There's little over a month to go until Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver arrive in the UK. Here are ten reasons why we reckon they're set to provide the definitive Pokémon experience.
1 There are twice as many gyms
In Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum there are eight gym leaders to defeat throughout the game, as well as the Elite Four at the end. Since HeartGold and SoulSilver are remakes of Gold and Silver on the Game Boy Color however, that's only half the story. The game's set in the Johto region this time around, and when you beat the Elite Four you're able to explore the entire Kanto region from Pokémon Red and Blue. This means another eight gym leaders, including Brock, Misty and the like. Then you have to fight a much stronger Elite Four again!
2. You get a free Pokéwalker
Bundled with the game is a free Pokéwalker, a special pedometer you can beam a Pokémon into and walk around with in real life. As you walk more steps the Pokémon builds up watts of energy, and every time you get ten watts you can then use the Pokéradar to see if there are any wild Pokémon nearby. If so, you can battle them and capture them, all using the Pokéwalker, then beam everything back to your DS game.
3 Pokémon can follow you
Back in the days of Pokémon Yellow, Pikachu would follow you throughout the whole game, because it didn't like going in a Pokéball. In Diamond and Pearl, you could only bring a Pokémon out of its Pokéball and have it walk around with you when you visited Amity Square, and even then you were limited to a choice of 20 Pokémon. This time, from the very start of your adventure, you can choose any Pokémon in your party and have it walking alongside you, regardless of which one it is. Along the way it'll find berries and accessories too.
4 Hidden retro soundtracks
Naturally, music has come on in leaps and bounds since the Game Boy days so the HeartGold and SoulSilver soundtrack is greatly improved over that of the original games. Should you get very far into the game though, you'll eventually be presented with the GB Player - a special device that lets you flip between DS-style and old-school Game Boy music. Sweet.
5. The all-new Pokéthlon
North of Goldenrod City is the new Pokéthlon Dome, where the Pokéthlon is held. Four trainers compete at once, each with their own team of three Pokémon. It's essentially a collection of ten different mini-games in which you need to out-score and defeat your opponents in order to win. There's a snowball fight, a sumo-style contest, a sprint race and various others. Naturally, your Pokémon stats will affect how good they are in each event. Slowpoke's not going to be winning any races.
6. Greatly improved audio and visuals
Obviously, if you played Gold and Silver the first time around you can expect HeartGold and SoulSilver to look considerably more lush. The game runs on the Pokémon Platinum engine, meaning that it looks like Diamond and Pearl for the most part but also has the odd little flourish, like fully animated battle sprites when you face off against the gym leaders. There are also some nice little ambient sound effects such as running water and rustling grass.
7. It links with Diamond/Pearl/Platinum
You're probably gutted at having to start all over again with a completely new team of Pokémon, having done all that work in Diamond or Pearl, and maybe even doing it all over again in Platinum. Thankfully HeartGold and SoulSilver are compatible with Diamond, Pearl and Platinum so (as long as you can find a spare DS) you can trade your Pokémon over. Naturally, you'll only be able to command the lower-level ones at first until you progress through the game.