Pokemon Snap (1999) Review

Released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999, Pokemon Snap is a unique photography game.
February 12, 2013
I'm back! Bet you missed me, didn't you? OK,enough rambling. Let's just get right into the review. So, I was at the store, browsing some games when I saw Pokemon Snap just laying there. It was 5 bucks, so I purchased it. I was skeptical at first, mainly because it's a photo-taking game, but I popped it in and tried it out.

Pokemon Snap gets rid of all the RPG elements from the previous game (Red,Blue) and because this was released early in Pokemon's lifespan, it has the ORIGINAL JYNX. Stupid racism issue...

This game has you controlling Todd Snap, who was in the anime, so it'd be safe to assume this game is based off the anime, rather than the games. He's a photographer who takes pictures of Pokemon. Why he would pursue this hobby instead of actually raising Pokemon is beyond me. When you first begin, Professor Oak tells you that you must take pictures of Pokemon while riding a machine that I like to call "the minecart that can fly".In this game, you'll be taking pictures of Pokemon in 7 different locations. At the end of each course, you choose which pictures you will send to Professor Oak, who will grade you on 3 criteria: how close you were to the Pokemon, if the Pokemon was in the center, and their pose. You will get bonus points if you catch more than one of the same Pokemon in the same picture.

After the second stage, Professor Oak begins giving you tools to help make taking pictures of Pokemon easier. The equipment given to you are Apples to feed Pokemon and make them happy, Pester Balls to hit wandering Pokemon, the Poke-flute to make Pokemon dance, and a booster to make your "minecart that can fly" go faster. Personally, I think you should get the items at the very beginning to truly test your skills of taking a good picture and taking advantage of the items. Again, that's just my opinion. Another drawback to this game is the Pokemon, or the lack of. There are only 63 Pokemon to take pictures of in this game, and at the time there were 151. Pokemon Stadium had all the Pokemon, with better visuals as well, so you can't say because of hardware limitations.

Like I said, there are seven areas in the game. As Todd Snap, you will be trekking through a Beach, a Tunnel, a Volcano, a River, a Cave, a Valley, and a Rainbow Cloud. Something about that last one seems incredibly unrealistic. In order to unlock a level, there's usually more than just taking a picture and leaving, Usually, you'd either have to trigger an event, or catch pictures of a certain amount of Pokemon before gaining access to the next stage. In order to unlock the final level, the Rainbow Cloud, you need to take pictures of Signs, or Pokesigns as I call them.Basically, they're just hidden images of Pokemon. For example, there is a shadow of a Pinsir in the cave area. Take a picture and you found one of the Pokesigns.

The presentation is top-notch. For an Nintendo 64 game, the visuals are really good, they hold up pretty well for the most part. But even then there are some parts where the game looks pretty bad. The frame-rate does drop at times, but it actually helps you take a better picture, with everything being slower. The music is forgettable, but when I'm listening to it, it's pretty catchy and a lot of fun. The Pokemon have the cries from the anime, so they don't make those weird wheezing noises like in the video games. All the Pokemon are on-model and the sound effects are very dated, but I still love them.

There really isn't much completion to the game. I remember having to take pictures of next to all of the Pokemon to beat the game anyways, so there isn't really a "Catch 'em all" thing in this game. The only thing left to do once you beat the game is to get higher scores in the stages, but this is a console game, not an arcade title. Getting high scores isn't something I'm going to sit down and accomplish. Finally, this game is short. Beatable in 3 hours or less. Again, this is a console game. I would've liked a longer lasting experience. In conclusion, Pokemon Snap is a unique game that's good for a stress reliever, or something to play when you're bored, but after a month, it begins to lose its luster. Pick it up if you find it really cheap.

With all that said, I'm SegaFanatic, and I'll see you guys next time.
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