Pokemon ROM hacks breathe new life into classic games, allowing fans to do everything from visiting old regions with a new twist to creating entirely new regions from scratch. Today, we’re looking specifically at the best Pokemon Emerald ROM hacks you can download and play immediately.
What is a Pokémon Emerald ROM Hack?
The term ROM hack describes modifications that fans make to classic games. Creative members of the community take a ROM, a digital copy of a game’s code, and modify things until they end up with a new game.
Sometimes these games are entirely new and sometimes they simply introduce some quality-of-life improvements that hadn’t been thought of for the release of the original game.
Since we’re specifically talking about Pokémon Emerald ROM hacks, we’re talking about new games built upon the coding framework of Pokemon Emerald. We’ll only be listing 7 today, but rest assured, there are plenty more out there, so there’s never a need to get bored with Pokemon content.
Why are Pokémon Emerald ROM Hacks Special?
Creating a ROM hack is no small feat. Beyond the creativity needed to develop a new Pokemon game, there are hours of work spent learning about how the code works and troubleshooting whenever a problem arises.
Luckily, the Pokemon ROM hack community is strong. People share information with each other and the ROM hacks we have today are far more impressive than they were when the hobby originated.
So, why Pokémon Emerald? Well, a large reason is because of how much research has been put into it. There are entire computer programs built around Pokémon Emerald so creators can easily modify whatever it is they want to change about the game.
Also, more practically speaking, Pokémon Emerald is one of the most ‘finished’ Pokemon games out there. Since it is essentially already an improved ROM hack of Ruby and Sapphire, built on much of the same code with expanded content and quality-of-life improvements, it makes sense to use it as a stepping stone for further customization.
Of course, there’s also a clear reason. Generation 3 was full of amazing games, so any excuse to return to the Hoenn region and unlock some of that classic nostalgia is more than enough to make a new game.
Top 7 Pokemon Emerald ROM Hacks
Now that you know all about how ROM hacks work and why Pokemon Emerald is one of the best templates for them, let’s get to the best ROM hacks around.
7. Pokémon CAWPS
Pokemon CAWPS is a very interesting ROM hack. We debated whether or not we should include it on the list, but opted to since it is a great example of how truly different a game can become through ROM hacks.
The Pokemon CAWPS ROM hack is a game that is presented as ‘Pokemon for adults.’ It has you play as a cop in the Hoenn region and it deals with a lot of more supposedly ‘mature’ concepts.
In reality, CAWPS is just an edgy game that uses the fact that you’re a police officer to deal with concepts ranging from immature to outrightly disturbing.
This is a hard game to really judge. It’s certainly an accomplishment, considering that it manages to overhaul almost everything about the base game while still very clearly taking place in the Hoenn region.
On the other hand, it falls into the classic trap of attempting to make a mature game and instead making a game for edgy teens to enjoy. So, if you’re an edgy teen, have fun. Otherwise, maybe keep reading and see what else we have on the list.
6. Pokémon Victory Fire
Pokémon Victory Fire is a rather impressive ROM hack, especially considering it was made all the way back in 2012. There have been a lot of advancements in the community since then, so this game might not hold up to modern standards, but that doesn’t make it any less of an achievement.
While this is certainly a ROM hack, Pokemon Victory Fire is clearly its own Pokémon game. This game puts you into an entirely new region, the Tyron region, where you’ll be able to encounter Pokemon from up through Generation V and even dabble in mega evolution.
Like many other Pokémon games, you’ll go up against a mysterious evil team, face off against exciting new gym leaders with your starter (either Axew or Gible), and uncover the secrets of the Pokemon world.
Oh, and if the title didn’t give it away, Victini has an important role to play. Of course, we’ll let you learn all about that on your own, so go ahead and download Pokemon Victory Fire today!
5. Pokémon Emerald Rogue
Pokemon Emerald Rogue is an incredibly innovative ROM hack of Pokemon Emerald that does what no Pokémon game has really done before. This ROM hack is a Pokemon-styled roguelike.
In this game, you’ll go out on adventures where every route, encounter, and item you find is completely randomized. Much like in a Nuzlocke, when your Pokemon faint they will leave your party.
Do you have what it takes to take down all 8 randomly determined gym leaders, the elite four, and the champion?
In this Pokémon Emerald ROM hack, you’ll be able to slowly unlock more buildings and NPCs in the hub town, allowing you to better prepare your team and even unlock Pokemon up through generation 7.
If you’re an avid nuzlocker or even just a fan of both roguelikes and Pokemon, then this is the game for you.
4. Pokémon Theta Emerald Renev
Pokemon Theta Emerald Renev is, first and foremost, a mouthful. More importantly, though, it’s one of many ROM hacks that have sought to improve Pokemon Emerald and make it a genuinely better game.
How do you make one of the best Pokemon games of all time better? Well, by adding in all of the beloved and exciting features that have been introduced in the years since Emerald was released.
Theta Emerald Renev has over 700 Pokemon, the fairy type, mega evolutions, an improved battle frontier, all sorts of legendary catchable pokémon, updated moves, stats, and abilities, and so much more.
At the end of the day, Theta Emerald Renev is just Emerald with many improvements, but, arguably, that makes it the most authentic Pokemon Emerald ROM hack on this list.
If that sounds like a blast to you, then download this game and start catching your favorite Pokemon!
3. Pokémon Inclement Emerald / Pokémon Emerald Kaizo
That’s right folks, we have ourselves a tie for third place! Both Inclement Emerald and Emerald Kaizo are difficulty-based ROM hacks, games intended to introduce a grueling level of difficulty onto the base game, and both definitely achieve that goal.
If there’s one thing most Pokemon fans can agree on, it’s that the official games rarely offer any true challenges. These are games made for kids, so that’s where the difficulty tends to land.
Luckily, there are plenty of fans out there who want a truly punishing Pokemon game, thus the introduction of the challenging ROM hack.
Pokemon Inclement Emerald and Emerald Kaizo both introduce improved battle AI to the trainers, modify the level curve, and, in general, make beating the game something you really have to work for.
Of the two of these, it’s generally agreed upon that Inclement Emerald is the more forgiving, offering more quality-of-life improvements. On the other hand, Emerald Kaizo offers a much more challenging game that is near-impossible if you’re anything short of a Pokemon expert.
We’ll leave it up to you to decide which one of these fan games is more your speed, but if you’re looking for a challenge mode, these are definitely two Pokemon games that you should try on for size.
2. Pokémon R.O.W.E.
Pokemon R.O.W.E, or Rioluwott Open World Emerald, is an open-world version of the Hoenn Region. This game, which includes pokémon from up through Gen VII, is an absolutely amazing experience for those who are more interested in battles than stories.
In this game, you get to choose where you’ll start your journey through the Hoenn region and, what’s more, you get to decide how you’ll journey through the Hoenn region.
Rather than playing as some protagonist, this game makes it feel like you are your own trainer battling through a region and becoming the very best without having your hand held the whole time.
Of course, this ROM hack wouldn’t be so high on our list if it didn’t offer a ton of customizable settings, plenty of quality-of-life improvements, and battles that are far more impressive than a standard Pokemon title.
Perhaps most importantly, the gyms in R.O.W.E. all have teams dependent on how many badges you already have. So, if you want to face Juan first, you can take on a Horsea instead of his normal ace, a Kingdra.
This connection to the animated series makes this game a top contender, and for that, we highly suggest you check it out.
This game puts you into an entirely new region that works as an extension to the Pokémon universe since you’ll be able to travel straight from Tunod to Johto after becoming champion of the Tunod league.
From an amazing story to gorgeously made sprites, this game offers everything you could want from Pokemon. So much, in fact, that this game has even inspired members of the community to make their own spin-offs.
Whether you’re an experienced ROM player or entirely new to the hobby, you definitely need to play Pokémon Glazed today.
There are many gaming communities out there that create new content for the games they love, but few can rival the dedication that Pokemon fans have. There are so many ROM hacks to enjoy that it’s hard to pick a few favorites.
So, check out some of our favorites and when you’re done playing them, go out and download some more. The best part of Pokemon Emerald ROM hacks, and Pokemon ROM hacks in general, is that there will always be more content for you to enjoy.
Dane started off gaming at the tender age of 3 with the first Atari console. His favorite video game genres are turn-based RPGs (can I get a shout out for Tactics Ogre?) and fighting games. Read more...