|Pokemon Crystal All (hack) Review by: Jim Profit
One good quality does not excuse five bad.
I know I probably have a reputation for giving bad reviews to Pokemon games, but honestly... Gold was my favorite as a child. (I had never played the other two and by then was growing out of Pokemon.) Pokemon was at it's prime, the music was amazing, the graphics were ten times better, the moves were (somewhat...) more balanced, and our little eyes brightened up at the prospect of catching all new pokemon.
To get it out of the way, let's explore why Pokemon Gold was a complete upgrade to it's parenting games.
As said, the sound is really good. Every town has a catchy melody that I could just play by itself. It's a shame it's ruined by the normal buzzing and ringing of normal pokemon sounds for battles and such. But I'm going to rate the sound a ten, as I can't think of many games that actually catch my notice as far as music goes, let alone one from a series I normally rag on.
Graphics made a huge improvement from first generation. Texture is better, the colors are more vibrant, the animated pokemon sprites. If Gamefreak had sought to improve the meta-game the way they did the feel and environment, Pokemon might have been one of the best games out there. But alas... it's more memorable for it's pretty graphics and killer music then it is for game substance. I am however going to rate the graphics as a nine for doing such a 180 from the previous generation.
For Pokemon... second generation actually had a decent story. Without much to work with, it managed to actually update the setting a lot. Such as Team Rocket disbanding, but posers trying to keep the legend alive, the three legendary dogs as a backlash to humanity's vain attempt to master over nature, the time-traveling Celibi who was like a pokemon Doctor Who, and then the Unknown. Mysterious pokemon that were like living hieroglyphics. Compared to what you get just a generation later... second gen really gave it Pokemon's all. So I'm going to rate it a nine as well.
Second generation gave us something we never saw coming... stuff to do after the elite four. And I don't mean just encountering the pokemon champion and catch rare pokemon. I mean there was a whole other side of the world to explore, with the original gym leaders and everything. This gave pokemon a much needed depth that previously did not exist, and Gamefreak never tried to add upon again. So while the depth was revolutionary for pokemon, it would soon simply become the norm. So I will rate it a five.
The two next ratings are unique to the hack, and do not reflect that of the original second generation games. Now going into this... I wasn't expecting miracles, just "Crystal with all the pokemon". Exactly what it says in the title. Did I get that? Of course not. That would be too easy to let me relive my nostalgia and have a little added bonus of actually being able to have my choice out of the 300+ pokemon that were in second generation. Instead what I get is a hack so terrible, I don't even want to finish the first gym battle.
Pokemon is never "difficult". It's more so a test of patience to see how much grinding, cheap A.I, and bogus puzzles you can put up with before you throw a fit. Mind you, I do read what others have to say and look at the screenshots. I knew going into this there was a likelihood of coming across level 60 pokemon in the first few routes. I was okay with this. I thought "well, if I do I'll just reset". And if I'm feeling patient that day, even just do a craps shoot and throw pokeballs at them hoping and praying. For some people that might actually be a good thing. Getting a level 60 Charizard or Machop way early would definitely be a gift if they were willing to to the tedious task of rolling the dice on pokeballs over and over again. The fact that running would not be an option at that point and reset is your only way out is a big turn-off. But one I was willing to live with.
But the reality of the matter was the game's "challenge" was far worse then that... you know it's a bad sign when you get your pokemon, and ON AVERAGE the pokemon in the wild are a level or two above yours. But not even that held me back. I figured good, this means my pokemon will level at a more steady rate. Less grinding right?
Oh I'm so naive... pokemon hacks will always find a way to incorporate grinding. But before I get into that, I just want to say as a bit of a terrible pun. Evee makes me want to form the "Pokemon Gold(den) Dawn party" and deport all the Evees. Here I was, excited to see Evee on the first route because Evee in and of itself can pretty much fill your whole belt up with a diverse lot of evolutions, and since it was wild... I could have all the Eveelutions at the same time! Oh, but wait... Evee has got to be an Abra light, and run away all the time. Making that a lot more difficult. Which also means Evee will also hit and run, wasting your time, HP, and miss a chance to pick off easy wild pokemon for exp.
But I wouldn't have dropped everything and just said "I'm done..." just because of Evee. After all, there's still all the other pokemon to discover right? Well see... that's where the grinding part comes in. There's this guy blocking your path to the next town over. You know, the one where you can actually buy pokeballs. (Why all pokemon games do this where there's never pokeballs in the first town I don't know, and it aggravates me to death.) and he sends out a level 16 Pidgey.
Now to put this into perspective, I was training my pokemon at a moderate rate. I wouldn't say I was lazy about it, I wouldn't say I had them doing Rocky montages, I just don't miss a beat to punch-out any wild pokemon, heal them regularly, and they were each level 11. Which by the time I get to the first gym they should probably be a couple levels higher then that, which is relative to where I should be at, as high level pokemon don't tend to listen.
Well... I guess the hacker forgot that part, and it's already annoying when some trainer blocks your path and forces you into a fight, but then for his pokemon to be so much higher then your own, basically forcing you to grind for another hour, and for what? So I can advance TO THE FIRST GYM?! Is this going to become a regular thing?!
Needless to say... I wasn't going to put myself through finding out.
Giving the way I described the difficulty, and the fact I did not even bother to try and defeat the first gym leader, that should be a tip-off. But I want to add upon this, that it just comes out of nowhere the huge level gaps. Everyone speaks of the once in a lifetime level 60 Charizards, but I saw no mention of how most trainers are normal and then this huge spike in a random trainer. When I fought my rival, his Chikorita was level 5. The trainer JUST BELOW the guy blocking my path was level 6 to 7. How are you going to justify more then double that amount in the course of a few steps? And you honestly expect me to walk around the bushes fighting off pokemon till I'm at a point where I can match-up to that?
I have to say this much... Whoever hacked this game would fit in perfectly at Gamefreak. But that is not at all a good thing. This hack does not stop me from thinking second generation was by far the best Pokemon generation. But it certainly was disappointing. All I wanted was a pokemon game with all the monsters at my disposal, somehow that gets twisted into a game of chance, always having to prepare for some level 60 Charizard, or way too strong trainer. Why not just say that? If that's your cup of tea, then fine. But some of us would like Pokemon to play gamewise like it looks and sounds. A lighthearted game of exploration, adventure, and making new friends. This hack is not that kind of game.
Because I did love second generation so much as a child, I cannot rate this 0.1, the lowest rating possible. However, I am severely upset with the lack of forethought, and will only give it a 0.9.
Graphics 9 Sound 10 Addictive 1 Depth 5 Story 9 Difficulty 6
Pokemon Crystal All (hack) Description: Hack of Pokemon Crystal which allows you to catch every single Pokemon (which was in pokemon silver, gold and crystal), even Celebi, Mew and Mewtwo. The wild Pokemon and Gym Leaders are a lot harder too.