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Game Review (Snap)

By: NINTENDO                      
Category: Nintendo 64

Content Courtesy of

Pokemon Snap

Say cheese. The Pokemon hit N64 in this clever game and they aren't camera shy. The full review.

There have been many odd videogames since the inception of the home-console, but perhaps none so off-the-wall as Nintendo's Pokemon Snap for Nintendo 64. It is a game centered around Japanese phenomenon turn American pop culture -- Pikachu and gang -- Pocket Monsters (or Pokemon for short). And while this certainly isn't a weird concept in itself, the backbone supporting the game -- that of snapping photos of the crude Pocket Monsters that inhabit it -- is definitely a bit wacky.

Naturally, when IGN64 first previewed the game more than a year ago -- then running on 64DD hardware -- we immediately chalked it up as one of those crazy Japanese fads that just doesn't translate to America. Bear in mind that this was before the craze that is Pokemania had invaded the States and turned our nation's children into Pikachu-starved lunatics hell-bent on anything and everything related to the Nintendo-created monsters. But even if the US had been subject to the Pikachu hype at the time, we probably still wouldn't have predicted a game primarily centered around picture-taking would carry over into the US.

It seems, however, that Nintendo was right and we were wrong.

Pokemon Snap is, at its core, a game about snapping photos of Pocket Monsters in order to earn points -- and it's on rails. But through clever design, intuitive control, lots of traditional secrets and, of course, more than 60 Pokemon to snap pictures of and toy with, it's a game that is a lot of fun in spite of its seemingly simplistic design and nature.

The Facts

  • Snap pictures of your favorite Pocket Monsters in 3D environments.
  • More than 60 Pokemon.
  • Seven levels.
  • Save 60 of your favorite photos to cartridge.
  • Interact with Pokemon by throwing objects at them, playing songs, etc.
  • Loads of hidden characters and secret signs.
  • Rumble Pak support.

The premise behind the HAL-developed Pokemon Snap is simple: Players roll through 3D environments (on rails) and try to snap the very best possible pictures of various Pokemon characters. Of course, there is a lot more to it than that. The game features seven big levels (fully 3D polygonal backdrops and characters) and more than 60 Pocket Monsters. That's a lot of picture snapping. Adding strategy to the process, players need to accomplish a number of different tasks before certain Pokemon will respond (either purposefully or accidentally) and pose for the camera. For example, in the game's Beach level, Pocket Monster Snorlax (also known as IGNpocket's Craig Harris) sleeps peacefully as players cost by on rails, unable to take a decent picture of the giant Pokemon as he rests on the ground. The only way to wake Snorlax is to play him a song on the Poke Flute, which isn't attainable until much further in the game. Therefore, players must build points, advance a few levels and grab the flute, at which time it's possible to come back to the Beach, play the flute for Snorlax (Craig), wake him up and snap an award-winning photo. This sort of strategy is common in Pokemon Snap and works wonders to extend the life and replay value of the game.

Players control Todd, a photographer contracted by Professor Oak to travel to Pokemon Island and snap pictures of the Pocket Monsters in their natural habitat. Helping Todd on his adventure is Zero-One, a vehicle built by the professor himself designed with only two goals in mind: One, take Todd for a cruise through all the areas of Pokemon Island and two, keep the Pokemon safe. Because of this, the vehicle comes to a stop whenever players are about to hit a Pocket Monster, giving the creature a chance to escape unhurt.

Todd begins each level with a film roll capable of snapping 60 photos. Players must decide when to take a picture and when to hold off, but they also need to determine what object to use in order to entice the Pokemon to pose for them in any given situation. Some Pocket Monsters, after all, don't respond to the sound of music; others want food; still others only react to pester balls. Each Pokemon may dictate a different course of action in order to capture the best possible picture. Once players are satisfied with the pictures they have snapped, they can take them to Professor Oak for judgement. The better they are, the more he likes them, the more points players are awarded.

Control is very intuitive. As players don't have a say in what direction Zero-One takes them in, nearly all of the buttons are freed up for other purposes. The analog stick is used to control the direction players face as they coast along on rails. The B button throws pester-balls (which are like stink-bombs and generally bother Pokemon). The Z-trigger zooms the camera. The A button throws food (an apple) and, when the Z-button is pressed (thus zooming the camera), the A button snaps photos. C-down plays the flute, which causes certain Pokemon to dance or react and the R button speeds up Zero-One. Everything controls wonderfully and it really is a lot of fun to just try out different methods on the various Pokemon. Or, if you're anything like us, laugh at them after they have been hit with a stink-inducing pester-ball.

Pokemon Snap does have a fair amount of problems, however. The biggest of which lies in game-depth -- or, as it were, lack of it. The title features only seven levels and takes roughly a few hours to complete. Though developer HAL has done its best to enhance replay value with hidden goodies, the overall quest is far too easy.

Courses include:

  • Beach
  • Tunnel
  • Volcano
  • River
  • Cave
  • Valley
  • Rainbow Cloud

Imagine each course takes an estimated three to five minutes to run through. There is no getting around it, Pokemon Snap is a short experience.

Worse yet, Pokemaniacs are bound to be disappointed with the selection of Pocket Monsters in the game -- roughly 62 out of a possible 151 in all. It looks as though Nintendo 64 owners will have to wait for the US release of Pokemon Stadium before they'll have the chance to play with all of the monsters.

Pokemon Featured in the Game (and their accompanying number):

  • Bulbasaur (001)
  • Charmander (004)
  • Charmeleon (005)
  • Charizard (006)
  • Squirtle (007)
  • Meatapod (011)
  • Butterfree (012)
  • Kakuna (014)
  • Pidgey (016)
  • Pikachu (025)
  • Sandshrew (027)
  • Sandslash (028)
  • Vulpix (037)
  • Jigglypuff (039)
  • Zubat (041)
  • Vileplume (045)
  • Diglett (050)
  • Dugtrio (051)
  • Meowth (052)
  • Psyduck (054)
  • Mankey (056)
  • Growlithe (058)
  • Arcanine (059)
  • Poliwag (060)
  • Weepinbell (070)
  • Victreebel (071)
  • Geodude (074)
  • Graveler (075)
  • Rapidash (078)
  • Slowpoke (079)
  • Slowbro (080)
  • Magemite (081)
  • Magneton (082)
  • Doduo (084)
  • Grimer (088)
  • Muk (089)
  • Shellder (090)
  • Cloyster (091)
  • Haunter (093)
  • Ecectrode (101)
  • Koffing (109)
  • Chansey (113)
  • Kangaskhan (115)
  • Goldeen (118)
  • Staryu (1200
  • Starmie (121)
  • Scyther (123)
  • Jynx (124)
  • Electabuzz (125)
  • Magmar (126)
  • Magikarp (129)
  • Gyarados (130)
  • Lapras (131)
  • Ditto (132)
  • Eevee (133)
  • Porygon (137)
  • Snorlax (143)
  • Articuno (144)
  • Zapdos (145)
  • Moltres (146)
  • Dratini (147)
  • Dragonite (149)
  • Mew (151)

Depth, quite frankly, is our only complaint about Pokemon Snap. Had the game been longer and featured more Pocket Monsters, we would have only criticized the fact that everything runs on rails, which is not really as bothersome as one might think.

Pokemon Snap takes place in full Polygonal 3D environments with a graphic style that screams, ""I might very well be running on the Super Mario 64 engine."" What we mean by this is that levels are generally very bright in appearance and polygon models are equally low in detail and construction. This creates a somewhat generic overall 3D terrain that HAL has done its best to avoid with lots of variation in textures and overall atmosphere, but has not been entirely successful. Hills and grass are a clear-cut example of this as both lack proper curves, giving off an appearance that is much more blocky and polygonal than most games of this type.

With all of this said, Pokemon Snap is by no means an ugly game. Think Super Mario 64, add in more texture variety, improved animation and the like. The characters themselves are what really make the experience worthwhile, and they look exactly as they should only in full 3D. You'll laugh wholeheartedly as Pikachu jumps out in front of you in polygonal glory and you send a pester-ball his way, knocking the creature off his feet. Or maybe you won't... but we will.

Happy. Generic. Funny. All three of these words sum up the audio in Pokemon Snap, which is, for all purposes, neither bad nor particularly good. Throwing objects results in your standard ""throw object"" sound -- a cross between a beep and a flute. Balls bounce off Pokemon with a clunk. Pikachu says, ""Pikachu!"" Other Pocket Monsters sing in harmony. It's everything you'd expect and nothing more. On another level, some character reaction sounds are amusing and the music, which is definitely repetitive, is not terribly annoying.

Pokemon Reviews (Snap) Customer reviews:

Reviews: 1 - 20 of 20  
A customer on Thursday, March 16, 2000

Why would anyone buy this stink pot? All you do is freakin take pictures of stupid pokemon. This unexplainably popular franchise s**ks very much. You can't even go off the track. Take my advice.... do not buy this, you will be sorry.

A customer on Saturday, March 11, 2000

Blows Chunks
If i could pick no stars i would!!i rented it and beat it in an hour!!Don't even rent it,all those people that said this game su*ks there's boring and not fun.Save your money!!

A customer on Friday, January 21, 2000

Good Graphics, Bad Game
The game in itself was really fun on the first day that I played it, but the game got kind of PLAYED OUT in a matter of days. I played it for the Game Boy and it was a lot better than this. But the thing that really bugged me was the lack of game time. I merely beat the game in a matter of days. Sure the graphics were tight, but the game just wore out on me. It is a great rental game but don’t waste your money on a short game like this. Peace Out!!

A customer on Friday, January 21, 2000

What kinda freak would buy this game!
This game is by far the most boring game in the world. How could it be fun to take pictures of little animals and present them to some freak named Professor Oak. Even people who love Pokemon hate this game. If your looking for a game that is boring, goes on tracks, and only has one weapon (a camera) then buy this. If you actually want a good game then save your money.

Brian Rollins ( on Wednesday, January 19, 2000

As if Red, Blue, and Yellow weren't enough...
Now we've got Snap. If this is all it takes to make a million seller, we've got a bigger problems than Y2K. Much bigger. Was this even a game? Michael Brown, you don't know what you're talking about. This game was simply a marketing ploy to suck out any little green papers might be lingering around in your wallet. Excuse me, I mean your parents's wallet. Where's the challenge? Where's the satisfaction of solving complicated puzzles and utilizing special attacks to defeat enemies and attain your goal? I guess it went out with Chrono Trigger.

A customer on Tuesday, January 18, 2000

Boy oh Boy does this game s***
Like many hardcore gamers, I see Pokemon as a plague to our way of life, our very pride as a gamer. Sure, it's okay to have a little cuteness in a game. Banjo-Kazooie, I thought, was an excellent game, even when the cuddly things got to be a little too much to take. This game just crosses the line. The whole point of this game is to go around and take pictures of PokeMon. That's all you do. The game does not end, however. There's no way to beat it, no way to feel that you've accomplished something. That, to me, has been the most maddening thing about the PokeMon games, whether they be Game Boy or otherwise. We gamers can just hope and pray that "PokeMon Stadium" will provide some level of entertainment. At least those PokeMon fight.

A customer on Sunday, January 16, 2000

What game?
I tried Pokemon Snap out at the EB at the airport, and liked it so much that I bought it. Well, I beat it in less than a day. Don't get me wrong, it was fun while it lasted, and it has excellent graphics. But when you get down to it there isn't much game at all. Once you snap a picture of Mew, you see the credits, and then Prof. Oak asks you to beat these impossible high scores. If only they added... let's say... ten more levels to the game, it would be worth buying.

A customer on Sunday, January 16, 2000

Gets boring fast
First of all I’m not giving this game a bad review just because its Pokemon. I think Pokemon is great but this game is just plain bad. Pokemon Snap started off good but I finished it in a day. I tried to make the experience longer by taking better pictures but it was just too boring. This game is perfect for a rental but I don’t recommend you buying it.

A customer on Sunday, January 16, 2000

It S****!
This game is HORRIBLE! Crappy graphics,no replay value and THIS GAME REALLY S****!

A customer on Tuesday, January 04, 2000

No Good!
This game has no point! The graphics may be good, but that's the end of the story. All you do is ride around in a little ship and take pictures. pretty dumb if you ask me. Besides. Anybody over 2nd grade know that "Pokemon" are totally stupid.

Michael Brown ( on Thursday, December 30, 1999

Eating my words!
When Pokemon Snap first came out, I was sure it wouldn't be worth renting, let alone buying. While I was at blockbuster I saw the little sticker printer machine and decided to try it out (the game). I left the video store that night with a rented copy of pokemon snap. And a week later I bought it. The game does have replay value if you don't use a guide to get you through the game. (It took me five times through one course to find pikachu on a stump and the picture was beautiful). I have some of my favorite pics digitized on my computer. I admit, I'm a 22 year old poke'nut.

A customer on Monday, December 27, 1999

This game is pour!!!!!!!!!!
Pokemon are the stupidest things I have ever heard of. I did not know much about them when I bought the game. The game has good graphics but it is way too easy. And there is really no point.

A customer on Friday, December 24, 1999

First of all, the game, pokemon snap is such a poor game; it requires no skill and has no point. All you do is go around trying to take pic’s of some 'rare' pokemon, and the game doesn’t even have all of the pokemon. It is kinda like the game micro machines 64. I can’t find a specific reason why the game is charged at fifty dollars, when you could buy 25 jumbo jacks and 50 tacos. Well, for all you pokemon zealots out there, I have one thing to say, buy the game and have fun...(for like twenty minutes)

some one ( on Friday, December 24, 1999

Really cool, but really short...
I went out and bought Pokemon snap about a week after it came out. When i played, it had great graphics, and I love the way they had the pokémon marching around with other pokémon, and then you being able to get them into a fight by throwing a piece of food in between them! For me, this was a short game to finish, but if you know what to do, it has a lot of replay value, like causing them to fight, or evolve, or some levels have diffrent events that happen depending what you do earlier in the level. I gave this 4 stars cause it was so darn short! I beat it the first day i bought it! Still, with great graphics and the funny antics of the pokémon, this is the game for Pokémaniacs and photragphers alike.

A customer on Thursday, December 23, 1999

An average game
Although this game got unbelievably BORING after about 2 weeks I do have to give it some credit for it being the first of its kind. I know all of you POKEMON fans are probably steamed by now from reading this posting but I certainly am NOT disappointed with this game. If you guys are wondering why sooo many people thought this game ROCKED...I have the answer and it’s because all of the POKE-FANS have been waiting to see their beloved POKEMON in 3-D. Although I have lately been fascinated with the "POKEMON craze" myself, according to the laws of "gameplay" and "replay value" it would be wrong to give this game any more than a "3 out of 5"

A customer on Thursday, December 23, 1999

This is the most incredibly dull game I have played in a long time. There is no replay value whatsoever.

A customer on Wednesday, December 22, 1999

Pokemon Snap
Pokemon Snap is a very graphical game, much improved and has better graphics than the one created for the system: Game Boy and Game Boy color. However, the objective of this game is to try to take pictures of all of the creatures called pokemon in the game. There’s no badges or catching pokemon to complete the pokedex in this game. This game is more like fishing, you have to lure the pokemon out of hiding and close up in the open. The primary tools in this game are: apples, pester balls, the pokeflute, and the most important tool of the game, the camera.
The apples are to lure the hidden pokemon out to the open; they come out to eat it.
The pester balls are used for either stunning or for rushing out the pokemon from hiding, usually a direct hit to the pokemon by this tool usually causes them to be stunned for about three seconds or even faint. The pokeflute is used to wake up sleeping pokemon like the Snorlax or Vileplume or is used to create better pictures because the pokemon ar

A customer on Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Good to Rent, Not to Buy
Pokemon Snap is yet another example of over hyped Pokemon memorabilia by Nintendo. This game is not for anyone who loves action in games, or likes a lot of strategy. It is a game that is kind of fun, for a day at most. At it's price, I'd suggest renting it.
All you do in this game is photograph Pokemon and try to get the best shots possible. This can be entertaining to some, but if you question you love of Pokemon and/or you don't like photography, this game is not for you.

A customer on Sunday, December 19, 1999

Very Good
I think this game is very good and very easy! I recommend this game to all poke' freaks bye!

A customer on Sunday, December 19, 1999

What happened here??
If you have been living in a cave for the last year or so you would know that POKEMON are one of the hottest things since those irritating virtual pets. Well The POKEMON craze has finally hit the N64 with it’s first of many games, POKEMON SNAP. Now, the objective of this game is that you are a photographer and Professor Oak hires you. He asks you to bring back pictures of rare pokemon and then he will rate your pictures, and those will be kept in a scrapbook. While the game has very colorful graphics and some mellow bells and whistles it does fall straight down after a week or two. The reason why is NINTENDO didn’t even care to include all 150 POKEMON! Come on, there are barely 80 of them. The stages are also short, but still consist of a large number of pokemon. And the challenges are hardly challenging. My own little bro got them done in less then 5 min. So to me, the only thing that made this game a good or at least decent game is the lack of pokemon and the length of all the stages  

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Last updated  2008/09/28 05:06:29 PDT