19 – Pokemon Yellow (Game Boy Color)
If you’re a fan of Pokemon Yellow, I’m sorry it’s all the way down here on the list. It’s a good game, really, but its goodness is entirely dependent on the virtues of Pokemon Red & Blue, its predecessors. It’s fun, but it’s also basically the same game, only with a Pikachu. It doesn’t have enough merit on its own to warrant a higher position, and I’d argue that the minute differences between Yellow and Red & Blue actually hurt the title more than they help it.
The changes were few, and they all (weirdly) revolved around making the game more like the anime, by giving the protagonist a Pikachu that followed him around and could be befriended by talking to it often. All three starters from Pokemon Red & Blue were obtainable for free, and the combination of these two changes made the first gym stupidly hard, and all the ones after that a total cakewalk. Jessie and James were added as bumbling protagonists and additional battles in all Team Rocket segments, and a hidden Pikachu mini-game let your Pikachu Surf…that is, if you fulfilled very specific requirements and either won a contest or owned Pokemon Stadium.
Other than that, there’s little notable about Pokemon Yellow. It set the stage for future “enhanced” remakes of each generation’s primary titles, and as much as I love more Pokemon games…that’s not a positive thing. In most generations, it’s turned into a frustrating money grab, asking players to shell out another $40 or so for features that ought to have been present in the first place. At the time, Nintendo just intended to create a filler before they released Gold & Silver. Unfortunately, it was a filler we probably would have been okay without.
Next: #18 - Pokemon Puzzle League