Pokémon Light Platinum Review
Pokemon Light Platinum was completed in 2009 and is one of the unofficial fan-games created for the Pokemon franchise. It was developed by WesleyFG and released in both English and Portuguese making it one of the more accessible ROM Hacks available.
Many versions of this game exist and Pokemon Light Platinum (PLP) can be found online for free through various emulators and as a flash game on a range of websites; the 100% completed version is now available in cartridge format which works with a real GameBoy Advanced for a more authentic gameplay experience.
Light Platinum features a new story set in the Pokemon world with an entirely new evil original team named Team Steam; the game starts with the player in a dream sequence involving four legendary Pokemon before being send to visit Professor Jasmine in Central City.
It follows the classic Pokemon routine where the player needs to save the Professor except in this game, the action starts very quickly and the evil Team Steam make themselves known very quickly. The player must select a first generation starter Pokemon to battle the Team Steam grunt with and keep as they begin their journey into the new Zhery region.
The story is straightforwards with no complicated twists and the new Team Rocket-esque villains have a very generic reason for being evil; the generic reasons helps make their intentions very clear as the game progresses.
It's a decent story for a fan-game but is still very amateur compared to the official Pokemon games; players who are looking for a strong story should look elsewhere as plot enthusiasts will be disappointed by the quality of this story. While the story isn't amazing, it's still entertaining enough to keep players interested in the game and provides a nice background for the gameplay.
Just like with the official video games, the player has a rival they are constantly battling with throughout the game however, Light Platinum doesn't just stop with one rival. There are several different rivals in the game which span a range of different levels in the game where some of them are considered to be very important in this alternate world.
The variety of different rivals appear at random moments throughout the game where they challenge the player to Pokemon battles. Players can expect to battle a rival at least once per hour if they follow the story-line and frequently travel to new locations. Some rivals are more important than others and more are introduced as the game progresses.
Battles against rivals can become quite repetitive very quickly as they seem to appear and just want to battle for the sake of it; players who enjoy battles against other Pokemon trainers should enjoy having a large number of rivals to deal with but other players may find this to be very repetitive and frustrating.
The game plays like a standard Pokemon game where the player is on a mission to become the Zhery Region Champion and to do this, the player needs to collect more Pokemon to build the perfect team. As the game is set in a new region, it includes Pokemon from four different generations which allows players to build their ideal team from a wide range of Pokemon. The game also includes all legendaries from these generations which are spread across the game in different locations for the player to find and capture.
As to be expected from a ROM hack, Pokemon Light Platinum features the classic gameplay from the original game is was created from, Pokemon Ruby. Players explore the world in the standard 2D map which is almost completely open to the player; some zones in the game can only be accessed if a Pokemon on the players team knows a certain move. This works exactly the same way as the main games where the player is given special items to teach moves to their Pokemon throughout the game, the player find these items by exploring, winning Gym battles or by purchasing them from shops.
The main gameplay for the game is split between exploring, capturing new Pokemon and battling other Pokemon trainers; it follows the classic mechanics used in the main Pokemon games without adding any new elements to the gameplay.
Pokemon can be found around the world in different ways such as walking through tall grass or walking through caves; capturing them follows the same classic gameplay mechanic where the player needs to battle it to lower its Health Points before attempting to capture it. Pokeballs are required to capture them and can be bought from stores; like the main games, there are a range of different Pokeball types for players to collect and use.
For Pokemon battles Light Platinum follows the classic gameplay seen in the main games; being a ROM hack of Pokemon Ruby has allowed the developer to keep the standard Pokemon battles without needing to modify it.
The battles are pretty standard; players can select which attacks to use, when to use items and how to structure their team for battles. Only wild Pokemon can be captured with Pokeballs and players must battle them to lower their Health Points before attempting to capture.
The battle system in Pokemon Light Platinum hasn't bee modified at all and Pokemon fans should feel right at home in this game; the only thing that could be considered different here is the inclusion of over 400 Pokemon in a single game.
Having such a high number of Pokemon in one game does have an affect on the game but a very minor one; there are more types of Pokemon in the world and while they can all be found in different regions, collecting them all can take a long time.
They are still categorized into types and there have been no changes to this system; all of the Pokemon are the type given to them by the Pokemon franchise developer, The Pokemon Company.
While this area is mostly unchanged, some modifications have been made so that Pokemon of different generations can be found in the same zones at times; it allows the player to capture Pokemon from all generations without needing to travel very far.
All Legendary Pokemon from the first four generations are in the game and some of their locations differ slightly to the original games; many of the locations from the original games are re-used in Light Platinum and players need to do specific things to find certain Legendaries. Some of these requirements aren't very clear in the game but plenty of help can be found online if some Legendaries are too difficult to find.
Pokemon games aren't known for their difficulty but Pokemon Light Platinum changes this; the start of the game contains lots of grass and bug types and while this doesn't sound too bad, they also have a range of attacks that put negative status effects on the target Pokemon. This means the player's Pokemon are riddled with poison, paralyze, sleep and other grass or bug type status effects.
The only way to get past this with few problems is to select a fire Pokemon as the players chosen starter; status effects such as poison can be cured with an “Antidote” which is purchased from shops usually but in Light Platinum, the shops don't sell this vital item.
Instead of being stocked with a range of items, the early game shops are filled with Ultra Balls and other expensive items; the later game shops are the opposite and are filled with items such as Great Balls, Paralyze Heals and Antidotes. It's a strange move that doesn't make much sense as there are less grass or bug types later in the game that would warrant the use of these items.
Buying early game items is very expensive and requires a lot of money; very little money is earned at the start of the game which forces players to avoid shops for quite some time. Once the player has a lot of money, they'll find that the game lacks things to spend that money on. While money is desperately needed at the start of the game, it quickly becomes a useless commodity as the game progresses.
Graphics & Audio
The game looks great, the developer has used some pieces of background from other games in the series and has also created their own backgrounds; it looks very similar to the official Pokemon games. If a player didn't know this was a ROM hack, then it could be easy to confuse this game for a 'real' Pokemon game however, it's clear that this is an entirely new region which doesn't fit the official view of the world.
The Zhery feels like a brand new region for the Pokemon world and this gigantic new region is filled with Pokemon from a wide range of generations; though the game was created from Pokemon Ruby, a third generation game, the sprites and images of generation four Pokemon look identical to those from their games. There are also several Pokemon from the generation five games which are also identical to the images from their games.
Audio in this game also works nicely; almost all of the music in the game has been taken from Pokemon Ruby however, some portions of the game are devoid of music. It's strange that some areas in the game have no music at all and while this isn't a major issue, it is slightly disappointing. All of the sound effects have also been recycled from Pokemon Ruby; there are a few new Pokemon noises in this game which blend in nicely with the original sound effects.
There are various versions of this game available on the internet and while the cartridge has the 100% complete version of the game, there are still some minor issues which made its way into the final version. The biggest issues with the final version are the graphical glitches where the game seems to have failed at loading the entire area so the game just uses what was on the screen to replace the hole.
Some versions of the game contain many more bugs but thankfully, there are no major gameplay bugs or issues that make the game uncompletable; it's difficult to know if the areas without music are intentional or not and most other “bugs” fit this type so that they could actually be intentional in the game.
Light Platinum is a well-made Pokemon ROM hack and it's generation gimmick is something that most Pokemon fans will enjoy; the gameplay is solid and the new region of Zhery is well constructed so that it feels like a real region from the Pokemon world. The game does have it's issues however and the lack of gameplay changes can make it feel quite repetitive during the later points in the story.
Pokemon fans will feel at home with this game due to its ability to blend in with the official games however, the inclusion of so many rivals can be annoying to deal with.
- Pokemon from four different generations
- Uses the classic battle system
- Great graphics
- Generic villain team
- Lots of rivals
- Very few gameplay changes