Pokemon guides have helped me throughout the years, explaining many hints, secrets and tips about the Pokemon games. Though they are truly excellent in their essence, I can not escape the feeling that it is cheating, taking most of the fun away from the game. I found that the artwork for the guides were very detailed, showing a range of Pokemon from the region, including the starter Pokemon and the fantastic legendary Pokemon. The back cover explains the contents of the Pokemon guide, usually detailing some of the sections and things you can expect to find inside.
As you open up the book, you are told the tale of Pokemon, a sort of prologue to Pokemon which explains the story so far. This is neat and gives you a recap of what had happened in the previous game. Of course there is the contents page, showing you the pages of the sections to help you complete the game. Most of the pages are illustrated nicely, with a variety of Pokemon and images of routes laid out across the page. There is a small section dedicated to newcomers of Pokemon games called ‘primer for Pokemon training’. This is just a small guide on what Pokemon are, how to catch them and other information like how to level them up. The main section is definitely the greatest part of the book, each route or area is given a specific page, including a quite large picture of the route and items and Pokemon you can find in it. It does not, however, tell you what these items actually are, so you will have to explore and find out for yourself. There is a list of things you should do, a guide to the route or town which is accompanied by a picture. This is great help to the game but sometimes it includes things that are side-tasks to the game, for example, collecting items or helping people. These can be done anyway to get the full experience of the game. Although I did say that the image of the towns and routes are detailed, the caves are sometimes tremendously hard to navigate around as the guide gives you a range of letters that you’re supposed to follow in order and this leads to you searching around the page for the next letter. I found this especially frustrating in the caves at Whirlpool Island and the bell tower.
Another thing I must sadly say is that using this guide will make you constantly refer to it. I can’t even remember the names of half of the towns. With this in mind, some people might struggle to remember where certain places, like the train station or large supermarket are. I will praise the Elite Four section as this is greatly informative, it tells you information on the trainers’ Pokemon and each weakness it has so you can beat them easily. It also has a glossary at the back so you can locate each Pokemon and an item and move page, telling you about items and moves and what they do. It also explains important information on where to find some Pokemon rare candies! There is a small pokedex showing all of the Pokemon in the region and there moves they can learn and when they evolve, but this is not very detailed so I recommend that you get volume two of the guide which has the full national pokedex, egg moves, tm’s that can be learnt and much more. The guide includes a small bonus poster that shows the map of Johto and a type-effectiveness chart. I would recommend this book to anybody who wants an easy game but you will probably forget most things and will have to constantly refer to it.