Published on June 19th, 2012 | by Nichomaxwell0
A Review of Capitalism: The Remake! (or Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen)
Year: 2004 // System: GameBoy Advance // Publisher: Nintendo // Developer: Game Freak // Genre: RPG // Atmosphere: Capitalism
>>> There’s no better way to return to the reviewing routine than with a dual selection of remakes that absolutely needed to be made. Pokemon Red and Blue accomplished their mission as revenue generators for Nintendo’s second handheld system, the Game Boy. However, they aged quickly in both their visuals and extremely simple game play, and with trading pokemon becoming a non-option between the new GBA titles Ruby and Sapphire and the older generations of games, an update for Red and Blue was in line.
The result? Too solid outings that incorporated the Steel and Dark types introduced in Gold and Silver, as well as the attention-grabbing double-battles from Ruby and Sapphire.
Welcome to the fold, FireRed and LeafGreen! Their names, no doubt, were trying to get away from the Capitalist intentions of the Americanized originals and make these games more about the game play. Although FR and LG utilize the same game play techniques as Ruby and Sapphire, they serve as remakes whereas R&S meant to continue the series with new innovations. New ideas did indeed come about in R&S, but their implementation left much to be desired. FR and LG, on the other hand, did extremely well in recapturing the essence of the original’s plot and game play while making the game seem new and exciting. Instead of copying Red and Blue verbatim, FireRed and LeafGreenintroduced a series of islands that the player visited to complete new quests, find legendary pokemon (most notably Moltres in the volcano), solve challenging puzzles, and catch pokemon never-before-seen in Red and Blue.I’d like to think of these islands as the mythical zone behind Bill’s House, except that these islands weren’t behind Bill’s House…or at least I don’t think…
Movement in the over-world benefited largely from the running shoes that enabled swifter movements. Battling still felt as slow as molasses, with the slow-motion fighting animations becoming a little repetitive to watch over time.
The problem with factoring in the engine from R&S is that some of the same problems carried over. Double battles were fleshed out, and the AI felt comparably weakened. However, I did think the difficulty a bit more balanced in these versions. I still hate the jump in level between the eighth gym leader and the Elite Four, but whereas Red and Blue felt imbalanced and Ruby and Sapphire seemed too easy, FireRed and LeafGreen strikes me as the creators’ attempt to make the challenge as fair as possible.
The strongest evidence of the developers’ attempt to make the game a bit more player-friendly? Think Charmander. In Red and Blue you were in trouble if you chose this adorable fire-tipped lizard as your starter. Provided it was nearly impossible to find a pokemon in the early routes that COULD do damage to Geodude and Onix, you needed to farm for levels until the game no longer felt broken. However, in FR and LG, the creators purposefully have Charmander learn Metal Claw early on! And why not? This is a remake, and it’s trying to include the new types. So in a way it’d make sense to think that, in this revised generation, a Charmander would be capable of leaning Metal Claw? Right? Well for justification, it was quickly seen through for what it was meant to accomplish: a fair shot! By giving Charmander Metal Claw, a move effective against rock, the developers made it possible for the player to beat Brock without having to train unnecessarily.
FireRed and LeafGreen were much appreciated mainly for bringing back all of the pokemon that the aging fans had come to know and love. It brought back those young teenagers who were led astray by the overwhelming number of pokemon the players could now catch. Anything after the 150 felt uninteresting or seemed to be too much. The original 150 had become characters etched firmly into the minds of children and young adults worldwide, and they were not about to make space in their heads for even more characters. Unfortunately several second-generation pokemon made their way into these titles, much to the chagrin of those nostalgic only for Red and Blue, but it certainly helped that the main emphasis remained on the original 150.
These games didn’t mean to blow the socks off of the Pokeholics out there, but they did function as strong hold-over games to bridge the gap between the slightly disappointing R&S pair and the fourth generation headlined by Diamond&Pearl. If anything, I enjoyed being able to play with a Charizard beefed up on metal…attacks…
Challenge: 8/Great: I still had some qualms with the spacey difficulty in between gym leaders and the segments leading up to the Elite Four, but there was a greater variety of puzzles and better organized gym battles to keep the player busy. Team Rocket certainly packed more of a punch than they did in previous installments.
Handling: 8/Great: Controls were still basic and straightforward, and overhead movement was fast (thank you running shoes) and well-paced whereas battle animations stretched out battles way too long, making random fights that much more annoying. Good thing there’s a feature that turns off fighting animations…
Innovation: 7/Solid: Didn’t add much, but it did remix ideas from the previous generations rather well into a revamped version of the original. It played like the new games while featuring the classic pokemon and plot structure from the old games.
Core Experience: 9/Outstanding: Players had much more to do in FireRed and LeafGreen thanks to the addition of the islands to the Kanto region that amplified the challenge, and the player’s ability to trade over pokemon from the Ruby and Sapphire games…that is, if they wanted to…
OVERALL: 8/Great: Pokemon LeafGreen and FireRed came as a bit of relief to players whom R&S may have disheartened. This was a graceful return to Game Freak’s roots that captured the spirit of the original games everyone had fallen in love with.