Product Type: other Nintendo 64 games
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Pokemon Snap 64 (N64)
Member Name: Craigonnavitch
Pokemon Snap 64 (N64)
Date: 20/02/01, updated on 20/02/01 (80 review reads)
Advantages: Very original, and is also well executed.
Disadvantages: Has a short lifespan for anyone over thirteen, and is also a complete cash-in.
The game itself is based on an episode of the Pokemon cartoon on sky one and very occasionally it seems, ITV. Coming from Japan, the cartoon is very quirky, just as the game is. The episode is called 'Pokemon Paparazzi', and features the lead character in the cartoon Ash Ketchum meeting a Pokemon Photographer called Todd. He is the leading character in this game. Pokemon, in case you are wondering are creatures that certain 'Pokemon Trainers' use to fight each other with, and also try and catch in the world of Pokemon. This idea that was first introduced to the world in Pokemon Red and Blue, which were Nintendo Gameboy games released in 1995 boasting 150 different monsters to try and catch.
The idea of Pokemon Snap is to go off around the six worlds, with one secret world, taking pictures of the Pokemon that are al over the landscape. You move about on rails in the 'Zero One', a car much like the ones in Jurassic Park, so at least we know where the Nintendo bods got that idea from! This restricts you, so you really have to work hard to get a good picture. This is where the items you take with you come in handy. You are given Pester Balls, which apparently smell so bad that they flush hidden Pokemon out for an extra special shot. You are given apples, which you can lure Pokemon to certain things with, or feed them to make them really happy, or you can hit them with one to make them angry making them chase you, or if you are lucky make them fight another Pokemon, (hint hint).
Taking a picture of this gets you quite a few points. There is also a flute that wakes Pokemon up or could even make them dance, which can be sickeningly cute. There is also a dash box, or if you like a Turbo injector for would be boy racers trying to snap extra fast Pokemon.
However, when you get to the end of the course, (you're on rails not forgetting), you have to chose which photo's you want rated by the apparent expert, Professor Oak. His ratings can be infuriating as he slates a picture you think is lovely. This is because he gives you points regarding certain criteria. You can get points for taking a special picture like Surfing Pikachu, (the hideous little yellow mouse in the cartoon), which is quite difficult to get, so you will have to find that one out for yourself! Then there is pose. You won't get many points if the Pokemon is asleep or just sitting around. You have to make them dance or get angry, or if you are really cunning, make them use a special move. You are also marked on size of the Pokemon in the shot, this being the most infuriating, as you can be too close and too far away, making the error margin quite small. You are then given a multiplier if you get the Pokemon in the middle of the shot. If you match these criteria perfectly you may even put Sir David Attenbourough out of a job; (you have got a 1 in 5,000,000 chance at least)! This gives part of the lifespan of the game as you will keep coming back to better your scores.
The control method is actually superb. Using the revolutionary Nintendo 64 pad, you can control the game brilliantly. Getting Pokemon in the middle of the frame is aided by the pin point accuracy of the analogue stick, and also the fact that a red dot appears in the middle of the sight if the Pokemon is in the middle of the frame. This of course makes it a lot less trial and error. This aimer also means you can aim what you are throwing, which is good as it does make it slightly easier to
get that shot that you want. You may notice a little pattern emerging, in that everything is designed to make it easier. More on this later.
Another great part of the game is the graphics the Nintendo 64 manages to produce for this game. The colours are clear and crisp, the animation on the Pokemon is superb, and there are loads of little touches that give a game it's identity, such as mountains that look like certain Pokemon. The scenery is also beautifully detailed. The levels, which range from on the beach, in a volcano, motoring down some river rapids and also the secret location which is home to the rarest Pokemon called...., are some of the best graphics displayed on this console. The only gripe I have here is that the menu's are actually very dour, which does actually mean that you don't fully take in what it says, therefore you may miss something important, like what time tea is, or something else....
So I have just managed to make the game look perfect, and now all is left to do is say thank you reading, and declare it to be the best game ever, right? Not so my Dooyooing chums. This game contains a number of major, and not so major flaws.
The worst bit about the game for any self respecting Pokemon fan is that is that only around 62 of the Pokemon of the 150 in the game boy game appear in this game. This in itself seems to me to be fraudulent in the extreme! This cuts hours of the playing time, as it means the levels are also smaller, and so there is less to do to find all the Pokemon in the game. This is simply lazy programming by the Nintendo developers; I feel that there is a reason for this. The success of the Pokemon franchise means that new merchandise is brought out all the time, to part die-hard Pokemon fans from theirs or their parent’s cash. I feel this game has been rushed out to make sure that Nintendo's marketing strategy is co-ordinated that a piece of merchandise is not 'yesterday's new
s'. This makes the game a cynical cash in on a franchise that is doing well, so is being thrashed for every penny it has left in it.
Another problem is one that has plagued the Nintendo 64's existence. The games are aimed at a lower age group that has less money to spend than the spotty teenagers who are working hard in Macdonald’s, (not being overly patronising), so that they can buy Final Fantasy 87 on the PSOne or Playstation 2. This is not a crime in itself, as this will more that satisfy children probably from five to thirteen. However, for older gamers like myself, this is very easy, and could probably be completed at the minimum level in maybe four or five hours. This probably makes the game good for a rent, as though it is insufferably cute to the point of sickening, and is also the most outrageous cash in since the last Pokemon spin off, (ouch say the developers), it is still the most original game I may have ever played.
This game is therefore a welcome addition to the market, as it creates a whole new genre, and as you get an original game that is half decent about once every millennium these days, this is a decent game. Anyone over thirteen will probably grow very tired of it in a very short time.
Thanks for reading, and as usual, I will digest all your criticism.
P.S I agonised over the rating. I would say 3.5, so I rounded up.
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