Pokémon is 20 years old this year and to celebrate Nintendo decided to release the first generation on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console. Being a Pokémon fan I decided it was finally time to stop talking about how poorly Generation I had aged going off what others had said and actually play myself.
Like the other Kanto games you start off in Pallet Town but this time when you stupidly head out without a Pokémon since the game forces you to, Oak runs into a wild Pikachu and catches it with no struggle. Back at the lab he only has an Eevee since he hates Blue now or something but Blue takes it leaving us with the Pikachu Oak just caught. Something interesting about Yellow is you can influence which Pokémon Blue evolves his Eevee into. If you win the first two fights he gets Jolteon, lose one and win one he get Flareon and lose both he gets Vaporeon (skipping the optional fight on Route 22 counts as a loss). Pokémon Yellow is based around the anime which means Pikachu follows you outside its Pokéball. This adds friendship with the Pikachu which becomes a mainstay in the rest of the series with all Pokémon. A disadvantage however is you can’t evolve Pikachu. If the Light Ball existed (and could somehow be held) this might be tolerable but with vanilla Pikachu he ends up becoming quite awful once other trainers start having evolved Pokémon I ditched it as soon as I could.
Being based off the anime also brought changes to other trainers. They now have teams a lot closer to that of their anime counterparts (like Lt. Surge having a sole Raichu) and Jessie and James are added to some areas Team Rocket appeared. Another addition is the ability to receive a Blubasaur, Charmander and Squirtle during your play through. These are also based off how Ash got them in the anime.
Graphically the game looks nice for the time. A lot of backsprites look pretty bad as they weren’t changed from Red and Blue though. The music is also quite nice to listen to and Pikachu’s cry was even replaced with “PIKA!”.
Going back to this game is quite hard though. There is no denying that the game has aged poorly. Movepools are super shallow with no good Bug, Ghost or Dragon attacks existing and a lot of Pokémon end up keeping their early moves since they don’t learn much better. Why is the best Fighting attack the Mankey line learns naturally Low Kick? That could even be solved if they made Karate Chop Fighting instead of Normal (why?). Psychic is also broken only being weak to Bug which has Leech Life and Pin Missle, only one Special stat for both Attack and Defence, critical hits being based on speed. My least favourite area was Erika’s gym because when you wake up from Sleep YOU DON’T GET TO ATTACK THAT TURN! That means if the other Pokémon is faster you might never actually get to attack. Moves like Wrap also completely hinder you from attacking so again, if they’re faster you don’t get to attack.
Items also don’t get separate pockets all being shoved in you bag so with the minimal space you’ll have to make your way to a Pokémon Center constantly to deposit items you might need later but not now. Using a HM also requires going into the menu, picking the Pokémon, scrolling to the move, selecting it, using it. The amount of times Cut and Surf are required it gets really annoying going into menus constantly. I will admit, for the time Generation I was amazing and my recent play through I still had fun. Now due to very poor ageing they are hard to get into.