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Review Pokemon Emerald Review

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"Why the radio silence?" You might ask. "Where've you been and why haven't you posted a review in the last month?" You might also ask.

The short of it is I didn't know what I felt like reviewing. I haven't been on the big reviewing kick like I had earlier in the year. I had actually thought about another Evangelion game, but there wasn't a good enough translation. Neither online line-by-line text document, no patch, no nothing. Not saying which, as I may get to it at another time. I'll keep it a surprise.

Then I thought about Arkanoid. Returns was a good one, but I also thought of Doh It Again, the SNES game, as I had found a highly rare PC port of the game and then I just didn't really feel like that, either. Mostly just complaining about gold bricks, which is probably what the review will end up being like if I end up doing it. They went way too far with those gold bricks.

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Honestly, they built in a function where the level will allow you to go through it if the ball hasn't bounced on the paddle for long enough.

I also felt my Wolfchild review was a bit rushed as I was reviewing all the ports in a very small document. I was going over it very generally, and with how I felt it was sub-par, I thought about taking it down and putting up an announcement as to why and archive links to it in case people wanted to read it.

Spinning around in piles of games wasn't helping, I had many to play and none I felt like playing. It's a real pain in the ass when I want to play something but by the time I get everything set up to play, I spend so long trying to choose a game to play that I just don't feel like playing anymore.

Then I settled down on Pokémon Emerald. A game I've played multiple times. Without a doubt my favorite, but why? Why the one that came out when Pokémon fever died out?

Well, it's nothing to do with the Pokémon fever dying out, it's all to do with this one being the one I played actually second. Platinum was my first, and Emerald was my second, however my English cartridge of Emerald is slightly hacked and a bootleg therein. It's had problems with the save corrupting but then not being corrupted for many years. If the save loads, then I am surprised.

With that background out of the way, why don't I go ahead with actually talking about the game, huh?

Pokemon Emerald was the combination of Ruby and Sapphire. It is, if you ask me, the definitive experience as you don't have to side with one of the teams, but instead you are showing them both to not mess with an eleven year-old. Then again, it's only in the games that they would cower to you. In the manga, they go insane and try to destroy the world.

The manga was whack.

The gameplay of Emerald is as you'd expect from a Pokémon game. Random encounters in the wild grass, trainers everywhere, miscellaneous challenges on your way from point A to point B, all that fun stuff. I can't complain about the battle HUD or really any of the gameplay except for complaining about grinding, but that is part and parcel of playing an RPG. Granted, the main reason why I ended up putting Hyperdimension Neptunia down for a while when I was playing it was for that same reason, immense grinding. Otherwise, the game plays well, and included with Gen 3 was the beginning of Pokémon Contests.
The sort of things you can do on the side if that's your gig. Personally, I've never been good at them, but when I played Platinum, i sure played them a lot. No no avail, of course, but whatever, it was a thing on the side. Not a thing you had to do until ORAS came around, and if you ask me, those games weren't as good as R/S anyways. I don't think that there's anything that is too good about the gameplay, as there's nothing that sticks out to me, but it is sure a tried and tested formula, and it works well.

The controls are as responsive as they should be, but there isn't really anything of mention. Nothing requiring split second reaction time, just play at your own speed, if needbe.

The music I love. The Generation III music is polarizing, and also "lol trumpets", but I really don't care. Gen IV had lots and lots of pianos. They were trying out soundchips that could handle samples and not just a sequence of chip instructions to make some nice sounding square waves. Eerie square waves, too. Some of my personal favorites of the original are the Elite 4, Legendaires, Regis, Champion, Gym Leader, the list could go on. It's a very enjoyable soundtrack. It also works nicely if you use headphones that work on the GBA or 3rd party h/p for the SP. Nice uses of panning, seeing as there was only one speaker built into the GBA. And yes, the GBA Player does count. However the sound doesn't really go around your head like it does with headphones unless you put the speakers right up to your ears or use Dolby Pro Logic I/II to split the stereo signal into a pseudo surround signal.

Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah, the music is good. That's all there is to say.

You are riding in a moving van to your new home, from I don't know where in the Pokémon world to Littleroot town. You get out and your Mom apologizes for you having to do that, but that it was the only thing you could do. You get the in-game clock set which will most likely not matter unless you've changed the battery in your game so it's not still "run dry" and then you set out to meet your neighbor who you can't name, much less name them something that you want to name them. It's either Brendan or May, known as Yuuki and Haruka respectively. Granted, while Yuuki sounds effeminate for a guy in English, it means courage in Japanese.
After that, you meet Prof. Birch, who is being chased by a Zigzagoon that probably wants to nom on his ankle. You choose your starter, a Treecko, a Torchic or a Mudkip and you show that Zigzagoon who's boss. Birch lets you keep your starter, and you're off on your adventure.

After that, you set off to Oldale, where you find a Pokemart, a Pokémon Center, and a way to get to other places. Head north to find the respective rival and show them who's the superior player. Afterwards, you head off to Petalburg to find out that you actually have a Dad this time around, and you meet a boy named Wally, who catches a Ralts with ease.

Cheater.

After all that song and dance, you can to get your badges, but first, you must thwart Team Aqua who stole research papers from the Devon Corproation. You show up a middle-aged man and he runs off. You go to Rustboro City and defeat Roxanne with ease, and she gives you your first gym badge and a TM. You then help Old Man Briney get his Wingull back and the Devon Corporation their "Devon Goods" after fighting off an agent of chaos who is another pushover, and get the Pokegear from Mr. Stone.

After beating your rival in a fight that was almost predetermined, you set off to Dewford Town, where you fight off Brawly and meet up with Steven in Granite Cave. After setting sail to Slateport, you run into more Aqua morons. This is where you get the chance to speak with the head buffoon who scrambles and sics some of his goons on you to get the Gevon Goods back again to no avail.

After fighting off your rival and checking out the Trick House, you battle with Wally and his dad tells him "Sorry kid, you're not strong enough." And they Go West. You get one of two bikes from Rydel which you can swap out at any time, and you fight off Wattson. The laughing old man won't be much of a challenge but he will enjoy your battle. Get the third badge form him and you check out Verdanturf Town, where you smash some rocks to reunite a couple and talk to Wally.

Head off to Route 112 and you meet up with Team Magma who tells you to scram. Go through the Firey Path and head to Fallarbor Town. You will find out that the Professor is in another cave, and you head to that cave to inspect the deeds going on. Inside of Meteor Falls, you shoo out Magma, however they got the Meteorite from Cozmo and they plan to speed up the Volcano in Mt. Chimney to expand land forever. Slap Maxie in the face and yell at him like you're his mother and he will run off saying a variant of "I'll get you!" You then get patted on the back by Archie who you will end up showing later on that you're not on his side either. Head down Jagged Pass and fight Flannery. She will be a pushover if you have Swampert, and you will win without time to wince.

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Get the Go-Goggles to go through Route 111, and then trek by foot back to Petalburg. Head into the Gym and show your Dad who's who. Get the HM for Surf and then ride your way across Route 118 after running back there. Go north towards Fortree and check out the Weather Research Institute, where the person waiting there to kick your ass is Team Aqua, not Norman. After shooing them out, you obtain Castform and meet up with your rival who is spoiling for a fight. You beat them and then you head next to Fortree, where when you go to enter the gym, you are blocked by an invisible barrier.

Go find Steven on the route west of the city, and he gives you the Devon Scope to allow you to see the Kecleon that are hidden. Catch one if you can, but the more important thing is getting the gym badge from Winona that loows you to... you know, FLY. Go to Lilycove and find your rival who has just gone on a shopping spree at the local dept. store and show them that they've wasted their money. Find the contest hall, the fan club, the art museum and Team Aqua's hideout, except they've blocked it because of course they did.

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Find the two meatheaded morons taking away their respective orbs, except they took the wrong ones. Now the world will fall apart because they can't tell red from blue. Swipe a Magma Emblem from Mt. Pyre and thwart their hideout that they've drilled into Mt. Pyre. But first, a distraction. A distraction where you see Team Aqua steal the submarine. After stealing their Master Ball that they don't deserve, because thieving from thieves is the right thing to do and two wrongs make a right, you go to Mossdeep because raiding Team Magma's hideout doesn't come until Aqua is about to awaken Kyogre.

Mossdeep houses the double battle gym that has an affixation on double battles because the gym leaders are twins. If you have a Swampert here, drown them with Muddy Water and you will be king. Shoo out Magma from the Space center with Steven and then go raid their base after you get Dive from Steven. Beat them and Aqua up but oh oop it's too late. Archie and Maxie beg for your help as this isn't what they wanted, because of course they didn't take this into account. Wake up Rayquza and it will go find them to tell them to "KNOCK IT OFF!" like it is their mother. They then are never seen again and every trace of the team is gone and disbanded, but their hideouts are still there.

Go to Sootopolis and wowee, there's nothing chaotic going on here anymore. You head inside of the gym, which this time is water type, and Juan shows you that he is no match for you. Get the Rain Badge from him and Breeze on through Victory Road. Push Wally out of the way very lightly and he bows down to you and thanks you.
As an aside from the partially sarcastic plot retelling, Victory Road has always been a huge pain. Granted it is supposed to be hard, but unless you have the guide around, you will be wandering around in the dark for a while until you exit. It's never been fun as you just waste your time blindly inside of it for a while.

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Like that, the puzzle is solved.

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Go home, Wally.

Continuing on, you're just within the reach of the Elite Four. After buying up all the healing items and healing up to go take on the gauntlet of actually competent trainers, you show them all a good fight and run out of PP restoring items. Taking on Wallace which is just a hard version of Juan, the only problem you'll have is Ludicolo if you chose Mudkip. If you have Treecko, there's a good chance that Wallace was a complete pushover. After entering the hall of fame and promptly collapsing, you go home and go to bed. You choose the whether you saw Latias or Latios, and you get back out there to get the Regis, Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza. Then you go and get Latios or Latias after you can catch up to them and there is the Battle Frontier. After that, there's not much to do other than find Steven in the Meteor Falls. After you beat him, he drops off this side of the earth and so does your rival.

Things to note throughout the game is that the Gyms are littered with puzzles. Every one except for the first one has some sort of puzzle to it that you need to figure out, especially the last three. There is a mysterious man named Scott that will visit you throughout the game, but there isn't really much known about him other than the fact that he owns the Battle Frontier, which was why he was following you throughout the game. At the Battle Frontier, you can also nab a Sudowoodo and many, MANY Smeargle.

The Abandoned Ship. Exploring the Abandoned Ship is really just for items and a sidequest. Not much goes on there as there isn't much that really needs to. It's empty, it's wrecked, it's only worth something to scavengers. It's interesting to go looking around albeit, but just a side thing, really.

The Game Corner in Mauville. Definitely a highlight of the game, and I'm only being partially sarcastic in that sense. It's a fun distraction from the main game and something to do on the side once you've finished the game, but the thing I've always enjoyed about this incarnation was the Roulette. And no matter what some ratings system says, it's not going to be the sort of gambling that will make you go crazy and spend all your hard earned cash in the real world on a casino. Pokemon is not that kind of game, and neither are the games in the Game Corners in these games.

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The two different bikes vary. The Mach Bike is for going fast, while the Acro Bike is for hopping across platforms that need to be hopped across. You'll want the Mach bike for Rayquaza's Tower (Sky Pillar) and the Mirage Tower. And on the topic of Mauville, there is also the New Mauville generator that you can do mid-game after you can to go get a TM from Wattson. There's also the Shoal Cave which will be high or low tide depending on the clock.
Many times you'll run into Ty and Gabby, and you'll be on TV if you fight them. They say no news is good news, but for once, it is good news. There's the aforementioned Mirage Tower on Route 111 where you can get either the Root or the Claw Fossil.

There's the Sealed Chamber for opening up the Regi caves that will first be a pain to get a Relicanth, and then to figure out the Braille puzzles. Good luck with that. Don't forget that for all of the legendaries in these games that you'd better not save after you lose to or defeat one of them or you WILL be screwed. Also, they are all a challenge to catch, so expect to take a long time trying to catch the Regis especially. They hate Pokeballs and if you catch them all first ball without Mater Balls, I commend you.

To sum it up, I've definitely gotten a lot of play out of this game. It's without a doubt my favorite, and Platinum, which I may later review, is up there as well. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone interested or wanting to play Pokémon in general.

-Gameboi64
 
Gameboi64

Comments

This game was a staple of my childhood. Fantastic times on the playground, especially figuring out the Regi cave without internet and w/ schoolyard rumors.
 
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