Friday, December 07, 2012

Pokemon Card GB2

Easily one of the best games on the system.
Review By Krisipoke

The only reason I can think of why this game didn't come out outside of Japan is that it came out at the very end of the GameBoy Color's life... Or the fact that half of the cards here didn't have an English release could have played part in it as well. Anyway, it's even rare in Japanese, so it's a shame only a few people can enjoy the awesomeness that is Pokemon Card GB2. I assume everybody who's reading this played the first game (if not, go play that one first, it's not hard to hunt down). I'm waiting. Done with it? Okay, so here's what's different in this installment.

The gameplay is basically the same. There are almost twice as many cards this time around: we get the whole Team Rocket set, a card from the Gym series (The Rocket's Trap), the Japan-only Vending Machine collection, the Japan-only Video Introduction Set, some more Promo cards, and a few original ones. Cards using really special effects, like the Fossil Ditto card, or the Base Set Electrode card didn't make it to this game either, just like before.

Another great addition is that the game now actually has villains: Team Great Rocket, who took over the whole TCG Island, and you have to defeat them as well. Once you do, you get access to a completely new island with new clubs, and special places! One of them is the casino, the only place in the game where you actually use money. Well, I suppose they are game coins of some sort, but it's the closest thing you get to money in the series. There, you can play vending machines, a coin-flipping game, duel with people, and trade cards with a mysterious machine. Once you collected enough coins, you can buy stuff from them, like new booster packs, any of the two "phantom cards" from the previous game (Mew and Venusaur), and a Jigglypuff coin. What can you do with that, you ask? You can flip it during duels. That's right. You're not stuck with the same Pikachu coin as in the first game. You can actually collect a whole bunch! Club masters also give you coins instead of just regular club medals, and there are other places you can find them as well, so keep looking.

The main goal of the game is of course to become the Card Master again, and defeat King Biruritchi, leader of the Great Rockets. Even after you finish the game, there are several new things you can do: you can for example duel the ghosts of previous Card Masters, who are typically tough to beat, so there's always a challenge in the game. You cal also duel a familiar character at the very end, who was also in the first game, bit you couldn't battle the person in that one at all. I won't spoil who it is.

There are some other new things as well, but most of them are obvious or minor: there are much more people to duel, of course. The clubs look much more interesting now, and some have different layouts, too. The people you duel now have facial expressions, and they typically give you only one booster pack, which makes the game longer if you want to collect everything. You can also play as a girl this time around, as you could in Pokemon Crystal. The pictures on the cards look much better and more colorful now, and the attacks are flashier, given it's a GBC-only game now.

Of course, there are some issues with this game as well, as no game is perfect. For one, it came out in the spring of 2001, which means all the Generation II games were out in Japan, even Crystal and Stadium 2, and you still can't get cards of Generation II Pokemon (except for a Marill and a Togepi card, which are useless anyway). You can get a Lugia card as well, but it's a phantom card, so you can't get it except if you're really lucky, and have another copy of the game. This brings us to the next problem: this game is only compatible with itself, so you can't Card Pop, trade, or duel with the first game, even if you have it in Japanese (I tried, believe me). It's bad enough that you have to get a copy of the same game again (or get a friend to get it), but it's rare, so it's not easy to find two copies, and there are some cards and coins you can't get without a second game. Sorry.

Even with these problems, Pokemon Card GB2 is a fantastic game. It's really addicting, long, and quite hard to put down. If you liked the first game, you'll love this. If you loved that one, you'll be in mad love with this one. I suggest you picking this one up, even if you don't speak Japanese, because you probably know how to play already, you probably know what the old cards do, and you'll get a hang of what the newer ones do as well (and you can always search for explanation online). Too bad it never came out here. Well, with the 3DS's Virtual Console now, we can just hope they will release it here as well. Maybe we just have to wait.

SYSTEM: Game Boy Color



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