Debating the Best Starter
One of the main ways that Pokémon Red and Blue remain relevant to this day is the age-old question of which starter Pokémon is the best. Back when the games first released and were all the craze, conversations among fans would focus on topics of whether Squirtle was the only sensible option, or that Charmander had the best final evolution.
Even to this day people still find themselves in fierce debates over which was the definitive starter Pokémon, and while each certainly had their strengths and weaknesses, you will rarely tend to argue against the one you ended up picking that very first time.
Whether you were in the middle of a battle or healing your Pokémon after being out in the long grass, the 8-bit music in Pokémon Red and Blue was some of the most memorable scores for many gamers. Heck, it’s near impossible to not hum along to the Pokémon center theme tune, and the creepy music of Lavender Town is one of the eeriest examples of 8-bit game music.
As the series has developed and grown, so has the music. With the technology now available to Game Freak, the music has seen a number of upgrades and refinements. At its core, it’s still the same theme tunes in certain places, but it’ll never be quite as good as it was back in Red and Blue.
The games may not have aged perfectly, but if you played them when you were younger, going back and experiencing them now will be one heck of a trip down memory lane. The excitement of battling against your very first Pokémon, or the sense of achievement you felt when you beat the Elite 4 will have the nostalgia hitting you in waves.
While some gamers may not have this nostalgic connection to Red and Blue, those who do will remember all of the tiny little glitches and hidden secrets they discovered from their past years. Some of you may remember doing the Missingno glitch, although we wouldn’t suggest trying this out if it makes an appearance in the eShop versions considering how much it could potentially screw up your game.
Let’s be real for a minute. Despite all of the great advancements and little optional extras that the later games have brought to the series, some of the creatures that have been included have been rather questionable. Even if some of the Pokémon that debuted in these later games seem to make sense and are pretty neat additions to the ever-expanding roster, the originals just cannot be beaten.
The original 151 Pokémon were not only reasonably achievable to catch ‘em all (props to those who still have completed Pokédexes in the latest games) but each one felt, and was, wholly unique.
They may not always have looked like perfect replicas of the anime creatures, but there is something incredibly charming about the sprites in Red and Blue. All 151 of the original sprites managed to give players an idea as to the personality of these Pokémon, despite the games’ lack of graphical fidelity.
Be it the vacant expression on both Slowpoke and Slowbro, which let you know the clumsy nature of these Pokémon, or the hard-faced authoritative sprite of Blastoise that lets you know it’s not fooling around, all of the sprites have character and represent their respective Pokémon to a tee.
The Legendary Birds
With each new generation of Pokémon comes a new selection of the legendary beasts for players to hunt down and catch. They tend to be located in areas that reflect their type and are hidden away at the bottom of a cave or another maze-like area.
While all of the legendary Pokémon are very powerful within their own right, it’s the legendary birds from Red and Blue that reign supreme as the best legendary trio around. In order to capture Articuno, Moltres and Zapdos, you’d need to have a pretty strong party of Pokémon and a lot of Ultra balls at your disposal.
Oh, and you better have saved beforehand, otherwise one critical hit could resort in you missing your chance of capturing them forever. The legendary birds’ badass sprites, powerful move sets and puzzling dungeons that housed them make these legendary Pokémon ones that you just can’t beat.
Just like the legendary Pokémon mentioned previously, in every game there is always an evil group attempting to take over the world through the exploitation of Pokémon. In Red and Blue, Team Rocket were those guys. The infamous group from the animé were primarily based in the Kanto region with some outposts also in the Johto region of Gold and Silver.
Team Rocket’s main focus was to steal or capture rare and strong Pokémon and sell them for profit. It also conducted cruel experimental research on Pokémon in order to aid their ultimate goal of taking over the world. To oust Team Rocket, players had to defeat and chase off Team Rocket grunts and executives. The most memorable of these encounters being the hostage situation in Red and Blue at Silph Co. in Saffron City.
The leader of Team Rocket (and also the gym leader for the eighth badge in Vermillion City), Giovanni was adamant that his plans for Team Rocket would succeed and see him become a world ruler of sorts. During your playthrough of Red and Blue, Giovanni was only ever seen a couple of times, but his notoriety among Team Rocket meant he was frequently mentioned giving you a clear picture as to just how evil he really was.
First appearing in the Silph Co. situation in Saffron City, you’d take down Giovanni in a battle that meant more than just a personal victory. This one was for Pokémon across the whole region! He may only have appeared a couple of times, but he makes your adventure in Pokémon Red and Blue a very memorable one through the darker tones he and his corporation bring to the story.
While they have cooled somewhat since the hype of the games all those years ago, rumors may still occasionally come up in conversations between fans reminiscing over little secrets in the old games. Of course, looking back on some of them now you wonder why you may have believed them, but the schoolyard was rife with these myths.
I mean, you must have heard the one about the hidden Mew that’s under the truck by the SS Anne? Or maybe you tried to prove the one about Magikarp’s Splash attack having the incredibly rare chance of delivering a one-hit kill. Unfortunately, while these have been debunked, they’re still a talking point among fans old and new alike. Although we still go on in hope that the Magikarp one is true…
So Much to Do!
It’s by no means the only game in the series to do it but back in 1995, Pokémon Red and Blue offered a number of post-story distractions to keep you playing and racking up that total play time. Once you had completed the Elite 4 that wasn’t the end of your adventure.
Capturing all of the previously mentioned legendary creatures hidden away in the depths of the Kanto region and having a completed Pokédex were the two main priorities. Once you’d caught them all it was then a matter of creating the ultimate team and grinding against random Pokémon encounters and trainers in preparation for taking on your friends. Just because the credits rolled it didn’t mean the game was over, and we’re so glad it didn’t.
What do you still love about Pokémon Red and Blue? Let us know in the comments below.