Back in 2001 Pokémon Crystal Version released on the Game Boy Color bringing new additions that would remain staples in the core series to this day. Now Nintendo has re-released the game on the 3DS Virtual Console, and while it’s the same experience with networking features Pokémon Crystal Version is still one of the best Pokemon games to ever release. Showing that despite modern advances to the iconic formula retro titles like Pokémon Crystal can still provide great appeal to modern audiences.

A Blast From The Past!

Pokemon Yellow Version took the formula of Pokemon Red and Blue but added new animations, story content, and gameplay features. Pokemon Crystal does the same with Gold and Silver, providing the same generation 2 experience with new gameplay, story, and sprite animations. The story adds a new character and a large focus on the legendary dog Suicune. Without spoiling anything, unlike the other legendary dogs, Suicune will take a different path in this version of the game whereas Entei and Raikou will maintain the same behavior form Gold and Silver. This new path gives those who already played the Gold and Silver more reason to try Crystal.

The re-release on the 3DS provides the same experience as the Game Boy Color version but like the previous Virtual Console releases Pokemon Crystal 3DS has full wireless network options. You can battle and trade with other compatible Virtual Console Pokemon games and deposit Pokemon in the Pokemon Bank.  The biggest addition being the ability to capture Celebi. This was impossible to get in the NA release of the game without cheat codes, now players can capture it legitimately.

Arguably the best changes to Crystal is the sprites, which each have their own unique animation when encountered. Seeing each Pokémon’s unique animation makes filling up the Pokédex worthwhile. Once again, for a modern audience, this feature seems antiquated but Crystal was the first game to feature this and for an 8-bit adventure, this addition alone was highly praised. It may not be as alluring as a 3D representation but the 2D sprites of Crystal still showcase genuine artistic flare, with clear movements and distinct sound effects.

Better Than Before

Pokémon Crystal also contains notable changes that make it a much more polished experience than Gold and Silver. Legendary Pokémon are more difficult to find, more Elemental Stones have been added, existing Pokémon movesets have been updated, and breeding is much easier. The biggest gameplay additions are the introduction of the Battle Tower and Move Tutor, both which have major staples in modern Pokémon games.

Pokémon Crystal still features the best end-game content in any Pokémon game. After completing the Elite Four within the Johto region players can head to the Kanto region and compete against their champions. It was such an unexpected and memorable feature that gamers still compare it every other end-game experience within the Pokémon series. Game Freak has offered different types of end-game experiences within their current Pokémon games but none of them compare to Pokémon Crystal.

Same Game, Same Formula

This isn’t an HD remake, which means there are no updated graphics or new gameplay. This version of the game is exactly the same as the 2001 version. Mosty appealing from the nostalgia of playing a classic game.

In addition, players who’ve become accustomed to modern advances may be turned off to Pokémon Crystal’s appeal. You don’t have access to movement enhancers such as roller skates, Mega Evolutions, and news types such as fairies. As someone who grew up with games like Pokémon Crystal this wasn’t an issue. However, those who never experienced a Pokémon game before Pokémon X and will get annoyed some of these dated features.

The biggest setback many will have to endure is the return of HM moves. A featured wiped out by Pokémon Sun and Moon this system requires players to have access to at least one Pokemon with these attacks. It’s hard to believe that it took nearly a decade for Game Freak to implement a system that removed these entirely. But it also makes you appreciate how much the series has evolved.

There are many reasons why Pokémon Crystal is considered one of the best games in the series. It serves as a vanguard for many of the mechanics and features that would remain part of the Pokémon series to this day. By fixing many of the issues found in Pokémon Gold and Silver and providing a more fleshed out story that made this feel like a standalone title instead of a remake. This may be the same game released back in 2001 and only those with access to the Pokémon Bank will be able to fully utilize the networking additions. However, Pokémon Crystal doesn’t need any special update. On its own, it’s a fantastic Pokémon RPG with a great story and exciting end-game content.

Pokémon Crystal Version 3DS Review
The Pros
  • Network Options
  • One of the Best Pokemon Games
  • Excellent End-Game Content
The Cons
  • No Significant Change
8.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

About The Author

Adam S
Sr.Staff Writer

Adam is a Senior Staff Writer for GamerAssaultWeekly with over 5 years of experience in writing and is completely obsessed with video games. He holds a BA from Brooklyn College and lives in NY.