There are a lot of people out there that are steadfast in their adoration for the very first generation of Pokémon. Who would have thought that we'd see over 800 Pokémon in the modern age when things started with a base of just 151?
Trainers come in all shapes and sizes and you'll find love for each generation all around the globe. We aren't here to bash on anyone's favorite Pokémon or region, but today we're revisiting the first generation of Pokémon to talk about some of the most overblown and underappreciated 'mon from the gen that started it all. It's important to note that these opinions are based solely on how useful these Pokémon were DURING the first generation and does not take current stats and abilities into consideration.
10 Underrated: Nidoking
There are likely quite a few trainers out there that enjoy Nidoking from an aesthetic or typing standpoint but you won't hear much concerning him when it comes to "late-game usefulness." You won't see many people realistically using a Nidoking near the gen 1 Elite Four because there are much better alternatives, but the Pokémon can be incredibly useful in the early game.
This is because Nidoran (Male) evolves into Nidorino at level 16. You can then immediately evolve the 'mon into a Nidoking by exposing it to a Moon Stone. This will give you access to a 3rd stage monster with boosted stats (for the early game) and a high HP rating.
9 Overrated: Pikachu
This will seem like a no-brainer to most, but it's a good way to start off this list. When it comes to "overrated," Pikachu immediately springs to mind. And no, we aren't including its usefulness or ability in the Super Smash Bros. series. We're talking exclusively from a Pokémon standpoint.
Pikachu may be an unstoppable force of trickery and power in the anime, but in each Pokémon title it's featured in, it's nothing more than an over-glorified mascot. It's definitely not the strongest Electric-type and not many people seem to care about its evolution (Alolan Raichu withstanding).
8 Underrated: Cloyster
Each generation has an array of Pokémon that no-one ever uses due to their aesthetic. This is the case with Cloyster, a generation 1 creature that resembles, well, an oyster. It's not the most exciting of designs and players aren't usually clambering to grab one of these spine-laced beasts as soon as they can.
This is definitely a mistake because Cloyster is an overlooked gem in gen 1. It manages to pack a monstrous 180 Defense stat, while still maintaining fairly decent Attack (95) and Special (85). Sure, it has low HP, but its Defense definitely makes up for it. To make things even better, it gains access to Ice Beam (goodnight Lance's Dragonite) and can access Clamp, which can lock a Pokémon down and keep it unable to move (thanks to gen 1's lack of policing when it comes to the move).
7 Overrated: Charizard
Charizard is perhaps the epitome of "overrated." We mean no disrespect to any Charizard fans out there and we definitely love the fire-breathing "lizard" just as much as everyone else, but those that suggest Charizard is the end-all-be-all concerning competitive play and generation 1 dominance are ignoring the truth.
Although he comes packed with a variety of solid Fire-type moves, Charizard has a glaring weakness (4x damage) when it comes to facing Rock-types. Popularity gifted this 'mon with a Mega Evolution which makes it much better in the later games, but it's certainly not the god that everyone makes it out to be in generation 1's titles specifically.
6 Underrated: Tauros
This might come as a shock to those out there that played a heavy competitive game. After all, Tauros was front-and-center for a lot of high-stakes matches, specifically those in the Nintendo Cup. For anyone outside of the metagame or those who were just playing through the storyline, Tauros may have seemed like something to pass on. Normal-Types weren't all that enticing to trainers in general (sans Eevee) and capturing a Tauros could be a nightmare thanks to the Safari Zone mechanic.
The hard work was definitely worth it, though, because Tauros was perhaps the best normal-type to grace gen 1. It has great stats, can learn a wide array of elemental attacks, and is speedy enough to get the jump on many opponents.
5 Overrated: Gengar
This one hurts us. We actually love Gengar and there is no denying that it's a great Pokémon to have on your team, in both gen 1 and the newest releases (but we did need some more underrated fodder). That said, there were some glaring issues in gen 1 specifically that made the 'mon less of a powerhouse than it should have been and hampered its usefulness a lot.
Gengar is still a solid sweeper in gen 1 but its original use was to combat Psychic-types. This became an immediate issue when a glitch in the gen 1 games caused Ghost-type moves to be ineffective against Psychic Pokémon. Gengar is also a dual Poison-type, which can be useful defensively but is otherwise underwhelming in the series' origins.
4 Underrated: Victreebel
When it comes to Grass-type Pokémon, gen 1 was a bit lacking. There are a lot of trainers out there that pick Bulbasaur as their starter and will defend its honor as one of the best Grass-types available (which we respect), but one of the best greenies you can pick is Victreebel.
It has solid all-round stats. Most importantly it has access to Wrap, which can set up a lot of Pokémon to take massive damage during a fight. Pair this with its many status effects and the ability to drain health and inflict heavy damage and Victreebel will service you as one of the best Grass-types available in gen 1.
3 Overrated: Dragonite
Dragonite was a definite powerhouse in gen 1, as it came paired with the highest possible Attack stat of all Pokémon at that time. It featured an array of hard-hitting moves like Hyper Beam and Body Slam and its access to Wrap (which was broken like Clamp) made it a force to be reckoned with.
Unfortunately, those that knew what to expect from Dragonite could easily dispatch it. It has a gruesome 4x weakness to Ice attacks and its lower speed stat allows many other Pokémon to get the jump on it. It may have been the only Dragon-type in the entirety of gen 1 but Dragon Rage (the only Dragon move it used) would hit for a fixed 40 damage.
2 Underrated: Chansey
Cloyster may have boasted an impressive Defense stat, but the true Tank King of generation 1 is Chansey. It has a staggering 250 base HP and only one weakness (2x to Fighting-types). Sure, its attacking abilities are pathetic and it has a small move pool (unless you introduce TMs), but Chansey can enter a fight and stay there for however long you may need.
To make it even more annoying, it's capable of learning Soft-boiled, a move which will heal large chunks of its HP, making it even tankier than before.
1 Overrated: Beedrill
All of the Bug-type Pokémon in gen 1 were fairly terrible but Beedrill is the absolute bottom of the barrel. While many trainers might flock to the buzzing baddie for its cool drill-handed aesthetic, just about everything about this Pokémon is terrible. It has underwhelming stats for a 3rd stage evolution, its moveset is absolutely atrocious, and its weakness to Psychic-types makes it a tasty snack for the overpowered Psychic moves rolling around the era.
It may look cool, but Beedrill was an absolute letdown.