When someone makes a sequel to a game, people usually assume the developers will use the knowledge from their previous work to improve the second entry. Game Freak knew that they struck gold with Pokémon Generation I, so for Generation II they decided to strike gold again.

This is an ongoing series. Be sure to check out other entries in the Year of Pokémon!

There wasn’t a lot of time between the two generations, only a single year between the release of Pokémon Yellow Version and the next wave of pocket monsters. However, that didn’t stop Generation II. Game Freak were determined to build a fantastic sequel to a worldwide hit. After all, when you strike gold, you gotta keep going. There just might be more waiting nearby.

Pokémon Generation II

Yup. Get used to it. The puns are here to stay. (via Pokémon Let’s Play Wiki.)

We already saw how Generation I laid a solid foundation for the Pokémon franchise, so we can know generally what to expect. However, when you take a solid foundation you must be careful. Change too much of it, and you’ll upset fans of the original. Change too little and you’ll get complaints of stagnation, which we’ll definitely be touching on in the future. It’s very hard to find that middle balance for any series, changing and adding just enough while keeping a game similar to what people are expecting in the first place.

So how does Generation II stack up to the original? It’s got some pretty enormous shoes to fill, so let’s see how it handles the pressure. Grab a ticket to the monorail system, because we’re jumping continents. From Kanto to Johto, let’s see what Generation II has to offer in this strange new land!

Pokémon Generation II – November 21st, 1999 (Game Boy, Game Boy Color, 3DS)

Generation II includes: Gold Version, Silver Version, Crystal Version

This review is based primarily on Crystal Version.

Pokémon Generation II

(via Playbuzz.)

Story

“Hello, hello! You must be Connor. PROF. ELM said that you would visit.”

Upon starting up any of the three Generation II games, you’ll immediately notice a difference in the intro. Start a new game and Professor Oak will ask you what day and time it is. This will come into play more in the gameplay section, but for now once you enter the date and time, the intro begins again as normal. In fact, it’s so similar it uses almost the same dialogue as the intro to Generation I verbatim! I knew they were close, but I’d forgotten it was basically a copy/paste job.

Anyway, once you pick your name, you may realize you don’t pick your rival’s name. Instead, you start the game and realize you’re not in Kanto anymore. Now you’re a new child, living in New Bark Town in the Johto region! However, not too much changes in the story. You meet the new professor, Professor Elm, who asks you to run an errand for him. He wants you to get something from his friend, Mr. Pokémon.

Of course, it’s dangerous to go in tall grass with no means of defense, so Professor Elm lets you take one of three Pokémon as your own: the fire rodent Cyndaquil, the water gator Totodile (best boy, just saying), and the most worthless starter in all of Pokémon history who isn’t even worth naming.

Pokémon Generation II

Such filth. Get it off my screen.

After that decidedly easy choice, we advance onward! Passing a rather strange person along the way, we make it to Mr. Pokémon. At his house is his friend, Professor Oak from Generation I! Upon seeing you with a Pokémon, Professor Oak gives you a Pokédex. He knows very little of the Pokémon in this region and asks you to help him research them. Is there anywhere this guy won’t try to shove work onto children?!

Anyway, on your way back, you get a call on your Pokégear (your PDA basically) from Elm telling you to hurry. As you rush back toward New Bark Town, you run into the mysterious figure from before. He challenges you to a battle after complaining about needing to always be stronger… and you realize that just like your rival in the previous game, he has the starter Pokémon that’s strong against yours!

After handily whooping his butt because he chose the scum of the earth (in my file, at least), he scurries off in a huff, muttering about how weak his Pokémon is. From there, you return to the lab where Professor Elm mentions that a Pokémon was stolen. When you tell the officer there that you saw him, they ask you if you caught his name. This is where you finally get to enter the name of ???, so go on. Be creative!

Pokémon Generation II

No, I did not actually name him this. Yes, I could probably get fired for typing out this name fully.

And this is where the journey really begins. Much like Generation I, there isn’t a ton of plot to speak of. Go to eight gyms, get eight badges, fight the Elite Four, be a hero. So that’s what you do. You go from city to city, fighting trainers and gym leaders, cleaning house on these fools!

However, in several towns there are smaller sidequests you do as well.

For example, in one town there’s a burned tower that was torched long ago. Exploring this area will eventually put you in the path of three statues, of three doglike Pokémon of legend: Entei the fire-type, Raikou the electric-type, and Suicune the ice-type. Unleashing these dogs will cause them to sprint away and scatter around the region, constantly moving around on your map for you to track down!

Aside from that, the only other major plot point is that Team Rocket is at their usual antics again. This time, they think they’re hot stuff and try to take over the giant radio tower in Goldenrod City. This way they can spread their influence over the airwaves! However, this is a group of criminals that was taken out by a ten-year-old, so it’s no surprise that they’re foiled again… by another ten-year-old. How demoralizing…

Pokémon Generation II

Still better than picking Chikorit-uuurgh… Saying it makes me sick…

After that, it’s back to gym-hunting! As the badges rack up, you get hyped. Surely the Elite Four will be a challenge worthy of these eight badges! So, you finally manage to get all eight Johto badges, and challenge the Elite Four, made up of new and old faces. You take them down, fight the champion…

And that’s it. There’s definitely nothing else. No more game here, folks. Generation II is all over.

 

Spoilers for Generation II are beyond this point! Skip to the next bolded text if you don’t want to be spoiled!

 

Except you’re now only halfway done with the entire game. Yes, in a stroke of genius, Game Freak decided that you should be able to return to Kanto! This absolutely blew my child mind back in the day, and knowing how it was done today makes it even more impressive.

See, Game Freak was having mounds of trouble fitting both regions onto the cart, and originally were going to have to cut it out. However, they had the assistance of the legendary Satoru Iwata on their side, who asked to see if he could help. In the end, the incredibly talented Iwata single-handedly programmed compression software to make their vision possible. Thanks, Iwata-san!

So, with a new path forward, you continue to the familiar stomping grounds of Generation I. From here, it’s exactly what you think it is: fight the eight gyms, get the badges, fight the Elite Four. There are a few changes to the region, however!

Pokémon Generation II

Don’t worry though. Whether Johto or Kanto, Youngsters still have an unhealthy obsession with rats.

First, the gym leader of Fuchsia City has changed. Instead of Koga the ninja, he’s been replaced with his daughter Janine. In addition, the Safari Zone here is unfortunately closed down for repairs, which makes it inaccessible.

Also, Cinnabar Island is a wreck at the moment. There’s a Pokémon Center… and that’s it. Unfortunately, a volcanic eruption totally ruined the island, forcing the leader to relocate to the Seafoam Islands nearby. Instead of Articuno showing up this time around, this is where Blaine challenges you for a badge.

Another change is the gym leader of Viridian City’s gym. In Generation I it was Giovanni, head of Team Rocket. In Generation II, however, the leader is none other than Blue/Gary/[nope, still not gonna show this to the public]! You get to crush that piece of crap again? Man, this might just be the best game of all time!

After that, much like before, it’s time to challenge the Elite Four. However, this is where yet another giant shakeup has taken place. I didn’t mention it before the spoiler section, but the only remaining Elite Four member from Generation I is Bruno! The new Elite Four starts with Will, the Psychic user. After that, a familiar face pops up: Koga, the former Fuchsia City Gym Leader, is now a member of the Elite Four with his Poison Pokemon! Past him, Fighting-user Bruno goes against you. Finally, Karen the Dark-type user faces you.

Once you take the four down, you must fight the Champion. I didn’t technically lie when I said Bruno was the only original member still in the Elite Four, by the way. I only say that because Lance has risen to the title of Champion this time around, and you must face him in an epic final battle!

And with that, the game is over. Definitely over. Nothing else to do. Generation II is super for-real over this time.

Pokémon Generation II

Pretty well, I think they totally bought it this time, heh…

Except, you know, the fact that you must face the ultimate final challenge on Mt. Silver! After beating the Elite Four, you can gain access to Mt. Silver. This daunting mountain dungeon is tough, filled with a bunch of very strong Pokémon. It’s alright though, you should have a great team by this point. You can take on anything!

Oh, you silly fool. If only you knew the hell that awaits you at the peak. Once you reach the top of Mt. Silver, you come across your very own character from Generation I. Without a word, he challenges you to the ultimate showdown. Champion vs. champion. I hope you brought your absolute, total, complete, best team possible, because this fight will bring you to your knees without proper preparation.

Once you finish this fight, then the game is well and truly over. Remember when you thought Kanto was large and impressive? Who’d have thought they could double the size of the world like that? As I said before, that’s an incredible feat even today, but to a child it was almost life-changing. What a great surprise from Game Freak.

 

Spoilers end here! You can continue reading below!

 

While the story remains almost exactly the same as the first game, Generation II has such a great surprise in store for players that the story is elevated to a higher level because of it just because of it. Once again, this isn’t Oscar-worthy or anything, but it does fit the game fine enough.

Graphics

“Wow, that’s a cute Pokémon. Where did you get it?”

While Generation I was playable on the fancy new Game Boy Color, Generation II was the first set of games in the series to actually make extended use of the new system’s features. Instead of a random color scheme of your choosing like in Generation I, Generation II had dedicated color palettes to make the games look as good as possible.

Because of this, the games look incredibly vibrant compared to older titles. The general aesthetic is almost identical to Generation I, but Generation II made the Pokémon look better than ever, alongside the various environments found throughout the game.

In fact, Game Freak went one step further and decided to change the sprites of all the Pokémon between the two releases! Yes, every single Pokémon in Generation II has two different poses depending on which game you got. What a neat way to do things!

However, Crystal Version takes things one step further. It mixes in sprites from both Gold Version and Silver Version, and then it becomes the very first game in the series to have animated sprites. Any time a Pokémon shows up into battle, it has a small animation. You’d be surprised, but these small changes add a lot to the personality of the game. I’m glad Game Freak chose to go this route with Generation II, though I can’t imagine how much extra work it must’ve taken to make two sets of sprites 251 Pokémon, and then picked half of them to animate. That’s true dedication, and it shows!

Pokémon Generation II

Man, this game is just beautiful.

Alongside better animations for attacks in general, Generation II is a huge step above its predecessor graphically. While the art style may have remained the same, Game Freak pushed the Game Boy as hard as they could. They worked just as hard as they worked the Game Boy to produce some fantastic sprites… then made a whole new set of them, then animated 251 of them. In the end, gamers benefit from one fantastic-looking generation of Pokémon, no matter which version you play.

Sound

“On weekends, you can hear strange roars from deep in the cave.”

Certainly, the first generation of Pokémon graced us with iconic themes that we recognize even today. However, with his knowledge of the Game Boy’s sound capabilities, Junichi Masuda put just as much work into Generation II as the sprite artists I mentioned above. As you’d expect, he makes great route tracks that make your adventure feel truly… well, adventurous:

Also, while exploring, you’ll be going through many areas. These include caves, which now have a much more mysterious theme to them than in Generation I:

Of course, I’d be remiss to not mention the theme you’re probably going to hear the most in the entire game. As I said before, the themes in Generation I are iconic. The trainer battle theme from Kanto is pretty unforgettable. However, I would argue that Generation II has a theme to outclass it:

By the time Pokémon Crystal released, Masuda had made a few extra tracks for that version. Able to use the GBC’s marginally better sound capabilities, he composed one of my favorite tracks from all of Generation II: the new track for encountering the legendary dogs. Encounters with Entei, Raikou and Suicune used the normal wild Pokémon theme in Gold and Silver, but this time around they get the gravitas and intimidation fit for legendary beasts:

And in the second half of the game, I would post links here, but that’d be spoilers! Certain tracks get an enormous quality improvement, and that’s all I’ll say. As if the second half of the game wasn’t enough of a treat!

It’s no surprise that Pokémon has great music after the first generation released, and only two generations in, Masuda cemented himself as a powerhouse in the industry. It’s not really spoilers to say this trend is going to continue for some time.

Gameplay

“Well, I too, have a good Pokémon. I’ll show you what I mean!”

I’m not going to get too into the basics here, as the foundation of Generation II is very close to that in Generation I. However, there are plenty of additions to go into from our time in Kanto, so let’s get to that in just a second!

Much like the first games, it’s your quest as a Pokémon trainer to go out and explore the world. You must fight trainers, catch Pokémon, face off against Gym Leaders, and make your way to the top of the League. From there, you have to fight the Elite Four and the Champion in order to take your place at the very top!

Pokémon Generation II

Started from the bottom, now I’m here!

The basic gameplay through that gameplay path is pretty similar as well. You can carry up to six Pokémon to battle with at one time. Battles are turn-based, and each Pokémon can use four moves of varying types. The idea is to use your Pokémon’s type (or types) as well as their move types to your advantage over your opponent, as moves strong against Pokémon of a certain type will do a lot more damage.

I wasn’t joking, the base gameplay is extremely similar. However, fear not, because there are so many additions to Generation II that it might make your head spin! For starters, catching Pokémon got a lot more varied. In the original, you had Poké Balls, Great Balls, Ultra Balls and a single Master Ball for options. This time around, if you give certain items to a man named Kurt, he’ll make various other Balls to make catching certain Pokémon easier.

These include the Level Ball, which makes it easier to catch Pokémon that are lower-level then your Pokémon. The Lure Ball makes it easier to catch Pokémon hooked by a fishing rod. You can use a Moon Ball on Pokémon that evolve with a Moon Stone. The Friend Ball has a normal catch rate, but automatically sets a Pokémon’s friendship to 200 (we’ll get to that!). A Love Ball has a higher catch rate for Pokémon of the opposite gender as you (gender…? We’ll get to that too!). The Heavy Ball works better on heavier Pokémon. Pokémon that can escape from battle, like the legendary dogs, are good targets for the Fast Ball. Finally, the Park Ball doesn’t do much, as they’re only used during the Bug-Catching Contest.

In a rather hilariously amusing twist of fate, however, the Love Ball does the exact opposite of what it says in the description. While it was fixed in later releases, Generation II’s Love Ball has a coding error that makes it 8x better than a Poké Ball for catching Pokémon of the same gender as your Pokémon. Look at Game Freak, being so progressive!

Pokémon Generation II

Must… *snicker* maintain… professionalism…

In addition, the Fast Ball absolutely does not work in Generation II. Plenty of Pokémon can run from battle, including the legendary dogs. However, yet another coding glitch makes it so the 4x catch rate only applies to… Grimer, Tangela and Magnemite. What a strange combo.

Oh, don’t worry, we’re not done yet. The Moon Ball? It’s utterly, totally useless. It’s a regular Poké Ball, basically. There are four Pokémon that evolve with Moon Stones in Generation 2: Jigglypuff, Clefairy, and the two genders of Nidoran. Instead of coding those Pokémon to evolve with a Moon Stone, they coded the Moon Ball to have a 4x capture rate to any Pokémon that uses X to evolve. X would be the integer that the game uses for “Moon Stone”, but Game Freak managed to code in the wrong integer. Sadly, this means that the Moon Ball is only 4x effective on Pokémon that evolve by using… a Burn Heal?! Seriously? Man, I’m starting to see it’s a small wonder the game functions at all…

Anyway, enough talk about Balls. There’s so much more to this game! There are new attacks, a whole new region to explore, two new Pokémon types, and 100 new Pokémon in addition to the 151 originals!

Pokémon Generation II

But also balls.

The two new types in Generation II are Dark and Steel. These help shake things up, which was desperately necessary, as Ghost types in Generation I were absurdly powerful. They were the only types to have zero weaknesses, and in fact had two types that it was completely immune to (Normal and Psychic moves). In Generation II, however, Dark types are super-effective against Ghost types and in addition… Ghost types are also super-effective against Ghost types. Huh. Oh, and there’s a move that makes it so Ghost types can be hit with Normal type moves! Thank heavens for balancing!

Steel, on the other hand, is far less exciting in terms of fixing previous issues. However, when used correctly, it can be terrifyingly powerful. See, Steel types have three weaknesses: Fighting moves, Fire moves, and Ground moves. However, they have two types that do regular damage (Water and Electric moves), but beyond that, every other move type is not very effective against them. In addition, Steel types are immune to Poison attacks. As for actual Steel type attacks, Steel moves are super effective against Ice and Rock types, while they’re not very effective against Dragon, Fire, Water and other Steel types.

Beyond various moves and Pokémon, players also get two new HMs to work with. If you recall, TMs and HMs teach moves to Pokémon. TMs, or Technical Machines, are one-time-use items to teach a move for battle. HMs, or Hidden Machines, are unlimited use key items for use both in battle and for traversing the world, but be warned: once you teach these moves to a Pokémon, they’re learned forever and cannot be forgotten from your moveset.

…Is what I would say if this were my Generation I review! However, Game Freak made the excellent choice of adding a character called the Move Deleter in Generation II. This character allows you to free up space for other moves by deleting a Pokémon’s move of your choice. This thankfully includes HM moves. While very powerful, if you don’t want an HM move, you’re no longer stuck with it!

There are the five returning HM moves from Generation I: Cut, Fly, Surf, Strength and Flash. However, two more HMs are added to the list. These are Whirlpool, which lets you get by whirlpools while surfing in the water. The second HM is actually a regular battle move from the first Generation, called Waterfall. As you might expect, it allows you to climb waterfalls to get to new areas. While these aren’t used too extensively, it’s nice to have a little extra variety when traversing the overworld.

Another major addition that you’re taught about early on is the breeding system. If you’re trying to get the perfect version of a Pokémon that you like, you can mate a male and female of the same species of Pokémon together at the Pokémon Breeder to get a Pokémon Egg. This egg hatches after it stays in your party for a certain amount of time, and you’ll end up with a baby Pokémon! In some cases, depending on the Pokémon you breed, you’ll even get a franchise first: pre-evolution Pokémon. Breed two Pikachus together, and you end up with an adorable little Pichu! Mating Clefairies will get you a Cleffa, Jigglypuffs will give you an Igglybuff, and so on. If you’re really lucky, you may even get a shiny Pokémon!

Pokémon Generation II

Pictured: NOT a shiny hatched Pokémon. Dammit…

What’s a shiny Pokémon, you ask? Well, whenever you encounter or hatch a Pokémon, you have a very small chance of it being a differently-colored version of that Pokémon, along with giving it a sparkling shine every time you bring it out in battle. This has no bearing on gameplay, it’s just a way to get a unique version of a Pokémon. Each and every Pokémon you encounter has a chance of being a shiny, and I do mean every Pokémon (as we’ll discuss when we return to Johto later in the year…)

The final addition that springs to mind is the friendship system. While technically first introduced in Pokémon Yellow, all that it did in Generation I was affect how Pikachu would react when you talked to him. The one and only thing that friendship added to gameplay in that game was that you had to have high enough friendship to get a Bulbasaur from a character in the game. That’s it.

However, Generation II is where things were expanded further. Now, friendship is a mechanic for all Pokémon, not just one of them. When you capture a Pokémon, they have a base friendship level of 70. A hatched Egg Pokémon will have a starting friendship of 120, and a Friend Ball will start the Pokémon’s friendship level at 200. Some Pokémon use friendship to level up, and one in particular is a special case altogether.

Eevee, from Generation I, was always interesting as a Pokémon. It was the only Pokémon that could evolve to various forms depending on which evolution stone you gave it. If you used a Fire Stone, it’d become Flareon. A Water Stone evolved it into a Vaporeon, and a Thunder Stone would grant you a Jolteon. However, in Generation II, things are changed up. While those are all still options, Eevee also gets two other paths to evolution. It’s quite cool, because they both use two of the new mechanics to achieve this result.

The first is the friendship system. You must make sure Eevee has a high friendship value, and then level it up once. However, you’ll get one of two Pokémon depending on the time of day that you evolve Eevee! Leveling a high-friendship Eevee during daylight hours will get you a neat Psychic-type Espeon. However, do this at night and it’ll instead evolve into the Dark-type Umbreon. Both of these are very good Pokémon, so it’s up to you which you wanna use.

After all those myriad additions, you can see why people love the gameplay of Generation II so much. It was a huge, meaty expansion on the foundations of Generation I in so many ways, while fixing a bunch of the first games’ problems. Sure, there are some ridiculous flaws in the programming, but overall the experience isn’t ruined by it. Of course, there are even more additions to this game, but those are in…

Extras/Replay Value

“Did you come to get Kurt to make some BALLS? A lot of people do just that.”

Lugia. Ho-Oh. Entei. Raikou. Suicune. Celebi. In their attempt to one-up the legendary Pokémon of Generation I, Generation II added six major Pokémon into the game. We’ve discussed having to roam around finding the legendary dogs several times in this article, but it can be very annoying. They move around on your map every time you enter a new area, and if you happen to be in the same area as them, you have a chance of running into them in a random battle.

Pokémon Generation II

Get ready to see this sprint away from you for hours. (via Encyclopedia Gamia.)

This is more annoying than it sounds, but it’s worse than you think! See, the dogs have very high speed, which means they usually go first in a battle. That’d be fine, if their first instinct wasn’t to run away as fast as possible. If they escape the battle, they run off and you have to hunt them down to try again. It can take way too long, trust me.

There are ways around this, however. If you can get a Pokémon with a high enough Speed stat that you can always teach Mean Look, you can keep them from running. Mean Look is a great move for these battles that prevents a Pokémon from running away, so then you just have to be careful and make sure to capture it. Bring lots of Balls, since they won’t give up too easily.

The next two are the legendary birds of Generation II: Ho-Oh and Lugia. These are the guys on the covers of Gold Version and Silver Version, respectively. You’ll encounter them in different orders and at different levels depending on the version you choose. In order to even face either of them, you’ll need a Rainbow Wing (to face Ho-Oh) and a Silver Wing (to face Lugia).

Once you save the Goldenrod Radio Tower, the director there will give you one of these wings. In Gold Version, it’s the Rainbow Wing. In Silver Version, it’s the Silver Wing.

This allows you to face the legendary bird that pertains to that wing first. In Gold Version, you can face a level 40 Ho-Oh in the Tin Tower first. In Silver Version, it’s a level 40 Lugia in the Whirlpool Islands. Later on in the game, in a place I can’t discuss because of spoilers, you get the opposite wing, and in Crystal Version’s case you get the Silver Wing here. In Gold Version, this lets you face a level 70 Lugia. Silver Version pits you against a level 70 Ho-Oh, and Crystal Version lets you go against a level 60 Lugia.

Pokémon Generation II

If I’m gonna show off the other two boxarts, I gotta do all three I suppose. In case you forgot what Lugia looks like! (via Encyclopedia Gamia.)

Now, Crystal Version is special. To get the Rainbow Wing in that version, you must capture all three legendary dogs first. Only then will you be able to go to Tin Tower and get a Rainbow Wing. From there, you can face off against a level 60 Ho-Oh. Phew! That’s a lot of changes for one small section of the review!

Finally, the last legendary Pokémon is Celebi. Unfortunately, Celebi is an event Pokémon in Generation II and catching one in any of the three Generation II games is impossible. It is certainly possible to hack it in, but there is also a method to get one via a glitch. Thankfully, the 3DS Virtual Console release of Crystal Version remedies this issue by having the event already in-game without needing to go to an event.

Simply go to Goldenrod City after totally beating the game, enter the Pokémon Center, move around a bit, then try to leave. A nurse will come out and give you a GS Ball, which you should give to Kurt the Ball maker. After 24 real hours, come back and get the ball from him. From there, you can take it to a shrine in the Ilex Forest, where you can face off against a level 30 Celebi. How nice of them to include this!

There is so much more than just legendary Pokémon to discuss here, though. The next major addition is unfortunately also exclusive to Crystal Version. This version marks the introduction of a series staple: The Battle Tower! Unlike later games, the very first Battle Tower is available to fight in as soon as you encounter it. You use three Pokémon of your choice that are at or below the level you enter in. Levels move up by ten, but if you beat the Elite Four, you can only engage in level 50 or higher combat.

You face seven random trainers with random Pokémon, and you heal between each fight. If you beat all seven fights in a row, you get five of a random stat-boosting item. It’s not the most illustrious reward, but it’s still nice nonetheless.

Making its return from Generation I is the Game Corner. In Goldenrod City, you can play two minigames to get coins. These coins can be exchanged for Pokémon and for TMs, which is nice. This is an easy way to get multiple Eevees in order to fill out your Pokédex with its various evolutions!

Pokémon Generation II

*gritting teeth* All you gotta do is win at gambling, kids! It’s SO EASY!

Now, something that all three versions can enjoy are the Ruins of Alph. You can access part of these ruins without any HMs, but to get everything here you’ll need Surf and Strength. There are four different chambers you can access, each with a sliding puzzle to complete. Upon completing it, the floor gives out from under you and you fall into a large room. You read an inscription on the floor in a strange font, and jump into another hole to fall into the main chamber of the ruins. However, where there were no Pokémon, suddenly you’re being attacked by Pokémon called Unown that look just like those fonts you read!

Completing each of the four puzzles unlocks more of these Unown to fight against in the main chamber. All in all, you can face off against 28 of them: 26 for each letter of the alphabet, and once you catch those, you can catch ! and ? variations. Catching all of them doesn’t do anything, but it does fill out the Unown Mode you get from a researcher in the ruins after catching three variations of Unown. Doing this and using a Game Boy Printer will let you print out stamps of any Unown of your choosing. It’s weird, but it’s still pretty cool to do.

However, once again, Crystal Version gets a little added bonus. In each of the chambers behind the sliding puzzles, there is a clue printed on the wall. Completing these clues will open a secret chamber with hidden items and goodies, so keep an eye out for them!

Pokémon Generation II

Just… just don’t turn on your radio here. Trust me.

Finally, there’s the Bug-Catching Contest. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, you can enter for free and join the hunt for the best Bug-type Pokémon you can find in the area within 20 minutes. You can only have one Pokémon with you, and the contest holders keep your other Pokémon until the contest is over. You can only keep one Pokémon to be judged, but you can capture multiple to add to your Pokédex and release them if you catch a better Pokémon.

After you talk to a contest official or 20 minutes passes, the judging begins. If you don’t break top 3, you get a Berry. 3rd place gets a Gold Berry, 2nd place gets an Everstone, and 1st place gets a Sun Stone. However, whichever Pokémon you enter to be judged is yours to keep. Bonus!

That… just about covers all the extras in the game. I’m sure I even forgot some small things, but it’s getting hard to type all this stuff! Generation II is so stuffed with content it’s actually crazy. If you don’t find hours upon hours of content here, something is definitely wrong with you.

The Final Word

“Humph. Are you happy you won?”

In an old Iwata Asks interview, members of the development team mention that Generation II was originally going to be the finale for the entire series. I have no trouble at all seeing that sentiment in Generation II. The games are beautiful to see, to hear, and to play. Many of Generation I’s problems were ironed out, while a frankly ungodly amount of new content was added in.

Generation II is certainly not perfect. There are some various coding issues that cause certain things to behave very strangely. However, those are small change compared to the rest of the game. The world of Generation II is vast, intriguing and exciting. There’s a reason most people turn to Generation II as the best of the franchise. Maybe they’re onto something there. And I think Game Freak knew they were onto something as well.

Pokémon Generation II

Now what could that something be… Hmmm…

More About This Game

Connor Foss

Staff Writer

I'm a writer here at TechRaptor and can also do translation work between English and Spanish. You can usually find me playing horror games or Zelda!