In your hometown of New Bark Town, you can choose one of three starter Pokémon to be with you: the timid fire mouse Cyndaquil, the docile grass dinosaur Chikorita, or the playful water crocodile Totodile. With one of them, you can go on a journey to obtain eight gym badges so you can go and challenge the Pokémon league and become the champion. Even though “Pokémon HeartGold” is the remake of “Pokémon Gold” it is certainly one of the best games in the franchise.
Alongside “Pokémon Diamond” and “Pokémon Pearl,” “Pokémon HeartGold” brought major contributions to Pokémon. They brought the Pokémon games from the Gameboy to the Nintendo DS, and they brought the legendary physical/special split. The split separated all damaging Pokémon moves into their respective categories – physical or special – based on whether they actually made physical contact or not, and not based on the type of move.
One of the most iconic features of “Pokémon HeartGold” is the
mechanics of allowing the first Pokémon in your party to follow you in the overworld, rather than having to keep it in its pokéball. It’s even allowed to interact with your Pokémon, both having different expressions and reactions than the other.
The graphics and sound in “Pokémon HeartGold” are greatly improved from the original. The game uses the Nintendo’s new capabilities which allows it to be in full color, compared to the original shades of green. It also brought ambient sounds and improved soundtracks to the game.
This game has one major setback: small routes. The routes are smaller than in any other Pokémon game. The bad thing about this is that it makes the region (Johto) seem smaller than it really is. The short routes also have very low-level trainers and wild Pokémon. This makes it harder to train your Pokémon to be strong enough to defeat important characters in battle.
The game easily makes up for this with its post game. It is the longest and most interesting post game of the series. You can travel through the entire Kanto region and earn eight more badges, which allows you to earn a total of 16 badges. The new region brings new Pokémon and adds on to the plot with Suicune.
Overall, I found “Pokémon HeartGold” one of Pokémon’s best games. It deserves more credit than it gets when being overshadowed by newer games. With only one real setback and countless benefits, you should grab yourself a copy for any occasion.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.