Pokémon Emerald was the final installment of the third generation of the Pokémon series.
It was released in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance, just a few months before the release of the Nintendo DS.
Would you be surprised to find out it placed pretty high on the best selling GBA games of all time?
Game play remained mostly the same from the previous installments, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
But “Emerald” took everything that was good about both “Ruby” and “Sapphire” and created a perfect marriage of the two.
As the final and most complete Pokémon game from the third generation, Pokémon Emerald is a great starting point for any third generation Rom Hack.
There were quite a lot of fan games and rom hacks created for Emerald. But only one can be the best.
So without further ado, let’s rank the Best Pokémon Emerald ROM Hacks of 2023.
Table of Contents
1. Pokémon Glazed Version
If you know it, you love it. Pokémon Glazed Version is probably the most loved rom hack created for the third generation.
It scored well on our list of the best Pokémon rom hacks of all time.
Right from the beginning, you will see some of the many quality-of-life improvements…
Choose one of five starter Pokémon, rather than the usual three, and the Pokémon featured are some of the favorites all the way through generation 5.
Started in 2012, with several teams refining this nearly perfect and feature packed fan game…
Pokémon Glazed Version has continued to see new features and quality-of-life improvements up to January of 2022.
There is little doubt that Pokémon Glazed Version is the absolute best Pokémon Emerald ROM Hack ever created…
And with the team still finding ways to improve it… “Glazed” is likely to continue to solidify its place at the top. And for that reason, Pokémon Glazed Version takes our number one spot for the best Pokémon Emerald ROM Hack.
If you do download it be sure to check out the best Pokemon Glazed cheats to give you a helping hand.
2. Pokémon Theta Emerald Renev
Pokémon Theta Emerald was one of the best rom hacks made for the third generation Pokémon series.
So when an update was released two years later (Pokémon Theta Emerald EX), fans were elated.
Did anybody expect a trilogy?! I doubt it! But guess what! We got it!
Packed full of 700+ catchable Pokémon with many forms, a ton of moves and abilities, new TMs and HMs, Mega Evolutions, and so much more.
This is a nearly perfect implementation of everything we love about Pokémon.
Would possible have taken the number one spot, were it not for this perfect Pokémon Emerald rom hack…
3. Pokémon Victory Fire
Pokémon Victory Fire does something that I believe is one of the best parts about Pokémon fan games and rom hacks…
Creating an entirely new region and story to experience.
Replaying the mainline Pokémon games with some game play improvements and added features is great. There’s a reason we all love those core games.
But when a fan takes the original game engine and makes their own original story to experience, that is something special.
With a full day and night cycle, a weather system, gen 4-5 Pokémon, and some exciting new places to explore…
Pokémon Victory Fire is truly one of the most exciting rom hacks for fans to experience.
One of our personal favorite emerald rom hacks, and one we cannot recommend enough!
Want more original stories? We created a list of the best Pokémon fan games that include some pretty incredible ones.
4. Pokémon Inclement Emerald
A perfect Emerald experience for experienced trainers who are ready for a more hefty challenge… but not as brutal as the previous entry on our list.
This rom hack is known for its amped up difficulty, offering a Normal, Hard, and Challenge mode.
But the quality-of-life improvements made in this more forgiving “hard’ rom hack will be welcome by players who do not totally loathe themselves.
“Inclement Emerald” is packed full of Pokémon up to generation 8 and features gen 4-7 mechanics, including Mega Evolution.
To further help balance out the more difficult experience, your bag has also been expanded to allow up to 999 of each item.
If you are familiar to the usual grind of the mainline Pokémon releases and need something that ups everything to the umpteenth power… this is it.
5. Pokémon Emerald Kaizo
Given the fan title of the “hardest rom hack ever made”, Pokémon Emerald Kaizo surely packs a punch.
While, it may not actually be the most challenging rom hack available anymore, it is still one of the most beloved rom hacks for the third generation.
Perhaps made to be too difficult (à la Dark Souls), all enemy Pokémon and trainers are severely overpowered.
And almost everything is designed to be the total opposite of what would be ideal for the player.
This one is truly designed to be as brutal as possible.
This is best for the absolute suckers for punishment.
But as some gamers know, the reward is all that much sweeter when you finally conquer a game like this.
Challenge at max = bragging rights at max.
6. Pokémon R.O.W.E
So what is Pokémon R.O.W.E exactly?
Well, perhaps best to let the creator explain it:
Pokémon R.O.W.E is “an open world version of Hoenn with a lot of Quality of Life changes to make teambuilding easy”.
Players are free to explore the region in any order they choose.
And with Pokémon up to generation 8, and nine starter Pokémon to choose from… you are bound to have a fulfilling experience.
So what does “R.O.W.E” stand for?
Well… we figured out the “open world emerald” part, but WHAT IS THE “R” FOR?!
Oh… duh.. it was made by “rioluwott”. Mystery solved people!
Seriously though.. check this one out. It’s pretty awesome. And provides a unique game play experience in The Hoenn region of the Pokémon universe.
7. Pokémon CAWPS
Let’s start this list with a fun one…
Pokémon CAWPS allows you to do something that no other game on this list will do: Play Pokémon Emerald as a Police officer (aka “Cop”) in the Hoenn region.
Choose your starter Pokémon.. and you are also given a second starter right from the beginning.
Developer Crizzle, who developed Pokémon Outlaw (aka “FireRed for adults”), also packed in his signature mature content and dialogue in “CAWPS”.
Crizzle is a purist, and has vowed to keep “CAWPS” a purely gen 3 game.
And like me, he is not a fan of fishing in video games. He swears to never ever include it in any of his rom hacks.
And for THAT reason, I have chosen to include Pokémon CAWPS on our list of the best Pokémon Emerald ROM Hacks.
This article may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase an item we may earn a commission. Thank you for your support.
Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.