By Tim Parsons
3 years after the release of Red and Green in Japan, Gold and Silver were released to the masses. The game added a new region, 100 new pokemon, two new types, an expanded story, and new game mechanics. But does the second outing fail to capture the fun of the original names? Or is it the icing on an already delicious cake? Let’s find out.
To be honest, I have a small bit of nostalgic love for the second generation of Pokémon. It was my first generation and the first game I ever played, so it was the gateway drug to my Pokémon addiction. But my love is well founded, because the second gen is a far improvement over the original.
The best thing of the game is the story. Obviously there’s the copy-and-paste story of the original game. Defeat the gym leaders and elite four, fight the villainous team, catch ’em all, and become the best like no-one ever was.
Unlike the original, there’s a post-credit story to bring trainers back, and we return to the region of Kanto. You fight the gym leaders again, raise your team’s level, and catch even more Pokémon. However, the final fight with Red is a great highlight of any Pokémon game, and makes you feel like you’re truly a Pokemon Master.
The added Pokemon are a great feature to the new games. New evolutions to Pokémon like Golbat and Onix are great additions to already good Pokémon, and the newly introduced baby Pokémon are adorable. The Pokédex has lots of powerful and great looking Pokémon like Houndour, Ampharos, Feraligatr, and Tyranitar. But there are also some derpy & worthless entries like Dunsparce, Sunflora, and Delibird. The colors were changed from the single hue, and add a lot of detail to the designs.
The new game mechanics were a blessing and a curse for the games, but mostly a blessing. The split between Special Attack and Special Defense helped the balancing issue greatly. Now a Pokémon can be a frail heavy-hitter, or a defensive light-weight. However, the damage dealt depends on the type of move. Fire/Ice/Thunderpunch are still special moves, making them useless for a lot of physical attackers that can use it.
The added types of Steel and Dark work great to fix the balancing against Psychic types and give Fighting types more to do. Steel is amazing, but Dark is a bit tricky since it’s attacks are special based, and most Dark types are physical attackers.
Breeding is a great help for those trying to complete the Pokédex, now that anyone can have all the Eeveelutions, the Tyrouge line, and baby Pokémon.
The Apricorn balls aren’t very special, since a good Ultra ball usually does the trick.
Shiny Pokemon are a cool trophy, but they happen so rarely that I didn’t get a shiny until my third playthrough of Emerald. The color change looks good on some Pokemon, but weird on others.
If there’s one flaw, I must bring up about these games, it’s the level scaling. After the fourth gym, you can either complete the Olivevine and Cianwood cities before Mahogany and the Lake of Rage, or visa-versa. Because of this, levels are pretty low on both sides, which lead to a lot of level grinding for the Olivevine and Mahogany gyms. This is also a problem in the elite four. Every playthrough I had resulted in me having the level grind with wild pokemon for hours before all my pokemon were at a viable level to take on the elite four. It was really tedious and frustrating. I didn’t find the Kanto gym leaders too hard, but level grinding for Red was a giant pain. Despite being a big flaw, this hardly hinders the overall game experience.
Overall, the second generation is a big step foreward from the first generation, and still hold up fairly well with the modern games.
Pokemon Gold & Silver get 3 1/2 Pokeballs out of 5