Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver :: Choosing Your Starter Pokemon
Since the dawn of time, or at least Pokemon Red and Blue, every Pokemon trainer had to start their journey with a difficult choice: Which of the three starting pokemon will you take with you? The one you pick will grow and help you throughout your quest to become Pokemon champion while the other two will forever be out of your reach unless you can find another real life player to trade with.
Cyndaquil, the Fire Mouse Pokemon
Fire pokemon are actually few and far between in Heart Gold and Soul Silver. You won't see one until after the third gym fight, when you might run into a Growlithe or Vulpix on your way to earn the fourth badge. Additionally, both Growlithe and Vulpix needs a fire stone to evolve, which is also hard to come by.
Cyndaquil has an easy time in most of your major battles throughout the game. With a type advantage over Bug, Steel, Grass, and Ice, Cyndaquil will only face trouble against the eighth gym leader Clair, who uses Dragons.
However, Cyndaquil suffers from a low defense stat. Don't expect it and its evolutions, Quilava and Typhlosion, to take too many hits. Also, Cyndaquil will not have many fire attacks early on. You will be holding onto Ember for awhile before Lava Plume and Flamethrower comes along.
Totodile, the Big Jaw Pokemon
Totodile offers a good, balanced game. Water pokemon are always reliable and useful to have, especially with HMs like Surf and Waterfall in the game. However, because of this usefulness, you can expect to see a lot of water types in your travels, many of them just as good as Totodile.
One of the things going against Totodile is its looks, which will lose it many fans from the female population. However, beauty is only skin deep, and Totodile packs a mean punch with a high attack stat for anyone that says otherwise. And, although Totodile takes the longest to evolve the first time around, becoming Croconaw at level 18, it is the first to reach its final evolution, becoming Feraligatr at level 30.
Chikorita, the Leaf Pokemon
This big eyed cutie pie will definitely find a spot in the hearts of most trainers. It and its evolutions, Bayleef and Meganium, are perhaps the best looking of the three starting pokemon.
However, looks isn't everything. If you want to prove your toughness and pokemon training ability, Chikorita is the way to go. With a weakness against the first two gym leaders, who carry flying and bug pokemon respectively, you will need to level up a lot before being able to move on in the game. Having Chikorita on your team is a hit or miss, as it will either be really strong against a certain type or pretty much useless. Be sure to carry an electric and water type along with you if you start with Chikorita.
Luckily, to help you with the challenge, Chikorita is the best starter pokemon in terms of defense stat. You will be counting on Chikorita to simply outlast its foes early on. Also, having Chikorita on those long surfs and cave tripsp filled with water and rock pokemon is very useful.
A Quick Recap and Some Tips
Taking Cyndaquil will help you get through the early part of the game easily and make a good impact on most of the gym fights. However, expect to carry a lot of healing items and to be using Ember for a while.
Totodile is not a bad choice, as it is a strong and reliable pokemon. However, it is also not a great choice, as there will be many water pokemon to choose from throughout the game.
Pick Chikorita if you want to be challenged as it will have the hardest time beating the early gyms. However, Chikorita is a great travel companion and can fit into your team well as long as you bring along some good partner types.
When you pick your starter, you have a chance of getting a shiny, or alternate coloured, pokemon. In fact, the chances are a bit better than you would normally get, being a 3/8192 chance instead of 1/8192. If you are willing to restart your game over eight thousand times for a shiny, this would be it!