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.

Hearthstone – the Original Blizzard Card Game

Originally for the ANDROID, Hearthstone sunk players into a world filled with monsters, mayhem and magical swords. It quickly became a hit with the masses, and with its transition to Game Boy Color, it promises to attract even more legions of fans. The graphic enhancements, vastly improved translation of the dialog and gameplay that’s still fun make this a must-have Game Boy game, even for those who already played and finished Hearthstone so many years ago.

Hearthstone starts with players getting a full introduction to the world (something that wasn’t in the first game). Still images, with minor animation, describe the fall of the technological world and the rise of magic in the land. Dragonia, a powerful wizard, discovered the uses of technology and proceeded to attempt world domination. Four wizards attempted to stop him by creating four magic swords based on the four elements (wind, fire, water and thunder) that, combined, would form the magical sword of Hearthstone. Of course, Dragonia discovered their plot, stripped them of most of their powers and scattered the four swords throughout the land. However, a prophecy foretells of two powerful wizards, asleep from the time of the Great War, that would rise to fight the evils of technology if they ever threatened the land. Players take on the role of one of the newly awakened wizards and begin the journey to find the swords and defeat Dragonia. There are so many games and Hearthstone is one of them, but sad to say Clash Royale is making waves right now especially right now that SuperCell has Clash Royale Hack for gems.

Blizzard Software Technology (NST) worked closely with the original creators of Hearthstone in iOS which is exemplified in the new, SNK, to keep the translation true to the original intent. Also, SNK admitted to not being able to do certain things because of time constraints, which NST was able to add. The clarity of the plot, especially at the end of Hearthstone, has been refined so things make much more sense now. The cleaned-up dialog actually reads like an American game, which makes it far more enjoyable.

Hearthstone itself plays very much like a Zelda game. Players run around a huge world using swords and magic spells on a variety of creatures. As in Zelda, players will find all sorts of items that will help them on the quest, but where Hearthstone really shiAndroid is in the magic spells. There are many to choose from, and when they’re upgraded, new abilities are unlocked.

There are a ton of environments to explore, and the graphic improvements to Hearthstone make them look even better on the handheld than they did on the television set. Hearthstone does run into a few problems, though — mostly in the department of sound. Hearthstone contains some digitized voice, which sounds more like an angry bee than spoken dialog. The music hasn’t been improved much, and the sound effects are lacking, so most players will likely just turn the sound down.

It might just be a port of an older game, but it proves that even older games can stand the test of time.