Saturday, February 21, 2015

Game Boy Color Forgotten Favorites: Pokemon Trading Card Game

Console: Game Boy Color
Genre(s): Strategy / Card
Players: 1 - 2
Published By: Nintendo
Developed By: Hudson Soft
Released: 2000

When you think about the Pokemon series of games, most of us instantly think back to the days when you first plugged in your Pokemon Red or Blue cart into the back of your Game Boy and you are faced with one of the most important decisions you will ever make... Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur? There were, however, some Pokemon games released that you might have just walk right past or thought “That's not my kind of game”. Pokemon Trading Card Game is one of those titles. A lot of gamers instantly wrote this game off solely because it's a video game based around a card game. But as soon as you engage in your first battle, you instantly realize that you will be spending a lot of time in this wonderfully addicting game.


The player takes the role of a young boy who is about to embark upon a historical journey to defeat the four Pokemon Grand Masters in order to acquire the legendary Pokemon cards. This daunting task, however, is only accomplished by first defeating the eight Club Masters and collecting their respective badges. Did I forget to mention that our card wielding hero also wears a bandana on his head?

You begin your trading card adventure at Mason Laboratory, where Dr. Mason gives you the choice of picking one of three starter decks, which consist of Charmander & Friends, Squirtle & Friends, and Bulbasaur & Friends. Each of the decks have a general theme that matches the Pokemon “type” that you chose. Of course this deck is just decent enough to get you going. As you continue along in your journey, you will acquire more cards to build a deck that fits your battling strategies.

The game will essentially take place within a map that contains different "Clubs" where card battling goons are awaiting your challenge. After defeating the NPC players, you will be allowed to battle the respective club master. These matches, as expected, are typically more difficult and require a bit more thought and luck in order to be victorious. Upon defeating these masters, you will be awarded a badge as an accomplishment. Along the way you will also be constantly challenged by your arch rival, Ronald. Each time you defeat this weasel, he will award you with a rare card.

Your first battle will, of course, be a training battle to get you familiar with the flow of a standard card duel. Be sure to follow along with the instructions or else you won't be able to advance through the tutorial. Upon completing the tutorial you will be free to journey off to the different clubs to battle the grunts and eventually work your way to the club masters. I will say, getting started in this game can be a little frustrating while using the starter deck, but stick with it because after every victory you will be given a couple booster packs which usually contain much more useful cards. Eventually you will acquire enough useful cards to create a very competitive deck. HINT: Battling against NPC's from a club of a similar Pokemon type will usually net you more of those types of cards. For instance, if you are building a fire type deck, battle against the Fire Club members to acquire more fire type cards, especially energy cards, which are at a premium come battle time. 

There are a total of 228 different cards in this game. They are all divided into three different general categories, Pokemon Type cards, Trainer cards, and Energy cards. Since your playing deck is limited to 60 cards, you will need to experiment with different ratios of each type to match your dueling style. I typically hovered around the same ratio that the starter deck came with. 

As you continue along with your adventure, you will eventually defeat all the individual club masters and gain access to the Pokemon Dome where you will face off against the four Grand Masters. Upon defeating the Masters you will be awarded the legendary Pokemon cards and your life long dream will be fulfilled.


Overall the graphics are pretty good. If you are a fan of the Pokemon RPG's, you will instantly notice the similarities between the two. The cards each have their own image on them and even have attack animation that is displayed over the top of the card during battle. 


The music is pretty good in this game. You will find yourself humming along while hunting down your next opponent. Sound is good as well. Attacks have sounds similar in quality as the RPG games. Overall, very well done.


The control system is very basic. This is a turn based card game so there really isn't anything too crazy here.

D-Pad: Move character / move cursor
A Button: Action
B Button: Cancel Action

Final Impressions:

At one point in your life you might have seen this game and thought “Nah, that game looks pretty lame” or “I'm not manly enough to take on such an epic adventure”. Throw those thoughts out the window! This game is awesome! It's incredibly addicting and strategic, but doesn't have a huge learning curve to master. Yeah, the story is not as in-depth as the RPG games, but that is part of the beauty of this title. It's simplistic yet challenging. Even if you are not a huge fan of the card genre of games, I feel you should give this game a try. Overall, I had a blast playing this game and will continue to do so. It has made it's way to one of my top games for Game Boy Color. And did I mention your character wears a bandana?

With the price on Amazon coming in at around $10, there is really no reason not to pick up this amazing game!

Bonus Images

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