It’s time to grab your Pokeballs as we head into familiar, yet slightly different territory as we check out the best Pokemon Diamond ROM hacks!
Arriving in 2006 and kicking off the fourth generation of Pokemon games, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were the first titles in Game Freak’s perennially popular series to be released on the DS.
Naturally, the increase in power over the GBA, as well as having an extra screen and touch screen capabilities meant that many more opportunities for additions to the basic Pokemon formula were opened up.
Though Diamond and Pearl didn’t radically shake up the established structure or mechanics of the series at that point, in the intervening years many enterprising and creative coders have produced some brilliant experiences, with Pokemon Diamond as the basis (check out our list of the best Pokemon Nintendo DS ROM hacks for more than just our picks of the best Diamond ROMs!).
There’s quite a few Pokemon Diamond ROM hacks available – but which are the best?
Let’s take a trip into a transformed Sinnoh as we check out the best Pokemon Diamond ROM hacks!
5. Pokemon Moon Diamond
Though there’s not a huge amount of changes to be found in Pokemon Moon Diamond, there’s enough here for us to recommend it as one of the best Pokemon Diamon ROM Hacks.
After all, there’s always the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ adage to remember – right?
So despite fewer changes than you may expect from many hacks, Pokemon Moon Diamond does feature the seventh generation Pokemon, which first appeared in Pokemon Sun and Moon (the clue, of course, is in the title of this ROM hack – with the corresponding Pokemon Pearl hack being called Pokemon Sun Pearl!).
The visuals have also been polished – with new animation and sprites – and more closely fit the feel of the 7th generation games too.
Do bear in mind, however, that only a Spanish language version of Pokemon Moon Diamond currently exists.
For players familiar with the story of Pokemon Diamond, this shouldn’t pose too much of an issue – but it’s definitely something to be aware of!
4. Pokemon Bloody Diamond
Though started in 2008, the creator of Pokemon Bloody Diamond – known only as ‘Buffy’ – recently returned to complete their work on the ROM Hack.
We here at Retro Dodo are glad they did, because this is an excellent piece of work!
In Bloody Diamond, there’s numerous changes to the original Pokemon Diamond that make it worthwhile tracking down.
You can catch all Starter Pokemon at a very early stage – and wild Pokemon can be very strong at later stages of the game; they go up to level 90!
In addition to this extra layer of challenge, Gym Leaders are also stronger too.
Rare items such as Oak’s Letter and the Azure Flute (among others) can be obtained via in-game trades.
Perhaps best of all, however, is the ‘Moral Compass’ – a light/dark morality system which ultimately decides which of three factions holds the most influence over the Kanto region at the end of the game!
3. Pokemon Weird
Despite its name, Pokemon Weird isn’t as bizarre as you may expect – which is perhaps why it’s also known as Pokemon Mystical Diamond.
One of the best features of Pokemon Weird is that you actually play as a Pokemon instead of a Trainer – you can choose either Pikachu or Pachirisu as your playable character!
Pokemon Weird also takes place ‘in a world of talking Pokemon’, according to the mocked-up image of the game’s cover blurb.
Additional odd changes include your character transforming into Shaymin while riding a bike and Magikarp when saving!
With 493 Pokemon available to catch without trading between different games, new starters, a very strong Super Dialga (!) and even the opportunity to catch unlimited Eevees, Pokemon Weird is a feature packed Pokemon Diamond ROM hack that you won’t want to miss out on!
2. Pokemon Dark Diamond
In addition to updates and improvements brought back to Diamond from HeartGold, SoulSilver and Pokemon Black & White, this ROM hack has several other new features that make it worth checking out.
Players can take the game on as Brendan or Dawn (with Brendan replacing Lucas from the official Pokemon Diamond) and the hack features an entirely new – and more complex – storyline too.
The available Pokedex is expanded to 493 Pokemon and all new characters also feature within the game.
New music has also been composed especially for this ROM hack; best of all, however, is the inclusion of a new team: Team xGlite!
It’s a really impressive piece of work – so it’s well worth taking a look at Pokemon Dark Diamond, which nearly makes it to the top of our best Pokemon Diamond ROM hacks list!
1. PokeJoke DS – A Parody of Pokemon
That is, if it wasn’t for this clever, creative ROM hack.
PokeJoke DS – A Parody of Pokemon pretty much explains itself through that title.
It’s much more than just a parody, however.
It has a level of difficulty best described as ‘hardcore’, but also features a day/night system, mega evolutions and even a new storyline.
So far, so Pokemon. So where’s the parody, you may be asking?
Well, nearly every single line of dialogue in the game has been rewritten to be either self-referential, fourth-wall breaking or a cheeky dig at another video game. Sometimes all three at once!
It’s a genuinely funny experience. For example, when visiting a nurse at the Pokemon Center, they’ll cheerfully say, “We hope you get beaten up again, soon! We need the business.”
Presented with a choice of Starter Pokemon, the dialogue box states ‘(At least it isn’t the red-blue-green choice from Mass Effect 3)’.
There’s so much more than this to discover – and it’s this unpredictable, anarchic humour that brings such a fresh feel to PokeJoke DS – A Parody of Pokemon.
It does make you wish that the main Pokemon games were allowed to laugh at themselves a bit more.
Still, if you aren’t someone who takes their Pokemon gaming far too seriously, you do now have the option of checking out PokeJoke – A Parody of Pokemon.
It’s undoubtedly our clear choice for the top of the Best Pokemon Diamond ROM hacks list!
We here at Retro Dodo Towers are big fans of Pokemon ROM hacks – check out our list of the best Pokemon ROM hacks for more!
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Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.