The developers of Pokémon Red & Green had no idea how popular their games would be and how they would influence the RPG genre going forward. If they did, then they may have spent more time balancing the battle system in the games, as the competitive scene of Pokémon Red & Blue was a mess.
The fact that the Special stat wouldn't be split until Pokémon Gold & Silver meant that some Pokémon were far stronger in Pokémon Red & Blue than they would be in later games. The real reason why Pokémon Red & Blue were so unbalanced was due to how powerful Psychic-type Pokémon were, as they were only weak to Bug-type Pokémon. The combined Special stat meant that most Psychic-type Pokémon were powerhouses and it took several changes in Pokémon Gold & Silver (like introducing Dark-type & Steel-type Pokémon) to balance them out.
It has been over twenty years since Pokémon Red & Green and Pokémon Red & Blue were released, which has given the developers a lot of time to change the series and make it more balanced while adding new features in the process.
The original 151 Pokémon from Kanto can still be encountered in the new games, where they have to keep up with the hundreds of new Pokémon that have been introduced since the release of Pokémon Gold & Silver.
We are here today to determine which of the original Pokémon from Pokémon Red & Blue have become even more powerful in recent years and which ones should be left in the PC - from the mascot with the power of nepotism to the sleepy Pokémon that has trouble keeping up with the times.
Here are the 10 Gen 1 Pokémon That Became Even More Powerful (And 10 That Got Even Weaker)
20 More Powerful: Pikachu
It seems that the developers of Pokémon Red & Green had no idea that Pikachu could be a potential mascot for the series, as it had some of the most abysmal stats in the game and was just a stepping stone to unlocking the more powerful Raichu.
Pikachu's mascot status has meant that it has received a lot of unique benefits over the years, such as the Light Ball item that doubles its Attack and Sp. Atk stats. Pikachu also has a signature move, called Volt Tackle, that deals a lot of damage, has 100% accuracy, and has a chance of paralyzing the target. Pokémon Sun & Moon even allowed you to improve Volt Tackle into Catastropika with the aid of Pikanium Z.
19 Weaker: Articuno
The Legendary Birds of Kanto were all a force to be reckoned with in Pokémon Red & Blue, due to their high stats and amazing move pools that they could call on in battle. Articuno may have been the most powerful Legendary Bird in Pokémon Red & Blue, due to how rare Ice-type Pokémon were in that generation and how overpowering Blizzard was.
The weakening of Blizzard in the following Pokémon games and the changes made to the freeze status effect that gave affected Pokémon a chance to unfreeze every turn meant that Articuno lost the most powerful weapon in its arsenal and left it far more vulnerable than before.
18 More Powerful: Charizard
Charizard was always a popular Pokémon due to how it was the mascot of Pokémon Red and because it was so prominent in the Pokémon anime. Pokémon Diamond & Pearl screwed over any Pokémon with times four weakness to Rock-type moves, as the introduction of Stealth Rock meant that creatures like Charizard would lose half of their health as they entered the field.
The introduction of Mega Evolution in Pokémon X & Y meant that Charizard became viable again, as Charizard X switched type so that it took less damage from Stealth Rock, while Charizard Y could summon sunlight as it entered the field, giving it an incredible amount of offensive power.
17 Weaker: Tauros
Normal-type Pokémon were some of the most feared creatures in Pokémon Red & Blue, with the likes of Chansey, Snorlax, and Tauros giving the other heavy-hitters a run for their money. Tauros was a Normal-type Pokémon with a high Attack score and a few powerful STAB (same type attack bonus) moves, like Hyper Beam. The Normal-type meant that Tauros was immune to Ghost-type moves and was only weak to Fighting-type moves in the generation where they sucked.
Fighting-type Pokémon became more powerful in the later generations of Pokémon games, while Hyper Beam was nerfed in Pokémon Gold & Silver so that it still needed to recharge after KO'ing a Pokémon, which meant that Tauros became less dominant in the metagame.
16 More Powerful: Marowak
The Marowak line is one of the few that has kept a signature move to itself since Pokémon Red & Blue in the form of Bonemerang, which hits twice when used. The problem with Bonemerang in Pokémon Red & Blue was that it stopped if the first hit struck a substitute, which removed the main reason you would ever want to use the move or a Cubone/Marowak in battle.
Marowak became a lot better in Pokémon Gold & Silver, as it gained a unique item in the form of the Thick Club which doubled its already impressive Attack stat, while Bonemerang became progressively better over the course of the later games, as it could bypass the effects of Substitute, the Focus Sash item, and the Sturdy Ability.
15 Weaker: Jynx
Jynx may be one of the most controversial Pokémon of all time, but there were a lot of reasons to use one on your team in Pokémon Red & Blue, due to their amazing Ice/Psychic-typing that allowed them to break Dragonite and squash most of the other creatures in the game, thanks to its high Special and Speed stats.
Jynx's problem has always been its abysmal HP and Defense stats, which meant that it could never take more than one hit from anything. The introduction of Dark-type Pokémon in Pokémon Gold & Silver meant that Jynx also had a new natural enemy that could survive most of its attacks and take it down with a single attack.
14 More Powerful: Chansey
Chansey has always been a frightening threat in the competitive Pokémon scene, due to its insanely high number of hit points and an amazing healing move in the form of Soft-Boiled.
Pokémon Red & Blue was kind to Chansey, as the Special stat hadn't been split yet, so Chansey also had a few powerful offensive options in battle. Chansey became even more frightening in Pokémon Black & White, thanks to the introduction of the Eviolite item, which increased the Defense and Sp. Def stats of a Pokémon that can still evolve, which meant that a lot of players actually preferred to use Chansey over its evolution.
13 Weaker: Moltres
Moltres is often the least-regarded of the Legendary Birds of Kanto, which may have something to do with how you just stumbled across it in Pokémon Red & Blue and how a Fire/Flying-type Pokémon wasn't that intriguing to players who were using a Charizard on their team.
The introduction of Stealth Rock in Pokémon Diamond & Pearl knocked Moltres down a few pegs, as it lost half of its health upon entering the field. The fact that Stealth Rock was everywhere after its introduction meant that you had to take special precautions when using Moltres on your team, which involved using Pokémon that could clear Stealth Rock from the field, and this was a lot to ask for when it came to a Legendary Pokémon that was outclassed by other creatures of its kind.
12 More Powerful: Vaporeon
Water-type and partial Water-type Pokémon were some of the most dominant creatures in the Pokémon Red & Blue competitive scene, with Pokémon like Cloyster, Lapras, and Starmie being a common sight on teams. Vaporeon wasn't as well-regarded as other Water-type Pokémon in Pokémon Red & Blue, due to its poor Speed stat, which left it wide open to being OHKO by Electric-type and Grass-type enemies.
Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire would be very kind to Vaporeon, as it was one of the best users of the newly introduced Wish move that healed Pokémon that were in Vaporeon's position at the end of the next turn, which transformed Vaporeon into one of the most useful support Pokémon in the game.
11 Weaker: Golem
One of the oldest rivalries in the Pokémon series involves Golem and Rhydon, as they are both powerful Pokémon that are similar in a lot of ways, so players have to decide which one they want on their team. Golem has high HP, Attack, and Defense stats, while also gaining a STAB bonus for powerful moves like Earthquake and Rock Slide, which made it a tempting choice for players.
The rivalry between Golem and Rhydon ended in Pokémon Diamond & Pearl when the Rhydon line gained a new evolution in the form of Rhyperior, which had stats that outclassed Golem's stats. The introduction of Rhyperior ended the war between the two Pokémon lines once and for all.
10 More Powerful: Mewtwo
Mewtwo was the ultimate Pokémon in Pokémon Red & Blue and it could wipe the floor with the Elite Four and the Champion without breaking a sweat. The introduction of new Legendary Pokémon in the later Pokémon games meant that Mewtwo had new rivals in terms of power, but the introduction of Arceus in Pokémon Diamond & Pearl meant that Mewtwo was definitively ousted as the strongest Pokémon of all time.
Pokémon X & Y gave Mewtwo two Mega Evolutions, both of which granted it such incredible stat boosts that it was now stronger than Arceus, who is meant to be the creator god of the Pokémon universe.
9 Weaker: Lapras
Lapras is one of the few Pokémon that is given to you for free in Pokémon Red & Blue, which ensures that you will always have access to a creature that can use Surf and can allow you to cross bodies of water. The Lapras given to you in Pokémon Red & Blue was only level fifteen, but it was worth leveling up, due to its amazing move pool, stats, and typing, which gave it an amazing range of options in battle.
Lapras was another victim of the Stealth Rock purge of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl, as its Water/Ice-typing meant that it lost a quarter of its health when entering the field, which was a huge blow to a Pokémon that was all about tanking hits.
8 More Powerful: Kangaskhan
A lot of Pokémon Red & Blue players never bothered with Kangaskhan, due to its unimpressive stats compared to other Normal-type Pokémon and the fact that it was such a pain to catch, as you only had a fifteen percent chance of encountering one in the Safari Zone and it had a tendency to run away during the first turn.
The introduction of Mega Evolution in Pokémon X & Y turned Kangaskhan into one of the most powerful creatures in the game, as Mega Kangaskhan's Parental Bond Ability allowed it to attack twice in one turn, with the second attack being less powerful. The real reason why Parental Bond is so powerful is due to status effect moves (like Body Slam) having a second chance of inflicting their effect on the enemy.
7 Weaker: Parasect
Parasect is known more for the disturbing fungus that inspired its creation than for its prowess in battle, as it has terrible stats and one of the worst typing in the game. There was one reason to use a Parasect in Pokémon Red & Blue and that was due to its unique access to Spore, which is guaranteed to put the enemy to sleep.
Parasect was knocked down a few pegs in Pokémon Gold & Silver when Smeargle was introduced, as Smeargle could use Sketch to learn Spore. The only thing keeping Parasect viable was the fact that Smeargle's stats were even worse. Parasect lost the only thing that was keeping it viable in Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire, as other Pokémon received access to Spore over time, to the point where several Pokémon can now use it in Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon.
6 More Powerful: Clefable
Clefairy was close to becoming the mascot of the Pokémon franchise, but Pikachu usurped its place and left it as one of the most forgettable Pokémon in the series. Clefable didn't fare much better, as it couldn't keep up with the other powerful Normal-type Pokémon in Pokémon Red & Blue and it only became more mediocre over time.
The introduction of the Fairy-type in Pokémon X & Y changed everything for Clefable, as it was now a dual-type Pokémon with access to powerful moves like Moonblast and could break most of the Dragon-type Pokémon in the game. The fact that Clefable had access to Magic Guard (which protects it from many different sources of damage) meant that this formerly ignored Pokémon was suddenly something to be feared.
5 Weaker: Scyther
Scyther is best-known as being one of the Pokémon used by Tracey during the Orange Islands filler season... which is hardly an impressive claim to fame. The version of Scyther that appears in the Pokémon video games has decent Attack and Speed stats, but it's let down by the fact that its a Bug/Flying-type Pokémon, which gives it weaknesses to some of the most common types in the competitive scene and gives it a crippling times four weakness to Stealth Rock.
Pokémon Gold & Silver gave Scyther an evolution in the form of Scizor, which outclasses it in every way, to the point where there is no reason to choose Scyther over Scizor.
4 More Powerful: Ditto
Ditto is a gimmick Pokémon that can only use a single move - Transform. Transform allows Ditto to change into the enemy Pokémon, which copies every aspect of the Pokémon except for its HP score. The fact that Ditto had to waste a turn using Transform meant that it was easy to dispose of.
Pokémon Black & White gave Ditto access to the Imposter Ability, which allowed it to use Transform for free when it switched-in. A Ditto equipped with a Choice Scarf could outpace its opponent and allowed it to take down a lot of Pokémon that were weak to their own type, such as Dragon-type Pokémon.
3 Weaker: Poliwrath
Poliwrath is a Water/Fighting-type Pokémon, which was a huge liability in Pokémon Red & Blue, due to how overpowering Psychic-type Pokémon were during the first generation of games and how they crushed Fighting-types in battle. Pokémon Gold & Silver gave Poliwhirl a second option for evolution in the form of Politoed, which was a Water-type Pokémon that had fewer weaknesses than Poliwrath.
Politoed became even more powerful in Pokémon Black & White when it gained access to Drizzle, which allowed it to summon rain upon entering the field, making it one of the best weather-users in the game.
2 More Powerful: Gengar
The Gastly line were the only Ghost-type Pokémon in Pokémon Red & Blue, which meant that most players had to rely on Gengar if they wanted a Ghost-type on their team. Gengar has always been a strong Pokémon, but the introduction of Mega Evolution in Pokémon X & Y took it to new levels of power, to the point where the community called for it to be banned.
Mega Gengar was one of the few Pokémon with the Shadow Tag Ability, which prevented non-Ghost-type/Shadow Tag Pokémon from being able to switch out of battle. The sheer trapping potential of Mega Gengar, combined with its impressive stats and move pool meant that it became one of the most feared Mega Evolutions in the game.
1 Weaker: Snorlax
Snorlax was one of the most powerful Pokémon in Pokémon Red & Blue, thanks to its incredibly high HP and Attack stats and capacity to heal itself instantly with Rest, which had the tendency to undo several rounds of offensive moves on the part of the Pokémon you were battling against.
Time has not been kind to Snorlax, due to Fighting-type Pokémon becoming stronger in each new generation of games, with some of them having the capacity to take Snorlax down in a single hit. The fact that most Snorlax players rely on the same kind of move pool (usually involving Curse) means that it's also really easy to predict what Snorlax is going to do next and use an appropriate counter.
Are there any other Gen 1 Pokémon that became weaker or stronger in later generations? Let us know in the comments!