It’s been almost two years since I reviewed the Virtual Console release of the original Pokemon games, Red/Blue. At the time, I had never played a single Pokemon title in all my years of gaming. By the time I was finished, I was hooked. When I learned that Nintendo was going to release the original versions of the sequel in the same fashion, I was eager to dive in. In September of 2017, they made good on their promise. Pokemon Gold/Silver were finally here. I started playing on day one and finally finished just last week.
Now, before getting into this review, I want to state that like the games themselves, this review is a bit of a sequel to my original Red/Blue/Yellow review. So if you haven’t read it, click the link below and give it a glance before we continue.
If you’re all caught up, let’s proceed.
First of all, let’s go over a few basics. Like Pokemon Red/Blue, The second generation of Pokemon game comes in two flavors. This time we have Silver and Gold. The concept is same as it was before. Each game is identical with the exception of the Pokemon that you can encounter/catch during the adventure. Players that own different versions, can trade Pokemon with each other. Thus allowing a “Silver player” to collect Pokemon that are exclusive to the Gold version of the game. In fact, Gold/Silver also offers a new feature called Time Capsule. This allows players to trade not only between the Silver and Gold versions, but also from Red/Blue/Yellow as well. Of course, trading is restricted by system. So if you’re playing the original physical version of the game, you’ll need to trade with someone who is also using an actual Game Boy/Game Boy Color. Virtual Console players are restricted to trading with other VC players.
Just like the previous generation, there was a third Pokemon game released later. The first time around the special edition was called Pokemon Yellow. This time, it’s Pokemon Crystal. – It’s important to note that Pokemon Crystal was not made available on the Virtual Console at the same time as Gold/Silver. Instead, it’s actually going to be released at the end of January 2018.
In my opinion, Pokemon Crystal is very much the definitive version of the second generation games. While the base game is the same, Crystal offers several fixes and tweaks. It also includes the option to play as either a male of female. Something that future Pokemon titles would adopt. So, if you’re interested in playing these titles on your 3DS but haven’t taken the plunge yet, you may want to wait to from the VC Crystal release.
In case you didn’t notice, this generation of Pokemon games was released for the Game Boy Color. So not only do we have a new region to explore, but it’s prettier!
Other changes since Generation 1 include the introduction of both male and female Pokemon. This allows players to actually breed and raise Pokemon. A concept that becomes a staple of the series later on. Also, in this version we are introduced to the concept of “Shiny” Pokemon. Shiny Pokemon are simply regular Pokemon with an alternate color scheme. The chance of finding or breeding a Shiny Pokemon is very low, thus making them rare and collectible.
This game also introduces the concept of time to Pokemon. At the beginning of the game, you will be asked a series of questions regarding the time of day and day of the week. This is because in Gold/Silver, some Pokemon are only available to catch at certain times.
Aside from these major changes and a few quality of life tweaks, Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal is very similar to the first generation games. The graphics are similar (even if they are now in color), as is the soundtrack. The core concept of the game remains unchanged. The game is larger and much more of a timesink for players that really want to “catch them all”. But that’s not a bad thing.
One final thing worth mentioning; players who use the Virtual Console versions of these classic games (Blue, Red, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal) are able to send any Pokemon they obtain to some of the more modern titles using the Pokemon Transporter software that is available for the 3DS. This is a big deal. As it bridges the gap between the original first and second generation titles and the current gen Pokemon games. This is functionality that, until now, was almost impossible to achieve.
All in all, Pokemon Gold/Silver is an excellent evolution to a pair of games that took the world by storm. Everything great about the first generation of Pokemon games remains and is actually improved upon in these titles. Plus, with the release of the Virtual Console versions, fans who never got to experience the original Gen 2 titles now have a chance to do just that.
Version Reviewed: GBC
Difficulty: Medium – With a little patience and willingness to grind levels, the main scenario is not particularly difficult. The biggest challenge comes in the form of optional goals. “Catching them all” will require many hours of patience and even having friends or family to trade with.
Story: As was the case with the original game, the storyline in the game is cute and enjoyable. This game builds off the foundation of lore created in Pokemon Red/Blue and expands on it. There’s also some nice throwbacks to the original.
Originality: In terms of originality, the base game leans very heavily on it’s predecessor. However, new quality of life improvements and other refinements keep it feeling fresh.
Soundtrack: Well, it’s a Game Boy title. The music is catchy, but suffers greatly from the limitations provided by the Game Boy system. The soundtrack here is very similar to what was presented in the original game, but it seems like the devs attempted to make some slight changes to avoid complete repetition.
Fun: If Pokemon is your sort of thing, there’s nothing to dislike about this title. For me, trading Pokemon with friends is a blast. It allows for real world social interactions with others who share your interest in the game.
Graphics: Being a Game Boy Color title really does a lot for this game. Pokemon, with its variety of monsters and environments really doesn’t belong in the monochrome world of the original Game Boy. Even though the Game Boy Color has a very limited range of colors, it adds a lot to the game.
Playcontrol: Overall no problems here. I still find the UI of the Pokemon storage system to be overly annoying and slow. However, this behavior seemed to be improved in the classic Crystal version of the game. Here’s to hoping this tweak carries over to the upcoming Virtual Console release.
Downloadable Content: N/A
Mature Content: N/A
Value: Pokemon games often sell at a premium price. The secondhand market is even more expensive as many titles are out print. Original versions of Gold/Silver can often fetch $40-$50 for used copies. Nintendo gave fans a huge break by bringing these games to the Virtual Console and at a price of $10 per game. This is an amazing deal considering the amount of content.
Overall score (1-100): 100 – Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal is one of those rare occasions where the sequel is just as good as (and maybe even better than) the original. Everything that was great about the first game carries over and is improved upon in this new version. Even if you’ve never played a Pokemon game before, Generation II is a great place to start. As someone who never thought they’d enjoy something that is so seemingly childish, I have to admit – I’m now a Pokemon fan.
Original System: GBC
Available today on: 3DS eShop – (List updated as of Fall 2020)
Best Modern Experience: 3DS eShop – (As of Fall 2020)
Other Reviews In This Series:
Red/Blue/Yellow (FireRed/LeafGreen) – Gold/Silver/Crystal (HeartGold/SoulSilver) – Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald (OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire) – Diamond/Pearl/Platinum – Black/White – Black 2/White 2 – X/Y – Sun/Moon