Pokemon Snap (1999) Review

With New Pokemon Snap releasing in less than 30 days I figured this was the right time for me look at back at the original game which inspired it.

Pokemon Snap was developed by Hal Laboratories and was originally going to be a Jack and the Beanstalk videogame which focused on photographing plants and animals, the developers really struggled to convince Nintendo of this idea for the N64 Disk Drive and it was instead requested by the late Satoru Iwata that due to the success of Pokemon Red and Blue all of the animals were to be changed to Pokemon and the environments and story adjusted to make the world feel natural and realistic to contain Pokemon monsters. This genius idea for a change was much more than just relying on the success of another franchise but a way of expanding the Pokemon universe to express it self in a non violent and natural way with some puzzle elements thrown into the mix and I think everyone will agree that this is exactly what Pokemon Snap brought to the table.

In the game you play as a talented young photographer named Todd Snap, Todd begins the game chasing the rare Pokemon Mew trying to be the first person to ever get a clear photograph of it, unfortunately the creature escapes into the clouds and Todd feels defeated and in need to regain his confidence and refine his skills in Photography. He becomes an apprentice for Professor Oak who asks Todd to photograph Pokemon and landmarks which represent them.

There are 63 Pokemon’s you can can discover and Photograph in the game, the majority of these are quite easy to find but getting the best possible photo is the real challenge of the game, some times you may need to interact with a Pokémon to make it emotionally react in order to get a great photograph, this can be achieved using the in game items.

There are three items in the game and later on you can move through the courses faster as well.

The apples can be used to attract a Pokemon to a specific spot, a very popular thing you can do is in the beach level use the apples to encourage Pikachu to climb a surfboard in order to get the amazing Surfing Pikachu shot.

You can also use the apples to knock over items and Pokemon while this may seem a little cruel, and in reality it is a little bit but by knocking Pokemon or eggs into certain elements you can evolve them, for example knocking a Charmeleon into the volcano is the only way to get a Charizard shot.

Some of the evolutions are a lot more difficult and require more puzzle solving, in the valley stage you need to hit a jumping Magicarp with a number of apples in order to hit it so hard that it fly’s to other end of the trail. Here it will land on some rocky terrain, hit it with another apple to knock it into the water bouncing it inside of a waterfall, this will evolve the Magicarp and is the only way to get a shot of Gyrados.

The pester balls can be used to make Pokémon dizzy but more importantly it can bring camouflaged Pokémon out of hiding, you need to do this in order get a shot of Porygon.

The Final Item is the Pokemon Flute this can be used to encourage Pokemon to show off secret poses, these photographs will give players extra points, it is also the only way to wake up Vileplume in the River level.

The items are also needed so that you can interact with secrets in the environment to open up new paths and levels.

I was a little disappointed with how short the game was and its difficulty, while I agree its creativity is outstanding and overall the game is tons of fun, this was my first playthrough and I managed to do everything in under six hours, the main Pokemon were a little challenging to find especially the evolutions but the Pokemon signs I found straight away when I began seeking them out, this was fine but I think it would have been better to make them a little more difficult to discover considering that finding all six of them gives you access to Mew and the games credits.

I thought that while fairly simple the music actually suits this game very well, this is not an epic role playing adventure game but is in fact a relaxing and fun experience for the whole family, the music gets you pumped to go and discover secrets and genuinely has a really good feel to it, I never grew up with this game so I don’t have nostalgia for it, but my friends that do have all said that they think opening theme is an easily recognisable and iconic video game composition and I will admit that if I heard it in the future I think I could easily match it with this game, it is unique and fits the tone of the game perfectly.

I have very few complaints with this game, I think it could been a little longer with some more levels, this came out in gen 1 but only used 63 of the then 151 Pokemon and lets be honest they could have put all of the Pokemon in this game.

I think the Pokemon signs should have been really hard to discover, there was no internet back then so it could have made easy playground brags especially since you could print the photographs off in certain stores.

If I made the game myself I would have made no mention of Mew at all and instead had the final level unlock only to players who got every photograph in the game, beat all of the high scores and found all of the Pokemon signs, I think leaving Mew a secret would have been a fantastic completionist bonus for players.

I realise these complaints are more on the lines of what I would do differently so please don’t let what I have said put you off this fantastic experience, Pokemon Snap as a concept is great and the final product is a wonderful game which anyone can get into, graphically while these days outdated back then this is some of the best visuals on the N64, the music is perfect for the game and its tone, it controls well, has a good story which does not overshadow the gameplay and while I would have liked it to be just a little bit longer I cannot wait to replay this and I am even more excited to see what directions the new game takes but until then I give Pokemon Snap a very high score of 9.6/10

I actually played the entire game live on my twitch account, I am using this account to share my experiences with these games in real time before reviewing them and I would appreciate some support over there if you would like to come hangout and play some games with me !

I have linked my account filmzguy below !

https://www.twitch.tv/filmzguy

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Thank You for all of your support.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

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