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Pokémon Yellow Version

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Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition
Yellow EN boxart.png
Pokémon Yellow Version's boxart, depicting Pikachu.
Basic info
Platform: Game Boy (enhanced for the Super Game Boy in all releases and for the Game Boy Color outside of Japan)
Category: RPG
Players: 2 players simultaneous
Connectivity: Game Link Cable
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo
Part of: Generation I core series
CERO: Not applicable
GRB: Not applicable
Release dates
Japan: September 12, 1998[1][2]
North America: October 18, 1999[3][4]
Australia: September 3, 1999[5]
Europe: June 16, 2000[6][7]
South Korea: Unreleased
Japanese: Poké
English: Poké
Yellow JP boxart.png
Boxart of Pocket Monsters: Pikachu
StrategyWiki has more about this subject:

Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition (Japanese: ポケットモンスターピカチュウ Pocket Monsters: Pikachu), often known as Pokémon Yellow Version, is the third Pokémon game for Game Boy released worldwide, as a solitary version of Pokémon Red and Blue Versions. In Japan, the game was the fourth Pokémon game released, as a second solitary version of Pocket Monsters Red & Green.

Similar to Red and Blue, Yellow arrived towards the end of the Game Boy's lifespan. It managed, though, to receive the title of second best-selling non-bundled game for its console, losing only to its predecessors.


201 Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details. 201

Unlike other games, Yellow was inspired by the anime, and thus, instead of having a choice between Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle, players are forced to start off with a Pikachu that Professor Oak caught on Route 1. With the rival beginning with an Eevee, the player journeys from Pallet Town to go through an all-new experience—with no Grass, Fire, or Water types to fall back on until each member of the Kanto starter trio is given to the player later on in Cerulean City, Route 24, and Vermilion City, respectively.

Much like before, players journey across Kanto from their hometown, Pallet Town, defeating the eight Gym Leaders (Brock and Misty do not join the player, unlike in the anime) and eventually the Elite Four.

Team Rocket battles feature yet another special, anime-based surprise, as Jessie and James show up, along with their Pokémon, Ekans, Koffing, and Meowth. Beyond these changes, the plot of Yellow is very similar to that of the Japanese Red and Green and Japanese Blue as well as of the international Red and Blue.


You've finally been granted your Pokémon Trainer's license, and now you're on your way to becoming the world's greatest Pokémon Trainer! The shockingly-cute Pikachu tags along behind you as you search the enormous world for monsters to train and evolve. Face off against Blastoise's torrential water cannons. Stand strong when facing Pidgeot's stormy Gust. Develop the ultimate Pokémon strategy to defeat the eight Gym Leaders and become the greatest Pokémon Master of all time!

Changes from Red, Green, and Blue

Aesthetic changes

  • The front Pokémon sprites have all been updated to resemble how they appear in their then-current Ken Sugimori artwork usually used in promotional images and strategy guides for the Japanese Red and Green, Japanese Blue, and the international Red and Blue, as well as some of them resembling how they appear in the anime. However, the back sprites are the same as the previous games.
  • Some Trainer sprites were also redone. Red and Blue now better resemble their stock artwork for Generation I, as the Pokémon sprites do. Brock wears an outfit like his anime counterpart's and Misty's bikini was changed to a shirt and shorts similar to those worn by hers, albeit without suspenders.
  • Kanto is slightly redesigned a second time, featuring different designs for doors, signposts, windows, and other minor elements. The biggest overhaul was performed on Cerulean Cave, the game's final dungeon, where the layout was once more changed. Indigo Plateau remains unaltered.

Location changes

Obtaining the starters from the Japanese Red and Green and Japanese Blue as well as from the international Red and Blue is possible through in-game events:

Gameplay changes

  • Pikachu is the only Starter Pokémon the player can have and travels with the player on-screen, outside of a Poké Ball like Ash's. The rival starts with Eevee, and the previous three Kanto starters can be obtained later in the game.
    • Furthermore, no other wild Pikachu can be found, thus requiring the player to trade a Pikachu from another Generation I game or Generation II game to obtain another one. A traded Pikachu will also not behave like the starter Pikachu, acting as a regular Pokémon instead (even to the point of being able to evolve with a Thunderstone), unless it matches the Original Trainer and Trainer ID number of the player.
      • Another Pikachu with the same Original Trainer and Trainer ID number as that of the player can be obtained by cheating. However, it will only behave like the starter Pikachu if the original one is released. Furthermore, if one of the new Pikachu is released, the Pikachu behaving like the starter will have a disappointment face for a limited period of time.
    • The cry of the starter Pikachu, or any Pikachu with the same OT and Trainer ID number of the player for that matter, is changed to "Pika!" when going in battle, "Chaaaaa!" if it faints, or "Pikachu!" on the status screen, instead of the original Pikachu cry.
    • The rival will eventually evolve his Eevee (and thus affect which are the other members of his party) depending on the player's actions early in the game:
      • If the player beats the rival at both the Oak Pokémon Research Laboratory and the early optional battle at Route 22, Eevee evolves into Jolteon.
      • If the player loses one of these two battles or passes up the Route 22 battle, Eevee evolves into Flareon.
      • If the player loses at Oak's Lab, and loses or passes up the Route 22 battle, Eevee evolves into Vaporeon.
  • In-game trades are changed to different Pokémon.
  • Level-up learnsets and TM compatibility are altered slightly for certain Pokémon. Charizard, for example, can now learn Fly via HM02.
  • A minimal friendship system is implemented to track how Pikachu feels about the player and Pikachu will refuse to evolve. This would later be revamped in Generation II, where the system is vastly improved and applies to all Pokémon.
  • Gym Leaders have different teams, some based on those that appear in the anime.
    • Brock's Pokémon have had their levels decreased by 2.
    • Misty's Pokémon have not been changed.
    • Lt. Surge's only Pokémon is a level 28 Raichu.
    • Erika now has a level 30 Tangela, and level 32 Weepinbell and Gloom.
    • Koga now has three Venonat, levels 44, 46, and 48, as well as a level 50 Venomoth.
    • Sabrina now has a team composed of Abra and its evolution line, all at level 50.
    • Blaine has a level 48 Ninetales, a level 50 Rapidash, and a level 54 Arcanine.
    • Giovanni has a level 50 Dugtrio, a level 53 Persian, a level 53 Nidoqueen, a level 55 Nidoking, and a level 55 Rhydon.
  • Enhanced compatibility with the Game Boy Color is present outside of Japan, providing color palette changes as the player switches locations, whereas the Japanese version is similar to the previous core series Generation I games in where it only has Super Game Boy support. The ability to print out Pokédex entries using the Game Boy Printer was also implemented in every regional release.
    • The Super Game Boy palettes used for the Pokémon sprites are also lighter.
  • Several glitches were disabled, and all glitch Pokémon were altered because the data which was read incorrectly to create them had changed.
  • A Surfing Pikachu minigame, Pikachu's Beach, is included. However, to play this the player will have to first teach Pikachu Surf, which requires the use of Pokémon Stadium.
  • The location and availability of some Wild Pokémon allows the player to experience the game in a manner similar to the anime.
    • In the anime, Ash catches a Caterpie and a Pidgeotto in Viridian Forest. This is reflected in-game as Caterpie (but not Weedle) and Pidgeotto are both available in Viridian Forest for the player to catch. This is the only instance in Generation I where a Pidgeotto can be caught at a level earlier than Pidgey would evolve into it.
    • The Pokémon that Team Rocket use (Koffing, Ekans, Meowth and their evolutions) are not available to be caught in the wild. It would be unlikely that Ash would catch these Pokémon in the anime as they are the primary antagonists.
    • Wild Pikachu and Raichu are not available, as Pikachu is the player's starter Pokémon (furthermore, it is unlikely that Ash would catch another Pikachu or a Raichu).

Storyline changes

Pokémon unobtainable in Yellow

The following Pokémon are not obtainable in Yellow. In order to obtain any of the below Pokémon, they must be traded from one of the previous Generation I games, or from the Generation II games, which has that Pokémon available, which will be indicated.

Note that "G" indicates a Pokémon that can be caught in the Japanese Green, and thus in the international Blue as well. "B" indicates a Pokémon obtainable in the Japanese Blue.

013 013 Weedle Bug Poison RGB
014 014 Kakuna Bug Poison RGB
015 015 Beedrill Bug Poison RGB
023 023 Ekans Poison R
024 024 Arbok Poison R
026 026 Raichu Electric RGB
052 052 Meowth Normal GB
053 053 Persian Normal GB
109 109 Koffing Poison RGB
110 110 Weezing Poison RGB
124 124 Jynx Ice Psychic RGB
125 125 Electabuzz Electric R
126 126 Magmar Fire G


As well as reprising the ability to allow players to trade Pokémon between two cartridges via a Game Link Cable, Yellow also debuted a new link battle mode, Colosseum 2.

Colosseum 2

In Colosseum 2, players can select from several battle modes:

  • Pika Cup (for Pokémon between Levels 15 to 20 only; their combined level limit is 50)
  • Petit Cup (for Pokémon between Levels 15 to 20, heights under 6'8" (2 m), and weights less than 44.1 lbs (20 kg) only)
  • Poké Cup (for Pokémon between Levels 50 to 55 only, and the sum of all entered Pokémon's Levels cannot exceed 155; Mew is not allowed).

These three cups would later become standard cups in the international Pokémon Stadium.

In addition, in the Japanese version, Blizzard's chance to freeze in Colosseum 2 is changed to 10% rather than the usual 30%. Blizzard's chance to freeze is always 10% in the Pokémon Stadium series and the international releases of the Generation I games.

Differences from the anime

The game is loosely based on the original anime series, but has several differences:

  • Brock does not surrender during the Pewter Gym battle and does not accompany the player thereafter.
  • Misty is first encountered in the Cerulean Gym. In the anime, she had left the Gym when Ash met her.
  • Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle are acquired from tasks. In the anime, Charmander is rescued from heavy rain, Squirtle merely follows Ash, and Bulbasaur was caught.
  • Meowth can use Pay Day and does not speak in the game.
  • Bulbasaur and Squirtle are able to evolve in the game.

English title

An American version game cartridge of Yellow

While the game's title has become widely accepted as simply Pokémon Yellow, its officially recognized name outside of Japan is not entirely certain. On the boxart for most English versions, the expression Special Pikachu Edition replaces the series' then-current slogan Gotta Catch 'em All! below the Pokémon logo, while Yellow Version is at the bottom, near where Red and Blue had theirs. However, the expression Special Pikachu Edition is repeated on the box's opening and spine.

Contemporaneous materials refer to the game as Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition,[8][9][10][11] or Pokémon Yellow for brevity. The instruction manual refers to the game as "the Yellow version of Pokémon", "Yellow" is one of the selectable preset names for the the player character, and Yellow Version can be seen on the game's title screen. ESRB classified the game under the title Pokémon yellow,[12] while the Australian Classification Board classified the game under the title POKEMON YELLOW.[13]

Poké refers to the game as Pokémon Yellow Special Pikachu Edition in full, but Pokémon Yellow Version and Pokémon Yellow in general usage.[14] Pokémon Yellow Special Pikachu Edition is also the title used in the Nintendo World Pokémon Series Showcase. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U refers to the game as Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition in Pikachu's trophy description.


Main article: Pokémon Yellow beta


Like Red and Blue, Yellow was also well received by the press. Like its predecessors, it received a perfect 10/10 "Masterful" rating from IGN.[15] However, it was criticized as being "just a stopgap to help us wait for the real sequels".[16] Yellow received a slightly lower average score than Red and Blue of about 85% on GameRankings. Despite this, it was the site's top rated Game Boy game in the year of its release, 1999.[17]


Main article: Game Boy: Entire Pokémon Sounds Collection CD

The soundtrack for Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue and Pokémon Red and Blue also applies to Pokémon Yellow. However, Yellow added three tracks that are absent from the official soundtrack, which precedes the release of Yellow by ten months. These additional tracks were also composed by Junichi Masuda.


Main article: Staff of Pokémon Yellow


In other languages

Language Title
Japan Flag.png Japanese ポケットモンスターピカチュウ Pocket Monsters: Pikachu
France Flag.png European French Pokémon Version Jaune
Germany Flag.png German Pokémon Gelbe Edition
Italy Flag.png Italian Pokémon Versione Gialla
Spain Flag.png European Spanish Pokémon Edición Amarilla

See also


Generation I: Red & GreenBlue (JP)Red & BlueYellow
Generation II: Gold & SilverCrystal
Generation III: Ruby & SapphireFireRed & LeafGreenEmerald
Generation IV: Diamond & PearlPlatinumHeartGold & SoulSilver
Generation V: Black & WhiteBlack 2 & White 2
Generation VI: X & YOmega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Pokémon game templates

Project Games logo.png This game-related article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.