Best Pokémon GBA Gen III ROM Hacks and Fan Games

It’s been almost 20 years since we were able to explore the Hoenn region and catch them all in Pokémon Sapphire, Ruby, and Emerald.

Since then, many generations have followed one another. But the third generation of games remains among the most popular in the Pokémon community. Some even call it the peak of the series.

This is probably the generation with the most ROM hacks for this very reason. And the GBA offers a lot of stuff to hack!

Playing these custom games is a great way to relive past adventures from a new perspective, or navigate your way through entirely new landscapes. If you’re up for the challenge, here are the best hacks for Pokémon games from the GBA era.

10. Pokémon Kaizo Emerald

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If it exists, there’s a super hard Kaizo hack for it.

Pokémon Kaizo Emerald, like other ROM hacks in the genre, focuses on giving players a more difficult version of the base game.

Not only has the trainer AI been reworked to provide more challenging combat, but their placement on the game’s many routes is more perilous.

The puzzles in the Hoenn region are now more difficult, and you will have to change motorbikes much more often.

On the other hand, all Generation III Pokémon can be caught in this version of the game. And the post-game has also been significantly strengthened.

9. Pokémon Unbound

Pokémon Unbound ROM Hack ScreenshotPokémon Unbound ROM Hack Screenshot

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Arguably the most ambitious ROM hack for Gen III is Pokémon Unbound, which attempts to give the classic RPG a sort of MMO-like gameplay by making it open-ended and highly customizable.

Not only does it feature Pokémon from all generations, but it also updates the battle system to better reflect modern environments.

There’s a physical/special division, fairy types, and even Mega Evolutions!

One of the most interesting features of the game is the addition of daily quests and monthly rewards, similar to what you might see in a mobile game, which is appropriate given that most people play these hacks on their phones.

8. Pokémon Clover

Pokémon Clover GBA hack screenshotPokémon Clover GBA hack screenshot

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For those of you who don’t mind Fakemon and nerdy stories, I recommend Pokémon Clover.

This hack is an entirely new game that contains almost no traces of the original.

He is so big that he even has a project-specific website.

This FireRed ROM hack is based on inside jokes and general culture from the infamous 4chan imageboard (specifically the /vp/ Pokémon forum). This is actually a collaborative effort between frequent users of the /vp/ forum, who independently contributed to the creation of each of the original 386 fakemons.

But be careful: just like the 4chan forum, this hack is filled with politically incorrect and downright offensive fakemons. Discretion is required.

7. Glazed Pokémon

Pokémon glazed gen3 rom hack screenshotPokémon glazed gen3 rom hack screenshot

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Another complete overhaul for Pokémon Gen III, much more family-friendly, comes in the form of Pokémon Glazed, a hack with an all-new storyline that focuses on the regions of Tunod, Johto, and the mysterious Rankor.

The story revolves around the world of Pokémon and the “real” world which are on a collision course.

As a beginner Pokémon trainer, you must capture and train various creatures from Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos to prevent impending disaster.

Does that sound like fun to you? Try it! This will keep you busy for days.

6. Pokémon Nameless Edition

Pokémon Unnamed Edition Rome Hack ScreenshotPokémon Unnamed Edition Rome Hack Screenshot

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If you like well-developed stories that border on pretentious, consider Pokémon Unnamed Edition: a ROM hack of FireRed with an open-world feel.

You’ll explore the huge Cyenn region, but also visit smaller regions like West Tyron, the Isle of Sevii, and the Moorland region.

All of these areas are important parts of the game’s complex and dramatic plot.

It features Pokémon from Genres 4 to 7 and replaces Gyms with battle arenas that are more or less the same. But different enough to keep you engaged.

5. Pokémon Gaia

Pokémon Gaia Hack Screenshot PreviewPokémon Gaia Hack Screenshot Preview

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My favorite part of a Pokémon game is often exploring ancient ruins or learning about the rich history of the Pokémon world.

Our world is full of crazy stories, so imagine the lore behind the world of Pokémon!

Well, Pokémon Gaia is all about uncovering the ancient secrets of the Orbtus region, littered with ruins, religious idols, and stories from a bygone golden age. A truly historic Pokémon adventure.

That being said, this ROM hack shines with the inclusion of various Pokémon from the first six generations and a fantastic soundtrack.

4. Pokémon Rocket Edition

Pokémon Rocket Edition Hack ScreenshotPokémon Rocket Edition Hack Screenshot

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I’ve always liked games that let you see things from the villain’s point of view.

Are they victims of circumstances? Do they think what they are doing is for the best?

Maybe they’re just a sneaky bunch, but I want to know!

Pokémon Rocket Edition grants this wish by allowing you to roam the Kanto region as a servant of Team Rocket, and face the underbelly of the Pokémon Company in a story parallel to that of Vanilla FireRed.

It includes a morality system, plenty of side quests, and even explores some fan theories about the Pokémon universe that aren’t really considered in the main games.

3. Pokémon Saffron

Pokémon Saffron Anba Town – ROM Hack ScreenshotPokémon Saffron Anba Town – ROM Hack Screenshot

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The Azira region, deep in South America, is known for being a popular stopover for various Pokémon species during their annual migrations.

Once a decade, however, a crazy number of migration patterns converge in the region. This makes it one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet.

This is also where the story of Pokémon Saffron takes place, and that’s why there is… more than 280 of the most popular Pokémon are walking around.

And that includes monsters of all generations, including. Sword and shield!

What I like best about this ROM hack is that the first Pokémon in the game runs with its trainer, including the NPCs. Adorable.

2. Pokémon Adventure Red

Pokémon Adventure Red ROM Hack ScreenshotPokémon Adventure Red ROM Hack Screenshot

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Besides the games and anime, many other Pokémon media releases worldwide each year.

One of the most famous is the Pokémon Adventures mangawhich follows the exploits of Red from Palette City. He is the protagonist of the first generation games (and FireRed/LeafGreen).

Pokémon Adventures of Rouge is a rewrite of this manga in game form.

It features Red’s travels through the different regions, even Alola!

Of course, you can also catch Pokémon from all regions. So this is a real blockbuster hack.

Not only are the custom sprites fantastic, but the level cap of 255 (yes, you read that right), day/night system, and inclusion of new types like fusion and shadow Pokémon make this a game fantastic that rivals even the official versions.

Seriously, this could be a stock Pokémon game, it’s so detailed. Try it, you will love it. Especially hardcore fans of the manga.

1. Pokémon Orange Islands

Pokémon Orange Islands ROM Hack – Tangelo Island ScreenshotPokémon Orange Islands ROM Hack – Tangelo Island Screenshot

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Why play as Red when you can play as the real Ash Ketchum?

This ROM hack is a retelling of the entire Orange Islands Arc From the Pokémon anime, including every episode in one way or another.

The amount of detail is simply astonishing.

You get Pikachu as a starter and have a chance of catching everyone on Ash’s team fairly early in the game.

This isn’t too long, as there are only four Gym Leaders to defeat in the Orange Islands.

But wait until you see Team Rocket’s intro in Game Freak’s narrative style – you won’t forget your time playing this game.