Pokémon Red and Blue Versions
Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version were the first Pokémon games to be released outside of Japan, becoming available in North America on September 30, 1998, and thus being the first Pokémon media to hit the international market. The pair closely followed the debut of the anime's North American dub, which began airing September 8, 1998, and within a year, Pokémon was well-known as a popular Nintendo franchise.
Unlike later generations, Red and Blue were not the same as their corresponding Japanese releases. Japan had gotten their first pair of Pokémon games as Pocket Monsters: Red & Green (Japanese: ポケットモンスター 赤・緑), which in all aspects were the same as Red and Blue with the exception of Pokémon sprite designs. When preparing the games for their English release, it was decided that Red & Green would be merged with Japan's already-released third version, Pocket Monsters: Blue (Japanese: ポケットモンスター 青), for its improved graphics, sound, and lack of easily-accessed gamebreaking glitches.
Despite being released towards the end of Game Boy's lifespan, they quickly became the best-selling non-bundled games released for the Game Boy as well as being the best-selling role-playing games of all time.
|Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.|
Illustrating the original Pokémon gameplay concepts, players begin their game in Pallet Town, a small town in the Kanto region, on the same day as their former best friend and now rival. Professor Oak calls the player to his laboratory, and allows the player to choose from starter Pokémon: the Grass-type Bulbasaur, Fire-type Charmander, or the Water-type Squirtle. After the rival has jealously chosen the starter that weakens the player's choice and had a preliminary battle, the player leaves for his journey across the region, challenging 8 Gym Leaders and other Trainers on their way to the ultimate goal: the Pokémon League at Indigo Plateau.
Along the way, the player will meet up with his rival several times, and have multiple run-ins with the insidious Team Rocket, a criminal group that seeks to use Pokémon for their own gain. The player will ultimately find out that the boss of this evil group, Giovanni, is actually the final Gym Leader in the game.
"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. Catch and train monsters like the shockingly-cute Pikachu. Face off against Blastoise's torrential water cannons. Stand strong when facing Pidgeot's stormy Gust. Trade with friends and watch your Pokémon evolve. Important—no single Pokémon can win at all. Can you develop the ultimate Pokémon strategy to defeat the eight Gym Leaders and become the greatest Pokémon Master of all time?"
Like in Red and Green, players may trade Pokémon between two cartridges using a Game Boy link cable. To take full advantage of this feature, several Pokémon are exclusive to each game of the pair, making it required that a person trade with others in order to complete their Pokédex. The link cable also makes possible battles with another player, allowing one to pit his or her Pokémon against new challenges.
Trades between Pokémon games in different languages are possible in this generation; however, a Japanese game cannot connect with a non-Japanese game. The latter will always result in corruption if attempted. This is due to the fact that the games cannot automatically translate the Pokémon data from Japanese to a different language or vice versa, since there is not enough room on either cartridge for all of the text, namely kana and the Latin alphabet (a feature that would later become possible).
Players are introduced to the first eight Pokémon Gyms, each with their own type affiliation, of the series, led by Brock (Rock), Misty (Water), Lt. Surge (Electric), Erika (Grass), Koga (Poison), Sabrina (Psychic), Blaine (Fire) and Giovanni (Ground).
The Elite Four of Kanto are a step above the rest, all located at Indigo Plateau and ready to take on all challengers. In order, they are Lorelei (Ice), Bruno (Fighting), Agatha (Ghost) and Lance (Dragon). The final battle a Trainer has is against the Pokémon Champion, the rival, who does not have a type specialization.
Each game contains pre-recorded data on 151 different species of Pokémon, including Mew, a Pokémon unavailable to players of either game under normal conditions. Despite this, not all Pokémon are available to the player, regardless of version; trades must occur between players in order to complete their Pokédex without the use of cheats or glitches. Mew is the only Pokémon in these games that must be acquired through attending either a Nintendo sponsored event, a glitch, or cheating.
The following Pokémon are only obtainable in one game of this pair. In order to obtain Pokémon exclusive to the other game of this pair, they must be traded either from that game or from another compatible game of Generation I or Generation II which has that Pokémon available.
Red and Blue can trade with all games from Generations I and II, provided that a Japanese version of the game isn't being traded with a non-Japanese version. While link battles are not possible directly between Red and Blue and the Generation II games, a player may challenge a Generation II game using Pokémon Stadium 2.
The games received positive reviews from the press, receiving a perfect 10/10 "Masterful" rating from IGN. The games received an average score of about 89% on GameRankings, the second highest on the site for a main series Pokémon game, and the 3rd and 4th best score for a Game Boy title.
While bringing Pokémon to international fame and continuing the legacy of the Japanese Red and Green, Pokémon Red and Blue have been met with much criticism, especially compared to more recent releases in the series. Aside from the number of glitches present in the games, many Pokémon look very little like their appearance in the anime, which premiered nearly simultaneous with the games' North American release, or later games, which improved on several other aspects as well as the graphics.
The two games are also notorious for their several drastic glitches, among them the fabled Missingno., Glitch City, and the Mew glitch. Despite this, the glitches are arguably minimal points of criticism due to the reward value that comes from their activation, such as the multiplication of a player's sixth item that happens when Missingno. is encountered.
|Koffing's Red and Blue sprite||Koffing's current sprite|
- The American staff in charge of localizing the games tried to change the Pokémon designs, however, Tsunekaz Ishihara refused the proposal.
- The blurb on the back of the boxes states that 139 different Pokémon can be obtained in each game without trading. This, however, includes all Pokémon that the player chooses (i.e., both the Omanyte and Kabuto families are counted), in which this statement is only true for the Japanese Blue. Therefore, the true total of different Pokémon obtainable in one adventure without trading is 124, due to the fact that four Pokémon only evolve once traded.
- The Pokémon depicted during Professor Oak's introductory lecture is a Nidorino. However, the cry that plays belongs to Nidorina. This is actually a mistake that was carried over from the Japanese Red and Green as well as from the Japanese Blue.
- Although these games are improved and combined versions of the Japanese Red and Green and Japanese Blue, their respective special borders are still retained from their original Japanese versions, which are displayed only on a Super Game Boy or in Stadium and Stadium 2 when played through the Game Boy Tower, which requires the Transfer Pak for Nintendo 64.
- In Red, the opening scene shows a Gengar and a Nidorino engaged in battle. In Blue, the Nidorino is replaced with a Jigglypuff. This change was not retained in FireRed and LeafGreen, which both depict a Gengar and Nidorino squaring off. This may be due to FireRed and LeafGreen being remakes of the original Red and Green, however, which both feature Nidorino in the animation, while only the Japanese Blue features Jigglypuff.
- According to the Pokémon Pokédex Collector's Edition (Prima's Official Pokémon Guide), Red and Blue were developed by a team of nine members.
- Pokémon.com (US)
- Pokémon.com (UK)
- Anime News Network - (Pokemon TV)
- IGN: Pokemon Blue Version (Pokemon Blue) (retrieved December 21, 2009)
- Pokemon Red Version for Game Boy - GameRankings (retrieved December 21, 2009)
- Reviews and News Articles - GameRankings (retrieved December 21, 2009)
|This game-related article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.|