Oldies But Goldies
Many say this is the beginning of a downward spiral for the Pokemon games, the third generation of games is one that often goes unnoticed by many, as they focus more on the first two generations and the subsequent generations as they approached more and more bizarre pokemon designs. Now that a good few years have passed, lets see if it deserves the "meh" it gets from many fans.
Lets start with the basics. The gameplay has not changed from Pokemon since its inception. The only thing added with every new generation is a few new gimmicks at -best-. This generation offered two diverse styles of bikes, one allowing for speed the other one for maneuverability since it could do bunny hops. Both of those bikes can be used to access secret areas that you cannot go otherwise, or offer shortcuts for the player. In addition, the Gyms are more interesting in my opinion, as each of them has more robust and interesting puzzles that need to be solved before you reach the gym leader.
For a "kids game" I have to admit I spent a bit too much time trying to solve kid level puzzles, but in the end of the day what is important is the pokemon.
Last but not least, this is the first pokemon game that featured double battles. Essentially you can send the first two pokemon to fight in a tag team variety of the normal battles. I know it may not seem as much, but I personally find it extremely fun, and an interesting dynamic, closer to what I have seen happen in the cartoons.
This generation is the last game before the Alola generation that pokemon seemed to have more unique and interesting designs. We all love ourselves some Bulbasaur or Charmander, but I personally love to see all sorts of weird and interesting pokemon designed after weirder and weirder animals or concepts.
All in all, this is a very robust pokemon game, with interesting legendaries, great gameplay and unique pokemon variety.
This is the first generation that did what Pokemon Crystal did and blew our tiny brains. Animated pokemon. Now when you see a pokemon it no longer just has simple sprites moving around, they play a tiny animation paired with its sound effect. Sure that is not much, but combine with the beautiful level design, the lovable pokemon and the varied and interesting biomes (from volcanoes to ashy fields to oceans) this game is a joy to watch.
Interesting colors, fun character design for the male or female protagonist I would say this game is truly the beginning of the great art and animations we would see in future games.
Villains and Music
Two of the most important things in the Pokemon games are the music and, off course, the villains! The criminal organisation you will dismantle in your quest to be the pokemon Champion! The music, I will have to say was rather interesting all things considering. It is not a music that was blowing off your ear drums like the previous games, but at the same time it is not as nice as the later pokemon games did, with their more varied sound clips. What I did love however is this versions antagonists.
Sure they do look sort of ridiculous (which is unfortunately something that only got worse) but at least their motives, leaders and actions were threatening enough to make them as menacing as Team Rocket. With each team focusing on a different legendary one could say there are "two" branches, one land and one sea based.
Overall, I will have to say that the villains and the music are well written enough to carry the interest throughout the game, and make fights with them feel interesting and fun, and less of a chore as they are in other games (team Skull we are looking at you)
This game is very underrated in my opinion. True, it is a game in the transition era between the first two generations and the subsequent ones but I believe it does deserve more praise and a spotlight.