We knew it was just a matter of time before Nintendo and Game Freak pumped out the next adventures in the ongoing Pokemon series. Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, due out in 2010, are revamped editions of two of the most popular games, Pokemon Gold and Silver for the Game Boy Color. These enhanced remakes sport new touch-ups and features that use the Nintendo DS touch-screen.
In the game, you'll head back to the land of Johto with either a male or female trainer, along with three Pokemon characters in tow. Cyndaquil, Chikorita and Totodile are available, each with their own specific abilities that prove useful in combat.
Totodile, for instance, is a miniature crocodile that's a lot stronger than he looks. His claws and spiked teeth make him lethal to get near, and his water attacks harm from a distance. Chikorita, a green noseless creature with a flowing lock of hair, is a grass-type Pokemon that shoots vines from its neck and generates leaves used for healing. The Cyndaquil, the ugliest of the three, is a Fire-type Pokemon that resembles a cross between a platypus and a penguin. It shoots fire from its back, making it lethal from behind.
Your goal is to travel through Johto, capturing new Pokemon in battle. From there, you'll face rival trainers, explore new battle arenas, make friends and visit Pokemon Centers. One cool touch with the game is being able to revisit locations you remember from the previous Gold and Silver adventures, only to notice they've gone through some changes. What was once a small, underutilized Center is now fully expanded, with more helpful staff and items to make your Pokemon stronger than ever. Other visual touches will make use of the DS hardware as well, including improved character animations and larger parts of the world to explore. No word yet if any hidden areas are in the game, but it wouldn't surprise us if Game Freak threw some in.
The major difference between the previous Gold and Silver games and these rebuilds is the revamped gameplay. You'll use the DS touch-screen throughout the game, managing your Pokemon and keeping tabs on other goods. Occasionally, you'll also complete sliding piece puzzles, forming pictures of Pokemon to earn bonuses. In addition, the game will have online compatibility, allowing you to trade Pokemon with fellow users, and perhaps face them in combat.
Finally, both Pokemon HeartGold and Pokemon SoulSilver will come with a neat accessory, officially confirmed by Nintendo of America. Called the PokeWalker, this device is a red-and-white colored handheld system, similar to the old Tamagotchis. It lets you download a chosen Pokemon to take on the road with you, training it in daily activities and improving its talents. Once you're done or return back to your DS, you upload it back into your game, where it'll use new abilities it acquired. While we can't imagine who would go on the road without taking their game system (the DS is portable, after all), this is a nice little goodie if you're a Poke-fan.
Although we've seen our fair share of Pokemon adventures, millions of players still appreciate them. So, you'll find plenty of comfort in the upcoming HeartGold and SoulSilver, especially if you're a Gold and Silver veteran. You won't have to wait long for them, either. They're both scheduled to ship on March 14th. If that doesn't call for a Poke-Celebration, we're not sure what does.