Pokemon: HeartGold: Not Just Another Installment to the Pokemon Series

By Laura . September 25, 2009 . 4:39pm

image Seventh generation of Pokemon! By now, people are probably split into two dichotomies: “Yay, another Pokemon game!” or “Not another one!!” Pokemon: HeartGold and Pokemon: Soul Silver cater much to the nostalgia of older players who dislike or just can’t get a handle on those “newfangled Pokemon” that appear in Ruby/Sapphire and Diamond/Pearl, but that doesn’t stop it from adding new features and tweaking old ones.


At heart, Pokemon is still Pokemon. You go around, catch Pokemon, level them up, battle them, rinse, lather, and repeat. HeartGold takes many of the features that were added to later generations and puts them into the game. Headbuttable trees and swarms are back. Berries are back. Form-changing Pokemon (namely Deoxys, Rotom, Giratina, and Shaymin) are in as well.


OK, OK. Let’s look at the smaller changes first. Players of Diamond / Pearl may have noticed that the speed of the game — everything from text speed to walking speed to even battle speed was very slow, especially compared to the old GBA games. It was something like comparing Slowpoke to Ninjask, except slow does not win the race. HeartGold / SoulSilver is slightly faster – markedly faster than its DS predecessor, but still much slower than the GBA games. It’s a very much welcome change, though.


image Another problem with Diamond / Pearl was that, although it was a DS game, it does not take advantage of the touch screen except for a few events like making puffins. HeartGold / SoulSilver fully incorporates touch screen controls. Although the menu button is still X-button, the entire menu was moved to the bottom screen along with the battle choices. The Pokemon box management system was also moved to the touch screen, so now you can actually drag the Pokemon to and from your party. This is a very logical and convenient way of using the touchpad, and a change I highly welcomed. On another note, you can assign shortcuts (the Y button) to two items instead of one, which made me very happy because now I didn’t have to shuffle back and forth between the bike and the fishing rod every time I needed to fish!


Several new areas were also added. There’s a new Pokethlon Dome, where trainers for the also added Pokethlon gather. Think Beauty Contest, but with athletic events like hurdles or wrestling matches. Game Freak made a Battle Frontier area too, although it isn’t new to the Pokemon series. There are also new areas to accommodate for the Ruby /Sapphire legendaries, as well as Arceus. Finally, there are new routes connecting one of the cities to the Safari Zone.


Apricorns are back. You can make Pokeballs out of them – some new ones like Moon Ball and Friend Ball too – but this time, you can also make ApriShakes, which work like Poffins in Diamond / Pearl. Berries, on the other hand, are back as well, but not in tree form. You carry them around with you in an item so now you don’t have to travel all the way back to where you planted the berries to take care of them!


And for the Safari Zone, they decided to expand the number of Pokemon that appeared in it by allowing you to add items like trees or crates to lure Pokemon. Also, to save you the effort (and steps!) of extra walking, you can swap areas around. For example, if you have already entered the marsh area and you want to go to the desert area, you can put the desert area right at the entrance. Thus far, the only reason I have been expelled from the Safari Zone is because I ran out of Safari Balls. The step count is only a very minor secondary worry now.


image One of the new features in Pokemon HeartGold / SoulSilver that garnered a lot of attention is the Pokemon following you around. Let me tell you, Nintendo put a lot of effort into making the comments that appear when you talk to them be as detailed as possible. There are remarks specific to a Pokemon, many comments specific to an area, and some text that is general for all Pokemon.


Some examples?


My Chikorita was “happily waving its leaf around.” On a beach, my Amparos was “happily piling up the sand” or was “having fun watching your footprints on the ground.” And when you’re in the Bellsprout Tower, Pidgeotto was “energetically weaving in and out from between the pillars” or “watching the swaying pillar cautiously.”


The Pokemon that follows you is always the first Pokemon on your team. This option cannot be changed, so it’s going to be impossible to waltz around with a Dialga while your first battle Pokemon is Milotic or something. Aside from the cuteness, talking to your Pokemon provides vital information, such as its status and relative health. If it has a status effect, it will tell you. There are special comments for it having less than half health as well as almost no health left.


image image


I am very pleased with this game and the changes that have been made since the previous installment. Pokemon Gold and Silver were solid and fun games, especially with the option to travel between Johto and Kanto. This not only expands the areas you can explore but also provides a connection between two regions that the other installments more or less lack. I found a few control issues that I didn’t like, such as the fact that switching between Pokemon storage boxes is a pain, but overall, it didn’t decrease from my playing experience.


If you have been holding back from Pokemon games because a.) they just keep coming or b.) you don’t like the new Pokemon, HeartGold / SoulSilver will be an excellent game for you to return to the franchise.

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  • cocytusx

    I was a bit disappointed by this game, it’s a remake of the best generation and all but with so little move additions, a copy pasted Frontier area from Platinum and 20 legendaries you already caught somehow moving to Johto, it was a bit of a let down. Still fun though.

    • Ah yes, I heard after I wrote this that a lot of the stuff was copied straight from Platinum. Having never played that game, I didn’t know until I talked with a friend who had it.

      Well, to a sole D/P player, it was a big improvement XD Personally, I think the biggest thing they’re aiming for is the nostalgia factor. (Which they do with the music too! It’s all remixes, but you can set the old GBA music on if you get all 8 Kanto badges, and even then, the remixes are wonderful…)

  • ryne11

    I haven’t played a Pokemon since Crystal, so I ought to get these

  • It’s definitely a purchase for me.

    Though honestly when is the series going to expand?

    I’m waiting to see a Pokemon game exclusive to DSi that allows me to roam all regions via DLC, and that has more in depth online functionality (there’s a lot of things that could be improved).

    • Oh, soon enough probably.
      And, soon or not, we can be sure that a next installment WILL come.

      I just fear for even more weird pokemon.

      • Truthfully, the Pokemon after Gold and Silver are only learned through necessity. Like, I learned the first 251 because I was interested? But with the later ones, it’s just kind of like “meh, I need a Froslass. Oh, this is what a Froslass is” or “I’m fighting a Garchomp. This is what a Garchomp is.”

        I know it’s not because there’s too many because Digimon has many more and I’m still kept up. Quite honestly I think it’s because of the designs…

  • thebanditking

    Honestly I hate Pokemon any more, I skipped out on the past two generations of it. That being said I am really looking forward to this re-release as Gold/Silver were my favorite in the series and to be able to go through again with better graphics and not having to worry about my battery save dying is reason enough for me to buy it, but also because this game had my favorite additions to the monsters (Hoot Hoot all the way). OK my inner child is now appeased.

    • Haha, actually, Sinnoh and Hoenn monsters are available as well (as expected; they’re not just going to pretend they don’t exist), but they’re really very rare. Like, if you’re not looking for them, you honestly won’t find them. Not listening to the radio and whatnot, I haven’t found one ingame to capture and I’m somewhere in the middle of Kanto. The only reason I have them is because I traded lots over from my D/P game.

  • Kuza21

    I loved Pokemon Gold and Silver when I was younger and it was the last versions I played and beat. So If I ever get a new DS then I’ll be getting this for sure.

  • Joanna

    well I happened to fall into category (1) YEAH ANOTHER POKEMON GAME!!!! So I cannot wait to play it. Being a remake of Silver, my second favourite version right after diamond, is a nice plus as well. (I think the only versions that let me down were Ruby/Sapphire. They felt like a downgrade from Silver/Gold.)

    • Never played Ruby/Sapphire. Actually, I really tried. Honestly did. Twice. Couldn’t get past the second gym for some reason. No idea why, either. Maybe because at the time it really was “just another Pokemon game” and I’d just finished G/S?

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