RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Feb 20th 2009 at 01:42:17 AM by (Nionel)
Posted under Pokemon, Gaming in Retrospect, RPG, GameCube, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS

Welcome to the third, and final, in my series retrospective on the Pokemon franchise. This final entry will cover the Advance Generation of the Pokemon series, which spanned even games on the Gameboy Advance, four on the GameCube, and three on the Nintendo DS. The Advance Generation was a sort of reboot for the franchise, when Ruby and Sapphire were originally released for the GBA, they were not connected in any way to the previous games in the series. The stories weren't connected like the first two generation games were, the new region, Hoenn, was in a completely different part of the Pokemon world, with no connection to either Kanto or Johto, and while Ruby and Sapphire contained data for all of the Pokemon from the previous games, a vast majority of them were unobtainable within the games themselves, without the use of a cheating device, and the games featured no way to connect to any of the previous releases. Some fans felt this lack of connection to the previous games was a step in the wrong direction and questioned whether or not Nitendo truely knew what they wanted to do with the franchise, little did we know that Nintendo did have something in mind, but we'd have to wait some time to see what it was...



The Advanced Generation

Originally released in Japan on November 21st, 2002, the lastest games in the Pokemon series, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, marked the series first outing on the Gameboy Advance. At first look, the game retained the same core gameplay, but featured graphics and sound that were a vast improvement went compared to the previous releases in the series. The game also featured brand new sprites for the returning 251 Pokemon and 135 brand new Pokemon that populated the new region or Hoenn, other new additions to the game included the addition of Pokemon Contests, double battles, Pokemon abilities, a record mixing function, and the additon of the running shoes. The changes to the battle system were reflected in two of the aforementioned changes, double battles and abilities, abilities were new effects that every Pokemon got that could range from resistance to a certain status aligment, to your Pokemon finding items, or even one that made it some your Pokemon could only attack every other turn, and while some of these may not seem like a big deal, they added a new element of strategy to battles, especially in the area of competitive battling. Double battles simply allowed for you to have 2-on-2 Pokemon fights, as opposed to the series standard of 1-on-1, these fights have slightly different rules from normal fights, for example, when attacking you can choose a target for your attack, which can be either opponent or your partner, and some attacks, like Earthquake, will automatically target every Pokemon on screen, with the exception of the user, so the battles do require some strategy. Pokemon Contests judge a Pokemon based on five new stats that were added to the game, Beauty, Smart, Cool, and Tough. During a contest, your Pokemon can use any of it's four attacks, each attack is assigned to one of the five contest stats, and the Pokemon will be awarded points based the attacks point value, there are also combos which will increase the number of points your Pokemon is awarded upon the combos completion, however using the same moves repetedly will cause you to earn less points, so typically your contest Pokemon will likely need to be raised specifically with contests in mind, and since your Pokemon's level and evolution stage don't make that much of a difference, this is made a little easier. The story of Ruby and Sapphire takes place in the region of Hoenn, your father has just become the Gym Leader in Petalburg City and has moved your family to New Bark Town from Johto. After moving in and meeting your neighbor, the child of Professor Birch, New Bark's Pokemon Professor, you go to leave the town and come across Professor Birch, who is being chased by a Pokemon, he tells you to grab a Pokeball from his bag, which contains Treecko, Mudkip, and Torchic. After rescuing Professor Birch, he asks you to keep the Pokemon and go meet his child on Route 202, after meeting his child and coming back to his lab, he asks you to assist with filling up the Pokedex with all of the Pokemon in Hoenn, and so you start on your Pokemon journey through the land of Hoenn. During the coarse of the game, you also come across one of two evil teams, much like Team Rocket from the previous games, these teams are Team Aqua, who appear in Sapphire and want to use the legendary Pokemon, Kyorge, to raise ocean levels, reducing the amount of land in the world, and Team Magma, who appear in Ruby version and want to use the legendary Pokemon, Groudon, to reduce the world's ocean levels and increase the amound of land in the world. The game was later released in North America on March 17th, 2003, in Austrailia on April 3rd, 2003, and finally in Europe on July 25th, 2003, the games recieved mostly positive reviews and as of October 2008 the games had some a total of 15.4 million units worldwide.

The next releases in the main series would see worldwide release in 2004, in a first for the series, these two games would be remakes of the original games, Pokemon Red and Green, released as enhanced remakes for the GBA in the form of Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen. These games used the same story and characters from the original games, but added a playable female character, Green (Blue in Japan). These remakes use many of the enhancments introduced in the second and third generation games, but oddly dropped the internal clock making it impossible to evolve Eevee to either Umbereon or Espeon. One of the big changes to the game was the addition of the Sevii Islands, once a player reaches Cinnabar Island, they are asked by Bill and his friend Celio to complete a task for them. The islands come up again after you beat the game, where you are give a side quest that will allow you to trade Pokemon with Ruby and Sapphire, and you also find that islands four, five, six, and seven are home to many Pokemon from the Johto region, which many many of the Pokemon from Gold, Silver, and Crystal available, another feature that becomes available after you complete the game, is the addition of one of the Johto legendary beasts in the wild based on which of the three starters you began the game with. Once again the games were met with positive reviews, and as of March 2008, FireRed and LeafGreen had sold 11.8 million copies.

In late 2004, Japan recieved the final main series game in the third generation, with the rest of the world getting the game in 2005, Pokemon Emerald. Emerald, much like Yellow and Crystal before it, followed the same storyline as Ruby and Sapphire, with a few differences. In Emerald, both Team Aqua and Team Magma were in the game and you have to fight against both teams at various points in the game, the legendary Pokemon Rayquaza is also featured in the main storyline, where the hero must venture to the Sky Pillar to awaken the legendary Pokemon in time to stop Kyorge and Groudon, this is also the first handheld Pokemon game to use in game cutscenes, which are seen when the legendary Pokemon are awakened. Other changes to the game include, the return of animated Pokemon sprites, the ability to have rematches with the Gym Leaders, with their Pokemon at higher levels, the ability to get on of the Johto starter Pokemon for completing the Hoenn Pokedex, a new Gym Leader and Champion, with the Champion from Ruby and Sapphire, Steven, available to fight after you complete the game, much like Red was in Gold and Silver, and the addition of the Battle Frontier. The Battle Frontier was a new area added to the game that cannot be accessed until you're the Pokemon League Champion, in this area you are pitted against the Frontier Brains who each have a special challange when you face them, the Battle Tower returns from Crystal, were you must climb it using a team of either Level 50 or Level 100 Pokemon, new areas are the Battle Factory, where you are given a team of three random Pokemon with the ability to swap one of your Pokemon for an opponent's after you beat them, the Battle Arena which features two of your Pokemon battling in 2-on-2 battles for three rounds, the Battle Dome which features a sixteen trainer tournament, the Battle Palace where your Pokemon battle on their own with their battle style determined by their nature, the Battle Pyramid in which you have to battle through seven floors, each floor is dark with the amount of light increasing for each trainer you beat, the Battle Pyramid is also filled with wild Pokemon who increase in difficulty with consecutive visits, and finally the Battle Pike which has you battle through twenty one rooms, each with one of eight random events that could be anything from a wild Pokemon fight, a trainer battle, full recovery of your team, or nothing. Emerald wasn't as well recieved as the preivous games, as most reviewers simply said there wasn't enough new content to warrant buying the game, this is reflected in the game's sales, which were 6.3 million as of October 2008, the lowest of any of the main series Pokemon games.

The third generation also saw Nintendo start giving us many of the event Pokemon that the countries outside of Japan had been missing out on, events at places like Toys R' Us finally gave us the chance to get Pokemon like Mew, and various other events gave us other special Pokemon, with the Pokemon Jirachi being available to those who preordered the console game, Pokemon Colosseum. This generation also brought about Nintedo tournaments, which in turn helped to make competitive battling even more popular. Sites like Smogon University offered various movesets for every Pokemon that would fit various playstyles for competitive play, they also offered programs like Shoddy Battle, which allowed players to battle over the internet, which was impossible during the third generation.

Spinoffs

The first of the third generation spinoff games released was Pokemon Pinball Ruby and Sapphire. This game expands on the mechanics introduced in the original Pokemon Pinball, but features only 205 Pokemon, and as in Ruby and Sapphire themselves, many of the Pokemon from the first two generations were left out. The catching and evolving modes work the same as in the original game, but add a new catching mode called hatch mode, in this mode, you knock a Cyndaquil under and egg and the egg hatches, the new baby Pokemon with then crawl around the board and your must hit it twice within the time limit to catch it, this mode is the only way to catch certain Pokemon so it is essential if you want to complete the game's Pokedex. The game received very positive reviews, but only sold a few hundred thousand copies despite this.

The first release for the GameCube, was Pokemon Box Ruby and Sapphire. While not actually a game, Pokemon Box allowed you to store your Pokemon on your GameCube memory card. The game also allowed you to unlock special eggs that would contain a Pokemon knowing a move it could not normally learn, including a Surfing Pichu. The game also came bundled with a Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire edition Memory Card 59, and could store up to 1500 Pokemon from any of your Advance series games. The game was released world wide, in North America is was only available at the Nintendo World Store, it sold only 270,000 copies worldwide, mostly due to it only appealing to the most hardcore of Pokemon fans and collectors.

The second console spinoff was Pokemon Channel, released for the Nintendo GameCube. The game was developed by Ambrella, who also worked on Hey You, Pikachu! for the Nintendo 64. In the game, you and your Pikachu have been asked by Professor Oak to help him with something. The gameplay is split between exploring Mintale Town, which has you collecting cards by answering questions, and watching various TV programs. The game was panned by critics for a lack of interactivity, as much of the time was spent watching the television programs, and since there was only a set amount of shows and none of them could be skipped, it also hurt any replay value the game might have had.

The next game released was Pokemon Colosseum, again for the Nintendo Gamecube, this game was released in Japan in November 2003 and to the rest of the world in 2004. Colosseum much like it's Nintendo 64 predessors, featured a way for you to battle your Pokemon in full 3D on your TV, however, unlike the Stadium series, this game scrapped all of the game modes, aside from free battle, in favor of an RPG story mode that played much like the main series games. In this story mode you play as Wes, a former agent for Team Snagem, in the intro we see Wes escaping from a building with his partners Espeon and Umbreon. Later we find out that Wes stole a decive called the Snag Machine from Team Snagem, a device which allows its user to capture a Pokemon that belongs to another trainer as his own. Shortly after this, Wes rescues a young girl from a group called Cipher, who are using Pokemon with a strange black aura that only the girl, Rui, can see. After the two meet up, Rui travels with Wes as they travel across the new region of Orre to rescue all the Pokemon with the dark aura, known as Shadow Pokemon. This game is different from the main series, as the new region, Orre, is desolate and has very few wild Pokemon, so the player must battle trainers and obtain the various Shadow Pokemon. This game is compatible with all of the main series GBA games through the use of the GameCube-Gameboy Advance cable, this helped tremendously as this game contained many Pokemon from the second generation games that were unavailable in the handheld games. The game also came with a bonus disc, if preordered, that allowed a player to obtain a Jirachi for their Ruby or Sapphire game, the Japanese version also featured a bonus disc, but it contained Celebi instead of Jirachi. The game recieved mostly positive reviews, but went on to only sell 2.5 million copies worldwide, as of October 2008. The first GameCube entry was certainly a positive one, and while it didn't feature near the content of the handheld outings, it was a solid game in its own right and a step in the right direction for players wanting to experience a full 3D Pokemon adventure.

The fifth generation three spinoff, and first for the Nintendo DS, was Pokemon Dash, once again worked on by Ambrella. Dash is a Pokemon racing game, and the first game to feature a fourth generation Pokemon, Munchlax. The game features five cups, each with five courses that can be raced in three different Grand Prix modes.The game also featured a mode where you can create your own GPs, using sprites of Pokemon from the GBA games, which gives the game a total of 420 courses, a huge amount of a handheld racing game, however, this is offset by the fact that the game features only one playable Pokemon, Pikachu, outside of multiplayer. The game received mediocre reviews for only featuring one playable character and due to the game length, as those without a GBA cart could finish the game in a few hours, the game sold 760,000 copies worldwide, likely due to being the first Pokemon game available for the DS.

The final third generation game for the Gamecube was Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, which was developed by Genius Sonority, who also worked on Colosseum. The game is a sequal to Colosseum, and once again featured a free battle mode, where you could battle your GBA Pokemon on your TV, and an RPG story mode, this game however, featured a longer story mode and a bit more content than its predecessor. The game put you in the role of a young boy named Michael, who lives at the Pokemon research lab in Orre. Much like Wes in Colosseum, Michael has a Snag Machine and much travel Orre rescuing Shadow Pokemon, unlike Wes he has a scouter-like device known as an Aura Reader that lets him see Shadow Pokemon. The game begins with a scene of a tanker in the ocean, suddenly a black Lugia appears and carries the tanker off. Soon after, Michael sets out to rescue the Shadow Pokemon from the newly revived Cipher. This game once again featured many Pokemon that weren't avaiable in the handheld games, and featured the same gameplay style as Colosseum. The game recieved decent reviews, but was critizied for reusing many of the areas and graphics from Colosseum and for not having near the content of the console games, the game sold just over 1.2 million worldwide. While the second outing was much improved over the first, the game did reuse many areas and characters, and featured a quest that clocked in at 20-30 hours. The game, was again, a step in the right direction, and it's a shame that Genius Sonority hasn't made a game like it since this one was released.

Pokemon Trozei (Pokemon Link! in Europe) was released for the Nintendo DS, it released on the same day in North America and Japan in October 2005, Europe and Australia in 2006, and Korea in 2007. The game is a puzzle game with a gameplay style similar to that seen in the earlier Nintendo title, Yoshi's Cookie. The game was developed by Genius Sonority, and features and art style that is vastly different from any other game in the series. The story mode of the game follows Lucy Fleetfoot, and agent working under Professor P of SOL. Lucy is given the task of breaking into the store houses of the Phobos Battalion to get back Pokeballs that they have stolen. Professor P gives Lucy a device called the Link Beamer and she heads out to face the Generals of the Phobos Battalion. As a side mission in Trozei, the player is given the task of completeing the Pokedex, whicn is done by completing games of Trozei, with certain Pokemon being obtainable from an opponent named Mr. Who.

The final Pokemon game for the GBA, and third for the DS, was release in Japan in late 2005 as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Red Rescue Team, for the GBA, and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Blue Rescue Team for the DS, this game is based on the popular Japanese series, Fushigi na Dungeon. In the game you play as a boy or girl, who was turned into a Pokemon, the Pokemon you play as is determined by a series of questions you are asked at the begining of the game. Through the coarse of the game, you play through a series of dungeons, each dungeon is randomly generated upon entry which adds to the games replay value, as the member of a rescue team. The missions can involve the player helping to rescue a missing Pokemon or trying to solve the mystery behind the strange natural disasters that are occuring in the Pokemon world. After the main story is clear, the game has a number of post game quests to add to the longevity, the game also features all 386 Pokemon, all of which can be befriended and added to your team, Munchlax also makes a cameo in this game, and can be made playble through the use of a cheating device. Each game also featured version exclusive Pokemon, but since you can't trade, these Pokemon are unlocked in the alternate version through the use of a password system called Wondermail codes. The game recieved mostly mixed reviews, as the DS version is identical to the GBA version with the exception of a few basic touch screen elements added to the game, the games sold well with the DS version moving 3.1 million and the GBA version just over 2 million. To date, this is the only Pokemon spinoff series on the handhelds that is an RPG.

Finally the last game in the third generation, Pokemon Ranger was released for the DS in 2006 and then in 2007 for Europe and Korea, and was developed by Hal Laboratories. Pokemon Ranger takes place in the new region of Fiore, you play as a Pokemon Ranger and their partner Pokemon, either Plusle and Minun based on your gender, but instead of capturing Pokemon, you use a device called the Capture Styler to recruit wild Pokemon to assist you. The Capture Styler is used by drawing circles around a Pokemon on the DS touch screen, Pokemon will try to either run or attack the Styler, the later of which will deplete the Styler's energy bar, and if the energy bar is depleted you will be sent back to the last checkpoint. The game was well received and was praised for it's unique take on the capturing system and it's graphics, as of October 2008 the game had sold 2.7 million copies worldwide.

The Advance Generation did a lot of good for the franchise, it expanded into some new genres and added two new spinoff series in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and Pokemon Ranger, both of which have been sequeled on the DS, with a third Mystery Dungeon on the way. Nintendo really started to do a lot of things right with this generation as well, by giving some of the event Pokemon to players outside of Japan and by giving the non-Japanese gamers some tournaments as well. The future is looking good for the Pokemon franchise as well, Diamond and Pearl have both sold very well and the fourth generation has gone away from having so many spinoffs, with only Mystery Dungeon games on the DS and Pokemon Battle Revolution and My Pokemon Ranch on the Wii, although games like Pokemon Snap and Puzzle League have seen rerelease on the Virtual Console. Well, this ends my articles on the Pokemon series, since the fourth generation is still going strong there is no need to write any further articles for the time being. Gaming in Retrospect will return in the future with other game series, but for now I'm going to be working on a couple of other articles. Again I would like to thank everyone who has read my articles, and the RF Generation staff for asking logical123 and myself to come on as a blog writers, thank you all and I hope you continue to enjoy my writing in the future.


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Comments
 
Nice article! I have a feeling you forgot to select 'personal and site blog' in the Article Destination area at the top, though, and that's why it didn't appear on the front page. Hopefully Dave or someone can fix that. Anywhoozle, great overview! Smiley
 
Nice article.

A slight remark: If I'm not mistaken, Espeon and Umbreon weren't available in Pokémon Red and Green, so why are you surprised they weren't added in remakes of those two games?
 
@Sirgin: Well, after you get the National Dex in Red and Green, you can trade over all the Hoenn or Johto Pokemon, this also allows you evolve Pokemon, like Eevee and Poliwag, to their forms that were introduced in the other games.
 
@Nionel:Oh, cool, I didn't know that! Smiley

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