I always thought HGSS were easy because I knew what to do since I played Gold when it came out all those years ago. o.o
But yeah ... I did beat the E4 the first time around when my Pokemon were in their early 40s. I found that funny until I hit Kanto's gyms and they were wiping most of my team out and I had to rely on my Meganium lol.
BUT RED. SKDHUFKSDJ RED I HATED HIM LOL. He was easier in GSC! Took me several tries until I just gave up and waited until I transferred in my stronger Pokemon from my other games! xD