Pokémon Red Version

aka: Pocket Monsters: Aka, Pokémon Versione Rossa, Pokémon: Edición Roja, Pokémon: Edición Roja - ¡Atrápalos ya!, Pokémon: Edición Roja - ¡Hazte con todos!, Pokémon: Red Version - Gotta catch 'em all!, Pokémon: Rote Edition, Pokémon: Rote Version - Schnapp' sie Dir alle!, Pokémon: Version Rouge, Pokémon: Versione Rossa - Acchiappali tutti!, Pokémon: Versão Vermelha - Agarre todos… se puder!
Moby ID: 5129
Game Boy Specs
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Description official descriptions

Pokémon Red Version is the international version of Pocket Monsters Akai. Compared to the earlier version, Red has updated graphics and audio, some changes to area layouts, and significantly overhauled code, all of which in fact originate from the Japanese release of Pocket Monsters Ao.

Red and Akai share the same version-exclusive Pokémon; in order to complete the Pokédex, players must trade with owners of Blue version.

Spellings

  • ポケットモンスター 赤 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Game Boy version)

60 People (50 developers, 10 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 89% (based on 25 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 103 ratings with 3 reviews)

One of my first gaming experiences.

The Good
Pokèmon Red takes place in Kanto. When I was younger, we used to live on an island outside the southern coast of Norway, and everyone played the first Pokèmon games for the Game Boy. When the batteries went out, we pretended that the island was Kanto and made teams and acted as Pokèmon trainers on an adventure to catch all the Pokèmon in the world. Not unlike how it's like in the game, and we would rather stay in when the batteries arrived.

That was the kind of influence the Pokèmon games had on me and my friends at that time. We were practically obsessed for a long time, because we thought it was great, really great. It's really a fantastic game to play for younger children, because there are so many individuals, both human and Pokèmon, and everyone sort of had their own favourite at all time. During that period, most of the dialogues and storyline of the games was irrelevant, mostly because we understood little or nothing of it. All the numbers and stats and all that I know about today wasn't at all considered when we played, maybe because we only played for the Pokèmon and what we had seen on TV, not for the tactical and strategical aspects of the game. Though, I remember me being the first one to notice that that "Leer" or "Growl" actually did something even though it didn't perform actual damage like "Hyper Beam" or "Surf".

The game itself is really a lot more complex than people might even think of. When I got introduced to some websites I realized there are lots and lots of different, hidden numbers in the game that all affect your Pokèmon and your party. I learned what the stats really meant and how move combinations could give a battle a complete turnover. For example, weather changing moves like "Sunny Day" does a lot more than just boosting fire-type moves, it affects the "Synthesis", "Solarbeam" and other time-dependent recovery moves, as well as canceling all other weather effects, preventing freezing and halving power of water-type attacks. There are Determined Values, which are values affecting your Pokèmon's stats, given out when caught, Gender Values, special values deciding whether your Pokèmon is a male or female, Happiness values and experience. Of course, there is also a complex breeding system, allowing different Pokèmon to obtain rare moves and abilities. When it comes to the team of six you should always have, there are tons of different Pokèmon styles and battle roles you can focus on, all depending on the Pokèmon's moves, stats, items and types. A toxi-trapper, for instance, is a Pokèmon with good defenses knowing a trapping move - "Mean Look", for example - and toxic, which drains health slowly. On the contrary, you have the Special Sweeper, which uses Special attacks to inflict as much damage as possible. Here speed and Special Attack are key stats, as well as a Special type, gaining the Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB). All of these factors say that the game is a complex RPG with a lot of good stuff to grant, giving you hundreds of hours of RPG-ing, should you not become too tired.

The concept of Pokèmon is perhaps the most astounding I have ever seen. I believe this game covers the better part of the Pokèmon triumph, steering away from the childish TV-series in being childish, but keeping the foundation from the original idea. Everything that I have mentioned is what I think is great about this game, really exceptional. Viva la Pokèmon Red!

The Bad
As I mentioned earlier, I played this game a lot when I was younger, something that perhaps triggered my love for these games. The fact that I don't play Pokèmon Red now, but FireRed should tell you two things:

  • First of all, this game is BAD when it comes to graphics. It is not something that will at all satisfy even the most humble gamer today, only perhaps hard-core fans. The sounds sucks equally. There is a reason to why I don't play this anymore, and there you got it.
  • Pokèmon Red is really the foundation of the Pokèmon RPGs, and even though there have been made several changes to the followers gameplay-wise, it's really built on the same thing. The sound of this game, though really bad, is something I won't miss because of the great recapture in the newer generations. Stinking graphics, bad noise, lacks things that I consider important today, this game really is the beginning, and all great things has to start somewhere. Compared to the first games of other groups that I like, this game doesn't blow at all. But when it comes to the love of Pokèmon, the fun of playing games, why should you buy an old and "ugly" game when there is a follower based on the same things, only updated, upgraded, with more Pokèmon and really just superb? Of course, another reason I don't like this game is the lack of Pokèmon. If you have the newest generations, you'll be able to link and have much more fun and be totally ready for the approach of Diamond/Pearl (The new Pokèmon games scheduled for release spring 2007). To sum up, buy FireRed!

    **The Bottom Line**
    You probably won't have any good buying this game today, but you should, however, be aware of it since it started the best game Universe of all time. Compared to any other Pokèmon game, this game one blew, but the fact that I wouldn't be playing the others if it wasn't for this one makes me want to take back what I just said. It's an
  • A+
    and a
  • C-
    at the same time, I guess!
    Gotta catch 'em all!
  • Game Boy · by Spag (58) · 2006

    The Spark that started the Fire...

    The Good
    Pokemon Red and Blue (both came out at the same time and both are identical) are proverbial sparks that started the Pokemon craze-- which became one of the biggest fads of the 20th century. So with all the history surrounding this title, one has to wonder if the game has been hyped by history or it still remains a great game. Needless to say, Pokemon Red and Blue remain just good as they once were.

    The game uses a good mix of open world exploration and Turn based combat. In the exploration sections you get explore fair size towns which all have plenty of useful things to you. There are plenty of people to talk to and plenty of in game characters to trade with for one of a kind monsters. The combat is arguably the best part of the whole game. Battles last a healthy amount of time and are very involving. Attacks range from standard commands to special attacks and elemental attacks which can have different effects on each character. Every Pokemon can be useful when trained, although it is best to evolve them into their more powerful forms.

    The Bad
    Pokemon's flaws mostly come from convenience issues. You can't save in the middle of a battle which can result in frustration when you need to go to a meeting or something to that nature.

    Whenever gamers lose a battle, you lose half your money and have restart at the last Pokemon Center you were at. This can be an extremely big problem for when you're in a cave and loose because then you have to start all the way over again.

    Although you can play the game as much as you want, there is only one story and once you beat it there are no more objectives. After beating a trainer in battle, you can't face them again and although this is not a problem at first it can become bothersome when you start to run out. Even after beating the Elite Four even they don't advance their Pokemon's levels or change the order of them so after beating the game once there isn't much left to do except battle your friends (Pokemon's biggest perk).

    The Bottom Line
    Despite Pokemon's age and linear story, Pokemon Red (Blue is the exact same game with some different Pokemon) is an enjoyable adventure game well worth picking up. If you've played it before its well worth a second go and if you haven't played the older games give them a try because they are worth the effort.

    Game Boy · by Lawnmower Man (137) · 2008

    Too tedious to play

    The Good
    Later entries in the Pokemon franchise would add an insane number of Pokemon to the series which might seem like a logical step to make, but making steps of 150 pokemon at a time is a bit insane, isn't it? I believe this was the first Pokemon game and it keeps things nice and tidy with a maximum of 150 pocket monsters that are gradually introduced as you play the game.

    The original cast was also much more interesting than some of their later kin, having both an interesting and charming design while also having a little secret. Every Pokemon has something special you see and while it is given away in the Pokedex tool, it's still a good way to flesh out the characters a little more (seeing as how there is no dialog with your pets).

    The actual fights are pretty well done and require a certain degree of tactics while not going so far as to alienate younger players. As you fight you level up your monsters which increases their statistics and damage output, but you'll also need to keep an eye on your item stockpile and the elements of the enemies you are fighting. To summarize it: an expansion on the classic turn-based combat-system.

    The game really comes alive for me during the Lavender Town sequence because damn does it explode there. Lavender Town is perhaps a perfect example of a child-friendly game reaching out to an older audience by putting in subtle elements kids will likely overlook. It's creepy, but not to the point it will make children cry. The second the music starts playing you simply know you have entered somewhere special and you may also notice the low population and that this is the only town with a f*cking graveyard in it. It's food for though too: How often do trainers realize that their lifestyle is pushing their Pokemon too far?

    I'll get back at the world design later, but for now it will suffice to say that it's at least glitch free. I played Zelda: The Fallen Sage and it was rich with programming errors that allowed me to dick around places I wasn't supposed to go and shatter the immersion completely, but here that doesn't happen as much. I know for a fact there are some glitches that you can trigger, but I didn't run into any without specifically trying to, which to me means everything is okay.

    The Bad
    The further back you go in hardware history the more you notice that video games had to abide to limitations. While there were always game rising above their limitations, it doesn't always work out that well and Pokemon is another example of the latter. Quite often signs would say something along the line of "Well, we don't have color in this game, but if we had this town would look more blue", of course more IC, but it comes over that way nonetheless. A total of 150 creatures is also staggering of course, but some of the sprites when fighting look horrendous and when a Pokemon appears outside of a battle they don't look the way they do on the picture (heck, multiple Pokemon share the same sprite outside of combat).

    The biggest problem to most people however will likely be the grinding: The act where a player is forced to sit down and spend a long time repeating the same action in order to advance through the story. You can hold six monsters at a time and every time you go to a new gym the game will send tougher enemies in your direction, this means that you need to make sure that all six of your fighters are on par with whatever the game send at you. Nothing is more frustrating than been faced by a ground-type monster and realizing your only water Pokemon is twelve levels behind. This meant large chunks of the game were spend in a patch of grass, running back and forth and healing up at the Pokemon Center between every three fights.

    Because of this boring cycle of Gym>train>travel>Gym I quickly grew bored of Pokemon after the third gym. I went to Lavender Town of course, but once there I realized at the top of the tower that I actually needed an item from a nearby town with another gym in it and that is where I just shrugged the whole business. There are some moments where you do something else, quite a lot in fact, but it always boils down to the same thing. Because of this Pokemon can't remain interesting to anybody above the age of eight.

    My first Pokemon game was also a huge disappointment, it must have been eleven years ago, but I haven't forgotten about it. Everybody in the 90's was a big fan the anime and when a game arrived in town everybody started dreaming about becoming a legendary Pokemon trainer. The problem is that the game never reaches the quality of the show, not even the newer episodes that I think are absolute sh*t. While you meet some of the iconic characters they never travel with you or even go on adventure with you, Brock and Misty both just kinda disappear from the story after you found them. Things looked up when I had to go on a boat because in the series this was a big Titanic reference, but all you do is get an ability you need and the boat just sails off. Nothing epic, no storylines, just go back to your grinding.

    Those are my biggest points of criticism, but I have some smaller complaints: First of all, the bag has this downright awful system. I suppose it's kinda like in Resident Evil 4 where your bag actually has a bottom and you can't just stuff everything in it, but there is no info on how much you can put in your bag. It also doesn't say when it's full, so if you find an item in the wild, but it turns out your bags are full than too bad for you. It also doesn't help that abilities aren't named nor do you know which ones are useful, so you got a whole bag full of TM's hoping that one day an NPC will say you need that specific ability.

    You also run into other trainers in the wilderness and of course they don't hesitate to challenge you for a little fight. The good thing about these fights is that owned Pokemon give more experience than their wild relatives, so you are of course going to want to fight them instead of random enemies. However, once a fight is won you can't challenge them again and they just kinda stand there, clogging up the map with needless sprites.

    The game design is so simple that it's almost insulting, you don't even need to be a game-design student to notice this. Anybody who has spend three days with RPG Maker can describe how almost this entire game is constructed. There is also a limit on how you can blame on "Well, it's an old game after all". Sometimes the design is even odd or inconsistent, like when very long houses pop up with no doors or other entry/exit points. The game also has some very contrived ways to make the game linear, such as an old man very early on that won't let you explore the world any further because he hasn't had his coffee yet (which he will drink when you beat the local gymleader).

    The Bottom Line
    Pokemon as a game is only really interesting for children who follow the series and anybody else is just going to be a bit weirded out when they see this mess. One of the reasons that this game simply can't be good is because its entire foundation is based on the gameplay mechanic of grinding. If you pick that mechanic as a start of your game you're already heading completely in the wrong direction and if you add even more repetition to the game, as well as world design that a twelve year old could handle, then I simply don't have a lot of nice things to say.

    I know for a fact that kids can forgive this game for its fault and maybe if you are a very nostalgic person you can still play this too, but anybody else will just end up with a cartridge somewhere in the back of their closet. The kind of game your mother finds twelve years later. If you want to play good games on your gameboy than there are a lot of good side-scrollers out there as well as Link's Awakening and other, less horrible games.

    Game Boy · by Asinine (956) · 2012

    Discussion

    Subject By Date
    New game groups needed Lampbane (22145) Jan 6, 2009

    Trivia

    Development

    The man behind Pocket Monsters, Satoshi Tajiri, had been working on the game a full five years (from 1991 to 1996) before he finally decided to release it after he was satisfied enough with it. No one at Nintendo expected the game to be a hit, but it was.

    Inspiration

    Satoshi Tajiri got the concept for Pokémon when he was growing up as a kid. It's said that as a boy he used to catch bugs of all types and watch them grow and develop, like a caterpillar evolving into a butterfly! It's crazy to know that this childhood hobby would turn into a, now normal, popular enterprise.

    Virtual Console Alterations

    Pokémon Red and its counterpart versions were rereleased for the 3DS Virtual Console to celebrate the Pokémon franchise's 20th anniversary in 2016. Since the Nintendo 3DS isn't compatible with the long-obsolete Game Link Cable, these releases use the system's local wireless features for link trades and battles. Additionally, several attack animations have been toned down for the safety of players with photosensitive epilepsy or other sensory conditions.

    Awards

    • Game Informer
      • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #39 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
    • Retro Gamer
      • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #9 Best Game Boy Game (together with Pokémon Yellow Version and Pokémon Blue Version)
    • The Strong National Museum of Play
      • 2017 – Introduced into the World Video Game Hall of Fame
    • Total! (Germany)
      • Issue 01/2000 – Best Game Boy RPG in 1999

    Information also contributed by PCGamer77, Powerbracelet and Robbb

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    Related Sites +

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      These question and answer type hints cover Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow.
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    Identifiers +

    • MobyGames ID: 5129
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    Contributors to this Entry

    Game added by Jim Fun.

    Game Boy added by Corn Popper. Nintendo 3DS added by Harmony♡.

    Additional contributors: Satoshi Kunsai, Jeanne, Freeman, gamewarrior, DarkDante, formercontrib, Yearman, Spag, LordRM, Patrick Bregger, Kam1Kaz3NL77, Harmony♡, Chamemo, GenesisBR, SoMuchChaotix.

    Game added October 13, 2001. Last modified March 4, 2024.