Pokémon Snap was released back in 1999 on the Nintendo 64. Developed by HAL Laboratory and PAX Softnica, Pokémon Snap was a different kind of Pokémon game than what we were used to playing. It was a first-person-on-rails shooter that used a camera instead of a gun and Pokémon instead of enemies. Basically, the whole game is nothing but you taking photos of Pokémon. Yes, it’s that simple.
Pokémon Snap takes place on Pokémon Island where Professor Oak has once again hired some grunt to help him complete his research. You play as Todd Snap, a Pokémon photographer who is always looking to take the perfect shot. Professor Oak has hired you to help him complete the Pokémon Report by traveling to different areas on Pokémon Island and taking photographs of all the Pokémon that inhabit the area. There are only 7 total areas in the game, but the game does a nice job when it comes to level variety. You’ll travel to several different places including a beach, cave, volcano, and even down a fast paced river.
Each level offers a different variety of Pokémon with very few Pokémon appearing in multiple levels. You’ll be able to nab a shot of a Pikachu or Zubat in multiple levels, but Pokémon like Gyrados and Vileplume are exclusive to one level. To get some of the level exclusive Pokémon like Gyrados or Vileplue, you’ll need to unlock special equipment and/or perform a certain task during the level. The extra equipment such as the Poke’ Flute or the Pester balls can be obtained by just plaything through the game. However, to photograph all of the Pokémon, you will have to go back and replay levels as you will not have unlocked some of the necessary equipment on your first go around.
After completing a level, you’ll be asked to select your best photo of each Pokémon and you’ll be scored based on your shot. You get points for the Pokémon’s size, if it’s in the center of the frame, its pose, and extra points can earned if there are multiple of the same Pokémon in a shot or if it’s in a special pose. After Professor Oak grades you harder than a high school teacher that hates you, your points will get put into an overall point pool which will unlock levels as well as extra equipment.
One thing I really enjoyed about Pokémon Snap was that all of the Pokémon voices were the same ones from the anime. So if you’ve ever watched Season 1 of Pokémon, you’ll feel right at home with this game. It should also be noted that this game only contains generation 1 Pokémon and only features 63 of the original 151.
Pokémon Snap is definitely one of my favorite Nintendo 64 games. Sure the game isn’t perfect, but it’s a nice change of pace from other Pokémon games. The game can be finished in a couple hours and is definitely a good way to spend an afternoon or evening.