As if recently releasing Pokemon Platinum wasn’t enough, Game Freak recently shocked poke-maniacs everywhere by announcing the development of Heart Gold and Soul Silver. That’s right, like Fire Red and Leaf Green on the Game Boy Advance, owners of the Nintendo DS will have the chance to buy enhanced remakes of the much loved Game Boy Colour classics. With a release date currently slated in Japan for September 12, 2009 (to co-inside with the tenth anniversary of the original Gold and Silver release) what can we expect from the ever-growing franchise?
Firstly, bundled with the game will be a Poke Walker. You’ll presumably have the ability to upload any of your character’s Pokemon to this and as the name suggests… go for a walk with it. Yup, in a nutshell this is a blend between a Tamagotchi and a pedometer. With each step, your pokepal’s affection will increase, gain experience and earn you ‘watts’. Watts will be an in game currency used to find hidden items with the dowsing machine, or catch wild Pokemon with the Pokeradar. The Poke Walker looks approximately the size of a British Two Pound coin, meaning that it will slip easily into your pocket without causing too much embarrassment. It also uses some form of infra-red connection to link up with your Nintendo DS and a very basic black and white screen. Simply a cheap gimmick? Or is this a revolutionary way to train your Pokemon?
If someone asks you to name the most iconic part of Pokemon Yellow, it’s likely that you’ll mention the ability to have Pikachu following you around. Even if it was just a pixellated sprite, it was cool to watch him run after you and check his current mood. In Heart Gold and Soul Silver this feature will be returning and won’t just be restricted to your starter Pokemon. Recently leaked screens show what appear to be a smiling Teddiursa and Steelix – does this mean we will be able to have any Pokemon we desire following us this time around? Will shiny Pokemon, hold items or gender affect their outward appearance? This might be a small touch, but it’s an aesthetic improvement that I’m really looking forward too. However, it’s going to take a long time for Game Freak to draw animated sprites for 493 Pokemon…
Pre-order bonus goodies, we all love them. The desire to be the most definitive fan by ordering our copy early and drooling over the rubbish we get given for free. This time The Pokemon Company will be delivering figurines of Ho-oh (with copies of Heart Gold), Lugia (for Soul Silver) and Arceus (if you’re hardcore enough to buy both) straight to your door. Is this another incentive to buy both versions, or just crude marketing strategy? I’ll personally go with the latter, but I’ll also bet my last Master Ball there will be some consumers taken in and checking those import sites already.
Gold, Silver and Crystal are held in high regard as some of the best Pokemon games in the series. They introduced the night and day system, the concept of breeding, berries, shiny Pokemon and other features that stand out in Diamond/ Pearl/ Platinum today. It was also the only generation where you were given two separate continents to explore; both Johto and Kanto. All of the additions in recent years are bound to be included too, so it’s not surprising that Pocket Monster fans are waiting with anticipating glee. Could this be the definitive Pokemon game?