HG/SS bring a variety of new stuff to the series as well as making various modifications and additions to the original G/S/C. This section exists to list them.
As various things would be rather redundant to list, the default assumption here is that the storyline, characters, places, sidequests, minigames, etc. are the same as Gold and Silver, while general gameplay features (such as the battle system, the presence of a touch screen, etc.), Pokémon and move data and so on are the same as Platinum; basically, most straightforward way one would imagine fourth-generation Gold/Silver remakes would be done. This section lists what deviates from this default assumption.
Features Since Platinum
Entirely new gameplay features to the series.
Touch Screen Interface
It always annoyed me in D/P/Pt how underused the touch screen's potential was; it was only used for occasional features outside of battle and felt very much like the gimmick it was. Not so anymore; the game can now be controlled entirely using the D-pad and the touch screen, while it is also possible to control the game with the D-pad and buttons as before if you choose. Whenever you're given a choice, the options are on the touch screen but can also be highlighted and selected with the D-pad and A; there is an A-equivalent button on the touch screen by default as well as a button for running (which can of course still also be done with B); and the main menu is on the touch screen by default, while pressing X will simply shift your button controls to the menu instead of the player character. This is done perfectly in my opinion; instead of the previous awkward blending of control schemes, you can pick one or switch seamlessly between them at your convenience. This is how D/P/Pt's touch screen interface should have been.
In accordance with the new touch screen interface, the Pokédex has been entirely redesigned. You can switch between the National and Johto Pokédex (once you get the National one, that is), and when you open it you get a list on the touch screen with the Pokémon shown in little squares, with blank squares for Pokémon you've neither seen nor caught, faded party icons for those you've seen but not caught, and full party icons for those you've caught. There's a slider that lets you move instantly to any part of the list. When a Pokémon is highlighted, you see its Pokédex entry (if you've caught it) on the top screen and there is a special button to hear its cry and another one to see its details. Once you're in the details, you'll be able to see the areas where it's found in morning, day and night with both the location names listed and the ability to see them (either one at a time or all of them) highlighted on the map on the top screen. There you can also switch to see the height/weight and forms. All in all it makes a much better use of the two screens and organizes information better than before.
The search function then allows you to search for Pokémon beginning with individual letters (not just groups of three), found in Kanto, Johto or neither, or within certain ranges of height and weight, in addition to the options of searching by type or body shape that were also in D/P/Pt.
Pokémon Follow You
In the ultimate extension of Yellow's special starter Pikachu after D/P/Pt's awfully limited Amity Square, you will now be followed in the overworld by whichever Pokémon is at the front of your party, even if it's a fish. (Or a god of time.) You can even talk to it to find it's picked up items or get a special message depending on the location and the species or type of the Pokémon, and if you have that Pokémon use an HM, you'll actually see it doing it in the overworld. It's really neat; they truly went the extra mile to make this feature worthwhile. It's no wonder it's immensely popular.
One part of this is the so-called "Shiny Leaf", which Pokémon may be able to pick up at certain locations depending on their nature. This is not actually an item, but something that's shown on the Pokémon's status screen. Once a Pokémon has five Shiny Leaves, Ethan/Lyra will give you a new star for your Trainer Card if you show it to him/her.
You can now take your Pokémon out for a walk in real life by uploading them onto the "Pokéwalker", a special Pokéball-like pedometer that not only allows your Pokémon to gain experience as you accumulate real-life steps but also in fact lets you catch Pokémon and find items. There are even event Pokéwalker courses that let you catch Surfing and Flying Pikachu and the like.
Using the touch screen button, you can permanently toggle the Running Shoes on or off after you get them, saving you the need to hold down B to get around. This is never reset, not even if you save and turn the game off and back on, so once you've toggled it on once, you'll never have to worry about it again unless you accidentally hit the button sometime. Of course, if you don't like this effect, you can still do it the old way by holding down B, too.
Replacing contests is a new set of minigames to play with your Pokémon, the Pokéathlon. The events are split into five categories, Speed, Power, Skill, Stamina and Jump, with every Pokémon species having a predefined default rating out of five for each of these categories as well as a maximum that can be achieved by feeding the Pokémon Aprijuice. You enter three Pokémon in a a set of sports-based minigames where you control the Pokémon on the touch screen and try to win. Ultimately, of course, victory depends more on your skill as the player than anything else, especially since these events are action-based unlike the turn-based battling and contests, but the Pokémon's Pokéathlon stats still come into play.
Nature Effects on Status Screen
Remember having to look up what stats your Pokémon's nature raises and lowers all the time? Well, not anymore. Now, on the Pokémon's out-of-battle stat screen, the name of the stat boosted by its nature will have a red shadow, while the name of the stat reduced by its nature will have a blue shadow. It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it sort of thing, and the colors seem kind of counterintuitive, but once you know of it it's very handy.
There is now a key item you can obtain at Game Freak's office in the Celadon Condominiums after getting all sixteen badges, GB Sounds, which allows you to switch to the original 8-bit music of G/S/C instead of the (admittedly gorgeous) remixes the game uses by default. There are even special Game Boy-arranged versions of the themes that are completely new to HG/SS so that they won't be clashing horribly with the other music when the GB Sounds effect is on.
In addition, after you get the GB Sounds, the Pokémon Music Channel on the radio will play old-style music on Sundays, including most or all the music that wouldn't normally be available using the GB Sounds item (e.g. the Team Rocket theme, since the Team Rocket plot is over by the time you get the GB Sounds, the title screen theme, and the old-style radio music).
Remember how in Platinum, the Game Corner was unceremoniously emptied for the European release because, oh noes, you can't teach kids about gambling? Well, it's not just Europe this time - it's the entire world outside of Japan. Thankfully, however, they at least had the sense to decide to replace the slots with another game, Voltorb Flip. It's basically a sort of Sudoku-slash-Minesweeper-esque minigame that does not count as gambling because playing it doesn't actually cost coins; you can only win or not win.
The new Game Corner feels jarringly nonsensical; on the outside, it's still the gaudy casino it used to be, but inside, it's just one guy sitting there at a table eagerly demanding you play his game and win special coins you can't get anywhere else, while two gentlemen sit at a nearby table and will give you prizes for a certain number of coins. Gambling or not, casinos make sense. They have game coins as a convenient medium of wealth. They can give out huge numbers of coins and rare prizes because there are other people losing even huger numbers of coins. They could have made this at least slightly more believable as a business of some sort by including several tables and other players, but this is just some one guy at one table who seems disturbingly excited at the idea of watching people play games on it and will give you special coins for it for no apparent reason. And don't even get me started on the men who sit there just to give away rare Pokémon and items to people in exchange for a certain number of coins. What are they doing there? They don't look like they work there. The guy at the table doesn't look like he works there. The overall effect is that of some weird kind of private mansion of some very eccentric rich guy who gets off on watching kids play games. (It doesn't help that the sign outside describes the Game Corner as a "safe and sound playground".) It's a fun game and all, but the replacement job is very bizarrely done and even if I didn't know of the change beforehand I'd immediately suspect something was missing here.
Really, though, it's a far, far better minigame, as a game, than the slots and roulette ever were. It actually takes strategic thinking and can get quite challenging. But perhaps it would have been better if we'd gotten at least one alternate choice of a game - I mean, now that you can no longer buy coins (since the only reason that option was there, really, was to allow you to buy more coins if you lost them all, which can't happen anymore), you're forced to actually play the game if you want the prizes, which is probably rather annoying if you don't like Voltorb Flip.
Through "Cameron the Photographer", a new NPC who seems to appear everywhere you go and offer to take your picture with your Pokémon, you can now get "photos" taken of yourself with your Pokémon and even with Gym leaders and other characters from the game. Or wearing a Team Rocket uniform, as a way to immortalize that far too short portion of the game. You can then view the photos on your computer. This is really pretty neat - it's a way to record your progress during the game even before the point you first beat the Elite Four, providing a sort of substitute Hall of Fame for when you want to take a trip down the memory lane farther back than that.
Two Registered Items
You can now have two items "registered" for quick use. Only one of them will be accessible with the Y button, but the other will be shown on the touch screen and from there you can simply tap it when you want to use it, which is a loss for the equivalence of the button and touch screen controls, but hey, it's not as if using the touch screen for your second choice of a registered item is going to kill you even if you're a fan of buttons.
Day-Care Man Calls You
Now you can have the Day-Care Man actually call you on the PokéGear when your Pokémon have produced an egg at the Day-Care (after the first time, that is) - very handy, that.
Both Twins Speak
When you challenge Twins or another set of double battle trainers, you will now see both of their lines of dialogue instead of just that of the one you happened to talk to.
When you're close to rivers, fountains, the sea, etc. you will actually hear flowing water over the background music. It's neat.
Rewards for Rematches
In HG/SS, when you have a rematch with certain trainers, they might give you items such as Proteins, Carbos and HP Ups afterwards, a nice little incentive to bother with all these battles.
Guaranteed IV Passing
You can now guarantee that one specific IV will be passed from a parent Pokémon to a baby by equipping it with the power item corresponding to the stat you want before putting it in the Day-Care. If you attach one power item to each parent, they'll both pass the relevant IV (but a random one if they're both holding the power item for the same stat). Whoo, easier IV breeding.
Returning Features and Modifications
Gameplay features brought back (usually from G/S/C) that weren't in D/P/Pt and what has changed about them in the upgrade to the DS.
The Bug-Catching Contest in the Johto National Park is back, even though the Safari Game it originally replaced has also been restored. Fwee, Scyther!
After the National Pokédex, the contest will now have higher-leveled Pokémon, as well as featuring some Hoenn and Sinnoh Pokémon on Thursdays and Saturdays. Tuesdays always have the same old nostalgic Kanto bugs, however, so don't worry.
The familiar PokéGear, with some upgrades, replaces the Pokétch. It doesn't have the myriad useful gadgets we got in D/P/Pt, but it has the phone feature (which unfortunately replaces my beloved Vs. Seeker), a map and of course the radio that we remember from G/S/C. And you can change the look of it if you get bored with it.
One welcome change to the phone feature is that only important, story-relevant phone calls will actually force you to answer them. When Youngster Joey is just calling you to tell you about how awesome his Rattata is or Picnicker Liz thinks she's calling her friend Tania yet again, you'll see it ringing on the bottom screen but can simply choose to ignore it and keep walking. This allows you to recognize the names of trainers who actually give you something interesting and just glance down at the caller to decide whether it's worth answering.
As before, trainers may randomly call you and ask for a rematch, but you can also call them at particular times of day, defined for each individual trainer, and they may ask for a rematch then as well. I'm not sure if it used to be only at particular times of day before (tell me if you know), but at least apparently that's how it is now.
The phone now has an unlimited memory, by the way, or rather, it can store all the numbers you'll get in the game simultaneously, so there is no need to remove any. Not that you won't probably want to remove some of those trainers who only seem to call you for incessant chatter about how wonderful their Pokémon are or how they didn't catch that Mareep for the umpteenth time.
Mom Saves Your Money
Your mom will once again take on the role of keeping part of your savings safe from being cut down by repeated losses.
Remember how FireRed and LeafGreen had those first-person point-of-view-shots of dungeons when you entered them? Yeah, those are back, with the additional trick of having different images for different times of day (which all contain at least one Pokémon, sometimes easy to spot and sometimes not). Apparently Game Freak considers them a remake-only thing.
As I hoped, rather than replacing Headbutting with honey trees, they've revived that feature, though sadly without the sleeping encounters of the originals. Curiously, they decided to make any tree in the game whatsoever Headbuttable, but most of them simply don't have any Pokémon in them, ever. The ones that can have Pokémon in them are usually apart from other trees to make you notice them, and to prevent you from eliminating any too early, those that do have Pokémon will always make one appear when Headbutted.
As Headbutt is no longer a TM, the guy in Ilex Forest who used to give you the TM is now a move tutor, with one interesting twist: he will teach you the move as often as you like, to however many Pokémon you like, for free. Unlimited Headbutts for any Pokémon that can learn it!
The Trainer House in Viridian is back. However, it is no longer a prime location to train for experience by Mystery Gifting with a friend who has a bunch of Blissey, because it's turned into a battle facility where you can earn Battle Points (which can be spent for prizes in the Battle Frontier) but instead get no experience for the battles. It even brings your Pokémon temporarily down to level 50. Personally, I don't really see what the point of it is when it's like this; although you can still battle your friend's Pokémon (by syncing Pokéwalkers with them), the lack of experience makes it a novelty thing more than anything very useful.
Whirlpool is now an HM again, taking Defog's place as HM05. Unlike G/S/C, however, it no longer destroys the whirlpools you use it on; it will just let you cross them, with the whirlpools themselves remaining intact during the whole process.
Pokémon swarms return; however, instead of certain trainers informing you when there's a swarm, you need to listen to Professor Oak's Pokémon Talk on the radio. There are also more Pokémon that can swarm, including third- and fourth-generation ones.
As in the original G/S/C, Kurt the Pokéball-maker can create special balls from Apricorns for you. Since regular wild Pokémon no longer run away from battle, the Fast Ball now gets a bonus for Pokémon with a base Speed of 100 or more instead, and the Love and Moon Balls have been corrected to work as they were intended (the Love Ball on Pokémon of the same species and opposite gender, as opposed to the same species and same gender as in G/S/C, and the Moon Ball to give a bonus on any Pokémon within an evolution line that evolves with a Moon Stone, rather than failing to ever give a bonus as in G/S/C). For more information on capturing, see the Gen III/IV Capture Mechanics page.
Apricorn balls can not be given to Pokémon in HG/SS in order to prevent attempts to trade them to D/P/Pt.
Features and Places Since G/S/C
New and changed places in Johto and Kanto since the original G/S/C and the D/P/Pt gameplay features sometimes added in with them.
Redesigned Ruins of Alph
The Ruins of Alph have been more or less completely redesigned to look more like actual ruins and have a bunch of smashable rocks and items. The puzzles are now partly complete, but they also allow you to rotate the pieces in addition to positioning them, so they're actually somewhat harder. The images are still the same, however, and the basic gist of the place is still the same as Crystal - solve puzzles to release Unown into the main chamber, do what's written on the back walls to get into other secret chambers with a bunch of items, and two of the puzzle chambers can only be accessed through Union Cave.
There is now a Global Terminal in Goldenrod, west of the Radio Tower. Naturally they had to put the Global Trade Station somewhere, and Goldenrod is a natural choice for it, what with having housed the Pokémon Communication Center in the Japanese Crystal.
The Olivine Lighthouse has added areas, including an outside balcony. It's pretty neat. The floors have also been redesigned so that you won't actually need to fall through any holes, and there is an elevator going between the top and bottom floors. (Jasmine, Amphy and the ladder are sealed away until you have actually talked to her, so you do have to go up the hard way the first time - but when you bring back the medicine, you can just go straight up without going through all the floors.)
There is a Battle Frontier, admittedly exactly the same as the one in Platinum, located where the Battle Tower was in Crystal, west of Olivine.
Lake of Rage Floods
The Lake of Rage is now rainy every day except Wednesday, and when it's raining, it's flooded so that all the trees in a large area northwest of the original lake are mostly sunk. It is a mystery how those trees ever managed to grow under these circumstances and why they haven't drowned and rotted away.
There is a new Safari Zone - not in Fuchsia where people predicted HG/SS would restore the Safari Zone, but in a completely new location near Cianwood, with accompanying Routes 47 and 48 leading up to it.
The old Kanto Safari Zone, meanwhile, has been turned into a Pal Park for migrating Pokémon from the third-generation games, just like in D/P/Pt, except that now there is no six-Pokémon-per-game-per-day limit, so you can migrate as many Pokémon as you want - you'll just have to do it six at a time.
Radio Tower Observation Deck
The Goldenrod Radio Tower now has a sixth floor, an observation deck, where you battle Executive Archer at the end of the Team Rocket takeover plot.
Bigger, Lighter Mt. Silver
Mount Silver, in addition to no longer requiring Flash to get through and having its entire internal layout redone, has been given a large outside portion with constant hail à la Mt. Coronet. Red is found at the very top of the mountain, on the outside, rather than inside the cave. I can't say I'm that fond of this change; I liked how he was just standing there facing the wall deep inside a huge, dark cave. Now it looks more like he's just admiring the view.
Restored Kanto Dungeons
I am pleased to report that most of the Kanto dungeons that got reduced to a pathetic shadow of themselves in G/S/C are back. Viridian Forest is actually there in its full glory! Whoo. They don't exactly keep faithful to their FR/LG shape, but at least the caves aren't all two floors and Viridian Forest isn't a bunch of overworld trees with no grass anymore.
The Cinnabar volcano is still erupted, but Seafoam Islands, instead of being completely overtaken by Blaine's new Gym, now also have a dungeon where Articuno resides, though the dungeon and its puzzles are vastly different from R/B/Y/FR/LG.
Meteorites on Route 3
Route 3 (east of Pewter) now has four meteorites that can be used to change the forme of Deoxys, just so you won't have to trade to D/P/Pt to do that.
Fly Anywhere from Indigo Plateau
You can Fly to the Indigo Plateau (or Victory Road) from either Johto or Kanto. Similarly, and more significantly, you can also fly to either Johto or Kanto from the Indigo Plateau and Victory Road. This essentially renders the Magnet Train redundant; it's always much quicker, wherever you are, to just Fly to the Indigo Plateau and then Fly wherever you wanted to go in the other region. But that also makes it quite handy for interregional travel.
Professor Oak now gives you the Rock Climb HM when you've acquired all sixteen badges, allowing you access to various new areas and items (and special Headbutt trees) in both Kanto and Johto.
Rock Smash Items
Rock Smash is now an HM, as in D/P/Pt, and has accordingly been given somewhat more significance for game progress than it used to have. In addition to putting more breakable rocks around, however, the game also restored the possibility of wild Pokémon appearing when you smash a rock, and more importantly, you also now have a chance to get an item - the possibilities even include fossils! - every time you smash a rock. It's annoying that many items require you to smash a bunch of rocks, but hey, it adds a possibility of stumbling upon something nice during routine gameplay.
All the old Berry trees have been replaced with Apricorn trees, but instead you now get a key item called Berry Pots, which allows you to grow Hoenn/Sinnoh berries in little pots you carry with you. This is pretty handy in making you not forget where you planted your berries, but you also only have four pots, so you can't grow very many at a time.
Gym Leader Rematches in Fighting Dojo
The Fighting Dojo in Saffron City now serves a function similar to Platinum's Battleground: it houses Gym leaders who are ready to give you a rematch. They won't appear there, however, until you have called them at a particular time of a particular day when they're free (oddly, once you've done so, they'll just be at the Fighting Dojo until the rematch, as if they have nothing better to do). And to boot, to actually get their phone number, you also need to jump through hoops, generally by figuring out at what unholy hours they choose to wander outside of their Gyms and confronting them in whichever faraway location they went off to. If you're tearing your hair out over it, here's a list:
- Falkner apparently spends all his Mondays on the fourth floor of the Celadon City Department Store, arguing with Janine about how his dad could totally kick her dad's ass. If you support him in this great battle of wits, he'll be so grateful he gives you his phone number.
- Bugsy hangs out in Viridian Forest all day on Thursdays, where you can talk to him and get him to give you his number.
- Whitney, blessingly, will just be on the sixth floor of the Goldenrod Department Store every day between noon and four in the afternoon. Despite that she goes there every day, she is still apparently convinced that it must be fate that the two of you managed to meet and that the universe is giving her a sign she should give you her number right away. So she does.
- Morty is standing in Bellchime Path all Mondays and Tuesdays and will give you his number if you talk to him there.
- Chuck, apparently just to mess with you, never exits his Gym at all and instead you need to get his wife to give you his number. Because she isn't a Gym leader, she apparently doesn't get the whole jumping through hoops concept and will just tell you his phone number no matter what time or day it is.
- Jasmine gives you a one-hour window every day, between one and two in the afternoon, to find her eating her heart out (well, she denies it, but we all know she really indulges herself for lunch) in the Olivine Café, where she'll give you her number.
- Pryce and Clair apparently think you're totally awake and have the free time to play Pokémon between six and ten in the morning, when they'll be at the Lake of Rage and in Dragon's Den, respectively (though Clair will only appear there after you and your rival have taken on her and Lance in the double battle at the Dragon Shrine). At least they have the decency to be there every day.
- Brock spends from noon to three in the afternoon every day staring at the rocks just inside of the Pewter City entrance to Diglett's Cave.
- Misty will be conspicuously alone watching the sunset at her date spot on Route 25 between four and six in the afternoon every day. No wonder she gives you her number, huh?
- Lt. Surge will be in front of the Kanto Power Plant every day between nine in the morning and noon after you've captured Zapdos, but bizarrely, he won't give you his number unless you also show him a Pikachu. He'll at least helpfully tell you they can be caught in Viridian Forest.
- Erika meets up with Jasmine in front of the Celadon City fountain every Saturday and Sunday between two and five in the afternoon, and if you talk to her then she'll give you her number.
- Janine spends between four and six in the afternoon every day in the Victory Road gateway building, near the Viridian City exit.
- Sabrina goes to the Olivine harbor, onto the pier where the S.S. Aqua is docked, every Friday, staying there all day. You need to show the sailor your ticket, but that doesn't force you to actually go on the ship.
- Blaine takes a little trip to his old home of Cinnabar Island every Tuesday, staying there for the duration of the day, and you can talk to him there.
- Blue, like Chuck, doesn't give out his phone number to just anyone, but fortunately he also has a family member who'll give it out instead. Unfortunately, Daisy won't give it to just anyone either; you obnoxiously need to get her to groom one of your Pokémon seven times first, and she'll only do that between three and four in the afternoon. So to get his number, you don't just have to be in a specific location at a specific time: you need to be in a specific location at a specific time seven times. With her great mastery of the art of hoop-jumping people, she should really be the Gym leader.
Just imagine if it were that difficult to get people's phone numbers in real life. Then again, I suppose we'd have difficulties too if our vocabularies consisted of "Yes" and "No".
The good thing, at least, is that once you have all the phone numbers, you'll usually have somebody to call at most times, and better yet, if you call a Gym leader and battle them, you can call them again immediately for another rematch for as long as their call window remains open. And if you're doing something else, you can just call them and leave the battle for later, since unlike in Platinum they'll actually wait there until you come and rebattle them; any number of them can pile up in the Fighting Dojo and be battled at any time you please. So if you're looking to battle one, here are the leaders you can call on each day:
- Monday: Pryce (morning), Janine (afternoon)
- Tuesday: Blaine (afternoon), Morty (night)
- Wednesday: Misty (morning), Jasmine (afternoon), Chuck (night)
- Thursday: Bugsy (afternoon)
- Friday: Lt. Surge (morning), Clair (night)
- Saturday: Falkner (morning), Whitney (afternoon), Brock (night)
- Sunday: Erika (morning), Sabrina (afternoon), Blue (night)
Once you get their phone numbers, the leaders will also hang around in certain locations during certain parts of the week and allow you to take a photo with them.
Oh, and if you thought the Gym leaders are too dignified to call you for the kind of idle chatter you keep getting from everybody else in your PokéGear? They're not. Sorry.
Train Tracks Over Route 32
Route 32 now has the Magnet Train tracks visible and you actually walk under them. Looks pretty cool.
Early Grass on Route 32
Route 32 also now has an extra patch of grass accessible before you beat Falkner (before, the guy who stops you and tells you to go to the Gym was also blocking all the grass on the route). Conveniently, Route 32 is where Mareep are found.
The Miltank at the Moo Moo Farm are now put into the barn at night.
Old Bike Shop Open
In the original G/S/C, the bike shop in Cerulean was closed, with the sign beside it stating it had moved to Goldenrod. In HG/SS, it's still open and the Goldenrod one is only a branch, though the owner laments the lack of business in the old shop.
Story and Characters Since G/S/C
Changes and additions to the storyline and character roster of the original games.
Rather than bringing back the Crystal girl, they opted to create a new female player character (vaguely similar to Kris in that she has pigtails sticking out to the sides, but not much else). A shame since I really liked Kris, but oh, well; though a lot of people hate the new girl, she's grown on me.
The opposite gender player character (named Ethan if it's the boy or Lyra if it's the girl) will appear here and there during the game in a similar fashion to how they've done in the past two generations. That character is incidentally also established as being the Day-Care couple's grandchild.
Instead of the random "Dude" teaching you how to catch Pokémon on Route 29, Lyra or Ethan will take on the role, using their Marill for the demonstration.
Sprout Tower Mandatory
In G/S/C, Sprout Tower was handy to train for Falkner but could be skipped until after you'd defeated the Gym leader. Now, however, you can't battle Falkner until after you've gone through the tower.
The Kimono Girls now have a more significant role in the plot; you meet each of them at various points in the game where you help them in various small ways or just talk to them, and you can't battle them until after you've gotten your eighth badge, where you're forced to fight them all in a row (for the record: first it's Zuki with her Umbreon, then Naoko with an Espeon, then Miki with a Flareon, then Sayo with Jolteon and finally Kuni with Vaporeon - basically all the R/B/Y/G/S/C Eons in reverse Pokédex order). Finally they will perform a bit of a ritual to get your box legendary to come out at whichever location it is (Whirl Islands for Lugia and Tin/Bell Tower for Ho-oh).
G/S/C's Team Rocket plot always suffered a bit in my opinion from having only those nameless, indistinguishable "Executives" in charge of the whole thing. HeartGold and SoulSilver rectify this by introducing four specific admins - Proton, Petrel, Ariana and Archer. Proton is responsible for the Slowpoke Well stuff, Petrel set himself up as the Radio Tower's director, Ariana is the sort of final boss of the Mahogany operation, and Archer is the head of the new Team Rocket and the final guy you battle at the Radio Tower.
Farfetch'd Puzzle Changed
In Ilex Forest in G/S/C, you had to retrieve a Farfetch'd by talking to it from the opposite direction to where you wanted it to go. When making HG/SS they apparently felt this was just too easy and instead changed the puzzle so that there are two Farfetch'd and you must come up behind them while stepping on twigs on the ground will cause them to hear you and face towards you. It's still not very hard, but it's slightly more challenging than it used to be.
Need Petrel's Voice
This time, the final door in the Mahogany hideout is not only password-protected but also voice-activated. Luckily, Petrel's Murkrow can imitate his voice really well, so you just need to bring the bird over and it will get it open for you. Or, well, more like it goes and runs over to the door and opens it all by itself for no apparent reason when you've beaten him.
Double Battle With Lance
In the Mahogany hideout, where you used to battle the female Rocket executive while Lance took on the grunt who was going to gang up on you with her, they have naturally now made it into a double battle against both of them (with the female executive now being Executive Ariana), where you get to battle alongside Lance's level 40 Dragonite. Very neat.
This time, there is somebody guarding the stairs in the Radio Tower who won't let anybody in who isn't wearing a Team Rocket uniform... but luckily, the Goldenrod Underground has a photo studio where you can have your picture taken in a Team Rocket uniform, and bizarrely, when you go there in your normal clothes, a Rocket will stop you, inexplicably assume you're a new recruit to Team Rocket, and give you one of the uniforms so that you can sneak into the building unhindered.
Unfortunately, however, your rival will stop you just as the guard has stepped aside and blow your disguise (you're supposed to battle your way to the top, after all), so be sure to visit the Pokémon Center and Department Store before you go to the tower, or you'll miss the fact everybody's dialogue changes when you're in uniform, not just that Rocket member's. Though Nurse Joy will still offer to heal your Pokémon in the same way, the people in the Goldenrod Pokémon Center will be alarmed (except for the little girl who says she thinks she's met you before and you must have a reason for being dressed like that). A Gentleman in the Goldenrod Department store will reproachfully tell you, "What kind of business would a Team Rocket member have here? We aren't selling sanity here." Another guy on the fifth floor will tell you, "You shouldn't wear a black suit like that. People will think you are a part of Team Rocket. What? You are one of them?" A Camper on the second floor will lampshade the clerks' identical reactions: "The ladies at this department store never change their attitude. Be it in front of a regular customer or a Team Rocket member. That's what I call professional!" Basically everybody except NPCs with a specific function will have special dialogue for when you're in uniform. It's really neat.
Plausible Impersonation, What's That?
In the original G/S/C, when you reached the Director of the Radio Tower, he would initially say something in the direction of "Save me!" but then move on to "...that what you were expecting?" before he revealed he's been a Team Rocket member all along. This could be a real reveal, if you hadn't previously figured the Director had been replaced. Now, however, Petrel is playing the Director's role, and when you walk up to him he is still broadcasting about Team Rocket, so he won't fool you for even one second. Pretty minor, sure, but I really liked how it was before.
Color-Coded Basement Puzzle
In the basement where there's a puzzle with lots of steel doors and three switches to open and close them, the rooms now have colored floors that indicate beforehand which doors each switch will open, making it somewhat easier. The switches have also been relocated to the middle room, instead of being spread across the uppermost wall.
Bigger Rocket Climax
This time, as the climax of the Team Rocket takeover, you battle executives Proton, Ariana and Archer, where previously you just battled a grunt and the two executives there were then. You can kind of tell Proton used to be just a grunt in the originals; he's just standing there stopping you on the way. Archer has also been relocated to an observation deck that didn't exist before.
Sacred Ash from Aide
One of Professor Oak's aides will give you a Sacred Ash in a gatehouse on Route 2. It is also still always attached to Ho-oh when you capture it.
Rival Double Battle
After you've beaten your rival at Mt. Moon, he will appear at the Dragon Shrine, and if you confront him there, Lance and Clair will appear and have a double battle with the two of you. Yup, Lance and Clair versus you and your rival. It's pretty cool.
If you enter Professor Elm's lab after the aforementioned double battle, his aide will tell you that the person who stole Professor Elm's Pokémon, i.e. your rival, came back to return it, but Elm saw that it had grown to love him so much he decided it should stay with him. Awwww!
So the Japanese Crystal had the series' first built-in in-game event, to obtain Celebi from the Ilex Forest shrine. Many expected this event to be reproduced, but unexpectedly, it was instead replaced with two new events. First, if you trade the shiny Pikachu-Colored Pichu from the D/P/Pt Wi-Fi event over to HG/SS and bring it to the shrine, the special Spiky-Ear Pichu will come out and join you. Second, if you get an event Celebi, you can also bring that to the shrine and see an altogether more interesting sequence where Lyra/Ethan will appear and Celebi will travel through time with you, first showing you your rival shouting at his father Giovanni three years ago after the events of R/B/Y, and then taking you to a small cave in Tohjo Falls where Giovanni is listening to Team Rocket's broadcast after they took over the Radio Tower. As he is about to respond to the Executives' pleas for him to return, you battle him, presumably defeating him, and subsequently he walks out of the cave and there is an ambiguous sound that might just be the static of the radio but sounds a suspicious lot like the splash of somebody committing suicide by jumping in a waterfall. No, seriously.
Finally, there is also an event to get the Lati that doesn't appear in your game as well as an event that lets you go to the "Sinjoh Ruins" (a portmanteau of "Sinnoh" and "Johto", reflecting the fact these ruins are apparently on the border between the two regions) if you have an event Arceus, where Cynthia will appear and you will be able to get a level one Dialga, Palkia or Giratina to raise as your own.
Everything is stuffed with minor modifications. The guy who gave you the Map Card for the PokéGear in Cherrygrove will now force you to take the tour immediately, for instance, and he'll be running so fast you can't catch up. At the end of the tour he'll then give you the Running Shoes and he only returns to give you the Map Card as you're exiting the town. Similarly, your rival is stated to drop his Trainer Card where you can see it, rather than just randomly deciding to tell you his name (which was awfully confusing in the originals anyway, since after all "My name's ???" sounds like he is saying his name actually consists of three question marks). Of course, all places where you found G/S/C-only TMs will have other TMs or move tutors instead. And, in something nobody probably cares about but me, if you go up to where the two trainers are battling on the left path when you're supposed to be going to Mr. Pokémon's house, one of them now has a Pidgey (instead of both having Rattata) and talking to them will no longer give you a sneak peek at the trainer battle music, which was something I really loved in the originals.
And that's just the beginning of the game. These usually don't actually affect any elements of the gameplay or story, however, so I won't be listing such minor things separately.
Pokémon and Moves Since Platinum
Changes and modifications to the monsters and moves that make it differ from Platinum.
A few Pokémon have been given tweaked movesets (the bolded moves are moves the Pokémon didn't learn by level-up at all in D/P/Pt, as opposed to those that have just been switched around):
- The Cyndaquil family now learns Smokescreen at level 6 instead of 4.
- Most of Lugia and Ho-oh's movesets have been changed or reordered: they now start with Weather Ball, learn Gust at level 9, Dragon Rush (Lugia) or Brave Bird (Ho-oh) at level 15, Extrasensory at level 23, Rain Dance/Sunny Day at level 29, Hydro Pump/Fire Blast at level 37, Aeroblast/Sacred Fire at level 43, Punishment at level 50, Safeguard at level 65, Recover at level 71 and Natural Gift at level 85. In addition to the reordering, they also now fail to learn Swift, which they did before.
- Kyogre's moveset has also been switched around. It now learns Body Slam at level 15, Muddy Water at level 20, Aqua Ring at level 30, Ancientpower at level 45, Water Spout at level 50, Calm Mind at level 60, Aqua Tail at level 65, Sheer Cold at level 75, Double-Edge at level 80 and Hydro Pump at level 90. Instead, it now fails to learn Rest.
- Similarly, Groudon now gets Lava Plume at level 15, Hammer Arm at level 20, Rest at level 30, Ancientpower at level 45, Eruption at level 50, Bulk Up at level 60, Earth Power at level 65, Fissure at level 75, Solarbeam at level 80 and Fire Blast at level 90. Meanwhile, it loses Slash.
- And to nobody's surprise, the same applies to Rayquaza. It now learns Crunch at level 15, Hyper Voice at level 20, Rest at level 30, Air Slash at level 35, Ancientpower at level 45, Outrage at level 50, Dragon Dance at level 60, Fly at level 65, Extremespeed at level 75, Hyper Beam at level 80 and Dragon Pulse at level 90, losing Dragon Claw from its repertoire.
- The Hippopotas family now learns Dig at level 19 in addition to Take Down.
- Dialga, Palkia and Giratina have had yet another legendary shuffle, but this time, in accordance with the fact they can be obtained at level 1 if you bring an Arceus to Sinjoh Ruins, instead of just switching the levels around, they learn everything earlier and closer together instead, in addition to the tweaks in the actual learnsets. Thus, they now learn Metal Claw (Dialga), Water Pulse (Palkia) or Ominous Wind (Giratina) at level 6, Ancientpower at level 10, Slash at level 15, Power Gem (Dialga/Palkia) or Shadow Sneak (Giratina) at level 19, Metal Burst/Aqua Tail/Destiny Bond at level 24, Dragon Claw at level 28, Earth Power at level 33, Aura Sphere at level 37, Flash Cannon/Hydro Pump/Shadow Claw at level 42, and Roar of Time/Spacial Rend/Shadow Force at level 46, losing Heal Block.
The latest Pokémon to get a new form is Pichu. In a tie-in with the twelfth movie, an event now lets you obtain a special Pichu with a spiky ear that can't evolve or be traded and has a couple of gimmicky special moves but only normal Pichu stats. If you think that, well, kind of sucks, me too. But hey, it's a special event Pokémon you can brag about having, and it is kind of cute.
Pokémon and Moves Since G/S/C
What has changed in terms of Pokémon, moves, trainer rosters and so on since G/S/C.
Gym Leader Levels Changed
Most of the Gym leaders now have higher-leveled Pokémon, bar Whitney, whose Miltank we all found overpowered in G/S/C anyway. A welcome change, though the lack of modifications to the wild Pokémon levels leaves those every bit as irritatingly underleveled as they were in the originals.
The most significant thing about this is that the Kanto Gym leaders get a serious level-up, making them actually potentially challenging by the time you get to them. Maybe.
Falkner Has No Mud-Slap
Because Mud-Slap is no longer a TM, Falkner gives you Roost instead, and thus his Pidgey and Pidgeotto no longer know the move that used to devastate Cyndaquil users back in the day. More notable than all the other moveset changes I'm not mentioning because, well, Mud-Slap was one of the main things making Falkner somewhat challenging in G/S/C. Though Roost can also be a headache, it's not quite as much so as Mud-Slap in my opinion.
Bugsy's Scyther First
Bugsy now sends out his Scyther first instead of saving it for after his Metapod and Kakuna, presumably because it knows U-Turn and it would be a shame not to show off what that move does. This gives quite a "Whoa" feeling when you start battling him, but then the Metapod and Kakuna become a rather unceremonious anticlimax afterwards.
Level Five Eevee
That level 20 Eevee you got from Bill in Goldenrod? Yeah, it's level five now for some reason. Damn it.
Kanto and Hoenn Starters
For the first time ever in a main series Pokémon game, you can obtain three whole generations' starter Pokémon! Once you defeat Red, Professor Oak will give you a choice of one Kanto starter, while Steven will appear at Silph by the desk and give you a Hoenn starter in accordance with the color of "stone" you choose (naturally, green gets you Treecko, red gets you Torchic, and blue gets you Mudkip).
Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres and Mewtwo, instead of being unceremoniously gone like in the original G/S/C, are actually there and can be caught in HG/SS (though Moltres was moved from Victory Road to Mt. Silver and Zapdos is outside the Power Plant rather than inside it). More surprisingly, Groudon and Kyogre also make an appearance; you can get the former in SoulSilver and the latter in HeartGold after you've gotten the National Pokédex and a Kanto starter by receiving the Red or Blue Orb from Mr. Pokémon and going to a special cave on the new Route 47. Rayquaza can then be caught if you have both Groudon and Kyogre by showing them to Professor Oak and receiving the Jade Orb and then going to the same cave. And when you exit the Pokémon Fan Club in Vermilion after retrieving Copycat's lost Poké Doll, Steven will even appear to tell you Latias (in HeartGold) or Latios (SoulSilver) has been seen roaming around. As if that weren't awesome enough, the other Lati will then be obtainable through a Wi-Fi event.
And since we're talking events now, having an Arceus will activate an event where you can get a level one Dialga, Palkia or Giratina as your own, too.
Suicune in Kanto
Suicune is now found as a stationary legendary in front of the Sea Cottage in Kanto - after you've engaged it in several other places around the world, Crystal-style.
Phanpy and Teddiursa Switched Back
When the originals were released outside of Japan, for whatever reason, Phanpy and Donphan were made Silver exclusives and Teddiursa and Ursaring Gold exclusives, while it had been the other way around in Japan. HeartGold and SoulSilver do not make this change, so now Teddiursa and Ursaring are the SoulSilver exclusives and Phanpy and Donphan are in HeartGold. This no doubt confused many a player.
Leveled-Up Elite Four
...after you have all sixteen badges, that is, the Elite Four will get a bump in levels like in the previous games. The leveled-up teams range from level 58 to 75.
Red's Pokémon are now level 80-88 (making him the strongest trainer in the series again), he has a Lapras instead of the Espeon he used to have (bizarrely giving him a second Water-type along with his Blastoise), and as mentioned above, he's now on the top of the mountain in constant hail, which is of course in effect during the battle and is no doubt the reason they felt compelled to give him an Ice-type Pokémon.
Instead of the PokéRadar, we now have the Pokémon music radio channel, which plays "Hoenn Sounds" on Wednesdays (the Route 101 theme from R/S/E) and "Sinnoh Sounds" (unsurprisingly, the Route 201 theme) on Thursdays. As you might guess, some Hoenn Pokémon will appear when you're playing Hoenn Sounds on the radio, and some Sinnoh Pokémon appear when you're playing Sinnoh Sounds. All in all, this, Headbutting and other methods the game includes to let you catch Hoenn and Sinnoh Pokémon leaves only the Sinnoh starters/fossils/legendaries, the Drifloon, Glameow and Stunky families, and the event legendaries from all generations unable to be caught in either HeartGold or SoulSilver.
Borrowed from Crystal
While HeartGold and SoulSilver are remakes of Gold and Silver, they also contain a large number of the improvements Crystal made to the originals.
This radio show makes a return, allowing you to get cool stuff just for tuning in at the right time to hear a password and then telling it to the host.
Eusine and Suicune
Eusine is back, looking for Suicune, which also gets special significance over the other two beasts in that it appears a few times in the overworld before you get to battle it (outside Bill's cottage this time, however).
Legendary Beast Music
The legendary beasts Raikou, Entei and Suicune keep the (awesome) battle music they got in Crystal, with the added touch that each of them get a different remix of the same basic theme to give them all a slightly different feel from the others.
Trainers Give You Stuff
The trainers who used to give you evolution stones and other items occasionally in Crystal still do - for the evolution stones, since they're the most useful, it's School Kid Alan on Route 36 for Fire Stones, Lass Dana on Route 38 for Thunderstones, Picnicker Gina on Route 34 for Leaf Stones and Fisherman Tully on Route 42 for Water Stones.
The entire scenario you need to go through after beating Clair to get her to agree to give you your eighth badge is as it was in Crystal, not G/S - you're supposed to go to the Dragon Shrine, pass the Elder's test by answering his questions in a nice, compassionate way, and are given a Dratini as a reward, which knows Extremespeed if you answered everything "correctly". You can no longer get the Dratini until you've fought your version's legendary, however.
Extra Chambers at Ruins of Alph
The Ruins of Alph keep the extra chambers with items in them (plus the empty ones with writing on the floor) that were accessible by using Flash, using an Escape Rope, having Ho-oh in your party and using a Water Stone, respectively, after reading the Unown lettering on the back walls of the puzzle chambers.
Kurt Makes Many Balls
Like in Crystal, Kurt can make multiple Apricorn balls in one day, as long as they're all from the same type of Apricorn.
As with FireRed and LeafGreen, the games have been retranslated. I don't know how faithful the Japanese version was to the original script, precisely, but a lot of the English dialogue at least feels unfamiliar, while some other dialogue (especially what trainers say when they challenge you and so on) feels the same. This can cut down on the nostalgic feeling, but much of it is to accommodate changes and additions to the game itself, so I can't exactly blame them.
Aside from these small dialogue changes, however, there are other, more puzzling translation changes, such as...
The name of Ecruteak's Tin Tower has been changed to "Bell Tower". Granted, it was an ambiguous translation in the first place, but I don't quite see why "Tin Tower" absolutely can't work anymore. Did they think it sounded like "Twin Tower" and get all "oh noes, must not have anything that could possibly remind people of 9/11!!" or what? "Bell Tower" sounds kind of mundane, like it's just a church tower or something; "Tin Tower" was far more distinctive and just sounds better. But oh well.
We Don't Hope to See You Again
The Pokémon Center healing dialogue has been changed so that instead of finishing with "We hope to see you again!", the nurse will say, "Please, come back again any time!" Presumably the translators had just gotten way sick of that tired old joke about how "lol it's like she wants your Pokémon to get hurt, GET IT???!!"
Instead of the Itemfinder as we used to know it, we get an item whose function resembles the Dowsing Machine Pokétch app (but better). Pretty expected. The unexpected part is that for some bizarre reason they felt they absolutely could not call it the Itemfinder if it didn't work like the old-school Itemfinder, so instead they went with the awfully awkward "Dowsing MCHN" in order to fit it into the twelve-character limit.
An NPC in Celadon City actually refers to his own as a "Dowsing Machine", with "Machine" spelled out fully, though, so I doubt we're meant to be taking the MCHN part to be canonical to the name.
The balls used in G/S/C for the Bug-Catching Contest are now called Sport Balls rather than Park Balls, since the D/P/Pt translation established Park Balls as the balls used in Pal Park and those balls are still around in HG/SS.
The name of "Celadon Mansion" has been changed to "Celadon Condominiums". Of course, I guess that name makes more sense. It also has an elevator (instead of the old staircases) that claims to be "for Game Freak only", even though you can use it just fine and nobody objects; I wonder if it was a joke that worked better with Japanese's lack of plural, where it could also be read as "for game freaks only".
Mystery Man Eusine
Eusine's trainer class is now "Mystery Man" instead of Crystal's "Mysticalman".
Stuff that doesn't quite fit into any of the categories above but I wanted to mention it anyway.
See Roaming Legendaries
In a similar fashion to D/P/Pt's Marker Map, the PokéGear map will now inexplicably know the current locations of all the roaming legendaries, with the new addition of even knowing which one is which. Also like in D/P/Pt, it will know this as soon as they're released into the wild, without you having to actually see them first. I kind of liked how it was before, but hey, this does make things easier.
Sleeping Beasts Can Run
Like in D/P/Pt but unlike the originals, the roaming legendaries can now run away even while they're sleeping, while they will keep any status effects inflicted on them as well as damage after battle.
New Pokédex Order
Well, not quite. The HG/SS Pokédex mostly follows the original Johto Pokédex ordering, but adds in a few of the third- and fourth-generation evolutions of Johto Pokémon (Yanmega comes after Yanma at #102; Ambipom comes after Aipom at #124; Lickilicky comes after Lickitung at #181; Tangrowth comes after Tangela at #183; and Mamoswine comes after Piloswine at #197). Presumably these in particular were chosen simply because those are the only ones that evolve through methods which are available to you before you get the National Pokédex: specifically, they all evolve by leveling up while they know certain moves, which there is no way for the game to prevent you from getting before the National dex. In other words, rather than go the FR/LG way of making non-Kanto evolutions that should be happening automatically stop until you have the National dex, they just added to the Pokédex instead. I guess they couldn't exactly have done that in FR/LG, what with the Kanto dex being the basis for the National Pokédex and all.
The Pokégear's map (and the Fly map) will now show a little red exclamation mark sign when you examine a route where a trainer is waiting for a rematch with you. Handy if you tend to forget about these things.
You can now see the Apricorns on the Apricorn trees in the field, which serves a dual purpose in both showing you which color Apricorn is in the tree before you pick it and showing you when the Apricorns have regenerated, reminding you to check it again. Very useful.
No Bike Gears
The HG/SS bike has only one gear, unlike the one in D/P/Pt but like the one in the original G/S/C.
Battle Scene Truly Off
If you switch Battle Scene off in the Options, it will not just disable the move animations, but also the Pokémon's animations as they come into battle. A lot of people who like to save time when playing their games were quite annoyed with this as it was in D/P/Pt, so it's nice that they've made this change.
Extra Pokémart Clerks
All normal Pokémarts now have two store clerks; one of them sells the normal stuff, but the other also sells stuff like... Mail. Oh, and third- and fourth-generation Pokéballs, but I'm sure the only reason you're interested in this is for the Mail. How evil of me not to list where you can get each type of Mail!
- Heal Balls can be bought in Cherrygrove City, Violet City, Azalea Town, Ecruteak City, Olivine City and Viridian City.
- Net Balls can be bought in Violet City, Azalea Town, Ecruteak City, Olivine City, Blackthorn City and Viridian City.
- Dusk Balls can be bought in Blackthorn City, Lavender Town, Vermilion City, Saffron City and Fuchsia City.
- Nest Balls can be bought in Pewter City and Vermilion City.
- Quick Balls can be bought in Pewter City, Cerulean City, Lavender Town, Vermilion City, Saffron City and Fuchsia City.
You can also get Nest Balls, Dusk Balls and Quick Balls from the woman with the Butterfree at the Safari Zone.
One-Shot Ship Trainers
In the original G/S/C, the trainers on the Fast Ship S.S. Aqua would battle you every time the ship left (Wednesdays and Sundays from Vermilion, Mondays and Fridays from Olivine). In HG/SS, however, they stay "battled" once you've fought them for the first time and subsequent trips won't allow you to battle them again. Thus, you can battle the Vermilion-Olivine trainers once and the Olivine-Vermilion trainers once, but after that the ship is effectively useless. I really don't get why they made this change. Or specifically, I don't get why despite that they made this change, they still make the ship travel faithfully between the regions twice a week in each direction when there is absolutely no reason any sane player would ever use it, since Flying and even the Magnet Train are always faster and the ship no longer has any real function beyond taking you between Kanto and Johto. Or, well, okay, the captain will give you Plates, but that's an awfully trivial feature to have a whole ship there for.
The time it takes to ride in an elevator now actually changes depending on how many floors you're going up or down, so that going one floor up takes only a fifth of the time it takes to go five floors up and so on.
I know I forgot a lot of things here. Contact me to help make this section as complete as possible!
Page last modified January 23 2012 at 00:17 GMT