Video Game: Pokémon Red and Blue
aka: Pokemon Red Blue And Yellow
"You've finally been granted your Pokémon Trainer's license. Now, it's time to head out to become the world's greatest Pokémon Trainer. It's going to take all you've got to collect 150 Pokémon in this enormous world...can you develop the ultimate Pokémon strategy to defeat the eight Gym Leaders and become the greatest Pokémon Master of all time?"
— Blurb on the back of the boxes of Pokémon Red and Blue Versions
The first installments of the Pokémon
franchise hit the Game Boy
in 1996 in Japan (as Red
; see below) and in 1998 in North America. Taking place in a part of the world called Kanto (later shown to be east of a region called Johto; three years after Team Rocket is taken down in Kanto both regions are explored by a kid from Johto) based on the Japanese region of Kanto
, the plot is simple
: you, an eleven-year-old with a Nice Hat
, are offered your very first Pokémon
by Professor Oak, the local authority on Pokémon. He gives you a choice of three different types: Bulbasaur
, or Squirtle
. His own grandson, your long-time Rival
, gets second pick, and takes advantage of this to snag whichever one happens to be strong against your chosen partner
In exchange for your first Pokémon, Oak wants you to run an errand for him: travel around the region
and collect as many different Pokémon as you can
, recording all of them in your Pokédex. Of course, along the way, you're more than welcome to challenge the eight Pokémon Gyms, collect their badges, and take on the Elite Four in hopes of becoming the Champion
of the Pokémon League. Then there's the emerging threat of Team Rocket, a proudly evil organization
that uses Pokémon for its own selfish ends. Somebody's gonna have to deal with them
, too — and who better than an eleven-year-old and his team of trained monsters
While the game's balance is undeniably broken (Balance? Psychic types LAUGH at your pitiful thoughts of BALANCE!), and glitches abound (Missingnoooooo!)... it's Pokémon
It should be noted that in Japan, the first two games were released as Red
was released later as a third version, with a bit of a graphical improvement over the originals
. For the international releases, the names Red
were used. Although the Japanese Blue provided the graphics and game script for translation, the Japanese Red and Green provided the wild and version-exclusive Pokémon for the international Red and Blue respectively. Aside from its codebase, this makes the Japanese Blue the only main series game to lack an international release.
As evidence of its incredible popularity, Pokémon Yellow
was later released as a fourth version in Japan in 1998, and as a third international version in 1999. Yellow
took elements from the TV series
and transported them back into the games
, however loosely. Instead of picking one of the usual trio, a wild Pikachu ends up as your starter, and follows you everywhere
rather than getting into the usual Poké Ball
. The familiar Team Rocket trio also show up, although Meowth acts as a normal mon as opposed to an equal member to Jesse and James, acting as the third member in their party alongside Ekans/Arbok and Koffing/Weezing (but like your Pikachu, he slides into battle rather than be released from a Poké Ball).
After a successful run, Red
, and Yellow
were followed by the Game Boy Color
-enhanced (though they can still be played on a previous incarnation of the Game Boy
, as well as later ones) Gold
, taking place three years after Red became champion and featuring that kid from Johto mentioned above, the return of Team Rocket, and improved the graphics that Yellow
didn't (back sprites, etc.).
Jump ahead a couple gens, and Red
reappeared once more in the form of their Video Game Remakes
on the Game Boy Advance
. These allowed players to relive the classic games with many of the new benefits, tweaks, and balances of the second and third generations, though it took some Retconning
here and there, and added in some new areas to explore after finishing the familiar challenge(s).
These games have received two animated adaptations. The first one is the first season of the main Pokémon
anime. The second one is the anime special Mini Series
titled Pokémon Origins
, which aired on October 2, 2013 in Japan (10 days prior to the release of the tie-in games Pokémon X and Y
) and November 2013 in the United States. This miniseries essentially serves as a more accurate depiction of the plot of Red and Blue/Green
, being a Truer To The Text Anime of the Game
in comparison to the main Pokémon
Another detail worth noting is that many of the tropes listed under Red
's category also apply to Yellow
, and LeafGreen
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Tropes used in Red and Blue
- Absurdly High Level Cap: It's possible to take your Pokemon up to level 100, though you're more likely to finish the game by the 50s or 60s.
- All There in the Manual: The manual explains the basic background of you and your rival, states your age, and tells of the events that lead up to the start of your adventure.
- Always Accurate Attack: Swift is specifically coded to never miss.
- Amazon Brigade: Erika's gym is populated entirely by female trainers.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: The translation team made some interesting choices that have since been grandfathered into the series. Take the low-level move "Tail Whip" — with a name like that it should be some kind of badass Tail Slap that leaves the opponent's Defense physically weakened, right? Wrong. Its proper (i.e. Japanese) name is the decidedly-less-badass "Tail Wag" (and its description in later games supports this).
- The Anime of the Game: While of course they were the inspiration for the long running Pokémon anime, there is also the miniseries Pokémon Origins, based more closely on Red and Blue than the main anime is.
- Antidote Effect:
- In general, because you can only carry 20 types of itemnote , it is wise to carry as little as you could get away with. You could store up to 50 additional items in the PC, but this can only be accessed while in Pokémon Centers, not out in the world. A few specific examples:
- Awakenings become useless as soon as you get the Poké Flute. It will wake Pokémon up inside or out of battle, and has no limit.
- Once Full Heals become available for purchase, most of the single-effect healing items (Antidotes, Paralyze Heals, Burn Heals, etc.) are no longer worth carrying. While more expensive than any of them individually, carrying a stack of Full Heals only takes up one precious inventory slot and could cover any effect you come across.
- Awesome but Impractical:
- Moves that take two turns to charge up, such as Solar Beam, Skull Bash, Sky Attack, etc. The charge-up turn leaves you vulnerable to attack in the meantime, and if the opponent uses something like Fly or Dig, your attack will miss anyway.
- High damage but low accuracy moves, including the One-Hit KO moves. While awesome when they hit, they're simply too inaccurate to be reliable. They also generally have low PP, meaning you'll get to use them fewer times. This is why you'll see most players using weaker but more accurate/higher PP moves, such as Thunderbolt instead of Thunder or Flamethrower instead of Fire Blast.
- End Game Plus: After becoming Champion, the credits will roll and you'll be returned to your home in Pallet Town. Cerulean Cave will now be open, and you're free to challenge the Elite Four again or battle against your friends. Stops short of being a Playable Epilogue (like the later games in the series have) because no one will recognize your achievement as Champion. Other than the NPC Roadblock in front of Cerulean Cave being gone, the game world is exactly the same.
- Escape Rope: The Trope Namer. Escape Ropes are items that will return you to the last Pokémon Center you visited. The moves Dig and Teleport can be used outside of battle to similar effect, with the former working in dungeons and sending you to the entrance and the latter sending you to the last Pokémon Center you used when used in outdoor areas. The move Fly expands on Teleport's function, allowing you to fly to any town (and, in some games, any rural Pokémon Center, such as the one outside Mt. Moon in FireRed and LeafGreen) you've set foot in, essentially making it a more flexible upgrade to Teleport (with the catch that not all Pokémon that can learn Teleport can learn Fly).
- Fake Balance: Psychic is easily the best type in the game. Nothing resists it bar other Psychic-types, they had the advantage over the most common type in the game (Poison), their only type weaknesses had incredibly weak moves (and due to a bug one of those types, Ghost, doesn't even work against Psychics), and their attacks work off the Special stat.
- Fake Longevity: You'll spend a good portion of your total play time doing two things: walking and Level Grinding. Your walking speed is painfully slow, and while the bicycle helps, it can't be used everywhere. As for grinding, expect to be doing a LOT of it. (Future games, including the remakes, helped alleviate this by adding Running Shoes to the game which increase your walking speed.) Several players have used cheats to get unlimited Rare Candies and used them to raise their Mons to appropriate levels, skipping the grinding altogether while not making them overpowered. Those players have discovered that you can complete the game in only half the time necessary to complete it while grinding. (Though you miss out on as many opportunities to catch new Pokémon.)
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Kanto = the Kanto region of Japan, and eastern Chubu as well, with Johto from Generation II being based on the western part of Chubu in addition to Kansai. Kanto is the only region in the Pokémon games to share its name with the Japanese region it is based on.
- Forced Level Grinding: As Early Game Hell mentioned above, a lot of the game will be spent grinding if you want to stand a chance against Sabrina and Koga, especially if you're playing Yellow Version.
- Guide Dang It:
- If you didn't add any new caught data to the Pokédex nor bought any Poké Balls by the time you beat Blue on Route 22, you can go to Prof. Oak for free Poké Balls. Outside of Yellow, this will probably need grinding.
- Nowhere in the game itself does it tell you what certain moves actually do. This is especially frustrating when a Pokémon is trying to learn a new move. All you get to know is the name of the move, the type of the move, and the move's PP. Is it stronger or weaker than another move your Pokémon already knows? Can it inflict any status effects? Who knows?
- Heroic Mime: Played with. You never hear your trainer speak, but attempting to talk to the "Copycat" girl in Saffron City produces dialog, subtitled as your own, of a one-sided conversation; it's the Copycat's dialog, mimicking the things the trainer implicitly said to her.
- Infinity+1 Element
- The Dragon-type was probably intended to be this, being equally effective against all other elemental types, despite that there was only one evolutionary family of Dragon-types, and the only actual Dragon-type attack, "Dragon Rage", was a Fixed Damage Attack exempt from Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors altogether.
- The Psychic-type quickly became broken, and not just because the strongest Pokémon in the first generation (the legendary Mewtwo) belonged to that element. Due to a programming error, the type's intended weakness to Ghost-types was instead turned into an immunity. It was weak to Bug-types, but there were few strong Bug-type attacks or Bug Pokémon. Furthermore, most Bug-types and all Ghost-types had Poison as a secondary type, which was weak to Psychic. On the subject of Poison-types, Poison was far and away the most common elemental type of Generation I, including most Bug- and Grass-type Pokémon. On top of that, Psychics tended to have a strong Special stat back when Special was the One Stat to Rule Them All. It was telling that most of the things Gold/Silver added or changed were specifically designed to counteract Psychics (adding Dark and Steel types, splitting Special into two stats).
- Normal only has one weakness, which was Fighting, which is easily covered (Psychic), and it does regular damage to everything except Ghost (immune) and Rock (resist), the former and latter can be covered with Earthquake (wide distribution, and every Ghost-type in the game being Poison-typed helped), and every Rock-type in at the time is weak to Grass and/or Water. The increased power of Fighting-types over the next few generations and the addition of Steel (which resists Normal-type attacks) nerfed the Normal-type.
- Infinity+1 Sword: Mewtwo is massively powerful on his own, made even more powerful by being a horribly broken Psychic-type. Only available after becoming Pokémon League champion and comes at the massive level 70, when 50-60 is about where you'll be when the credits roll.
- Infinity–1 Sword:
- Your fully evolved starter is one of the strongest of it type in the game and will usually be your most reliable Mon throughout.
- Alakazam is the second strongest Pokémon in these games and a Psychic-type. Unlike most examples, it can be obtained relatively early as long as you can trade Kadabra as soon as it evolves at level 16.
- The 3 Legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. They are only available very late into the game and are among the most powerful Mons.
- Dragonite has the second-highest base stat total, the highest Attack at this point of the franchise, and can learn a variety of moves. However, it can only be obtained by catching the rare (and weak) Dratini in the Safari Zone and babying it until it hits level 55.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: In your bag, you are limited to 20 individual slots for unique items. For instance, whether you were carrying one potion or 99 potions, it only takes up one inventory "slot." Because of this, it is wise to carry as few unique items as you can get away with. You can store an extra 50 unique items in the PC to help alleviate this somewhat, but the PC can only be accessed in a Pokémon Center, meaning those items won't be available to you in the game world.
- Leaked Experience: The "Exp.All" item. If you have it in your inventory, it splits the experience gained from a battle between all of the Mons in your party.
- Level Grinding: Expect to be doing quite a bit of it throughout the game. The most flagrant case comes after beating the 8th gym but before taking on the Elite Four, where you'll need to gain about 10-15 levels with each of your Pokémon in order to stand a chance.
- Magic Is Rare; Health Is Cheap: Potions of various strengths which can be used to heal HP can be purchased from PokeMarts and found all over the game world. Ethers and Elixirs, which restore PP, cannot be purchased and are extremely rare to find. (It's best to save them all for the Elite Four, where you'll have to fight 4 make that 5 difficult battles in a row without being able to restore the PP of moves at a Pokémon Center in between.
- Magikarp Power:
- Trope Namer. Magikarp can be purchased in Mt. Moon's Pokémon Center very early in the game, and it's completely pathetic even compared to the local Com Mons. Get it to level 20 and it'll evolve into the very powerful Gyarados, which can proceed to steamroll everything in its path.
- When you catch an Abra, it only knows one move: Teleport. Teleport allows it to flee battle, making it very hard to catch without putting it to sleep first. It will effectively be useless in battle for you, but grind it to level 16, and it evolves into the much more useful Kadabra. You can then immediately trade Kadabra to a friend and then trade it back, giving you an almighty Alakazam.
- Metal Slime: Abra. While not an uncommon encounter, it has the annoying habit of using its only move (Teleport) to flee from battle, making it incredibly difficult to catch. If you are able to catch one, you can evolve it into the much more powerful Kadabra (and later, Alakazam,) giving you an extremely powerful Pokémon.
- Warp Whistle: The move Fly will allow you to return to any Pokémon Center you've already visited when used outside of battle. It can only be used outdoors, however.
- We Can Rule Together: The Rocket grunt at the end of Cerulean Bridge wishes to recruit you into Team Rocket after seeing you battle.
- Where It All Began:
- The map is naturally designed to send you back to your hometown of Pallet after you get the Volcano Badge
- Viridian City, the first town you arrive at after Pallet, is both the location of the 8th Gym and where the road to the Indigo Plateau starts.
- Whip It Good: The Ace Trainers (then named Cooltrainers), Tamers, Rocket Grunts, Cue Balls, and Sabrina all have whips in their battle sprites.
Tropes used in Yellow
- Canon Discontinuity: Pretty much every change in this version was ignored by Pokémon Gold and Silver, which instead derived everything Kanto-based from Red and Green aside from Red's team (Pikachu + three starters). Fire Red and Leaf Green also incorporate very little of Yellow's gameplay.
- Canon Immigrant: A few characters from the anime can be found in early routes, like AJ and Giselle. Melanie and a much nicer Damien show up to give you Bulbasaur and Charmander as well. Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy show up too. And, of course, there's Jessie and James, who are recurring enemies. Because of game mechanics, though, they aren't named.
- Convenient Weakness Placement: Those mentioned from Red/Blue are still present, but more are added here. In particular, you can now catch a Mankey on Route 22 near Viridian City. The Fighting-type Mankey is extremely helpful when battling Brock, whose Rock/Ground-types are immune or resistant to all of Pikachu's moves.
- Idle Animation: Pikachu will start to look around randomly if you leave your character alone for a while, or jump or spin around after you jump down a ledge and leave Pikachu above.
- Mythology Gag: Due to being a Recursive Adaptation of the anime.
- The first default name listed for the player character and rival are Ash and Gary, respectively.
- The Weedle evolutionary line is not available, referencing Ash miserably failing to catch them early on.
- The Ekans, Koffing, and Meowth lines cannot be caught since they are owned by the Team Rocket Trio. Said trio is also a recurring mini-boss.
- Pikachu is your starter, will walk behind you in the overworld, and refuse to evolve into Raichu (this part can be subverted by trading Pikachu to another game), just like with Ash. Its cry is even replaced with Pokémon Speak provided by its anime voice actor, Ikue Otani.
- The original three starters can be obtained from NPCs in situations similar to how Ash got his.
- Brock, Misty, and Blue (aka Gary) uses their anime designs.
- The Gym Leaders' teams have been edited to copy/resemble their anime counterparts. This includes cutting Lt. Surge's team down to only Raichu and giving Giovanni a Persian for all of his battles.
- Role Reprisal: Ikue Otani reprises her role as Pikachu, albeit bitcrushed.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike:
- Koga the fifth gym leader suddenly tosses out a Level 50 Venomoth. Trainers and wild Pokémon nearby did not even come close to this standards at that point. Sabrina, Giovanni and the rival * have Pokémon in their fifties as well, but at least the Kanto gyms can be challenged out of order after Brock, Misty and Koga so you can fight them last (doesn't help much due to the slow grinding speed of Gen 1 but still).
- Because your starter is a Pikachu, you're likely going to have a much tougher time dealing with Brock than in Red and Blue. Fortunately, you can now catch a Nidoran and make it learn Double Kick much earlier than you could in those games. You also have the option to pick up a Mankey on Route 22. Both are there specifically for beating Brock.
- In general, the NPCs took more advantage of TMs after largely relying on their Pokémon's natural learnsets in Red and Blue.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Surprisingly, Misty serves as the wake-up call here. Several nifty tricks were added to help you get past Brock (which is necessary, as each of his mons are immune or resistant to everything a reasonably leveled Pikachu can throw at it by this point.) Most players will go into Cerulean City Gym with a spring in their step, ready to wipe the floor with Misty's Water-types using their juiced up Pikachu. They are in for a world of hurt, as Misty's Pokémon are ludicrously over-leveled. Her Starmie in particular has ridiculous numbers of hit points and can absorb 3+ super-effective Thundershocks while sweeping your entire team in one shot apiece.
Tropes used in FireRed and LeafGreen
- Adult Fear: Lostelle's father is sick with worry that she hasn't returned home yet. You find her weeping, lost deep in a forest, being pursued by a wild Hypno.
- Ascended Meme: Many new features and secrets seem to call back to the wild rumors that surrounded the original games. For instance, Bill granting you access to a new area (in this case, the Sevii Islands) and the ability to find something by the truck near the S.S. Anne.
- Gambler-class trainers had their titles changed to gamer, leading to things like, "I'm a rambling, gaming dude!" That subverted rhyme aside, the change is less jarring considering that gambling is often referred to as "gaming" nowadays (i.e. Indian gaming, the Las Vegas Gaming Commission, etc.).
- Lavender Town's Pokémon Tower had a possessed woman say "Give...me...your...all"; contrast with the original line, which is "Give...me...your...soul." This particular instance of Bowdlerization seems a bit unpredictable, as there's another woman whose line remains as "Give...me...blood." in all versions.
- Rocket Grunts called you a little rat in the original version, which was changed to a little mouse in the remakes.
- Console Cameo: Instead of updating the SNES in the player's bedroom from the original Red/Blue to a newer console, it is changed to an older one. (A NES to be specific.)
- Crutch Character: As mentioned above, the Bug-types Butterfree and Beedrill still qualify. However, Butterfree gets an even bigger boost now thanks to its "Compound Eyes" ability. This makes its status effect inducing "powder" attacks significantly more accurate. It can now cripple opposing Pokémon with Paralysis and Poison more easily and put wild Pokémon to Sleep with greater success, making them easier to catch. The addition of this ability takes it from a crutch to near-Disc One Nuke territory.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory: Players who rushed to the top floor of the Celadon Department Store to buy drinks for the thirsty guards will be disappointed since the guards in FRLG accept hot tea instead, which is obtained from an old lady in the building next to the Pokémon Center.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Key items from Ruby and Sapphire, while unavailable via standard methods, have descriptions different than they were in Ruby and Sapphire. For example, the Scanner:
- Due to the Dead: On Five Island, there is a memorial for a dead Onix nicknamed Tectonix. The Player can set down a lemonade next to the one that is already there. This earns gratitude from the Trainer next to you, and he gives you TM42 Facade as a thanks.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- When it comes to the music, FireRed/LeafGreen are the only games post-Ruby and Sapphire not to have the Pokémart theme introduced in the Hoenn games and the only post-Ruby and Sapphire games not to include the expanded portion of the Hall of Fame theme introduced in Ruby and Sapphire. Even the remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver had them retconned into the games (to the point where there's a GB Sounds equivalent of the Pokémart theme). It's also the only remakes to recycle the gym theme from the mainline generation games - all the other remakes either have their own remix of the theme (in the case of HeartGold/SoulSilver) or uses an updated version of the original game's incarnation (in the case of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire).
- The ability to teach your final form starter Pokémon Frenzy Plant, Blast Burn or Hydro Cannon to your starter Pokémon was introduced within these games. However, unlike in later generations, only the Kanto starters could learn them.
- The remakes are the only remakes not to include a duplicate of the main game's Battle Tower/Battle Frontier analogue - HeartGold and SoulSilver has the resident Battle Tower replaced with the duplicate of the Sinnoh Battle Frontier while Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire replaces the Battle Tower of the original games with a replica of Kalos' Battle Maisonnote .
- The remakes are the only remakes where the opposite gendered player character doesn't appear in-story, and thus, the only games where you don't get to see the canon names of both playable characters in-game - HeartGold and SoulSilver retcons the opposite gendered playable character in the story (as well as retconned the canon name of the male playable character) and the original opposite gendered playable character of Ruby and Sapphire reprises their role as a rival in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
- Extended Gameplay: After defeating the Elite Four, the Sevii Islands start opening more so than after Blaine was defeated. The islands are one of the few places in the third generation games where you can capture Johto (or Hoenn) Pokémon.
- Forced Tutorial:
- Professor Oak insists on explaining how a Pokémon battle works during your initial battle with your Rival, and before you even play the game, there are mandatory introductory screens showing you which buttons do what and telling you about the world of Pokémon in even greater detail than Professor Oak.
- In Pallet Town, a certain woman wants to show you what's written on a newly-placed sign near the lab. You will not be able to leave Pallet Town unless you either read the sign or hear her recite what it says — and all it says is "Press Start to open the menu".
- Fun With Palindromes: The passwords for the Rocket Headquarters on Five Island are "GOLDEEN need log" and "Yes, nah, CHANSEY".
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: There's one ranger on Seven Island who claims that city trainers (meaning trainers from Kanto) "sure are tough". This is despite the fact that the Sevii Islands are the Extended Gameplay, so any trainers living on them are guaranteed to be inherently better than nearly any Kanto trainer.
- Inconsistent Dub: In the corner of Fuschia City is a young girl named "Charine", who self identifies as Koga's daughter in training. Janine, you mean?
- Last Disc Magic: These games started a trend of including a late-game move tutor who will teach your fully evolved starter (and only your fully evolved starter) an elemental version of Hyper Beam depending on your starter's type. In FR/LG, the tutor in question is located on the Sevii Islands which are inaccessible until you defeat Blaine, the 7th gym leader.
- Mythology Gag: During the credits, the Generation 1 mascots are shown changing from the in-game sprites to poses they had on the Japanese boxart of their respective games.
- No Name Given: The female player character doesn't have an official name. Most fans have settled on Leaf.
- Now, Where Was I Going Again?: Resuming your saved game gives you a quick recap about some of the things you were doing before you saved and quit.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: The speech text for most non-player characters in non-Japanese versions is color-coded this way - males will have blue text and females will have red text.
- Playable Epilogue: Upgrades the original games' End Game Plus into one. Cerulean Cave still opens the same way, but there are other changes as well. More of the Sevii Islands open up for exploration and you can start to catch Pokémon not native to Kanto.
- Retcon: In the original versions, there were only 151 known Pokémon in the whole world. In the Game Boy Advance remakes, this was changed to there being only 151 Pokémon known to inhabit the Kanto region.
- Shout-Out: Similar to the Stand by Me shout out present in the originals, you'll instead get one to The Wizard of Oz if you play as a female character in the remakes.
- Significant Anagram: "Tanoby" is an anagram of "botany" and the Tanoby Chambers are named after plants. The Japanese name is an anagram of Nanakusa and the chambers are named after Nanakusa-no-sekku.
- Optional Stealth: If you run, you will draw the attention of most trainers. They will turn to the side you are about to pass them by and challenge you to a battle. Walking allows the player a chance to slip by them.