After more than a year of Nintendo's persistent Pokémon marketing blitz, the fact that Pokémon Gold/Silver had me glued to my Game Boy Color's LCD to the extent that it did is quite amazing. As Chi said in his review, the game is not that much different from Pokémon Red/Blue, but it is such a solid overall game that it picks up where its predecessor left off without much of a hitch. While Chi covered most of the important points of the game, there are a few noteworthy features that deserve further discussion.

Pokémon Gold/Silver's addition of a real-time clock was one of the better design decisions that Nintendo could make. We've all seen what real-time clocks can do to the gameplay of a role-playing game (Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask), and it is no different here. Being that some Pokémon can only be found at certain times of the day or night and key events in the game can only take place at a certain time on a certain day, players have little choice but to play the game at all hours of the days to truly discover all that it has to offer. It was amusing when I realized that I was not immune to this. I found that I was playing at 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 12 a.m. and so on, just to find some new breeds. Just think what determined little children with nothing but time on their hands will do—putting such a feature in an addictive game aimed at kids is almost sinister.

The other more minor features in the game are great in that they offer plenty of diversions for the areas where the game may drag. The Breeding feature that Chi mentioned is indeed a nice way to fill your Pokédex. For example, breeding two Pikachus, a male and a female, yields a Pichu (the first generation of the yellow electric rat). The only knock against this system would be the inability to create a freakish Pokémon of my own design. Try as I might I could not combine a female Hoot Hoot and male Pigeotto to create a Hooteotto (or Pigehooto). This was one of my favorite features in last year's Jade Cocoon, and I was a little disappointed to learn that it wasn't a feature in this game.

Trading, still the bread and butter of the franchise, can extend beyond simple Pokémon exchanges. Using the Game Boy Color's infrared link, you can now trade mystery gifts between games (owners of the separate handheld, Pokémon Pikachu 2, can trade mystery gifts as well). The gifts are never anything substantial enough to affect the story, but no price can be placed on seeing Chi turn green with envy as I acquired a Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a mystery gift. One of the bigger surprises was that trading could also be done with the older Pokémon game paks (Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow), though it is limited to exchanges between Pokémon that can be found in both Pokémon Gold/Silver and Pokémon Red/Blue and Yellow.

In conclusion, I do have a few issues that I feel need mentioning and that is in regard to the time it takes to manage my Pokémon. Though likely due to the technological limitations of the Game Boy hardware, the length of time it takes to perform a single trade is enough to drive me nuts. I also have to believe there is a more efficient way to change Pokémon boxes and withdraw and deposit Pokémon on Bill's PC. These were peeves of mine since I first played the original, but they do not detract from the game too much. All in all, Pokémon Gold/Silver is a very worthy sequel to a revolutionary videogame. Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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