The launch of Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver on Virtual Console has given us the chance to take a second look at some of those classics’ most iconic, fun, and memorable events. Covering both the Johto and Kanto regions, these sprawling games have no shortage of stuff to do—but we’ve narrowed down our list to 10 activities you simply shouldn’t miss. Also, be sure to check out our visitor’s guide to Johto, a roundup of even more tips, activities, and moments of interest to new players and returning Trainers alike.
10. Catch Red Gyarados
Meeting red Gyarados at the Lake of Rage is one of the most iconic moments in the history of Pokémon. For most Trainers, it's the first Shiny Pokémon ever encountered in the wild. To experience this for yourself, head north from Mahogany Town and then use Surf to find the red Gyarados waiting patiently in the middle of the lake. You'll have only one chance to catch red Gyarados here—if you knock out the Pokémon, it won't come back. But either way, you will get the Red Scale, which leads us to...
9. Get the Exp. Share
Leveling up Pokémon can take quite a while, but the Exp. Share makes it a little easier. In Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, you can exchange the Red Scale you got from the battle with red Gyarados for an Exp. Share. Take the Red Scale to a man on Route 30 who goes by the awesome name of Mr. Pokémon and he’ll make the swap. Then, be sure to give the item to one of your Pokémon to hold. Note that unlike more recent games in the series, only the Pokémon that holds it will benefit from the shared experience earned in battle.
8. Play the Card Flip Game
The Goldenrod City Game Corner has good stuff available for those who have the coins. Not only can you get three of the most powerful TMs, it’s a good place to add several cool Pokémon to your party. But those coins can be hard to come by, so we suggest heading straight to the card flip game. The odds of winning this game are in your favor, and don’t rely on perfect timing. Just keep playing and watch your pile of coins grow!
7. Leave Pokémon with Ditto at a Pokémon Day Care
Finding an Egg can be notoriously tricky, but you can make the process much easier with the use of Ditto. The Transform Pokémon can be paired with just about any Pokémon in the Pokémon Day Care to produce a Pokémon Egg (Legendary Pokémon excluded). It doesn’t even matter what gender the other Pokémon is. Better still, you can encounter Ditto in the wild just outside of the Pokémon Day Care on Route 34 south of Goldenrod City. Catch one and leave it in the Pokémon Day Care, then watch the Pokémon Eggs roll in.
6. Encounter Lapras on Friday
The rumors of a special Lapras in Union Cave are true! This elusive Pokémon appears alone deep at the bottom of the cave exclusively on Fridays, so mark your calendar. When that day comes, you better be ready—Lapras can be reached only if you have a Pokémon that knows Surf, and it’s a long way down, so a few Repels might be useful. Just be well-prepared to battle, as Lapras has a lot of HP. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to catch Lapras on your first try—it will return, but you’ll have to wait until another Friday comes along to try to catch it again.
5. Complete Your Unown Dex
The history of the Ruins of Alph is largely lost to time, but at the time of Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, it’s filled with mysterious Unown. Take your best shot at finding all 26 Unown shapes representing the 26 letters of the alphabet. It’s not an easy task, but a worthy goal of any true Trainer. To make tracking which of these enigmatic Pokémon you’ve caught a little easier, catch three or more Unown, then return to the lab outside the ruins. There, a scientist will give you an Unown Pokédex exclusively for this purpose. Fun fact: when you caught all 26 Unown in the original Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver for Game Boy Color, you got special stamps to print out on the Game Boy Printer. All you’ll get now is the satisfaction that comes from hard work and some bragging rights. Good job, Trainer!
4. Defeat the Karate Master
As you make your way through Mt. Mortar, don’t miss the opportunity to brawl with the talented Karate Master, who will come at you with a Hitmonlee and a Hitmonchan. If you’re able to beat this Trainer and you have an open spot in your party, he’ll hand over a Tyrogue. Tyrogue is special in that it can evolve at Lv. 20 into Hitmonlee if its Attack is higher than its Defense, or Hitmonchan if its Defense is higher than its Attack, or Hitmontop if the stats are equal. It’s the only way to get any of these Pokémon in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, so don’t miss Tyrogue and plan your Evolution accordingly.
3. Get a Master Ball
There’s only one Master Ball in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, and you’ll have to make it through all Johto’s Gyms to get it. After beating the final Gym, head back to New Bark Town where you began your adventure and return to Professor Elm’s lab. He’ll hand over the Master Ball to reward your battling expertise. It’s probably wise to save it for when you encounter a roaming Raikou, Entei, or Suicune, which are as elusive as they are tough to beat. And this leads us to...
2. Unleash the Beasts
The Legendary trio of Raikou, Entei, and Suicune are majestic, ferocious, and really hard to catch. Once you’ve made it through the Burned Tower, the three Pokémon will begin to roam the land. Just finding them can be difficult, as they move around a lot. Not only that, but every time you use Fly, they change their position. And when you finally do encounter them, they have a nasty habit of running away! Save yourself a little effort by using that Master Ball on one of them, then plot out a plan to use status moves that make them sleep to keep the rest of them in battle. And note that they won’t come back if you knock them out, unlike in newer games. We recommend keeping a strong Pokémon that knows False Swipe in your party while you track them down.
1. Catch One More Legendary Pokémon
The Legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh or Lugia can be caught in Pokémon Gold or Pokémon Silver, respectively, before taking on the Elite Four. But it isn’t until much later in the game that Trainers can have a shot at catching the other Legendary Pokémon in their game. Once your travels take you all the way to Pewter City in Kanto, look for an older gentleman who will hand over an item that lets you encounter the opposite Pokémon of the one you caught: he’ll give you a Silver Wing if you’re playing Pokémon Gold, and a Rainbow Wing if you’re playing Pokémon Silver. What an incredible gift to cap off your epic journey!
Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver are overflowing with great moments around every turn. After you discover these 10 activities, keep exploring the amazing Johto and Kanto regions for more interesting events. Good luck, Trainers!