Watching someone speedrun a classic Pokemon game can be hell to the ears thanks the constant alarm bell noise from having a Pokemon on low health in every fight. If you’re new to watching speedruns of the classic Game Boy RPG or perhaps tuning in to GDQ then you might be wondering what the significance of the red bar is and why its so important that it happens for any chance of a world record.
This occurs in only the oldest Pokemon games which are:
- Pokemon Blue
- Pokemon Red
- Pokemon Yellow
- Pokemon Green
Why do speed runners have their Pokemon on the red bar in every fight?
The answer is actually very straightforward, when a Pokemon has a red health bar there is a constant noise being played which prevents the cry sound of a Pokemon entering the battle being played. The noise of the red bar is shorter than the cry of the Pokemon thus shortening the fight and saving 1-2 seconds each time.
Because of this, the player can also make inputs during the time they are meant to be ‘crying’ saving more time.
This may be minor in one battle but over the course of the entire run it is significant, especially when considering how tight the times are at the top of the leaderboard.
As soon as this “feature” was discovered it became common practice present in any World Record attempt.
If a Pokémon is in a critical health status, the game will start to play a sound to let the player know their Pokémon is low on health and about to possibly faint. This sound has an unintended side effect of causing other sounds and animations to not play due to the limited number of audio channels in the Game Boy’s hardware. This glitch has become very well known and is used often in speedruns for the Generation I games.Bulbapedia
Having your main Pokémon have a health bar go down to red color (also known as “Redbar”) when the game starts making beeping noises due to the low health may put your speedrun at risk of failure since opponents can easily finish you off there but it can however save a little time. This can be useful when your Pokémon levels up, as the level up process can take a while to pass by while not at redbar but while it is, you can easily skim through the text really fast and the opponent will instantly send out their next Pokémon with you already on the turn selection bar while at the same time the opponent’s Pokémon is making it’s cry. You can see that many speedrunners may intentionally put their Pokémon in redbar when they can safely get the chance too.strategywiki.org
Is Redbar a risky strategy?
Absolutely. Having your Pokemon at low health can risk ending the run right there – it is possible for your Pokemon to miss its attack and then the enemy pokemon hit you back, potentially with a critical hit, too.
However risky it is, however, the time loss from NOT using the red bar manipulation is unlikely to lead to a world record as the top times all have this method included.
Is Pokemon Red Bar an exploit?
The Pokemon Red Bar mechanic is not seen as a glitch or an exploit and is therefore safe to perform in a stream intended for Speedrun.com. Some would refer to it as a game mechanic manipulation.
Here’s the current World Record complete with that annoying noise