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SummaryFinal Fantasy in the Poke-Verse
The GoodJust to clarify, the main difference between Yellow and Red/Blue is that you don't choose to start with one of three Pokemon (Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle) but, just like in the animated series, with Pikachu. Oh, and it has some Color too, if you own a GBC or GBA, which Blue and Red did not.
Well, essentially it's a role-playing game. I'm very sure that it borrows heavily from the early Final Fantasy adventures for the original Game Boy (remember those?), although in a more child-oriented world. Thus, it appeases both the Pokemon-lover (and I do admit it, I am one - Pokemon certainly had more class and style than the later clones like Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc.) as well as the role-player, which I also have been for many years. Your "party" are actually up to 6 Pokemon that you can raise in levels and customize via items called "training machines", etc., you explore the landscape and battle "boss monsters" (okay, rivaling gym leaders) and "wandering monsters" (rivaling trainers), but same concept really. The game is a lot of fun with the right difficulty level - high enough to be challenging, yet low enough to allow fairly fluid advancement.
Also, the replay value is very high - especially if you own a N64 with Pokemon Stadium. Thus, you can keep leveling your Pokemon and catch and explore more even after beating the game (or while still beating the game, thus keeping it from being linear). If you own an N64, you can import and export your Pokemon - and, more importantly, save your Pokemon, then restart your game and gain experience and items all over again. I simply LOVED the Pokemon Yellow/Pokemon Stadium combo, which basically improved both games tremendously and spawned the current GameCube/e-Reader/GameBoy Advance interaction.
The BadWell, if you DON'T have the Pokemon Stadium, the replay value drops from very high to zero. You actually have to delete your Pokemon to restart, and you have to restart in order to gain certain skills/items (a lot only exist once in the game). Also, it's not really a "stand-alone" version of the game - initially, there were Pokemon Blue and Red, and by linking the two, you could eventually get all 150 Pokemon, as some only existed in Blue and some only in Red. Yellow has a new set; however Blue+Yellow doesn't give you all, neither does Red+Yellow, thus to complete a collection of all 150 you STILL had to own Blue+Red, thus making Yellow useless for that purpose.
Also, the fact that you HAVE to start with Pikachu is a little silly... since the storyline deviates zero from Red/Blue, the first "boss" you have to defeat is the Rock/Ground trainer, against whom Pikachu is useless, thus causing one of the harder battles in the game fairly early. That's just being shortsighted, promote a game in which you finally can play with Pikachu (YEE-HAW!!!) but when you actually have to use him to win a big battle, he sucks (DOH!) and he can't evolve either because he never does in the series.
Oh, and you can't transfer Pokemon to the new GameCube/GB Advance Pokemon games, so if you get those, your collection of raised and nurtured Pokemon starts all over again. Would it really have killed Nintendo to allow this?