- JP release: 12th December 1998
- NA release: 6th November 2000
- PAL release: N/A
- Developer: Ambrella
- Publisher: Nintendo
- N64 Magazine Score: 56%
Hey You, Pikachu! took almost two years to make it from Japan to the USA, and never came out in Europe. This was mainly due to the Voice Recognition Unit that came with the game – which is essentially a microphone were you could say words for Pikachu to understand.
This may sound like something trivial now, but it was very advanced with the times. That said, many people (especially adults, as the recognition was centred around a higher pitch) had issues with it. Using a modern microphone in an emulated version of the game seems to be a bit better, although I still had an issue with some words.
With Hey You, Pikachu getting fairly negative reviews, I was surprised as to how much I enjoyed it. For how much it cost when new, I can definitely see why, but the game reminds me a lot of more recent downloadable titles which are little stories with some gameplay.
Professor Oak gives you a device that helps you speak to a wild Pikachu, who you quickly befriend. You hold the Z button to speak, then your words will travel in a bubble to Pikachu. You have to grab his attention before you give him commands, and he’ll only understand certain words (which are highlighted in red).
At the start, the controls are quite basic. The camera is locked on Pikachu and you can move about relative to him. In the starting section, you can look after some Caterpies, explore a field, help Bulbasaur prepare a meal and do some fishing. You’ll wake up, meet Pikachu outside, go on an adventure and say buy to him.
On thise adventures, Pikachu will ask about items, ask for advice on what to do with them and be very curious. After a while, you’ll be able to ask Pikachu to stay at home with you.
From this point on, you get to choose what to do, you can replay the stuff from the first chapter, or do a bunch of new activities, such as guiding a blindfolded Pikachu towards a pinata, finding lost Poliwags and watering some Oddish. If you do well enough at the pinata game then you’ll also gain access to an island for treasure hunting.
You also have a bit more freedom of movement and gain access to an inventory to store items, some are permanent items while others are sold at the end of the day. You can also play some little minigames, like tag or a name that Pokémon game on the N64 in your room.
Once you’ve done everything you need to here, the third chapter will start. You’ll be introduced to some new view modes: one which locks the camera onto Pikachu and another that lets you look up and down. Now Pikachu will understand what you’re pointing a as well, so you can give more specific instructions. The increase in control complexity was definitely a way to not introduce too much to kids at once, although, annoyingly, returning to older missions will remove these abilities.
The third chapter is mainly more difficult versions of what we’ve seen so far. A diglett will try to trip Pikachu up, a Haunter is roaming the lake and the Caterpies are much hungrier than before. The Caterpie mission was very difficult to begin with (you have to get Pikachu to thunderbolt trees), but I realised that I could get the food myself and help that way.
To progress you need to have performed certain tasks in the various missions, including fully completing the Caterpie ones. Professor Oak will ask you to send Pikachu on his own mission, and you’ll follow him in a cardboard box as you see him remember what you’ve taught him.
After this is done, there’s a surprisingly emotional ending (that also kind of makes Pokémon Trainers look bad).
Hey You, Pikachu is a cute little adventure. While the graphics are fairly low quality, Pikachu himself is extremely well animated and the Pokémon having their show voices is nice to hear in a game. The voice control was a novel idea at the time, but isn’t something people like using that much, due to how few games support voice control when it’s much easer to do now.
I really enjoyed my time with Pikachu, and it was a fun, short experience.
Trying to get Pika to drop the vegetable or keep it for the stew is a nightmare. On more than one occasion he eventually grabbed the right object, but, instead of obeying our ‘Okay, sure’ command, the little swing proceeded to munch on the veggie, swoon and keel over. The result – Pika no like you.Geraint Evans, N64 Magazine #50
Remake or Remaster?
A remaster would be really nice for this. Voice commands are much better now and this would suit being an eShop title. Perhaps they could give you full control form the start (at least in terms of movement), as it is more of a second nature now.
Official ways to get the game.
There is no official way to get Hey You, Pikachu.
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