Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver are considered by many to be the best games in the Pokemon franchise. Giving players more options, Pokemon, and customization, all with the classic pixel art, was seen as the series’ peak. But while looking back on the games, there are some facts that players tend to forget.
Whether small details or big changes, there’s always something new to learn. This article will include six incredible facts that will bring back memories for veteran players and explain nostalgic features for fans getting into the games.
Before Pokemon GO, fans had to use the Pokewalker to catch and collect Pokemon on the go. Released with HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Pokewalker counted daily steps and contributed them to a digital “currency” used to unlock items or capture Pokemon.
Players would have to take 20 steps to earn one watt, with 10 watts needed to encounter a Pokemon behind one of four patches of grass. The more steps you take, the more areas and Pokemon you can encounter. There were also routes you could set before walking with a pre-listed set of Pokemon on those routes.
Much like how Pokemon GO spawns Pokemon of your region, the Pokewalker had players set an area they wished to explore. While this device is most likely known to fans at the time, it has since become a relic of the past.
However, that doesn’t take away from the fun and excitement it gave, allowing transferring Pokemon to your HG/SS game. Plus, exercise is always good, especially for us who sit around and play Pokemon.
5. Kanto Region
Everyone can remember the first time they booted up Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow and step food outside of Pallet Town. Exploring the Kanto region was exciting and fresh, as Pokemon was an unknown gem then. As the games progressed, new regions appeared, giving players new locations and regional Pokemon.
What stood out in HeartGold/SoulSilver was that players could return to the Kanto region after defeating the Elite Four and Pokemon Champion in the Johto region. In addition to catching Kanto Pokemon, players could battle the eight Gym Leaders and explore the nostalgic area.
You may not have known this existed without beating HG/SS. Considering how great and expansive the games are, it’s worth the effort.
4. Apricorn Balls
One of the strangest mechanics in HeartGold/SoulSilver was collecting fruit that could be turned into Pokeballs. By collecting Apricorns during your adventure, you can take them to Kurt in Azalea Town. There, he will transform them into their corresponding Pokeball, which depends on the color of the fruit. HG/SS improved their function by allowing multiple Apricorn Balls to be created simultaneously.
They can also be made into drinks that improve the performance of Pokemon in Pokeathlon competitions. Although limited in the future titles, Apricorn Balls were a fun feature that added more options for players.
3. Following Pokemon
The feature of Pokemon walking behind the player wasn’t created or invented in HeartGold and SoulSilver, but it was expanded upon. The first time a Pokemon walked behind a trainer was in Pokemon Yellow with Pikachu. However, it was only Pikachu and didn’t allow for any other Pokemon to come out of their Pokeball.
Contrast that with HG/SS, which had over 490 Pokemon that could follow behind the player. This went a step further, with the Pokemon retaining their evolution forms and shininess while outside. Some unique mechanics showed attention to detail, like Pokemon starting battles from the side of the screen instead of being thrown out of a Pokeball.
2. Safari Zone
The Safari Zone was first introduced in the original Pokemon games. These areas would have random encounters with a set list of Pokemon in each area. Their encounter rates varied a lot, with some having a 1% chance of encountering. HeartGold/SoulSilver brings back the Safari Zone to Johto but improves the quality of life.
There are no time limits or step counters, so players can spend as long as they want without feeling rushed. Players can also customize the map, putting one area at the start. This removes the need to walk to the end just for the chance at an encounter. Additionally, objects could be placed in the areas that would increase the encounter rate for certain Pokemon.
HeartGold/SoulSilver were not nonlinear games as we know them today. Looking back, the games had clear paths they wanted players to take. However, as the games progressed, more restrictions were added to keep players in line. Players could decide to go to one Gym over another, but this was more so from the lack of control on the developer’s part.
You could go to a higher level area if you so chose, but your Pokemon probably would be unleveled, and you’d have to return to the “main” route as intended. This lack of control is still praised by fans today, with some wishing it would return instead of being forced on the same path every time. Not only does it ruin replayability, but it makes players feel their journeys are all the same.