Monday, February 04, 2013

Pokemon Snap

*click* Damn, I missed Mew again!
Review By TVDarko874

That's how the opening cinema goes. Todd, the main character, and an expert photographer, is trying to get a snapshot of the rare Mew. However, Mew was simply too fast, and Todd simply cannot get more than one of Mew's limbs into one picture. Mew flew away, leaving Todd disappointed that he'd missed such a rare Pokemon.

A bit later, Professor Oak calls Todd to his lab, for he has an assignment for him. He is compiling the PKMN Report, which, when completed, will contain pictures of all the Pokemon on Pokemon Island in their natural habitats. And that's where Todd comes in. Oak wants Todd to go to the six areas of Pokemon Island and photograph every last Pokemon on it in their natural habitats. Armed with his pink and purple striped shirt, a camera, a roll of film, a really fancy machine called the Zero-One, and his expert photography skills, Todd sets on his quest to photograph these strange creatures.

This is a real hit or miss game. Personally I love it, but the idea of taking pictures of Pokemon instead of catching them all just didn't click with some people(no pun intended). But it was loved by many. It was a sleeper hit, and now it's on the Virtual Console for $10 bucks with a new feature: You can download photos to the Wii Message Board, where you can send them to others who can comment on them, or even edit your pics! And of course, you can just upload them and let the entire world admire your work.

Snap is all about taking pictures of Pokemon, as you may have guessed. I have mentioned the Zero-One. It is your source of transportation throughout the island. It goes on a set path through each course, which always ends in a Goal Gate, which takes you back to the lab. All the Pokemon are hanging around the course doing stuff, and it's your job to take pictures of them.

As for actually taking pictures, the controls are very simple. In fact, the game shows them to you as soon as you begin the first course. I play with a Gamecube controller since I don't own the Classic one, and on that you use the L button to focus your camera on a Pokemon, and A to snap a photo of it. As you move through the course, you will encounter more Pokemon that you can photograph. For example, after the game teaches you the controls by having you take pictures of a flock of Pidgey, a Doduo will come barreling of of the trees right in front of you, which you'll have to be quick to get on photo. And right after that you'll find a Pikachu. And you'll have to scan the entire area to find the rest of the Pokemon in the level.

Once you go through the Goal Gate, you have to select which pictures you think will get the best score for the PKMN Report. You can have a max of 60 pictures per run. Oak will grade them on size(he loves close-ups), pose(an unusual pose like two Magmar fighting each other earns a lot of points), and technique, which is whether you got the Pokemon in the center of the frame. Make sure you do, because Oak doubles your score for it, and you'll end up with low scores if the Pokemon is too far off to the right, or the left, or simply not in the center. You also get a few extra points if there are more than one of that Pokemon in the picture, but this is not part of the points doubled by the technique score. And if there any any snapshots you took that you really love and want to keep forever, you can save them to your PKMN Album. This option is available starting with the second time you go through a course.

On your first run through the early courses, you may find there are some Pokemon you're unable to get good shots of or even photograph at all. That's what the power-ups are for. Oak will give you special tools to use once you have enough points on the PKMN Report. Your first reward is Pokemon food, which is good for luring Pokemon towards you or other objects or Pokemon for good shots. Second is Pester Balls, which is good for forcing stubborn Pokemon out of hiding. Late in the game you get the Poke Flute, which when played can make Pokemon dance for really funny shots, and the Dash Engine, which makes the Zero-One go faster.

Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. There are six(plus a secret area) courses to go through, for a total of 63 Pokemon(why not 64?). It's fun to throw out items and see what crazy pictures you can get. It would have been nice if this game was longer, however. A first-time player could probably beat this in 2 hours. I personally love just going through the storyline over and over again for some reason, but for others, this game will get stale eventually. Still, you can always redo all the courses and try to get even better pictures. And now with the ability to send pics to the Wii Message Board, the entire world can see your amazing, awful, unusual, funny, or just regular pictures.

The graphics look very good for an N64 game. The courses each have their own distinct vibe to them. They all look different, meaning you get a different photo taking experience in each course. The Pokemon themselves look very good, with a pretty big amount of detail put into every one. And it's all presented in a 3-D enviornment, except the lab, but most of the time you'll be out snapping pictures rather than in the lab.

The sound, on the other hand, isn't incredible. I like it, but it really isn't anything special or memorable. Each course has a soft tune that's nice to listen to but gets a little bit old. Nothing is overly fancy, but you'll be so busy getting just the right picture you won't notice that much.

The replay value depends on who you are. If you're like me, you'll feel like playing the courses over and over again for the fun of it. If you're the opposite, you'll play once and never touch it again. But with 63 Pokemon and the ability to upload photos, I don't think anybody will be the exact opposite of me.

Pokemon Snap is a fun and innovative game. The gameplay is something you won't find in any other game, and Nintendo pulled it off flawlessly. The courses and Pokemon look really impressive for its time. The only gripes is the sound wasn't fantastic and the game is short, but it's easy to overcome them. And with the ability to upload photos, making Snap the first VC game to habe anything changed about it, the game is made even more enjoyable. This game is well worth the 10 bucks for any Pokemon fan, and for many non-Pokemon fans as well. Don't delay. Go outside, buy a Wii Points card, and download this game now. Say cheese! *click*

NAME: POKEMON SNAP
SYSTEM: Nintendo 64

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