ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (2024)


  • Here are some of the best Pokemon ROM hacks that fans should check out:
  • Pokemon Crystal Clear - This hack converts Pokemon Crystal into an open-world title, allowing players to challenge Kanto and Johto's Gyms at their leisure.
  • Pokemon Fool's Gold - This ROM hack features all Pokemon with new typings and sprites, as well as altered overworld aesthetics, Pokemon availability, and areas to explore.

The Pokemon journey is one that fans look forward to whenever a new game is announced, even if recent titles have not always garnered widespread acclaim. While the games have strayed in recent years with new titles and mechanics, Pokemon games are ultimately comfort food that many people look forward to consuming every few years. That said, the main projects do not always succeed in impressing everyone who has been along for the ride since the late 1990s; consequently, some fans have come forward to create their own games.

Although Nintendo has, on several occasions, unplugged and halted the production of several projects, many out there contain new and exciting features and mechanics that completely change the Pokemon game experience. As such, fans looking to re-live their favorite games or discover new favorites should consider the following Pokemon ROM hacks.

Updated July 6, 2024 by Mark Sammut: The article's formatting has been expanded to provide more information regarding each Pokemon fan game.

23 Pokemon Let's Go Eevee/Pikachu GBA Version

Modern Update On A Classic Formula

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (1)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Kevin PokeFan

The Nintendo Switch's Pikachu might not be considered the best Pokemon games of all time, but they are pleasant throwbacks to the classic Kanto-era games. Fittingly enough, a ROM hack is available that returns these titles back to their roots; well, to be exact, Pokemon FireRed.

The biggest changes come in the form of modern Pokemon, improved gameplay, and some quality of life changes. Pokemon Let's Go Eevee/Pikachu GBA Version is not ultimately anything too original and, for the most part, will probably only be loved by those who are already infatuated with the Switch games.

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (2)
Pokemon FireRed
Nintendo Game Boy Advance

September 7, 2004

22 Dragon Ball Z: Team Training

A Super Saiyan Twist

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (3)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Z-Max

Now for something slightly different, Dragon Ball Z: Team Training takes Pokemon Fire Red and gives it a Saiyan-themed makeover. Combining two of the most popular Japanese anime properties of all time, Team Training drops players into a world filled with wild Nappas and Krillins; in fact, the game has over 150 Fighters that are just waiting to be caught. While the game largely plays out like a standard Pokemon title, it is exciting to head into a Gym and find Bulma armed with a Super Saiyan 2 Gohan.

Unlike many of the best Pokemon ROM hacks that are meant specifically for die-hard fans of Game Freak's franchise, Team Training is one of those rare cases of a project that can mainly be recommended to people who love a completely different IP. Considering great Dragon Ball RPGs are not plentiful, this hack might be one of the better options out there.

21 Pokemon Adventure Red Chapter

Adapting The Pokemon Adventures Manga

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (4)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Aethestode

Pokemon Adventure Red Chapter draws heavy inspiration from the Pokemon Adventures manga, pulling its storyline and characters. The player takes control of Red, who embarks on a long journey alongside his rivals Blue and Green, among other new rivals. Divided into chapters, the player joins Red as he learns about the deeper schemes occurring around him as he attempts to conquer various Pokemon Leagues.

With nine regions to explore, the game provides endless entertainment and keeps players hooked with a compelling storyline. Additional features include a raised level cap (100 to 255), an overhaul of Pokemon (including new forms, fusions, shadow Pokemon, and beta Pokemon), character customization, and more.

20 Pokemon Light Platinum

A Typical Pokemon Adventure (& That Is A Good Thing)

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (5)
  • Game: Pokemon Ruby
  • Created By Wesley FG

Although the name suggests the game is set in Sinnoh, Pokemon Light Platinum takes place in an entirely new region, Zhery. Boasting vibrant graphics, every Pokemon from Generation 1 to 4, and new Gym Leaders and rivals to fight, the creation is a traditional take on a Pokemon game. It provides an evil team, a League to conquer, and a Pokedex to complete — all while being a standalone experience.


Pokemon Games That Deserve Remakes

As Pokemon fans desperately wait for Gen 4 remakes, these titles could also be in consideration.

The game is a re-skin of Pokemon Ruby but takes elements from later Generations such as the Distortion World and the Pokemon World Championship. It's an easy-to-play, visually stimulating experience that fans unfamiliar with ROM hacks or fan games should begin with.

19 Pokemon One Piece

Catch All The Pirates & Marines

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (8)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Nosta11

Similar to Dragon Ball Z: Team Training, Pokemon One Piece's appeal lies in the unexpected mash-up of two major anime/manga franchises. The changes in this game do not go too far beyond the addition of One Piece characters, although the story does throw out a few curveballs along the way.

So, if anyone ever wishes to travel through Kanto with the Straw Hats, Pokemon One Piece will scratch that itch. It is also a pretty challenging game, so players will have to earn the right to call themselves a Pokemon Master (or Pirate King). Similar to the DBZ hack, this offering is just for fans of Eiichiro Oda's manga, with the main change being primarily the character swaps. The hack is a lot of fun, as long as somebody can tell their Zoros from their Sanjis. And, there are way fewer great One Piece games than there are DBZ titles.

18 Pokemon AshGray

Ash's Original Adventure

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (9)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Metapod23

Game Freak's Pokemon RPG series is not the only part of the franchise that holds a special place in the hearts of millions of people; the anime is also huge. In the late '90s, Ash's adventures helped introduce many children to Japanese animation, and the original series is still highly regarded today.

While the games and anime share plenty of things in common, Ash is not one of them, at least when it comes to official releases. Pokemon AshGray rectifies this by turning Pokemon FireRed into an adaptation of the anime's first season. The Pokemon ROM hack gives players the freedom to decide how faithful their adventure is to the anime, although AshGray does reward those who willingly walk in Ketchum's shoes.

17 Pokemon CAWPS

A More Adult Pokemon Adventure

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (10)
  • Game: Pokemon Emerald
  • Created By Crizzle

The second entry in Crizzle's Pokemon trilogy, CAWPS continues down the road starter by Outlaw. This Pokemon ROM hack is solely for adults, as its unique story contains plenty of mature content and humor that will likely be divisive with most people.


Pokemon Emerald: 10 Best Things That Have Aged Well About The Game

Like a fine wine, the excellent Pokemon Emerald features many great aspects that have aged wonderfully.

In CAWPS, players take on the role of a police officer in Hoenn. Starting from the Police Academy and eventually making it onto the streets, this hack does away with standard Pokemon conventions such as Gym Badges, opting to deliver an experience that is quite unlike any other in the fan game scene.

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (12)
Pokemon Emerald
Nintendo Game Boy Advance

May 1, 2005

16 Digimon Nova Red

A Challenging Digimon-Themed Pokemon ROM

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (13)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Guzeinbuick

Pokemon and Digimon will be forever linked, regardless of whether their games or shows are actually all that similar. Plenty of fans have taken it upon themselves to fuse these licenses together, producing quite a few solid games in the process. One of the best Pokemon ROM hacks to feature Agumon and company is Digimon Nova Red.

A hack of FireRed, Nova introduces 250 Digimon to the roster, including some monsters with five Digivolution stages. Along with swapping out Pokemon for Digimon, this ROM hack tweaks the difficulty so that the campaign provides a consistent challenge.

15 Pokemon Giratina Strikes Back

A Slow-Burn Bizarre Trip That Is, Ultimately, Great

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (14)
  • Game: Pokemon Ruby
  • Created By Sloo

Pokemon Giratina Strikes Back lures players into a false sense of security since the opening few hours do not contain much in the way of surprises. Sure, the protagonist's backstory is different from the norm, but it ultimately boils down to a kid venturing out on a great adventure to become a Pokemon Master.

However, Giratina Strikes Back gets stranger as it goes along, and that is a compliment. There are also Fakemon mixed in with the real ones, but the former do not reveal themselves until quite a while into the campaign. Giratina Strikes Back is a blast and one of the best Pokemon ROM hacks.

14 Pokemon Flora Sky

Well-Paced Pokemon Adventure That Blends The Known With The New

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (15)
  • Game: Pokemon Emerald
  • Created By 12345

In a world where Giratina attempts to rule, players explore a completely redone Hoenn Region, with new cities/towns, routes, and trainers. Featuring a different line-up of Gym Leaders (who fans may recognize from other games), Pokemon Flora Sky ties the player into a tale that sees Teams Aqua and Magma pursuing parallel schemes, while also dealing with chaos between Generation 4's Creation Trio (particularly Dialga and Giratina).

The game contains 386 Pokemon, ranging from Generation 1 to 4. Along with this, players will find new items, several events and mini-games, and a well-deserved feature for Shaymin.

13 Pokemon Stadium Kaizo

Polishing & Sharpening A Gem

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (16)
  • Game: Pokemon Stadium
  • Created By SinisterHoodedFigure

Focusing on something slightly different this time, Pokemon Stadium Kaizo gives some much-appreciated quality of life improvements to the Nintendo 64 game. Naturally, Pokemon Stadium doesn't receive anywhere near the number of hacks as the GBA titles do, so Kaizo fulfills a somewhat ignored niche.


Every Pokemon Stadium Game, Ranked (Including Spiritual Successors)

Here's how the home console Pokemon Stadium games rank up—including what are considered their spiritual successors.

This ROM's main goal is to make Pokemon Stadium a harder and, by extension, more rewarding experience. It also greatly improves the rental Pokemon's stats and movesets, the latter of which are quite lackluster in the base game.

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (18)
Pokemon Stadium
Nintendo 64

February 29, 2000

12 Pokemon Crystal Clear

Crystal, Expanded & Unrestricted

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (19)
  • Game: Pokemon Crystal
  • Created By ShockSlayer

As suggested by its name, Pokemon Crystal Clear is a fan game based on the Generation 2 classic. The ROM's big change is that it converts Pokemon Crystal into an open-world title, meaning players are free to challenge Kanto and Johto's Gyms at their leisure. Battles against trainers scale to match the player's level.

After picking a starting town, Trainers are let loose upon the world, permitting them to travel however they see fit. Pokemon Crystal Clear is all about removing restrictions, so this translates into a massive roster of starters and a ton of replayability.

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (20)
Pokémon Crystal

Game Boy Color

December 14, 2000

11 Pokemon Fool's Gold

Twisting A Classic, Resulting In A Fresh Experience

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (21)
  • Game: Pokemon Crystal
  • Created By Celadonk

For fans of the classic Generation 2 games, this game is nearly identical — but with a twist: all Pokemon are given new typings and new sprites. Each Generation 1 and 2 Pokemon is redesigned in Fool's Gold, and the game includes other changes such as altered overworld aesthetics, Pokemon availability, and areas to explore.

The charm of this ROM hack is in the creative choices made for each Pokemon variant. For instance, Rattata and Raticate are both Electric types (inspired by a computer and mouse), Abra's evolutionary line is turned Dark and hieroglyphic-themed, and Snorlax, known for lazing around, is now trimmed and a fit Fighting type.

10 Pokemon Glazed

New Region, Updated Mechanics, Fascinating Mystery

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (22)
  • Game: Pokemon Emerald
  • Created By Redriders180

Pokemon Glazed begins on the player's 12th birthday, signaling the start of their Pokemon journey. Choosing between the Generation 4 starters, Shinx, and Riolu, the player sets out to explore the Tunod Region, later journeying through Johto and Rankor (another new region). Along the way, they'll face off against a mysterious, devious team, and find the world they live in at odds with unseeable forces.



Every Mainline Pokemon Game, Ranked by How Long They Take to Beat

Though most mainline Pokemon games are incredibly similar when it comes to gameplay and story, some of them are significantly longer than others.

The story of Pokemon Glazed takes place years after HeartGold and SoulSilver, and the player will find themselves fighting through two different Leagues while uncovering the game's main plot. Unlike in other games, Mega Evolutions persist between battles, acting as a permanent change.

Pokemon Blazed Glazed by Tudou also deserves a special mention.

9 Pokemon Liquid Crystal

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (24)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Linkandzelda

Debuting nearly a decade ago, Pokemon Liquid Crystal shows its age in places, but the ROM hack's ambition still shines through to this day. On the surface, this project's main selling point is that it provides a graphical overhaul to Pokemon Crystal, putting the Generation 2 game through a FireRed filter.

Initially, Liquid Crystal might seem to be the same adventure with prettier visuals, but the campaign slowly implements twists that help set it apart from the official release. The story goes to some interesting places (and features a new villain team that complements Team Rocket), and the campaign is a bit more open. It is not like a drastic departure, but this ROM hack should be perfect for big fans of Crystal (more so than FireRed).

8 Pokemon FireRed: Rocket Edition

A Different Perspective

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (25)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Colonelsalt

A recurring and popular team in the Pokemon franchise, this game puts the player in the shoes of a Team Rocket Grunt. As a member of the infamous evil team, the player must lie their way through crimes, having the option to steal trainers' Pokemon and climb Team Rocket's ranks.

While the game still covers the classic story of Red, it puts new life into it by focusing on the people who orbit the legendary trainer's tale. This involves corrupt Gym Leaders, scorned trainers who Red defeats, and even the man who sent Red on his journey, Professor Oak. Showing the original game in a new perspective, players will interact with a game they hold dear to their hearts in a way they never have before.

7 Pokemon Gaia

A Well-Rounded & Complete Pokemon ROM Hack

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (26)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Spherical Ice

One of the most complete and best Pokemon ROM hacks on the market, Pokemon Gaia delivers a compelling story, strong visuals, an impressive roster of monsters, great sprites, and improved gameplay. Set in the Orbtus region, the player's goal is to investigate seismic activity happening in the area; this premise serves as a unique and solid introduction to the rest of the plot.

While based on Fire Red, Pokemon Gaia incorporates moves and ideas from later entries in the series. The fan game even includes Mega Evolution. Anyone searching for an experience that matches and even surpasses the official games should take a look at Pokemon Gaia.

6 Pokemon Blaze Black 2 & Volt White 2 Redux

Revamping A ROM Classic

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (27)
  • Games: Pokemon Black 2 & White 2
  • Created By AphexCubed & Drayano

Pokemon Blaze Black 2 & Volt White 2 Redux take the stellar Blaze Black & Volt White and modernize them to meet the current standards of the scene. The original ROMS are still highly enjoyable in their own right, but the Redux versions build upon them so perfectly that they should be treated as the default downloads from now on.


5 Reasons ILCA Should Remake Pokemon Black And White

The remaking of Pokemon Black and White is speculated to fall into the hands of ILCA. Here's why that could be a good thing.

As the name suggests, this hack tweaks , greatly enhancing the games' replayability, customization, and relevance. Some changes or additions include the introduction of the Fairy-type, varying difficulty levels in the form of Easy, Normal, and Challenge modes, and new story elements, particularly in the post-game.

  • ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (29)
    Pokémon Black 2
    Nintendo DS

    October 7, 2012
  • ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (30)
    Pokemon White 2
    Nintendo DS

    October 7, 2012

5 Pokemon Prism

Plenty Of New Content, Along With Working As A Sequel

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (31)
  • Game: Pokemon Crystal
  • Created By Koolboyman

Introducing two new Regions, new Pokemon types, and fun-to-play mini-games, Pokemon Prism follows the player as Lance's child who befriends a lost Larvitar and undertakes the task of acquiring 20 Gym badges. With a unique storyline that integrates deep Pokemon lore, the game combines old and new in an adventure captured in classic Game Boy Color graphics.

As a sequel to Pokemon Brown (another excellent fan game), the player will explore both the Naljo and Rijon Region. Players can take control of their Pokemon in Pokemon-only areas, discover and optimize new Gas- and Sound-type Pokemon, and customize their appearance between 12 sprite options.

4 Pokemon Sors

New Region, Good Storyline, & Impressive Graphics

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (32)
  • Game: Pokemon FireRed
  • Created By Vytron

From the same creator behind Pokemon Saiph, another top-tier hack, comes Pokemon Sors, an ambitious FireRed update. This release delivers a new region called Hupest, vastly improved visuals that would not look out of place on the Nintendo DS, and a unique storyline that, while darker than the official games, does not feel too far removed from what one might expect from Pokemon.

Roughly 300 years before the events of the main plot, an event occurred that caused Pokemon to turn violent, with some changing form as they joined the Eclipse-type. Now, as the son of divorced parents involved with an organization seeking to bring out the best (or worst) of Eclipse Pokemon, players will go on an adventure that holds plenty of danger, surprises, and intrigue.

ROM Hacks Long-Time Pokemon Fans Should Play (2024)
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