The first generation of Pokémon games is often considered the best due to its roots in nostalgia and the familiarity it has with a wider audience. Yet on a closer inspection, Gen II, or Gold, Silver, and Crystal, actually added so much to the franchise while still keeping most of what made the originals so great.
Pokémon has since grown immeasurably, to the point that the franchise’s staggering ninth generation is fast approaching. While the franchise has since seen a multitude of new concepts, features, and mechanics introduced over the years, there are still many areas in which Gen II remains unbeaten.
10 None Of The 251 Pokémon Available At The Time Were Left Out
Gold, Silver, and Crystal are the last games that featured every single Pokémon that existed in the franchise at the time of release. Since then, the full roster has become too large to include every species in every game.
Gen II took the original 151 Pokémon and merely added an extra 100 for a total of 251. They kept in all of the original and more familiar species while adding brand new Pokémon to keep things fresh. Every Pokémon has its fans, and no one was left out.
9 Important New Types Were Introduced
For the most part, Gen I did an excellent job in laying the foundation. However, before Gen VI introduced the Fairy type, Gen II added in both the beloved Steel and Dark types. Both were vitally important additions to balance the game and are now well integrated into the franchise.
Steel and Dark types may not have had too much representation upon their introduction, but they still had a corresponding Gym Leader and Elite Four member respectively. Dark types also fit the evil intent of Team Rocket much better.
8 Legendaries Were Given Meaning & Importance
Gold, Silver, and Crystal introduced the concept of Legendary Pokémon being the cover Pokémon of their respective games. Ho-Oh was presented as a big deal in Pokémon Gold, as was Lugia in Silver. The games also introduced the Legendary beasts, Raikou, Suicune, and Entei, and they were viewed as secondary Legendary Pokémon.
Suicune was even made the cover Legendary for Crystal. Gen II even started another trend within the franchise – roaming Legendary Pokémon, with the three beasts being available as wild encounters.
7 Eggs & Baby Pokémon Added A New Dimension To Team Construction
Breeding and Pokémon Eggs have become a mainstay in the Pokémon franchise. In Gen II, the concept of the Day Care became so much more than just being a means to level up a Pokémon without training. Breeding eventually became a crucial part of competitive Pokémon, but with Gen II, it was used to introduce Baby Pokémon.
These adorable additions added more depth to several pre-existing evolution lines from Gen I. Some fans even forget that Pichu hasn’t actually been around since the very beginning.
6 The Story Felt Like An Actual Sequel To The Original
When the Pokémon franchise journeys to a new generation, there is always a distinct separation between them with very few links or callbacks to previous generations. Some do try with recurring characters, but there are rarely storylines that link any of the games together.
Pokémon treats every new game as a player’s first to make them as newcomer friendly as possible. With Gold, Silver, and Crystal, however, the fact that Team Rocket is still present keeps Gen II and Johto linked to previous events from Gen I.
5 Kanto Was Brought Back To Make The New Johto Region Feel Connected
After completing their Johto campaign, players are allowed to visit Gen I’s Kanto region. Allowing players to travel between multiple regions makes the world of Pokémon seem more connected.
Visiting previous regions in new games is no longer possible and will remain one of Gen II’s main selling points. Getting to see Kanto in a slightly different light is an exciting prospect, especially with getting to fight the Gym Leaders in different circumstances from the original games.
4 The Necessity Of A Post-Game Was Realized With Gold, Silver, & Crystal
Other Pokémon games have struggled to offer players something to do after becoming the Pokémon League Champion, but Gold, Silver, and Crystal excel in this area. After challenging the eight Kanto Gym Leaders, there is a final battle against the mysterious Red.
Red is found at the top of Mt. Silver, accessible after obtaining all 16 Gym Badges, and is the ultimate challenge for players. No game has come anywhere near providing a post-game this expansive since Gen II.
3 Shinies Were Introduced In Gen II
Hunting and collecting Shiny Pokémon has become extremely popular over the years. It is seen as a good distraction, perfect for those who love finding and collecting the rarest commodities in games.
While the concept was at its most basic, Gen II deserves the credit for introducing it into the franchise. The chance of getting a Pokémon with an alternative color scheme can seem trivial to some, but to others, it is worth putting in hours of gameplay for.
2 The Day & Night Cycle Made The World Feel More Real
While the Gen II games were still limited by the GameBoy’s graphics, it introduced the day and night cycle to the Pokémon games. The idea of finding different Pokémon at different times of day, or even having different trainer interactions is the perfect way to make a world feel more immersive and authentic.
Sword and Shield and Legends Arceus have taken advantage of their advanced graphics to build on the foundation laid by Gold, Silver, and Crystal. The time of day even enables two new Eeveelutions, Umbreon being obtained at night and Espeon during the day.
1 Held Items Changed The Landscape Of Pokémon Battles Forever
Items existed in the Gen I games, but they could only be used to heal, power up, or catch Pokémon. Gold, Silver, and Crystal introduced multiple mechanics that would change the franchise forever, and allowing a Pokémon to hold an item is one of those mechanics.
Pokémon could now hold items that would offer them some kind of boost to their moves or stats. Held items could even restore their health in critical moments. Berries would gain more traction in Gen III, but they were still introduced with the other held items in Gold, Silver, and Crystal.