|Pocket Monster Saphire|
|Publisher||"New Game Color Advance" (Saphire), Sintax (Ruby/Carbuncle)|
|Console||Game Boy Color|
|Sound engine||Dai-2-Ji Super Robot Taisen G|
|Alternate names/hacks|| Pokémon Sapphire Version, Pocket Monster Ruby,|
2003 Pocket Monster Carbuncle, possibly Digimom Sapphii & Digimon Crystal II
Pocket Monster Saphire (Pokémon: Sapphire Version on the packaging) is a Pokémon-based strategy RPG for the Game Boy Color.
After winning the long-time lost Improbity Badge, the Rocket Brigade barbarically destroy the peace of Magic Baby's world, even more they crazily loot previous Magic Baby. Being aware of this, Xiaozhi and his pals decide to stop their devilry but only to be imprisoned.
In order to find the scattered host and rescue the Pocket Monsters looted by the Rocket Brigade, Pikachu, though losing touch with Xiaozhi, decided to go out for a battle with his pals. However, all the way are full of complicated problems, this time...
Can they really get out of all these problem in a whole skin?
The main character is initially Pichu, but evolves into Pikachu and then Raichu, although its sprite on the map screen is always Pikachu. As you progress through the game you recruit other Pokémon to your cause to a total of 20, four of each type (celerity, balance, strength, super power and defence, which roughly correspond to electricity/flying, water/grass, fighting/fire, psychic/normal, rock/ground types in the original games, with each type being strong against the next one).
Your team travels around the world map fighting battles in areas loosely based on those from the first two generations of Pokemon games. Some battles are required to progress, others give you an item which is required to progress elsewhere, others are completely optional but may give you a new team member or evolution badge. Towns also have a "palaestra" in which you can fight as many times as you like (standard battles can only be played once) in order to level up your Pokemon.
Battles take a standard strategy RPG format, with turn-based movement around a large map with groups of enemy Pokemon scattered around. Each turn a Pokemon can move and then carry out one other action - either a standard attack, a special move (which consumes SP - usually an attack, sometimes a healing move) or an item. When a Pokemon attacks a short attacking animation plays, followed by the target Pokemon counterattacking. Stages include a number of treasure chests (containing items) and houses, the residents of which will give a short line of dialogue and sometimes an item. Each stage also usually has a boss, which is much stronger but unable to move. Bosses often have the ability to completely heal themselves and in later stages are extremely evasive making it hard for the player's attacks to hit. Usually when defeated, a boss will deliver a line of dialogue about being "controlled" (presumably by the Improbity Badge).
Pokemon level up as they gain experience, and learn new special attacks (up to a maximum of 4, roughly based on the moves they learn in the real Pokemon games) as they do so. The level is capped level 20 at the first evolution and 40 at the second. Pokemon can be evolved by visiting the "Baby Alliance" building, provided you have the required "badges" (obtained from treasure chests, houses in levels and after battle), which boosts their stats but can prevent them from learning certain moves if done too early. Most Pokémon evolve twice, but those that join at a level above 20 will only evolve once - some of these progress straight from the first stage to the third as a result. Torchic, joining the player's team at level 28, is the only case of skipping an evolution. Despite originally being a Pokemon that evolves twice, Torchic will only evolve once in this game and skip its second stage, Combusken.
Every Pokemon gets a chance to learn a new skill at these three intervals; level 5 to level 10, level 15 to level 20, and level 30 to level 35. Learning a new skill is guaranteed at the end of the interval if the Pokemon failed to learn it at previous five levels.
For the Pokemons that evolve twice, their first two skills can be learned by raising their level in the basic form, third skill can be learned by raising their level in the first evolution form, and fourth skill comes with their second and final evolution regardless the level. Doing the first evolution prior to level 10 makes these second-stage Pokemons learn their third skill at level 5 to level 10, otherwise they will learn the skill at level 30 to level 35.
For the Pokemons that evolve only once, they already have their first two skills when recruited. Their third skill comes with their first and only evolution, and fourth skill requires level up in their evolved form. Since the last skill-learning interval is level 30 to 35, evolving these Pokemons at level 35 or higher will prevent them from learning the fourth skill.
If a Pokemon is evolved before learning their pre-evolution only skills, that Pokemon will end up having less than four skills.
All text in the game is written in English, albeit poorly translated (though usually at least understandable) and with no concern for line breaks - text simply wraps in the middle of the word. Most Pokemon names appear to be either romanised or literally translated from their Chinese names, which are themselves based on the Japanese names, leading to names such as "Qutstanding nun tortoise" (Squirtle), "armordigimon" (Rhydon) & "Strongbear" (Feraligatr). Some Pokemon even have the same names; for example, both Charmeleon and Charizard are named "Firedragon". The only two correctly named are Pikachu and Latias.
"Pokemon" and "Pocket Monsters" are also extremely rarely used in dialogue, usually replaced by "Magic Baby".
- In one battle towards the end, the player may be attacked by invisible Meganiums and Raichus which cannot be seen or defeated unless you save and reload the battle.
- Dialogue towards the end features garbage characters where symbols were entered in Chinese encoding - _D instead of a Chinese-style period and _K instead of an ellipsis, where _ is a seemingly random tile from some graphically stored text (eg character and move names).
- The number of evolution badges you have always appears multiplied by 10.
- Some skill description texts show incorrect number for the skill's base power, such as "pound" having power of 80 instead of actual 60, and 60 for "death ray" which actually has 80 base power. This problem is not present in Chinese language variants.
Possible Carbuncle/Ruby-only glitches
The following have only been encountered in the Carbuncle/Ruby version so far (but may also occur in Saphire)
- If you literally rush through the menus the game crashes while saving, corrupting the player's save. The only way to prevent this from happening is to wait 7 seconds before selecting an option or 5 seconds before moving the menu cursor.
- Sometimes one of the player's characters will disappear off the screen in between turns. The vanished character will remain gone for the rest of the game, but the player won't be able to move a character to that missing one's spot during the battle it vanished from (the game still recognizes something being there.) Also during these glitchy moments, one of the player's characters will get attacked by itself if gameplay is continued, slowly "falling apart."
- The game can show garbled graphics at the start of a fight, and the gameplay will freeze shortly afterwards.
List of Pokémon
- Frogseed (Bulbasaur)
- Frog grass (Ivysaur)
- Frogflower (Venusaur)
- Littlefiredragon (Charmander)
- Firedragon (Charmeleon)
- Firedragon (Charizard)
- Qutstading nuntortoise (Squirtle)
- BoBo (Pidgey)
- Bibitortoise (Pidgeotto)
- Leichu (Raichu)
- Fat D (Jigglypuff)
- Butter D (Wigglytuff)
- Walkgrass (Oddish)
- Monkey monster (Mankey)
- Kaicy (Abra)
- Yochila (Kadabra)
- Strongwrist (Machop)
- Giststone (Geodude)
- LoLoRock (Graveler)
- LoLorock (Golem)
- Changer Monster (Ditto)
- Mini Dragon (Dratini)
- Hakedragon (Dragonair)
- Mumleaf (Chikorita)
- Fireballrat (Cyndaquil)
- Flamesrat (Quilava)
- Littlecrocodile (Totodile)
- Bluecrocodile (Croconaw)
- Strongbear (Feraligatr)
- Piku (Pichu)
- Baby D (Igglybuff)
- Steeldragon (Steelix)
- Buly (Snubbull)
- Baerla (Tyrogue)
- Yukila (Larvitar)
- Bankila (Tyranitar)
- Lokia (Lugia)
- Phoenix (Ho-Oh)
- Qimoly (Treecko)
- Yacamo (Torchic)
- Sukalo (Mudkip)
- Piliba (Pelipper)
- Mushroom moster (Shroomish)
- Lulili (Azurril)
Another version of this game, released by Sintax, is titled Pocket Monster Ruby on the title screen and 2003 Pocket Monster Carbuncle on the packaging. The title screen and stage graphics are different, but everything else appears to be identical. Two further games listed on Sintax's website, called Digimom Sapphii and Digimon Crystal II, appear to recycle at least the storyline of this game, although in the latter case with Digimon characters and better English.
While the alternate Ruby/Carbuncle version was released by Sintax, the Saphire version does not feature any Sintax logos or copyrights either in-game or on the packaging (or any others, aside from those on the box stolen from Croc 2), so it may have been published by another company. This unknown company may also have published Rockman Zero, a version of Vast Fame's Zook Hero 2, based on both games' "New Game Color Advance" logo. It was presumably released before the US version of the real Pokémon Sapphire, as its box art is based on a pre-release version with RP (Rating Pending) ESRB rating.
Its developer is unknown, but it may be BBD, who developed a large number of Sintax's other games. In any case the developer is presumably Taiwanese and not from mainland China (for example), as the term "Magic Baby" is derived from 神奇寶貝, the Chinese language name used for Pokemon specifically in Taiwan prior to 2016. Further supporting the theory that the developer is not from the mainland is the presence of the aforementioned garbage characters, which are encoded in Big5 (Traditional) rather than GB (Simplified) encoding.
- The music in this game is stolen from Dai-2-Ji Super Robot Taisen G. In addition to this, one of the game's headers is Robot War v3.0, so it may be based on an as-yet-undiscovered Super Robot Wars pirate.
- There are graphics in the ROM left over from other games, including some unknown sprites, Chinese text from SKOB's Fire Emblem Gaiden, and a list of items. Also, Saphire version contains unused spinning Sintax logo inside the ROM near the title screen graphics.
- This game uses fonts from the DOS program PCPaint, which were also used in games by Gamtec, Chuanpu, Vast Fame, and Super Game plus certain early Waixing games.
- The title of the 2003 Pocket Monster Carbuncle release comes from the Chinese word for Ruby, 紅寶石 (Hóng bǎo shí) used in the Chinese game's title, which can translate to either Ruby or Carbuncle in English.