Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
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The popularity of Pokémon keeps driving more and more games and game variants. Not only have we been treated to three different versions of Game Boy games, there's also Pokémon Stadium, Pokémon Pinball and additional titles planned for 2000. With the release of Pokémon Trading Card Game, the popular card game makes the leap to the small screen. While this title runs on a different set of rules than the Poké action you're used to, fans of the card game won't miss a beat as they start working their way to obtaining the legendary cards.
As our young hero journeys through the various club houses collecting new cards, he'll acquire new booster packs from people he defeats and from the helpful Professor Mason, who manages to attach booster packs for your deck to his e-mail hints. Much like in the standard Pokémon game, players will have to find and defeat club leaders to win badges. Each leader has a set of conditions you'll have to follow in order to challenge him or her. Outdueling the lackeys is easy compared to facing off against one of the club leaders, however. Careful deck construction and strategy will have to be used to succeed.
Fans of the card game will get a chance to practice their skills without having to worry about carrying their cards through the standard one-player mode. They'll also get to experience the thrill of working up clever deck strategies and card combinations to humble their friends in the two-player mode. Double the Game Boys, and you'll also get a one-time shot to get a unique card through the Pop mode. That only works once per pairing, however.
Players start with a choice of three deck styles. They can choose from a Charmander theme deck, a Bulbasaur deck, or a Squirtle deck. While each deck tends to retain the elemental theme of its star occupant, there's usually enough support from the other Pokémon evolutionary branches to supply you with a deck that'll get you past the early gyms with a little retooling. If the starting three don't interest you, you can always revise one to your heart's content.
Pokémon Trading Card Game is the first Pokémon game to feature full Game Boy Color support. If Pokémon fans were wondering what the towns in Pokémon Silver and Gold will look like, there's not much difference here. Expect to see varied colors instead of varying shades of Super Game Boy monotones like the older Pokémon offerings provide.
With over 200 cards to find, collect and trade, your quest to become the greatest card master stands before you. So grab your cards and set out to make your mark on the world of card sharks and Pokémasters alike. Players will even be able to trade their cards and favorite decks with other Game Boy owners without having to worry about spending a fortune on those real-life booster packs! Is your lucky star shining today? ~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide