Pokémon Gold & Silver

After the massive success of Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow came new games Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver. They were released for Game Boy Color but were backwards-compatible with the original Game Boy. 100 new Pokémon were available along with several new features like breeding and Pokémon happiness.

Pokémon Gold & Silver box art

Vitals

Platform Game Boy Color
New Pokémon 100
New moves 86

Release dates

Japan November 21, 1999
America October 15, 2000
Europe April 6, 2001
Australia October 13, 2000

Gameplay

Gold & Silver take place in the region of Johto, which it turns out is to the west of Kanto. Starting in New Bark Town, you receive a new Pokémon - Chikorita, Cyndaquil or Totodile - and begin your journey. There are 8 gyms to conquer in Johto (whose types are all different from those in Kanto) followed by the Elite Four.

On your journey you encounter a reformed Team Rocket, who are cutting off the tails of Slowpoke. Later you can encounter a shiny Gyarados at the Lake of Rage.

After the game is complete, it's possible to roam around Kanto and tackle the 8 original gyms. Finally, located between Johto and Kanto is Mt. Silver, containing some rare Pokémon and Pokémon Trainer Red who has some incredibly high level Pokémon.

Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile
The Johto starters: Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile

New types

Two new types are introduced: Dark & Steel. In generation 1 the Psychic type had ended up being very overpowered - its only weakness was the Bug type but there were no powerful Bug type moves, nor many good Bug type Pokémon.

The Steel type resists Psychic type moves (as well as many other types), while the Dark type is completely immune to Psychic, and super-effective against it. There was also a new powerful Bug move, Megahorn, and several good Dark moves like Crunch and Faint Attack. A few other type matchups were changed - see the type chart page for details.

The Pokémon Magnemite and Magneton were reclassified as Electric/Steel type, while four moves changed types: Karate Chop (Normal → Fighting); Gust (Normal → Flying); Sand-attack (Normal → Ground); and Bite (Normal → Dark).

Stats

The Special stat of Pokémon was split into two separate stats - Special Attack and Special Defense. Each Pokémon took either their SpAtk or SpDef from the original Special stat, with the other stat being given a new value.

Breeding

Gold/Silver also introduced the concepts of genders, breeding and egg groups. Most Pokémon encountered can now be male or female. Some Pokémon are male-only or female-only, while some (particularly legendary Pokémon) are genderless.

Breeding Pokémon creates a new baby Pokémon at level 5. Two Pokémon can breed if they are opposite genders and in the same egg group. Genderless Pokémon can only breed with Ditto. Legendary Pokémon cannot breed at all. See the Breeding guide for more.

Time system

A new time system was added which added variations depending on when the game was played. Certain Pokémon like Hoothoot only appeared at night time. Eevee gained two new evolutions depending on the time of day.

Other features like the bug-catching contest or PokéGear radio vary by day of the week.

Friendship

Pokémon Yellow added a rudimentary friendship (aka happiness) feature for Pikachu. In Gold/Silver this was extended to all Pokémon. Most Pokémon start at a basic level of happiness, which increases the more the Pokémon in with you and succeeds in battle.

Very little during the game is affected by friendship, apart from some Pokémon evolutions (see below).

Evolution methods

The first generation had three evolution methods - by level (most common), by elemental stone or by trading. The Pokémon in Gold/Silver have some new methods:

  • Friendship - level up after a certain level of happiness is reached.
  • Trade with item - trade a Pokémon that is holding a certain item.
  • Time of day - level up during the day or at night. In these games it also requires happiness.

Shiny Pokémon

As they are the first Pokémon games on Game Boy Color, Gold/Silver takes advantage of the new capabilities by introducing shiny Pokémon. Occurring incredibly rarely in the wild (a 1 in 8192 chance), a shiny Pokémon will have different colors to the regular Pokémon - sometimes slightly different, sometimes massively different.

Other features & changes

  • The bag is split into compartments.
  • Items may now be held. Hold items may have beneficial effects in battle such as stat boosting or HP recovery.
  • Apricorns can be found on trees in the wild and taken to Kurt in Azelea Town who will make them into PokéBalls: Level Ball (Red Apricorn), Lure Ball (Blu Apricorn), Moon Ball (Ylw Apricorn), Friend Ball (Grn Apricorn), Love Ball (Pnk Apricorn), Heavy Ball (Blk Apricorn), Fast Ball (Wht Apricorn).
  • The game now indicates in battle how much EXP the Pokémon needs to level up.
  • The gym in Fuscia City is no longer led by Koga; instead his daughter Janine is the gym leader.