Best Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal ROM Hacks (Gen 2 Fan Games)

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The release of Pokémon’s second generation was one of the most anticipated events of the early 2000s.

It established Pokémon as a running series instead of a single game, and showed fans the impact a couple of years in development could have.

Most younger kids can’t relate to those times but hardcore fans love those memories. And modern creators can take these games apart, then put them back together in really exciting ways. This lets us re-live the nostalgia of traversing the Kanto and Johto regions as if it were the first time.

If you want to go on a new Pokémon adventure through these classic regions, or experience something entirely new from the GBC era, these ten amazing ROM hacks are worth a look.

10. Pokémon Crystal Kaizo

Pokémon Crystal Kaizo ROM Hack screenshot

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Following the Kaizo tradition of being abusively hard comes Pokémon Crystal Kaizo, an enhanced version of the original Crystal that provides a much more challenging experience.

Challenging doesn’t even really do it justice.

Not only is the AI smarter and more aggressive, but opponents all over Kanto and Johto have better Pokémon with devastating movesets.

Both the Elite Four and the Champion are a challenge, even with a fully leveled team.

However the game also gives you the means to improvise, adapt, and overcome by making all 251 Pokémon available one way or another. And giving you a wider variety at the start of the game which makes it easier to build a crazy team before even fighting Falkner.

 

9. Pokémon Liquid Crystal

Pokémon Liquid Crystal gameplay screenshot

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This hack FireRed hack will let you re-live your Pokémon Crystal adventure with Gen III graphics, which are by far the most charming before the series went 3D.

It includes Johto, Kanto, and a big chunk of the Orange Islands – and, of course, all 251 Pokémon.

One of the best things this hack brings to the table is the updated soundtrack. It features some fantastic versions of the original compositions from Pokémon Crystal with enhanced GBA sound quality.

Think of Pokémon Gold/Silver, but on a GBA. Here you go.

 

8. Pokémon Kalos Crystal

Pokémon Kalos Crystal Hack screenshot

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Before discussing Pokémon Kalos Crystal, it’s necessary to mention Pokémon Unova Red: a hack that replaces the entire Pokédex in the first-gen games for that of the Unova region.

Since the first generation now has the Unova Pokédex, the logical next step is for gen II games to have the Kalos Pokédex.

Which is what this ROM hack accomplishes.

While the narrative, graphics, and map of the original Pokémon Crystal are left untouched, all Pokémon are replaced by their closer Kalos counterparts.

It even includes mythical Pokémon like Victini and Volcanion!

The battle system is also updated to match gen VI including movesets, the addition of Fairy-type, and the Physical/Special split not initially present back when Gold/Silver released.

This one is a fun play for younger fans who like the newer monsters, but may want to play through the old-school graphics & OSTs.

 

7. Pokémon Orange

Pokémon Orange Version GBC - ROM hack screenshot

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What if instead of starting your adventure in New Bark Town, you were a kid from the Orange Islands?

That’s the premise behind Pokémon Orange. Possibly the most colorful Pokémon ROM hack out there.

You begin your Pokémon journey in Valencia Island when Alolan Pokémon Researcher Samson Oak asks you to bring him the mysterious GS Ball.

The rest is history.

Your adventure will span the entire Orange Archipelago, where you’ll get to meet Alolan variants of gen II Pokémon, battle Team Rocket from the anime, and a lot more!

 

6. Pokémon Crystal Clear

Pokémon Crystal Clear hack screenshot

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One of the most ambitious projects built using Pokémon Crystal as a base is Crystal Clear, which endeavors to turn the game into an open-world epic that gives the player as much freedom as possible.

You can choose your gender at the start of the game, pick one of many character sprites (including some with a lot more melanin than what Game Freak offers), and adopt one of 24 different starter Pokémon.

It’s a wild ride with a lot of options for custom journeys.

Your end goal is still to beat the Elite Four and become the Champion. But you’re free to visit gyms in any order you like, re-battle Gym Leaders, and catch all 251 Pokémon. Sounds fun right?

Note: if the above link doesn’t work try checking this page for copies. If that pages goes down try a quick Google search, it’s out there!

 

5. Pokémon Coral

Pokémon Coral ROM Hack screenshot

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The quality of a product is frequently determined by how much attention to detail there is, and Pokémon Coral is shaping up to be one of the very best ROM hacks in Pokémon history.

If it’s ever finished, that is.

Developer CoralDev has been working on this game for a while, creating gorgeous locales ranging from spooky forests to flowery, cherry blossom-filled ones.

It takes place within the entirely new Onwa Region, where you can find assorted Pokémon from all generations.

Easily one of the hack’s best features is how the overhauled HM system eliminates the need for HM slaves.

This is good for your virtual critters and for you, since your team can actually be designed around battling rather than overcoming rocks and waterfalls.

 

4. Pokémon Prism

Pokémon Prism - GBA screenshot of ROM Hack

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Another ambitious hack that builds an entirely new game using gen II as a basis is Pokémon Prism, which puts you in control of Champion Lance’s son/daughter.

Some may argue this should be in the #1 spot, and I wouldn’t disagree, but this list was tough! There are just so many great titles out there.

During the opening sequence of the game, Prism gets transported to the mysterious region of Naljo.

Here they’ll have to learn about new Pokémon types like Wood, Gas, Wind, and Sound, while they uncover the mysteries of Naljo’s sudden industrial revolution.

It’s a sequel to the gen I ROM hack Pokémon Brown, so if you’re up for a totally unique adventure that remakes Red & Blue check that one out too!

 

3. Pokémon Perfect Crystal

Pokémon Perfect Crystal screenshot, wild Blissey in battle

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Sometimes, simple is better.

So here’s a ROM hack that simply makes Pokémon Crystal all that it could have been.

Not only will you be able to catch and evolve every Pokémon from gen II, but even event-locked ones like Celebi.

You’ll also be able to buy everything you’d typically get from Mystery Gifts in stores around Kanto and Johto.

Gym Leaders can also be re-battled at full power after beating them once, and a bunch of sprites that had been changed for Western release due to censorship are restored to their original state.

This is the definitive version of Pokémon Crystal. Once you play through this one you’ll never go back to vanilla.

 

2. Pokémon Polished Crystal

Pokémon Polished Crystal screenshot preview

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Pokémon Crystal is a fantastic game. But it can definitely be improved without completely altering its essence.

Pokémon Polished Crystal aims to change only some minor details, such as adding Fairy-types and newer type advantages.

It also includes all of the Eeveelutions so far (a big score!)

One of my favorite features is the addition of a Nuzlocke mode, where Pokémon can’t be revived after fainting, and you can only catch the first critter you meet in each location.

So you can make this playthrough leisurely or insanely tough, or anything in-between.

 

1. Pokémon Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma

Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma Romhack screenshot

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There are few things that fans love more than having access to all the Pokémon they want.

Ultra Shiny Gold Sigma is the best at fulfilling that need for gen II games.

This ROM hack features over 807 Pokémon from all regions, including Alolan forms.

It’s possible to catch them all in-game, and every Pokémon can evolve naturally without the need to trade them around. Sounds fun right?

It even supports Mega Evolution, which is insane for a game running on a GBA engine. It’s a must-play for any Pokémon ROM hack enthusiast.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.