Pokemon Emerald: Retro Review



If you have paid any attention to me at all you will know Pokemon is one of my favourite franchises of all time. I decided to revisit my past of Pokemon and remembered my first game was Pokemon Emerald which at the time I thought was perfect! I thought it would be fun to review a game that introduced me to the series and see what I still think of it.


Going back to it now the gameplay may appear to have it’s issues but at the time it would have been amazing. This is the first Pokemon game to include Natures, Abilities, Out of Battle Weather, Current IV/EV system, etc. Many things started in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire have continued to this date. The gameplay in Pokemon Emerald is the exact same as in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire with only minor changes.

If you have played any Pokemon game, past or future, you know what to expect. Get a starter, catch more, battle gyms, defeat an evil team, catch a legendary Pokemon, become the champion and find new areas afterwards. Nothing is really mixed up in the formula and it works. All 17 Pokemon types feel different and for the most part balanced although no changes were made to the type chart in between generations this time. The selection of Pokemon is also a little weird. I know this is a tropical region but if they didn’t want to have anymore Ice or Ghost Pokemon they shouldn’t have used those for the Elite Four. Ice especially as Glacia is stuck with two Sealeo (not even full evolved) two Galile and a Walrein.

One minor problem with Emerald is, because of the stories “water vs land” theme, equal water and land routes. Now this might not seem like an issue but if you want to complete the game it is. The main problem here is with land you can have a ton of areas; grassland, volcano, cave, and others. With water there isn’t much besides water. Another problem with this is there is no speed up by holding B or riding your bike on water which really adds to “am I almost done yet” as well as wild Pokemon being able to pop up anywhere. Sure this can happen in caves and they did put a lower encounter rate but there are still a few problems; There are way more water routes than caves, if you don’t have Fly there is no other way to instantly leave like the Escape Rope if your Pokemon are close to fainting. Another issue is only finding Tentacool’s family and Wingull’s family while surfing which get really boring.


The game does look very nice. Each Pokemon has 3 sprites; menu, front battle and back battle. New to Pokemon Emerald has the Pokemon do a little animation. Some go on for quite a while bouncing around and changing colour for a couple seconds before finally settling down. I know you can turn this off but then the Pokemon seem less lifeless than they did already. Other than that I really have no complaints about the graphics and they are among the nicest the GBA has to offer.


I constantly find songs from these games stuck in my head. I have no idea why I just find them really catchy. This is my favourite soundtrack of any Pokemon game (X and Y may have now beat it) and I don’t have any problems with any songs. Some people find the constant use of trumpets to be annoying but I personally have always enjoyed the sound any brass instrument makes. I wouldn’t have complained if they switched it up however.


Pokemon Emerald probably has the most playtime of any Pokemon game I’ve played (yes beating X’s 230 hours) and for good reason. Pokemon Emerald is one of the only Pokemon games I can pick up in any mood and still enjoy. I would strongly recommend buying a GBA (if you are one of the few people who don’t have one that like Pokemon) just for this game it really is that good!

Written by: Conor

Hi there. I’m Conor and I helped with the creation of Blazekick. I like video games, anime, manga and read visual novels. I do stuff relating to those on the site. I help run the Blazekick Twitter and Youtube accounts as well so drop by and say hi. My favorite games are Pokémon Emerald, The Walking Dead Season One, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, LittleBigPlanet 2, Tearaway and Uncharted 2.