The third game in the Ruby/Sapphire series, Pokémon
Emerald is what Pokémon Yellow was to Red and Blue or
what Crystal was to Gold and Silver. By combining the
stories of Team Magma and Team Aqua developed in Ruby
and Sapphire, Nintendo has created one game wherein
the same male and female trainers introduced in Ruby
and Sapphire track down Team Magma and Team Aqua in an
attempt to foil their plans. Sporting a few new types
of challenges for players to grapple with, Emerald
promises to deliver more of the customizing,
upgrading, collecting, and battling of Pokémon that
fans of the franchise have come to expect.
For those unfamiliar with the Pokémon franchise,
Emerald can function as an introduction, as it
combines elements of Emerald’s predecessors and adds
new ones to satisfy fans as well. The general style
of gameplay in Emerald is the same as that of previous games; trainers go out on a quest to collect Pokémon,
become the greatest trainers in the world, and stop
evildoers in the process. This process inevitably
involves the battling of Pokémon, either wild ones,
which can be caught, or the Pokémon that other
trainers fight the player’s with. In battles, the
player selects the Pokémon that will fight, and
chooses attacks in a traditional turn-based system.
The game’s combat is largely focused on attacking
enemy Pokémon with attacks of an element type that the
enemy is weak against. As your Pokémon earn
experience, they become stronger, and the ultimate
goal is to beat all of the world’s premier Pokémon
trainers and become a champion. The process to
improving your Pokémon isn’t just about following a
simple "level-up to get stronger" formula, however;
Pokémon can be bred to produce offspring with specific
characteristics, choices will have to be made in terms
of choosing which moves you want your Pokémon to
learn, and the game’s real-time clock tracks the
passage of day and night and has effects on many
aspects of gameplay.
"...Emerald offers a few notable
improvements on and additions to its predecessors."
More specifically, Emerald offers a few notable
improvements and additions to its predecessors.
First, the game supports the Wireless GBA Adapter.
Pokémon can now be battled or traded wirelessly.
Second, new challenges have been created for masters
of Ruby and Sapphire. One of these, the "Battle Dome,"
allows players to only bring three Pokémon to a lengthy
tournament-style competition. Six other different
types of competitions await enterprising Pokémon
trainers. The most significant change, however, lies
in a fundamental change in Emerald’s combat system.
Now, two trainers can attack simultaneously; NPC
opponents can call out to other trainers for
assistance in fighting the player.
Graphically, Pokémon Emerald appears to resemble
Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire at first glance.
While a few alterations have been made to status
screens and menu layouts, for the most part,
everything else from the color scheme to the battle
screen should seem extremely familiar to those who
have played the previous games on the GBA. Nintendo
has decided to bring back battle animations like those
found in Pokémon Crystal. Before each battle, Pokémon
will briefly show off their moves rather than simply
appearing on screen.
Traditionally rare or "legendary" Pokémon from
earlier games can be caught in Emerald. In Emerald,
players will have the chance to catch both Kyogre and
Groudon, monsters that were once unique to either Ruby
or Sapphire. Additionally, Jirachi, Latios (or
Latias, you’ll have to make a choice), and Rayquaza
will all be available in Emerald. As an added bonus,
Nintendo has stated that they will periodically hold
events that allow for players to have a chance to
obtain other rare Pokémon.
Pokémon Emerald will be compatible with Ruby,
Sapphire, FireRed, LeafGreen, and even the GameCube’s
Pokémon Colosseum. As a synthesis of the elements of
its predecessors, Emerald might just create a new
batch of trainers out of players who have never played
any Pokémon game before. We’ll know for sure on May
1, when Pokémon Emerald reaches American shores.