GBAtemp Recommends: Pokemon Trading Card Game 2

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With Pokémon being the absolute juggernaut of a franchise that it is, it would be hard to imagine any of the games being deemed not important enough to get a localization. But that’s what happened to Pokémon Card GB2: Here Comes Team GR! It launched in Japan for the Game Boy Color in 2001, eight days after the new and shiny Game Boy Advance arrived on the scene, which is likely why it never got a western release. As the name implies, the game is based on the ever-popular Pokémon TCG.

Building upon the first entry, Pokemon Card GB--Pokemon Trading Card Game, as it’s known stateside--GB2 is effectively better in every possible way, existing as a “Definitive Edition” of sorts. Which is a bit of a shame when you consider we never got this hugely improved version. Where the original featured around 200 cards from the first three expansion sets, the sequel doubles the amount to 441, and even includes the “Dark Pokemon” cards from the Team Rocket sets. You’re still only limited to the original 151 creatures from Kanto (except a special Lugia card), but the extra cards allow you to make much more varied decks than before.

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Pokemon Card GB 2 - GR Dan Sanjoud! (English v1.0).png

Pokemon Card GB2 starts off in a rather dramatic fashion; following directly after the first game, the new Team Great Rocket suddenly shows up and magically steals everyone’s Pokemon cards, including yours. Since you’re the newly crowned Pokemon TCG Grand Champion, it’s up to you to defeat them and win everyone’s cards back, with nothing but a handful of weak and basic cards.

As you defeat others, you’ll win booster packs, which have a randomized set of Pokemon cards. Other NPCs will also give you certain cards for free, or you can trade for rare ones such as Mewtwo. You’ll be using the cards to create decks in order to take on each of the Team Great Rocket bosses, who all serve as stand-ins for “Gym Leaders” and use very specific decks with type weaknesses you can exploit.

When it came to collecting Pokemon cards as a kid, I never actually played the trading card game itself, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other kids did the exact same. I just collected the rare shiny holographic cards with cool Pokemon; whoever had the most awesome, rarest Pokemon cards, won. Here, things obviously work a little differently. Card battles follow the exact rules of the TCG: you have a deck of 60 cards and shuffle them. Prize cards are placed on the table, and once you’ve claimed all of them, or you’ve knocked out all of your opponent's Pokemon, you win.

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You’ll need to rely on a skillfully built card deck, and at times, complete luck and RNG in order to win your fights. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do; the luck won’t be in your favor, and you’re stuck in a no-win situation. The AI in the game is crafty, too, and if they notice you’ve got the type advantage, or you’re about to knock out their card, they’ll retreat and hunker down, even if it means they won’t have the energy cards equipped to fight back. It makes for some engaging, and enraging, boss fights.

For a Game Boy Color game, GB2 also manages to render the Pokemon cards incredibly well. Despite the small, low res screen, the pixelated versions of the cards are scaled down perfectly, looking just like their real-world counterparts. It also uses the sprites from the mainline Pokemon games, so there’s a good few amusing moments of seeing Trainer Red as a random generic card player. You’ll also be treated to a very small, but great soundtrack that has no right to sound as epic as it does for a simple card game.

If you’re in over your head, or you don’t exactly know how to play the TCG, it’s okay, because the game does a wonderful job at explaining it, likely assuming plenty of players have never followed the actual rules. There’s plenty of resources at the professor’s lab to help grade you on your deck builds, and inform you if you need more energy or trainer cards to help you win. They’re useful tips, and the game itself is very fun and satisfying once you know how it works.

With so many cards to collect and two different islands to conquer, Pokemon GB 2 has a lot of content to offer. While it does feel a little outdated with the lack of even Johto Pokemon, it’s still incredibly fun. And thanks to an awesome fan translation patch made by Artemis251, you can finally play this little piece of lost Pokemon history in complete English!



I hope you enjoyed this edition of GBAtemp Recommends. If you'd like to see more, leave your feedback in the thread below or check out our previous articles.

 

Dogson

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Love the improved soundtrack in the sequel and all the new songs, some of the best game music for the platform.

The same Hudson team developed two card games before they made the two Pokemon ones. Miracle of the Zone (GB) and Miracle of the Zone II (GBC), really high quality stuff also based on an IRL card game, but shame there's no translations made. Not many even realize we probably wouldn't have gotten PTCG1+2 if it wasn't for those.

You can even hear the similarities.
 

Desconocido90

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It's an excellent game and saga. I played the first game a lot, and once it was translated I finished the 2nd part twice.

Nintendo missed the oportunity of giving us a sequel for GBA with more spectacular pixelart... or a DS/3DS game that used the dual screen to show more info or the rival's table.

I tried the free-to-play TCG for Android... but it isn't the same.
 
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