A long, long, time ago, there were games called Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver. That was 1999 (yes, the 90s – but for Japan; it was released early 2000s for Australia, the US and Europe). These games let players explore the vast Johto region, with 100 new Pokémon to find and capture. Fast forward to September 22nd, 2017, and Nintendo has decided to drop a nostalgia bomb by re-releasing those two games on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. This was met with happiness and joy from all!
However, given the games are like 18 years old, I figured half of the playerbase has probably forgotten what Johto is like and what fun characters you could find there. This walkthrough will bring you through said region while listing the new Pokémon you can meet and my thoughts on them. Let’s get started!
Part I: birds.
In this part, we beat up some birds, then we beat up some more birds, then we beat up a few rodents, then we beat up MORE birds!
Picking a starter is arguably the toughest decision a Pokemon trainer needs to make on their adventure. As usual there are three choices:
The Grass-Type Chikorita – As I discovered many, many, MANY times on my adventures exploring the region with only Grass-type Pokémon (albeit in Gen 4), Johto is not nice to Grass types. Not a single gym’s primary typing is weak to Grass, and SIX out of eight have some form of type advantage over it (Morty technically doesn’t, but given every one of his Pokémon is half-Poison, I’m counting him). Most notably, the first two gyms are both very nasty to Grass, being Flying and Bug-typed. Plus, the Champion has exclusively Flying-types too. That said, Meganium does have access to both Light Screen and Reflect, so it could be a good choice for a supportive character.
The Fire-Type Cyndaquil – As a stark contrast, Johto is actually relatively nice to Fire types. Cyndaquil is your easiest way to burn through the second gym, and the Mahogany Town and Olivine City Gyms also face a weakness to Fire. Fire-types are also relatively scarce here, as the only other option is Growlithe or Vulpix depending on your version, and with the Fire Stone being so late in the game this doesn’t really work. Unquestionably the “Best” starter in this generation from a gameplay perspective.
The Water-Type Totodile – This is your friendly reminder that this game isn’t Gen 4. This means that all Water-type attacks are considered Special, which in turn means they will be fired off from Feralgatr’s significantly lower Special Attack stat. And no, it doesn’t get Sheer Force here either. Sorry about that. As far as gameplay is concerned, one gym resists Water, one is resisted by Water, and one has Magnemite.
So to summarize: Cyndaquil is the best starter, Totodile is the best meme, and Chikorita is a Grass-type in Johto. Pick whoever you want though – enough training will make them all strong enough anyhow..
Recommended Level: 5
Do the tutorial stuff. Run down Route 29, then go up Route 30, then turn tail and head for home. There is a rival battle here too. Just spam Tackle (or Scratch, I guess).
The first Route you can capture Pokémon on has pretty much the usual cast of characters. Pidgey serves as the obligatory bird during the Morning and Day, while Sentret is the obligatory rodent. At night, Hoothoot replaces both of the above. Rattata is here too, but he has a lower encounter rate.
As far as what you should capture, a bird is always a good start. Comparing the two, Hoothoot will be stronger in the early game due to reaching its final form much faster than Pidgey, and will be useful through the game with Hypnosis and Reflect support. Pidgey is more powerful, however. I’m a huge sucker for Furret, but I won’t deny that it is pretty bad outside of being a great HM slave with access to Cut, Strength (after evolving), and for some reason Surf.
Anyway, you could go back to Cherrygrove again directly or take a detour to Route 46. I’m going over the latter case, so let’s go north.
Route 46 & Cherrygrove City
Recommended Level: 2-6
Yet another stereotypical early game route, with one exception. Spearow serves as the obligatory bird here, and Rattata is much more common here. Jigglypuff is the rare encounter.
The major difference is a character called Geodude. You may not want to use it because it’s a Kanto Pokémon in Johto, but if you want a Rock-type before the first gym, your options are that or Onix.
Okay, we’re done here. Go back to Route 29 and then move west into Cherrygrove City. Then realize there is nothing to accomplish here, so heal up, stock up on items, and head north.
Recommended Level: 3-6
Again, you’re looking at more of the same. Pidgey, Rattata, and Hoothoot are still here. The new challengers are all Bug-types, and they change depending on your version. Gold players get Caterpie morning and day and Spinarak at night, while Silver players get Weedle in the morning and day and Ledyba exclusively in the mornings.
The early-game Bug-types are powerful early due to quick evolution, but fall off hard later. Not helping their case is that the next part of the game in literally infested with birds.
Route 31 & Dark Cave
Recommended Level: 5-7
Go north from Route 30 to get to Route 31. At this point, you can either go into the Dark Cave or go West to Violet City.
Should you go into the Dark Cave, so called because it is very dark, you now have access to Zubat and Dunsparce in addition to more Geodude. Zubat is just generally a slightly below average Pokémon for basically the entire game, but once it evolves into Crobat good things happen. Dunsparce is a 1% encounter with little to no value on your team other than being a Rollout bot for the birds and bugs ahead. Anyway, try not to get too lost and make your way back onto Route 31.
Bellsprout. That’s it for new stuff here. Underwhelming, I know. however, if you didn’t get yourself a Geodude, I recommend capturing a Bellsprout. Trust me here.
Violet City, Route 32, & Sprout Tower
Recommended Level: 6-9
Remember how I told you to catch a Bellsprout? You should, because you probably can still see that line on your screen. Well now we’re trading it off. An in-game trade offers you an Onix for your Bellsprout. just be careful not to let its level get above 10 before this gym, else it will start disobeying orders. This is the last new Rock-type you see for a good while, and the Rock type resists all of the first 3 gyms. Oh, there’s also an egg that you get here after beating the gym that will hatch into Togepi. Not like it matters though, Togekiss isn’t in this game.
If you really don’t want a Geodude or Onix, your last hope for having something helpful for the first gym is a Mareep. These are found on Route 32, to the southwest of Violet. Honestly though, catch a Mareep anyway, especially if you picked Cyndaquil. Ampharos is really cool, plus you need something to beat Water-types eventually anyway and as I said before Johto hates Grass-Types. Oh, Hoppip is new here as well, but it’s a Grass type with access to no attacking move at the levels you find it in the wild here, so I’d be hard pressed to care if I wasn’t a heavy Grass-type user. Wooper is also here at certain times of day, and is honestly the second best character here after Mareep.
Anyway, your next hurdle is Sprout Tower. As the name implies, most of the trainers here use near exclusively Bellsprout (plus a couple Hoothoot). If you caught a bird or started with Cyndaquil, this is an excellent chance to level up. The wilds here are exclusively rats during the morning and day. However at night, the Gastly come out. I always love using Ghost types, so feel free to pick one up if you’d like. You won’t regret it.
A word of warning though: the Raid Boss (aka the Elder, aka Sage Li) has a trio of Lv7 Bellsprout and a Lv10 Hoothoot. He is harder than the Gym Leader. You do need to beat him to get the Flash TM though, so it’s worth your trouble. Having a 3-4 member team averaging out at level 7 or 8 should be able to beat him with some good strategy though. If not, go destroy some more rats. It’s not like Rattata is an endangered species or anything.
Recommended Level: 6-10
Okay, it’s Gym time! As you’ve probably figured out, Falkner uses Flying-types. Specifically, this means Pidgey and an underlevelled Pidgeotto. The gym itself isn’t that hard unless you’ve just been using Chikorita. Throw rocks at it or zap it with a sheep. If neither of these options are available, just Ember Falkner to death with Cyndaquil or Water Gun/Rage with Totodile. If you started Chikorita and don’t have a Geodude, Onix, OR Mareep, that’s not my problem.
Gym Badge get! Now turn the page and go to part 2.