Although Pokémon Yellow, Blue, and Red will always hold that feeling of nostalgia, the 2nd generation of Pokémon games has quickly become my favorite. A key reason is that many new features were introduced in Gold, Silver, and Crystal that have been refined in the future generations of Pokémon games. Another reason why the 2nd generation of games is my personal favorite is because they are one of the longest games in the franchise due to having two regions, a total of 16 gyms to defeat, as well as an insanely strong Red waiting at the end. The legendary Pokémon in the game also makes catching them all take a very long time.
Kanto and Johto
The best part of the game is that it spawns across two regions, Kanto and Johto. Many reoccurring characters from the Yellow, Blue, and Red make an appearance and are actually a significant challenge to overcome. Two regions also serves to increase the play time of the game and makes it important to establish a strong team of Pokémon early on. Even after defeating all 16 gyms and clearing most of the puzzles in the game, Red is one of the strongest trainers to defeat in the entire Pokémon franchise. His Pokémon are all level 75 or higher and his Pikachu is level 81 which requires the player to grind for a while before being able to defeat him. These games feel like a direct sequel to the previous generation whereas most of the games afterwards are best viewed as disconnected from the previous ones.
New Features: Berries, Time and Days of the Week, Shiny Pokémon, and More
Gold, Silver, and Crystal introduced many features that we see in the games today. Berries were introduced in these games, although they were put into the Items slot rather than being given an individual Berries slot like in newer games. Apicorn berries allowed players to give them to Kurt to make into special balls for catching certain Pokémon easier. For example, the Fast Ball is particularly useful in catching Raikou due to its high speed. Time and days of the week were also added to the game with different Pokémon appearing at night and day. The days of the week included the first special daily events such as the Bug Catching Contest, certain Pokémon appearing once a week, special daily items, and more. Breeding and eggs were also introduced during this time and players were given a chance to hatch a Togepi from an egg they received. Although it doesn’t greatly impact gameplay, Shiny Pokémon gave collectors a chance to hoard rare occurring Pokémon.
The legendary Pokémon in these games are some of the hardest in the franchise to catch. The legendary dogs, Entei, Suicune, and Raikou, begin roaming Johto once you wake them up from the Burned Tower and are a huge pain to hunt down. They switch locations frequently and teleport when you fly from city to city. Even when you do manage to force a battle with them, they frequently run away or use Roar to escape. Ho-oh and Lugia are just as huge of a pain to catch due to both of them having Recover with a total of 20 PP. So even if you manage to get them down to a sliver of health, they could use this to make good work go to waste.
Team Rocket Returns
Although we do not get to see the comical Jesse and James (along with Meowth) return in these games, Team Rocket does make an appearance several times. They aren’t really too big of a challenge to defeat, but they are a nuisance and will block your progress several times throughout the journey.