A Pokemon Rip-Off!
Val & Eric
We couldn't believe our eyes. It was a new Pokemon game. Upon closer inspection,
however, the tell tale signs of a pirated cart soon became apparent. There weren't any Nintendo or Gamefreak trademarks,
nor were there any English instruction on the packaging. Everything printed on the box was in Chinese. The literal
translation of the title even made us laugh. It said "Monster Go!Go!Go!", and we couldn't help but snigger
at the insane title that the Pirates had used.
Probably a Chinese version of Pokemon Red or Blue we thought, but the salesman was adamant that it was a totally
new platform game. We still couldn't believe it, as there is no news anywhere of Nintendo ever developing a GB
Pokemon platform game. This time, it was the salesman who laughed, as he popped the cart into a Color GameBoy and
showed us the opening screens from the game.
To say that we were totally freaked-out would be an understatement. Our eyes popped,
and our tongues did an Ally McBeal. There he was, Pikachu, jumping daintily around the screen catching electric
rods as Meowth and Bellsprout tried desperately to deter his efforts. Better still, the game was using a Super
GameBoy palette that was exceptionally colorful. The animation too, was well programed, and Pikachu looked exactly
like Pikachu and moved exactly as you would expect an electric rat to move.
With bated breath, we paid the money and bought the game. We wanted to buy more, but unfortunately, it was the
last one left. Seems that nearly every Pokemon fan in Singapore had bought a copy. Feeling an elation that can
hardly be described, we brought the game home and settled down for a serious bout of Monster Go!Go!Go!
|We were still skeptical about the game after playing for nearly an hour. It was truly
a new Pokemon Platform game that was fun and enjoyable, but somehow, I felt as though I had played the exact same
game before but with different characters. Val, ever, analytical, decided that we do a ROM check.
Using our trusty GB Xchanger, we downloaded the ROM to our computer and ran some test using the GBList utility
from Marat Fayzullin. The first thing we did was to check who had developed the game. Lo and behold, it was Infogrames!
Suddenly, everything clicked into place, and I realized why Monster Go!Go!Go! seemed so familiar. Monster Go!Go!Go!
was actually Infograme's Smurf 3!
|We were surprised, but un-startled. Pirated carts from Hong Kong and Taiwan are famous
for this kind of devilish re-programing, as is evident from the other weird titles we've seen on the GameBoy like
Sonic The Hedgehog and Super Mario 4.
In essence, Monster Go!Go!Go! is a reincarnation of Smurf 3, but with added Color GameBoy and Super GameBoy support.
All the Pirates did was to remove the Smurfs and add some Pokemon. They also made some cosmetic changes to the
background scenery and character sprites, but everything else, like the platform levels and game mechanics remain
Although we don't know much about game programing, we must admit that the Pirates did put some effort into the
construct of Monster Go!Go!Go! The game played well, the controls were excellent and the animations were amusing.
Moreover, the novelty of seeing our favorite Pokemon characters like Pikachu and Meowth in the totally alien setting
of a platform game, made it even more enjoyable.
Pokemon starved as we are, we are hesitant to condemn Monster Go!Go!Go! despite the fact that it is illegal. We
had a hell of a time playing it, and we enjoyed it tremendously, and hopefully Nintendo will take the cue and produce
an official Pokemon Platform game. Until that happens, Monster Go!Go!Go! will remain in our Color GameBoy.