Pokémon Yellow Vs. Fire red: Which version should you get?

What prompted me to buy Pokémon Yellow was that Pikachu was going to be the starter. How could I miss out on the experience of journeying with such an adorable electric Pokémon🥰? On the other hand, Pokémon Red was among the first games I ever played, so I got FireRed because I was excited to see the updates that were made to the game.

It’s been years since I last played both games, but I recently came across a debate on Reddit about which of the two games was better. It prompted me to dust off the games and play them so I could relive the experience from my childhood.

If you are reading this article, then you are probably wondering which version is better or worth getting🤔. Is there a point in getting FireRed if you played Pokémon Yellow? Would there be any differences in the game? In this article, I will be answering these questions and more, through my detailed comparison of the two games. Keep reading to find out what my final verdict will be.

Pokémon Yellow vs. FireRed – How They Compare.

But before we get to the details, below is a quick summary of the differences between the two games that we will discuss later in the article:


Pokémon Yellow

Pokémon FireRed

Pokémon Starters

  • Pikachu
  • Charmander
  • Bulbasaur
  • Squirtle

Available Pokémon

  • Bellsprout/Weepinbell/Victreebell
  • Sandshrew/Sandslash
  • Vulpix/Ninetales
  • Pinsir
  • Ekans/Arbok
  • Elekid/Electabuzz
  • Koffing/Weezing
  • Mew
  • Raichu

Game Enhancements

  • Only Gen 1 game that is compatible with Game Boy Color
  • The Starter can follow the player around
  • New characters added
  • Improved graphics, sprites, and animations.
  • More vibrant colors
  • Life-improvement enhancements to the game.
  • Added post-game content (Sevii Islands)

Game Play Experience

  • Designed to mimic the Pokémon anime series.

What are the differences between Pokémon Yellow and FireRed?

Pokémon Yellow, was the first enhanced version of Red and Blue, while Pokémon FireRed was a remake specifically based on Pokémon Red. Being that both games were based on the 1st Generation Pokémon, you would expect several similarities. However, the differences could sway your opinion on which one was better.

The following are the differences I felt were worth noting:

Pokémon Starters

Pokémon Yellow

Via Know Your Meme. Image source: Nintendo

Just a thought, have you ever wondered who would win in a fight between Charizard (an evolved Charmander) and Pikachu? (Pikachu obviously, right? Just kidding 😂) But I digress, although, speaking of the two, Charmander and Pikachu are both available as starters depending on the version you pick.

As I mentioned before, Pikachu being a starter was among the main reasons I got Pokémon Yellow. Unlike Red and Blue, Pikachu was the only starter available in Yellow. What was even better is, just like in the anime, your Pikachu gets to follow you around instead of staying in the Poke ball. How cool is that! 😃

FireRed on the other hand, being a remake of the original Pokémon Red, follows the same core mechanics. Like in Red, you get three choices, Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur. The only difference is in FireRed, the choice of a starter, in turn, determines the Legendary you encounter later in the game. The three starters were also great choices to have, but considering how indecisive I can be, I hated having to make a choice. But if you like having options then have at it🤷

It’s worth noting, however, that all four Pokémon will still be encountered in both games. The only difference is that you’ll encounter Pikachu and two out of the other three choices, later in FireRed, depending on the starter you pick. In Yellow, you will encounter Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur later in the game as well.

Overall, in terms of the best starter, I would say Pokémon Yellow had a better choice mostly because Pikachu accompanies you throughout the game. However, I think Charmander is also a great choice, followed closely by Squirtle and then Bulbasaur.

Exclusive Pokémon

Pokémon Yellow Vs. Fire red
Pokémon Yellow Special Pikachu Edition. Image source: Pokemon

Like every other game released before them and those that came after, there are some Pokémon available in Yellow that you can’t find in FireRed and vice versa. In Yellow, since it was an enhanced version of Red and Blue, many of us expected that the game would combine the Pokémon available in Red and Blue and have a bigger Pokedex.

Surprisingly, I found some of the Pokémon in the original versions missing in Yellow ☹️. For example, Raichu, the evolved version of Pikachu was missing. I could neither evolve my Pikachu (not that I really wanted to, Pikachu is just too cute! 😍) nor capture a Raichu in the game. Additionally, Ekans and Koffing were also not available for capture in the game. There were however, Pokémon that were initially exclusive to either Red or Blue, that I was able to capture in Yellow, like Growlithe and Vulpix.

On the other hand, FireRed has all the Pokémon available in the original Pokémon Red. That means that there are some Pokémon in FireRed that you can’t capture in Yellow. A few examples are Electabuzz and the ones I already mentioned above like Ekans. FireRed also has a new addition Mew, who isn’t available in either Pokémon Red or Yellow.

Both games have a great selection of exclusive Pokémon, so it’s a tie in this category. You can choose a version depending on which one has most of the Pokémon you want, and the type of team you want to build.

Game Enhancements

Both Pokémon Yellow and FireRed were created as improved versions of Pokémon Red (and Blue, in Yellow’s case). So, as expected, each version had its set of enhancements that made it better than its predecessor. The question is, however, which one had the best enhancements? 🤔

Starting with Pokémon Yellow, while it shared some similarities to Red and Blue, there were some significant differences, beginning from the type of starters you could get. Additionally, I also noted that in Yellow, there were some slight changes to the story. For example, Meowth, Jessie, and James (along with their respective Pokémon), played significant roles in the game’s storyline. In Red and Blue, the trio from Team Rocket seemed to be missing. The gym leaders in Yellow, while similar to Red and Blue, have higher levels.

Another enhancement was color and of course better graphics. Although Pokémon Yellow was originally made for the original Game Boy, it was compatible with Game Boy Color. That meant that, unlike Red and Blue, this game wasn’t monochromatic. It was disappointing, however, that the game still wasn’t as vibrant as you’d expect 🙄. The opening sequence was the only part of the game that seemed to have taken full advantage of Game Boy Color’s full palette.

FireRed on the other hand, does not disappoint on that front 😃. Although the game is a remake of the 1st generation, it comes with features and improvements seen in the third-generation games Ruby and Sapphire. FireRed takes full advantage of Game Boy Advanced capabilities to provide much better graphics and visual appeal. I enjoyed playing the game with the vibrant colors and animated sprites.

In terms of content, the game also introduced Sevii Islands as part of the post-game content, where I was able to capture more Pokémon from different regions. But the best enhancement in my opinion was the VS Seeker, a feature that allowed me to have rematches of battles I’d already fought ☺️.

So, without a doubt, FireRed has better game enhancements. Although it is fair to note that it is a part of the third generation of Pokémon games, whereas, Yellow was still part of the first generation.

Game Play Experience

Pokémon Yellow 
Playing Pokémon FireRed. Image source: Pokemon

This last difference is mostly subjective since your experience of the game will largely depend on you as an individual. But I still felt like it was a big distinction worth noting that may help you decide which game was worth it.

Playing Pokémon Yellow, felt like I was in the anime series. The plot of the game follows the storyline of the first season of the Pokémon anime series. From the starter being Pikachu to encountering Jessie, James, and Meowth from Team Rocket every once in a while. I enjoyed this experience since the anime series was actually what initiated my love for Pokemon video games ☺️.

On the other hand, playing FireRed, brought about the nostalgia of my childhood 🥰. It was like playing Pokémon Red only better, because of the improved graphics and animations, plus the extra post-game content.

Overall, I would say, go with Yellow, if you were a fan of the anime series as a child and would like to experience it as a video game. Otherwise, go with FireRed if you would prefer to recall the childhood memories of playing Pokémon Red.

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

Pokémon Yellow Vs. Fire red

Via Meme Creator

I’m just kidding 😂. Pokémon Yellow does kind of have remakes, in the form of Pokémon Let’s Go: Pikachu! and Evee! Also, despite my biased love for Pikachu 😏, objectively speaking FireRed is the better-enhanced version of the First Generation. It has better graphics, more vibrant colors, more content, and many more improvements that are lacking in Pokémon Yellow.

But even so, Pokémon Yellow offers a different experience in itself, given how it was designed to resemble the anime series. Therefore, which game is better, ultimately depends on whether you prefer an enhanced gameplay experience with better graphics or if you were a fan of the anime and are curious to experience that in the game form 😑.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon FireRed or Yellow?

Depending on who you ask, each game has a fair share of fans. According to Bulbapedia, however, GameRankings gave Pokémon Yellow 85% while Fire Red received 81.92%, meaning Pokémon Yellow had a better reception among fans compared to FireRed.

Who came first between Yellow and FireRed Pokémon?

Pokémon Yellow came first. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen were first released in Japan in early 2004 and to the rest of the world in late 2004. On the other hand, Pokémon Yellow had already been released in Japan in late 1998 and to the rest of the world in late 1999 (and mid-2000 in Europe).

Which one is easier to play Pokémon FireRed or Yellow?

The difficulty of either game will have to depend on your skill as a player. Some find Yellow to be easier than FireRed while others think it’s the opposite. It is however worth noting that FireRed has more content to get through so it will take you longer to complete the game.

Which one should you play first between Pokémon FireRed and Yellow?

Seeing as Pokémon Yellow came first, you could play it first then play Pokémon FireRed. But since one isn’t a sequel or prequel of the other, it doesn’t matter which one you play first.

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