Why Pokemon Light Platinum is a Top GBA Rom Hack

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This post was last updated on January 1, 2023

Rom hacks aren’t new by any means. People have been creating knockoff Pokemon games since the original games were released. Today, we’re discussing Pokemon Light Platinum, an older game that, dated as it may be, still provides some interesting gameplay.

What is Pokemon Light Platinum?

Pokemon Light Platinum is a rom hack of Pokemon Ruby version that was released almost 15 years ago. It’s by no means the best rom hack around, but the creator, Wesley FG, definitely paved the way for more impressive roms that came down the line.

Pokemon Light Platinum is not a rom hack of Pokemon Platinum.

Judging it as its own Pokemon game, Pokemon Light Platinum is kinda boring. It provides the basic linear storyline you would expect from Pokemon, but doesn’t try to create any exciting new game features.

Where Pokemon Light Platinum succeeds is in its cool new graphics and incredible new tiles. Were we to judge this on looks, it would easily receive a 10 out of 10. Unfortunately, there are other things we have to consider.

What is Good About Pokemon Light Platinum?

  • Impressive Tile Work
  • New Sprites
  • Pokemon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Kalos
  • New Regions

One of the first things you’ll notice about Pokemon Light Platinum is just how stunning the game looks. From the new tiles to the expert sprite work, everything in this game is gorgeously crafted.

You’ll then be pulled into the ambitious story that involves plenty of legendary pokemon, a secret language, and plenty of new rivals. The amount of fan service in the plot of this game is truly impressive.

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On top of all of this, Pokemon Light Platinum takes place in not one, but two new regions. The Zhery region and Lauren region feel a lot like Kanto and Johto, neighboring regions with several historical ties.

Within these regions are pokemon from five different generations. So while this isn’t the long awaited Pokemon World, allowing you to travel from Johto, to Sinnoh, to Hoenn, and beyond, it can still feel like it at times.

Playing through Pokemon Light Platinum, it’s clear that Wesley FG had a number of incredible ideas. Unfortunately, with so many elements at play, it can be a challenge to maintain consistent quality throughout.

It’s clear that this, more than anything else, is what contributes to Pokemon Light Platinum being such an infuriatingly underwhelming game.

Were Wesley FG to have chosen a couple of areas to focus on, this game easily could have been an excellent GBA rom hack worthy of praise.

Why isn’t Pokemon Light Platinum a Good GBA Rom Hack?

While Pokemon Light Platinum certainly has a lot going for it, it’s by no means an iconic rom hack. In a sentence, this game manages to fail at just about every area where it could’ve easily been praiseworthy.

Graphics

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Let’s start with what’s easily the best part of the game, the cool new graphics and new sprites included. The new sprites all feel authentic to the original pokemon games while also managing to be completely unmemorable.

All of the gym members, elite four members, and other characters feel like generic pokémon characters. Without any flare to set these characters apart, it just feels like you’re talking to the same character over and over again, and it’s hard to remember what’s happening in the story.

While the tiles are all fresh and extremely well made, they are so poorly implemented.

Beautiful caves don’t matter if the paths aren’t big enough to actually walk around in. Sprawling forests don’t feel like large areas if you can only walk on one path.

Even if we ignore design flaws, there are still things that are just unacceptable.

So many areas of this game have ‘permission errors’. This bit of faulty coding makes it so that the player character can walk on top of buildings, is suddenly stopped by an invisible wall, or otherwise moves in the wrong way.

Balance

Sure, pokemon might be made for children, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t well crafted. Every trainer, every item, every patch of grass is strategically placed. Pokemon Light Platinum, on the other hand, was made with no attention to game design.

The most glaring problem here is the distance between towns. To get from one Pokémon Center to the next you’ll often have to complete more than 20 trainer battles, very few of which are avoidable.

This doesn’t even include the myriad of rivals you’ll encounter, since there are at least five rivals you’ll regularly encounter.

It also doesn’t include the evil team battles, almost all of which use the same pokémon and dialogue, as if they were simply copy pasted around the map.

An absurd amount of battles wouldn’t be the end of the world if we could just use items. Of course, the Pokémarts only seem to sell expensive end game items like max potions and ultra balls, so good luck affording what you need.

When we ran through the game, we were consistently over-leveled. None of the gym leaders felt like a challenge because we had already taken down an army of trainers of roughly the same level to get to them.

Story Progression

Our problem here isn’t with the actual story itself, although it was lacking in creativity. No, our problem is how little this game does to direct you along the right path.

We know that excessive handholding is a problem for most players in the mainline pokémon games. So, we can give a bit of slack if we say that avoiding this was the intention of Wesley FG.

However, even if that was the case, there is no reason players should have to wander around aimlessly just to progress. Here are just some of the problems we ran into:

  • No gym leaders are in their gym when you get to them.
  • Half of the HMs are handed out by random people in buildings.
  • The only key map you have access to is on the wall in Pokémon Centers.
  • Multiple characters have to be talked to several times in a row before providing helpful dialogue.

Pokemon Light Platinum Plot

Pokemon Light Platinum takes place in the new Pokemon region of Zhery. While you might’ve assumed that this is a Sinnoh remake based on the name, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The early game opens with the player character in a dream, watching Arceus communicate with Palkia and Dialga. When the dream ends, the character wakes up in their bed, and is told by their mom to visit Professor Jasmine.

The player then assists the professor in locating several tablets written in a language passed down to the character from their mysteriously absent father.

These tablets tell of the history of legendary pokemon, and how Arceus created each to serve a special purpose.

Of course, an evil organization, Team Steam, is after these legendary pokemon, in some vague attempt to use them in ruling the world (or creating a new one?).

On your journey you’ll battle a wide array of rivals, some of which are familiar faces. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Red – Kanto Protagonist
  • Ash Ketchum – Champion of the pokemon world championship
  • Kenta – Johto Protagonist
  • Silver – Johto Rival
  • Diamond – Sinnoh Protagonist

The final event of this story will have you face to face with Arceus, Dialga, and Palkia. As the Steam leaders attempt to catch Arceus fails, you will be sucked into the distortion world, where you can catch Giratina.

After this, and beating one last gym leader, you’re free to battle the elite four and become the champion of the Zhery region.

Naturally, there’s plenty of post game content to delve into. You can face more new leaders throughout the new region of Lauren, help another professor in their studies, and catch all the legendary pokemon you desire.

Who knows, you might even encounter a shiny Lugia.

Should You Download Pokemon Light Platinum?

If you have a GBA emulator and you’re looking for new games to play, sure, you can download Pokemon Light Platinum. It’s not the best rom out there by any means, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to play.

Pokemon Light Platinum is a piece of rom hack history. That alone is a reason to see what’s going on and give it an honest try.