Pokémon HeartGold Version, and it's sister game SoulSilver Version (ポケットモンスター ハートゴールド・ソウルシルバー|Poketto Monsutā Hātogōrudo Sōrushirubā in Japan), are enhanced remakes of the 1999 video games Pokémon Gold Version and Pokémon Silver Version. The games are part of the Pokémon series of role-playing video games, and were developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS. First released in Japan on September 12, 2009, the games were later released to North America, Australia, and Europe during March 2010.
Pokémon HeartGold Version and SoulSilver Version take place in the Johto region of the franchise's fictional universe, which features special creatures called Pokémon. The basic goal of the game is to become the best Pokémon trainer in the Johto and Kanto regions, which is done by raising and cataloguing Pokémon and defeating other trainers. The games are bundled with a peripheral called the Pokéwalker, a pedometer that resembles a Poké Ball which can connect to the Nintendo DS game card via infrared signals.
Game director Shigeki Morimoto aimed to respect the feelings of those who played the previous games, while also ensuring that it felt like an new game to those that were introduced to the series in more recent years. Reception to the games was highly positive, with the two being amongst the highest rated DS games of all time on Metacritic. Commercially, the two are among the highest-selling handheld games of all time, with their combined sales being 10 million units as of July 29, 2010.
Plot and setting
Similar to Pokémon Gold Version and Silver Version, Pokémon HeartGold Version and SoulSilver Version take place in the Johto region of the franchise's fictional universe. The universe centers on the existence of creatures, called Pokémon, with special abilities. The silent protagonist is a young Pokémon trainer who lives in New Bark Town. At the beginning of the games, the player chooses either a Chikorita, Cyndaquil, or Totodile as their starter Pokémon from Professor Elm. After performing a delivery for the professor, he decides to let the player keep the Pokémon and start them on a journey.
The goal of the game is to become the best trainer in Johto and Kanto, which is done by raising Pokémon, completing a catalogue of Pokémon called a Pokédex, defeating the eight Gym Leaders in Johto for Gym Badges, challenging the best trainers in the region known as the Elite Four and the Champion, and then defeating the eight Gym Leaders in the Kanto region. Finally, the player may face off against Red atop Mt. Silver, who serves as the game's final boss.
Throughout the game, the player will battle against members of Team Rocket, a criminal organization originally from Kanto. They were originally defeated by the protagonist of Pokémon FireRed Version and LeafGreen Version, and have attempted to come back as an organization, while awaiting the return of their leader, Giovanni. To attempt to contact him, they take over the radio tower and broadcast a message calling out to him.
During certain points in the game, the player's rival will battle the protagonist in a test of skills. Throughout the game, the player encounters Kimono Girls. After battling all of them in a row, they allow the player to encounter a legendary bird specific to each game (Ho-Oh in HeartGold Version, and Lugia in SoulSilver Version).
Pokémon HeartGold Version and SoulSilver Version are role-playing video games with adventure elements. The basic mechanics of the games are largely the same as their predecessors'. As with all Pokémon games for hand-held consoles, gameplay is viewed from a third-person overhead perspective, and consists of three basic screens: a field map, in which the player navigates the main character; a battle screen; and the menu, in which the player configures his party, items, or gameplay settings. The player begins the game with one Pokémon and can capture more using Poké Balls. The player can also use the Pokémon to battle others.
When the player encounters a wild Pokémon or is challenged by a trainer to a battle, the screen switches to a turn-based battle screen where the Pokémon fight. During battle, the player may fight, use an item, switch the active Pokémon, or flee (the last is not an option in battles against trainers). Pokémon have hit points (HP), which is displayed during combat; when a Pokémon's HP is reduced to zero, it faints and cannot battle unless taken to a Pokémon Center or healed or revived with a Pokémon skill or item. If the player's Pokémon defeats the opposing Pokémon (causes it to faint), it receives experience points. After accumulating enough experience points, it will level up; most Pokémon evolve into a new species of Pokémon when they reach a certain level, or when certain conditions are met (commonly, how much a Pokémon statistically 'likes' its trainer).
Pokémon HeartGold Version and SoulSilver Version allow the first Pokémon in the player's party to follow them, echoing a mechanic in Pokémon Yellow in which Pikachu follows the player. Apart from Yellow, this mechanic was also used in Pokémon Diamond Version,Pearl Version and Platinum Version in a limited fashion: when the player is in Amity Park with a cute Pokémon. The player may talk to the Pokémon, and occasionally it may pick up items. A new minigame called the Pokéathlon (called Pokéthlon in Japan) uses the Nintendo DS touchscreen and allows Pokémon to compete in events such as hurdling. The Japanese versions retain slot machines found in previous games, while the international releases of the titles replace the slot machines with a new game called "Voltorb Flip", described as a cross between Minesweeper and Picross.
Connectivity to other devices
The games are bundled with a peripheral called the Pokéwalker, a pedometer that resembles a Poké Ball which can connect to the Nintendo DS game card via infrared signals in a fashion similar to another Nintendo DS game Personal Trainer: Walking. The Pokéwalker can hold one Pokémon at any time, and must be registered with a single cartridge of the game. Walking with a Pokéwalker holding a Pokémon can cause the Pokémon to increase one level and cause its friendliness to increase, as well as earning "watts," an in-game currency that can be used to catch wild Pokémon and dowse for items. Despite the device being included with every game, Nintendo announced that the games would carry standard pricing (around ¥4,800 in Japan).HeartGold Version and SoulSilver Version can access the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to trade, battle, and interact with other players of the games, as well as players of Pokémon Diamond Version, Pearl Version, and Platinum Version. After completing a special Wi-Fi mission download on Pokémon Ranger: Path of Light, the player can send a Deoxys to HeartGold Version and SoulSilver Version.