For a fan of Pokemon, this game is unique and great!
- Unique photography game set in the world of Pokemon
- Courses have a hefty amount of replay value, even if there aren't a lot of them
- Photo grading is fun, leads to upgrades, and can prove addicting
- Seeing the pokemon in their "natural habitats" is fun, in a sort of weird, voyeuristic way
- Graphics look quite good
- Used to be able to print out the pictures you took as stickers at a "Pokemon Snap Station"
- On the Wii Virtual Console
- Only has 63 pokemon. They should have at least added one more since this is on the Nintendo 64
- Only seven locations to visit
- "Pokemon Snap Stations" used to be in Blockbuster Videos, and we all know what happened to both of these things
- Can beat the entire game 100% in only a couple of hours
|It's time to play poke-photographer|
The LongPokemon Snap was the first Pokemon game to take the jump to 3D graphics. After playing Red/Blue and the whole series exploding, those of us with Nintendo 64s were excited to finally get to play a 3D Pokemon game. 3D battles! 3D training! It's gonna be awesome!
So when it was Pokemon Snap, a lot of people were disappointed. You don't battle, you just...take pictures? It's on-rails (in the most literal sense), so all you do is point and shoot while it moves on its own? Only 63 pokemon? What is this?
If one can cast aside the initial disappointment (and subsequent disappointment because Nintendo still hasn't made a 3D Pokemon game), you'll be pleased to find that Pokemon Snap is actually an excellent game, especially if you are a fan of the Pokemon series.
|Getting Charizard to show up can be tricky|
The premise of Pokemon Snap is simple. Your goal is to take pictures of pokemon for Professor Oak, and to do this you'll be put on a safe cart thing (kind of like the on-rails cars in Jurassic Park, only with less people getting eaten) and shuttled through one of seven locations. While you are there your goal is to quickly take as many pictures as possible (with a 60 picture limit per trip), and after Professor Oak will grade your pictures and reward you accordingly.You'd be surprised to know it actually works well, and can be quite addicting. As you progress you get special items (apples, pester balls, etc.) that you can throw out into the world and influence the levels you've ran through before. Doing this will reveal a whole new batch of pokemon to photograph, giving this game a sort of adventure game discovery aspect to it. It's pretty cool to finally figure out how to get one of the legendary birds to show up, for example, and then take a killer picture of it.
|Zapdos! Quick, grab your pokeball...I mean camera!|
It's a simple game, but one that works well, especially if you are a fan of Pokemon. The grading system is pretty accurate, giving you incentive to learn how to take better pictures to earn better scores. The seven stages are all unique as well, and each holds their own secrets, to playing through them again provides a new experience each time. It is also cool to just see the pokemon running around doing their thing in the "wild," which at this point in time we'd never seen before except in the anime.Back in 1999 there were some other cool things you could do. You could actually take your cartridge to a Blockbuster Video and plug it into a "Pokemon Snap!" machine, and then print off your photos as stickers (they were like $3 each, but whatever...it made Pokemon REAL). Unfortunately these things don't exist anymore, but the Wii's Virtual Console version allows you to email the pictures to yourself or post them on a message board, meaning you can print them out. That's a...surprising amount of dedication from Nintendo for a re-release, considering how they usually just phone it in for most of their reissues. So good on them!
|I want to own one of these|
The game looks good, which makes sense considering it's a game about taking photographs. All the pokemon are well animated and are well realized in their polygonal renderings, and the environments are all varied and fun to traverse. It's clear that, despite this being a Pokemon photography game, Nintendo put some effort in to make it not suck. And it worked: Pokemon Snap doesn't suck. It's actually pretty good.
|I love how it says "THIS IS A GAME PAK. NOT A CAMERA." right on the back of the box. You know, just in case.|
There really isn't any game like Pokemon Snap. Dead Rising tried to incorporate it's photography rating system in with the rest of the game (zombie mashing), and Bioshock did a similar thing with its camera (giving you bonuses against enemies you took good pictures of). You'd be surprised, but it also stands up against the test of time, proving to be just as fun and addicting now as it was back in 1999. It's weird, because when I first heard of this game I really wanted to hate it, but after playing it then and replaying it now, I can't help but think it's a blast. Especially for kids who like Pokemon, this game is both charming and fun.
It runs for $10 on the virtual console, which I think is an excellent price, especially with its increased functionality. If you are a Pokemon fan and ignored this game, check it out! Once you get past the somewhat odd premise you'll find a game that is wholly unique and a joy to play. It's a short lived experience (maybe 3-4 hours at most before you "Photograph 'em all") but a good one, so it comes with my recommendation.
Four out of five stars. But if you don't like Pokemon, you can probably cut 2-3 stars off that rating. It's still a good game! But the Pokemon aesthetic is really what sells it.
Now make a sequel, Nintendo! With Wii-mote support!
|See ya, Snorlax|