Pokemon Sapphire Review
Pokemon fans will be in for exactly what they want, while new players now have the perfect opportunity to see what this unusual and likeable series is all about.
It isn't difficult to explain why Nintendo's Pokémon franchise has remained so incredibly popular since the first Pokémon games were released for the Game Boy Color in late 1997. At the epicenter of the franchise are hundreds of different types of cute, cuddly, and memorable critters mostly based on real-world animals--and in the world of Pokémon, they're routinely made to beat the stuffing out of each other. That's a formula for success if ever there were one: combining the world's love of things that are cute and the world's love of When Animals Attack. Anything as popular as Pokémon opens itself up to criticism from those with only a superficial knowledge of the material--it's tempting to think that any Pokémon product is just for little kids. Yet in fact, the original Pokémon games for the Game Boy Color were solid role-playing games on their own merits, but with lighthearted themes and some unique twists. The new Pokémon games for the Game Boy Advance, dubbed Ruby and Sapphire, are pretty similar and likewise can be recommended to anybody. They're good looking, they're fun to play, and they offer a lot of lasting value and variety, though they're a bit too easy.
As with the original Pokémons Red and Blue, the new Pokémons Ruby and Sapphire are for the most part identical. The box covers are different, the title screens are different, each version has a handful of unique Pokémon that aren't available in the other version, and a few of the story details differ depending on the version. One version isn't better than the other, and since the two are basically the same, only the true Pokémon fanatic should even consider getting both--the idea is to convince a buddy of yours to get the opposite version, so you can trade Pokémon, battle with each other, and ultimately catch every last one of the critters, which you can't do with just one version of the game.
So the good news is you can't go wrong with either version. They play out according to the classical console role-playing game formula. You choose to play as either a boy or a girl, name your character, and then set out on a lengthy adventure as you attempt to become the greatest Pokémon trainer in the world. Along the way, you'll visit a number of different towns, compete against their top Pokémon trainers, talk to a bunch of different people (many of whom give you stuff), fight wild Pokémon on land, on the sea, and underground, race around on a bicycle, surf on a Pokémon's back, and more. The structure, size, and plot of Ruby and Sapphire are a lot like those of previous Pokémon RPGs.
Like in any RPG, much of your time playing Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire will be spent in combat. Your character never fights--your Pokémon do the dirty work for you. You can have up to six Pokémon with you at any time, though you can catch and store hundreds. A Pokémon has up to four different moves, and it will take turns dishing out damage with its opponent. Pokémon moves include melee attacks, elemental strikes, psychic powers, and much more, as well as various defensive abilities. Though the Pokémon themselves appear static in battle, you'll see the effects of their moves onscreen, adding somewhat of a more dynamic feel to the action. There's an interesting rock-paper-scissors-style system that determines how powerful certain Pokémon are against others. For example, fiery Pokémon can really put the hurt on ice Pokémon, and water Pokémon can douse fire Pokémon without trouble. Forming a well-balanced Pokémon fighting force is a big part of the fun of the game, and so is catching all the different types you'll encounter. You can capture wild Pokémon by trapping them in Pokéballs, but the trick is to weaken them first so they can't break free. There are approximately 200 different Pokémon in all, half of which are entirely new, and the new ones like Torchic, Mudkip, and Pelipper fit in well with the tried-and-true classics like Pikachu, Psyduck, and Koffing.
- Player Reviews: 130
- Game Universe:
- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (DS, GBA),
- Pokemon Snap (N64),
- Pokemon Puzzle League (N64),
- PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond (WII),
- Pokemon Rumble Blast (3DS),
- Pokemon Black Version (DS),
- Pokemon White Version (DS),
- PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure (WII),
- Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs (DS),
- Pokemon HeartGold Version (DS)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: