So…It’s been a few weeks since I wrote a blog on OHO. Today I’m going to look at a game that is almost singlehandedly responsible for my lack of memory of 2001. Today I’m talking about Pokemon Gold. Pokemon Gold and Silver had sold over 23,000,000 copies between them as of 2010 and possibly more since. Anyway shall we begin?
I don’t have a bad word to say about this game. The game plays like an improved version of the original Pokemon Red and Blue. Pokemon can now hold battle items, which improve their effectiveness in battle. Some items heal the Pokemon, some improve stats, and some improve the strength of moves. The special stat was divided into special attack and special defence. This allows for greater freedom of battle strategy. Couple this with the inclusion of Pokemon breeding (and therefore Pokemon gender) and the EV stat inclusion, competitive battling was born. The game also includes 100 new Pokemon, increasing the amount you had to catch to finish the game, and increasing the amount of choice you have when creating squads. A pokegear was also included. This allowed players to make use of the in game radio, the town map and to communicate with NPCs in the game. This allowed for both rematches as well as the inane chatter that they would call you up for. Pokemon Gold/Silver took the brilliance of Pokemon red/blue and improved on it.
The story of the sequel was also expanded. Well it’s a Pokemon game so I use the term ‘story’ loosely. That’s not me knocking the game, I’ve just always thought that Pokemon lacks a solid story. Sometimes it feels like you are just going from town to town collecting badges, while a loose plot resolves itself around you. In terms of a Pokemon game though, Gold/Silver has a pretty good story. The game is set 3 years after the events of the previous game. Red has defeated and disbanded Team Rocket, and became the league champion. He has however, disappeared since and nobody knows his whereabouts. In the interim a splinter cell of Team Rocket has regrouped and is trying to find their illusive leader, who, like Red, is missing. Our young hero embarks on his journey leaving the small town of New Bark (you remember in the first gen when all the towns where named after colours? Well in this one it’s all trees). As you continue your journey, you meet a Pokemon thief (who becomes your rival), an enigmatic dragon master and the Splinter Group. Eventually you defeat Team Rocket and then become the league champion. This is where the game gets interesting. You then go back to Kanto and collect the 8 badges of this region. Whilst in this region you encounter a few more members of Team Rocket, find machine parts and finally battle the elusive Red, who is the strongest trainer in the game.
This game had a great soundtrack for its time. Each town has a theme that fits its tone perfectly. If there is one thing that the Pokemon series continually delivers on, it’s the sound track. It’s impossible for me not to hear these tunes and be instantly transported back to my childhood. Nowadays the music seems dated, which is understandable. The remakes of the games kept the charm of the original and created a smoother. The music in game, makes the game. The newer games I tend to play on mute, but this game was always played on loud. I loved it. I mean listen to this…
Finally I’m going to discuss the longevity of the game. It’s a Pokemon game. You get at least 100 hours out of one of those. Most of the time you can finish the main quest in about 20 hours, but add on all the post-game training, catching, competitive battling and trading and you start entering triple digits. If you enter into the ultimate pursuit for capturing all 250 you start getting into the multiple hundreds. In the end the game lasts as long as you want it to. If you’re like me, completionist, then you’ll get hundred of hours worth of content. If you just play the main game then you’ll get about 20 hours out of it.
I don’t have enough words to discuss my adoration of this game. It’s simply a piece of art. If I were to construct a gaming hall of fame, Pokemon Gold/Silver would have its own wing. It improves on the brilliance of the previous game and deserves the honour of the Pokemon name. Pokemon Gold isn’t only one of the best Pokemon games ever made; it’s one of the best games ever made.
By Matt Husselbury (@Messiah_MPH)