Nuzlocke-Style Challenge for Red / Green

Hi guys,

I’ve played through Red a few times and was trying to think up some rules similar to Nuzlocke, but perhaps rules that allow us more flexibility in using our favorite Pokemon. The rules I decided were as follows:

  1. All 6 Pokemon slots are permanent positions.
  2. Death is permanent and no slots can be refilled once a Pokemon dies.

In an attempt to find appreciation for new Pokemon, I’d like to hear what you guys would use on this playthrough. I’ll probably be using something like:

  1. Venusaur - My favorite starter Pokemon, comes with leech seed to heal the party, sweeps through the first few gyms.
  2. Slowpoke / Slowbro - Water, psychic, ghost, fighting, etc. Slowpoke does a lot of things well for only sacrificing speed.
  3. Pidgeot - Easy-to-get flying type.
  4. Dragonite - Dragons are cool and Dragon Rage is nice for stubborn Pokemon that don’t like to die.
  5. Pikachu / Electabuzz / Jolteon - Something yellow and electric.
  6. Cubone? Kangaskhan?

I’d like to experiment with new Pokemon that I might have overlooked before. For example, it wasn’t until trying a Nuzlocke that I fell in love with Slowpoke and the garden variety of attacks the Pokemon brings to the party. Which six Pokemon would you put in your party, and why?


Unless you’re modding the game, raising a Dragonite will be an absolute chore. With 6 permanent slots you can’t change when did you plan on being able to catch some of these pokemon? Starting with bulbasaur and catching a pidgey and pikachu by Viridian forest is easy enough. But then you’re only going to have 3 pokemon until you come across the others you want.

Personally, when I want to play a nuzlocke and get pokemon I don’t normally appreciate, I play a randomized version of the game. This does require modding but there are tools where you basically load the rom and click “randomize.”

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While your team looks good on paper, there are some issues with it.

As @shadowrex already pointed out, getting a Dragonite is difficult. First of all, you can’t even catch a Dratini until the Safari Zone, which is rather late in the game. Second, it’s a royal pain in the butt to catch (very low catch rate with Safari Balls). Third, it doesn’t evolve into a Dragonite until the 50s, and it has a VERY slow experience curve. It will take forever.

Something similar applies to Slowpoke. It’s a great Pokemon, but like Dratini, you can’t catch one until you get the Super Rod in Fuchsia City, and when you do catch it, it will be at level 15 and doesn’t evolve into a Slowbro until level 37. Slowbro is arguably the best Water-type in the game, but you’ll be stuck with a Slowpoke for quite a while, and in a playthrough where fainting is considered a death, it probably isn’t the best choice.

As for Kangaskhan, good luck catching one. It’s tough to find in the Safari Zone, and it has a RIDICULOUSLY low catch rate. It’s basically the same as trying to catch a Tauros.

If you want to go with Venusaur as your starter, I would personally go with something like this:

Venusaur - just keep in mind it really tails off in the second half of the game
Fearow - much stronger attacker than Pidgeot; Pidgeot doesn’t really get any good STAB Flying moves
Vaporeon - very easy to acquire; just get the Eevee in Celadon and buy a Water Stone in the Department Store
Raichu - can get a Pikachu early, and Raichu is probably the best Electric type in the game aside from Zapdos
Hypno - assuming you can’t get an Alakazam
Ground type - Marowak is fine, but Nidoking is more versatile and more easily attainable; can also use Dugtrio for a fast sweeper; would recommend Golem or Rhydon, but Golem requires the link cable (like Alakazam), and Rhydon is late game


I forgot about ground type. I think Im gonna use your recommendation with Nidoking. Any idea how Raichu stacks up to Electabuzz?

I would go with Raichu. It’s better offensively, and you can pick up a Pikachu really early in the game in Viridian Forest. You would have to wait until you get the Surf HM in the Safari Zone until you can access the Power Plant to find an Electabuzz. You’re just much better off going with Raichu.

I am going to do this on my next run. As a side note, some romhacks rank among my favorite video game experiences, like FFV Ancient Cave or Shining Force II Hardtype. Any recommendations for a good Pokemon one?

Here’s an idea: don’t limit yourself to Pokemon–instead, limit your item usage: do an “Iron Man” run where you cannot buy anything from PokeMarts and you can only use each Pokemon Center ONCE.

So your Pokemon choices are unlimited, but you can only use whatever Poke Balls that you are given or find on the ground. And you will have to very meticulous using what little items you are able to find along the way. Fainted Pokemon aren’t dead–they can be revived with Revives or at a Pokemon Center that you haven’t used yet.

I’ve never liked the idea of a Pokemon fainting = dead. That’s not how Pokemon actually works–a Pokemon is allowed to lose, after all! But I do like the idea of being a adventurer on a journey with limited funds and making do with what you’ve got. I think this challenge idea best provides the feeling of a true Pokemon journey!

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But to be fair, trainers are allowed to buy things from PokeMarts and use Pokemon Centers as much as they want, too.

Nuzlockes are just a way of making what is an incredibly easy game a bit more difficult.

All of Drayno’s rom hacks are excellent. He often times increases the difficulty to make them more challenging.

True. Also, in my scenario losing a battle would mean game over, which adds to the difficulty but isn’t true for a real trainer.

I like to mimic the journey of the anime. Just a kid going town to town, stocking up on supplies with what little money you have (after all, you’re just a kid with no job–and in the anime you don’t get money for winning) and carrying what can reasonably fit in a backpack.

Always wished they would include a Hard mode in the games that could better reflect this type of play.