you can get riolu from the farm you come across pretty soon, i think its the first time you can catch one wild and they make pretty good party pokemon once they evolve to lucario which they do by hapyness so pretty early if you make sure they dont die a ton. Magnemite is found pretty early too and is good, as is flaffy
So who do you recommend, Magnemite or mareep? im thinking choosing magnemite
Id go with mareep early on, he evolves at like 15 or 16 and then again at 30. While mangemite doesnt evolve till 30 the first time then needs you to level him in chargestone cave to get his next evolve. So mareep is more powerful for the early game, their both pretty good though so its really up to preference. I dont think either will really let you down! But if you do go magnemite just make sure his ability isnt magnet pull ><
When the hell were pokemon games ever challenging?
If anything, the newer installments are arguably harder than the older ones.
For one, the Gen 1 games had some atrocious AI -- a Lv5 Bulbasaur could solo the entirety of the Celadon City gym without taking a sinlge point of damage because every single Pokemon there, including Erika's, knew 'Poison Powder' and would spam it on Bulbasaur to no avail.
The AI will always prioritize using move types that are "Super Effective" against you, it will always attempt to use 'Poison Powder' against Bulbasaur. But the AI cannot tell whether the attack will actually hurt/affect the target (it can't differentiate attack and status moves. And poison types are immune to Poison status), and since the AI in Gen 1 had infinite PP, they would continuously try (and fail) to use 'Poison Powder' on Bulbasaur, ultimately making them free EXP.
Also, many of the mons had horrible movesets (IE the moveset of Champion Blue's Rhydon is entirely Normal-typed -- it had absolutely NO Rock or Ground moves whatsoever) and several pokemon could solo the entire game (Charizard, Allakazam, NidoKing/Queen, etc). There's also the infamous MissingNo glitch and the Mew glitch.
Sure there were some roadblocks like Misty's Starmie or Whitney's Milktank, but getting past them took only about 30~60mins of your time at worst.
Compared to the modern games, the earlier games' difficulty really felt mindless time to time.