Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition is the fourth installment in the Pokémon series. It was developed by Game Freak for the Nintendo Game Boy, and is essentially an updated version of the Pokémon Red/Blue titles, with changes made in order for the game to more closely follow the events of the Pokémon anime series.
Perhaps the most significant change from the previous versions is the fact that players are no longer given the choice of the three Starter Pokémon (Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander), but are instead given a Pikachu by Professor Oak at the start of the game (as also occurs in the anime series). Pikachu follows the character around the world instead of being stored in a Poké Ball, and its personality and attitude towards the player can be affected how you play the game (frequently fainting causes Pikachu to become hostile towards you, for example).
Parallels to Anime
One of the ideas behind Pokemon Yellow was to tie into the anime, starting from a redesign of all the characters, and even the Pokemon. Gary, Professor Oak and, most notably, Misty and Brock have been redesigned to look more like the characters from the anime. The player's starter is always Pikachu, and Gary starts with an Eevee. Gary has no fan club, however, as he does in the show.
Team Rocket is a major player as per the original games, but Jesse and James are now actual characters, using Koffing, Ekans and Meowth. Giovanni, the boss of Team Rocket, has had his team overhauled to be more in tune with his anime counterpart, including a Persian.
Pokemon Centers are now staffed by Nurse Joy counterparts, as well as Chanseys. Your character also has the option of getting all the starter Pokemon again, and in similar ways to the show: Bulbasaur is given away by a girl after you defeat Misty because she feels he's being held back by staying there with her; Charmander is given away by some dude who doesn't want it anymore; Squirtle is given away by Officer Jenny for being too much of a rabble-rouser.
Most importantly, however, is Pikachu, as mentioned before, and the fact it follows you around. It even goes through stages similar to those of the Pikachu in the show, where it at first distrusts you but then grows to enjoy you more. It also refuses to be evolved if you try (making you have to trade over a Pikachu from another game if you want a Raichu).
Differences from Red/Blue
This game is mostly an update to the games, and a lot of the gameplay changes are cosmetic. Genders, abilities and breeding aren't introduced until later games, and the game is mostly at the simplest RPG roots (see Gameplay below). Other changes are enumerated above as just making it more like the anime, so in the end, the other biggest change is for collectors of the Pokemon. The exclusive Pokemon in this version are a mix of both games, making it far easier to catch them all. Some of the trades have been changed as well, or removed completely (the man who traded you the Jynx in Red/Blue is replaced by the girl who gives you Bulbasaur, for example). It's an incremental upgrade, and set the standard for Crystal and Emerald coming further down the line.
The gameplay in Pokémon Yellow is based upon the turn-based battle system that debuted in Red/Blue version. The player's Pokémon are only allowed to have a maximum of 4 attacks. There are different kinds of attacks, such as special attacks and physical attacks. The attacks and all Pokémon are also all divided in types, such as water type, fire type, rock type, psychic type, and should a Pokémon use an attack with similar type to his he gains a boost in damage. The Pokémon are able to learn new abilities; however, since they are only allowed to have 4 attacks, the player must choose wisely if he or she wishes to forget an attack in order to learn a new attack, for a forgotten technique can not be recovered in most cases.
Learning new attacks require the Pokémon to level up. Leveling up happens by gaining experience points when challenging and defeating other Pokémon, which can be from other trainers or random Pokémon found in the wild. When facing another trainer the player will have to choose a Pokémon in their inventory to battle one of the opponent's Pokémon, if emerging victorious, the trainer will also earn money used buy items such as potions, Poké Balls, etc. When enough experience is collected, the Pokémon will be able to learn certain attacks based on their type, the attack and which level is happens depends on the Pokémon. The player is also allowed to switch Pokémon in mid-battle if the situation permits it; however, the Pokémon switched and the Pokémon which was switched for will divide the experience received equally should the enemy be downed. This strategy allows players to level up weak Pokémon quickly if done correctly. And if the player levels up their Pokémon to a certain level, the Pokémon will evolve. Evolving allows the Pokémon to take on a new form, becoming stronger and being able to learn attacks that it wouldn't be able to learn before. But if the player wishes for their Pokémon to stay at that stage, he or she can rapidly tap the B button to stop the evolution when the evolution screen sets in.
When players put their Pokémon into battle, they will most likely receive damage eventually. If the Pokémon are injured too much, the player must take them to the Pokémon Center in order for the Pokémon's Hit Points (HP) to be fully restored and all stat changes be restored to normal. But if there isn't a Pokémon Center nearby, players are able to buy potions and other healing items to heal their Pokémon during or after battle. Players can buy potions from PokéMarts located throughout the game as well as finding the items scattered around during the adventure. The player is only able to buy a maximum of 99 of each different type of item. Like any RPG, items play a decisive role in the game, some items give the ability to teach a Pokémon techniques, even some which the Pokémon wouldn't normally learn though leveling up, these are called Technical Machines (TM), and they work as normal attacks would do when taught to any Pokémon able to receive such technique, though there are 50 of them in the game, each TM can only be used once, being rendered useless afterwards; though most of them can only be attained once, some of them can be bought in shops and can theoretically be used how many times the player wishes, granting the player has the money to buy. There's another kind of technique called Hidden Machines (HM), this can be used as much as the player wants, it doesn't lose effect after usage, and though they can also used to attack during battle, their primary function is to help the player overcome certain natural obstacles during the adventure, such as cutting trees obstructing the way, or surfing. A Pokémon is required for these actions and once the Pokémon learns a Hidden Machine they will never unlearn it.
In order to catch Pokémon, the player requires to have Pokéballs. A Pokéball allows a player to capture any wild Pokémon in the game. Some Pokémon are stronger than others; therefore, it requires the player to weaken them first with his or her Pokémon before it can be caught. Pokéballs are purchased from the PokéMart. There are different types of Pokéballs, and each of them have a different percentage of effectiveness on catching Pokémon. Since the player is only able to carry a maximum of 6 Pokémon within their inventory any extra Pokémon caught is instantly sent to be stored in the PC. If a player decides to switch Pokémon, then they would be required to go to a PC located in any Pokémon Center to do so, from there, the player is allowed to switch whatever Pokémon that he or she has already caught from their PCs to their inventory and vice-versa.
Your primary goal in Pokémon Yellow is becoming the greatest Pokémon trainer of all, to to achieve that you have to train Pokémon to take on the Elite Four, which is formed by the very four best Pokémon trainers around, after taking down all the Pokémon from the four trainers you still have to face the Elite Champion to, then, if you manage to win the battle, become the newest champion. To do that you won't have access to Pokémon Center's care for your Pokémon and you will have to deal with the six Pokémon you choose in the beginning against all 5 trainers, it is allowed to stock up items and use them in any of your Pokémon at will, but changing one Pokémon downed for some other with full health won't be allowed. When you beat the Elite and the champion your name and Pokémon will go down in the hall of fame. You can still come back and battle the Elite Four anytime after you beat them the first time, it's actually one of the best places in the game for easy and high amount of experience, and you also receive money out of each trainer defeated, making it a great monetary source as well.
During the adventure you'll have to face 8 different gym leaders and beat them to acquire their badges, and with them, get allowed into Victory Road and reach Indigo Plateau for the Elite. Each Pokémon Gym Leader is an specialist in some Pokémon type, it's important to notice their type for better chances of counter-attacking with a strong type Pokémon. Here are the gym leaders, their location, their specialty and Pokémon used.
Pewter City Gym
Leader - Brock
Badge - Boulder Badge
Pokémon Type - Rock/Ground
Pokémon Used - Geodude, Onyx
Cerulean City Gym
Leader - Misty
Badge - Cascade Badge
Pokémon Type - Water
Pokémon Used - Staryu, Starmie
Vermilion City Gym
Leader - Lt. Surge
Badge - Thunder Badge
Pokémon Type - Electric
Pokémon Used - Raichu
Celadon City Gym
Leader - Erika
Badge - Rainbow Badge
Pokémon Type - Grass
Pokémon Used - Tangela, Weepinbell, Gloom
Saffron City Gym
Leader - Sabrina
Badge - Marsh Badge
Pokémon Type - Psychic
Pokémon Used - Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam
Fuchsia City Gym
Leader - Koga
Badge - Soul Badge
Pokémon Type - Bug/Poison
Pokémon Used - Venonat, Venonat, Venonat, Venomoth
Cinnabar City Gym
Leader - Blaine
Badge - Volcano Badge
Pokémon Type - Fire
Pokémon Used - Ninetails, Rapidash, Arcanine
Viridian City Gym
Leader - Giovanni
Badge - Earth Badge
Pokémon Type - Ground
Pokémon Used - Dugtrio, Persian, Nidoking, Nidoqueen, Rhydon
The Elite Four
The very four best Pokémon trainers are the ultimate challenge for this game, you have to beat them all along with the current Pokémon Champion to achieve your goal of becoming the greatest Pokémon Trainer
Elite Four Lorelei
Pokémon Type - Water/Ice
Pokémon Used - Dewgon, Cloyster, Slowbro, Jynx, Lapras
Elite Four Bruno
Pokémon Type - Fighting
Pokémon Used - Onyx, Hitmonchan , Hitmonlee, Machamp, Onyx
Elite Four Agatha
Pokémon Type - Ghost
Pokémon Used - Gengar, Golbat, Haunter, Arbok, Gengar
Elite Four lance
Pokémon Type - Dragon/Flying
Pokémon Used - Gyarados, Dragonair, Dragonair, Aerodactyl, Dragonite
Elite Four Champion Gary Oak (Rival)
Pokémon Type - Gary has a very balanced team
Pokémon Used - Gary's Pokémon for the final battle will depend on which Pokémon his Eevee evolved into. The evolution will depend on your actions in the game, here are the three sets of Pokémon he might be using
With Vaporeon - Sandslash, Alakazam, Exeggutor, Ninetales, Magneton
With Jolteon - Sandslash, Alakazam, Exeggutor, Ninetales, Cloyster
With Flareon - Sandslash, Alakazam, Exeggutor, Cloyster, Magneton
Evolving Gary's Eevee
Gary's Eevee evolution hinges on the first two battles with him-first in Oak's office and then in the route outside of Viridian, before the Pokemon League entrance. They proceed as follows:
To get Vaporeon, you must lose both battles with him (alternately, you could just skip the second battle, which counts as a loss). Presumably this is to make his later battles easier, since Pikachu is super-effective against water. A cunning trainer would let Gary win both times, though, and just use this to destroy him easier later.
Win one, lose the other. It doesn't really matter which you win and which you lose, but it's easier to win the first match and then, once more, skipping the second battle.
Process of elimination should show that to get him to fight with a Jolteon, simply win both matches. It's the hardest evolution, because you're not very effective against it with your Pikachu.
Here's a list of all Technical Machines found in the game.
Here's a list of all Hidden Machines found in the game.
One of the new features in Pokémon Yellow is the possibility to play a mini-games called "Surfing Pikachu", you just had to show up at the house near the beach in route 19 and have a Pikachu who knows the technique "Surf" as one of his four moves. Of course Pikachu doesn't naturally learn Surf so the player could get one at Nintendo events, but the best way to get a Pikachu with Surf would be Pokémon Stadium 2. If you manage to beat Round 2's Prime Cub Master Ball with a team containing the Pikachu you receive at the beginning of Pokémon Yellow (it has to be Pikachu from Yellow, the one the follows you around) without using continues and making Pikachu participate of all battles until the end, then you would have the option to teach Surf to Pikachu at the end, being able to use it in the game and participate the mini-game.