Pokémon Fire Red Vs. Emerald: Which is the better option?

I remember when FireRed and LeafGreen came out, Emerald’s release wasn’t so far off. But I was already dead set on getting both FireRed and LeafGreen. Unfortunately, that meant that I wasn’t able to get Emerald when it was finally released😢. Because of that, I always wondered whether I missed out by not getting the Pokémon Emerald.

I read a lot of forums that praised the third GEN III enhanced version and how it was much better than Ruby and Sapphire. I was, therefore, curious to know, whether it would have been a better game worth getting than FireRed, which was the remake of one of my favorite classics, Pokémon Red 😍. I knew for me to determine this, I had to play the game to make a proper comparison.

Luckily, I was recently able to finally acquire a copy of the Emerald game 🥳. So, in this article, I will finally be sharing my insights on which game I thought was better based on my experience. If you’ve been going back and forth between the two games, then this article might help you decide. Keep reading to find out my final verdict.

Pokémon Fire Red vs. Emerald – How They Compare.

But, first, here is a table summarizing the comparison between the two games that we will be discussing in detail:





  • More exciting storyline
  • Features three legendries in the main story
  • You have to defeat two villains, Team Aqua and Team Magma
  • The same storyline as Pokémon Red
  • Features one Legendary depending on the starter you pick.
  • You only have to defeat Team Rocket

The Elite Four and Gym Leaders

Gym Leaders:

  • Brock
  • Misty
  • Lt. Surge
  • Erika
  • Koga
  • Sabrina
  • Blaine
  • Giovanni

The Elite Four:

  • Loreki
  • Bruno
  • Agatha
  • Lance

The Champion: Blue

Gym Leaders:

  • Roxanne
  • Brawly
  • Wattson
  • Flannery
  • Norman
  • Winona
  • Tate and Liza
  • Juan

The Elite Four:

  • Sidney
  • Phoebe
  • Glacia
  • Drake

The Champion: Wallace


Bigger Pokedex (202 Pokémon) for example:

  • Lotad/Lombre/Ludicolo
  • Mawile
  • Mew
  • Sableye
  • Seviper

Smaller Pokedex (151 Pokémon) for example:

  • Elekid/Electabuzz
  • Growlithe/Arcanine
  • Scyther/Scizor
  • Delibird
  • Murkrow

Legendary Pokémon

  • Rayquaza
  • Kyogre
  • Groudon
  • Suicune
  • Raikou
  • Entei

What are the differences between Pokémon Fire Red and Emerald?

Pokémon Fire Red Vs. Emerald- Which is the better option?
Pokémon FireRed Version. Image source: Pokemon

Both FireRed and Emerald are considered to be 🔥great games that set the trend for later generations to be released. Depending on who you ask, each game has its perks. FireRed is an improved remake of the classic Pokémon Red, whereas Emerald is an enhanced version that combines the best parts of Ruby and Sapphire.

Being that they are versions based on completely different Generations, it’s no surprise that the games would differ in many ways. The following are some of the differences I felt were worth noting:


One thing about me is I’m a sucker for a good storyline. It helps me better immerse myself in the game and improves my overall experience. While I know some players may not agree, I know many others will. Therefore, a good storyline is worth considering when you’re choosing the best game.

Both FireRed and Emerald follow the core plot many generations have followed before them. The protagonist seeks to be a champion and must collect Pokémon fight against the Gym leaders and the Elite Four as well as defeat the villain team. So, nothing new there 😒.

But what I loved about Emerald is it brought a bit of spice to its storyline with the twists it added. I especially loved that, unlike other generations, Emerald’s plot featured 3 legendary Pokémon in the main story and two villain teams. As the protagonist, I had to stop Kyogre and Groudon from fighting after they were awoken by Team Aqua and Team Magma respectively. For that, I had to seek Rayquaza’s help. The plot was simply mind-blowing for me 🤯.

via Gfycat

Granted Emerald was a combination of two versions, Ruby and Sapphire, it was still a better plot than FireRed. Being a remake of Pokémon Red, you can only encounter one legendary in the game depending on the starter you pick at the beginning of FireRed and you only have one villain team to defeat, Team Rocket.

So, while I appreciate the replay value of FireRed based on its storyline, I’m convinced Pokémon Emerald has a better storyline. It is more exciting, dynamic, and a fresh change to what we are used to in the other mainline games.

The Elite Four and Gym Leaders

Pokémon Fire Red Vs. Emerald
Pokémon Emerald Version. Image source: Pokemon

Given that these two games are based on different generations and set in different regions, this difference shouldn’t come as a surprise. The question is, which game presents a more challenging set of Gym leaders and the Elit Four?

In FireRed some of the gym leaders you will have to face will be, Brock, Misty, and Blaine. While the Elite Four include Loreki and Agatha, as well as Blue as the Champion. In Emerald, some of the gym leaders you’ll face include Roxanne, Juan, and Flannery. Whereas the Elite Four include Sidney and Glacia, as well as Wallace as the Champion.

Which set of gym leaders, Elite Four, and Champions are the most difficult to beat, will depend on you as an individual player, the kind of team you have, and your level of skill. Personally, I thought Emerald presented more of a challenge when it came to the gym leaders 😅. For example, it was much harder to beat Roxanne in Emerald than it was to beat Brock in FireRed. Similarly, Juan presented more of a challenge as a Water-type gym leader in Emerald than Misty in FireRed. Giovanni, the eighth gym leader in FireRed was, however, also difficult to beat.

Additionally, most of the Elite Four in Emerald were more challenging, compared to FireRed. But, FireRed’s Champion, Blue’s mixed-type team, was harder to beat, especially in FireRed compared to Emerald’s Champion Wallace’s water-type team who also presented a fair challenge. The difficulty of winning against Blue, was like when Pikachu tried lifting weights 😂.

Via Tenor

Overall, I would say that despite the difference, the gym leaders, Elite Four, and Champions in both games offer a fair challenge. But in my opinion, I would say, Emerald presented a consistent challenge from the very beginning of the game.


As you may know depending on the version you pick, there is a specific type of Pokémon you can encounter. It is no different from Emerald and FireRed. Each game presents a great selection of Pokémon. Therefore, choosing between them will depend on the type of Pokémon you prefer, Kanto or Hoenn.

On one hand, FireRed’s Pokedex mostly offers the Kanto Pokémon that were originally available in Pokémon Red. I also encountered a handful of Johto Pokémon on Sevii Island. Additionally, there were a few Hoenn Pokémon like Deoxys.

Emerald’s Pokedex on the other hand, had Hoenn Pokémon and a Johto starter. I could, however, access Kanto Pokémon through trade after I reached the Hall of Fame and unlocked the National Pokedex. It’s also worth noting that because Emerald combined the Pokémon in Ruby and Sapphire it has a much bigger Pokedex. In Emerald, you can capture slightly over 200 Pokémon, whereas in FireRed the Pokedex is limited to 151, some of which you’ll need to trade with other players to complete the Pokedex.

So, while FireRed offers more variety in its Pokedex without trading, I will have to give the win to Emerald, which has a larger Pokedex. That means more Pokémon to catch if that’s the highlight of the game for you.

Legendary Pokémon

Pokémon Fire Red 
Legendary Pokemon. Image source: Pokemon

As I mentioned earlier, Emerald is among the first Pokémon games that included three legendries in the main story. While Rayquaza could be captured at level 70, Groudon and Kyogre were available for capture after defeating the Elite 4.

FireRed also has 3 main legendary that may affect the main story depending on which starter you pick. If you pick Squirtle as your starter you will encounter Raikou. Suicune is the legendary you’ll encounter if you pick Charmander as your starter and Entei if you pick Bulbasaur as your starter.

Other than the three main legendaries in Emerald, I also thought the post-game had a great selection of Legendary Pokémon that could be captured including my favorite, Ho-oh. FireRed also had other notable choices like Moltres and Mewtwo.

Overall, though, I would say Emerald had a better selection of Legendary Pokémon compared to FireRed. Of course, this may be more of a subjective opinion, so you can pick the version that offers more of your favorite Legendries.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Pokémon Fire Red or Emerald

All things considered; I would have to pick Pokémon Emerald as the winner here 💯. Not only does it have a better storyline but it also has a bigger Pokedex. Not to mention the legendary Pokémon available, in my opinion, are much better than what FireRed offers.

But that is not to say FireRed is not a great game in itself. If you enjoyed playing Pokémon Red then you’ll love FireRed. It has better graphics, improved features, and added content like Sevii Islands, but still maintains the nostalgic experience of playing the original.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon Emerald or Fire Red?

It depends on who you ask, but based on the sales, it stands to reason that Pokémon Emerald was better received and hence more popular than FireRed. According to Bulbapedia, in Japan, as of January 2011, Pokémon Emerald had sold approximately 1.9 million copies whereas, FireRed had sold approximately 1.6 million copies.

Who came first between Fire Red and Emerald Pokémon?

FireRed came before Emerald. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen were first released in Japan on January 2004. It was later released in North America and Australia on September 2004 and released in Europe in October 2004. On the other hand, Pokémon Emerald was first released in Japan on September 2004. It was later released in North America on May 2005 and in Australia on June 2005. In Europe, Emerald was released on October 2005.

Which one should you play first between Pokémon Emerald and fire red?

The order in which you play them doesn’t matter since the two games are improved versions of two different generations. However, you can play them according to the order in which they were released.

Which is easier to play between Pokémon Emerald and fire red?

The level of difficulty in either game will depend on your level of skill as a player. Both games present an equal challenge, however, Pokémon Emerald has more content and therefore would take longer to complete.

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