Pokémon Red replay: a diary

• 44 minutes to read

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I'm a huge Pokémon fan. Although I only played the first two editions of the saga on the first Game Boy, I more or less kept in touch with the saga through other by-products like the Trading Card Game or at my friends' houses with their newer consoles.

Since we'll be spending a lot of time confined at home, I decided to buy a Nintendo 2DS XL and play through all the games in the saga, as I have recently reconnected with Pokémon through Let's Go! Pikachu and Pokémon Sword on Nintendo Switch. I enjoyed both games very much.

This article isn't intended to be a walkthrough, but it's mostly to keep the story to myself and to relate to my original game, which I remember fondly even to this day.

Full disclosure: Insane levels of nerdiness ahead.

A bit of context

Nostalgia struck me immediately when I switched on the game: the opening animations, the music, the sheer slowness of the classical Game Boy and the 8-bit artwork brought me back to when I was ten, and my dad brought me a Game Boy from Japan. I also received a copy of Pokémon Red in English, which forced me to learn English at a faster pace than my classmates.

I can still remember by heart some facts from my first game:

  • I chose Bulbasaur as a starter.
  • Before hitting the first gym, I got stuck in the game and spent countless hours training my Bulbasaur, so I beat Brock with a Venusaur level 34.
  • I killed Zapdos and Articuno. Obviously, I hadn't saved first.
  • I obviously used Masterball on Moltres.
  • I loaded some of my critical 'mons with useless HMs like Cut and Flash.
  • I had no clue what I was doing.

In fact, my first team, with which I beat the first Elite League was:

  • Venusaur: Solar Beam, Razor Leaf, Hyper Beam, Cut
  • Raichu: Mega-kick, Thunder, Strength, Flash
  • Raichu: Mega-punch, Thunderbolt, Body Slam, Swift
  • Parasect: Cut, Dig, Solar Beam, Slash
  • Dewgong: Surf, Ice Beam, Strength, Bubble Beam
  • Dugtrio: Dig, Earthquake, Fissure, Slash

Then I captured Mewtwo (obviously taught him Strength, Psychic, Blizzard and Solar Beam or something stupid) and Moltres (with Fly, Sky Attack, Fire Blast and Take Down or Double Edge), replacing a Raichu and Parasect from my main team.

Clearly, I had no idea what I was doing.

Anyways, let me tell you how I've been reviving this old gem, now on my Nintendo 2DS XL.

Day one: Leaving Pallet Town

I still know the game by heart. God knows how many times I spent playing it, and how many times I've completed it after the first time (not without transferring all my 'Mons to Pokémon Yellow).

The first thing I did, was to retrieve the Potion on the PC, before heading out to meet good old Oak.

I really wanted to pick Squirtle this time, as I've never chosen it as a starter, but decided to revive the full thing again. So I picked Bulbasaur.

The first battle with my rival was tough, and I won by a really small margin (with 1 or 2 HP left), and it made me think of how the evolution of the rival has been throughout the years.

In the first editions, your rival was always kind of mischievous, naughty and picked on you all the time. It was a proper rival. However, with the most recent generations, even with the remake Let's Go Pikachu/Eeevee the rival is extremely friendly and the best friend of your character, which kinda misses the point of a rival.

Anyways, knowing there's not much to do in Pallet Town, I headed up north, confronting my first hordes of Pidgeys and Rattatas (I didn't miss this part) and completed the task to get a Pokédex as a reward.

This time, my gameplay is consisting of staying in an area until I catch all the different Pokémon available in that area. In the meantime, I am training my team, because in this game, experience share wasn't activated by default (it was an item you collected somewhere down the road - and I thought it was useless, so I stored it in the PC in my first game).

This time, I decided to play with a team of mostly Pokémon I can get in the first half of the game, so I devised this team:

  • Venusaur: Obviously, but with proper moves this time.
  • Nidoking: Fully evolved at level 16, as soon as Mt. Moon and with an insane list of learnable attacks? Gimme that!
  • Fearow: I wanted Dodrio, but comes too late in the game. Never played a Fearow, so it'll be interesting.
  • Dugtrio: Since I can't trade, Golem is not an option. If I had the blue edition, I'd go with Sandslash, but it'll be Dugtrio again.
  • Jolteon: Instead of two Raichus 🤣
  • Starmie: Gonna take a while to get this one, but one of the best 'Mons in this edition.

Before hitting the Green Forest, I decided to confront my rival again, not without a bit of training prior. My team was:

  • Bulbasaur: Level 13 (Tackle, Growl, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoran(m): Level 10 (Tackle, Leer, Horn Attack)
  • Spearow: Level 10 (Peck, Leer, Growl)

Day two: Green Forest + Pewter City + Mt. Moon

I set off for Pewter City, getting first into yet another trip into nostalgia: The Green Forest. When I first played, it was immense, now it's just a walk in the park. Actually, it's even easier with Bulbasaur and Nidoran, since they can't be poisoned.

It took me a while to bump into a Metapod and a Pikachu, so I trained quite a lot. I already had Vine Whip in Bulbasaur, so I knew that Brock was going to be a piece of cake, so I decided to train the other two, just in case.

I ran into a bit of trouble with the trainer before Brock, as his Sandshrew killed my Spearow and nearly one-hit KO'd my Bulbasaur with a critical scratch, but I eventually finished him with Nidoran. After a quick visit to the Pokémon Center, Brock was very easy. I finished Brock with all my 'Mons at level 15.

  • Bulbasaur: Level 15 (Tackle, Growl, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoran(m): Level 15 (Tackle, Leer, Horn Attack, Poison Sting)
  • Spearow: Level 15 (Peck, Leer, Growl, Fury Attack)

This game can be a bit tricky if you're trying to speed-run it or if you have no clue about types and its advantages/disadvantages. But if you know them, it's just a piece of cake.

EXCEPT that Generation one had strengths and weaknesses all messed up. In Gen 1, Bug was super effective against Poison, and the other way around, and Psychic was super-effective against Ghost, if I'm not mistaken, so if you know the theory from the new games, you need to spend some time adapting.

Another thing that was pretty fucked up is that critical hits were tied to the creature's speed, so it's easy to get critical hits from freaking Raticates and Pidgeottos ALL. THE. TIME. - and other broken mechanics. One that is favourable to me, is that when a multi-hit attack like Fury Attack gets a critical on the first hit, it gets it with the rest of them. My Spearow has been causing havoc around Kanto, so far.

After a good share of training, and some nice gold coming with it, I reached Mt. Moon, which was also great, because I was very lucky encountering Clefairy and Paras right away. I evolved one Clefairy ipso facto into a Clefable to get the Pokédex entry, and used the other Stone Moon to evolve my recently-evolved Nidorino into a Nidoking. That's right, the fastest second-level evolution in the game, and a great powerhouse capable of ploughing through pretty much anything (perhaps, except, faster Psychic types).

By the way, I remember having bought Magikarp for 500 coins back in the day. It scarred me for life, so of course, I didn't buy it this time. I wonder if by any chance, this Magikarp you buy is at least better on average than the ones you get in the wild, or it's just the first scam I fell prey to when I was only a child.

Besides my Nidoran, my Bulbasaur also evolved. I also collected the Helix Fossil, as I did back in the day, to get an Omanye. In fact, in Let's Go Pikachu, I ended up training a Kabutops because it's an incredibly useful creature with that game's moveset. Not so much in Gen I.

I finished the day with this team, ready to battle Misty:

  • Ivysaur: Level 22 (Tackle, Poison Powder, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 20 (Tackle, Thrash, Horn Attack, Poison Sting)
  • Spearow: Level 18 (Peck, Leer, Growl, Fury Attack)

Day three: Misty + Bill + Hopping on a boat!

I ploughed through the first two trainers in Misty's gym only with Nidoking, just to have a perfect Ivysaur to battle the gym leader. In fact, it one-hit KO'd Staryu and needed only two Vine Whips to get past Starmie. Useless to use that Defense X on Starmie, Misty. You'll never learn!

After that, up north to beat a shit-tonne of trainers before meeting Bill. I sort of expected to get Eevee here, but it dawned on me that you got it as a reward for completing a certain amount of Pokédex entries, maybe - I'm not sure, and I don't want to spoil it. So, nothing remarkable up there, except that my Spearow evolved into Fearow!

Once I completed everything that could be done in Cerulean Town - except for the man who'll trade you a Jynx - I went down to the city with the harbour (Vermillion Gym?), but almost straight to the Diglett cave, to catch my new companion, upping my Pokédex to 52 seen, 26 caught.

After getting the Old Row, of course, I fished a Magikarp just for the lols, and almost headed back to Viridian city to get one extra Spearow to exchange it for a Farfetch'd. I seem to remember I used Farfetch'd as the Fly guy back in the day. I obviously also taught it Cut, even if my Bulbasaur and Paras knew it already!

With everything that could be done in this town crossed off, I hopped on the S.S. Anne, for yet another trip down nostalgia lane.

Some of the fights have been a bit tricky, and since I don't remember where the room with a bed to sleep was located, I ended up going a couple of times to the Pokémon Center. Remember, this is Gen I without an emulator, so walking around is excruciatingly slow and painful.

Another thing that is extremely painful is training a Diglett. It's got very weak defense stats, and since there was, in this generation, no way to know if your 'Mons were good or not, I just got the first one I caught. It takes two hits max to defeat him, so I ended up going out just putting him up in every battle only to switch to someone else, to have him get experience until he learnt Dig.

After he gets Dig, he turns into a killing machine. One hit-KOing Growlithes, Rattatas, Ponytas and Pikachus, and even taking out the rival's Charmeleon in just two blows, Diglett is the weakest link of the team no more.

After defeating the rival, and getting HM01 Cut, it was time to teach some leftover Pokémon in Bill's PC this move so I could get into the next gym, but that's a task for tomorrow.

Final team for the day:

  • Ivysaur: Level 24 (Tackle, Poison Powder, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 24 (Tackle, Thrash, Horn Attack, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 24 (Peck, Leer, Growl, Fury Attack)
  • Diglett: Level 22 (Scratch, Growl, Dig)
  • Paras: Level 8 (Scratch, Cut)

Day four: Lt. Surge + Back to Pallet Town

I started the day going straight to the Lt. Surge Gym. I spent about 20-25 min trying to activate the switches to open the door leading to the gym leader. They're random, and if you fail to spot the second one, both reset, so it takes a while to get it right, and there's no algorithm to help you.

The fight was pretty easy. Diglett was enough to bring down Voltorb, Pikachu and Raichu in one single hit, and prior to that, the other trainers in the gym weren't too much of a challenge either.

After getting the badge, I decided to move east, to catch a glimpse of good ol' Snorlax! In the very same gate leading to the big boy, there's the Prof. Oak Aide who gives you an Item Finder if you've collected 30 different species of Pokémon. However, I only had registered 26, so I decided to spend some time going back to Pallet Town to collect some items I couldn't do before.

After beating all the trainers nearby Diglett's cave (I believe it's route 11), I went through the cave, but didn't bother catching a Dugtrio (or trying) because I had few Pokéballs left, and because my Diglett will be evolving very soon.

Getting out of the cave, there are a few items scattered around, a guy who wants to trade an Abra for a Mr. Mime (will be back later - I ran out of balls when trying to catch one) and the other Aide who gives you HM05 Flash, if you've registered 10 different species on your Pokédex.

In Viridian City, there's TM42 (Dream Eater) with the snoozing guy, and then I decided to catch another Spearow to trade it for a Farfetch'd back in Vermillion. I also decided to train an Ekans to make it evolve, but decided it's gonna take too long and gave up on it.

Being stuck at 29 species, I decided to call it a night, and I'll go tomorrow back to the guy trading an Abra for a Mr. Mime before heading into the Rock Tunnel. My Diglett still needs 2000 xp before hitting level 26 and evolving, so I guess Mr. Mime wins, and I will need it anyway.

I finished the day with the following team:

  • Ivysaur: Level 25 (Tackle, Poison Powder, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 24 (Tackle, Thrash, Horn Attack, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 24 (Peck, Leer, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Diglett: Level 25 (Scratch, Growl, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Paras: Level 8 (Scratch, Cut)

Day five: Backwards and into Route 10

I couldn't spend a lot of time playing, so I didn't do much other than going to the guy on the other side of the Diglett tunnel, to exchange my Abra for his Mr.Mime (Marcel!). On the way back, my Diglett evolved into a Dugtrio (finally!) and then I got the Item Finder. Useless, because I know all the hidden items in the game, but I like getting all the "mini-quests" done.

Back to Cerulean, I exchanged my voucher to get the bike and finally move around a bit faster. I also taught Flash to Mr.Mime so I could enter the Rock Tunnel, but didn't make it. I finished the day with this team:

  • Ivysaur: Level 26 (Tackle, Poison Powder, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 25 (Tackle, Thrash, Horn Attack, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 26 (Peck, Leer, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 25 (Scratch, Growl, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Paras: Level 8 (Scratch, Cut)
  • Mr.Mime: Level 10 (Confusion, Barrier, Flash)

Day six: Back to Pewter City and into the Rock Tunnel!

Another day without too much time for the game. I cycled back to Pewter City to retrieve the Old Amber from the back part of the History Museum (you need cut). Then, back to Cerulean through Mt.Moon to sell some stuff and to deposit useless items into the PC. I had almost forgotten how small your inventory is, in this game!

That said, I embarked into Route 10, and proceeded to beat the shit out of every trainer who opposed me until the entrance of the Rock Tunnel, where I also caught a Voltorb on the first attempt.

I wish I could've reached level 32 so Ivysaur could evolve, but that will have to happen tomorrow.

I entered the tunnel with this team:

  • Ivysaur: Level 29 (Tackle, Poison Powder, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 26 (Tackle, Thrash, Horn Attack, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 26 (Peck, Leer, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 26 (Scratch, Growl, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Paras: Level 8 (Scratch, Cut)
  • Mr.Mime: Level 10 (Confusion, Barrier, Flash)

Day seven: Getting Jolteon!

The benefit of having only three/four 'mons in your team, is that you can level them up faster than if you have six, of course. Some people like having a full squad at all times and levelling them all up, and then replacing them with new ones as they catch them. I, for one, like to level up only the necessary ones and get my dream squad as soon as possible.

That's why the Rock Tunnel felt like a breeze for me. With Ivysaur beating pretty much everyone with Vine Whips and Razor Leaf (lvl 30), he finally evolved into Venusaur halfway through the tunnel. A couple of trainers had some plant Pokémon that proved to be an easy prey for my Fearow.

It's been 3-4 days with the same squad, so I decided to speed-run to Celadon to get Eevee, so I skipped Lavender Town and headed to Celadon through the Underground Path.

Once there, I got the Eevee from the back of the Pokémon Mansion and went straight to the big store to acquire a Thunder Stone and evolve it right away. I also got a bunch of TMs to teach my team (just not now).

Having 5 out of 6 slots taken in my squad, I will only be missing Staryu, which will be tricky to get. I need to get past the Snorlax south from Lavender town, and that will take beating the entire Team Rocket to get the Scope Silph and then go up the Lavender Town Ghost Tower and clear it up as well. It is a bit of a stretch, but it will be well worth it, and my team will be complete.

By the way, looking to get to Fuchsia (forgot there are two Snorlaxes in this game - guess what, I killed both in my first game!), I got HM02 Fly. I'll teach it to my Farfetch'd along with Cut, so I can replace Paras.

Having done that, I ended up the day with:

  • Venusaur: Level 33 (Tackle, Razor Leaf, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 27 (Tackle, Thrash, Horn Attack, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 27 (Peck, Leer, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 29 (Scratch, Growl, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Paras: Level 8 (Scratch, Cut)
  • Jolteon: Level 25 (Tackle, Sand Attack)

Day eight: Speed-run to (almost) get Staryu!

Yesterday, I left the game once I got Jolteon. I immediately taught him Thunderbolt, used TM48 Rock Slide on Dugtrio and stormed off to the Casino to defeat Team Rocket.

Ah… those spinning mazes! How complicated were they when I was ten or twelve and how stupidly simple are they now. This is a pretty nice dungeon, after all, as it provides varied fights, a nice amount of cash and really good rewards, such as the TM containing Horn Drill, a Moon Stone, one Nugget and the TM containing Double Edge (if I'm not mistaken). I taught Double Edge to Fearow, and Horn Drill to Nidoking, and proceeded to kick ass on a cosmic scale.

I made it in one run, reaching Giovanni with a full Venusaur and Nidoking, having almost exclusively used Jolteon for the Zubats/Golbats and the Psychic types, Dugtrio for the Poison types (Ekans, Koffings and Grimers) and Fearow for everything else.

Giovanni was easy: Venusaur wiped out Onix and Rhyhorn with a single Vine Whip and then I decided to spice things up by trying a Horn Drill on Kangaskhan, but failed at it. Ended up defeating with Thrash.

Once I got the Silp Scope, I darted to freaking Lavender Town to complete the Ghost Tower, where I was greeted by my rival. It's always nice to beat him. It was fairly easy, this time around, as everyone on my team was almost five levels stronger than his counterparts.

On the way up, I made sure to capture a Gastly and a Cubone, but wasn't lucky enough to bump into a Haunter. I'll have to come back. Actually, it was kind of fun to see some of the weird dynamics (such as Seismic Toss - fighting type - hitting Ghost-types and I had forgotten about Night Shade not being affected by neither immunity, weakness nor resistance). I also read that Psychic types were immune to Ghost types on Generation I. How crazy is that? I had totally forgotten about this.

Not much to report here: endless hordes of Gastly to battle and an easy fight with the level 30 Marowak - easy for my level 34 Venusaur, that is. After that, the three final rockets, and I got my desired Poké Flute!

Down south again, to battle the first Snorlax, I actually ended up killing it with a critical hit from my Nidoking, so I had to restart. I thought it was going to be an endless fight (and I packed a hell of a lot of Great Balls), but a single hit of my Fearow's Double Edge downed his HP to about 15% and I caught him with a single Poké Ball. Go, me!

Right after our chubby buddy, I found the house of the fishing enthusiast, who gave me the desired Super Rod. Finally!

After that, I marched southwards avoiding pretty much every battle (except for three I couldn't possibly avoid) to fish in Route 19. After a few attempts, I got my Staryu, which I evolved right away into a Starmie and proceeded to teach my team a few TMs, finishing the day with this team:

  • Venusaur: Level 34 (Tackle, Razor Leaf, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 30 (Body Slam, Thrash, Horn Drill, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 31 (Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 29 (Scratch, Rock Slide, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Starmie: Level 15 (Tackle, Ice Beam, Bubblebeam)
  • Jolteon: Level 31 (Swift, Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Quick Attack)

Day nine: Training Starmie to beat Erika!

Sounds counter-intuitive, but I wanted to defeat Erika, the grass-type gym leader with a water-type Pokémon. However, it was my motivation to level up Starmie, which was 15 levels behind all my other creatures.

I thought it'd be a great idea to go back to other areas and catch some species I couldn't catch before, so I started in the Rock Tunnel, to catch an Onix (when I went through it, I found one, but had no space in Bill's PC so had to kill it and go switch the box), a Growlithe and a few other species.

Since I taught Starmie Bubblebeam, it was easy to train and kill pretty much everyone with ease. In fact, when it was about level 17, I ploughed through the trainers I had skipped when going to Celadon, so now I've properly dealt with everyone. By the time I reached Celadon, my Starmie was level 22, so I went to Erika's gym all the same.

I almost completed it in a single blow, killing pretty much everyone with single-hit KO's using Ice Beam (super effective against Grass types), but on Erika's first Pokémon, Victreebel, I couldn't kill him with one hit. Instead, he knocked Starmie out with a critical hit Razor Leaf. The rest of the fight was a walk in the park using Fearow, and so I got my fourth badge.

Starmie won three levels fighting through the him, and then I taught Venusaur Mega Drain, so I ended up the day with the following team:

  • Venusaur: Level 34 (Tackle, Razor Leaf, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 31 (Body Slam, Thrash, Horn Drill, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 33 (Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 32 (Scratch, Rock Slide, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Starmie: Level 25 (Tackle, Ice Beam, Bubblebeam)
  • Jolteon: Level 32 (Swift, Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Quick Attack)

Day ten: Another Snorlax and off to the Bike Road!

Not a very ambitious day. I spent it mostly catching the second Snorlax, selling stuff to get more moneys and then beating a couple of trainers at the Bike Road.

I feel like playing more, but work isn't forgiving. Good news, though, Fearow learnt Drill Peck!

I finished the day with this team:

  • Venusaur: Level 34 (Tackle, Razor Leaf, Leech Seed, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 31 (Body Slam, Thrash, Horn Drill, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 34 (Drill Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 32 (Scratch, Rock Slide, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Starmie: Level 26 (Tackle, Ice Beam, Bubblebeam)
  • Jolteon: Level 32 (Swift, Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Quick Attack)

Day eleven: Saffron City

I started the day going to Saffron City, which I didn't remember, but it is also taken by Team Rocket. I also found out something I didn't remember: Starmie does not learn any move by levelling up. So goodbye to natural Hydro Pump and most of all, goodbye to Recover 😱

After getting TM29 Psychic from that man in the southeastern part of town, I headed to the Battle Dojo. I managed to beat them all with Starmie, after giving it a couple PP UPs to increase the PP of Psychic. I took Hitmonchan as a reward, like I did in my first game.

Before going to the Silph Co building, I healed at a Pokémon Center and I also taught Venusaur the move Mega Drain to ensure proper healing.

Silph Co is a pretty demanding building, with 31 battles. I could have done it all in one blow, but I wanted to avoid using potions and most of all, I wanted to enjoy the game, not suffer. Between Starmie and Dugtrio, I managed to wipe out everyone before facing my rival. Healed up at the 9th floor, and then I proceeded to face him.

I was surprised about the level of his 'mons. Most trainers in the building have got levels 25-28 whereas my rival had 37-40. Between Fearow and Nidoking I beat him, and although I could've done Giovanni right up, I decided to heal again to enjoy the battle.

Giovanni was a good contender, but also not much of a battle. Even though I was some levels below, most of my Pokémon have got tier 1 attacks, like Psychic or Ice Beam on Starmie, Earthquake on Nidoking, Slash on Dugtrio or Drill Peck on Fearow, for example.

Silph Co takes a good hour of your life to beat it - considering you don't get lost within it. So I decided to stop right here and right there so I finished the day with the following team:

  • Venusaur: Level 34 (Take Down, Razor Leaf, Mega Drain, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 35 (Body Slam, Earthquake, Horn Drill, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 35 (Drill Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 35 (Slash, Rock Slide, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Starmie: Level 35 (Tackle, Ice Beam, Bubblebeam, Psychic)
  • Jolteon: Level 34 (Swift, Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Quick Attack)

Day twelve: Beating Sabrina + Bike Road

One of the things I noticed today is that all of the sudden, my Nidoking lost its cool. Even though he can still thrash through everything and one-hit KO most stuff, especially since I taught him Earthquake, I feel like replacing him by something cooler to spice things up. However, I will keep my team as is, because that's what I committed to in the very beginning.

I have been very tempted by Tauros and Dratini from the Safari Zone. I have also considered replacing Fearow by Dodrio, but same: I will keep the originals.

Basically, today has been spent in beating the shit out of everyone in Sabrina's psychic gym, mostly with my Fearow (Drill Peck one-hit KOs pretty much everyone) and then using Starmie and/or Dugtrio for the Ghosts, since they're second type Poison. Jolteon came in pretty handy dealing with the Slowpokes and Slowbros too.

The final battle with Sabrina was fun. Since I remember that her Alakazam was pretty obstinate on using Recover all the time, I tried freezing him using Ice Beam (from my Starmie). However, I didn't succeed, so I corrected course and I proceeded to slow him down using Bubblebeam. This way, whoever came after Starmie could beat the crap out of 'Zam. I switched over to Nidoking, expecting another Recover, but it one-hit KO'd me with Psybeam, so no luck this time.

I then killed him with Dugtrio.

After the gym, I decided to use Dugrio as much as I can because all the way to Cinnabar Island and back he'll stay put in Bill's PC in order to bring someone who can do Strength and Cut (I don't think it was needed but just in case).

Then, I set out to cycle down the Bike Road, which fortunately, everyone was using types weak to Ground: Electric and/or Poison. Since Dig doesn't have much PP, I killed the minor Rattatas, Zubats and such using Slash, and then killed off the three Birdkeepers before Fuchsia City with Rock Slide.

Ready to do all the stuff in this city - Gym, minor quests, Safari Zone and then all the trainers between here and Lavender Town that I could avoid on the way down - I finished the day with this team:

  • Venusaur: Level 35 (Take Down, Razor Leaf, Mega Drain, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 35 (Body Slam, Earthquake, Horn Drill, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 39 (Drill Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 39 (Slash, Rock Slide, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Starmie: Level 37 (Tackle, Ice Beam, Bubblebeam, Psychic)
  • Jolteon: Level 35 (Swift, Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Quick Attack)

Day thirteen: Beating everyone left in Kanto

Having a complete team, I decided to go back to routes 12 and 13 to beat each and every single trainer there (remember I avoided most to speed-run to get Starmie). So I did it, and won a bunch of levels, especially on Dugtrio.

Along the route, I got Exp. All for having caught at least 50 different species, but I don't think it'll be that necessary now. This item would've been great at the beginning of the game, but now it's almost irrelevant. Most of all, it slows down your game a lot, since it has to prompt a message for every member of your party every time they win experience. I deposited it in the computer.

Not much to report today. It's been about 30 different battles, give or take, and I saved before meeting Koga. Nidoking also levelled up a few levels, because he won't be used much before Cinnabar Island either.

Here's my team:

  • Venusaur: Level 35 (Take Down, Razor Leaf, Mega Drain, Vine Whip)
  • Nidoking: Level 38 (Body Slam, Earthquake, Horn Drill, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 39 (Drill Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 43 (Slash, Rock Slide, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Starmie: Level 38 (Tackle, Ice Beam, Bubblebeam, Psychic)
  • Jolteon: Level 35 (Swift, Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Quick Attack)

Day fourteen: Beating Koga + Safari Zone!

The gym was a breeze. I expected more poison types, but there are about 50% of Pyschic types, mostly Drowzee/Hypno (because of Poison Gas), and I seem to remember a Kadabra or two.

I beat most of the gym using Jolteon and Dugtrio, before storing the latter in Bill's PC to venture into the Seafoam Islands. Koga was also a piece of cake, one-hit KO'ing every single Pokémon he has. Afterwards, I taught Venusaur TM06 Toxic.

I spent a good time going down memory lane at the Safari Zone. I remember I got so stressed when I was a kid, that it took me like 400 attempts to find the Golden Teeth and spent too much time blocked there. This time around, though, I did it at the first attempt, and also got all the items save for one, so I took a second ticket, which allowed me to catch Parasect and Exeggcute too. However, I did not want to spend too much time trying my luck at a Chansey. Will do that later in the game, if ever.

I just wanted to make sure, before reaching Fuchsia City, that I had 50 species to get the Exp. All. item. In the end, I decided against using it, but I wanted to at least get it to tick the box.

Also, it does not really make a lot of sense to pursue a full Pokédex playing alone. I won't be able to catch the version-exclusive species nor the ones evolving via trading (Golem, Alakazam, Gengar, Machamp).

With that said, I taught Strength to a Lapras, Surf to Starmie and prepared to leave for the islands.

This is my team now:

  • Venusaur: Level 38 (Take Down, Razor Leaf, Mega Drain, Toxic)
  • Nidoking: Level 38 (Body Slam, Earthquake, Horn Drill, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 39 (Drill Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Lapras: Level 15 (Water Gun, Growl, Strength)
  • Starmie: Level 39 (Tackle, Ice Beam, Surf, Psychic)
  • Jolteon: Level 35 (Swift, Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Quick Attack)

Day fifteen: Seafoam and Cinnabar islands!

It's been an intense day of battling today! I surfed all the way down to Seafoam islands, knocking everyone out with one-hit KOs from Jolteon, and some from Venusaur, both of which I managed to level up quite a bit.

Somehow, the route between Fuchsia and Seafoam, and the one between Seafoam and Cinnabar seemed to be longer and more crowded with trainers, but I guess it's just my appalling memory. All the trainers were far below my level and they provided no more difficulty than a brief walk in the park.

Seafoam Islands was cool to revive. All those puzzles with the boulders and whatnot must have been extremely tricky for a ten-year old, back in the day, but this time around - with a guide to speed things up - I managed to face the first legendary within ten minutes. I didn't care to stop to collect the species I was missing.

Once I was facing Articuno, I saved. As I mentioned at the beginning of this long blog post, I accidentally killed Articuno in my first game without saving (and Zapdos too, for what it's worth).

The first time around, I managed to get its HP down to the bare minimum, but I had no means to put him to sleep, freeze (it's an Ice type) or paralysis. I threw multiple Ultra Balls at it and got the dreadful "You missed the Pokémon", which means that your chances are low as fuck. Eventually, it killed all my team.

The second time, though, I was lucky to paralyse Articuno with Jolteon's first Thunderbolt, and the second one brought its HP down to the minimum. It took about 10 Ultra Balls to even get him into the ball, but I managed to capture it this time!

After Articuno, I was planning to capture some missing species inside the area, but turns out Articuno was the one who completed the box. Imagine if I hadn't had space for Articuno! Maybe that is what happened in my first game, so I ended up killing it.

The bit after Seafoam, as I mentioned, was short as fuck, and easy too, so I hopped onto Cinnabar Island and went straight away to revive my fossils! I left the Helix Fossil to be revived whilst I completed the Pokémon Mansion, which, to my surprise, was trickier than I remembered!

The Mansion is a pretty convoluted maze, with the switches and the fact that most wild Pokémon there can either burn you or poison you (and the Scientists' ones can paralyse you!). Doing it in one go proved to be a bit tricky because I ended up with only one Pokémon alive (technically, two, because I was still carrying my level 15 Lapras I got to move boulders in Seafoam, but it wouldn't have been very useful, either).

The amount of loot you get in this mansion is not to be overlooked: TM14 Blizzard, TM22 Solar Beam, a few vitamins (Carbos, Iron, etc.), a rare candy, a Moon Stone and a bit of something else. Scientists, and specially Burglars, leave good money too when defeated.

After catching a few species, I went back to get Omanyte, and to leave the Old Amber, which'll turn into a nice Aerodactyl soon enough.

The fossil families are pretty useless in this generation. However, in Let's Go Pikachu, I played with Kabutops, and it turned into a killing machine, with Surf, Giga Drain, Superpower and Rock Slide. In Gen I, there's not real good Fighting move it can learn and Mega Drain is just very weak compared to Giga Drain.

Well, I felt a bit tired from all this battling, so I decided to leave Blaine's gym for tomorrow.

Here's my team, ready to take on the riddle master:

  • Venusaur: Level 42 (Take Down, Razor Leaf, Mega Drain, Toxic)
  • Nidoking: Level 40 (Body Slam, Earthquake, Horn Drill, Poison Sting)
  • Fearow: Level 40 (Drill Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 44 (Slash, Rock Slide, Dig, Sand Attack)
  • Starmie: Level 40 (Tackle, Ice Beam, Surf, Psychic)
  • Jolteon: Level 40 (Swift, Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Quick Attack)

Day sixteen - Last gyms + Zapdos!

Blaine's gym was a walk in the park. I almost managed to beat it only with Fearow, but I left Arcanine with 1HP before it knocked out my Fearow with a critical Fire Blast. Most of the previous trainers' Vulpix, Growlithes and so on went down with a single Drill Peck. Starmie finished the job with Blaine's big pup.

I seem to recall there was a way to avoid the trainers and go straight to Blaine by answering a few riddles, but I very much wanted the experience to level up even more, so I picked the hard way.

Once that was done, I surfed northwards to go back to Pallet Town, but not without picking up my Aerodactyl frist from the Pokémon Lab.

The surfing was easy, and it helped me to level up Jolteon a bit more. Quick stop by to say hi to mom and to cure my poisoned Jolteon, and another brisk walk towards Viridian city, to battle Giovanni at the gym.

This gym wasn't tricky either and I completed it also in one go. Mostly Jolteon thunderbolting everyone except for the Rhyhorns, which were taken down either with Double Kick or else sending in Starmie instead. Starmie dealt with the entire team of Giovanni one-hit KOing everyone.

After healing up, I took the Farfetch'd out of Bill's PC to fly to Cerulean and go to the Power Plant to catch Zapdos. I remember I had only one slot in the current box (what a terrible system!) so I went straight for Zapdos. Along the way, I encountered Electabuzz, Magnemite, Magneton and the mandatory Voltorb and Electrode. All of which I couldn't catch lest I be deprived of catching Zapdos.

This time, it worked out at the first attempt: I managed to paralyse it with the first Body Slam by Nidoking, and then lowered its HP using Poison String and then Jolteon's Double Kick. After a few Ultra Balls, I caught it.

Two out of three, now it's time for Moltres! But that long cave will have to wait until tomorrow, because it's pretty dense.

Before calling it a night, I flew back to Viridian to battle my rival, who has levelled up significantly and had a great team, but still I managed to take most of his team down with Nidoking's Horn Drill, and then the last two with Starmie, whom I had just taught Thunder. I also taught Fissure to Dugtrio (to replace Sand Attack) and Fire Blast to Nidoking to replace Poison Sting.

I finished the day with the following team:

  • Venusaur: Level 42 (Take Down, Razor Leaf, Mega Drain, Toxic)
  • Nidoking: Level 44 (Body Slam, Earthquake, Horn Drill, Fire Blast)
  • Fearow: Level 43 (Drill Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 44 (Slash, Rock Slide, Dig, Fissure)
  • Starmie: Level 43 (Thunder, Ice Beam, Surf, Psychic)
  • Jolteon: Level 46 (Swift, Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Double Kick)

Day seventeen: Victory Road and the Elite League!

The Victory Road was shorter than I remembered. I expected it to have more puzzles and more trainers, but it was yet another walk in the park.

The only tricky part was that after Moltres killed most of my team, I didn't want to use any items to heal up, so I had to battle the 2/3 remaining trainers only with Starmie. Again, Moltres was pretty easy to catch too: paralysed with Nidoking's Body Slam and then got its HP down to a bare minimum and proceeded to bombard as many Ultra Balls as I could before he would kill all my team. It took only three attempts.

And, at last, the Elite Four stood before me. I bought healing items aplenty from the shop, thinking I would need a lot of them, deposited Lapras, got Fearow back and ventured into the fighting rooms.

Lorelei was extremely easy. I one-hit KO'd with Jolteon most of his team, save for Jynx, which hit me once with Thrash - before I put that one out with Pin Missile - and Lapras, which connected a Hydro Pump that almost killed Jolteon. However, only an hyper potion was needed to heal up after this fight.

Bruno was very easy too. I seemed to remember that he started with Onyx, so I started off with Venusaur, which only needed a Razor Leaf to take it out. For the Hitmon-brothers, I chose Fearow, but being 12 levels below was a bit too much for my winged fella. An Ice Punch by Hitmonchan drained its HP significantly and a Mega-kick by Hitmonlee took him out for good. Venusaur took out the second Onyx with the same move as before, and Machamp was taken out by Starmie's Psychic (needed two, but fortunately enough Machamp's Fissure didn't connect!).

Agatha was perhaps the easiest of the lot. I took exactly zero damage from Agatha. My Dugtrio sweeped her entire roster by using Dig on everyone, except for Golbat, which was defeated by Starmie using Thunder, first, and then Ice Beam. No damage taken, but it comes as no surprise seeing that Gengars open up with Dream Eater - a move that requires you to be asleep first 🤷🏻‍♂️

Lance was trickier, but not much either. I started with Starmie and took out Gyarados with a single Thunder. The first Dragonair resisted one Ice Beam and gave me a powerful Slam, almost killing Starmie, but I took Dragonair out with a second Ice Beam. The second Dragonair became frozen by Ice Beam, so I took a bit of time to heal up before finishim it off and switching to Jolteon to one-hit KO Aerodactyl with a single Thunderbolt. Dragonite required that I brought up Starmie again, which struck a powerful Ice Beam, but not powerful enough to take it out. Dragonite countered with Hyper Beam and left Starmie with very low HP, enough to strike with another Ice Beam and bring the victory home.

Ah… the same old "one more thing". My rival was awaiting, and I would have been worried about the abyssal level difference between his team and mine. My Fearow was level 43, and his Charizard is level 65… that's 22 levels of difference.

However, I came out victorious pretty easily.

Starmie connected a Thunder to take out Pidgeot with a single hit. Alakazam gave me a bit of trouble, as I thought Fearow's Drill Peck could deal massive damage, but since Alakazam started with Reflect, physical damage was reduced greatly. It took Fearow out with a single Psychic (critical hit) so I had to use Dugtrio to counter-attack with Dig and finish him off. For Rhydon, I wanted to bring up Venusaur, but I accidentally sent out Nidoking, which would be very weak to Ground-type moves (little did I know that this Rhydon has got Tail Whip, Leer, Fury Attack and Horn Drill).

For this one, I had been saving a couple of X Accuracy, so I could try the Gen I exploit of getting Horn Drill/Guillotine/Fissure to 100% accuracy, and it worked. Rhydon came down with a Horn Drill, as did Exeggutor, and as I was daydreaming of taking the other two left out with Horn Drill too, Gyarados outpaced me and Hydro-pumped Nidoking into oblivion.

Offended by that, I chose Jolteon to fry Gyarados to a crisp with a single Thunderbolt, and kept it for Charizard, which required two Thunderbolts (after Charizard missed a Fire Blast). Easy win, after all.

That's all for now. Extremely easy Elite Four, moslty to having a fast team capable of sweeping through entire teams by one-hit KO'ing them, and a few hyper potions. After the last match, I checked the moveset of the Elite Four teams and they are terrible! Leer and Tail Whip abound, Pidgeot has got Whirlwind (which does nothing on trainer battles), Exeggutor has got only three moves, one of the Gengars has got Dream Eater but no Hypnosys and even a couple of Lorelei's have got Growl, as if they were level five, or something. For fuck's sake!

I, then, managed to become the Pokémon Master with the following team:

  • Venusaur: Level 44 (Take Down, Razor Leaf, Mega Drain, Toxic)
  • Nidoking: Level 46 (Body Slam, Earthquake, Horn Drill, Fire Blast)
  • Fearow: Level 44 (Drill Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 45 (Slash, Rock Slide, Dig, Fissure)
  • Starmie: Level 47 (Thunder, Ice Beam, Surf, Psychic)
  • Jolteon: Level 50 (Swift, Pin Missile, Thunderbolt, Double Kick)

Day eighteen: Post-game

To be honest, the post-game of this edition was a joke, it mainly involved catching Mewtwo (cool) and completing the Pokédex (meh). Since I won't be able to complete the Pokédex using only one console, I set out to catch Mewtwo.

I thus dragged myself to Cerulean City and from there I entered the Cerulean Cave. I didn't remember the wild spawns were of such a high level. I've seen Rachus and Parasects at level 64, and Kadabras and Hypnos a few levels below that, but way more deadly than the former two. On the way to Mewtwo, I managed to catch a Ditto (which froze my Starmie, by the way), a Chansey and a Hypno (which killed almost my entire team) so I faced Mewtwo, finally, with only Jolteon and Nidoking alive.

No drama here: I used the Masterball to get it done, as there's no other reason to keep the Masterball in this game - as opposed to Generation II, where you might want to use it for the roaming legendary dogs.

On the way back, I trained a little bit, but got lost and decided to Dig myself out of the place.


Final team:

  • Venusaur: Level 44 (Take Down, Razor Leaf, Mega Drain, Toxic)
  • Nidoking: Level 47 (Body Slam, Earthquake, Horn Drill, Fire Blast)
  • Fearow: Level 44 (Drill Peck, Double Edge, Mirror Move, Fury Attack)
  • Dugtrio: Level 46 (Slash, Rock Slide, Dig, Fissure)
  • Starmie: Level 47 (Thunder, Ice Beam, Surf, Psychic)
  • Jolteon: Level 50 (Swift, Pin Missile, Thunderbolt, Double Kick)

Now Playing: Long Distance Calling - Black Paper Planes

Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit

Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit

CEO and Founder at MarsBased and Director at Startup Grind Barcelona. I run a team of 20 people, where I spearhead the sales and strategy areas. My background in consulting and development (ex-Deloitte, ex-VASS) and my international profile help me with the technical and the business perspective. I love loud guitars, cats, travelling and tacos.