I’ve been sitting on this post like a crazed gunman with an itchy trigger finger.
The newest addition to the Pokémon line of games is finally upon us, HeartGold and SoulSilver. It was released in America a few days ago and will be released here in Australia in a few days time. When it came out in Japan last year, one of my Japanese teachers was able to pick me up a copy and bring it back over, of which I’ve been playing ever since.
At the time, my blog was offline, so I figured I’d hold onto this lovely post until the time of the English version release, where people might find some of this information useful (As opposed to posting it during Japan’s release, where it would be all but forgotten by now).
When my Japanese teacher was on exchange with some students in Japan, I emailed her and asked if she could pick up a copy of the new HeartGold over there. I chose Gold over Silver since Silver is what I got for the GBC originally, and wanted it to be different than before. She said she checked out a Sofmap on her last day there, and found this copy of HeartGold, which was the last one they had. Suffice it to say when HeartGold/SoulSilver came out, they were selling like hotcakes!
So Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver are DS remakes of the Game Boy Color originals that had been released 10 years earlier (Man I feel old!) using the same engine as Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. While pretty much everything is basically the same as Gold and Silver, the graphics are completely state-of-the-art, and a lot of the designs of ingame objects have been totally revamped as well.
When I first started playing it, I felt a wave of nostalgia. All the memories of playing Silver on my Pokémon edition GBC came flooding back. Starting off at Professor Elm’s lab, I thought it was sooo cool to see the starter Pokémon rendered with the DS graphics for the first time. Although back in my Silver days, I started with Chikorita, this time I started with Cyndaquil (Or Hinoarashi as it’s called in the JP version XD). A cool feature of HeartGold over Gold is that whichever Pokémon is at the top of your party will stay outside of it’s Pokéball and follow you around. This is the logical progression to when Pikachu followed you in Yellow, but it’s quite amazing that they took the time to make it so EVERY Pokémon can do it now.
There is a section for minigames now called the Pokéthlon where you can train your Pokémon to compete in a series of cute, touch based activities, which is pretty cool. Aside from that, the game plays through pretty much the same as the previous version.
Now, one of the main reasons I wanted this game so badly was for the Pokéwalker.
Tycho of Penny-Arcade said it best. As a separate peripheral, it’s probably not that crash hot, but as a bundled experience, the Pokéwalker is freakin sweet.
The actual HeartGold cartridge is made of transparent plastic, and there is an infrared diode inside of it. To actually send Pokémon to the Pokéwalker, you control the whole thing from the menu screen where you choose your savegame normally (It appears at the bottom of the list, near Mystery Gift.)
Only 1 Pokémon can be sent to the Pokéwalker at a time, and while they’re in there, you can see it animating about on the main screen.
There’s a bit of a misconception on how you actually level Pokémon in this thing. Sadly, even if you spend the whole day walking with it, the Pokémon will only advance 1 level, and that’s when you transfer it back to the DS.
As you walk along, you accumulate something called ‘watts’, which is the number in the bottom right corner. Once you get a certain number of watts, you can do several things. You can either set up a potential wild Pokémon encounter, or ‘dowse’ for items. The Pokémon and items that appear depend on whichever ‘zone’ you’ve set the Pokéwalker to when you transferred the Pokémon, and more zones are unlocked the more watts you do.
The Pokéwalker seems to have a pretty smart sensor in it. If you shake it to try and up the number of points, it won’t actually acknowledge that, so cheating is somewhat trickier than you think (Although not that much lol)
Either way, my general consensus on this game is that if you like Pokémon, you should definitely buy it.
Although I might call the Pokéwalker a tad gimmicky, I’m having a great time with mine, and I’m definitely enjoying playing Gold again after these years.
In any case, let me know what you think of HeartGold so far! Are you thinking of buying it?
Also, in case you’re interested, I’ve been collecting some pretty good Pokémon here. If you’d like to trade, send me a message!
(P.S If you’re wondering how I’m writing the é symbols, you hold down the alt key, and then press 130 on the num pad. Or on a Mac, press alt-e, then let go of alt, and press e again. )