|Pokemon TRE-Team Rocket Edition Review by: Redrunelord
Pokemon Team Rocket Edition
"Absolute evil, like great genius, may well be well beyond rational explanation....Perhaps our fascination with evil is that it is often more mysterious than good is, and therefore more compelling." That was said by John G. Stoessinger, and it is by large true. Humans are naturally inclined towards being fascinated, floored, by that in which they are incapable of comprehending. Rationally speaking, some things are impossible to truly understand with the current levels of technology, but they're fascinated regardless. One of these things is evil, but that begs a question: why do video games, for the most part, play as the "good guys?"
Bering in mind that good is largely based on someone's own philosophies, but the general format of a large number of games is that the player is supposed to destroy evil, whether it be a physical format like an evil wizard, or the demons inside of themselves, like in the Silent Hill series. Many of the games that do encourage, or even require, the player to play as a character who is bad to the bone is often criticized for "teaching the kids to kill." Perhaps that is the real reason: media criticism, but regardless...there is an emulated means to play as "the bad guys" in Pokémon TRE: Team Rocket Edition.
Giovanni is a psychologically complicated character should the player try to analysis him, along with how Team Rocket is structured. In the first two generations of Pokémon games, team rocket is often portrayed as a very comically inept organization (for instance, how they uses primarily Pokémon the "two" gym leaders in Saffron could annihilate with ease.). However, now that the player is on their side, does that change anything? How much deeper can it get?
The story line essentially revolves around Jesse and James (presumably) competing for who shall take Giovanni's place as head of team rocket. This is an interesting concept, especially as how Giovanni sets them some challenge to see who is better capable at the end of the day. Shouldn't, instead of relying on sheer strength differences between the two, Giovanni should be focusing on their leadership and strategic potential? Assuming that was done off-screen, why are these two competing anyways? Wouldn't it serve Team Rocket better to have two extremely skilled and devious people working together? There are other things that crops up over time that will make the player scratch their forehead in potential confusion, but the story-line can be summed up with it has potential but it could have been better executed. Another possible story could have been the trio (James, Jesse and Meowth) travelling around performing specific jobs for Giovanni as they slowly take over the region, which would have made an amazing home brew game if executed properly, but that wasn't attempted here.
Graphically, the game is both competent and a mess. Visually, the game follows the styling of the first generation, so perfection is not a requirement by any means. Everything works in that what has graphical feedback is distinguishable, and does not hinder game play in any means. Character's battle sprites do come off as lazy because they are often ill suited for their purposes. For example, your character is (presumably) James, but why does he, in battle, use Professor Oak's sprite? Even more noticeable is that police officers, which acts as a major antagonist, uses grunt sprites? The grunt sprites are NOT a good choice for several reasons (like the whip, the lack of suitable uniform, facial features etc.). New sprites should have been made for these roles and inserted into the game. Recycling a lot of them is fine, but only when they fit. Otherwise though, the graphics are fine, if a bit bland considering it's an almost total overhaul for first generation gaming. The audio is identical to the first generation of games, which is perfectly fine. Some more "evil" sounding forms of audio would have been an excellent addition, but it is absent. Not a lot to comment about with the audio asides from if it works for the first few games, it will work here.
The game play...largely unaltered from the standard first generation Pokémon games. The map has been changed drastically from the original Kanto formatting, which will alter the progression of the game a fair bit. However, in most other regards, only the name will change. For instance, the player still has to capture the insect-collecting inspired critters, the player still has to raise a team, and still they must travel on a seemingly endless journey. The player still has to buy items at the market, they still got to visit Pokémon centers...and, of course, they still must defeat trainers. It is almost entirely unaltered, except for the actual progression...and while for die hard fans this is a good thing, the game is just lacking. If team rocket is so hated, why is an obvious member of them allowed to walk into the stores and Pokémon Centers unchecked? The only way this should be is if James was an undercover operative, but he is not. Following said logic, that James is a loud and clear member, isn't the last thing that he wants to do is make his location known? What if the player had to hunt down fellow rocket operatives, and buy/sell items through a black market, and to heal Pokémon? Perhaps hackers hiding from prowling police officers could serve as PCs? There is a lot that could have been done to add a more genuine rocket feel, but it is just not there.
The player does have a choice between Ekans, Meowth, and Koffing for their starters, which will impact how easy early in the game is. One shouldn't have a lot of trouble with beating this game after initially getting a few Pokémon, but getting some worthwhile Pokémon right away may be complicated, especially if the player chose Meowth. Meowth isn't a terrible Pokémon, but this Pokémon has a lot of trouble in the first real area to traverse that doesn't have Dodou (yes that is apparently very common contrary to being somewhat rare in the source material). To make matters worse, levels are proportionally higher compared to the equivalent progress in say blue or red (at the equal point in time, the player would be traversing the forest with level 3-5 insects primarily, but here its level 10+ geodudes).
In conclusion, the simplest way to describe this game is that it is adequate, but comes off as lazy. Let there be no doubt that a lot of effort did come in, but the game gives off an aura of being incomplete. The various departments are solid, but they are not refined to the point of being ready for release, and a lot of the stability comes from the source material to begin with. This isn't a terrible game by any means, and fans of the series definitely should look at it, but do not expect the most fulfilling game. A lot of potential, but not quite there yet.
Graphics 6 Sound 10 Addictive 5 Depth 7 Story 4 Difficulty 4
Pokemon TRE-Team Rocket Edition Description: Giovanni is having a competition to see who will be his successor in leading Team Rocket. The competition is between you and your sister, and you must beat all of the gyms and the elite four.