Pokemon Crystal Clear
Back in 1999, Pokemon was a franchise that was taking over the world at a rapid pace. 1996 had seen the first games, Pokemon Red Version and Pokemon Blue Version, galvanise the gaming landscape. Then an anime based on the phenomenon would push the franchise forward even further, all riding on the back of the little yellow mouse mascot that we need not mention. Pokemon Crystal would be the first Pokemon title of the millennium and the second generation came into the fold. Though skip forward twenty years and we have an improvement on the classic through Pokemon Crystal Clear.
This game is a rom hack that takes the vanilla version of Pokemon Crystal and makes changes to offer a something similar to developer’s cut. So unsurprisingly it plays exactly like any of the Game Boy Pokemon titles. Though with a certain level of charm and flair that only a fan made version can provide.
Improving on perfection
For many, the second generation of Pokemon still holds up as the best the series has had to offer over it’s long reign at the top of gaming’s elite. So many would think to improve on this title to be a tad unrealistic. Though Shockslayer, the developer of this from, does so with ablomb through not rocking the boat but instead gently nudging it into a better position with slight changes to an already adored formula.
From Linear to sandbox
This game series has always had a straightforward goal of funnelling the player towards the end goal of the Pokemon league in a very neat and well-structured order. Though, this title offers players the freedom to tackle gyms in any order they choose and allows players to bypass HM barricades through simply removing them. It gives players the ability to play their own way and gives an emergent playstyle that has always been present in the series but not at this scale.
Trainers will also scale to your level depending on how many badges you have and what level your party is at. Meaning that you are always met with a fair and balanced challenge, no matter how you approach the game.
More RPG Elements
Pokemon has always had a main quest line and minor subplots for players to follow throughout their journey. However, there has never really been an option to complete optional side quests. Not in the conventional sense at least. Players will encounter a number of well written and charismatic NPC’s with interesting quests to offer. We particularly recommend the legendary Pokemon obsessed Esuine’s quest.
Along with this, some existing NPC’s have been altered to push the plot along naturally. Take the museum receptionist for example. In the base game, not having enough money would act as a barrier to continuing the story. However, in the Rom she will turn a blind eye to the player to facilitate a young child’s pursuit of knowledge. It’s subtle but a welcome addition.
Trading made easy
The most notable change is the trade back man. An NPC that facilitates trading Pokemon that evolve via trades and then gives them straight back to you. This allows players to fill up more of their Pokedex, gain Pokemon that are bigger and stronger versions of their existing party and does away with the reliance on those pesky trade cables from back in the day. Thank goodness time has moved on.
A personal touch
The community support for this title has been immense since the release of the first version and since then there have been vast improvements. One of which is the ability to import your own sprites into the game. This allows you to wander around the newly imagined Johto as a perfect representation of yourself. Back in 2000, you were stuck with a default design but at present, the game has evolved for the better.
A whole new world
As someone who grew up with Pokemon at the front and centre of their childhood. To try and change a classic like Pokemon Crystal would in most cases be considered sacrilege. Though, credit where credit is due, Shockslayer has nailed this adaption and really took the game to a new level. The beauty is in the subtlety of the changes.
This is not a rom build from the ground up but instead one that tweaks and tinkers with a tried and tested formula to create a hybrid that gives you RPG, quality storytelling, personal customization and more freedom than you’ve ever had in a Pokemon title. It’s an outstanding job and if you haven’t played this one, treat yourself to it real soon!
Download Pokemon Crystal Clear
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP