Pokémon Trading Card Game (Game Boy Color) Reader Review

Posted by By Phoenom 0 Number of reads 698 Posted 06.08.2008

My choice this week seems a little out of the blue huh? Well, that game you see above is the one that got me into Yu-Gi-Oh. Confused? Let me explain.
Many moons ago (god I feel old), I had a spare wad of cash to spend in Woolworths, and being the huge Pokefan I was back then, my eyes were drawn to a certain Game Boy game on the shelf. I thought 'Pah, a crappy Card Game game? Can't be as good as the proper games.' Lord knows why I bought it anyway, but I did, and after 10 minutes of playing, I was addicted. I can safely say that without P.T.C.G, I would never have tried Yu-Gi-Oh. That isn't to say that they are similar, heck no, just that one led onto another.
Unfortunately I lost my copy of the game a while ago, so everything regarding the rules and interface I write here will be from memory, and a little from Wikipedia if need be, so apologies if any of it is fuzzy.

Back at the turn of the century, you'd have to have been living under a rock not to notice the Pokemon phenomenon all around you. Hit anime show, tons of merchandise, the two main games themselves, even magazines and books. There was one thing in the Pokemon line that took hold of School playgrounds everywhere though, and that was the Trading Card Game. Hardly anyone really played the game itself though, the main draw was collecting and swapping the cards. In a way then, P.T.C.G on the Game Boy helped fill a void for Pokemon fans, or at least those daring enough to play it; many reasoned that virtual trading cards were needless, and they had a point.

Pokemon Trading Card Game took a page out of its more popular cousins' book, and injected a story mode into the mix. Here, you as the player, are required to defeat the eight Club Masters, and gain medals from them to battle the 4 best card players in the land, the Grand Masters, all the while staying one step ahead of your rival (sound somewhat familiar?).
In essence though, none of it really feels like the main Pokemon games, despite the similarities. There are of course others to play against, like the very strange Imakuni, who is (or was) apparently a very popular singer/entertainer over in Japan. Lord knows how he got in there.
There are of course trading opportunities, and these are some of the only ways to get the rarest cards.

Okay then, here are the rules of Pokemon Trading Card game, or at least the basics;

You have a deck of cards to draw from initially, and in the start-up sequence, you and your opponent draw 7. You can choose Pokemon cards to put out in play (one at a time) or put on the bench (up to five). All the rest of the cards you have drawn (eg. Energy cards; a card of a certain element that can be equipped on a Pokemon Card (one per round is the standard) to allow it to attack, or Trainer Cards that have varying and different abilities).
Once the start-up is out of the way, a Coin is flipped to determine who goes first, and the game is played from there.
Each player, before anything else, puts out 4 (or 6 if it's a big match) prize cards from their decks, and when their Pokemon card eliminates their opponent's card, they can choose one prize. When all are taken, they win the match. Subsequently, if you run out of Pokemon cards to use, you lose the match.

Phew, I think that's all you need to know for now anyway.Smilie The game itself is really fun to play, despite how nerdish and boring it sounds here.

For a Game Boy game, P.T.C.G holds up quite well, especially when given a colour boost through a GBC or GBA. The animation for Pokemon attacks, however brief, is a nice addition, and the art of each card pays tribute to the originals really well.
The world, colourful and vibrant as it is, hasn't exactly got the game variety equivalent of a theme park. What you can explore mainly consists of 8 Gyms and the Colosseum, so there isn't much to divert you from the Card Game itself. This can be a positive or negative, depending on your perspective.

As for sound and music, I have absolutely no complaints for this game. Sure, the tracks you'll hear aren't MP3-worthy, but they are damned good in their own right, in particular the boss themes.

Chances are, if you start playing, you won't be able to stop until you have everything, and in that respect, this game will last you a while. There is a two player mode, although both you and a friend will need a GBC or equivalent, and a copy of the game each, not to mention a Link Cable. So most likely, you won't get anything out of that mode.

For those that have never played a Trading Card Game game before, and wish to give it a go, I can recommend little else to start off with. It certainly worked for me. Smilie

(Funnily enough, I've found a vid that shows the tutorial at the beginning, so me explaining it to you was a waste of time. Smilie
Oh well.)


A couple of things to note;

1. Thanks to having to look a Wikipedia for reminders, I learned that there was a sequel to this game in Japan not long after the original. Why the hell didn't you bring it over here Nintendo?!

2. Not to take the wind out of this Review's sails or anything, but if all goes to plan, I'll be going the biggest, most comprehensive review I've ever done next week, so look forward to it. Smilie

Phoenom's Rating Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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