. Not to mention Professor Oak’s grandson Gary and the rivalry that develops as you both race to see who can become champion first, this game followed the anime as close as it could story wise within its limits.
Exploring the regions of Kanto in an overhead view with our Pikachu closely behind provided a bond between characters that is favorable with RPG games, often expressing his emotions of your bond when you talk to him. Or his distaste in a very strong manner, if you try to evolve him with a Thunder Stone. We exchange the overhead view for a side-view when we are thrown into a wild encounter or a Trainer battle. This is where the true elements outside of story really shine for Pokémon. We experience a turn-based battle systems where we exchange attacks, select items such as potions or other various potions that boost stats or provide relief in battle, to even catching the Pokémon (if it’s encountered in the wild, you cannot catch another Trainer’s Pokémon). Depending on the outcome of your battle, Pokémon can incur experience that builds up causing them to grow with stats, learn new moves and potentially evolve into a stronger form. The only way to lose is to have your entire team of Pokémon’s health fall below zero, when the player doesn’t have any more to battle the screen blacks out and you reappear in a Pokémon Center. The stronger your team is and the more well-rounded they are provides for a better overall experience, teaching them status affecting moves will also help with the catching aspect of the game. When a wild Pokémon is affected by a burn or falls asleep they become easier to catch, and collecting an assortment of different varieties of Pokémon will help you build stronger teams to battle with.
There is only one way to be the very best, and that is to battle and collect the various Pokémon to form a team strong enough to defeat the entire Pokémon League!
With a charming OST and more enhanced graphics then Pokémon Red/Blue, Pokémon Yellow quickly became the favorite of a lot of players..growing to be the second most poplar toy of the holiday season back in 1999 when it was a bundle with the yellow Pokémon Game Boy Color. Pokémon Yellow was special because it was the first to let a Pokémon follow you outside of its Pokéball. You could link it up to the N64 hit Pokémon Stadium and teach your Pikachu the HM move surf, allowing you access to the mini game within this title that lets your Pikachu surf. It was the only title around that time that allowed you to have all three original starters without having to trade via link cable. With all Pokémon titles you have to trade with other players with Pokémon Red, Blue or Yellow to complete your Pokédex, some Pokémon will only evolve when being traded. This link cable also provided the ground to compete against a friend to see who had the better team. So not only was this a single player game but also considered a multiplayer if you had a friend with a Pokémon title and a Game Boy!
Final Grade- 95%
Pokémon Yellow features a unique concept of collecting various “pocket monsters” that no game at the time featured besides the former Pokémon titles it was rehashed from. It provided a simplistic RPG system that was easy for all ages to pick up and different elements to provide a unique battling system. Although the fact you need someone with a copy of a different Pokémon to complete the Pokédex was a reason for a lower grade, the idea of making it so you had to find someone to communicate with outside of the game was a cool concept. With that in mind, it wasn’t as cool if you grew up outside of City Limits and had nobody but yourself playing the game. With the overall story of the game and the mood it presented, it quickly became addicting for me, keeping my interest while I was focused on filling my Pokédex as much as I could, I think I’m at 131 currently..
- Main story is roughly about 30 hours long, with additional completion adding countless hours
- With several antagonists and various trainers and Gym Leaders, the anticipation of battle never dies until the end
- Very addicting experience and leveling system
- First Pokémon title to be featured in a diverse color palette
- Repetitive grinding is required to maximize stats and levels
- You are required to purchase different Pokémon titles to fully complete the game, or find someone with a copy
- Some puzzles grew to become tedious or predictable