What makes a sequel truly great? In my opinion its when the sequel to a game takes everything that was great about the original and cranks it up to 11 while still improving on what was there. There have been many sequels to games that have done this and many that have not. However I feel that the second generation of Pokemon games did this the best. The debate on whether or not GSC (Gold, Silver, and Crystal versions) deserves to be one of the best sequels ever remains to be had, however, there is no doubt in my mind that GSC is the best Pokemon sequel, and the best Pokemon game, ever made.
So the big question, what did GSC do that RBY (Red, Blue, and Yellow versions) didn’t? A lot. Of course one of the biggest selling points of any Pokemon game is that there are about 100 or so new pokemon in the new versions. This is no exception to GSC but this game also introduced a new way of catching Pokemon. The Day/Night cycle. Say you really wanted to catch the owl Pokemon Hoothoot (like me) but only play during the day time and can’t find it to save your life. That’s because there is a internal clock that you set with the start of a new game and certain Pokemon come out at night ONLY. Essentially you’re playing your game in real time. There was also only being able to fight trainers once and only once. GSC added a cell phone mechanic so you could give your phone number to other trainers and they would call out every once in a while for a rematch. That rematch their Pokemon would be a bit stronger and it’s nice being able to keep fighting trainers. Also thanks to the link cable you could trade Pokemon from GSC to RBY, the only catch is that it has to be one of the original 150 Pokemon AND that it doesn’t have any of the new moves that were introduced in GSC. This was great so I could get my prized Charizard from my Red version to join my team in Silver. It also made catching all 250 Pokemon a little easier.
Of course the biggest (and best) part of these games is what happens after you beat the Elite 4. In other games that’s it, there may be a few endgame things to do, but usually that’s it. For GSC the whole previous region from RBY is unlocked and open for you to explore. That includes all 8 original gyms, new side quests for you to complete, and even the true final battle of the game. A showdown with the character you played as in RBY. Pokemon Trainer Red. The best part was that the Kanto region felt like actual time had passed. Koga’s granddaughter is the leader of the Fuchsia City Gym while he is in the Elite 4. Blue took over the Viridian City Gym once Giovanni was ousted as the leader of Team Rocket. All the Kanto gym leader’s Pokemon are SUPER strong and make you ready for the fight with Red later in the game. Even Professor Oak makes an appearance right when the game begins. The world feels lived in, the events from the last game actually have merit. This is how a true sequel should be. Of course this is all just my personal opinion. Silver may not be my first Pokemon game but it definitely was the game where I really learned how to play Pokemon and not just steamroll everyone with my starter, but when you look at other Pokemon sequels they don’t really measure up to GSC. Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald versions were neat, but they took out the day/night cycle. Sure they added the 2 on 2 Pokemon fights, but since it was on a new system (the Game Boy Advance), players couldn’t get older Pokemon until FireRed and LeafGreen would come out a few years later. You could forget exploring the previous region which would add a good 20 more hours of play time. Yes GSC isn’t totally perfect, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s definitely the best Pokemon sequel, maybe even the best Pokemon game, ever made.