Game Review: Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow

Hey, Cedric_alpha here again, but with something different. I’m here to talk games this time. And because it’s the 20th anniversary of Pokémon coming out in Japan for the Game BoyI decided that this was the most appropriate thing to do. Especially since it’s my all time favorite game series, and one of my favorite animes that came from it as well. Let’s go back to an old friend that is near and dear to me, and that alot of the new generation today are now experiencing for the first time because of the 3DS, or getting to play again because of nostalgia. I’m here to tell you about the ins and outs of this 20 year old game and how some things are different from the newer versions.

Starting the game/Trainers and Events

As usual with the world of Pokémon, we start with an introduction to the world of the pocket monsters, and are introduced to you, the main character, by Professor Oak. He’s there to tell you who you are because he doesn’t remember your name. He also doesn’t remember who his own grandson is, even though he is FUCKING 10 YEARS OLD!! Come on, Oak. But in all seriousness, we can name him ourselves, since his grandson will be your rival. So we welcome our rival ASSHAT, or DOUCHE, or BITCH, or whatever we feel like to name him because we are still 6 year olds deep inside, and because the names are limited to only 8 letters on here. In Red and Blue, you get to pick between 3 Starter Pokémon: Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur. In Yellow, it follows the anime more closely, so you get Pikachu, and only Pikachu, who like the anime version, hates Poké Balls and won’t be in one. Unless you store him up in the PC, in which case, you’re a monster. You won’t be able to find the other 3 Starter Pokémon until much later on. Your rival in Red or Blue will choose the Pokémon that is most effective against yours, because, again, he’s an ASSHAT. (It’s the same in all the other Pokémon games as well, because screw you.) In Yellow though, he picks an Eevee.

Oak gives you both a Pokédex, for you to use on your journey to collect data on all 151 Pokémon. In both, as soon as you get your new partner and Pokédex, your rival will fight you immediately. The only difference is that in Yellow, there’s an actual outcome to this all. If you lose the first time, his Eevee will eventually become a Vaporeon. If you win, and then beat him again a bit later on Route 22, it will become a Jolteon. If you beat him in the first fight, but lose on Route 22 (or just don’t fight him at all), it will become a Flareon. The Red and Blue outcomes don’t matter since the starters don’t evolve with stones. So after the fight, you begin your journey, and off you go to the world of Pokémon.

At least he doesn’t ask if you’re a boy or girl till the next generation.

From there, you make your way from town to town, to every route travel, to forest and seas, to casinos and haunted places, to fixing power plants with “large bird” problems, and taking on giant corporations taken over by bad guys. You know, stuff that wouldn’t be possible to do in any real life situation for a 10 year old, but it works on every Pokémon game. You get to catch, meet, and train tons of Pokémon, from those as common as Pidgey and Rattata, to the legendaries like Zapdos or Mewtwo, to the slut of the Pokémon world the weirdest one in Ditto. All of this is to complete your Pokédex to aid Oak in. But of course, what you are really trying to do is get to be a Pokémon Master, by competing against other trainers around the Kanto countryside and beating them, and robbing them of their money, to win at the Gyms and their tough Gym Leaders, and finally, as you make your way through the Road of Ultimate-I mean, Victory Road to face the Elite 4. The Gym Battles, while they have the same person you will face in both versions, are different in Yellow than they are in Red/Blue. For example, in Yellow most of the Gym battles involve fights with higher level Pokémon. All are at least 5-10 levels higher in Yellow than Red/Blue, except for Brock and Misty (Hi, Ash’s old pals we sometimes miss!!) where Brock has higher level Pokémon in Red/Blue, more than likely because you start with Pikachu in Yellow, and Misty’s Staryu and Starmie are the same level in all 3 versions.

Also in Yellow, the Pokémon are mostly different than the ones in R/B. (Except again, Brock and Misty.) For example, let’s look at Lt. Surge’s gym. He uses 3 Pokémon in R/B in Voltorb, Pikachu, and Raichu. In Yellow, it goes the anime route where he just uses his Raichu. For Sabrina, she uses the Abra evolutionary tree in Yellow, where in R/B, she actually uses a damn Bug/Poison type in Venomoth. And for one more example, Erika uses a Tangela in all 3. But she uses a Gloom and Weepinbell in Yellow (again, anime), while their evolved forms are used in R/B. As you can see, you have to prepare for each Gym Leader in different ways, depending on which version you play. The same goes with your rival too. His Pokémon will be different depending on the version AND who you choose to take as well.

Another difference in the games: The villains. We all know who you face in R/B/Y: Team Rocket. The differences though? In R/B, you face a bunch of the minions for Giovanni and take them down before facing him. In Yellow … wait, do I hear a familiar motto coming on?

That’s right, in Yellow, you do face Jessie, James and Meowth in all their ridiculous glory. Yeah, they don’t attack you as frequently as they do in the anime, thank god, but the places where Team Rocket is, they will be there to try to stop you, fruitlessly. And yes, they do attack with their Ekans-Koffing/Arbok-Weezing combo before Meowth is used. (It was always fun facing Meowth with Pikachu on there and kicking his ass all the time. Such fun memories.)

Other than the trainers and battles throughout, there are many events in this 2 decade old game that are scattered about. There’s the Safari Zone, an old favorite that is fun, but can be a bit annoying for a couple reasons because you have to get an important, yet disgusting item for a HM that you have to use. And yes, HM’s were just as annoying back then as they are today. And the timer that is used on there. Oh the timer. Which is in footsteps, I should point this out. First time players might have a bit a rough go at first trying to get their things, if they don’t know the land structure. And then there’s the Pokémon abound and catching said Pokémon. But I’ll get to that in a bit for I have other thoughts on them.

But there’s more events in here than that. You can hit the casinos to do your best to win prizes (Pokémon: Still the only world where they allow 10 year olds in casinos AND allow them to gamble.) The fossils you find in Mt. Moon that you can only choose one of. There’s the free Eevee you can get and evolve into whatever 3 evolution you want to. There’s the Snorlax event, because the lazy fat fucker(s) won’t move. Also, you can catch the 3 bird legends in Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos. And how can I forget the best of the events where you capture Mew, and the most famous of them all, MissingNo.

There are more events scattered throughout, some important to the story including St. Anne, and the Safari Game, while others are just fun like getting that bike that is only for effin’ billionaires, or trading your Pokémon. These are fun things that, while you encounter in every other generation, are still great even today, and fun to do.

Catching/Training your Pokémon and Moves

Now we go on to catching your Pokémon, which I’m not gonna detail like the drunk Weedle guy does. Yeah, it’s supposedly “coffee” he’s on, but come on. He’s passed out in the middle of the damn street. You all know how to catch Pokémon: Fight em’, get them down to as little HP without KOing them, and throw any ball you have. Simple. Except that there is sometimes a little catch, especially on here. Some Pokémon can’t be caught so easily. Example, the legendary birds. I cannot tell you how peeved I got as a kid at times when I tried to throw a Poké Ball or Great Ball at one of them, even when paralyzed or asleep, and the damn thing somehow missed. Yes, this happens at times. Don’t ask why, but it does. Now, most times it’s easy, but it more frequently happens though during the Safari game. Want to catch a Chansey or Kangaskhan or a Scyther? Well, too bad. You have to throw a rock or bait usually to get them. And then it makes it worst. (Esp. the bait, as least with me. Sometimes I would have trouble with catching it, throw some bait, and it says I missed completely.) And then when you do finally think you caught something, or ran into one you wanted so badly, there is always that PC you have. Younger generations get to experience this first hand now with your “Full Box”. One full box of stored Pokémon on here? They can’t go to the next one automatically. YOU have to change it yourself. If you don’t, and find an awesome Pokémon you want? WAH WAH!! No can do, friend. Should’ve checked your PC to begin with. You WILL get pissed off at this if it happens to you.

Another thing on here is training your pals to be all powerful and such to face every challenge. Which seems like it be an easy thing to do. But it’s a grind. A really big grind. The newer games have it where it is easier make your team as strong as can be, and in fast times too. I still remember raising a Magikarp from level 5 into a Gyarados to level 40 in the span of a hour in the newer ones, while on Red it took me 2 hours to raise a level 5 Magikarp … to level 15. Good times. Yeah, the old ones will take a bit of time compared to the new ones. And not only that, you won’t get alot of trainer help too. Once you face one trainer on R/B/Y, that’s it. There’s no other way to face them. No special item to help out, or talk to them for a fight.  You could just start the game again to do it, or not save your game data after battle to face off. And well, there’s always losing too. If you want to level your friends easily, you could do the MissingNo. event and have a Rare Candy in the place you need it to help level up your Poké pals. And while there is nothing wrong with that, I’m an old school trainer on here, so I just train all I can. Speaking of, the new generations have all the EVs, hatching eggs to get the right Pokémon, and wanting to get any Shiny Pokémon that appear. Well, there is NONE of that on here. Hell, there are no genders for Pokémon either, except for the Nidoran and (I guess?) Mr. Mime. As well as no Special Attack AND Special Defense. Just Special for both. Good old fashion brawling. This is really making me sound like an old timer now.

And then there are the moves. Oh boy, the moves. You know how there are over a thousand moves, give or take, in the game now? You try to decide which one you want, whetever it can learn something special by hatching, is it a psychical or special move, etc. Yeah, R/B/Y was different. There were only 165 moves total. And there were ALOT of problems with them. Sand-Attack? Good luck hitting your opponent if  2 or more get ya. Critical hits? They were more frequent than anything. Rage? It made you rage like crazy if you used it. Withdraw? Did you know it was a Water-Type Move? Dragon Rage? The only goddamn Dragon-Type move in the freakin’ game! And it only (and still does) cause 40 damage!! Speaking of move types, only 3 Ghost-Types moves as well in the first 3: Lick, Confuse Ray, and Night Shade. Facing a Jigglypuff that is still putting you to sleep? Well, good luck with waking up, because when you do, you don’t get a turn. And night-night from there on. I could go on and on, but that would take way too much time, so this chart I found on Twitter tells of some of the moves that would get you a bit angry. Including some I already mentioned.

Yes, the moves were a problem. What made it a bit more troublesome were that some Pokémon only learned at most 6-8 moves, even it it evolved. There were some that learned less than that. And there are some that just learned moves that would have been useful when it was at Lv 5, and not Lv 40 something. Really, A Kabuto learning freakin’ Leer at Lv. 44 and Krabby/Kingler and Onix learning Harden at Lv.44/Lv.49 and Lv. 43, respectively? Yes, there are a ton of things that went wrong with it, but then again, this was their first Pokémon game, so expect some thing to go wrong.


Final Thoughts

Overall, the Red/Blue/Yellow series is as influential today, as it was back then in the 90’s. Sure, there are tons of problems with it, and the level-up grinding can be a nuisance. I didn’t even get to what some of the Pokémon looked like at times in Gen 1. I mean, look at Golbat and how much nightmare fuel he can generate.

But most of the time, this was a fun game where the RPG elements were fun, getting to fight with your pals was great (The old Game Boys stuck to a giant cord), the special events were fun, and the overall story was just cool to get into. Trading, catching, just doing everything made Pokémon fun. Yes, it still has its critics (#TooMuchWater) and yes, most of us are more than likely done with Ash, and wish we could see more stuff like Pokémon Origin, which does take place in the Red/Blue realm of the anime. But these 3 games are what define alot of people’s childhoods, including mine. It’s fun to see the new generation get to experience this if they didn’t. And for us first generation to come back to an old friend. It’s a great experience that I say you should try out at least once if you haven’t. And to the next generation of Pokémon who will grow up on Sun & Moon, we will also welcome you to the magical world of Pokémon. So be the very best, like no one ever was. And last but not least, Happy #Pokemon20 people.

My rating for Red, Blue, and Yellow: 8/10


Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow is developed by GAME FREAK, and licensed by Nintendo.


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