Pokémon Gold and Silver are set to be re-released on the Nintendo 3DS in the eShop on September 22. Last year, with the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon and its introduction of Kanto Alolan forms, the re-release of Pokémon Red and Blue, and people rushing around town on Pokémon Go, I looked at the five worst Pokémon evolutions from generation one, and there were quite a lot of choices at that! The beauty of Pokémon Gold and Silver was it was one of the best generations for pokémon designs, and I think it would be near impossible to name five terrible evolutions. That’s why this time it will be the five best evolutions from generation two, which remain some of the best designs to this day.

Tyrogue to Hitmonlee/Hitmonchan/Hitmontop

generation two
Artwork by Zerochan923600

The introduction of Tyrogue brought new dynamics to the way in which we handled the attack and defense stats of our pokémon. When attack is higher than defense, Tyrogue evolves into Hitmonlee, when attack is lower than defense, it evolves into Hitmonchan. Hitmontop was also introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver as the third possible evolution for Tyrogue, and also the hardest to achieve. It evolves into Hitmontop when attack and defense are equal. How much protein and iron you give your Tyrogue will help to give you the evolution you want most; luckily nature wasn’t introduced until generation three, meaning it was much easier to get the Hitmon of your choice. Tyrogue was also one of a group of baby pokémon first introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver, a dynamic that seems to have become less and less relevant.

Seadra to Kingdra

generation two

The water/dragon typing couldn’t exist in Pokémon Red and Blue due to the imbalance it would have caused. The only dragon move available was dragon rage, which always inflicts 40HP. This meant, combined with the water type, a water/dragon type would have had zero moves that could cause super-effective damage against it. This is one of the reasons why Gyarados is a water/flying type rather than water/dragon. However, in generation two, three new dragon moves were introduced; dragonbreath, outrage, and twister. Now dragons were free to be taken down by other dragons with much more ease, resulting in the first water/dragon type pokémon; Kingdra. Evolving whiling trading holding the dragon scale, Kingdra was one of the first to introduce a new mechanic of evolution whilst holding a particular item. It remains one of the best designs in pokémon, beautiful and elegant, yet a sense of ferocity surrounds it. Most important of all, the typing makes sense.

Houndour to Houndoom

generation two
Artwork by Tapwing

Both Houndour and Houndoom are known as the dark pokémon, and it’s easy to see why when you encounter Houndoom’s devil-like horns. Generation two introduced two new types, Dark and Steel, and no other pokémon represents the Dark type better than these two canines. What’s more disturbing is one of the most overlooked features of Houndour and Houndoom. You might notice around their ankles are ridges that represent shackles. As it evolves, the shackles only double up and become more pronounced, a sign of its imprisonment to the devil. Houndoom itself is inspired by the legend of the hellhound, most notably the Black Shuck in East England and the Cŵn Annwn from Wales. Both legends have terrible tales about a howl that’s loud when it’s far away and soft when it’s nearby, something to consider when you read Houndoom’s pokédex entries.

Eevee to Espeon/Umbreon

generation two
Artwork by Deruuyo

The Eevee evolutions represent the diversity of pokémon better than no other pokémon. In generation one, it highlighted the dynamics of the evolution stones. This time, in generation two, its purpose was to illustrate the day/night cycles that Pokémon Gold and Silver introduced. Evolutions dependent on the time of day have continued right up until the last installment, Pokémon Sun and Moon, showing how important this update has become. Umbreon and Espeon remain, not only the most popular Eevee evolutions but two of the most popular pokémon designs overall. The beauty of their designs is how they represent their typing so perfectly, and yet, effortlessly look more like an Eevee evolution than Jolteon, Flareon, and Vaporean. More interestingly, Umbreon’s rings represent Egyptian lunar markings associated with the jackal god, Anubis; the ancient God of the Afterlife. As for Espeon, it is based on the legend of the nekomata, goblin cats with forked tails that grew more vengeful with each wrong against it…so treat your Espeon well.

Golbat to Crobat

generation two
Artwork by Haychel

The evolution that should have happened in Pokémon Red and Blue. When Crobat came about in generation two, Golbat began to look more like the milkman’s child. If Zubat evolved straight into Crobat it would be the perfect evolution, however, Pokémon decided to go through an awkward teenage phase with Golbat. Everything about Crobat is a perfect design, from its extra set of wings to give it ninja maneuverability, combined with a body shape that isn’t too distinct from Zubat. Thanks to Crobat, Golbat has become one of the worst designed pokémon, representing nothing this lineage is supposed to be about.