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Old January 16th, 2014 (2:50 PM). Edited January 16th, 2014 by ObnoxiousOboe.
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The Musical Psychic
    Join Date: Jul 2013
    Location: United States (South Dakota/Colorado)
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    Pokémon Ash Gray Version

    Rating: 4.8/5

    This review is on Pokémon Ash Gray Version. Pokémon Ash Gray is one of the greatest Pokémon hacks ever made, much like Brutal Mario is to Super Mario World hacks. This hack was the first game I ever played on my YouTube channel, and is one of the most watched from my library. I had fun playing this game. There were some eyebrow-raising and annoying parts, but overall, it was a brilliantly done game.

    Pokémon Ash Gray Version, made by Metapod23, is an interactive reenactment of the first two seasons of the Pokémon anime. A hack from FireRed, Ash Gray focuses on the main character, Ash Ketchum, a 10-year-old boy from Pallet Town who travels around Kanto with hopes of becoming the next Pokémon master of the Indigo League. He encounters several people along the way, including the omnipresent Team Rocket duo of Jessie and James, Brock, Misty, Ritchie, and even the other Rocket duo Butch and Cassidy. What Ash must do (technically) is “retrace his steps” from the anime by catching all the Pokémon and using them in some ways to trigger certain events evocative of the anime. When I did a playthrough of the game, however, I did not use Ash’s anime team, because I had no idea I was really supposed to keep his team to make good things happen.

    In terms of gameplay, the hack follows the same formula as the original games, but this time, the hack has newly-rendered graphics and sprites, as well as longer routes to make it look like the Kanto from the anime. There are still eight gyms with each Gym Leader representing their game role (except for Giovanni, who gave the Viridian Gym to Jessie and James because of a temporary leave). There is still an Indigo Plateau with a Victory Road, but even that is changed to make it more the tournament-style league from the show. But the interesting aspect about the game is its continuity. Technically, you were supposed to lose to Ritchie, but if you go against the rules of the anime, there is a bigger chance of you facing the Elite Four after winning the tournament! Once you enter that stage, you have to face their high-leveled Pokémon and the Champion after that, a mysterious guy named Slate. After you defeat him, the game is over.

    Another aspect to point out is the game’s inclusion of the plot from the first movie Mewtwo Strikes Back. It includes the storm that breaks the raft you were given in the middle of the game, New Island, battling the trainers who also arrived at New Island, the clones, and Ash’s near-death experience after telling Mewtwo to stop the clone battle. The author made a nice touch with this addition.

    The game was exceptionally good. It exceeds expectations of what players look for in a Pokéhack. Again, as aforementioned, there were a few annoying parts, as well; some parts of the game were confusing and hard to navigate through. For example, I had trouble looking for the forest that was near Cerulean City. You had to look in the right place. Other problems include how to get inside the Violet City gym and how to find the boat that Professor Oak tells you after you defeat Slate (it was then that I had assumed that the game was over). Some of the trainers, including the Elite Four, had outrageously leveled Pokémon on their team. Although this does represent an adequate challenge, it can be frustrating for players especially if they have to battle Pokémon characteristic of Red (Pokémon around Lv. 80), and it could be save-state heavy. But generally speaking, Ash Gray is still one of the best Pokéhacks ever made, and I enjoyed playing the game. Metapod23 (and his team) did a spectacular job with importing the graphics, new sprites, music placement, and event organization. The game mostly devoted itself to the anime’s storyline, and the game does a good job telling what the player should do relative to the show.

    On a scale of 1-5, Pokémon Ash Gray Version receives a 4.8/5, the only reason it was not a perfect score was a few confusing parts and the Elite Four’s difficulty which was a little gratuitous. That aside, this hack could be a very fun game for nostalgic gamers who want to relive their memories of watching the first two seasons of the Pokémon show and it could also be fun for puzzle-happy gamers. This game deserves its reputation of the top-quality game, and Metapod23 and his friends should get a pat on the back for this unarguable classic.


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