Category Archives: RPG

Podcast 21: Fallout 3 (#99)

Format: Xbox 360 Genre: Action Role-Playing Released: 2008 Developer: Bethesda Game Studios

So, Fallout 3. It’s buggy. Occasionally awkward to control. The in-game characters sometimes know stuff they shouldn’t and/or the conversations get stuck in odd loops. It is also fantastic.

Fallout 3

Fallout 3

2008 was not a great year for Ian. All sorts of horrible things happened and his life took a very different direction to where he thought it was going. Come November he found himself single and living with his Mum. The best laid plans of mice and men eh? Ian’s personal misfortune coincided with a global misfortune, as the economy went belly-up. Basically to Ian circa November 2008 everything seemed f*****d.

So what did he do? Ian sulked for a bit, then went out and bought an Xbox 360 and Fallout 3.

Now let’s just stop a moment and think about this. Ian’s not happy. Banks are going under. The Russians are showing off in Georgia. Global Warming. The possibility, however slight, that McCain and Palin might actually win… The sense (and admittedly that sense is still kind of around today) that the world was falling apart, that we are, in best Daily Mail tradition, going to hell in a hand cart. And what does Ian buy? A game which depicts a horrific, post apocalyptic waste land. Where the inhabitants live hand to mouth, struggling with radiation, marauding gangs, mutants and monsters.

Take that mutant!

Take that mutant!

It was just the tonic! Ian plays the game as a virtual saint, becoming a hero to the people of the Wasteland.

Fast forward to Christmas 2010. Lewis receives Fallout 3 from the kindly old soak that Ian has become. Lewis is newly promoted, happily living with the love of his life in his own flat (bought that year) in a trendy-but-not-to-trendy-but-still-nice bit of London. Lewis is happy and comfortable. He plays the game as a ruthless evildoer, enslaving, murdering and looting as he goes.

There’s an important lesson there. Do write in if you work out what that lesson is.

Lewis's trusty companion Sergeant RL-3 - never leave home without one. His 'lively' phrases have a knack of sticking in the memory, such as: "Do that again and I'll put my boot so far up your ass you'll cough up boot polish!"

It’s the 21st 101 Video Games That Made My Life Slightly Better Podcast! In this one we discuss Fallout 3. For ages. Seriously, it’s about 45 minutes long. Sorry about that.

Click below to listen directly through this site:

Or download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

Podcast 21 – Fallout 3 (Post #99)

OR subscribe to our podcasts through iTunes by clicking the link below:

We’ll leave you with something that goody-two-shoes Ian never got to see – the stirring sight of Megaton being annihilated…

Ian and Lewis

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Filed under 2008, Bethesda Game Studios, Podcast, RPG, Xbox 360

#98: Lost Kingdoms

Format: GameCube Genre: RPG Released: 2002 Developer: From Software

It’s been incredibly difficult to decide which games to cover for the final few places on our list, and dozens of equally worthy titles were considered for this particular spot. In the end though, I felt that this almost unknown GameCube title thoroughly deserved a place on the list: not least because I think more people should find out about it.

The utterly dreadful cover art for Lost Kingdoms. There's definitely something not quite right about the proportions of that woman's face...

Lost Kingdoms made my life slightly better because it’s one of the few games I can think of that I enjoyed from start to finish – there were no frustrating difficulty spikes and no tacked-on ‘stealth’ sections, just pure, unadulterated fun from the moment I picked up the controller to the moment I watched the credits roll. Admittedly, the time in between the two wasn’t particularly long, and this is probably the game’s biggest flaw – it’s far too short. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – particularly if you’re an older, time-poor gamer – and considering the game can now be picked up on eBay for an absolute pittance, you’d be mad to miss out on it.

The cards in your hand are on the right, and the rest of the deck is shown on the left.

The key to the game’s success is its innovative combat system, which is based on ‘Magic: The Gathering’-style trading cards. Each card summons a specific creature, which either performs a one-off attack or hangs around for a while and attacks any wrongdoer that ambles by. All of the cards have specific affinities (Fire, Earth, Wood, Water), and part of  the game’s enjoyment comes from carefully preparing your deck before a level to ensure that you have the right balance of cards to fight the upcoming monsters (e.g. if you’re going to be facing a lot of fire-breathing monkeys, it’s probably a good idea to bring along a few water-based cards).

The best thing about the game might just be conjuring up a host of Harryhausen-esque walking skeletons. They're fairly rubbish in battle, but they evoke fond memories of Sunday afternoons spent watching Jason and the Argonauts.

The best thing is that all of the fighting is done in real-time, so the fights can get enjoyably frantic as you sift through your deck, trying desperately to find the right card to deal with the monster that’s just jumped up through the floor in front of you. The creature cards themselves are also impressively designed, and there are some particularly good showstopping animations for the more powerful beasts (á la the Guardian Forces in Final Fantasy). Best of all, there are around a hundred different cards to collect, and you can also upgrade your cards by ‘transforming’ them, so there’s plenty of fun to be had for the compulsive collector.

You can see the main protagonist in the centre - she's certainly up for the worst-dressed-hero award. Are those booty slippers?

Speaking of which, isn’t it weird how obsessive collecting has been such a part of video games since the very beginning? From collecting coins in Super Mario Bros. to finding Riddler Trophies in Batman: Arkham Asylum, it seems gamers like nothing more than to gather pointless tat for hours on end – although to be fair, the cards in Lost Kingdoms are a little bit more interesting than many game collectibles.

I think the worst example of pointless collecting I’ve witnessed in recent history was Assassin’s Creed, which tasked you with collecting several hundred flags of various types. And what did you get for painstakingly collecting these flags? A poxy little Xbox ‘Achievement’ and the knowledge that those five hours spent trawling through every street and alley in Jerusalem are five hours you’ll never get back.

Beware the glowing red dome of scariness! OoooOOOOOooooh!

The thing is though, I get totally suckered in by these collecting quests: once you’ve started collecting these little in-game trinkets, it’s very difficult to stop. Assassin’s Creed was definitely a watershed moment though – receiving the ‘Achievement’ for collecting god knows how many flags was the point at which I seriously asked myself “What the hell am I doing?”

Still, certain games handle item collecting well, and because it kept the number of collectibles down to a reasonable level and made each item unique and interesting, Lost Kingdoms was certainly one of the better ‘collect ’em ups’ (another good example is Ghostbusters: The Video Game – the ‘haunted artefacts’ scattered throughout the levels were genuinely worth finding).

To sum up then, Lost Kingdoms is a cracking little game that’s well worth picking up if you’re in the mood for a spot of RPG-lite collecting and card battling, and its relative shortness means it’s guaranteed not to outstay its welcome – definitely one of the GameCube’s high points.

To whet your appetite, here’s a video of the first level:

And below is a video of the final boss battle – it gives you a good idea of what some of the higher level cards do. (But don’t watch if you don’t want to see the ending. Obviously.)

Lewis

(Cover image fro gamefaqs.com, screenshots from Softpedia)

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Filed under 2002, From Software, GameCube, RPG

#88: Fire Emblem

Format: Game Boy Advance Genre: Tactical RPG Released: 2004 Developer: Intelligent Systems

Fire Emblem makes it onto the list not just because it’s an excellent game – it’s easily one of the best ever GBA games – but also because it’s one of the few games I’ve played that really makes you care about what happens to the characters. And considering that for most of the game the protagonists appear as barely animated cardboard cut-outs with reams of text scrolling beneath their alternately grinning/puzzled/frowning faces, this just goes to show you don’t need fancy graphics to make you invest your emotions in game characters.

Having said all that, I found it a little difficult to warm to the characters at first – the dialogue has a habit of being either very twee or wilfully contrived (see the screen below to get an idea of what I mean). Still, I eventually got used to it, and after a while I just came to accept the fact that everyone in the Fire Emblem universe just happens to say everything very earnestly. (I’d like to see a sequel set in England where everyone automatically assumes you’re being sarcastic no matter what you’re saying – it would be a bit like The Inbetweeners but with more knights on horseback, and every conversation would be interspersed with comments about the sexual prowess of someone’s mother.)

In terms of the story, there’s nothing particularly original. It starts off as the usual Japanese RPG fare – young girl leaves home village to defeat great evil, meets various companions along the way (who all happen to have differing but complementary special skills), discovers that – SHOCK HORROR – she’s actually a long lost princess, a larger plot is revealed involving an evil wizard and dragons, you’re tasked with finding an ancient…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

"Verily, yay and forsooth!"

So far, so dull, but despite what I said about the twee dialogue, it actually does a pretty good job of conveying the various personality traits and flaws of the many (many) characters (around 40 characters become available in total). And this is where it gets interesting. Every single character has his or her own plot arc, and their story changes according to what happens over the course of the game, resulting in multiple endings. Each character has around three other characters that have a strong relationship with them (for example, perhaps they have a love interest, a father and an old friend within the group), and each level is bookended with little cut scenes showing how the various relationships that character has are developing.

BUT – and this is the clever part – when a character dies, they stay dead for the rest of the game. So if your favourite character’s love interest perishes on the battlefield, you’ll never get to find out what would have happened between them, and instead the survivor will go on to pine for their lost love.

Kent was furious at his name, but nowhere near as livid as his brother Herefordshire.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you turning off the game and loading up a previous save point in a bid to prevent the death of this particular character, but sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to save them. If you’ve made a bad tactical decision in terms of the characters you’ve brought along on a particular mission, or if you’ve left yourself in position where you can be easily surrounded, the only option might be to restart the level. But restarting is incredibly time-consuming – some levels can take about an hour to get through – so you’re left with a dilemma: do I try to save this character, or should I push on without them?

The first time a character died, I instantly restarted the mission – there was no way I was going to lose someone, obviously. I mean, what kind of person leaves a man behind on the battlefield? And anyway, I was determined to get through the whole game with all of my characters intact. The second and third times too, I restarted the level to avoid leaving someone behind – but after that things changed.

Oooh, look at the horsey's pretty wings! Shame it can take about as much damage as a tin-foil helmet.

The game’s difficulty level quickly begins to rise, and often you’ll be ambushed by hidden enemies, giving you little chance to protect your weaker characters. On one such occasion, my thief, Matthew, got caught in the crossfire when several enemies popped up in a room I thought was clear. I tried reverting to an earlier save point, but it was impossible to save him, and I was left with the unappetising prospect of restarting the entire level, which had taken me nearly an hour. Shamefully, I started to think I could probably do without a thief – I mean, he was pretty useless in battle, and I had plenty of keys for opening locked doors. But what about Leila? Surely I couldn’t sacrifice Matthew, her soul mate?

And this is where the game really starts to get you – when you’re holding the lives of these characters in your hands, suddenly they seem more than mere cardboard cut-outs.

This wizard's speciality is concocting hair-dye potions.

Eventually, with a twinge of guilt, I decided to continue on without Matthew.

And then, a couple of levels later, Rebecca died. Again, I had to decide whether to save her, and again I decided that it just wasn’t worth playing through the whole level again – but the decision was easier this time. And so it continued: more and more characters started dying as the levels got harder and harder, and sometimes I’d attempt to save them, but other times I’d leave them behind. I realised that the stronger characters could actually do most of the fighting and, if anything, these weaker characters were more of a hindrance. As time wore on, I reached the stage where I barely felt anything when a character died, and instead I’d just focus on securing victory at whatever cost.

And it’s at that point that it hits you: when did I turn into this heartless bastard?

Don’t be fooled by its cute good looks, Fire Emblem is a masterclass in emotional trauma. The game does its utmost to make you really care about the fates of each and every character, then makes it almost impossible to win without sacrificing some of them, leaving you with no option but to blunt your feelings towards these doe-eyed innocents and adopt a sort of ruthless Machiavellian-general persona. I swear by the end I was developing a thousand-yard stare as I sent yet another pink-haired teenager to the slaughter… Sort of puts me in mind of that poem by Siegfried Sassoon:

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You’d see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. ‘Poor young chap,’
I’d say—‘I used to know his father well;
Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.’
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I’d toddle safely home and die—in bed.

Yes, GBA Fire Emblem certainly made for some sober but compelling bus journeys.

Lewis

(Screenshots from http://uk.gamespot.com)

8 Comments

Filed under 2004, Game Boy Advance, Intelligent Systems, Tactical RPG

#80: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Format: GameCube Genre: RPG Released: 2003 Developer: Nintendo

Wind Waker was a brave move on Nintendo’s part. Radically overhauling the graphical style of one of the best-loved game series of all time takes some chutzpah, and I remember it caused outrage at the time.

Fans were up in arms when the first shots of Wind Waker‘s cel-shaded graphics were released, and some quarters were quick to cite the new game as a signal that Nintendo was trying to ‘kiddify’ the Zelda series. As the finished game eventually proved though, this was all complete nonsense and bluster: if anything, it just goes to show that the kind of people who spit and rave on internet forums about these kinds of perceived ‘faults’ are generally the kind of people you can safely ignore.

In my opinion, Wind Waker‘s graphics are an absolute triumph – the game’s cel-shading is utterly charming and distinctive, and whereas most games from 2003 have aged badly in the terms of graphics, Wind Waker still looks as fresh as it did when it was released. In fact, I reckon the Wind Waker version of Link is even more iconic than the ‘traditional’ version – so much so that a friend of mine recently featured cel-shaded Link on her wedding invites.

I’m playing through The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess at the moment, which is what got me thinking about the Zelda canon. And yes, I know you’re probably shocked that I’ve only just got round to playing Twilight Princess despite the fact that it came out four years ago – we try to keep our finger on the pulse here at 101 Video Games, even if the patient died some time ago. And anyway, at least I’ve actually played some games, unlike a certain other blog co-author whose name I won’t mention… But I digress. The point is that unlike Wind WakerTwilight Princess feels like a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time – perhaps the direct sequel that the internet forums were baying for back in the early 2000s. And the real point I’m trying to make here is that Twilight Princess just isn’t as good as Wind Waker was.

Don’t get me wrong, Twilight Princess is an absolutely brilliant game, but whereas Wind Waker was a breath of fresh air that drew me in from the very beginning, Twilight Princess feels a little samey and derivative. The designers have obviously done their best to throw in a few new gameplay elements, but many of them fall flat – the sections where you play as a wolf, for example, just aren’t as much fun as playing in your human form, and of course they pale a little in comparison with the wonderful Okami (perhaps an example of a Zelda-imitator beating the original at its own game).

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Nintendo went out on a limb with Wind Waker, and the gamble payed off brilliantly. I won’t bang on about all of the reasons the game is so wonderful (I’m sure you’ve probably played it yourself and can remember all too well), but I have to mention the sailing; there are only two games I can think of where travelling was just as enjoyable, if not more so, than reaching your destination, and this is one of them*. The fact that just moving around the gameworld was fun in itelf speaks volumes for just what an absolute classic this game is, and although we generally try to avoid including two games from the same series on our list, there was just no way for me to choose between this and Ocarina of Time. I might even put it on my wedding invites.

Lewis

*The other one is Skies of Arcadia, which had a similar treasure-hunting gameplay element (although it lacked a Tingle).

(Screenshots from www.gamefaqs.com and www.tailflip.com)

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Filed under 2003, GameCube, Nintendo, RPG

#79: Little King’s Story

Format: Wii Genre: RPG Released: 2009 Developer: Cing/Town Factory

Little King’s Story was a very pleasant surprise. Having read some positive reviews before buying it, I knew it was going to be good, but I was amazed at just how good it would turn out to be.

The first thing you need to know about Little King’s Story is that it’s definitely not ‘little’ – by the time I’d finished it I’d racked up over 40 hours of gameplay, and there were still side quests I hadn’t done. To be fair, you could probably finish the main game a lot more quickly than that, but there are so many interesting distractions along the way, you’d be doing the game a disservice to ignore them. I mean, how can you pass up the opportunity to beat a cow at table tennis?

Anyway, I was initially drawn to Little King’s Story by the similarities it shares with Pikmin, one of my favourite GameCube games and one that has – perhaps surprisingly – rarely been imitated. Superficially, the games are very similar in that you command a group of followers who you can fling in front of you to fight enemies, break rocks, carry items and generally do useful stuff. However, whereas Pikmin only gave you three types of follower to choose from, Little King’s Story has around 20, all with different abilities. As such the game is a lot more complicated, and coming up with the right balance for your team – particularly during boss battles – can be quite tricky.

Speaking of boss battles, the bosses in this game have to be some of the most inspired I’ve ever seen, ranging from a drunken layabout king who you have to knock from atop his pile of beer crates (see screenshot below) to ‘King TV Dinah’, a part man, part TV broadcaster who fights across various telly programmes, from westerns to sci-fi. My favourite though was a boss who hides inside a giant egg and challenges you to answer questions about the things you’ve seen so far in the game – get a question wrong and he releases hordes of cockerels to attack you. Natch.

The game is far from perfect of course, and in fact some parts are downright frustrating. In particular, there’s a section in the middle where the game gives you little direction on where to go or what to do, and you end up grinding through dozens of repetitive side quests in the hope of upgrading your weedy followers. Plus there are some utterly ridiculous difficulty spikes – the mountain level is a particular offender in this category, where suddenly you’re introduced to enemies and hazards that can kill half your followers in an instant. Who on earth thought that would be ‘fun’?

But despite its shortcomings, Little King’s Story was an absolute delight to play, chiefly because of the sheer imagination and charm oozing out of its every pore. In years to come, people will hail this game as a cult classic, and the fact that it failed to trouble the charts will only add to its rarity – buy it now before it starts changing hands on eBay for 50 quid a pop.

Lewis

(Screenshots from destructoid.com)

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Filed under 2009, Cing, RPG, Town Factory, Wii

#72: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Format: Nintendo 64 Genre: RPG Released: 1998 Developer: Nintendo

I could probably write an entire book listing all of the reasons why this is one of the best games (if not THE best game) ever made. However, I expect you’re one of the 7.6 million people who bought Ocarina of Time the first time around, so I needn’t bore you by listing things you already know. (And if you haven’t played it yet, what the hell’s wrong with you?)

Having said all that, it’s going to take all of my willpower to restrain myself from gushing pages of half-formed sentiment and multilayered superlatives, such is the impact this game had on me. Bear with me, and I will stoically try not to sound like a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl who’s just seen her first boyband concert.

Long before Ocarina of Time was released, I remember hungrily devouring the first news about a new Zelda game for the N64 – and like most people, my first thought was: “What the hell’s an ocarina?” Of course, back in the 1990s I didn’t have Wikipedia to pump for information like some kind of coin-flipping, roll-up-smoking, police-informant cliché, so I’m not sure how I found out. There’s a strong chance that I may have even looked it up in a book. Now there’s an odd thought.

Brilliant, I found an ocarina! So... what's an ocarina then?

However I found out, I knew I wanted one immediately, but it wasn’t until I lived in Japan many years later that I achieved my goal of owning one of these mystical instruments. Sadly, the reality wasn’t quite as exciting as the game led me to believe. Playing my ocarina didn’t turn day into night or summon a horse to carry me across the plains of Hyrule, it just made a noise like a broken recorder. Although having said that, is it possible to tell a broken recorder apart from a non-broken one? If my memories of primary school band practice are anything to go by, recorders sound bloody awful whether they’re broken or not.

Of course, I didn’t really expect my ocarina to be magical, but the fact that I went out and bought one many years after playing this game shows just how much of an effect Ocarina of Time had on me (and a lot of other people too – famously, ocarina sales skyrocketed after this game was released).

Good old Epona - there's nothing quite like riding a video-game horse.

In terms of the actual game, whenever I think about Ocarina of Time the same image always sticks out in my mind – riding Epona (Link’s horse) across Hyrule Field. There was something really magical about being able to gallop across the entire game world – it gave me a sense of freedom that I’d never experienced before in a video game. Giving Link a horse was a stroke of genius: suddenly, getting from A to B was as much fun as actually arriving at B. In fact, often I’d be having so much fun just riding around and exploring that I’d forget about going to B entirely and end up stopping off at C before finding some kind of secret passage that led me to D, and before I knew it several hours would have gone by, my horse would be knackered and I’d be galloping towards Z and wondering where to go next.

There should definitely be more horses in video games, they’re so much more entertaining than cars. I mean, look at Shadow of the Colossus and Assassin’s Creed – some of the best bits involved galloping around on horseback, smiting your enemies.

Of course, the irony is that in real life I hate horses.

Anyway, like I said, Epona is one of the major reasons why Ocarina of Time is the wonderful game it is. Just have a look at the opening sequence above (make sure you have the sound turned up for the moody scene-setting music). Doesn’t it send shivers down your spine? I love that image of Link riding across the hills – there’s a sense of majesty that’s diametrically opposed to the cheap cinema thrills that are offered up by so many other video games. It’s like the game’s saying: “Yeah, we could show you lots of explosions and sword fights and that on the opening screen, but we’re better than that. We’re going to show you a horse galloping across a field, and you’re going to feel a sense of wonderment. Because that’s what we do.

Fishing has never been so much fun.

Right, let’s leave off horses for the time being and talk about something more interesting – fishing.

The amazing thing about Ocarina of Time is just how much effort and polish has gone into every last nook and cranny of the game, from individual lines of dialogue to the many varied and interesting subquests – including the addictive fishing minigame. It’s a mark of the game’s quality that even something as seemingly throwaway as a fishing subgame had so much thought and effort put into it that it could probably have been released as a game by itself. (I was going to make a terrible pun about it getting me “totally hooked” there, but I managed to pull back from the brink at the last moment.)

(Actually, I just realised I made exactly the same joke in the post on Sega Bass Fishing, so not only would it have been a terrible pun, it would have been repetitive too. Phew, that was a close one.)

See? It's not all just horses and fishing.

It’s not just the polish that makes the game stand out though – it’s the innovation. The rumble pak functionality for example – Nintendo had only released the rumble pak the previous year, and Ocarina of Time was the first game to truly use it to its full potential (the pad would vibrate if you were near treasure or if you got a bite in the fishing game). Then there’s Z-targeting, which allowed you to lock onto enemies in fights and circle around them – this concept was so radical and intuitive that it’s made its way into hundreds of 3D games since 1998, but it cropped up in Ocarina of Time first. And what about the day/night cycle? That was pretty damn clever too, and way ahead of its time.

As I said at the beginning, I could write a book about how fantastic this game is, but I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that. Instead, just have a look at the video below and remember how this game changed the gaming landscape forever.

Lewis

(Screenshots from http://www.gamefaqs.com/)

6 Comments

Filed under 1998, Nintendo, Nintendo 64, RPG

#54: Pokémon Ruby

Format: Game Boy Advance Genre: RPG Developer: Game Freak/Nintendo Released: 2003

I was inspired to write this post after reading this comment by shush plz on game number 12, Doshin the Giant. Mr. plz rightly asserts that just because a game is accessible for all ages doesn’t make it a “kids’ game”, which leads me to my case in point: Pokémon Ruby.

I was initially put off playing the Pokémon games because of their “kiddie” credentials, but I eventually bought Pokémon Ruby on the recommendation of a friend. The cute graphics certainly suggest that Pokémon is “for kids”, but this is far from the truth – beneath the twee presentation there’s some rock-solid gameplay. Although the game is pretty easy to begin with, you soon find yourself engrossed in the complex resource management and micro-manipulation that’s essential for creating a champion herd of Pokémon.

HA! IN YOUR FACE, WURMPLE!!!

Oh, and did I mention that collecting Pokémon has roughly the same level of addictiveness as a packet of Jaffa Cakes dusted wth heroin? I initially approached the game with a heavy amount of cynicism with regards to the whole business of Pokémon collecting, but after a while you find yourself getting totally sucked in – all of a sudden, finding a new Pokémon acquires the same sense of excitement and achievement as passing your driving test while drunk, or unearthing an ancient chest full of dirty photos of Cleopatra.

Fishing has never been so much fun.

This game had me totally hooked – pretty much from the moment I picked it up I found that I was carrying my GBA everywhere, and I’d use every spare minute I had to search out some of the rarer specimens. Towards the end of my Pokémon marathon I recall a sobering moment – it was when I realised that I’d spent the best part of an hour traipsing around in the same patch of long grass in the hope of finding a particularly rare Pokémon, and it was about this time that I thought I’d really better stop playing this damn game and read a book or something instead.

Why walk when you can ride an uncontrollably fast bicycle?

That’s the trouble you see – although you can “complete” the game by defeating the final boss, you’ve never really finished it until you’ve collected all of the hundreds of Pokémon, but this involves a great deal of aimless wandering and random battles in the hope that one of the rarer beasts will pop up. At some point, for the sake of your own sanity, you have to just call it a day and admit to yourself that you’re never going to “catch ’em all”.

"We're gonna need a bigger boat."

I’m very tempted to get one of the new Pokémon games for the DS (Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl), but because there’s now a grand total of 480 Pokémon to collect, I’m worried that these games could finally push me over the edge (or at least put a massive dent in my reading time).

If you’ve yet to work out what the Pokémon phenomenon is all about, I thoroughly recommend you pick up one of the Pokémon games with all due haste – but just make sure you have plenty of spare time first.

Lewis

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Filed under 2003, Game Boy Advance, Game Freak, Nintendo, RPG