After three months and a few weeks, I have finally beaten Red, which people say that he is hard to beat. Well, I managed to beat him with minutes, so yeah… Since I completed pretty much everything in the main story, I will share my thoughts about Pokemon HeartGold.
Back when the original release of Pokemon Gold and Silver came out back when I was in 5th grade, I have played this game a lot. There was only 251 Pokemon back then and I also bought Pokemon Stadium 2 for a bit more fun with 3D battling. Fast forward to today when I am a college student now finished Diamond and Platinum, when the remakes of Gold and Silver was revealed, I wanted to play it. After the English release back in March, I have started playing it and the nostalgia factor came back.
People who have played this game will notice that most of the story and the maps are pretty much the same, with minor differences. These differences included updated mechanics since the Second Generation (basically, it has everything from Diamond/Pearl/Platinum), berry trees replaced with Apricorn trees (since the 4th Generation has a different berry system compared to the 2nd generation), Battle Frontier, Pokéathlon (essentially a sports version of the Pokemon Contests), Revival of the Safari Zone and other changes to music and graphics. If you compare the graphics to D/P/Pt to HG/SS, the newer remakes look slightly better. There are some minor changes to the story to take advantage of the new graphics and such.
If you played Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, you will immediately notice that the menu is moved to the touchscreen since there is no Poketch. This allows you to easily access your Pokedex, Pokemon list, Items, Save, etc. Another thing I liked is that you can lock on to using the running shoes without needing to hold B down. Another improvement is that you can set two key items for easy access. This made it easy to use the fishing rod without needing to unset the other item. The PokeGear is pretty much the same, except that you can store an unlimited amount of phone numbers. However, this can be annoying since your PokeGear will keep ringing at random moments after you get out of a building, defeat a Pokemon/Trainer, etc.
Like in Pokemon Yellow where you have Pikachu following you, in HG/SS, you can have any Pokemon walk with you, as long its on the first slot of the Party. This is where you can find accessories for the dress up mini game like in D/P/Pt and check your mood of your Pokemon.
The game is pretty easy since I used my other game to Effort Value train the Pokemon and send them back to the game. I managed to beat the first 8 Gym Leaders in 21 hrs and 47 mins, beat the next 8 Gym Leaders in several hours later. However, when it was time to train for Red, training got very frustrating. Compared to D/P/Pt, HG/SS does not have a VS Seeker. This meant that you had to rely on trainers that call you, weekly rematches of Gym Leaders depending on the day and the Elite Four. The lack of a VS Seeker is the biggest flaw in this game because they push the PokeGear so much for rematches that it becomes a gimmick. I liked it when I can battle trainers on demand since I can level up quicker and go on. Because of this, I had to resort to trading the Pokemon to my older games, train them and send them back. I even battled the Elite Four (I deposited my money before doing this) until I lose and I do it again over and over again. Eventually I managed to beat the stronger Elite Four’s Pokemon 6 times because my Pokemon were already on Level 70s to 90s. If I had the VS Seeker, it would have been done in no time and I see this as a flaw in the game. If HeartGold/SoulSilver is the only game you have, be ready for a long level grinding up to Level 82 or higher because if its below level 82, you won’t stand a chance against Red.
Talking about Red, he was incredibly easy (Beaten on the first try after 74 hours of playtime). I beaten his whole team with these Pokemon:
- Kyou (f) – Dragonite at Level 91 – Adamant Nature
- Kotomi (f) – Espeon at Level 83 – Timid Nature
- Nagisa (f) – Milotic at Level 83 – Bold Nature
- Sayuri (f) – Leafeon at Level 75 – Jolly Nature
- Pidgey (Fly) and Geodude (Rock Climb) are used as decoy Pokemon and HM Moves
If you properly Effort Value train the Pokemon along with the right natures, you will stand a better change against Red’s Pokemon since I highly doubt Red’s Pokemon are EV trained.
Another flaw with the international release is that they replaced the slot machines with this incredibly hard Voltorb Flip. Basically, it’s a game of chance that involves no risk. I don’t really care about the games, but they took away the ability to buy coins. So, the only way to get coins is beating Voltorb Flip, which I found very frustrating, even with a helper. Eventually I gave up and bought the items in Platinum. Slot Machines replaced with Voltorb Flip was simply the worst change they made in the whole game.
Now to the positive aspects of the game… The Pokéathlon is the Sports version of the Pokemon Contest. There are five game modes (Speed, Power, Skill, Stamina and Jump) depending on each performance stat. You can raise these stats by blending Apricorns and giving the Apricorn shake to the Pokemon. Honestly, I only tried Speed and Jump since they are the easiest out of the five, but haven’t tried out the other three. They consist of three events that takes advantage of the touch screen on the DS. The games are okay, but they take some time getting use to. Once you get use to these events, they will go pretty easy.
If you notice, the cartage of the game is different from the others. This is because it contains an infrared sensor used by the PokeWalker. PokeWalker, as the name suggests allows you to send a Pokemon to level up by one and raise happiness. You can find items, catch Pokemon and send watts back to your game. Basically, the PokeWalker is like those Pokemon Pikachu gigapets that you walk around with and earn watts. I’m guessing that Nintendo and the creator of Pokemon wanted to get people off their butts and start exercising. However, there are always going to be some cheaters… On Youtube, I saw people taping their PokeWalkers to phonographs and fans. They even go so far to build a MindStorm device to have it shake the PokeWalker. That pretty much defeats the whole purpose of the PokeWalker and its pretty sad.
For me, I have used the PokeWalker a few times by bring it to college to generate watts. Ever since the Spring Semester was over, the PokeWalker is sitting by my bedside collecting dust. I rarely use it nowadays since I have a lot of stuff I bring with me when I go out.
Lastly, there are a few mechanics changes to this game. Breeding for Individual Values is a lot easier since you can just have a Pokemon hold a single-stat EV enhancing item and keep the IV of that Pokemon. Like with Platinum, additional moves that was previously unavailable for various Pokemon is now available. This allows for better move set building.
Overall, HeartGold is a great remake of the original games. There were some flaws, but I enjoyed the nostalgia factor and the pretty graphics and music. If you played Pokemon in the past or still like it, I recommend this game… Although there were a few things that bothered me about the game, it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the whole game and I will continue to play it as long as I can.
One last thing… If you want to do any online activities with my Pokemon Game, my friend code 0818 6384 1156. If you want to do a Battle, I only do Level 100 Singles with no Ubers and Hax Items. Contact me via my XMPP address or Twitter (as a Direct Message) if you want to arrange a battle (See “About chikorita157″ page for my contact information). I’m usually online throughout the summer at 10 AM to 11 PM Eastern Time.
Note: Fanart used in this post is made by わっこのやろう