Every Pokémon Yellow Monster That Looks Different From Red & Blue

Pokémon Yellow may be part of the same generation as Pokémon Red and Blue, but the pocket monsters they contain are not the same between these games. Generation 1 featured the original 150 Pokémon in their iconic Game Boy Color sprites. But even at this early stage in the series, Game Freak was making changes to the designs of Pokémon between the installments.

Pokémon Yellow served as an upgraded version of Pokémon Red and Blue in the same way that Pokémon Emerald did in Gen 3 and Pokémon Platinum did in Gen 4. However, Pokémon Yellow changed and added things in a way that no other main series upgrade has replicated: It made the Gen 1 games follow the anime. Instead choosing their own starter, players begin their adventures with Pikachu, who refuses to enter its ball and instead walks beside Red in the overworld. Additionally, players get to collect the other Gen 1 starters throughout the story of Pokémon Yellow in a similar way that Ash did in Pokémon: Indigo League.


Related: Pokémon Yellow's Biggest Pokédex Changes From Red & Blue

To make Pokémon Yellow more like the anime, Game Freak also changed the pocket monster sprites from Pokémon Red and Blue. In fact, every single Pokémon had its front-facing sprite replaced with the Ken Sugimora artwork that would come to define the Pokémon series' art style (although the back-facing sprites remained the same). However, six particular Pokémon received special attention from Game Freak during the development of the anime-driven Pokémon Yellow.

Pokémon Overworld Sprites In Pokémon Yellow

Just lik in the anime, Yellow's Pikachu rejects Poké Balls.

Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Clefairy, Oddish, and Sandshrew all received new overworld sprites in Pokémon Yellow. This allowed them to be clearly seen outside of battle in specific locations in the Kanto Region, something that the lower quality graphics in Pokémon Red and Blue made difficult to do. While Pikachu and Bulbasaur's remodeling make sense because of Pokémon Yellow's mirroring of the anime, the other four are a bit of a mystery. Both Jigglypuff and Clefairy were in the running to become the Pokémon series' mascot when the pocket monsters were just getting traction, so their special treatment in the game has some reason behind it. Indeed, fans of the series later found code for a Pokémon Pink, which is believed to be an abandoned companion game to Pokémon Yellow that would have featured one of the two pocket monsters as its mascot and likely starter.

Pokémon Yellow also altered its story and other design elements to mirror the anime rather than just changing the sprites of Pokémon, though. Brock and Misty dress like they do in the anime, and Gym Leader Blaine's iconic glasses and mustache can be seen in his overworld sprite. Even aspects of the overworld's design for buildings changed to look more immersive. This goes to show that for as long as the Pokémon series has been out, Game Freak has made it a point to pay attention to the details and bring the most out of its games.