Pokémon Red and Blue are two of the most iconic RPGs of all time. They marked the beginning of the global Pokémon phenomenon, and they'll always have a special spot in Pokémon players' hearts. Sure, the graphics in these games are nothing compared to more recent Pokémon titles. Sure, there were only 150 Pokémon to play with. None of that mattered: we all played these games again and again during our childhoods, and still get that feeling of nostalgia today. Nothing ever quick shapes up to the original, right?
Well... Yes and no. Red and Blue are absolute classics: there's no doubt about that. However, even members of official video game royalty have their flaws. Like, objective, how-did-we-put-up-with-this flaws. It's a testament to the dedication of Pokémon players worldwide that they decided to set aside the many things wrong with Red and Blue and play the heck out of them anyway! Pretending the problems don't exist has been the main course of action.
Still, that doesn't mean we can't bring these issues up now and again—especially since a lot of them are pretty amusing to look back on. Turns out even masterpieces like Red and Blue can be full to the brim of glitches both obvious and subtle. A lot of these errors were quietly resolved in the Generation Two games, but fans of Red and Blue will never forget them, no matter how much they've tried. It's time for a blast from the past! Here are just some of the glaring problems with Red and Blue that we Pokémon players have swept under the carpet for far too long.
25 The Games' Entire Premise
To be honest, the entire concept behind the Pokémon franchise is pretty messed up. In a nutshell, young children are encouraged to abandon the education system and go on a long journey around the region—all alone! Along the way, they have to capture numerous wild animals and keep them in small prisons.
They then force said animals to battle each other.
Yikes. When you think about them too deeply, Pokémon Red and Blue become a dystopian nightmare rather than fun and upbeat games.
24 The Shallow Movepools
One of the most frustrating things about playing Pokémon Red and Blue is the ridiculously shallow movepools that most Pokémon possess. Here's an infamous clear example of this phenomenon. Unless you prevent Growlithe from evolving until level 50, the most powerful Fire-type attack that Arcanine can learn naturally is Ember. Luckily, Game Freak has added more and more moves to Pokémon games over the years, so we no longer have this issue. However, in Generation One, it was a total nightmare.
23 The Hyper Beam Loophole
Anyone who's ever battled Lance and his Dragonites knows that Hyper Beam is one of the most powerful moves in Pokémon Red and Blue. It has the power to demolish entire teams if the trainer uses it well. To slightly mitigate how overpowered the move is, Game Freak added the whole "you have rest for one turn after you use it" mechanic. At least your foe has a slight chance of recovery that way! However, a glitch in Red and Blue meant that if you knocked out a Pokémon with Hyper Beam, you didn't have to rest the next turn.
22 The Special Stat
Ah, the Generation One Special stat: otherwise known as the stat that either ruined or made certain Pokémon. Before the Special Attack and Special Defense stats were split in Generation Two, one amalgamated Special stat filled their space. It influenced both how strong and how weak Pokémon were against special moves, and it was just a bit broken. Using this system, Pokémon couldn't be both strong at using and weak at taking a special attack: they were either great or terrible at both. Not great for the 'Mons who fell into the "terrible" bracket!
21 Overpowered Psychic Moves
Does anyone else still have flashbacks to trying to defeat Sabrina's ridiculously strong Alakazam? Because same. That Pokémon was challenging to defeat mainly because of the fact its type—Psychic—was wholly overpowered in Red and Blue. Even though Ghost-type moves were supposed to be super effective against Psychic-types, this didn't work in practice due to a glitch. The only moves that were super effective were Bug-types—and there was approximately one of these in the game. Spamming Pin Missile wasn't the greatest. All in all, Psychic-types broke the game. Screw you, Sabrina.
20 The Lack Of Shinies
While this next issue didn't hugely impact gameplay in Red and Blue, it's still a bit annoying if you're playing the games in the present day.
The Generation One games don't feature Shiny Pokémon, and it sucks.
Game Freak added Shinies in Gold and Silver, hence why the game shoved the red Gyarados at the Lake of Rage so blatantly into our faces. Original players of Red and Blue didn't even know what they were missing until that point! These days, though, not being able to get a shiny Charmander in the originals is a bit annoying.
19 The Critical Hit Mechanic
It's common knowledge that the critical hit mechanic is utterly ridiculous in Pokémon Red and Blue. From Generation Two onwards, a standard formula that applies to all Pokémon determines their chance of landing a critical hit. However, in Generation One, a Pokémon's speed influenced its critical hit ratio. This meant that fast Pokémon were totally busted, while slow ones primarily dealt a "normal" amount of damage. It wasn't a particularly fair way of doing things, hence why Game Freak scrapped it. We'll be eternally grateful to them for doing so.
18 Professor Oak's Grandfatherly Love
Has anyone else noticed that Professor Oak is consistently horrible to his grandson? Sure, this issue with Red and Blue may not affect gameplay, but it's pretty darn noticeable! Oak consistently chastises poor Gary while singing the player character's praises. When the player defeats Gary to become Pokémon League Champion, Oak offers no consolation whatsoever to his grandson and instead sings the player's praises. Sure, Gary can be incredibly obnoxious at times, but that's no reason for his family members to treat him like that! Maybe he'd be less annoying if he'd been shown love as a child...
17 Poor Gym Planning
As any Red and Blue fan will know, Lt. Surge is the leader of the Electric-type Gym in Vermillion City. This former military man has absolute confidence that he and his beloved Raichu can defeat any challenger.
However, Surge has planned the location of his Gym very poorly.
It's right next to Diglett Cave, which is chock-full of Ground-type Pokémon. As in, the same Ground-types whose STAB moves are super-effective against Surge's Electric-types. Oh dear. It turns out Raichu doesn't stand a chance!
16 The Not Very Effective Glitch
Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue are notorious for the sheer number of glitches embedded into their gameplay. Some of these glitches are only accessible using hacks or cheats, but others have a genuine impact on the player's Pokémon journey. Take the "not very effective" glitch, for example. If a dual-type Pokémon is hit by a move that has a neutral effect on one type and a weak effect on the other, the game should assign the move a neutral effect overall. However, a glitch means that these moves are labelled as "not very effective" instead. Not great!
15 Team Rocket Vs A Ten-Year-Old
To be honest, this slightly weird situation is present in pretty much every Pokémon game in the series. In the Pokémon world, it's apparently normal to let ten-year-old children take on huge crime organisations with little to no help! In Red and Blue, this involved the player taking down Team Rocket, a Mafia-like group who like to steal other people's Pokémon. Shouldn't, say, the police deal with these criminals instead? It shouldn't be down to a ten-year-old to fight Giovanni and save Kanto!
14 Where Are All The Ghost Types?
Considering there were only 151 Pokémon in the original Red and Blue lineup, it's unsurprising that some types appear more in Generation One than others. However, it's a travesty that Red and Blue only featured one family of Ghost-types! Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar were great, and all, but a bit more variety would have been nice. Game Freak could have cut out one of the many Normal-type Pokémon to make room for another Ghost! Same goes for the Dragon-type. We deserved more than just Dragonite, guys. Although admittedly, Dragonite was pretty incredible!
13 Rage-Quitting Over Rage
If you're a Red and Blue player who's never experienced a bout of Rage-inspired rage, count yourself incredibly lucky. This move had some severe issues in Generation One that frustrated players everywhere! For one, once you used Rage, you were locked into using it until you or your foe fainted.
No variety in move usage was allowed.
Plus, if Rage missed once, its accuracy dropped to 0.4%, making it miss pretty much every turn after that point. Honestly, using Rage wasn't even worth it for all of the risk and anguish involved.
12 Focus Energy's Glitch
Rage wasn't the only move that caused Pokémon Red and Blue players a lot of grief. Focus Energy also led to a lot of people tearing their hair out, this time due to a very frustrating glitch. The error meant that Focus Energy did the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do. That's right. Instead of multiplying your Pokémon's critical hit ratio by four, it divided it by four instead. YOU HAD ONE JOB, FOCUS ENERGY. ONE JOB. Needless to say, Game Freak fixed this glitch in Generation Two.
11 You're Toxic
In the world of Pokémon battles, two types of poison can affect your team. The first is "ordinary" poison, which inflicts the same amount of damage every turn. The second is "toxic" poison, which inflicts an increasing amount of damage with every turn that passes.
In Red and Blue, a glitch made toxic poison even worse than usual.
If both Toxic and Leech Seed affect the same Pokémon, the game will get a bit confused. Instead of Leech Seed having its usual effect of doing the same amount of damage each turn, it too will adopt Toxic's steadily increasing power.
10 Wake Up!
Is there anything more annoying in a Pokémon battle than having a member of your team put to sleep? They're out of action for quite a few turns! Thankfully, when they wake up, they'll be able to make moves again straight away – except in Red and Blue! In these games, the sleep status condition was even more irritating because waking up took a whole turn. Then, if your foe successfully used a sleep move again, you'd be right back at square one without having the chance to attack. We're so glad Game Freak changed this mechanic!
9 All Wrapped Up
Just like Rage, Wrap is a multi-turn move that causes a lot of havoc in Pokémon Red and Blue. It's ridiculously strong! Any Pokémon affected by Wrap is unable to attack once the move takes hold. It's just a case of waiting for Wrap's effect to wear off, right?
That only takes a few turns!
The thing is, if the Pokémon using Wrap is faster than you, it can just use the move again before you get a chance to fight back. Your Pokémon ends up stuck in a loop of Wrap attacks until it faints.
8 A Restless Rest
Rest can be a pretty convenient move in the heat of a Pokémon battle. Not only does it restore some of your Pokémon's HP, but it also heals any status conditions. Great, right? Well, it would have been a lot better if it had addressed one other tiny issue. Certain status conditions affect a Pokémon's stats. Paralysis makes them slower, for example, while a burn lowers attack. While Rest heals the condition itself, it doesn't reset your Pokémon's stats, leaving them weakened for the rest of the battle. Oh dear.
7 The Overpowered Blizzard
While Blizzard is undoubtedly a powerful Ice-type move, Game Freak prevented it from becoming overpowered by giving it an annoying low accuracy rate of 70%. Except in Pokémon Red and Blue, that is! Back in the day, Blizzard's accuracy rate was a lofty 90%. This rendered the player almost indestructible against Dragon-type trainers, one of whom happens to be an Elite Four member. Poor Lance! You can’t make a base power 110 Ice-type attack that accurate, guys. It essentially breaks the game.
6 How To Get Stuck Underground
In Red and Blue, it was possible for your Pokémon to get stuck underground—and in mid-air! This glitch relates to the moves Dig and Fly. These attacks take up two turns, with the Pokémon spending the first turn borrowing underground or flying up high.
The second turn is where problems can arise.
If your Pokémon hurts itself in confusion or becomes fully paralysed instead of attacking, it will remain underground or in the air indefinitely—or until you use Fly or Dig successfully.
5 A Song Of Ice And Fire
It's time for a lesson in Pokémon type matchups, Red and Blue style. So, everyone knows that Ice-type Pokémon are weak to Fire-type moves. It makes sense: fire melts ice, right? Because of this, you'd logically think that Ice-type moves aren't very effective against Fire-types. Really, they shouldn't have any effect at all—the moves would surely melt before they could do any damage! However, Red and Blue don't operate on logic. Ice-type moves do a regular amount of damage to Fire-types. Luckily, Game Freak realized how silly this was and fixed the issue in future games.
4 The Limited Item Bag
Ah, remember the good old days when there was a limit to how many items Pokémon's player character could carry in their bag? "Good" is a loose term... The limit was so freaking annoying. When the bag became full, you couldn't pick anything else up until you'd got rid of some of your items. You could store them in a PC, but this wasn't exactly convenient if you were in the middle of nowhere. Often, you just had to toss your extra items on the floor. What a waste!
3 The Struggle With Struggle
If your Pokémon runs out of PP for all of its moves, it will have no choice but to use Struggle. Struggle is a typeless move that can hit any Pokémon. At least, it is now! In Red and Blue, Struggle was programmed to be a Normal-type move. This was a major issue if you ever ran out of PP while battling a Ghost-type. Struggle would have no effect, and your Pokémon would just be a sitting duck. It was a painful situation to be in, to say the least!
2 So Little Accuracy
One of the most obvious issues with Pokémon Red and Blue involves the accuracy levels of all moves. In these games, the only move that started off with a 100% accuracy rate was Swift, which is guaranteed to hit regardless of the rate. Every other move had at least a 1/256 chance of missing—but it felt like much more than that. Even simple moves like Tackle had a tendency to miss exactly when you needed them to hit. This whole mechanic made battling in Red and Blue incredibly frustrating at times!
1 Frozen Forever
Getting frozen solid was undoubtedly the most annoying status condition in Pokémon Red and Blue, mainly because it was so difficult to get rid of.
Pokémon didn't thaw out naturally like they do in more recent games.
The frozen status would only melt if an opponent used a Fire-type move or the move Haze against you. Of course, you could use an Ice Heal to thaw the Pokémon yourself. However, if you didn't have one on you, there was a real chance your Pokémon would be frozen for the rest of the battle.