Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver are the long awaited Nintendo DS remakes of the old Gameboy Gold, Silver and Crystal games. You can expect better graphics, better menus and added content to game play with these 2 new games. Heart Gold and Soul Silver allow you to explore 2 regions, Johto and Kanto where you can earn up to 16 badges by defeating 16 different gym leaders. You also have the ability to collect all 493 Pokemon, which includes 4th Generation Pokemon.
The game starts like most other Pokemon games with a visit from your friendly neighborhood professor. In Johto, it’s Professor Elm, who resides in your home town of New Bark Town. He gives you the option learning about Pokemon; good for people who are just learning the game. Or you can just jump to the character creation; which is the choice of most veterans. You can visit random team to learn about all the pokemons that are there in Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. You can get random team llayout of pokemons as well, they will be paired according to their stats and you can share these layouts with your friends as well.
Once you create your character, your character is shrunken to game size and you start it in your room. Upon going down stairs you see your mom, who stops you and gives you a bag, a trainer card, the save game and options menus which all appear on the touch screen below. This in my opinion is one of the best added features to the game. You no longer need to hit the X button to cycle through menu choices to select what you need to do. You just have to tap the touch screen and you get the menu you need. For those of you who are creatures of habit, the X button and arrow keys still allow you to access these menus.
After Mom gives you your menus and you walk outside, you will be awed by the improved 3D graphics of New Bark Town. You will see wind blowing through the wind turbines, flowers dancing and impressive building architecture. Head over to Professor Elm’s lab where you choose your Johto starter Pokemon. You get to choose Chikorita, Cyndaquil or Totodile. After choosing you will notice a second great feature. Your lead Pokemon no longer stays in his or her poke ball, it will follow you around. In previous games only certain Pokemon would follow you around in a Pal Park. Or in the very early games, only Pikachu would follow you around. Now any Pokemon can follow you and if it is shiny, it will keep it shiny traits as it follows you. So the Red Gyrados you get in this game will be red when you walk with it. Each Pokemon has its unique animation when walking. You will see Pidgeot’s wings flap and levitating Pokemon like Mew won’t walk, they float through the air. Another neat feature of this tailgating Pokemon is you can talk to it and find out how it is feeling.
Before heading out on your new adventure in the Johto region head back to Mom and she will give you a Pokegear which allows you to call and receive calls from people you meet during the game including your mom and the Professor. The new improved Pokegear will allow you to change its skin to one of 6 designs. It will be upgraded with a map and of the region and radio later on in the game. Now you are ready to explore the world of Pokemon and more game features.
Each game comes with a PokeWalker that allows you to transfer your Pokemon into a real-life step counter. With your real life steps, your Pokemon will be able to collect items like berries and even level up. This could be great if you need to do other real life activities like school or soccer practice and won’t be able to bring you DS. Just slip your PokeWalker into your Pocket and let your Pokemon do the work.
When you get your running shoes, you no longer need to hold down the B button to run. There will be a button on the Menu that lets you press or depress your running ability. No more sore thumbs from holding the b button down.
Battling is the same as in previous games but with some graphical improvements. Depending on where you are and what time of day it is will impact the background your Pokemon fight in. For example if you fight in grass, the battle ground will be grass and if it is night time, the sky will be dark.
Berries can be grown but in a new way. You now have the ability to carry around a portable terrarium that allows you to grow 4 plants. This is good because you no longer have to fly to multiple locations to get your berries. It also can be a disadvantage because only 4 plants can be grown at any particular time.
Apricorns are back. Harvested from trees, these neat little nuts can be made into different Pokeballs depending what color they are. The different Pokeballs are used for a greater chance of collecting different types of Pokemon.
New type of contests for Pokemon. Pokemon will be able to compete in a Pokeathlon which has 10 different activities. These activates can be won based on the speed, jump, power, skill and stamina ratings of the Pokemon entered in the contest. If you win 3 contests in a row you receive points that can be redeemed for prizes. Depending on which day of the week you go to exchange these points, the prizes will be different.
Mom’s Savings Bank is back. When you complete a battle, you can opt to send some of your Pokedollars back to mom. This feature can be handy when you are up against tough opponents like Team Rocket or the Elite 4 and don’t want to fork over the cash when you faint but what to keep the experience points.
Those with Wi-Fi abilities now can download event only Pokemon and PokeWalker courses from the Nintendo WFC. They can also go downstairs in the new improved Pokemon Centers and go into a carnival like room to join trainers from all over the world in real time and participate in mini games.
Both Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver have many new features and secrets to uncover. Fans of the older games will not be disappointed and new players will be impressed with immense abilities of different activities within the game. The game will never end. Even after you beat the Elite 4 and the credits roll, there is still much to do and accomplish. This game is a must have for any DS owner, young or old or whether you like Pokemon or not. “GottaCatch’em all!”