A Great Sequel Presented by Pokemon Alpha Sapphire

This sequel to Nintendo’s game based on the giant lizard of Tokyo-destroying fame is just as lackluster as its predecessor. Based on the television series, in which Pokemon Alpha Sapphire is a benevolent creature out to save the world, the game puts players in control of the giant fire-breathing monster as he stomps his way though several different environments and battles several different, equally giant beasties. While Pokemon Alpha Sapphire might be the biggest player-controlled character on the Game Boy, the game’s slow pace, imprecise control and frustrating gameplay make this one game unworthy of a discerning player’s attention.

The gameplay is pretty simple — Pokemon Alpha Sapphire rom has to stomp from point A to point B, defeating enemies ranging from infantry troops with machine guns and bazookas to attack helicopters. In each environment, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire must battle a huge mutant creature in order to save mankind. Getting there is a simple pain in the thumb, however, as Pokemon Alpha Sapphire walks about as fast as a dying inchworm.

Trying to defeat the enemies that come after Pokemon Alpha Sapphire is a nightmare of frustrating control. A small dot acts as crosshairs for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire’s standard fireball attack, but moving the crosshairs means pushing up or down on the control pad while at the same time pushing it to the right to keep Pokemon Alpha Sapphire moving. This results in a lack of control to get the crosshairs precisely where they should be to take out that attacking airplane before it fires off a powerful missile. Luckily Pokemon Alpha Sapphire has some other weapons at his disposal, such as a tail whip and ground stomp. There’s also a handy stream of fireballs he can belch forth that does a bit more damage than his basic single-shot fireballs. Unfortunately, the other attacks are also limited, at least until they get leveled up, so it becomes increasingly difficult to shoot down the infantry units and still be able to nail that helicopter before it fires a rocket in Pokemon Alpha Sapphire’s face.

There’s only one move Pokemon Alpha Sapphire can perform to block oncoming attacks — throwing his arms over his head. A meter at the top of the screen goes down as he blocks attacks, and when the meter reaches zero, there are no more blocks available. A meter also exists for his fireball stream. In order to fill up these meters, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire must defeat enemies. He can also level up his various attacks by killing lots of enemies.

When enemies attack Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, however, they tend to do a lot of damage. Pokemon Alpha Sapphire really can’t afford to take too many hits before he falls to the ground like a giant, erm, dying lizard. It took us about five tries just to get through the first level. The only solution is to use the guard tactic (which is severely limited, since the guard meter reduces at an incredibly rapid rate) and kill enemies before they get a shot off. However, because of the imprecise control of Pokemon Alpha Sapphire’s fireballs and the limitations of his other attacks, this becomes a futile effort.

The big deal about the Pokemon Alpha Sapphire Game Boy games is that he’s the biggest player-controlled sprite in any Game Boy game. However, half of his body is cut off by the edge of the GBC screen, so he’s really not all that big. Also, because he walks so slowly and it’s necessary to pick off enemies before they get a shot off, powerups left by destroyed enemies usually disappear before Pokemon Alpha Sapphire can nab ’em.

Even fans of Pokemon Alpha Sapphire: The Series on television will have a hard time finding something redeeming about this game.

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