He may not have been the most… useful Pokemon – until you managed to get him to evolve in to Kadabra – but managing to catch an Abra always gave me a little thrill. Probably the first Pokemon we encountered that required a bit more thought to catch than the usual “hit it with your best attack and hope it doesn’t faint” strategy.
Due to the fact that Dragonair evolved into Dragonite at the highest level of all evolutions at the time (a somewhat tedious 55), having a Dragonite really was a sign of being a good trainer. It also helped, of course, that Dragonite was a kick-ass Pokemon in it’s own right anyway – so the effort was really rewarded… for those who made it.
Whilst not the most capable fighter, Meowth made himself useful in battle through his signature move, Pay Day. Once all trainers in the game had been defeated, Pay Day became one of only three ways for the player to make any more money – to buy vitamins with – besides selling items, or going back to defeat the Elite Four again.
Obtained by trading a Haunter through the link cable, Gengar was a force to be reckoned with – assuming you knew how to exploit the Ghost-type advantage unqiue to his line. I can’t count the times I used, or was abused by, the Hypnosis/Dream Eater combination. And, at a high level, Night Shade was a pretty lethal attack as well.
Well, as one of the idiots who actually bought the Magikarp for sale outside Mt. Moon, I was determined to get my money’s worth. Like Abra, Magikarp was useless in combat, albeit even moreso, but once you managed to get him to Level 20 he became a force to be reckoned with – and rewarded players who stuck at it long enough to get him there.
With only two chances to catch them, many a Snorlax have tricked a player into wasting their one-and-only Master Ball over the years (myself include). Capable of restoring it’s own health (an ability otherwise exclusive to Chansey), by using Rest, and with a ridiculous amount of HP to begin with, Snorlax was the ultimate “tank” Pokemon.
Let’s be honest – most of use who played through Pokemon with any starter that wasn’t Squirtle probably ended up using Lapras as our surfing buddy. One of the strongest non-legendary Pokemon (besides Dragonite, and possibly Snorlax), her ability to use Ice and Water moves (such as Surf) made her an incredibly useful ally.
So, you’ve beaten all the gyms and received their badges, you’ve defeated Team Rocket and bested the Elite Four at the Indigo Plateau. Assuming you caught the Legendary Birds on your way there – you’re done, right? Well, maybe not quite. Let’s just hope you didn’t go and waste your Master Ball on a dumb Snorlax or something…
A Pokemon that could literally become any other Pokemon – ’nuff said.
Well, obviously Pikachu was going to be pretty high on the list – due to the anime’s influence. Pikachu was given to the player if they purchased the Yellow Version of the game, but otherwise catching him entailed waiting until the Power Plant late in the game, or hoping for a miracle in Viridian Forest (because he was rare there).
So, Eevee always seemed to me like the perfect Pokemon. Not only was it cute on it’s own, but everyone was able to get one – and only one – meaning that the choice in his evolution became an important decision for every one of us. Sure, if we took Charmander or Squirtle as a Starter Pokemon the choice was a little simpler for us (usually), but otherwise it was a tough decision – and usually required a bit of discussion with friends, to make sure nobody got the same eeveelution. After all, if each of you all had the same one, how would you manage to fill your Pokedexes!?