Pokémon LeafGreen vs. FireRed: Which Version should you get?

Although Pokémon Red and Blue were the first Generation of the Pokémon game series to be released Globally, Pokémon Red was the second Pokémon game I ever played in my early days. Because I choose Red over Blue, I never got to experience the differences in both versions. Granted I was still new to the franchise and wasn’t familiar with other Pokémon Players.

So, when Game Freak decided to release remakes of the iconic Generation, I was sure I was getting both Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. The main reason was that I wanted to compare the experience of playing both. Since they were remakes of the original, I figured the comparison would not be so different from comparing Pokémon Red and Blue. Additionally, I obviously could not give up playing FireRed to try LeafGreen because I was excited to see how FireRed was an upgrade from one of my childhood favorites.

Therefore, having played both versions of the remakes, I thought of writing this article, to share my experience and contribute to the discussion of which version is better between the two. So, if you were having a hard time deciding which one is worth getting, keep reading to get the answers you need.

Pokémon LeafGreen vs. FireRed – How They Compare.

To start with, here is a quick summary of the comparisons we will be discussing in detail later in the article:




Adaptation and Color Scheme

  • An adaptation of Pokémon Red
  • Predominantly red and orange color palettes.
  • An adaptation of Pokémon Blue
  • Predominantly green and blue color palettes.

Version Exclusive Pokémon

  • Oddish/Gloom/Vileplume/Bellossom
  • Ekans/Arbok
  • Elekid/Electabuzz
  • Growlithe/Arcanine
  • Psyduck/Golduck
  • Scyther/Scizor
  • Shellder/Cloyster
  • Wooper/Quagsire
  • Delibird
  • Murkrow
  • Qwilfish
  • Skarmory
  • Slowpoke/Slowbro/Slowking
  • Bellsprout/Weepinbell/Victreebel
  • Azurill/Marill/Azumarill
  • Magby/Magmar
  • Sandshrew/Sandslash
  • Staryu/Starmie
  • Vulpix/Ninetales
  • Remoraid/Octillery
  • Mantine
  • Misdreavus
  • Pinsir
  • Sneasel

What are the differences between Pokémon LeafGreen and FireRed?

Pokémon LeafGreen
Pokémon LeafGreen and FireRed. Image source: Pokemon

Just before we delve into what sets them apart, it is worth noting that the core of the game in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen is similar. That means that visuals, graphics, and mechanics are the same, and the plot may only vary slightly. So, there won’t be a large variation in the experience of playing either game.

With that said, Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green have more similarities than differences, nonetheless, the differences do exist. The following are the key differences I feel are worth noting:

Adaptation and Color Theme

I understand that many may think that the adaptation and color scheme of the games does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. But for those of us who consider the aesthetics of a game in determining our overall gaming experience, the color theme is a significant difference. Additionally, depending on the original version you played, the adaptation could also be a key consideration.

Starting with the adaptation, as you know FireRed and LeafGreen are remakes. But there seems to be some mixed information about which game is adapted to what, let me explain why. Depending on who you ask, some players will say, that the remakes are based on Pokémon Red and Green (understandably given the remake is called LeafGreen). Others will say that it is adapted from Pokémon Red and Blue.

I will agree with the latter because while Red and Green were the very first versions of Gen 1 to be released in Japan, Red, and Blue were the enhanced versions that were released to the world as the first Pokémon Games in the series. Therefore, by logic, it would make sense that the remakes were adaptations of the enhanced Red and Blue. With that in mind, FireRed was an adaptation of the Red version and LeafGreen was an adaptation of the Blue version.

In terms of color, the two versions stay true to their names. In FireRed, the color palette predominantly comprises shades of orange and red. This gives the game’s atmosphere a warmer and fiery ambiance. As for LeafGreen, the predominant color palette are shades of green and blue, giving this version a cooler atmosphere more reminiscent of nature. The Pokémon Sprites in each version also differ based on their respective color palette.

But overall, it would be a tie in terms of the adaption and color scheme. You can choose a version based on which color scheme you prefer or which adaptation of the original you prefer based on which one you played before. For example, I played Pokémon Red, so if I had to choose, I would be more inclined to FireRed.

Version Exclusive Pokémon

Pokémon  FireRed
Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. Image source: Pinterest

This is the major (and some would say, only) difference between these two games. As has been the tradition of Pokémon games since the first generation, each version of a certain generation comes with its own exclusive Pokémon. This can slightly change certain aspects of the game, but not significantly to the point of changing the overall experience of playing any version.

Still, it is an important difference since you want to go with the version that has most of the Pokémon you want to catch. This will depend largely on your preference in terms of the team you want to build and playstyle. Also, even though you can always trade with other players later, trading is much easier if you have most of the Pokémon you want.

But what if you are new to Pokémon and have not yet familiarized yourself with the different Pokémon enough to have a preference? I would suggest looking at the stats of the exclusive Pokémon and going with the version that has the Pokémon with the best Stats. I found that most LeafGreen Exclusive Pokémon had better stats compared to FireRed, but this is depended on which Pokémon you pit against the other. For example, Sandslash LeafGreen had better overall stats compared to Arbok in FireRed.

Overall, I thought LeafGreen had a better selection of Pokémon, most of which had better stats. But it really depends on your preference and playstyle and which version has most of the Pokémon you are interested in.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Pokémon LeafGreen or FireRed

Brilliant Diamond
Pokémon LeafGreen or FireRed. Image source: Pinterest

All things considered, FireRed and LeafGreen are both amazing games. Also, given that they have more similarities than differences, it is hard to objectively say one is better than the other. Ultimately it boils down to which color theme you prefer, and which version has most of the exclusive Pokémon you are interested in. But keep in mind you can always trade later anyway.

You can also choose based on the original version you played before. If you originally played Red and liked it you can go for FireRed, or LeafGreen if you want to try a different aesthetic. The same goes for if you originally played Blue.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon Leaf Green or Fire Red?

Both games seem to be equally popular since the major difference between them is the version of exclusive Pokémon. Therefore, you can choose one over the other depending on which version has more of the Pokémon you want to capture.

Is Pokémon Leaf Green more successful than Pokémon Fire Red?

Based on sales, it would seem FireRed was more successful than LeafGreen. According to Bulbapedia, by March 2013, both versions had sold a total of 12 million copies worldwide. But in Japan, by January 2011, FireRed had sold 1.6 million units whereas LeafGreen had only sold 1.2 million units. Therefore, it’s safe to say, that at least in Japan, FireRed had a more successful response compared to LeafGreen.

How many hours does it take to finish Pokémon LeafGreen and FireRed?

For both games, you would need about 29 hours to complete the main objectives of the game. But if you want to explore every aspect of the game, it would take you approximately 148 hours for 100% completion.

Which game is longer between Pokémon LeafGreen and FireRed?

Neither game is longer than the other. The main plot and core mechanics of both versions are the same so it will take an equal amount of time to finish both. But that can vary depending on your pace and how frequently you play the game.

Can you replace Pokémon LeafGreen with FireRed?

Considering how the versions mostly have similarities you can play one over the other without missing out on much, aside from the exclusive Pokémon. You can, however, trade Pokémon or switch the entire game with another willing player who has the opposite version.

Is Pokémon LeafGreen and FireRed the same story?

Yes, they follow the same story and are set in the same Kanto region. The only variation is the type of Pokémon you can catch since some are exclusive to either version.

Which one has a better game Pokémon LeafGreen or FireRed?

The core mechanics of both games are the same, so they have the same visuals and graphics as well as gameplay experience aside from the version exclusive Pokémon. So, it will come down to your preference in deciding which game is better.

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