Pokémon: Gold/Silver/Crystal/HG/SS (1999)

Back & better than ever – with the best starters, new creature designs, and feature additions like shinies, day/night cycles, & buddies alongside phenomenal box legendaries, mythicals, rich Kansai/Tokai/Shikoku-inspired Japanese region, and the only game to shockingly include TWO regions for 2x the adventure (+ Post-Game) value, G/S/C/HG/SS are the Greatest Pokémon Games Of All-Time. 10/10. GSC 9.5-6/10. HGSS 10/10.

Plot Synopsis: Pokémon Gold Version, Silver Version, and Crystal Version are role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color. They are the second generation of the Pokémon video game series.

Official CLC Top 10 Favorite PKMN Of G/S/C: 1. Celebi, 2. Suicune, 3. Typhlosion, 4. Steelix, 5. Lugia, 6. Totodile, 7. Umbreon, 8. Smeargle, 9. Unown, 10. Teddiursa /// Hon. Mentions [Too Many All-Time Greats In Gen 2]: Raikou, Scizor, Ho-Oh, Tyranitar, Espeon, Ampharos

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Official CLC Review

A Pop-Culture VG Revolution

A Masterpiece Generation 1 Amongst The Greatest Video Games Of All-Time Brought The World’s Eyes To Pocket Monsters – A Movie & Anime Later, Reinventing The Concept & Expanding The Lore: A Sequel

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Trading Cards. Video Games. Movies. TV Animé Series. TIME Magazine Covers. Merchandise. Pocket Monsters had become a bonafide pop culture revolution and media phenomenon by the late ’90’s. A boy’s idea of a virtual world eulogizing his favorite childhood pastime: bug collecting took a lifetime to dream and ~10 years to build, near-bankrupting Nintendo and refusing salary on a quest to make the ultimate video game adventure: RPG, puzzle, fighting, pet, mission, spy, action, mythology, strategy, hunting, collection, science, etc. games in one. The $20 cartridges and masterpiece projects of Generation 1’s Red/Blue/Green/Yellow were well on the way to enjoying the influence, corporate shares, and prestige their craftsmanship deserved – and the next step was, obviously, a sequel. Many ways the concept could’ve faded into oblivion or failed without proper guidance, world-building, and execution, the age-old test of real meritocratic franchise-growth and IP-worth was one of paramount importance and pressure for Pokémon on its quest for expansion, especially given the vitriolic reaction by some parental agencies and critics early on [who must feel incredibly-foolish now]. Kanto might’ve been the perfect introduction, but was it a one-hit wonder? Could they reimagine and challenge themselves to evolve as much as their iconic creatures? Could they recapture magic in a pokéball? The answer to all of these was yes. Back with the best starters, generation of new creature designs, worldbuild of rich japanese culture aesthetics and bursting colors by a brushstroke of pure A/V vibrance for maximum fantasy happiness experience, & feature additions like shinies, mythicals, day/night cycles, breeding, hold items, sex/gender customization, rebalanced type mechanics, life-infused sprites, new pokéball types, & *TWO* regions, G/S/C are the rare sequels powerful enough to challenge [& arguably: pass] the originals.

The Visuals, Overworld, & Vibrance

A Breathtaking Canvas Of Pure 8-Bit Nostalgic Charm, Gen 2’s Translation Of The Ultimate Fantasy World/Adventure Is 10x Better By Its Beautiful Colors, Rich Textures, New Sprites, & Brightness-Infusion: A Prescribable VG-Cure For Depression

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Most striking and unforgettable about G/S/C is visuals. The game is a breathtaking canvas of pure 8-bit nostalgic charm brought to life by a palette of bursting colors, rich textures, new sprites, brightness-refuel, and vibrance to create a brushstroke of a region amongst the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in video games. Generation 2 could be a prescribable VG cure to depression in terms of stylistic competence and craftsmanship: from lime green to turquoise to hot pink and every color in-between, a landscape of perfect adventure, fantasy escapism, and childhood vibrance one could happily escape into for days, weeks, or months. Pokémon commendably recognized and capitalized on the meta-ramifications of its concept to bleed pure happiness and hypnotic feel-good bewitchment. The slightest of background details are considered and given what feels like a 10x budget aggrandization and craftsmanship you can feel in every frame: from the leaves on the [increasingly-diverse and defined] Pine and Spruce forests to night sky as we’ll address later to waves on the ocean to flowers bustling in the wind and the architecture of Johto. Translated to ‘castle palace’ and anchored by its story-crux one in the Kyoto-based Ecruteak, Johto is a fantastic region. Geographically-based on the Kansai, Shikoku, and western Tokai regions of Japan, G/S/C’s region celebrates Japanese culture in quite likely the biggest stage of its representation ever in the history of gaming.

The Breathtaking Celebration Of JPN Culture

A Remixed Kanto, Johto Features More Biome Exposition And Pure Eulogization Of The Culture Of Its Creation That’s Refreshing & Groundbreaking Representation In This Big Of A World Title

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

There are Kimonos, Yukatu, Minka, Pagodas, Dojos, Samurais, Maiko!-based girls wearing Hikizuri/Kanzashi combos strumming Gagaku Kota strings, and authentic real-world Japan design inspirations from old-fashioned Nara cityscapes to the modern commercialization big city of Osaka to, heck, nearly every house lining each town in the game. It’s refreshing beyond compare to see a franchise as big as this recognize and eulogize its roots and the culture that birthed it in a love-letter as pure as this, without getting offended or intimidated by the prospectus of losing demographics or numbers on a spreadsheet in areas like the USA where culture like this might not sell – and proclaimed from the rooftops that Pokémon was a Japanese achievement for the world to celebrate [as it did & properly-attributed afterwards by the box-office and VG receipts]. Beyond the captivatingly and authentically-captured experience [from someone having been to Japan and loving every ounce of their spell-binding culture weaved throughout Pokémon as a concept but not nearly as much in the overt aesthetic of a game as G/S/C], the region is big, beautiful, and diverse otherwise – a remixed Kanto with plenty of visual and stylistic flair its own. All cities are plant or color-themed as a continuation of the Kanto tradition, and tons of design cues are revamped from Gens 1 -> 2 like the ghost tower of PKMN Tower to Sprout Tower, capitalistic mega-mall big city of Saffron City to Goldenrod, pitch-black flash cave of Rock Tunnel to Dark Cave, invisible wall/floor dojo of Fuchsia Gym to Ecruteak, dark bug-laden forest of Viridian to Ilex, etc. while also giving new meanings/mysteries to the backstories of several R/B/G/Y ‘mons like Slowpoke and Bellsprout.

The Soundtrack & Architecture

Kimonos, Yukatu, Minka, Pagodas, Etc. Make The Tokai/Shikoku-Inspired Region Fly – Alongside A Score Of Liquid Harmonics & Sythy Bubblegum Even More Charismatic And Special Than R/B/G/Y

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The game is far from a Gen-1 copycat/ditto though; the region boasts tons of new landscapes and brilliantly-designed places to explore on the adventure – from the new winds blown in New Bark Towern to flowery Cherrygrove city to the ethereal pharoahic pyramid structures with cave-paintings of Ruins of Alph to the charcoal-smoky pokéball craftsmen workshops of Azalea Town to Suicune-synergized blizzard-dusted Ice Path to black-and-gold pantheonic architecture of the Pokémon League Champion’s throne room to medieval dragon mountain town of Blackthorn [complete with a gym of lava knight dungeon’s lairs evocative of fairy tale castles!] to swanky industrial radio city appeal of the yellow-bricked Goldenrod City to flower/bug topiary gyms to full national parks complete with bug-catching contests to perpetually-dark forests with hidden mythical shrines to farms of new-age americana to lighthouse port seaside fishing villages and all of the classic grasslands, oceans, mountains, islands, etc. built between. There are more cool features in these worlds like salons, flower shops, stylists, friendship ameliorations, and realism-expansions by overworld consideration in things like lighthouse-keepers/lanterns. The soundtrack is phenomenal – more bubbly, energy-infused, and jubilant than Generation 1’s to go along with its new aesthetic. The score of G/S/C keeps the zest, bounce, and pop-techno zip of the originals’ candy-coated liquid harmonics bending white noise and synthesizer [with greater clarity and sonic bite] to create magic, while juxtaposing key to ~all major, lowering the octaves, fueling with bass and more ambitious genre collections, and boosting the tempo progression from its title card launching you like a rocket straight into the action.

The Gameplay & New Features

Every Bit As Fun As The Original Games & More, A Finely-Tuned Evolution With Tons Of Quality-Of-Life Improvements To Old Mechanizations Like Bags & More Straightforward Progression – + Brilliant New Ones Its Own

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

From the grimy fuzz bass of Dark Cave to Egypitan mystery of Sprout Tower to poetic proto-EDM melodies of National Park [one of CLC’s favorite musical themes of PKMN] to remixed gym and wild encounter music to epic glitch hop of legendary battles to blistering BPM arpeggios of the S.S. Anne to bagpipe-laden ancient feel of Dragon’s Den to a march-battle cry on Route 38, the soundtrack feels new and parallels the visuals nicely to evoke emotion, fuel energy, and serenade us with sweet sounds for an A/V canvas of pure brilliance amongst the best and most cherishable of the series: the golden crown of the GB/GBA era. The mechanization and nuts/bolts behind the pure fantasy adventure escapism that makes Pokémon run is given an overhaul and evolution from Pikachu to Raichu, comparatively. The progression is far more straightforward – the game gives you major gear from the beginning, lets you call via phone on Pokegear instead of having to go home every time with news, and adds skippable options like tutorial to speed up and fine-tune the screws of gameplay. T/S/C keeps the Japanese-style RPG engine of a top-down scroll perspective of Chibi avatars, but pumps it with quality-of-life improvements [bag separation with more and easier-siftable item organization/storage, type rebalances as we’ll later address, auto-heal catches, cooler puzzles like farfetch’d-trapping, etc.] while adding a collection of new features the greatest, most expansive, and brilliant of any generation of the series to-date.

The Day/Night Cycles & Hold Items

A Dichotomization Of The World By The Sheer Magic & Aesthetic Differences Of Day/Night, A Feature Adding Both Customizable Experience & Biological Realism

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The day/night cycle is a fantastic new feature – one that livens up the realism through the magic of biology. Anyone who has ever gone night-hiking or camping can tell you nature takes on an entirely-different [& often: more ominous/mystical] feel when the sun goes down, and the inclusion of the game fulfills several roles. It serves as aesthetic-establishment for a storytelling crux in some of its legends/mythicals like Celebi in the perpetual-night Ilex Forest and Ho-Oh in the day, makes the game feel like 3-4+ worlds in one by the motif of golden hue morning sunrises, white daylight, dark red sunset hues, and velvety purple night skies, brings us further into the game by the clock-set manual customization options we can tune to our real-world or stagger for maximum spawns/partnerships, broadens the game, and fuels biological realism by certain ‘mons only being active and catchable at day or night based on the characteristics of their real-world counterpart animals. Hold items are another key feature addition that shook up the PVP overworld and gameplay/strategy-dynamic – one that lets you cover weaknesses, restore health, sabotage opponents, boost mechanics, or any combination of them. The turn-based, chess-like, Tekken-inspired dual-staged alternation of moves and countermoves with wild diversification by its status effects, critical hit wildcard, items, moves, supereffective, IV’s, and level/exp. variables is thus maintained in entertainment value but revamped and polished with an entirely new engine and competitive world to go along with its new region.

The Birth Of Shinies

The Greatest New Feature In The History Of Pocket Monsters, Shiny Lore Is Real World Evolution-Based & Adds Challenge, Highlights Creature Designs, Fosters Huntable Fun, And Gives A Chance To Remix The Flavors Of The Original PKMN

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

No feature addition in the *history* of Pokémon is as genius a stroke of pure brilliance and ground-up reinvention of your franchise as the birth of Shiny Pokémon – and it’s handled in the most epic way possible in our glorious Lake Of Rage encounter with one of the coolest and most auspicious shinies ever for a guaranteed catch to get you hooked instantly: Red Gyarados. A completely-new level of depth, huntable challenge, collectable prize, and recolorization, shinies take cues from real-world genetic mutations that creates differences in genotypes/phenotypes expressing coloration alternations [you’ve probably seen a White Tiger in a real life zoo before, same principle] to reimagine – in subtle or crazy ways enough to remix and, sometimes, even save – old designs. Some of the coolest shinies of all-time are introduced here, all of which are better than their original colorations to give an entirely new B-choice to each of the legendary PKMN designs from Gens 1/2: Black Charizard, Ghost-Purple/Grey Ninetales, Red Gyarados, Blue Mew/Ditto, Cotton Candy Pink Mareep, Turquoise Feraligatr, Ash-Volcanic Slugma, Golden Steelix, Lime Green Baby Bear Teddiursa, Blue Moon-Spot Umbreon, etc. There’s a reason gamers built an entire ecosystem genre called ‘shiny-hunting’ just for the one feature: the extreme grind of SR’s [Soft Resets] sometimes taking thousands to encounter one that makes you jump for joy in pure childlike excitement for a job well-earned of the ultimate Easter-Egg prize for the brave and most resolute/determined of heart.

The Birth Of Shinies [Cont.]

The Greatest New Feature In The History Of Pocket Monsters, Shiny Lore Is Real World Evolution-Based & Adds Challenge, Highlights Creature Designs, Fosters Huntable Fun, And Gives A Chance To Remix The Flavors Of The Original PKMN

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The biggest present to hardcore gamers of its franchise ever in video game history, shinies are a masterpiece new feature it’s hard to even quantify how legendary and game-changing it was; it changed everything and majorly-evolved the lure/appeal of PKMN for ages up to 18+, thus potentially singlehandedly exponentiating sales and investment in the franchise by this new game in one. Another feature added for the hardcore RPG gamer community was eggs and breeding – being able to eugenically craft the perfect-stat/IV Pokémon for your team whether you just want a battle advantage, are a perfectionist, like the mystery of wondering what’s inside going to hatch, or just really want multiple versions of your favorite pokémon. The customization options for sex/gender in the game’s menu pre-adventure is another epic [necessary] addition – one that lets you choose boy/girl wherein R/B/G/Y, despite it not being a big or even very noticeable omission by the name customization and fact it was a more home-grown indie dream project, didn’t have. The avatars are cute, well-designed [love Kris’ blue-hair ensemble] and provide excellent character vehicles for the journey to go along with the chromosomal expansion of the overworld and gameplay. Next, the ability to headbutt mystery trees and potentially encounter rare ‘mons is another cool mini-lottery feature.

The Sex/Gender Customization

Fixing An Injustice & Expanding The Worldbuild, The Ability To Choose Boy/Girl Avatars For The Adventure And Breed Perfect Or Shiny PKMN Through Sex-Based Eugenics

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Getting tired yet? Even with all these extra additions and entirely new sprite/move animations for each and every old Gen 1 Pokémon and new one that must’ve taken thousands of hours to rework out of pure love/craftsmanship to the franchise, there’s an epic rebalance of type mechanization as well. Though it gets a pass for being the first of its series [& arguably the best first-feature ever made], Gen 1’s 15 elemental types were off-balance. Fire, Water, Grass, Electric, Rock, Ground, Flying, Normal, Ice, Poison, Fighting, Bug, and Dragon were all brilliantly-juxtaposed with type advantages/weaknesses each their own, but Psychic was overpowered with no real weakness sans Ghost moves and Ghosts were all dual-Psychic types to eliminate the advantages of Ghost or they would’ve been OP too. The two new types G/S/C add fix the transgression of R/B/G/Y’s system: a Dark type fantastically-evocative of the mysterious and occult enough to prey on Psychic and Ghost types, and a Steel type adding a level of machine and sci-fi possibilities to the franchise’s world and the battle systems. But, wait! We’re STILL not done with all the new features in a ridiculously-impressive resumé of new additions that all bring major beneficial reinvention of the game’s core world/concept and deserve high celebration for It. Finally, there are entirely new types of pokéballs – expanding the lineup and providing new ways to catch/hunt by type, desired outcome, and color-coordination [which me & most hardcore PKMN-gamers love to match on shiny & reg. catches] – and friendship levels as a means for evolution further strengthening the bonds with your Pokémon.

A Rebalance Of Type Matchups

Two New Elemental Types Further Expand The Strategem Chesslike Strategy: Dark And Steel – Magnificently-Introduced By All-Time Great PKMN & Fixing The OP Status Of Psychic & Ghost Types In Generation 1

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Of course, the biggest intangible of any generation of its franchise: the Pokémon. G/S/C has the greatest new set of Pocket Monsters in the history of the series – a collection of masterpiece designs that may be challenged in parts like legendaries, pre/post-evolutions, and starters by some of the other 7+ generations, but is insurpassable as a complete set of 100 or more and the reason Generation II remains one of the most experientially-magnificent to-date. The collection bursts with the same magic, personality, biological parallels, diversification, and soul of the original 151 of Red/Blue/Green/Yellow, but evolves them [literally with pre/post-evolutions] and refuels the imagination, color, cute-and-badass dichotomization, and childlike wonder of the set for maximum achievement in design/aesthetics freed from the shackles of introduction bridging for total design liberation. Let’s begin with the starters: Gold/Silver/Crystal’s trio to begin our journey with is the best trinity of starter Pokémon of all-time. An indescribably-adorable, mischievous and hyper-energetic turquoise baby water-gator that takes design cues from Godzilla, Totodile is without question one of the greatest Pocket Monsters the series has ever created – a Top 20-25 A-lister that we picked as our first PKMN in G/S/C as children and also wears the crown of Greatest [Single] Starter Pokémon Of All-Time to-date in CLC’s vote, even before it grows into an intimidating reptilian monster of fighting prowess and ice-cold predatory aggressiveness by its sharp fins and jaws.

The Best Starters Of All-Itme

The Godzilla-Evocative Water Gator, Fire-Cloaked Dracula Badger, & Ponytailed Tropical Plant-Dinosaur Burst Off-The-Charts With Personality, Type-Mastery, & Diversification – Cute To Badass With The Best Designs & First-To-Final Forms/Progressions In Series History

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Then, we have Cyndaquil. The baby fire-mouse/echidna is one of the cutest Pokémon ever created – evocative of Pikachu and Snorlax in a new light with all of the badass appeal of volcanos by its huge back-flame eruptable in battle juxtaposed with Japanese design elements like its dumpling-esque form and moon-crest eyes as it evolves into a flame-breathing badger with Draculaic features like a fire-clock and fangs again amongst the best Pokémon, final evolutions, beginning starters, and design lines ever created. Finally, the trinity [even more difficult to decide between then Kanto or any other gen in that fateful first decision of a childhood] is complete with Chikorita. I love Chikorita’s design and post-evolutions – a pear-shaped plant-dino baby continuing the legacy of Bulbasaur remixed and improved upon, with Spanish aesthetic/name cues and a leaf-ponytail/seed-pearl-necklace combo and spunky fighting spirit like a girl athlete determined to play rough and just as well as the boys do. The design mellows out on evolutions in contrast to Cyndaquil’s progresively-aggressive line as Chikorita evolves into a lime-green brachiosaurus wielding mutal-symbiosis with the nature its real-world inspirations fed on by the hot pink tropical flower it wears as a mane: Venusaur reimagined. Meganium and its line are just a few of many Gen. 2 Pokémon that are essential recreations/remixes of Kanto Pokémon that have been [impossibly] improved by the injection of fantasy, cuteness, vibrance, and imagination. Sentret is a better sciuridiac version of Rattata advanced in its biological altruism and fantastical in its standable tail and bunny ears, Hoothoot a more fascinating clock-eyelashed night-owl Pidgey, Spinarak a Greek-theatre spider with Melponeme on its tropical-colored back that improves wildly on Weedle, Slugma a live lava-goo/snail remix of Grimer/Muk, Heracross a rhinocerous-beetle reinterpreation of the stag-beetle Pinsir, etc.

The Best Generation Of New Pokémon Designs

A Collection Boasting Every Ounce Of The Character, Biology, Magic, & Soul Of R/B/G/Y’s Original Designs With Plenty Of References By Groundbreaking Pre/Post Evolutions – Alongside More Fueled Imagination & Fantasy That’s Also More Diverse, Colorful, Allegorical, & Innovative

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

There are creatures directly lifted from nature’s wonders and awe as a love-letter beyond those like the coral-reef Corsola, angry poisonous pufferfish Qwilfish, live dandelion Jumpluff, dragonfly Yanma, anglerfish Chinchou, jetfish and octopuses Remoraid/Octillery, tree-frog Politoed, live sunflower seeds and plants in Sunkern/flora, and myxoltal-based Wooper – and tons of ones that take cues from real-world animals but inject them with amazing backstories, design-elements, and features that elevate Pokémon to a new level. There are ones make awesome elemental additions to animals like electric sheep, flying poison scorpions, metal-plated birds, moon bear cubs, tire-befit miniature elephants, coniferous T. Rexes, helicopter-blade cotton seedlings, dual-faced psychic giraffes, fake-tree jokesters, devil-dogs, and live bombable pinecones. There are ones that references civilizations past like hieroglyphic live-letters, Native American totem owls, Hawaiian hula-girl plants, and Egyptian pharoic cats, ones that poke jabs at human stereotypes like pudgy nurses and paintbrush-wielding art hipsters complete with turtleneck and witch-crows and crazy blue obnoxious grandmas, ones that reference other franchises like Gundam Bandai transformer/kaiju fireflies, spinning top Beyblade fighters, & Mickey Mouse-eared water muridae, ones that take cues from everyday objects and holidays like electrical outlet plug tikes and santa-birds carrying sacks of gifts, etc. The collection is far more colorful, vibrant, and diverse – one that bleeds zest and character/personality as it seamlessly blends cuteness and badassery with the skill of a mastercraftsman caringly-curating the experience. As we’ve said before, the graveyard of franchises copying and trying to ripoff Pokémon’s original Kanto 151 is overflowing: Digimon, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Monster Rancher, Digipets, Bakugan, Fighting Foodons, Magi-Nation, Duel Monsters, Medabots, Angelic Layer, Cardfight!: Vanguard, Dinosaur King, Yo-Kai Watch, Cardcaptors, etc.

The Legendaries

The King Of The Legendary Birds & Ryujin-Based Dragon Savior Of Shipwrecks, Fenghuangian Zodiac Phoenix Of Sacred Fire & Resurrection, Guardian Angel Of The Forest, & Elemental Trio Dogs – Some Of The Best Legendaries Ever

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The ultimate seal of quality, care, and magic [+ compliment: imitation] of design, Pokémon’s everlasting appeal and success becoming the world’s biggest media franchise wherein ~all others have failed and died says all you need to know – but the company proves thunderously that R/B/G/Y wasn’t just a fluke; in fact, if anything, it’s the opposite by how they managed to not only recapture the magic, but even improve and make better new and wildly-different ones in the sequel, brought to life by amazing new sprites/animations, incredible new features, and phenomenal legendaries. Later generations have been criticized by the fandom for being ~lazy and failing to properly articulate the designs of pocket monsters as a whole with the technological advancements of the modern video game marketplace and world of development possibilities. G/S/C was back when Game Freak and TPC visibly-cared about the product – not only creating new sprites and animations for its new creatures to bring them to life in glorious 8-bit, but completely-redoing the old ones they could’ve easily just ported over from R/B/G/Y but decided to redo just out of love for the fans and fandom – adding a cool new feature in the little movement animation each creature does when they go into battle like Cubone twirling its bone or creatures chittering or flexing to further breathe life into the characters that transcend beyond the still frames to multiple dimensions. The pre/post-evolution feature addition is one of the best decisions of the series – along with shinies giving even more chances for Pokémon to remix and give more depth to their pre-existing lineups in the form of adorable baby pre-evolutions like Pichu, Elekid, Cleffa, & Magby, progressively more powerful evolutions like Kingdra, Scizor, Porygon2, and Steelix [again, one of CLC’s Top 30 PKMN Ever Made], or entirely divergent ones like Politoed, Bellossom, Crobat, Espeon/Umbreon [getting tired of saying this: some of the best pocket monsters ev-.. you get it]. The roster may only have 100 and fewer than the majority of later generations, but quality > quantity and you can feel the aforementioned built into every facet of the designs cut.

The Mythological & Relic Origins

Turning Up The Folklore, Religion, & Allegorical References/Exposition, A Fiery Old Testament God’s Wrath After Garden Of Edenesque Fall-From-Grace & Resurrection Of Fallen Angels Amongst A Delicate Ecosystem Hierarchy Of Nature: The Seas And The Skies

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

There are literally almost zero Pokémon I do not like or actively-hate in Gen. 2 [maybe Remoraid & Tyrogue, but even then I’m ambivalent and passable], far less than the double to even triple digits of later PKMN I have so as the franchise got comfortable and lost the drive/passion or need to continually be at the top of their game as much as they did here with all the pressure naturally tied to bringing a sequel to video games or a movie that set a pop culture revolution on fire. That’s not even including the legendaries – and G/S/C have some of the best ever made, ones hinted at and evolving/remixing past archetypes. Of preliminary exposition of the box legendaries is Lugia. Pokémon: The Movie 2000 framed the icon of the Silver Version as the king of the legendary birds: Zapdos, Moltres, & Articuno. This is positively genius, and works well synergistically because the breathtaking design feels like it would be – a dragon/avian mix 3x the size with back-scales mimicking the propellers on a jet for aerodynamics, snow-white color scheme contrastively juxtaposed with navy touches, unprecedented bulk tankiness for a legendary eating supereffective moves with barely a scratch and rebuking any 4x rock-throws, and peculiar typing of psychic and flying. The animé further evokes primal fascination and urban legend/mythological intrigue by fueling the creature with centuries of shipwrecked sailors’ tales – Lugia being the guardian of the sea. Real-life bases can be found partly in Scotland’s Ancient Loch Ness Monster it does share design [neck, length] and elemental [water] similarities with, pleisosaurs, wyvern dragons, gray heron, and beluga whale it distinctly sounds like in haunting-yet-beautiful hum-sounds. Of course, though, fitting with G/S/C’s overall motif of eulogizing Japanese culture, Lugia is most clearly based on Ryujin: the dragon king, sea god, and master of serpents in Japanese mythology Lugia epitomizes from morphology to lore down to even his sprite colors in both normal and shiny versions being the exact chroma schemes of the real-life cultural legend and his palace on the ocean floor.

The Elemental Trio Remixed: The Dogs

A Lion Of Volcanic Smoke, Panther Of Icy Water Blackjack Design & The Northern Lights, And Sabre-Toothed Tiger Of Lightning & Storm-Clouds, Three Of The Best Legendaries Ever

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The amount of care, research, culture, and craftsmanship going into Generation 1’s legendaries are found the same or even more so here – even the phonetics, etymology, and onomastics of Lugia’s name being perfect, referencing lutetium (a silver element), lugeo (lating for lying dormant beneath surface), beluga whale, deluge, and Lutiya [the earliest name in cosmographies for the cross-cultural Bahamut dragon/fish creature it also resembles]. The god and guardian of the seas is contrasted-while-connected to Gold’s other box legendary: the god and guardian of the skies, Ho-Oh. Despite Christian religious allegorical iconography in the fact Gold’s icon bird rains Old Testament fire and judgment down on a mankind who tried to steal his power like Adam & Eve did eating the fobidden fruit in the Garden Of Eden and leaves for generations in disgust of the sin delegating rule to three messenge angels in the reincarnated ones it rises from the same fire, Ho-Oh is foremost based in Eastern mythology. Literally named after the Chinese word for Phoenix, Ho-Oh epitomizes the bird of sacred fire across mythologies and cultures – a much better achievement of the archetype than Gen 1’s Moltres even down to the morphology, typing, attacks, and size while further defining it with Eastern Asian touches to be a clear reference of the sinospheric Fenghuang and rooster of Chinese zodiac traditional mythology in Asia often pairs with chinese dragons [thus, Gold and Silver’s box legendaries, also balanced elementally in fire and water & elevationally seas and skies]. Also potential sources of inspiration are Persian/Iranian mythology’s Huma bird by its reign over the skies and bestowance of fortune and happiness synergized by gold and rainbows, the Pueblo’s bird-god Achiyalabopa, and other firebirds like the Simurgh and Ember Bird of Slavic folklore. The birds, as different aspects of them like design and name are across these foundational cultures and the hundreds of others they were diverged to under different names, morphologies, and raison d’êtres [including Western ones], are all symbolized as symbols of resurrection.

The First Mythical

One Of CLC’s Top 5 Pokémon Of All-Time, Celebi Inaugurates One Of The Series’ Greatest Creations – A Forest Guardian Pixie Sprite With Time-Travel Powers And Greek Mythology, Native American Gods, & Japanese Folklore Origins

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

This, besides Ho-Oh’s epic design breathing fire-type power and rainbow-hued chroma ocular pleasure, perfectly-matches Ho-Oh’s mythology in Pokémon G/S/C: being reborn rising from the ashes of the Burned Tower in Ecruteak City with the hidden ability Regenerator and even resurrecting three fallen normal pocket monsters [likely a Flareon, Vaporeon, and Jolteon] in the tower into god legendaries of the same type in the three legendary dogs: Entei, Suicune, and Raikou. The elemental bird trio of Red/Blue/Green/Yellow is remixed in Gold/Silver/Crystal: three legendary dogs keeping the same color schemes and aesthetics while improving them 10x in every way and further delving into mythological origins. In the place of Articuno is our #2 Greatest Pokémon of Generation 2 and one of our Top 25 Of All-Time: Suicune. A panther/leopard of the water elementalization with ice-type, royalty, and aurora fringes, the creature boasts one of the most dramatic, layered, and beautiful designs in the history of pocket monsters. Suicune’s mythological origins lye in Fūjin, the Shinto god of the North Wind, and Qilin, a hooved chimerical creature denoting the presence of royalty – synergizing brilliantly with its aesthetic being a cerulean rich blue hue with a purple (the traditional color of kings across eras) mane resembling auroras on its back and tail flowing like winds on its sides giving the illusion of movement even while inactive, snowflake/ice crystal-evocative horn, beard as many kings are depicted with, and playing card spades/club-like markings on its side evocative of the game kings, queens, jacks, etc. and the court are literally immortalized in and have been for centuries. We also love how it’s a water-type legendary instead of ice: the beginning of diversification with Celebi into other types outside Psychic, Ice, Fire, & Electric that have dominated PKMN until now. Raikou is another one CLC’s favorites of all-time: a smilodon/saber-toothed tiger electrifying with thunder and storm iconography from the cumulonimbus cloud [ones that bring thunderstorms] on its back, yellow and black lightningbolt-stripes, and static-shaped tail that together fuel badassery and power surges. The mythological origins are palpable and comprehensive – most world cultures have thunder gods it takes cues from, most notably the Taoist/Daoist Chinese deity Lei Gong and demon of Japanese lore raijū, taking the form of animals like tigers and ruling alongside the Fūjin Suicune is based on in Shinto mythology for maximum synergy.

One Night At Tower Fire

Though Contrastively Juxtaposed & Divergent In Type, Morphology, & Powers, All Legendaries Of G/S/C Are Brought Together By Natural Allegory On The Balance, Power, & Delicacy Of Nature’s Ecosystem Illustrated By The Events Of Its Towers

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Finally, you have Entei. Our least favorite of the elemental dog trio and legendaries of G/S/C, but still a good one by any other standard, Entei is a fire lion reincarnation of volcanos with leonine mastiff qualities, king-like royal design aesthetics just like Suicune down to even a gold crown on its head, and volcanic smoke rising from its back as a mane. Lions are regarded across cultures as beings of power and fire, but specifically, Entei takes referential cues from the Balinese lion spirit Barong of Indonesian Eastern mythology. As different as the three beasts are, they’re connected by the Ho-Oh that created them throough reincarnation and one singular night of the Brass Tower fire: Raikou being the lightning that struck the temple, Entei being the fire itself, and Suicune the water that put it out by a Lugia summoning a rain storm. The allegorical tale paints the power, volatility, destructibility, balance, elements, and regeneration of nature: a masterpiece ecosystem of legendaries foundationalized on the artistic principle of the sublime. Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald have the best legendaries in PKMN history, Sun/Moon’s come in second, and Gold/Silver/Crystal easily take third place while even arguably vying for higher positions. One thing G/S/C conclusively takes the #1 spot in, while also being the first game to [formally; Mew shares characteristics like the full pokedex methodology, extreme limitation availability, and contrastive juxtaposition of cuteness over badassery and power but wasn’t officially named so] introduce them as one of the best features in Pokémon: mythicals. We love the power-flexing dragons, beasts, lions, wolves, humanoids, machines, gods, and demons corely definitive of Pokémon’s legendaries: hard-adult/mature focused creature celebrating mythology, history, fantasy, and culture while fulfilling the every promise of the core appeal of Pocket Monsters in wielding the unwieldable power of nature, elements, and everything we’re deprived of by real-world physics and the cruelty of life beyond our imaginations.

The Mystery Of The Unown

The Game’s Biggest Enigma Are 28 Tiny Alphabet Creatures Catalyzed By Others’ Presence Transcending Dimensions & Distorting Reality – A Metaphor For The Power Of Language Built From Heiroglyph With Striking Divinity Ramifications To Even The God Of The Poké-World

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

However, mythicals are the kryptonite to this Superman, reversed in aesthetic with mythicals being predominantly cute and adorable ‘mons… but not any bit less powerful or folklore/legend/mythology/culture-inspired. Celebi is the zenith of mythicals: the greatest one the franchise has ever created to-date, the epitomization of why Generation 2 is the best set of creature designs in the series, and one of CLC’s Official Top 5 Greatest Pokémon Of All-Time. Design-wise, Celebi is pixie sprite with fairy-type precursors [almost 15+ years before it was formally introduced; the aesthetic also brings to mind elements of Scotland’s 1902 Peter Pan and Tinker Bell] alongside plant and bug morphology characteristics like bulbs and onion stalks juxtaposed with antennae and tri-tipped digits in a lime green, baby-blue, black, and white colorway of pure brilliance and soul in its eyes. Mythologically, the creature references extensive inspirations – Dryad tree-nymphs of Greek mythology, Kokopelli the Native American god of music, Kodama spirits of Japanese folklore acoustically echoing and humming in forests, and Shintoism [Japan’s indigenous religion and one based on naturalism, often with shrines thanking perceived guardian deities of the forests exactly like Celebi in G/S/C]. The gentle naturalism, musical soul-quench, and graceful traditional femininity are not to be fooled by though; Celebi is powerful – a Grass/Psychic type with full access to both trees of movesets and godlike being dubbed the guardian of the forest, able to heal plants and lifeforms by mere touch to personify nature and synergize with other legendaries like Ho-Oh and Lugia by its natural protectorship and regeneration, while also being gifted the most primally-fascinating power of all: the ability to time-travel across eras, timelines, and temporal anomalies in search of peace and love. Brilliance. Only since has one generation been able to capture magic by the diversifation and proficiency of design prowess in its Legendaries and Mythicals: Generation 4 – and even thence [despite Giratina and Manaphy being two more of the Top 20 Pokémon Of All-Time], its overall roster pales in comprison to Johto’s in both legendaries and overall.

The Characterization

Cute-But-Tough Farm/City Girls, Bug Encyclopediac Tajiri-Referential Kids, Crabby Old Veterans, Determind Feminist Dragon-Tamers, Chubby Macho Wacky Uncles, & Aciculate Flying Dojo Teen Masters – One Of The Best Gens Of Characters Outside R/B/G/Y

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Speaking of the two’s connection, there are tons of strange, secretive design similarities and references – the biggest of which being Unown. A collection of 28 letter corruptions of the modernized Latin alphabet, Unown somehow make even letters cool, personality-filled, and playful, with little more than a single eye and black typography – perhaps seeming unassuming alone, but together [like the words they symbolize when letters come together to form the complex wonders and infinite hypothetical combinations of language and literature to convey ideas and life, including to type this piece] being powerful emitting strange mysterious energy catalzyed by the presence of others. The beings live in their own dimension and are hypothesized to communicate via telepathy, even being able to distort reality as can be seen in the best movie of the series and a fantasy masterpiece of remarkable darkness and emotion for a kids’ and franchise picture in 2001’s Pokémon 3 and the orphaned Molly. Real-world historically, they reference ancient scripture & hieroglyphs amongst the earliest written documents of mankind – and their in-game one is even more a Da Vincian conundrum. The Ruins Of Alph are a maze of mystery entirely their own in G/S/C: baffling scientists and archeological historians by the ancient chambers, statues, puzzzles, and messages created by early mankind eulogizing them religiously with revelations they built these shrines to them and depart out of respect for these godly beings. Of core importance and breathtaking ramifications is the fact that the God and creator of the entire Pokémon world: Arceus [Gen IV] has a morphology strikingly resembling Unown characteristics – and having Arceus in your party in the remakes of G/S/C in HeartGold & Soul Silver unlocks a special part of the ruins called the Sinjoh Ruins to further extrapolate the verification of this theory of connection only more italicizing the power, importance, and divinity of these little creatures. Gold/Silver/Crystal are truly a rabbit’s hole of mythological historical, religious, cultural, allegorical, and mystery fascination along with beatufiul audiovisuals, new feature magnificence, and gameplay thrills – but its characters deserve exposition too.

The Return Of Team Rocket

The Mafioso & Capitalistic Icon Villains Of PKMN Return To Further Bridge The Gap Between Gens – As Mean, Powerful, & Naturally-Abusive As Ever For A Great Antagonist To Make Up For Rival’s ~Okayness

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

The characterization of Pokémon G/S/C is good; sure, it pales in comparison to that of Generation 1 remaining the best character-canvas of the series, but it’s still amongst the best of generations afterwards otherwise. There are both new and returning faces. The new gym leaders are fantastic in design, type, aesthetic, and personality charm and charismatic magic many future generations lack: the cute-but-tough normal country girl in the big city Whitney, hyperambitious feminist dragon-tamer Clair, crabby grandpa veteran [Icy] Pryce, chubby macho wacky-uncle Chuck, steel-clad yet soft and compassionate defense girl Jasmine of the lighthouse, ghost sage Morty, bug encyclopedic kid Bugsy referencing the creator of Pokémon’s childhood self getting the idea for Pokémon from bug-collecting Satoshi Tajiri, and our personal favorite: Falkner and aciculate determinism and badass flying dojo. They’re even bestowed the ability to transcend normal boundaries and storytelling rulebreaks of canon by, for example, refusing to give gym badges out of pettiness and sore-loserisms or making you do side-quests to get the badges you earned to instill a refreshing sense of subversiveness/danger that keeps you on your toes. We love beyond the trainers the fact that they employ brand new types not given recognition in R/B/G/Y in epic levels on the gym-stage: Bug, Flying, Ghost, Steel, Ice, etc. This goes alongside great new trainer archetypes and remixes of past ones like dudes, campers, picknickers, con businessmen, pokefans, and dark magicians along with a young and energy-infused remix of Oak in Professor Elm and two great new Elite Four members in the whiz kid psychic type Will and blonde femme-fatale synergizing noir with dark-type Karen. G/S/C also gives us a satisfying dosage of nostalgia and further exemplifies why Gen 1 has the best characters in its entire post-game in Kanto – as well as weaving returning characters throughout the canvas like Koga’s promotion to Elite Four status and Kanto champion dragon-master Lance being a spy leading a private investigation into villainy at Lake Of Rage. Speaking of which, it’s time to analyze the villain team whose malevolence and ploys drive the story of G/S/C: Team Rocket!

A Plot At Lake Rage

Classic Sci-Fi, Comic Book, Spy, Old-World Malevolence Mixed With Black Comedy: Slowpoke Tails, Thieved Parts, Radio Waves Manipulating Evolution & Causing Mind-Control – Plus An Epic First Canonical Introduction To Shinies

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

We love love love the decision to bring back the big bads of R/B/G/Y in G/S/C. A Criminal Organization of Mafioso feel down to its black and red street-grime underworld aesthetic below a Godfather CEO of [secretive] power/influence thieving friends & abusing animals before paving way to allegory of Mankind vs. Nature, Capitalism, & killing Religion, Team Rocket is the most definitive – and quite arguably: best – villain in Pokémon history. As the best sequels do, G/S/C references the events of its predecessor and expands upon them, ambitiously bringing back our favorite Rattata and Zubat organization for another go-round. The backstory motivation and characterization is great: being humiliated in the their big villain plans in Kanto being stopped by a mere 10 y.o. kid [you in the original games!] and team broken up by the cops, they come back meaner, leaner, darker, and hungrier with even more sadistic new schemes and a grassroots resurgence playing up the underground feel of the team while evoking comic book, slasher, and old movie feel by the fact villain are never really dead from canon. The animal cruelty, natural disrespect, and capitalism exposition is dialed up in horror early on by the realization they’re cutting off Slowpoke Tails live near Azalea Town and selling them for profit, fueling ghastly shock-value and hatred early on as we’re taken into black markets trying to stop them. They also manages to fit in black comedy with the comic book malevolence like the hilarious pseudo-racebaiting foreigner stealing a critical machine part from the radio machine back in Kanto just to cause mischief and making us chase him through Cerulean City as he says Tony Montana-like mixed-English phrases like ‘bye bye a go-go’. That’s not even including the major arc of the game: Lake Rage. This is a continuation true to R/B/G/Y’s Mewtwo arc in subersion/rapaciousness of the natural order by them artificially manipulating evolution and causing physical harm to innocent Pokémon at the lake by a radio wave and mysterious broadcast frequency that forces premature evolution and can be extrapolated to mind-control on a global basis, evokes classic spy and sci-fi themes for a magnificent villain arc of revelry in pure evil, the hubris of mankind, resourcefulness, and selfishness always putting the dollar above its creatures as we salivate on beating them down and cutting the cancerous regrowth for good. Oh, and it also manages to serve as an epic-scale, perfect first introduction to shinies canonically seeing one of the game’s best and most powerful ‘mons and alternative colorways ever as our first one: Red Gyarados.


We’re Decidedly Mixed On The Rival – Loving The Fire & Cocky, Smug Competitiveness Referential To Gary Oak While Being Used As A Prism For Parental Criticism Fixes And Character-development Beyond Preconceptions éf Pokemon Used As Tools Of War, But He Goes To oFar In Ougnacious Aggression, Violence, & Directionaless Rage

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Finally in characterization, the rival. We’re decidedly mixed on the rival. We do love the act he still feels competitive and fiery like Gary Oak while maintaining the cocky, smug aesthetic with dark and mature edge – not being dumbed/watered-down or childified like future generations become in friendship exposition discordance to what your RIVAL should be. This is alongside great character-development from a thief and psuedo-villain presence devaluing his Pokémon as nothing more than tools for war in power-hungriness to learning he’s wrong and being humbled into trying to become a better person and trainer treating them with friendship across the arc – slyly roasting imbecilic parental criticism overreactions to the franchise being too violent by showing through prismatic lens of him that this way of thinking is NOT what Pokémon is. Oh, and he uses a fantastic team of strong, top-tier Pokémon. However, he’s like Gary gone ~wrong in parts. A forced edgebro way too aggressive and pugnacious, he’s just directionless rage like the personification of the lake of it – even being violent and physically/domestically-abusive by constantly pushing you out of the way and to the ground.. for no reason at all. There’s a difference between not being childish and being not-for-children, highlighting the worst sins of adulthood by going far too far with the concept Blue nailed perfectly. The scales are balanced in positives and negatives in G/S/C’s rival but tilt more towards the positive side by the great character-development also teaching detractors of the franchise a lesson metaphorically through him. There are some minor annoyances in the game – like too éany calls on the Pokenav without being able to block vexatious callers like Liz The Picknicker and Joey from Route 1 talking to you about top percentage Rattata’s and every detail of their day every few hours to simulate a worse experience than phone-scam/spam telemarketers. With phone functionality comes inevitable misuses and problems, a duality synergizing with its rival and major two problems: the overpresence of generation 1 and infamous level-curve.

The Greatest Post-Game Ever?

Two Entire Worlds & Generations Of Games In One, A Surprise Unlockable Trip Makes Up For Gen 1’s Overpresence Early On To Bring Every Bit Of The Kanto Magic/Experience As A PG Delicacy To Only Further Fuel Franchise-Growth, Singularity, & Fandom-Service

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Before we get into those, we need to talk about how INSANE G/S/C’s postgame is: quite possibly the greatest post-game in the history of video games. No other game we”ve ever played has anything like it; the entiregame cnad classical experience/adventure of Johto and entire structure of the game and franchise previously-established…. is only 50% of this game’s. Talk about value: this is the gaming experience of a buy-one-get-onefree or two-for-one hafl-off sale – and it’s glroisu while just as strategic on GameFreak and Nintendo’s part as it forces us éo be in battling The Elite Four at tThe Pokemon League. The mutual symbiouis gives us the perfect wa breeds the perfect way to meld and combine the two generations: what better way than letting use our newfound best friends and take them back to where the franchise begain in Kanto for entirely new backgorunds, gym battles, wild encounters, and adventure? G/S/C eulogize and pay respect/homage to the original they come after as the best sequels do, also remixing it to further elucidate how perfect these are as sequels by the fact this Kanto is not exactly the same and is handled with nostalgia craftsmanship by a team who clearly cares deeply about it, modernizing and streamlining it while staying every bit true and authentic to the originals. The colors of G/S/C’s visual landscape make the region pop with even more life and vibrancy than the previous black-and-white allowed, and the other details are not just copy/paste like would be expected and allowed – every single sprite is redone and the music themes remixed in new bouncy energetic ways. Heck, every damn trainer in the game on all routes and gym leaders have bigger, stronger and new pokemon of both generations for the perfect continuation and gift bestowance after we finish in Johto for the ultimate gaming surprise that also works on a business franchiseability level: what better way to sell more R/B/G/Y and connect/build the franchise more than by giving fans who start in G/S/C a taste and reminder there’s a whole ‘nother game waiting for them in Kanto that’s even better? Genius. The entire back-half of the game is the perfect panegyric and paean to Generation 1, so why does the game feel the need to overshadow its own geeration so prevalently in the beginning?

The Overpresence Of Gen 1

A Masterpiece Generation Of Designs Inexplicably Subjugated In Their Own Game, One Of G/S/C’s Only Flaws Is A Bizarre & Sizable One: Too Few Gen 2 Pokémon Spawns & World/Story Presence For Its Own Monsters Taking A [Though Franchise-Helpful] Backseat To The Previous One

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Flaws in G/S/C are mostly limited to the number of its generation: two. First and most vexatious of the combo is the game’s subjugation of its own masterpiece intangibles by a bizarre, inexplicable overpresence of Kanto Pokémon. We – and the rest of the world, obviously, by its universal status as the most iconic/definitive of the franchise – love Generation 1, and properly accoladed the groundbreaking video games amongst the greatest [and boasting the biggest legacy] in the history of fiction and pop-culture with a perfect 10/10 score amongst the Top 5 highest rated video games of all-time. We love G/S/C’s parallels and expansion of the lore, designs, and world of Generation 1: a game that feels like a true, authentic sequel with every bit of the magic of the games that changed the world, even taking us back into the region itself in the post-game amongst the best and most valuable of all-time while feeling like a seamless blend/transition between the two regions that helped growth in sales + franchising and feels like a craftsman love-letter to everything about the originals. However, what could’ve been a charming slice of nostalgia and wink to our first adventure in R/B/G/Y in a new context simply by the post-game journey back into the old friend region is tackled with the subtlety a chainsaw and excess of Las Vegas – a shoe-horn of Generation 1 at the expense of Generation 2. This is a fine-line; modern games like Sword/Shield in Gen 8 just releasing got blastedéby the Poke community for the #NatDex removal rightfully expressing outrage at the laziness and excuses for not being able to play with our favorite and most prized friends after decades of eadventures. Comparatively, this is pennies to dollars in terms of problem-size, but, especially on a first run-through, we want to play with all new Pokémon from the new generation to experience it fully.. a balance they still hadn’t quite fully gotten here yet.

An Existential Battle: Kanto Vs. Johto

The Biggest Sin Of The Games Buy How The Greatest Intangibles & Designs Of Any PKMN Game Of All-Time Become Features In A Game We Want To Experience as 100% New; A Perplexing Dichotomization Given We Already Go Back To Kanto In Post-Game

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

There is only *ONE* Johto Pokémon in the entire first 5 gyms, and few even in the forgettable trainer fawns on grassy routes for us to level up our Typhlosions and Feraligatrs on. Far more egregious and noticeable by the fact that Generation 2 boasts the best set of new creature designs of any generation of Pokémon; if this was Generation 5, for example, I would not have minded this overshadowing – heck, I might’ve even encouraged it to minimize the horror of seeing B/W’s collection of the worst, ugliest, and laziest Pokémon ever made. The fact that the masterpiece new creature designs of G/S/C bursting with color, personality, and innovation feel rare and ~neglected by the off spawn-rates and features.. like backdrop/afterthoughts in their own games doesn’t sit right with us – even more inexplicable a choice given that we literally go to Kanto in the post-game that could’ve been pure Gen 1 without any other Johto ‘mons except our squad if Nintendo wanted to have a built-in advertisement for R/B/G/Y. Less pressing but still a [well-documented] issue is the famed level-curve: a level of challenge Pokémon that starts fine and is even fine throughout most of the main game, but curves sharply downward towards the end and into Kanto such that it becomes too easy with too low-level creatures for us to fight.

The Level Curve

A Dilution Of The Difficulty Of Generation 1, G/S/C’s Infamous Level Curve Is Bizarrely Off-Balance & Far More Pronouncable In Kanto – ~Nerfed, but Twinges Of Real Difficulty Like Whitney’s Miltank & E4 OHKOs And Completionist’s Variability

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Make no mistake – G/S/C are not easy games; they still do challenge without the hand-hold water-down features of future generations like forced EXP. share and type cheatcodes displayed on all attacks negating strategem internalization while displaying many moments just as difficult as anything in Red/Blue/Green/Yellow like Whitney’s Miltank, Hypnosis/Dream Eater Gengars in Ecruteak, The Elite Four we still lost in one time for the first time in a decade playing these games and got OHKO’d dozens of times, Red’s Final Challenge on Mt. Silver. Also, it is difficult to sculpt the level curve on a multi-region game, so we do give lenience for this especially in appreciation for the unprecedented gaming and entertainment value. Finally, Pocket Monster has always been a diverse-experience completionist franchise; the game is as easy or hard as you make it: if you grind and explore every inch of every city and battle every trainer on every route for EXP, of course you’re going to level up mons faster and the game will be easier. 95% of players only battle the major unavoidable trainers and gyms, and for them – this game will be hard, despite objectively being a bit nerfed from the originals, with a level curve bizarre and inexplicable still facing late-20’s levels even post-game after we’ve defeated tThe Elite Four and earned all badges [we should be facing ~all Lvls. 50’s, 60’s, and on].

A Refuel Of The Cultural Phenomenon

The World’s Eyes & The Biggest Sniper-Target Was On The Back Of PKMN Gen. 2; Anything Less Than The Near-Perfection Of Gen 1 Would’ve Doomed The Franchise To Irrelevance & The Graveyard Of 1/2-Offs – & So Much Could’ve Gone Wrong From Conception To Release

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Even with these sizable [but certainly not game-breaking or even very serious, especially given that these are but only the 2nd games in a series with the legs to gand box-office receipts + strength of concept amongst the best in fictional history to go on tens of generations.. or even hundredds] flaws, G/S/C are some of the greatest video game sequels ever made – more so because of how right they got the expansion when so much could’ve gone wrong, and not only that: evolved its core concept from ground mechanization up. The anthological structure is brilliant – allowing Pokémon to basically start from scratch and make entirely new regions, creatures, storytelling, and characters every time, a perfectly-plausible pitch-meeting 99.9% of executives would’ve likely followed with minimal effort and maximum profits by how revolutionizing PKMN already was in pop culture in the late ’90’s, and one that would’ve doomed the franchise to death instead of the $100B+ king of media empires would’ve been just expanding into a new region with the same 151. The world’s eyes and a huge sniper’s bullseye was on the back and headshot-range of Pokémon by how extreme the news coverage and hype [+ some parental agencies’ hatred of the supposedly-hyperviolent games] was, and anything less than the quality of the masterpiece originals would’ve been ripped to shreds by the masses outside of its original grassroots trainer movement. The proof-in-the-pudding, the franchise’s winning idea was proven beyond a fluke and doubt to be the greatest in fictional history – and it’s growth since is just a reverberation of the IP-worth highlighted through a new lens here.


The Rare Sequel To Challenge The Originals

Back With The Best Starters, Canvas Of New Creature Designs, Worldbuild Of Rich Japanese Culture By A Brushstroke Of Pure A/V Vibrance, & Feature +’s Like Shinies, Mythicals, Breeding, Sex/Gender Customization, *Two* Regions, Etc.; Quite Arguably The Best Generation Of Pocket Monsters

Photograph Courtesy Of: Nintendo, Gamefreak, & The Pokémon Company

Overall, G/S/C are everything a video game sequel should be – the textbook shining exemplification synergizing with their lustrous metallurgic eponymous names to create adventures of huge importance: refueling and further laying the groundwork for the reign of Pocket Monsters. There are *so* many ways the series could’ve gone wrong here – and it’s a triumph of artistic prowess and near-impossibility they were able to navigate the seas of uncertainty and pop-culture pressure like no other video game franchise had ever seen before while being one of the few games to ever add & fix so much to its franchise on its own. The game could be prescribed as a cure medicine for depression and the fathoms of life’s darkness by how ostensibly happy it is and the joy it breathes in every frame, pixel, and creature – a region of rich japanese culture down to even the architectural and fashion aesthetics like Kimonos, Yukatu, Minka, Pagodas, Etc. and real-world inspiration of Tokai/Kansai/Shikoku landscapes. The creatures are the best in series history: beyond the best starters of all-time in its Godzilla-evocative water gator, fire-clocked Dracula badger, and tropical plant dinosaur and some of the series’ best legendaries in the king of the legendary birds, fixed-phoenix, and elemental dogs, a collection of designs bursting with every ounce of the character, biology, magic, and soul of R/B/G/Y’s original designs remixed and diversified with a fuel of fantasy, colors, and creative imagination beyond previous wavelengths. The feature additions of G/S/C are miraculous and pure brilliance – a clinic on how to sequel and evolve your own game by breathing new life into it with further definition in the forms of pre/post-evolutions, shinies, mythicals, day/night cycles, etc., all while keeping the spirit and authenticity of the original games it eulogizes while fleshing out with new depth and layers.. even letting us journey there with our new teams in the ultimate post-game of all-time and fight its mafioso villain team still the best in series history. Flaws are few, but sizable: 1) a bizarre subjugation of its own intangibles and creatures to Kanto spawns so overprevalent, there is only one Johto Pokémon in the entire first 5 gyms and few used in a wonky ratio not even needed by the post-game’s journey to the region itself, and 2) the level-curve: a dilution of challenge by bizarre mechanization far more pronounceable in the finale, with twinges of great difficulty like Whitney’s Miltank, Ecruteak Gym, and Red’s Rematch but inconsistency progressively getting easier later-on. Even with these detractors, it’s still near-impossible to weigh them seriously in comparison to the masterpiece intangibles otherwise and how game-changing & revolutionary G/S/C was to the series – Lugias to Caterpies in how towering the legacy and burning passion of ambition/innovation it brought was. Back with the best starters, generation of new creature designs, worldbuild of rich japanese culture aesthetics and bursting colors by a brushstroke of pure A/V vibrance for maximum fantasy happiness experience, & feature additions like shinies, mythicals, day/night cycles, breeding, hold items, sex/gender customization, rebalanced type mechanics, life-infused sprites, new pokéball types, & *TWO* regions, G/S/C are the rare sequels powerful enough to challenge [& arguably: pass] the originals.

Official CLC Score: 10/10