The only Pokemon ROM hack you need, it feels like an entirely new game, made by Nintendo themselves
The perfect ROM hack for those that love Pokemon Fire Red, it adds a dark twist to an already perfect storyline.
I’ve been playing around with the best Pokemon ROM Hacks for years now, and each of them never fail to do something new.
That’s thanks to the incredibly talented Pokemon community who spend months, if not years building these incredible games in order to help players get through those rough times.
These ROM hacks are some of the best on the internet. Here you’ll find a list of my favourites. Some have been tweaked slightly from the originals, and some feel like completely new games.
So let’s dive in to some of our recommendations!
You will find linked reviews to some of our favourite games for those of you wanting a deeper analysis of each game, alongside a YouTube video that we have created that shows off the gameplay!
Table of Contents
Best Game Boy Pokemon ROM Hacks
The original Game Boy only has a handful of great Pokemon ROM Hacks, but those that have been made are incredible, and certainly worth playing.
And let’s face it, Pokemon started on the Game Boy so if you’re like me, it’s a must to delve into.
1. Pokemon Team Rocket Edition
Imagine playing the classic Pokemon Red game, but in Team Rocket’s shoes? Well, now you can because of the incredible Pokemon community!
Technically Pokemon Team Rocket Edition is a remake of Pokemon Fire Red, but that was a remake of Red, so I’ll let you decide on that one!
In this game you play as a member of Team Rocket. Here you will steal, and cheat your way to the top, engaging with many members of the evil gang. I don’t want to ruin much of the storyline because it’s one you just have to play, but in this game you’ll learn more about Team Rocket than you can ever imagine.
You come across a wide number of fan based conspiracy theories, you steal players Pokemon, and you come across some very familiar characters in a different perspective.
This takes a classic game, and flips it on its head. If you’re a fan of one of the best Gameboy Color games, I recommend giving this a go.
Read our full review: Pokemon Team Rocket Edition Review
2. Pokemon Special Pikachu Edition
One of the most loved Pokemon games of all time is Pokemon Yellow, so what better rom hack to hop into if you’re a fan than Special Pikachu Edition?
What’s different about this rom hack?
Well, first of all Pokemon can learn up to 3 moves at level 1, making the gameplay faster and more entertaining at lower levels, alongside that theres a total of 553 new moves featuring from all generations to be learnt along your adventure.
There’s extra routes and paths to explore throughout Kanto alongside more buildings to enter. Stores even have sales now making harder to buyer items more affordable.
Gym Leaders and the elite four are more difficult to beat, making gamers focus on their team, their move sets and what items to bring along with you.
It’s the perfect rom hack for retro gamers that want a challenge, Pokemon Yellow style!
Best Game Boy Color Pokemon ROM Hacks
1. Pokemon Prism
The storyline is based on a young kid who was playing on their uncle’s mine cart when it suddenly spins out of control and ends up in a brand new region called Naljo. This region is corrupt and you end up finding a lost Larvitar which helps you bring back Naljo to its good old ways.
This region is in fact far bigger than Johto, it features over 250 Pokemon from four different regions and adds Fairy, Gas and Sound types of Pokemon which is awesome. Sound as a type is genius and why Nintendo hasn’t thought of it is beyond us!
Throughout your journey, like any other ROM hack you’ll discover puzzles, new areas, legendary Pokemons and these things called Gold coins which allow you to unlock sme really cool stuff.
There’s only 80 in the whole game, so spend them wisely!
If that wasn’t enough this game adds crafting, new mini games, and side scrolling areas to make it completely different to other competitor ROM hacks!
2. Pokemon Crystal Clear
What could be more crystal clear than this?
Do everything from customising your character to visiting gyms in any order and re-challenging leaders once defeated.
with 16 badges to collect and the ability to start your adventure in either Johto or Kanto, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.
Oh, and you can choose from 24 different starter Pokemon too. Sometimes too much choice is a bad thing, but this gives you 24 different ways to play! I’m all for it!
Plus you can spend your hard earned cash on houses now too. It’s Pokemon meets Monopoly!
3. Pokemon Dark Energy
Pokemon Dark Energy is a GBC ROM hack with gothic vibes and a new twist to the story.
There’s no need to fight to become the champion in this game. Finally, you can take a step back and not worry about becoming the best for once.
Instead, players follow an RPG-esque storyline and must tackle side-quests and take part in active battle modes.
Trade evolutions happen via levelling up instead of messing around with link cables or WiFi trades, and players can make other Pokemon evolve by doing specific missions.
It’s Pokemon Silver, but as you’ve never seen it before!
4. Pokemon Bronze
We all know about Kanto and Johto, but have you ever considered taking a holiday to Kohto?
Oh yes, we’ve got a mash-up on our hands. There are 9 regions to visit in this new game, and you can head back to Kanto via a tunnel and check out the old areas instead.
Bronze usually comes before Gold and Silver in the medal rankings, but this time Pokemon Bronze comes after the original GBC games, bringing new challenges and a harder adventure to tackle.
Thwart Team Rocket in cartridge town, picking from Totodile, Pichu, or Charmander as your starter Pokemon!
5. Pokemon Perfect Crystal
This is a subtle hack but one that makes Crystal a much better game to play. Having that run button makes things move much quicker (obviously). Glitches are gone, all of the game’s 251 Pokemon are available to catch.
What’s more, you can now catch all three of the Johto starters early in the game and all the Kanto games by the middle of the adventure.
What with that and the time of day adjustments, this makes for an interesting change that keeps fans on their toes.
Like I said, subtle differences, but a great mod that all Poke fans should check out, especially if you’re a fan of Pokemon Crystal!
Best Game Boy Advance Pokemon ROM Hacks
The Game Boy Advance has the widest selection of Pokemon ROM Hacks, with some completely new games to slightly modified originals that keep its nostalgic factor.
We’ve tested a handful of the very best, some even being better than some of the original games!
These are my personal favourites.
1. Pokemon Unbound
Pokemon Unbound takes the top spot, and it’s one of the most customisable Pokemon games I’ve ever played!
The world of Borrius takes the stage in this game. I know it sounds a little like the world’s worst super hero name, but stick with me because it’s a great region!
Like so many titles in this list, Unbound uses FireRed as a basis for its gameplay. You can pick from tonnes of different characters, and costumes, customising your trainer to your heart’s content.
There are 80 missions to complete and everything just feels fresh compared to the tried and tested formula. Even the way you collect HMs has changed, and it just works!
Read our full review: Pokemon Unbound Review
2. Pokemon Radical Red
Eagle-eyed readers will already know all about Pokemon Radical Red after reading our list of the best Pokemon Radical Red cheats.
I’m not saying that cheating is the only way to play this game, but it certainly makes things a lot more exciting! And, the ROM hack is a little difficult, so we’re not going to hold it against you if you do cheat!
One new feature that I love in this ROM hack is the Pokenav – it’s a little device that works like your favourite Maps app on your phone and helps you find the best Pokemon for the job!
For all fans of FireRed that wished it was a little harder and a little more ‘Radical’, then give this hack a go!
Read our full review: Pokemon Radical Red Review
3. Pokemon Mega Power
Pokemon Mega Power takes everything we love from Pokemon Emerald and turns it up to 11!
Weirdly, and this is where things get a little darker, Pokemon get more powerful as you experiment on them.
Someone is pumping loads of cash into your bank account so that you can do scientific tests on your Pocket Monsters. Do they want to help you and Pokemon kind, or are they just making a super squadron army to do their bidding?
With not one, not two, but three new regions to explore and all the critters from generations four to seven, this is an exciting alternative adventure for players who love Emerald to sink their teeth into!
4. Pokemon Light Platinum
Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire was a classic for the Gameboy Advance and sold over 16 million units, which just goes to show how good it was.
If you’re looking for a game that’s based around that incredible game then Pokemon Light Platinum is the one to go for.
This Pokemon ROM Hack allows you to travel across not one, but two regions known as Zhery and Lauren. WesleyFG, the legend behind this rom hack has also added in new leaders, the Elite Four, rivals which you may remember and a boat load of Pokemon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh and Unova.
That’s a lot of Pokemon!
If that wasn’t enough, this game allows you to travel across new dimensions, catch every single legendary Pokemon up to Unova and it features a huge final event called the Pokemon World Championship.
This event rounds of the game nicely and makes you feel accomplished once completed. This is one of the best Pokemon ROM Hacks for those of you that love Ruby & Sapphire!
We have a list of best Pokemon Light Platinum cheats too, should you dive into the game.
5. Pokemon Gaia
It seems the Pokemon community really like Fire Red hacks, and this is another one, just with a much bigger “twist” than most.
The ROM hack starts with Professor Redwood noticing an increase in the region seismic activity and asks local Pokemon trainers to figure out why.
This game introduces new Pokemon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova and even Kalos, making your team a huge mix from all generations. With that comes the ability to teach them modern day abilities and even mega evolve them in battle.
This ROM hack updates all of the sprites, moves, HM’s, trainers and building illustrations too, giving it a slightly different look compared to other Fire Red hacks.
One of my personal favourite additions is that fact you can climb walls, and even discover underwater regions too!
It’s worth a download, because hey, it’s on our top 5, we even have a list of the best Pokemon Gaiai cheats if you want to spice up your gameplay.
6. Pokemon Glazed
This is a game that I stumbled across and absolutely loved. Pokemon Glazed is about mystery and confusion when an unexpecting problem occurs throughout the region.
A mysterious power is sending the Pokemon world and the real world on a collision course and it’s your goal to find out why all while exploring ancient ruins, mysterious Pokemon and a scarfed Pikachu that’s angrier than a mini chihuahua.
When you get to your 12th birthday you’re able to choose from not 3, not 4 but 5 different starters, and the Pokemon throughout your world come from the Tunod, Johto and Rankor regions giving you a very odd mix of Pokemon to catch.
This Pokemon ROM hack has also introduced “Dream World” Pokemon which may give you a slight insight into the story line.
If new Pokemon wasn’t enough you can also catch all legendaries from Kanto to Sinnoh and eight more from the Unova region.
The story line won it for me!
7. Pokemon Ultra Violet Version
Once you’ve seen the GBA logo on the side of the cover art, you’ll immediately know that this is another Pokemon FireRed ROM hack.
But what I love about this one is that you can actually get every single Pokemon from the first 3 generations with just one play through and no messing around trading!
There’s also a really cool feature where players can choose to catch their own Pokemon in a Safari Zone instead of taking one of Prof Oak’s starters. That means you can start off playing with a completely new Pokemon rare to the series.
Players can get both fossil and fighting Pokemon in this game too, not having to chose between Omanyte and Kabuto or Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan.
8. Pokemon Dark Rising
Do you ever have really weird dreams about Pokemon? Yeah, so do I, but imagine a game based off a dream where a Pokemon asks to you to help it save the world?
The average person would probably think it was a nightmare, but that to me sounds like the best dream ever. Pokemon Dark rising bases its storyline off of just that, so when you talk to your best friend about it, it turns out he had the exact same dream!
This ROM hack might not be as “big” as some others on the list but that doesn’t devalue the gaming experience at all. In this game there’s over 380 Pokemon to catch, from regions such as Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh and Unova.
It stays close to the classic Pokemon storyline, which features Gyms, bad guys and puzzles. But what makes this ROM hack so good is that it brings modern day Pokemon, moves and features into the game, with a polished look.
This is a ROM hack for those of you that want to keep it old school, but like some of the newer generations features such as Dream World abilities etc.
9. Pokemon Flora Sky
Pokemon Flora Sky starts off with a battle between the legendary Pokemon Dialga and Palkia. Once the epic battle has finished they leave behind a open portal between the Town World unleashing Giratina into the region which comes with a lot of problems.
It’s your job to close the portal before it’s too late, all while training your Pokemon and coming up against Team Magma and Aqua who are trying to catch legendary Pokemon to take over the world.
The ROM hack features a never seen before story line, new events featuring a wide number of legendary Pokemon such as Mew, Kyogre, Rayquaza, Shaymin and more.
The world is filled with over 380 Pokemon for you to catch, new mini games, new moves, items, HM’s and a wide number of new characters which you’ll come to love/hate.
They have even added a day/night system which triggers events based on the time and location you are in, making the game feel random in a very natural way.
10. Pokemon Ash Grey
One of the things I like the most about this Pokemon FireRed hack is that it follows the first Pokemon Anime series.
That means, as the name suggests, you play as Ash Ketchum and go on lots of crazy adventures with Brock, Misty, and Pikachu in tow!
Sticking incredibly close to the storyline of the series and with elements of the Pokemon movies thrown into the mix, this is the perfect ROM hack for those that love the cartoon more than members of their own family.
You can either catch all of the Pokemon Ash caught in order and stick true to the series or mix it up a little and use the team you wish he had brought along in the cartoon.
There are no fancy features like His or Pokemon from Sapphire and Ruby joining the fray. Ash Grey sticks to the Pokemon available in the initial series, so there’s no chance Eternatus is going to show up to eat Brock or anything!
Best Nintendo DS & 3DS Pokemon ROM Hacks
Like the Game Boy Advance there are a lot of DS ROM Hacks, so we’ve picked a few to feature here, but its worth visiting our Best Pokemon Nintendo DS & 3DS ROM Hacks article for a deeper dive.
There you will find a wider selection of our favourites, but here’s my top 5.
1. Pokemon Phoenix Rising
Phoenix Rising is a free fan-made episodic Pokémon RPG developed using RPG Maker XP and the Pokémon Essentials engine.
The game is set in a new region known as Hawthorne and boasts changes to the original main-series Pokémon formula to include a more traditional RPG theme as well as many new features.
The time, and effort put into this is beyond incredible and the team behind it should be very proud.
It looks like a completely new game, and you could probably tell us Game Freak developed it themselves, and I’d believe you! The graphics and overall look is based off the Nintendo DS, so it looks far more modern than most on this list.
This ROM hack features a wide number of cool things, for example there are choice determined gameplay moments, character customisation, skill trees and multiple save files.
But the best bit comes with mega evolutions, region evolutions and relic forms too! For example, there’s Mega Arcanine, Ho-Oh Arisen Form, Mega Flygon, Relic Tentacruel and more, all waiting to be captured!
The only downfall with this one is that it’s fairly new, and only episode 1 has been launched, so as soon as you start to get addicted, you then realise there’s not another episode out yet. The team behind it are working on more episodes, but as with any ROM hack, they don’t get paid to do it, so this will launch when and if it gets finished.
2. Pokemon Omega Paradox
Unova plays the role of proving ground in our next entry. Play as Cynthia or Drake as you battle back goons from Teams Rocket, Plasma, and Aqua.
Jeez, talk about uneven odds!
Out of all the games in this list, Pokemon Omega Paradox has possibly the coolest sounding feature – the Omega Evolve.
Not only that, but there are 40 brand new Pokemon to discover and catch, as well as new gym leaders, enemies, rivals… pretty much a new everything!
And, as you can see from the still above, the graphics are superb (you can’t see, but I made the Italian gesture you see chefs doing when they make tasty sauce). All in all, a perfect Pokemon package!
3. Pokemon Storm Silver
I’ve picked Storm Silver to go in this list as it’s a little harder than Sacred Gold.
With around 500 Pokemon available to collect, this new version of SoulSilver boasts scripted events and epic gameplay elements.
If anything, these games should have dropped as actual DS games.
They’re a pleasure to play and don’t require gamers to trade Pokemon with other users in order to complete their collection.
4. Pokemon Rising Sun and Waning Moon
Pokemon Rising Sun and Waning Moon are known in the rom hack world for being a bit of a challenge and targeted at a mature audience who love Sun & Moon.
This in itself is why many flock to it, you’ll be faced with harder foes, more intense Pokemon battles and will require to learn the ways of using items as if you were in a small war.
Your Pokemon should be closing in on Level 80 before making your way to the Elite 4 or there’s no chance of surviving.
So if you’re a fan of Sun and Moon and want to face one of the hardest Pokemon ROM hacks on this list, then this is the one to go for.
Just remember to bring your A game!
5. Pokemon Bloody Platinum
Some may think the SInnoh region is a little too happy, if that’s you, then Bloody Platinum is one to take a look at, as it puts a whole new vibe on the region and in turn altering the Pokemon, the gym leaders and items in this rom hack.
Some of the new features include new soundtracks, new sprites and you can even capture Zekrom.
One of my favourite new features is new daily events that can occur, alongside over 490 Pokemon to catch in the wild.
This combined with the darker approach to the original Platinum storyline makes it a great choice for Nintendo DS fans.
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A 31 year old British fella that’s had a Gameboy ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and has created a YouTube channel with 260,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.