Along with Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda, one of the most familiar franchises that exist in Nintendo’s history is Pokemon. This series made its debut on Nintendo’s Game Boy and told the tale of a youth who means of success was catching every single Pokemon
(pocket monster) that he could locate. The game was released with two versions of differing color, one red and one blue. The distinction that existed was that each version contained a varying set of monsters; players would have to own both versions if they wanted to obtain the complete set.
Both Pokemon adventures sold well in their debut, and have since spawned an empire of toys, movies, game sequels, and books. While these efforts have done their part in making the Pokemon brand known throughout the world, gamers were beginning to clamor for some more innovation in the franchise. This became apparent when Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Sapphire were released on the Game Boy Advance; many thought that the series’ well of novelty peaked with Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver, which featured a longer quest and over 100 new monsters.
Regardless of the questionable lack of innovation that exists in the Pokemon license, Nintendo decided to renovate the two original Pokemon games, subtitled Red & Blue, into their current incarnations, Pokemon Fire Red & Pokemon Leaf Green. Pokemon Fire Red is the current object of my focus, although both experiences are fairly interchangeable.
As is the case with the Pokemon series, you are tasked with guiding an individual through their quest to become pocket monster champions. This assignment is completed by capturing as many monsters as possible and amassing an army formidable enough to defeat Pokemon trainers, gym leaders, and eventually the Elite Four. Since this is a remake of Pokemon Red & Blue, you can expect to see familiar monsters like Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle.
You can also expect to see Pikachu, the yellow mouse that uses electric attacks and has become of face of the pocket monster franchise. However, instead of just transferring ideas and data from the original games, Nintendo added new moves for the Pokemon (Pikachu can now learn moves like Shock Wave and Thunder Bolt) and new items (the main character can now equip objects such as Running Shoes that will increase his traveling speed).
I will admit that I was skeptical when deciding to purchase this latest addition to the Pokemon series; after all, I had already completed Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Gold, so why invest more money on a renovated version of a game that I already played?
The answer became apparent as soon as I turned on my DS Lite and started playing; what Nintendo has done with the Pokemon franchise that has enabled it to survive despite its lack of attention to substantial innovation is to craft each game with enough elements to make it addictive to game players. For instance, when one is capturing Pokemon, the adventure evenly balances the difficulty between having monsters that are easy to catch with monsters that will probably take one about twenty attempts to successfully apprehend.
Also, I smiled as I finally received that coveted bicycle and was able to explore locations that took me forever to reach on foot. Finally, the feeling of watching your well-trained pocket monsters defeat trainer after trainer is a level of satisfaction that can only be matched by watching your pet perform a trick or win an event. It is the feeling that your hours were well-spent toward something greater.
Nostalgic feelings about Pokemon aside, what really justifies this version of Pokemon as successful is the amount of extra content that Nintendo placed in the game in addition to what is already present. While they simply could have retained what was already there, they added new areas, new types of pocket monsters (expect to see pokemon from almost every known version here), and new quests. These factors allow Pokemon FireRed to stand head and shoulders above its original breatheren.
When Pokemon Fire Red was released, a wireless adaptor was included along with it. This device enables individuals to battle their creatures wirelessly over separate systems. This feature is successful addition because it highlights the main draw of Pokemon; battling. The wireless device also allows persons to chat to one another and trade their creatures as well. The implementation of these features that can support the following argument; that the incarnations of Pokemon were the first games to encourage sharing of resources between one another.
In closing, while Pokemon Fire Red may appear too similar to its predecessors, it is still as addictive as ever, and the included wireless adaptor makes it even easier for aspiring trainers to trade and battle with friends.