5 Best Pokemon FireRed ROM Hacks of 2023
It’s time to stock up on Pokeballs and head out into the great unknown as we check out the best Pokemon FireRed ROM Hacks!
Bringing the very first Pokemon games – Pokemon Red and Blue, released on the monochrome Game Boy in 1996 – in full color and with many improvements to gameplay and quality of life, Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen remain hugely popular entries in the series.
That’s despite the fact that Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen are now almost 20 years old themselves, having released on the Game Boy Advance back in 2004!
Their enduring popularity has made the games prime fodder for enterprising, inventive coders who have found ways to transform and improve the experience of the base games, sometimes in very surprising ways.
There are quite a few Pokemon FireRed ROM hacks out there in the wild – but which ones are the best?
Let’s find out, as we check out the best Pokemon FireRed ROM hacks!
5. Pokemon Liquid Crystal
While most ROM hacks build on the game they are taken from to offer a new yet familiar experience to players of that specific game, Pokemon Liquid Crystal does something a little different from that style of evolutionary hack.
Instead of building a new story and setting for Pokemon FireRed, Pokemon Liquid Crystal uses the style of Pokemon FireRed to recreate the beloved second generation Pokemon Crystal game!
Included are a day/night system, the Johto and Kanto regions, updated images and maps, an evolved Viridian Trainer House, a remastered soundtrack, updated battle mechanics, and even real weather conditions and effects!
As with most ROM hacks, Pokemon Liquid Crystal is a true labor of love. And it’s a hugely popular hack of a Pokemon generation that doesn’t get enough attention in the humble opinion of us long-term Pokemaniacs at Retro Dodo Towers.
You can also check out our thoughts on more direct Pokemon Crystal ROM hacks in our best Pokemon Crystal ROM hack article!
4. Pokemon Cloud White
This ROM hack contains more than 540 Pokemon, from generation 1 to 6 – and all of them are available to catch.
They have new moves and abilities – and there’s also a Pokemon Black/White counter system!
In addition, Pokemon Cloud White features a new story and several new regions, including Johto, Mangan, and Azur.
In terms of aesthetic upgrades, there are also improved graphics and new battle backgrounds.
A Pokemon Black 2/White 2-style world tournament is also included.
In addition to Mega Evolutions being a feature, there is much more to it. And the difficulty level has been increased, so it’s perfect for trainers looking for a challenge in addition to a unique Pokémon adventure!
Looking for more black and white style hacks? Check out our best Pokemon Nintendo DS ROM hack list!
3. Pokemon Shiny Gold Sigma
Using Pokemon FireRed as a base, this ROM hack recreates the second generation game, Pokemon Gold.
As is the case with many ROM hacks, Pokemon from many other generations are featured – with Pokemon Shiny Gold Sigma featuring Pokemon from Generations 1 to 7!
Impressively, it has more than 850 Pokémon – including Alolan forms.
That’s not all – far from it.
Pokemon Shiny Gold Sigma also overhauls the visuals with new sprites and improved graphics, as well as having remastered and improved audio.
Events from the anime now take place in the game, as well as new rivals that mirror those appearing in the Pokémon manga!
There are even many additions and improvements that bring features from as far ahead as Pokemon Black and White into this particular hack.
There are many more additions too; this is a pretty comprehensive ROM hack that deserves its place in the top three of the list of best Pokemon FireRed ROM hacks!
2. Pokemon Gaia
When we consider the very best Pokemon FireRed ROM hacks, we have to look at how much a hack brings to the experience. Pokémon Gaia is a hack that adds a bewildering number of features to the regular FireRed skins.
First, it’s set in a completely new region – Orbtus – and has a completely different story.
There are Pokemon featured from a large number of regions (Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova and Kalos) and games, with more modern movesets, items and abilities – taken all the way up to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire – also added to the game .
Visuals – including trainer and Pokemon sprites as well as animation – have been updated and improved; there’s also brand new music!
Bug-catching contests, an EXP capture system, in-battle Mega Evolutions and even underwater maps feature in Pokemon Gaia.
There is so much more too; this is a fully rounded experience that feels like an almost entirely new game, especially as you can climb walls and even explore underwater.
Pokemon Gaia almost made it all the way to the top of our best Pokemon FireRed ROM hack list – and it even made it to our best GBA Pokemon ROM hack list – but there was one more title that absolutely blew us away here at Retro Dodo Towers, which you will see soon!
1. Pokemon Ash Grey
It’s important to realize that in the late 90s, some Pokemon fans weren’t necessarily familiar with the Game Boy games in the beginning.
In fact, many fans will have been hooked on the franchise thanks to the brilliant Pokemon cartoon, whose story took quite a different path to the game, at least initially (for more on this, check out our feature on The Evolution of Pokemon ) .
While Pokemon Yellow rectified this a bit, with your in-game character being able to choose Pikachu as a starter – and having the electric mouse Pokemon follow you around the screen, in a way that made it feel closer to the animated show – it didn’t quite bring things together in line with the events of the anime.
Something that Pokemon Ash Gray handles very smartly.
Pure gold for fans of the Anime series
The Pokemon Ash Gray story impressively adapts the first 50 (yes, 50!) episodes of the anime, with 116 events that happened in the show, as well as two events from the Pokemon movies.
Despite closely following the events of the anime, there is still the possibility of catching Pokemon that Ash actually fails to catch in the show – one example being the Spearow that our heroes are attacked by in the very first episode.
Even if Ash didn’t catch that Pokemon, you can in Pokemon Ash Grey!
There are also events from “lost” episodes of the show – which for various reasons were not shown outside of Japan – such as Beauty and the Beach, Legend of Dratini and Electric Soldier Porygon, the latter of which is notorious for causing hundreds of Japanese children to have potentially dangerous seizures after his only transfer to date.
So Pokemon Ash Gray isn’t just a nostalgic trip through anime in game form; it’s also a pretty great historical overview of the entire first season of the show, with events that will be new to many players despite being featured in recorded (but unseen) episodes!
It’s all very impressive – and that’s exactly why we’ve chosen Pokemon Ash Gray as our number one on the list of the best Pokemon FireRed ROM hack list!
Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which 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 games since the late 90s. He currently runs the 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 an avid board gamer, movie buff and comic book fan.