Pokémon Gold / Silver introduced a number of interesting new gameplay aspects into the Pokémon franchise, such as Day / Night time cycles and unique pokeballs. The remakes for Nintendo DS, Pokémon Heart Gold and Pokémon Soul Silver, will revitalize the old games with new graphics and slightly altered gameplay.
Step one – choose one of three powerful starter pokemon.
Chikorita – Bayleef – Meganium
- Grass Type
- Evolves into Bayleef at Lv 16, and again into Meganium at Lv 32
- Focuses on high defenses and learns powerful leaf attacks like Razor Leaf and Solar Beam, and other useful moves like Synthesis and Poison Powder
The grass starter Pokémon in Gold / Silver, Chikorita is easily the least loved of the three starters in this generation. Chikorita simply feels too much like last generation’s Bulbasaur, but lacks in-game effectiveness in large part to the inability to naturally learn Leech Seed, one of the most powerful moves in the game.
Perhaps an even greater detriment to Chikorita is the physical appearance of the Pokémon. After all, Pikachu was by no means the best electric Pokémon in Red / Blue, but it’s infectious cuteness developed into a die-hard fanbase. The same cannot be said of Chikorita.
While Cyndaquil and Totodile both have unique, interesting character designs suitable for a starter pokemon, Chikorita lacks a little something. The final evolution does little but disappoint – looking like a brontosaurus with a few leaves duct-taped on its neck.
One of the few things Chikorita has going for it is its type. Strong grass pokemon can be difficult to come by.
In Pokémon Emerald, Chikorita’s ability is Overgrow and can learn new moves like Aromatherapy, adding more to it’s Tank / Support characteristics.
Hopefully, with the new remakes, Chikorita will receive a much-needed artistic makeover.
Cyndaquil – Quilava – Typhlosion
- Fire Type
- Evolves into Quilava at Lv 14, and again into Typhlosion at Lv 36
- Focuses on high speed and high attack, with notable moves including Quick Attack and Flamethrower
Cyndaquil looks like a hedgehog with flaming spikes on its backside. It’s the fire type starter Pokémon from Gold / Silver, and offers the specialized effectiveness a fire type usually offers, which is to say a counter to Grass types.
With high speed, high attack, and a unique character design, Cyndaquil is a fan-favorite. It’s only real downside is that it’s a fire type. Fire is effective against Grass, Bug, Ice, and Steel, while weak against Ground, Rock, and Water. The strengths rarely offset the weaknesses, as Water and Ground attacks are quite common, and Grass and Bug are countered just as well with a strong Flying type. The steal counter is welcome, but steel Pokémon are rather rare.
In addition, fire types, particularly good fire types, can be difficult to find, so Cyndaquil offers itself quite conveniently as one of the best available. It also offers style to boot, as its final evolution Typhlosion looks quite vicious indeed.
In Pokémon Emerald, Cyndaquil’s ability is Blaze and it learns more powerful fire attacks like Eruption, making Cyndaquil an even more powerful attack-based Pokémon.
Totodile – Croconaw – Feraligatr
- Water Type
- Evolves into Croconaw at Lv 18, and again into Feraligatr at Lv 30.
- Strong attack and defenses, learns strong attacks like Hydro Pump
At first, Totodile resembles a tiny T-Rex, but as it evolves it looks like a vicious, bipedal crocodile or alligator. Totodile is the water starter pokemon in Gold / Silver, and is easily the safest bet for Pokémon beginners. However, more advanced players may choose the more exotic Grass or Fire type to start, as good Pokemon in those types are more difficult to come by.
The water type is one of the most common Pokémon types in the game, so Totodile must compete against quite a few strong contenders out there. He stands tall, however, as one of the stronger Water types in the game, and will be a reliable member of any team all the way up to the Elite Four.
In Pokémon Emerald, Totodile’s ability is Torrent, and learns some powerful new moves like Ice Fang and Crunch, adding significantly to his adaptability in combat.
Starter Pokémon in Gold and Silver – Conclusion
While Cyndaquil-starters may find the beginning of the game more difficult, having a strong fire-type is great for the middle and towards the end (especially against the Elite Four), and it’s speed and attack make for a good offensive type. Chikorita is a reliable tank fairly effective throughout much of the game, though isn’t quite as useful against the Elite Four. And Totodile is easily the most reliable throughout the whole game, with strong attack and defense being capable of both dealing damage and taking it.
In the end, there is no absolute best or worst when it comes to starter pokemon. The first Pokémon is always a powerful member of the team from the game’s beginning all the way to the end. However, if a single best between the three must be chosen, it should probably be Totodile for its usefulness throughout the entire game.