after having been stymied for so long and finally being able to complete a pokemon game earlier this year (pokemon gold), i went ahead and played through another one in the main series, pokemon ruby. one of my main motivations for finishing the game is that that game (with its companion sapphire) led to a huge number of pokemon spinoffs, more than any previous entry in the series, and i was looking forward to playing through those once i had completed the main game.
ruby immediately grabbed me with its leap forward from GB-level graphics to GBA-level, and the host of new varieties of pokemon were as fun and eye-catching as ever. the game’s premise is still the same as always, but unlike gold and silver which felt pretty much exactly the same as the originals but with a few minor additions, the number of new things to do in ruby (and sapphire) kept things interesting. most of the additions were fairly pointless, such as contests, berries, berry blending, and secret bases, but the addition of hold items and pokemon abilities and natures were more worthwhile. the abundance of trainer rematches was welcome, and i also played around with breeding more and spent more time than before trying to track down rarer pokemon.
as for the drawbacks, my complaints were mostly minor. there were so many areas in the game that the different species of pokemon were too spread out and you ended up seeing the same pokemon over and over again in the wild. the sidequests to find the legendary pokemon were too obscure (particularly the golem trio), and there was too much level grinding required for the elite 4. fishing was as tedious and HMs as annoying to manage as ever, and contests were too much a matter of luck. oh, and if anyone’s interested, the 6 shown above were my final team. aggron proved to be a solid player, despite the fact that even though it’s dual type steel and rock it can’t learn any good rock moves. i used a pure-normal type for the first time this game, a type that i still don’t quite see the point of using. bug pokemon seem to be so underpowered in general and electric types overpowered, but in any case the great pokemon designs make all the species fun to use.
all in all i had to debate whether or not i would include this in my list of “favorites of all time”. in the end though, this was such an improvement on gold and silver and given the sheer amount of content i had to go ahead and add it to the list. it’s hard for me to imagine what the folk at game freak could have added to diamond and pearl that would move the series forward, and i have to say i’m a bit skeptical that yet another entry in the series will be able to suck me in, but maybe i’ll be pleasantly surprised. in any case, i’ll be skipping over emerald, fire red, and leaf green and jumping to the DS games next.
sparkling pokemon ruby links:
– sprites above from the still-fantastic and essential bulbapedia
– serebii.net is also still as great a resource as ever
– review at 101 videogames
– while i was looking for pokemon wallpapers i came across this great compilation of all of the ruby/sapphire pokemon
– a link from last year, but now that it’s halloween season again here are some awesome pokemon pumpkins.
– interesting to read about competitions and tier lists. smogon.com is a great site for tier list info. for an explanation of tiers, see bulbapedia’s article.
– there was a lot of info i came across about pokemon online this time, one of which was what a nuzlocke is and what HSOWA means. haha.
– this rhythm heaven/pokemon crossover is frickin’ awesome.