Pokémon Crystal replay: a diary

• 16 minutes to read

After enjoying A LOT giving another run to the classic Pokémon Red, one of the first Game Boy games I ever played, I decided to do the same with the second generation of the saga.

Full disclosure: Pokémon wisdom level OVER 9000.

I've recently re-played Pokémon Red and I blogged about it, journal-style.

I thoroughly enjoyed going down memory lane, so I decided to do the same with the follow-up. For Gen I, I played Red, and that's why I chose it this time around, but for Gen 2, I decided to play Crystal, because it's sort of an enhanced version of Gold/Silver (equivalent of Yellow for this generation). I remember I bought Gold, back in the day, but wanted to try Crystal, as it has some slight twists in the adventure and the creatures available.

Let's go!

Day one: Getting off the ground

One of the things I remember about this game is that it was the first generation to introduce shiny Pokémon (even though they were hidden in Gen 1). So the initial part of the game of fetching the Egg from Dr. Elm and whatnot feels eternal, as you don't have any Pokéballs yet you're encountering wild 'mons. In a way, you're praying to avoid encountering any shiny species, as you wouldn't be able to catch them.

I don't remember much my team from Pokémon Gold, as I remembered my team from Pokémon Red. All I remember was that I picked Totodile as a starter and that I had a Hoppip and a Mareep in my team, but that's right about it. Even though I played it a lot, it was just a fraction of the hours I played Red.

So this time around, I decided to build a team around the fire starter: Cyndaquil. For that, I wanted to use Lapras as a water Pokémon, but normally water species, in most games, are difficult to find until mid-game. The fact that Poliwag is available right after the first/second town made me decide against this funny guy. Also, I've never played the Poli family and they're fast and strong enough (and Poliwrath is double-type Water and Fighting, so it'll be interesting to try this one).

Next up, I wanted a sweeper. I remember Heracross being one of my favourite 'mons and I never got around to play it, but you don't get it until before Elite Four, so fuck that. I considered Tauros, since you get it at a relatively-early point in the game, but then I found that Phanpy is also found between the first two towns, just that it only appears in the morning. Since I'm playing at night, it'll require waking up early tomorrow to catch it.


  • Cyndaquil: Level 11 (Tackle, Leer, Smokescreen)
  • Poliwag: Level 7 (Bubble, Hypnosis)

Day two: Half a team already!

Woke up early to catch a Phanpy. The first time I got one, it fled right away, so I decided to put him to sleep using Poliwag, so at the second attempt, I managed to catch it. Levelling it up has been quite a pain in the arse, as it came at level 2, and tackle is one of the worst attacks in the game.

I managed to bring Phanpy up to an acceptable level by beating wild 'mons and a few trainers, and then I proceeded to sweep the Sprout Tower, the first Gym (it was so easy that I think I didn't even notice it - I was taking a call while playing), Union Cave a couple of areas and then the Slowpoke Well.

As for the next members in my roster, I refused to get Nidoking and Fearow this time around, not because i didn't like themm, but because I played them in red already and wanted to choose something else. They're great, and Nidoking is especially fun. Fearow is just convenient but pretty dull to be honest.

I also discarded the idea of having a grass type in the team. Bellsprout didn't seem much fun, and since I've got Poliwag, I've got enough Gen 1 on my team already. I also don't like grass types that much. They're pretty slow and rely too much on condition-altering moves, so I've decided to skip Poison, Grass and Flying types for this game. I'll use a Tauros, instead, just for the fun.

I decided to stop right before the second gym, with the following team:

  • Quilava: Level 17 (Tackle, Leer, Smokescreen, Ember)
  • Poliwag: Level 16 (Bubble, Hypnosis, Water gun)
  • Phanpy: Level 14 (Tackle, Growl, Defense curl)

Day three: Hatching & catching eggs

Change of strategy. Seeing that Tauros and Donphan have a terrible moveset in the game, I decided to just keep one of them: Donphan (mostly because it's Gen 2 and because I already have Phanpy, but its moveset is really appalling!).

I decided to ditch the bull Pokémon and get grass into the game with Exeggutor. I have never played this one, and the fact that I'm pretty close to getting it very early in the game, makes it an interesting choice. I know I'll have two Psychics in the team, but it'll compensate all the games in which I haven't had a single psychic type around.

So, back to the adventure, the gym was a walk in the park, with Quilava burning through all the battles. After that, Togepi hatched, so I had to go back to Elm, not without first grabbing HM01 Cut, so I could travel a bit faster and reach a few unobtainable items otherwise.

On the way back, I almost got tempted of getting a Bellsprout or a Sandshrew in the team, but decided against it both times. I really like to have my team complete as early as possible to stop worrying about the level difference every time a new 'mon joins the ranks.

Anyways, I didn't remember the trip back was just to get an Everstone. Else, I wouldn't have done it (but maybe it would've prevented me to progress? dunno) so back into the Ilex Forest, I cleared it up easily and managed to catch a few species I didn't have like Oddish, Caterpie, Weedle and Venonat - in case there's something like in Gen 1 requiring you to have a certain number of capture species to obtain special items like the Itemfinder or the Exp. All.

After the forest, I could almost see the remaining three members of my team. Actually, the first one of them came really fast. The first headbutt on a tree gave me the egg Pokémon, so it was an easy catch (they show up asleep). After that, got the bike so I could hatch the odd egg faster and saved the game.

I want an Elekid because that's the electric type I wanna play in this game. I have never played Electabuzz, and it usually is a species you get well late into the game, so it's worth spending a few soft resets - all the more reason if they can hatch shiny!

My first attempt resulted in a Tyrogue, so I decided to soft reset.

Anyways, before venturing any further, I finished the day with:

  • Quilava: Level 19 (Tackle, Leer, Smokescreen, Ember)
  • Poliwag: Level 19 (Bubble, Hypnosis, Water gun, Doubleslap)
  • Phanpy: Level 17 (Tackle, Flail, Defense curl, Mud slap)
  • Togepi: Level 5 (Growl, Flash, Headbutt, Charm)
  • Sandshrew: Level 5 (Scratch, Defense curl, Cut)
  • Exeggcute: Level 10 (Barrage, Hypnosis, Reflect)

Day whatever: Still hatching eggs

After 2 Tyrogues, 4 Cleffas, 3 Pichus, one Magby, one shiny Iglybuff and two Smoochums, I managed to get my first Elekid. I haven't been as lucky as to get a shiny one, but I'm pretty happy at the possibility of playing Electabuzz for the first time ever.

I've played a couple of hours to train Elekid, and it's a good pain in the ass until it learns Thunderpunch at level 9. After that, it can slay Pidgeys and Spearows easily and get through pretty much anything. I suspect I'm still a long ways to go to level it up until level 18-19 where the others are at, but it'll be worse to do it with Exeggcute.

My team is right now:

  • Quilava: Level 20 (Tackle, Leer, Smokescreen, Ember)
  • Poliwag: Level 20 (Bubble, Hypnosis, Water gun, Doubleslap)
  • Phanpy: Level 18 (Tackle, Flail, Defense curl, Mud slap)
  • Elekid: Level 13 (Quick attack, Leer, Dizzy punch, Thunderpunch)
  • Sandshrew: Level 6 (Scratch, Defense curl, Cut)
  • Exeggcute: Level 10 (Barrage, Hypnosis, Reflect)

Day five? : Just training

Spent a day training a bit to level up the team so I the weakest team members aren't left behind. Elekid is pretty fast to level up, once you get Thunderpunch, but Exeggcute is a pain in the ass. Barrage is an awful move, and on top of that, it misses too much and does not get STAB. Would be nice to have a grass-type attack. I believe Oddish gets Absorb pretty early and Bellsprout starts off with Vine Whip.

At least, its defense is good enough, and once it reaches level 13, Leech Seed gets you to heal during battle.

Because I want to speed-run to get Eevee, I needed to defeat the Normal gym leader first, to get past Sudowoodo. The gym was pretty easy, with Exeggcute putting everyone to sleep and leech-seeding them whilst ploughing through with Elekid. Even Miltank proved to be easy with this combination.

Once defeated, I got the Squirtbottle for the next day. Off to sleep.

Right now, I've got:

  • Quilava: Level 20 (Tackle, Leer, Smokescreen, Ember)
  • Poliwag: Level 20 (Bubble, Hypnosis, Water gun, Doubleslap)
  • Phanpy: Level 19 (Tackle, Flail, Defense curl, Mud slap)
  • Elekid: Level 19 (Quick attack, Light screen, Dizzy punch, Thunderpunch)
  • Sandshrew: Level 6 (Scratch, Defense curl, Cut)
  • Exeggcute: Level 15 (Barrage, Hypnosis, Reflect, Leech seed)

Day six: Team is complete!

I've begun the day marching off to get Eevee, and to my surprise, it came at level 20, so no need for special training. I thought it'd come at level 15 or so. I also caught Sudowoodo on the way to get Eevee, which also comes at level 20, but since I'm playing Donphan - despite it's appalling moveset - I see no reason to include a pure Rock type in the team. I also played it the first time around for a good part of the game, so no novelty here.

Right after that, I've spent a few bucks buying the elemental punches for Elekid at Goldenrod's big store, and Heatbutt for Eevee (spent the free TM on Togepi early on). Also, on the way up north, got Rollout, which is a game-changer for Exeggcute. Whereas before it was a pretty useless attacker and had to rely on Leech seed + Hypnosis combo, Rollout kicks major asses.

After wiping out all the trainers in the three routes connecting Goldenrod and the next town (can't be arsed to check the name), I ended up the day with this team (looking good!):

  • Quilava: Level 20 (Tackle, Dig, Smokescreen, Ember) - Item: Charcoal
  • Poliwag: Level 21 (Bubble, Hypnosis, Water gun, Doubleslap) - Item: Berry
  • Phanpy: Level 20 (Tackle, Flail, Rock smash, Mud slap) - Item: Berry
  • Elekid: Level 19 (Fire punch, Ice punch, Dizzy punch, Thunderpunch) - Item: Berry
  • Eevee: Level 20 (Tackle, Headbutt, Sand-attack, Growl) - Item: Berry
  • Exeggcute: Level 15 (Barrage, Hypnosis, Reflect, Leech seed) - Item: Quick claw

Day seven: Morty

The Ghost gym was pretty fun. I always loved Ghost types but never played any.

In Generation I, Ghost types plainly sucked. Not only do they not get powerful Ghost-type attacks (Night shade is a fixed-number attack to 20 or 40HP, can't remember now) and the other one is Lick, which is great to inflict paralysis, by doesn't do much damage. Also, you can only get Gastly in Lavender Town, and it's a bit far into the game. Moreover, Ghosts are weak to Psychic in Gen I, so we if take into consideration that the Gastly family is double-type Ghost + Poison, that makes it 4x weak to Psychic. That's dramatic.

If all of that wasn't enough, the fact that Gengar is only obtained through trading makes it even more useless to play a Ghost-type in Gen I.

In Gen 2 you can get a Gastly right away in the first town if you're playing Crystal, but again, Haunted will only evolved while traded, so what's the point? And the other Ghost-type in this game, if I am not mistaken, is Misdreavus, which you get towards the end of the game, so - again - not worth it.

But I digress. The Ghost-type gym was fun because I trolled them immensely with Eevee. I started all the fights with Eevee to sand-attack the most first opponents and then switch over to Exeggcute and Rollout the shit out of everyone. Quilava made a good job too with Dig, as most opponents are dual-type Poison anyways.

The final fight wasn't trivial. His first two 'mons we're rather easy, but Gengar is a monster. Gengar is faster than most of your team at this point (it's stage-two evolution), hits hard - really hard - with Shadow Ball due to STAB, is a level 25 (five levels above all my team) and can put you to sleep AND heal itself with Hypnosis + Dream Eater combo. A true beast.

I managed to get its accuracy down to almost zero with Eevee, but it Mean Look'd me so I couldn't switch over to anyone else. At this point, it was pretty tedious because Gengar was missing most of its attacks. Eventually, it took my Eeevee out and I took Gengar out with Quilava instead.

Another good thing I did was teach Exeggcute Rollout. Putting opponents to sleep with Hypnosis, then using Leech Seed to heal a bit and Rollout is a great combo. Even more so if it's holding Quick Claw, as that might ensure hitting first than the opponent. If levelling up Exeggcute between level 10 and 15 was a pain in the ass, now it's a real joy. Even more so after it learns Confusion, the first Phychic-type attack on this team!

After defeating this gym, you're able to use HM03 Surf, which is obtained after defeating the dancing kimono girls in a building nearby.

Surf is not only a great attack, which will be very useful on Poliwag, but it also opens the possibility to go backwards in the game to get items you couldn't have access to. I went back to the first town, and then did all the way up to this point to get a couple of Rare Candys, Soft Sand (good for Phanpy), a couple of HP UP/PP UP, Mystic Water (good for Poliwag) some berries and whatnot.

I decided not to venture any further and leave stuff for the weekend.

Team status:

  • Quilava: Level 23 (Quick attack, Dig, Smokescreen, Ember) - Item: Charcoal
  • Poliwag: Level 22 (Surf, Hypnosis, Water gun, Doubleslap) - Item: Mystic water
  • Phanpy: Level 22 (Tackle, Flail, Rock smash, Mud slap) - Item: Soft sand
  • Elekid: Level 22 (Fire punch, Ice punch, Dizzy punch, Thunderpunch) - Item: Berry
  • Eevee: Level 24 (Quick attack, Headbutt, Sand-attack, Shadow ball) - Item: Poisoncureberry
  • Exeggcute: Level 21 (Confusion, Hypnosis, Rollout, Leech seed) - Item: Quick claw

Day eight: Surfing to fetch the medicine

Moving on to the next routes, there are quite a few trainers to take down. It's been great to train up my team before hitting Olivine.

In Olivine, the gym leader is not there because of the sick Ampharos plot, which requires you to fly to Cyanwood City by surfing. Levelled up almost ten levels with Elekid and a few more for Exeggcute. It's pretty annoying when you get poisoned by Tentacool's and Tentacruel's Poison sting, but we managed to make it to the other side of the sea.

Lo and behold, Suicune was awaiting on the side of the shore. This is one of the plot twists from the Gold/Silver versions, but you don't get to battle. Instead, you battle its hardcore fan whose name I can't remember. Easy battle.

After that, I decided to beat the local gym, almost single-handedly wiped out with Exeggcute, but Poliwrath managed to put me to sleep, and almost wiped out the rest of my team. Elekid had to come to the rescue and Thunder punch it to oblivion. Elekid then evolved into Electabuzz upon hitting level 30.

I then realised that Exeggcute doesn't evolve by levelling up, and googled how to get a Leaf Stone. Apparently, really late into the game unless the picknicker on route 34 finds one for you. I went back to her to get her number after getting HM02 Fly right after beating the gym, and suspected this would take AGES, but I got a call from her within five minutes. Went back to her and finally made my Exeggcute evolve.

Also got a haircut to Eevee to see if it can finally evolve, but I guess that'll take a while.

My team right now is, ready to face the Olivine City gym leader:

  • Quilava: Level 24 (Quick attack, Dig, Smokescreen, Ember) - Item: Charcoal
  • Poliwag: Level 24 (Surf, Hypnosis, Water gun, Doubleslap) - Item: Mystic water
  • Phanpy: Level 23 (Tackle, Flail, Rock smash, Mud slap) - Item: Soft sand
  • Electabuzz: Level 30 (Fire punch, Ice punch, Dizzy punch, Thunderpunch) - Item: Berry
  • Eevee: Level 27 (Quick attack, Headbutt, Sand-attack, Shadow ball) - Item: Poisoncureberry
  • Exeggutor: Level 26 (Confusion, Hypnosis, Rollout, Leech seed) - Item: Quick claw
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.