The old text for status conditions was a bit odd, in that they didn't have a range of text to cover the different outcomes.
In recent Pokemon games, if a move like Toxic misses, it'll say, "but [Pokemon] avoided the attack!". Additionally, when moves like Sludge Bomb didn't poison the opponent, the battle text won't say anything, it'll only give a message when the opposing Pokemon has been poisoned, i.e. "[Pokemon] was poisoned!". In older games, these battle text options didn't exist, so when a status condition didn't affect the opposing Pokemon, it'll say, "but it failed", rather than saying the move missed/ the Pokemon avoided the move or, in the case of Sludge Bomb, not saying anything at all.
Something to bear in mind with Gen II and Gen I games especially is that they were pretty glitchy, so more often than not when text appears that doesn't make sense, it's down to how glitchy the games were.
NB: I can't find any sources to back this up; this is all based on my experience in playing Crystal.