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I was looking for an abra between bill/cerulean city and found a golden caterpie. I have played firered a long time and never seen one of these before, so I captured it and when I looked at its summary, sure enough, it looked golden and had a star in its picture. What does this mean? I have never seen this before.

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FR/LG are gen 3; shinies are available from gen 2 onwards (and technically gen 1)

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It means it's a shiny Pokemon. If that star you mentioned is red, then that is further proof that the mon in question is shiny

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https://pokemondb.net/sprites/caterpie

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I was not aware that shinies were possible in fire red, but ok
I think shinies were introduced in gen two
They were, although Pokemon from Rby can be shiny when traded to gen 2 due to shininess being decided by IVs in gen 2
"what is this golden Caterpie?". xD
That shiny is only a 1 in 8192 chance to arrive. Congrats, enjoy your shiny Caterpie!