Pokémon Gold and Silver were originally released 17 years ago in North America on October 15th, 2000, on the Nintendo Gameboy. But on March 14th, 2010, those titles saw remakes hit the Nintendo DS. Fast forward to 2017 and the original titles have been digitally re-released as they were back in the day. With nearly 2 decades since it’s original release, and a pair of great remakes releasing since, are the original titles still worthy of a spot in your 3DS?
The story this time around is exactly the same as the original titles. The player sets out to be the best trainer in the world. Competing in a competition to raise their rank and a shot at being the official champion. But the best part of Pokémon Gold and Silver is the lore. Navigating and reading about the stories of the towns and how they came to be. How there are legendary Pokémon that literally shaped their land. That’s what really makes the backstory stand out. Team Rocket is still causing mayhem but this time around the legendaries have meaning. There isn’t a generic origin master Pokémon or lab experiment story. The legendary Pokémon are idolized as Gods. It just adds a lot more to the idea of what Pokémon can mean.
The formula in Pokémon Gold and Silver remains largely the same as the main series even today. Any fan of the series that has played even the latest titles will be able to jump right in. At its core Pokémon Gold and Silver are JRPGs. The player runs around the region of Johto collecting Pokémon using items called poke balls. The player can carry 6 at a time but the extra Pokémon can be stored in a PC storage system within the game.
The turn-based battle system is a one-on-one match where the Pokémon’s elemental attributes play a factor for strengths and weaknesses. The player progresses throughout the game by navigating through towns and defeating trainers in their gyms. 8 gym victories give the players access to the elite four, the best trainers in the region that must be defeated to be crowned as their region’s champion. Twice. That’s right, once you complete the Johto region the player then navigates to the Kanto region. Yep. From the Blue, Red and Yellow games.
Pokémon Gold and Silver are titles that were developed on limited hardware. That said, it’s amazing how much was packed into a single cartridge. The games are in full color which was a huge leap at the time in comparison to Pokémon Yellow. With unique cries and sprites for all 250+ Pokémon and the huge map showcasing a wide range of caves and dungeons from ice to volcanoes. Of course, there is also the soundtrack that is easily one of my favorite of any title ever. The nostalgia smacked me hard when I ran into Goldenrod City. There’s something special about the retro sound and look.
Pokémon Gold and Silver are some of the best selling titles on Nintendo’s original handheld and for good reason. They are everything you could ask for in a sequel and more. Game Freak knew exactly what made Pokémon Blue, Red and Yellow great, and made it that much better. Even to the point that the player is able to revisit the Kanto region carrying over the new mechanics. Sure, graphically it hasn’t aged particularly well considering the insane advancements seen in Pokémon Sun and Moon. But, Gold and Silver are a lot more approachable than the original titles and there’s a hell of a good time to be had and well worth the 10 bucks and then some.