Pokémon Ranger

Pokémon Ranger

Pokémon Ranger

Out of the loop

While we'll gladly defend the proper Pokémon adventures against any and all misguided attacks and insults, we'd find it much harder to do so for many of the loosely related cash-ins that carry the illustrious brand name. Pokémon Channel, Pokémon Dash and Hey You Pikachu all fall firmly into this category of undesirables and while recent DS adventure Mystery Dungeon manages to scrape by simply on merit of its scale, Ranger doesn't do quite so well for itself.

In essence, Pokémon Ranger is simply a game about drawing rings around monsters. Depending on the type, size and power of the creature in question, a larger number of rings will be required to capture it - little Pichu takes but a single circle while Charizard or Steelix can take upwards of twenty continuous loops. And herein lies the tricky part. With the Pokémon constantly moving and attacking to avoid capture, it's not as easy as it sounds to encircle them the desired number of times, especially when there's more than one monster running around the bottom screen. Each reacts differently to the line formed by drawing with the stylus and while some will just speed around to avoid capture and perhaps loose the odd attack, others will go out of their way to try and bust the line. Often, touching a Pokémon will simply break the line and force you to start again but if the line is attacked, the 'styler' (the device used to capture Pokémon) will be damaged and eventually break, causing the dreaded 'Game Over'.

arena with flames makes looping him repeatedly extremely tricky." />

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Pokemon Pearl/Diamond dated

US in April, Europe in summer.

A spokesperson for Nintendo has told Eurogamer that DS titles Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl will be available in Europe in either "June or July - after Pokemon Ranger".