Pokemon: Ruby and Sapphire Versions

Nintendo finally spills the beans on the newly christened GBA Pok?mon games, featuring a revitalized battle system and all sorts of new monsters to grab.

One of the more mysterious no-shows of last May's E3 gathering, the long-awaited Game Boy Advance update of Nintendo's portable dynasty is finally beginning to take shape. Although details are still kinda scant (especially considering it's got a firm November 21 release date in Japan), it looks like the two new GBA games (officially titled Pok?mon Ruby and Sapphire) will retain the feel of the original Game Boy titles while offering one or two enhancements that should make veteran trainers toss their Pok?balls about with glee.

The most inventive feature that Nintendo's revealed so far is the new two-on-two battle system. For the first time in Pok?mon history, you'll actually be able to fight with more than one monster at once?a feature that'll hopefully give the game a bit more strategy than the straightforward battles have featured before.

Of course, Pok?mon wouldn't be Pok?mon without the, er, Pok?mon, and Nintendo has a veritable zoo full of new critters for the GBA games. Shark-type Samehader, pelican-type Pelipper and a mushroom creature named Kinococo (all Japanese names) are among the new characters shown in the screens below, though Nintendo has many, many more in the works. You'll get to play either a male or female trainer this time around, and a cast of new rival trainers is set to bother you in your quest for new creatures and as-of-yet unspecified high adventure.

Although Pok?mon Ruby and Sapphire will hit Japan this fall, Nintendo of America (secretive types that they are) still haven't given any concrete American release date for the two games. Hopefully it'll come out here before we dive too deeply into next year. Until then, feel free to stare at these screenshots until more information comes coursing down the Nintendo hotline.

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