It has been over 10 years since Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire released in America. Even though Generation III was not my favorite generation, there were many aspects that I liked. Since Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire releases tomorrow, the best way to share my anticipation for the new remakes is to look back at the original games and share some memories I have with it.
To me, Generation III was somewhat a letdown because you couldn’t challenge Gym Leaders from both regions like in Gold and Silver along with the inability to transfer Pokémon from Generation I/II and III due to drastic differences in the data format used to store Pokémon in the game. Despite these drawbacks, Generation III pretty much set the stage for future generations by overhauling personality values, Individual Values/base points (or Effort Values). It also introduced new gameplay mechanics such as natures, abilities and double battles. These aspects remained unchanged in future generations besides further refinements and new additions. In that regard, I think Game Freak done a good job maintaining the ability to transfer old Pokémon from Generation III to the 6th one, even if Pokébank is not free.
Although I did not get the new Pokémon games right after it got released, I eventually got it on my 14th birthday when I got a Gameboy Advance SP, which had a backlit screen and a copy of Pokémon Ruby. My younger sister got her copy of Sapphire (which her save file got corrupted due to a bad egg) when we were on vacation. While I played as a female protagonist (a tradition I continued to do) and choose Torchic as my starter Pokémon, it was a different experience compared to the earlier games. I still have the save file and it took 90 minutes to beat the Elite Four for the first time.
While the graphical enhancements in Ruby and Sapphire were one of the big selling points, two of my favorite features in the game were Pokémon Contests and Secret Bases. During that time, I played Pokémon casually. Because of that, I spent a good amount of time growing berries, making Pokéblocks and doing Pokémon Contests. Pokémon Contests is a competition that focuses more on the condition and appeals from the moves used rather than battling other trainers Pokémon. While I managed to beat the highest rank for Cute, Beauty and Cool contests, I could never get the special painting since it requires the player to have a very high appeal account after the second round. However, my younger sister got in her game before it got corrupted.
Another aspect I liked about the game is the ability to have a Secret Base. It’s like the room decoration feature in Gold and Silver where you can decorate your bedroom, except you can turn a secret spot into a second home of some sort and buy furniture/decorations for it. While I spent some time decorating my base, one of the useful aspects of it is that you can mix records and battle other trainers at their bases after the player defeats the Elite Four. While I only mixed records with my sister, she had a level 100 Kyogre (which she managed to save), which makes it difficult for me to defeat her since I don’t really use legendary Pokémon. Even so, this feature was useful since you can basically use it to train your Pokémon and earn Effort Values for competitive battling.
Lastly, I felt that Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire was the highest point for the franchise as a whole. Compared to later generations, Generation III got two role-playing games on the Game Cube and Pokémon storage utility. Of course, I enjoyed the Anime and most of the movies (except for the 7th one) during that time period. I admit that Haruka is one of my favorite female trainer designs because of the Anime (besides the ones in Diamond and Pearl, X and Y and Black and White 2). While I lost interest in the show after Diamond and Pearl started because it got stale, I remembered it as a high point as a fan of Pokémon.
As a whole, I think Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire will most likely be a worthy successor of the original games despite not carrying over the character customization feature from X and Y. It just shows how much the game changed since the original games came out. Sure, not being able to transfer Pokémon from the first two generation was a let down, but it was a necessary move for Gamefreak to modernize the games. After all, these games back in 2003 (or 2002 if you lived in Japan) has set the foundation for competitive Pokémon Battling scene in regards to battle mechanics, effort value training and individual value breeding that exists up to this day.
For those who played Ruby and Sapphire, what are your favorite/disliked aspects of these games? Are you planning to get the remakes and if so, what new features you look forward to?
Also, I will be creating a live blog of the game over at my side blog when I start playing it, which will probably be sometime next week since I have some papers to write. Note that I will most likely play the game in Japanese. If you want to add me to your friend list, my 3DS friend code is 2406-5224-9182 ¶