Pokémon Red, Green & Blue vs. Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver: Full Comparison

Pokémon Red, Green & Blue vs. Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver: Full Comparison

We’ve gone through nine generations of Pokémon over the years. During that time, tons of new mechanics, features, and Pokémon have been added to the franchise. It’s now time to take a look back at some of the older games and see how the originals stack up against the remakes.

Pokémon Red, Green, & Blue were the very first Pokémon games that kickstarted the franchise. These games sedimented themselves as iconic classics. The history of gaming would be incomplete without Red, Green, & Blue. Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver were remakes of Pokémon’s generation II games, Pokémon Gold & Silver. The remakes were incredibly successful and became some of the most beloved entries in the franchise.

It can be difficult to compare such popular yet vastly different games, but we are doing exactly that. We’re giving you a complete breakdown of Pokémon Red, Green & Blue, and Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver so you know which one to pick when you start your Pokémon journey.

The Differences between Pokémon Green and Red/Blue

It is important to note that there are some significant differences between Pokémon Green and Red/Blue. These differences are much larger than the version-exclusive Pokémon found in other paired Pokémon games.

  • The cartridge for Pokémon Green was surprisingly gray, while the cartridges for Red and Blue matched their names.
  • The PC boxes in Pokémon Green held more Pokémon. A total of 30 Pokémon could be held inside. Concerns about accidentally inducing seizures in players caused some of the animations for certain moves to be dialed back for Red/Blue.
  • Many of the Pokémon were recolored and redesigned for Red/Blue.
  • Most of the dialogue in Pokémon Green is different due to poor translations that lost much of the nuance and contextual importance of the language.

The Games

Pokémon Red Version

©IGDB – Original / License

Pokémon Red, Green & Blue is were it all began. These original games built the Pokémon formula that we all know and love. The story of a young trainer who ventures into the wild world of Pokémon started all the way back in 1996. Pokémon Green was only released in Japan and has some variations from the versions released in America.

Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver were some of the first Pokémon games on the Nintendo DS. The Generation II remakes were first released in 2009. Because HeartGold & SoulSilver launched so much later than Red, Green & Blue, and on a much more powerful console, so the remakes have a bit of an advantage.

CategoryPokémon Red, Green, and BluePokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver
Release Year19962009
Total Units Sold31.38 Million Units Sold12.72 Million Units Sold
ConsoleNintendo GameboyNintendo DS
Metacritic ScoreN/A87% (Generally Favorable)


Pokemon Kanto

Pokémon Red, Green & Blue call the Kanto region home. This region is easily the most popular and well-known in the franchise. This location has a real-world counterpart in Japan, also called the Kanto region. Another interesting fact about the Kanto region is that most of its cities and towns are named after colors.

Surprisingly, Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver take place in Johto, a region that is connected to Kanto. Johto lies just to the east of Kanto. The two regions form a large joint landmass. Just like Kanto, Johto is based on a real-life location in Japan called the Kansai region. Generation I and II are connected at the hip in more ways than one.


An in-game screenshot from Pokémon HeartGold.

As we’ve said before, Pokémon Red, Green & Blue made Pokémon what it is today. Almost every feature of the game exists in the later games. The concept of training Pokémon, battling the eight Gym Leaders, and taking on the Elite Four to become the Pokémon Champion. Pokémon Red, Green & Blue were also the first games to have version-exclusive Pokémon.

These Pokémon can only be caught in Pokémon Red:

  • Ekans
  • Arbok
  • Oddish
  • Gloom
  • Vileplume
  • Mankey
  • Primeape
  • Growlithe
  • Arcanine
  • Scyther
  • Electabuzz

These Pokémon can only be caught in Pokémon Green/Blue:

  • Sandshrew
  • Sandslash
  • Vulpix
  • Ninetales
  • Meowth
  • Persian
  • Bellsprout
  • Weepinbell
  • Victreebel
  • Magmar
  • Pinsir

As a remake, Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver improves upon the original Generation II games. HeartGold & SoulSilver give players the definitive experience of the Johto region.

  • New Pokémon mechanics were added, allowing Pokémon the ability to follow the player and respond to certain situations.
  • New areas were added to the region that are only accessible in these games.
  • Small changes were added to specific locations to make them fit their themes a little better.
  • These games launched with the PokeWalker, a Tamagotchi-style device allowing players to train their Pokémon as the player walked in real life.
  • The Kimono Girls were rewritten to have a larger role in the game’s story.

Gym Battles

An in-game screenshot from Pokémon Red.

©Screenshot from Pokemon Red.

Gym Battles work the same in both Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver and Pokémon Red, Green & Blue. Players will challenge Gym Leaders in major cities that specialize in a specific type of Pokémon. Once all the Gym Leaders are defeated, and eight badges are collected, players can face off against the Elite Four to see if they’re worthy of being the Pokémon Champion.

When it comes to Gym Battles, HeartGold & SoulSilver actually has a lot more content than Red, Green & Blue. After conquering the Johto region, players can actually travel to the Kanto region to battle their gym leaders. This gives you a total of 16 Gym Leaders to test your skills against. In this regard, Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver is the clear winner.

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