Today I’ll be talking about another Pokemon ROM hack, Pokemon Gaia.
After playing Pokemon Fool’s Gold, I found another hack from YouTube. This time it was a VOD from Ray Narvaez Jr, he played the whole thing and I really like it. So I gave it a go!
Just as a side note, this patches a particular Pokemon Fire Red ROM and so some setup is required. It’s not super involved but if, like me, this is your first time, it might be a little confusing. Luckily there is a decent guide on using Pokemon Gaia on multiple devices on the PokeCommunity page. I personally used UniPatcher from the Google Play Store and My Boy! Free.
The team that worked on this, according to pokecommunity.com is:
- Spherical Ice
There are also a load of other special thanks and credits there too.
What’s the message?
So, Pokemon Gaia is a hack of Pokemon Fire Red. It sets up in a completely new region, the Orbtus region, which has Pokemon from generations 1 – 6. There’s a whole new story, new gyms and leaders, a new evil organisation. It even focuses on the Regi’s and Regigigas as the key legendaries. This is a nice touch because they don’t exactly get a lot of love often.
You have your normal start to a Pokemon game, by being kicked out of your house as a child. You are given a Pokemon from the region’s Professor, Redwood. Given the choice between the Sinnoh starters, Chimchar, Turtwig, and Piplup.
Then as a child you are set loose on the world to wreak havoc. Or just take the gym challenge. You know, one or t’other. There is also, as you’d expect from Pokemon, an evil organisation doing evil organisation things, and your 10 year old self has to stop them.
The biggest compliment that I can give Pokemon Gaia is that it feels like a Pokemon game. Honestly, if you put the different plots of Pokemon games together with Gaia, you couldn’t tell them apart. That’s not to say that any of them are that good but Pokemon Gaia captures it perfectly.
What’s it good for?
There’s actually quite a lot that I really like in Pokemon Gaia. A lot of what was included in Fool’s Gold is here too, just without redesigning each Pokemon.
Firstly, the physical and special split for attacks. This was the best addition for generation 4 and it’s brought in here. This doesn’t need to be explained further, it’s the right way to handle attacks.
Then, in what is potentially my favourite change, is the changing of evolution levels for a lot of Pokemon. One of my biggest problems with the fifth generation of games, Black and White, is the evolutions. There are so many great Pokemon that just takes too long to evolve. Take Rufflet, I love Braviary, it’s one of the coolest bird Pokemon but you get it at level 54. Like what?! A baby bird, that’s normal and flying but doesn’t evolve till when? In Pokemon Gaia it instead evolves at level 40, still a little high but much, much better.
This might have just been me but the difficulty was cranked up. It has been a very long time since I lost a gym battle or rival fight in a Pokemon game. However, in Pokemon Gaia I frequently lost to both, sometimes multiple times. There was one rival fight that I had to attempt like 5 times, grinding between each. I loved how much more challenging this game was.
Finally, there are some smaller things that have been included, like adding the fairy type, mega-evolutions and other quality of life additions. These aren’t as big inclusions, not really, but the extra effort is definitely appreciated.
What’s a bummer?
There’s not actually that much to complain about honestly. Overall the experience was fantastic.
If I were to pinpoint one area for improvement, it’s the time spent grinding. I like the challenge and how strong the gym leaders and rivals are, but you pretty much need to grind every time you get to a new area.
This would be fine but a lot of the wild Pokemon can be a little too weak, so they won’t give enough experience per fight. Just increasing the experience or wild levels a bit would make this much more streamlined.
Pokemon Gaia was an absolute blast to play through. It didn’t reinvent older Pokemon or anything but it improved upon what was already there. With the sheer ridiculous amount of Pokemon to choose from and the challenge, Pokemon Gaia is fantastic. As I’m not a hack aficionado, there aren’t many for me to compare it to but I like it. It’s probably one of my favourite “GBA Pokemon games” at this point.
If you like Pokemon, a challenge, the GBA, and have some time, this is a must play. It really was a great time!
Pokemon Gaia ROM Hack.
Written by Kyle Munn.