It’s been 20 years since the Pokémon games appeared for the first time, and to celebrate this milestone, the original games were re-released on the 3DS virtual console. It’s no secret that I am (as well as Zain) a massive fan of the series, so to go back and play the game that started it all, was a wonderful feeling. However, is it still a great game or is all just nostalgia?
Red, Blue and all the other colours
The story of the first game is quite bare. You are a new Pokémon Trainer who is sent on a journey by Professor Oak to collect the data on every type of Pokémon in the world. Along the way, you’ll battle other trainers, challenge gym leaders, fight a crime syndicate, beat your rival and, of course, build your team of Pokémon.
It’s an old formula and one that’s sort of remained the same in every game ever released. Pokémon Yellow is just one of three available games of the first generation. There are also Red and Blue. The differences between Red and Blue aren’t staggering. The only differences are a few exclusive Pokémon. Things are a little different with Yellow. Unlike the two versions before it, Yellow is the Pikachu version. You won’t have the option to pick your starter, it will always be Pikachu, however, you can obtain all three starters in the game, unlike Red and Blue, where you have to trade them from another game.
Another big difference between Yellow and the other two, is that it’s the only one that offers some colour. Some Pokémon designs were also tweaked from their Red and Blue versions. This is a good thing as some of them looked really bad.
Gotta fight ‘em all
One thing that everyone always says is how the Pokémon games have never changed and that it’s the same game every time a new one is released. Well, I can say otherwise. While the ability to only use four moves in a turn-by-turn battle system has remained the same, a lot of the combat has changed over the years. Going back to Gen 1 meant losing abilities, moves, hold items and perfectly bred Pokémon.
The movepool was a big deal for me as I had to basically relearn who learned what move and when. Certain obvious attacks, like Mega Drain, aren’t part of a Pokémon’s movepool but must be taught with a TM. Some moves don’t have the same typing, e.g., gust and karate chop are both normal types. It’s simple things like these that trip you up as an experienced Pokémon player, but with the help of Bulbapedia, all things are okay.
The battles themselves are slightly different, or rather, the effects of the moves are. It’s still the turn-based game but a little more frustrating. Moves like wrap, fire spin and bind don’t just deal additional damage at the end of the turn, they sort of stop you from attacking until you’re released from the move. The opponent has a rather big love of poisoning your Pokémon, at least in my experience. They will also always try to confuse your Pokémon which is massive peeve for most trainers. There’s also the weird critical hit ratio that can be a massive pain in the ass. In Gen 1, the critical hits are based on speed, so you can expect to see a lot, and I mean a lot, of critical hits.
Catching ‘em all
Aside from beating all the Gym Leaders, which you need to do in order to beat the Elite Four and become the Pokémon Champion, you still have to collect all 151 Pokémon. This can still be done in a variety of ways. Catching, evolving and trading. Not all Pokémon are obtainable though, so you’ll need to find someone with Red and Blue to get some exclusives. The trading is quite simple and can be done with local wireless. Oh, and you can catch Mew if you use the Mew glitch. I never believed such a thing before, but I tried it and it worked, so it is possible to obtain all 151.
Now that Pokémon is approaching its 7th generation, it’s nice to see where it all started. It’s changed significantly from Gen 1. Time, breeding, abilities, natures, evolutions, mega evolutions, GTS and more have slowly been added to the core series to flesh out the games. Pokémon Yellow was a great game to play with or without the nostalgia.