Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Damn you, Imakuni?!!!"

Today's review is on a game only the nerdiest among us will have played, Pokemon Trading Card Game.


Pokemon Trading Card Game was a spinoff to the Pokemon series based on the popular card game. It was developed by Hudson Soft and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Color. It was released in late 1998 in Japan and 2000 in North America and PAL territories.

Story: 5/10

The story for Pokemon TCG is much the same as the story from the original Pokemon game: a young man sets out to be the very best. The difference is that in this game, the young protagonist (Mark) sets out to be the best at the trading card game and to collect every single card.

Graphics: 7/10

Graphically, Pokemon TCG wasn't terribly innovative. You have to keep in mind, though, that it was made for the Game Boy Color, a system not exactly known for its amazing graphics.

Yeah, that's seriously what the DBZ game for GBC looked like. *shudder*

90% of the game will have you in battle, anyways. There are points where you walk around inside of gyms. Those graphics look identical (almost) to Pokemon Silver/Gold. The battle graphics are very basic, showing just the playing field in a very static way. All you see is how many prizes are left, pictures of the two Pokemon fighting as well as damage counters, how many Pokemon are on the bench, and how many energy cards a Pokemon has on it. To actually check the benched Pokemon, you need to go into a menu. There are no super fancy animations; all of the attack animations are very bare (again, like the early Pokemon games).

The main point, though, is that the graphics don't deter from gameplay. Sure, there's not a lot of bells and whistles, but the card game wasn't about bells and whistles. It was about fun, pure and simple.

Gameplay: 8/10

The gameplay is, to put it simply, the card game in electronic form. For any of you who ever used to actually battle with the cards, this game does a great job of recreating it. It includes all the cards in the first few sets (Base, Jungle, and Fossil if I'm not too much mistaken). The mechanics work exactly as they would in a real card duel, only a tiny bit more lengthy due to the time taken messing around in menus.

You start the game with a very basic deck. You can battle a guy at the start as many times as you'd like to get packs of nothing but energy cards. Once you're ready to go, you head out to the main map and start going to gyms in any order you like to try to beat the leaders in a card battle.

This is the map. Walking from one gym to another literally takes about 3 seconds.

For every real trainer you defeat, you get between 1 and 3 packs of cards you can use to build a better deck. The cards in the pack usually reflect the theme of the gym (Fire Gym trainers give you mostly fire cards, Water Gym trainers give you mostly water cards, etc.). Once all the leaders have been beaten and their medals have been gained, you get to take a shot at fighting the Grandmasters, similar to the Elite Four in the original Pokemon games.

There are also special tournaments that take place from time to time in the Challenge Hall. You face a series of 3 battles, and if you win, you get a special promo card. Some of these are actually kind of useful, but most are just silly.

What would a Pokemon game be without a rival? In this game, your rival is Ronald, a douche-baggy blue-haired kid who insists that he's better than you under any circumstance, even when you hand his ass to him.

You know what? Fuck you, Ronald. There, I said it.

The absolute weirdest part is this dude named Imakuni?. He's a Japanese costumed character created for the Pokemon series. He shows up randomly in gyms hiding off in a corner. Throughout the game, you get to fight him a few times. He plays mostly cards that end up confusing his own Pokemon, and he even has his own card. Sadly, it does almost nothing, and when it does, it confuses your own Pokemon! He's a complete nutbar, and fighting him is always comical.

Japanese people are weird...

The game, overall, is very easy to learn. It's also usually pretty easy to win once you have a good deck put together. When you lose, there are no penalties of any kind, so even if you REALLY aren't very good, you can still do pretty well in this game. Here's a video demonstrating a single duel as it appears in game.

Sound: 8/10

The soundtrack in this game, in my opinion, fits very well with the overall mood. I'm a bit biased, though, since this game makes me nostalgia all over the place (it's messy, trust me). The music in particular really makes me remember what a fun game this was. Rather than describing it any more, I'll post some songs and let you decide how good they are. Here's the normal duel theme; this is one you'll be hearing very often.

This one's the main map theme and the music in Professor Mason's Lab, your main hub.

This one is the Grandmaster's Theme.

Keep in mind, most of these sound much better on the Game Boy's speakers.

Replay Value: 4/10

The main draw for replaying through this game is collecting all of the cards. Chances are, though, by the time you beat the Grandmasters, as long as you duel every trainer on the way, you should have almost all of them. There are 226 cards in all, if I remember correctly. 2 of the cards, however, can only be gained by using the Card Pop system which requires another Game Boy and another copy of the game. You can only Card Pop with someone one time, so to get these cards, you'll likely need either a lot of friends who own this game or a GameShark.

Other than card collecting, though, there's really no reason to replay this game besides the sheer fun factor.


Long story short, this is a Game Boy Color game that plays exactly like the actual trading card game mixed in with Pokemon Red/Blue. It's totally fun, and a great way to kill 10-15 hours. It's also got a bitchin' soundtrack.


  1. lol i played a lot at that game it was cool :D

  2. Great game, makes me want to pick it up again after I play some more Lufia

  3. I played Yugioh for Gameboy but not Pokemon (card game).

  4. oh god pokemanz... must resist...

  5. I never played this. I barely even played the regular card game. I do like the music...

  6. not into card games. too stupid for that.

  7. I use to play this game at my friends house, the only thing I remember was the music lol

  8. This game rocked some serious casbah. It just sucks replaying isn't as interesting. Imakuni was fun to play against since if I recall, he gave pretty good rewards when beaten.

    I also used to abuse the cheat of resetting in the middle of the game, which if a bad outcome came out, just reset and do another action or keep trying (but usually same outcomes happened if I recall correctly).

  9. nice nice pokemon....good games..

  10. Nice post! This reminds me of my junior high days playing pokemon red on my game boy colour as i walked home from school.

  11. i loved the gameboy pokemon games.

  12. I had such a huge nostalgia rush in this thread. But the picture of Imakuni made me punch the screen

  13. Oh man, I used to play this game so much!

  14. cool blog! i followed you, you should follow me ;)

  15. Great post! Thanks for checking out my blog too. More butts and such up if you like

  16. Massive amount of content there, well done! I like games that are similar to pokemon, but I was a generation just before pokemon, so I never got into it. I wonder sometimes what subtle humor I am missing daily due to this being such a huge craze.

  17. Have I ever told you I love you? This review made me lol. Especially the DBZ GBC part. The game that had the best Graphics for GBC in my Opinion was either Mr.Driller, Alone in the Dark, or Donkey Kong Country...everything else looked like dumb. GBA however was my favorite handheld of all time and had the most games on it that I liked.

    What that has to do with your review IDK. BUUUT I liked it. Pat yourself on the back.

  18. btw i never knew whats the best pokemon :D?

  19. The best Pokemon in general? Raichu, in my humble opinion, just because he looked awesome. As far as in the card game, that's also a tough call. I'm a fan of stall decks, and in this game, the best stall Pokemon are Lickitung, Chansey, and Kangaskhan. All have high energy costs for attacking (except for Lickitung), low energy costs for either defending, paralyzing, or drawing cards, and they all have a LOT of HP. Makes it so you can draw a game out and force your opponent to run out of cards before you.

  20. Oh man, I got into playing some nostalgic games, and I swear I remember games being better than they were, like Power Quest or the early yu gi oh's

  21. I was so into Pokemon back in the day that I was all the hell over this one when it came out. That was back when I was young, impressionable, and willing to sit through a clunky way of playing a card game when I didn't have another actual player around to hit up with my real deck. Lol.

  22. That has to be something my man....

  23. Lol, what am I even looking at?