How fun could take pictures of Pokemon be, right? If that's all there was, then it wouldn't be much fun at all. But veiled under the simple concept of snapping pix is a game with exploration, puzzles and strategy. You can go back to any of Snap's seven courses even after you've completed them to find new ways to get better reactions out of each monster. One of the most satisfying things about Snap is going through the levels, chucking Pester Balls at everything in sight, and getting a new monster you haven't seen before to pop out (usually accompanied by "whoa!"). Pokemon Snap's animation is so good that you'll want to reach into the screen and give Pikachu a big of hug. It turns the two- dimensional world of the Game Boy game into a living, breathing, real place. The game's only major flaw is that it's a little short. There's one secret course and a challenge mode (where score matters more), but the game can be beaten within a day. Another thing I was a little disappointed with is that not all 150 Pokemon are represented in the game. All of the immediately recognizable characters are in, but there's bound to be a fan somewhere who has a favorite that's not there. If you're a fan of the Game Boy games or the cartoon series, Snap's a must-have. But even if you know nothing about Pokemon, it'll provide hours of virtual safari fun. You'll never get exactly the same picture twice.
Let me tell you how it feels to not care about the Pokemon franchise: lonely, alienated and left-out. Thankfully, there's Pokemon Snap to pull us non-believers into the fold. This is one of the most original and innovative games I've ever played. Snap is as addictive as it is subtle; with all the different tracks, goals and hidden creatures, the game is almost long enough. Almost. Still, it's the next best thing to going on a tranquil Pokemon safari with your trusty 35mm.
I have to be honest--last week I didn't much care for Pokemon. The creatures were kind of neat, but most of the time the whole thing just seemed too silly for me. Well, now that I've played Pokemon Snap, I might just have to get into the Pokemon phenomenon. See, I thought Snap was going to be a waste of my time. I was very wrong. I wanted to keep playing again and again, finding secrets and snapping shots of Pokemon. Snap is worth looking into.
Yep, this game's snap-the-critters premise is ridiculous, but you know what? It's fun. Like a light-gun game but without bullets, Pokemon Snap is packed with targets. Better still, you'll earn items later in the game that'll affect Pokemon in earlier stages, so you can go back and find new photo opportunities. Still, even with all its secrets, the game's a bit too short. It's a given that Pokemon fans will eat it up. And if you're a Poke-newbie, give it a shot.
Download Pokémon Snap
Like its Game Boy counterpart, you have to "catch 'em all," in Snap. Only you don't catch Pokemon in Pokeballs, you catch them on film. You star as Todd (or as yourself, but Todd is the name of the game's character in the Pokemon cartoon series), whose job is to help Professor Oak explore Pokemon Island.
You do that by jumping into the 2ero-One, a specially designed all-terrain/no-terrain vehicle perfect for snapping pictures of monsters in their natural habitat. Getting them in the center of the frame and as large as you can will score you big points at the end of each track when the Prof gives you his mark. There are six regular courses in all-Beach, Tunnel, Volcano, River, Cave and Valley--and one bonus, Rainbow Road. On Rainbow Road you meet the most elusive of Pokemon...
When you first start out, all you've got is your trusty camera, but if you do well, you'll be given items like an Apple-Shaped Pokemon Food, Pester Balls (to scare up some good reactions from the monsters), a Pokemon Flute to give them some music to dance to, and the Dash Engine, which speeds up the Zero-One. After collecting each one of these rewards from Oak, it's a good idea to go back into previous courses and see if they'll help you to open up new things. If an area looks like you might be able to do something or throw something in to get a reaction, you probably can.
After you've taken your pictures, you select a few of your best from the role to let Professor Oak judge them. If the monsters are in the center, and fairly big in the frame, you'll get a good score, if they're reacting to something, you'll get more points, and if there's another Pokemon of the same kind in the frame, your score will be doubled. The second goal of the game is to find things in nature that look like Pokemon, and take pictures of them. When you've finished the tracks--and hopefully gotten close to all of the 63 or so monsters in the game--Challenge Mode opens up (where your score matters much more).
Plus you can save four of your best shots to print onto stickers at Blockbuster Video locations in a promotion that runs through Thanksgiving.
- MANUFACTURER - HAL Laboratories
- THEME - Strategy/Misc.
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
A monster in your pocket? Yeah, that's what they all say! Is Nintendo's cult hit any good?
Incomprehensible Japanese games tend to get fairly short shrift on the coverage front in 64 Magazine, on the not unreasonable grounds that only about six people in the country have the slightest interest in buying them. [Pocket Monsters Stadium] (/games/pokemon-stadium/), on the other hand, is getting more attention than the average mix of wibbling anime characters and screen after screen of squiggly Pittmanesque writing. The reason for this is very simple. It's by Nintendo.
More to the point, it revolves around what, if Nintendo gets its way, will be the Next Big Thing around the world, following in the footsteps of the Ninja Turtles and the Power Rangers. Remember them? Pocket Monsters have been a massive hit in Japan, despite zapping dozens of kids into comas, and now Nintendo wants to repeat that success everywhere else. Stranger things have happened. If a fat plumber and a kid with pointed ears can become international cash cows for the Big N, why not a banoffee-coloured chinchilla who fires lightning bolts from his butt?
The various Pocket Monsters have been, in the words of Eighties poncey-haired one-hit wonders Alphaville, big in Japan for quite a while now. Thanks to the runaway success of the Game Boy games, Tokyo is in danger of being crushed by Pikachu dolls, and the rest of the little beasts can be seen staring out from any product capable of having a transfer slapped onto it.
Pocket Monsters Stadium is I Nintendo's attempt to rub off some ef their animalistic franchise's success Op the N64, which in Japan has had the same reception as David Beckham had in England after the World Cup. The game comes with the 64GB (see page 52) through which Game Boy monsters can be loaded into the N64, but for those without the polychromal cartridges, Pocket Monsters Stadium also has a set of monsters within it.
Annoyingly, if you don't have the Game Boy Pocket Monsters games you can't engage in any of the training options that are a major part of the success of the GB titles. The limited selection of creatures in Pocket Monsters Stadium (there are 150 in the 68 titles) all have pre-set attacks and special powers, which don't seem to be changeable. Seeing everything the game has to offer is dependent on you owning all of the Game Boy titles.
The combat in the Game Boy games was designed to be fairly simplistic, since a GB link cable isn't exactly up to [Quake 2] (/games/quake-2/) plus ISDN levels, and Pocket Monsters Stadium follows suit. Once you've selected a team of Pocket Monsters, or Pokemons as they'll be called over here, they enter the arena (there's a massive choice of - gasp! - two! Woo-hoo!) to fight. Although Pocket Monsters Stadium claims to support up to four players, only two people can fight at once.
Paper Beats Rock
Saying that the fighting in Pocket Monsters Stadium is simplistic is a bit like saying that Titanic made a few bob or Noel Edmonds is not widely liked. Even though all the text in the game is Japanese, it only takes a few minutes tv get the hang of what's going on, as all the moves correspond to controller buttons, helpfully shown on-screen. A takes you to the attack moves, selected with the C buttons while holding R, and B lets you switch monsters if you're running low on hit points or facing an enemy that your current choice finds hard to damage.
I've Got A Monster In My 'Pocket
In an example of what Nintendo Chairman Hiroshi Yamauchi calls "nurturing, trading, collection and addition," or what the more cynical might refer to as "milking the public until their nipples bleed, " the Game Boy Pocket Monsters game are available in multiple versions. In order to see all the different monsters, you need to buy all the different versions of the game, which to date are Red, Green and Blue, with Gold and Silver on the way.
The Game Boy games are a kind of RPG, where the objective is to explore the landscape and build up your collection of monsters by beating them up when you find them and catching them in your balls. Monster balls, that is. Once you've caught a monster, it can be trained to build up its fighting powers and pitted against other trouser-bag beasts. For those who can't read Japanese (that'll be most of us) the RPG is barely comprehensible. Although the walking around and fighting parts are easy enough to understand, talking to characters is, unfortunately, a fairly important part of the game. Training up a monster is rather nightmarish as well, with a mystifying series of menus appearing, prompting much random pushing of buttons.
Several hours play, with the help of a guide from one of the many Pocket Monsters sites on the Internet, didn't reveal anything terribly thrilling hidden in the game. The whole appeal comes from the two-player fighting aspect and the trading of, monsters, and it's hard to imagine anyone over ten getting excited by what is basically technological Top Trumps. If you really want to see what all the fuss is about, it's probably best that you wait until the official launch of the games next year - at least they'll be in English!
At first thought to be a Game Boy emulator, the 64GB has -disappointingly - turned out to be nothing more than an adaptor through which Game Boy saved data can be read by the N64. Since ours was on loan we didn't try to pull it apart to see what was inside, but its translucent back gives you a peek at its innards.
The 64GB does, at least, let you play the RPG part of the Game Boy Pocket Monsters games, letting you see (or at least wonder) why Pocket Monsters has been such a hit in Japan. If you've got four players, each with a 64GB and their own copy of the Game Boy title, they can pit their own unique collection of monsters against each other. If you're a fan of the game then this'll probably be heaven for you.
However, Nintendo's decision to make the 64GB only compatible with Pocket Monsters, and not Game Boy games in general, is truly bizarre. If you want a proper RPG, rather than the junior portion that is Pocket Monsters, being able to play Link's Awakening on the N64 would have been much better!
And that, believe it or not, is pretty much all there is to it. Obviously Western players will need a bit of time to discover what attacks each monster has in its repertoire, but simple trial and error is a fairly good way of doing things.
The attacks, and the monsters themselves, do look very good. Even the basic selection of Pokemons has plenty of variety and they're all well-animated with a reasonable amount of character. While they're waiting rounds they all have their own little jigs, and each attack has its own animation and visual effect. Some of them look pretty spectacular, like the fire breath or the psychedelic energy wave effects. There's practically no character interaction, though. Even when one monster leaps bodily at the other, you never see the two actually hit. Just the recipient reeling from the impact.
What the combat boils down to is a version of 'rock-paper-scissors'. You pick J an attack, your opponent picks an attack. If youYe lucky; you get to go first and inflict a terminal blow on the other guy. If you don't, you just go back and forth until one of the fighters bites the dust. Once you've seen all the monsters and all the special effects it gets very boring, because that's literally the whole game. Back and forth and back and forth and... snore.
Pocket Monsters Stadium most closely resembles the battle scenes of Final Fantasy VII (or, if you want an N64 equivalent, Quest but without the tactics, surrounding storyline and exploration that makes the whole thing interesting. While it might be fun for young kids (who, to be fair, are the target audience for the whole Pokemon thang) anybody over the age of ten is going to become very bored very quickly.
The biggest problem with Pocket Monsters Stadium is that it essentially turns the all-plwerful N64 into the world's most «pensive Game Boy peripheral. Wlat seems like the fun part of the whole locket Monsters experience -exploring the RPG world, finding and capturing the monsters and then customing them with your own unique set of attacks and powers -requires tm Game Boy titles, leaving the N64 to run subgame which, graphics aside, could have been written in BASIC on the ZX Spectrum. If this is Nintendo's idea of the brave new future for the N64, i'll stick with Turok blowing the heads off raptors, thank you very much.
2nd rating opinion
Graphics are superb, animation sequences are nice, but there's no gameplay! There is no skill involved and the animation soon becomes repetitive. It's an RPG without the storyline and all in all about as intellectually fulfilling as watching paint dry.
Nintendo has come out with some bizarre concepts for games recently, but this has to score fairly highly on the weirdometer. A David Attenborough simulation?
Pokemon Snap (no, we're not going to cave in and put that stupid accent over the 'e'- what are we, French?) is a photo safari game, but with Nintendo's current cash cows the Pocket Monsters--Pokemons? Pokemen? -- instead of real animals. The objective is to travel around Pokemon Island and take pictures of the 150-odd species of binary beasts in their native habitats. The more interesting the picture, the more points you score, so you need to work to draw the creatures out of hiding.
Some of the Pokemons can be brought into the open by leaving food for them and waiting for them to investigate it, giving you the chance to snap them with your Nikon. Other animals respond better to other means, like playing music to make them dance or, for the more cruelly inclined (heh heh), bunging rocks at them so you can grab a picture as they flee in terror.
Pokemon Snap was originally meant for the 64DD, but like practically all of the titles intended for Nintendo's still-unreleased peripheral, it's now been transferred onto cartridge. Japanese gamers will be able to take their cartridge down to the shops, plug it into a special machine and get their snaps printed out as stickers, but nothing's been said yet about how Western players get to view their photo gallery. Hopefully the cart will have built-in memory.
Pokemon Snap is certainly in a genre of its own (unless you count PC stuff like Deer Hunter or Natural Fawn Killers, only they blow the animals away instead of photographing them) but it's another Nintendo non-game. Will it succeed in gameplay-fixated Britain?
Pokemon are busting out all over--they've even busted out of WP the Game Boy onto the Nintendo 64. Pokemon Snap puts you on a Pokemon photo-safari for an imaginative round of monster-stalking.
Pokemon on Parade
Snap is not the standard Pokemon hunting-and-gathering that's been driving the Game Boy epidemic. Instead, its the first N64 game to put you behind the lens of a camera, and it's pretty cool. You play as Todd, the shutterbug from the Pokemon cartoon show, who's photographing Pokemon for Dr. Oak's never-ending Pokemon Report.
Snaps gameplay is deceptively simple. You play from a first-person perspective "shooters" view, looking through your camera's viewfinder. Your Pokemon hunt spans seven areas, from a beach to the upper stratosphere, and you ride through them in an all-terrain Pokemobile on autopilot.
Each area is overrun by Pokemon, and your goal is to take perfect pictures of the 60-plus creatures. It ain't easy, given that the Poke-mobile is continuously moving and that some Pokemon only become "photogenic" for a brief instant. Plus, nit-picky Dr. Oak critiques all your photos and grades them for quality.
Snap's straightforward, easy-to-master controls make taking pictures a...uhh, snap. A few quick button presses enable you to swiftly swing the cam 360 degrees and take rapid-fire shots. You can also try to set up Pokemon poses by pitching Pokeballs filled with knock-out gas, flinging Pokemon food, or playing a Pokeflute.
Pokemon fans will go nuts when they see and hear their favorite creatures in the wild probably for the first time ever. Snap's topnotch 3D visuals bring the Pokemon to life with sharp character graphics and nicely animated antics. Unfortunately, the sounds are uneven. Environmental audio like rushing water and jungle noises is great, but Pokemon voices are scarce.
Pokemon Snap puts a nicely crafted spin on the classic rail shooter-style game. It's too bad you don't get all 151 Pokemon, but just trying to capture the creatures on hand in that perfect pose is a compelling task. If you haven't given in to Pokemon power yet, Snap may do the trick.
- Some Pokemon are in disguise; these Bulbasaurs at the entrance of the cave level are not what they seem.
- Pokemon like to hide. In the river level, for example, keep an eye on the right bank; you should find a Vileplume, a Pokemon Landmark, and three Porygons.
- Using the Pokeflute (press bottom-C) makes some Pokemon, like these beach level Pikachu, perform special moves.
Sharp visuals bring the usually black-and-white Game Boy Pokemon to life. Seeing Pokemon in their natural habitat will be a kick for fans, who'll freak when they see Pokemon bust their special moves.
Incidental happy-go-lucky music and cutesy Pokemon sounds fit right in with the laid-back tone of Snap, allowing you to concentrate on your photography. Environmental sound effects tuned to each level are cool, but more voices would've been nice.
Controls put almost every button into play and respond quickly to enable you to catch the elusive Pokemon. Tossing Pokeballs, playing the Pokeflute, and heaving Pokemon food to position monsters for photos adds a nice touch.
Pokemon trainers and video shut-terbugs will have a field day taking snapshots of their favorites, while the compelling quest to take the perfect picture amps the games replay value. Snap provides an entertaining new meaning to the terms "hunting" and "shooting."