Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Inescapable Chargestone Cave

Pokemon is pretty formulaic--walk in grass to fight pokemon, walk in caves to fight pokemon. It's a formula that has worked for years and the biggest complaint that I hear from people is that they always want "more pokemon".

This time around, Nintendo said, "Fine! Here are 156 New pokemon, go crazy!"

You would think that this would be a good thing right?

Would I even ask the question if there wasn't a problem?

Once when I was young I decided that I wanted to make the awesomest (its a word now) Lego Castle ever for a school show-and-tell project. I spent days planning it out--it would have towers, and a laser cannon, and a dungeon furnished with skeletons--actually I spent so much time planning out the best castle ever that I never actually made the best castle ever--and I had to scrounge something up for show-and-tell. It was the worst show that I have ever told...

My problem is that I spent too much time on quantity and not enough on quality--its called "spreading yourself too thin" and it's what Nintendo did this time around.

Take those monkeys for example: pansage, panpour, and pansear. They are the exact same pokemon.

Another example: Throh and Sawk. These are two different pokemon who are in no way related--neither by evolution or by any mention in the their pokedex entries--but just look at them! They are the exact same pokemon! Nintendo basically made Burt and Ernie (from sesame street) into fighting-types.


I'll get to why I brought this up in a minute--its been a while since my last update so bear with me a sec.

Rock Jock (Boldore) was awesome, but I managed to pick up "Terk", Tirtouga by resurrecting it from a fossil, so I put the turtle on my team for my first water-type!

Deedoon surprised me by evolving a second time into Unfezent, the most awesome-looking bird pokemon ever.

Leavanny, newly re-nicknamed "Knives" continues to be the resident powerhouse--snagging a critical victory in my last gym battle (number 5) against the ground-trainer Gymleader Clay.

And "Krookodile" the Sandile just evolved into "Krookodile" the Krokorok. His attitude in that picture just screams "Haters gonna hate'".

I just got out of the longest cave ever--Chargestone Cave. It wasn't long distance-wise, its just that I encountered a pokemon every two steps (not even kidding)--this isn't what I had in mind when I said "more pokemon".

Considering the name of the cave, I encountered some electric and steel types of varying creativity. I saw an iron-barbed seed named Ferroseed, an electric spider named Joltik, and the dumbest pokemon that I have ever encountered, Klink. Now, Joltik looks kind of cool--and hey, even Ferroseed looks like it can at least evolve into something that doesn't look like a sadistic easter-egg (it is, after all, grass/steel, so this forme must be a seed), but Klink is just the worst. Just to prove my point on how easy it is to come up with cool pokemon designs, here are some fake pokemon I JUST took 2 minutes to find on the internet that are each infinitely cooler than "Klink".  Note: I do not own these pictures.

Current Squad:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

There is no Magikarp guy...

Something slightly disturbing I noticed today was that I have yet to encounter "The Magikarp guy".

I broached this subject with a friend of mine and he knew what I was talking about immediately. There is, in every game, one trainer who is usually named something like "Fisherman Dale" or "Swimmer Arnold" who has thought it fit to have caught six Magikarp and believes himself to be unstoppable. Because Magikarp don't learn any attacks that cause damage until level 15, he spends the whole match using splash for "No Effect!" Really, he is just the game's biggest time sink.

I have found a "Basculin guy" who trains six Basculin (which apparently come in two flavors: red and blue), but he was actually a capable foe.

This would normally not be important but for the fact that I haven't found ANY old pokemon in the game at all. Where I would normally come across Zubat (namely: everywhere) I have found "Woobat" (real clever Nintendo...), there are no Wurmple, Caterpie, Pikachu--I haven't even come across a single Ratatta (what most would dream of doing).

I think this means that there are no old pokemon in this game--or at least that they don't become available until after I beat the main game...I'm not sure if this is awesome or sad.  I would be ALL FOR so many new pokemon if the pokemon I were seeing didn't look so lame. (Pictured: Klink, the gear pokemon...not kidding).

I guess what I'm saying is that if you're going to erase all your cool old pokemon, don't replace them with this:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Electric Battle with Elsa!

Let the Battle Begin!

In the opening volleys, Wiggles successfully burns the first Emolga, then Siglyph is sent-in to use Light Screen and Psybeam. The first Emolga is almost KO-ed, but Elsa saves it with a Hyper potion. Totem the Siglyph is Knocked-out soon afterward on Turn 7.
The following two turns I make a mistake. I had sent in Deedoon to lure Elsa into Volt-Switching rather than using a Hyper Potion, but she healed Emolga anyways. Light Screen wears off, and I switch to Wiggles to try to burn the second Emolga, but is instead KO-ed with Volt Switch when Elsa gets her first lucky critical hit of the match.
In the next three turns I capitalize on the free switch-in after one of my pokemon has fainted and send in Krookodile for a revenge kill. With help from intimidate, I wear down the Emolga until it is eventually KO-ed. Krookodile then becomes paralyzed due to "Static".At this point I know I'm in trouble--Krookodile is dead in the water and only one Emolga is gone. I decide to send-in Deedoon to force Burn damage and stall with Detect, then allow Krook to die so I may use a revive later. Next I send in Deedoon for more burn-stalling. The result of these five turns? Deedoon is dead due to a second lucky critical hit, Emolga has nearly succumbed to Burn damage, and Krookodile is revived.The next three turns start off very unlucky--but then ultimately turn the tide of the match in my favor. First, Emolga's Volt Switch has resulted in Zebstrika being brought to the front. Excited about finally setting-up Red for a game-winning sweep, I immediately send him in...where he is one-hit-KO-ed with a lucky critical hit "Spark" attack.  DAMMIT!!!! I retaliate with Rock Jock, who first uses Mud Slap to decrease accuracy, then uses Rock Blast, which luckily hits five times, once for a critical hit--and seems to be EXACTLY enough damage to knock-out Zebstrika...almost there...
Boldore is now more-or-less out of commission (because he is so slow that he will move second and surely be dead by then)--so I use this turn to use a super-potion on Krookodile in case I have once again underestimated Emolga's power. Rock Jock dies easily and I send-in the Krook. The combination of Intimidate and Burn make Emolga's attacks seem to strike like tissue paper--and Krookodile eventually KO's it with Bite on Turn 19!
Krookodile has certainly proven its worth, but I am unsure about replacing any of my current squadmates with him. Leavanny and Scrappy are both amazing fighters. This being said I may need Krookodile in the future--so I will be training him on the side--and keeping him and Siglyph up to par with my main team--as alternates--in case I need them again.

Team-Building Take 1

The team has been assembled and I'm ready to battle Elsa! Today's post will be a strategy rundown of the battle and how I hope it goes. Go ahead and skip if not interested.
"The Lead"
Yamask (Wiggles)
Types: Ghost
-Wiggles may have the least stopping power in the entire squad, but his real usefulness lies in his ability to burn with "Will-O-Wisp". By burning Elsa's pokemon, they will take 1/8 of their total HP damage per turn and their attack stat will be halved--which is necessary to give my team longevity.

"The Screen"
Siglyph (Totem)
Types: Psychic/Flying
-Totem is a pokemon I found while searching for the correct team anchor in the Desert Ruins and his place is simple: Set up "Light Screen" and then cause as much damage as possible before dying. Light Screen will allow my team mates to survive more "Volt Switch" than usual--and will hopefully allow my team to set-up easier

"The Meatpuppet"
Tranquill (Deedoon)
Types: Normal/Flying
-Deedoon may not make much sense on a team like this, but actually has a very specific, very important place--Deedoon is meant to be "Volt-Switch bait"--meaning he will be sent out to lure Elsa's Emolga into using "Volt Switch" so I may send-in my team anchor. Plus "Detect" will allow me to get a extra turn of burn damage on the foes Wiggles is able to burn.

"The Sweeper"
Pignite (Red)
Types: Fire/Fighting
-Red is meant to be sent-in against Elsa's Zebstrika and to use "Flame Charge" for damage and a guaranteed speed increase. This will allow Red to continue to deal damage by outrunning all of his foes.

"The Wall"
Boldore (Rock Jock)
Types: Rock
-Rock Jock's job is to be tough and deal damage. Rock Blast is an amazingly powerful move--and is super-effective against Elsa's flying Emolga. Rock Jock is meant to switch-into predicted flying type attacks and counterattack with Rock Blast.

"The Anchor"
Sandile (Krookodile)
Types: Ground/Dark
-The head honcho and the reason that I even have a fighting chance--I spent a long time looking in the Desert Ruins for this pokemon--and specifically, a Sandile that has the ability: Intimidate. With Intimidate, pokemon won't be able to attack as hard and being ground type, Volt Switch will not be a problem--the Emolga will be trapped. The idea is to get a free switch-in by sending him into a predicted Volt Switch to block an Emolga's escape, then let Burn and "Bite" take care of the pokemon. With Burn and Intimidate, Elsa's Emolga won't be doing very much damage anymore...

Hark Elsa! Your time has come!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Drastic Measures

So my playthrough has recently hit its first major roadblock--the Nimbasa City gym. Elsa is an electric pokemon user and she has done an excellent job of picking my team apart. Up until now I never realized that my team is weak against flying pokemon--and how could I? The most powerful fliers I have experienced up to this point, I've been able to take care of by walling them out with "Rock Jock" (who most recently evolved into Boldore) and retaliating with super-effective rock attacks. This is not an option anymore.

The typical way of assaulting electric types is to send out a ground pokemon and set-up while it spins its wheels. Against Elsa's Emolga, who are flying/electric, this is made difficult. Elsa has two Emolga and one Zebstrika, each with the move, "Volt Switch". Volt Switch is the real problem--its an electric move that deals damage, then immediately allows the user to switch-out to another pokemon. Elsa's pokemon abuse this move--and make it impossible to set-up against her. It's impossible to fight and beat each individual--you have to fight the entire team at once.

I have battled her and lost six times.

Most recently I had a flawless strategy--I put her Emolga to sleep with "Pinky", then proceeded to send in "Rock Jock" to use "Iron Defense" to boost my defense to the max. I saw victory in my grasp! Turns out that "Volt Switch" is a special attack, so these boosts were pointless and I lost just like every other time.

As a result, I have been forced to take drastic measures. I have begun construction of a new team--each member handpicked from my list of available pokemon--and each member designed to pick her electric team apart.

And with this new team, Elsa and I both will have the fight of our lives.

Swadloon evolved into Leavanny--who, while being amazing and having the highest attacking stat in my team--is crushed by the flying-typed Emolga.

Current Squad:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

...the Fu--

I saw a trainer with a new kind of pokemon that I wanted and found out it was nearby, so I immediately set off--but Bianca caught me trying to leave to do something constructive so she stopped me and forced me to go see a Pokemon musical with her and play dress-up with her Munna and my "Pinky"...I wish I could be making this up, I really do. Of course I dressed Pinky up in a bitching tophat and monocle because she's a playah.

Afterward there was this scene with her dad coming to take her home and her crying and stuff and something about how being different is a good thing but honestly at this point the situation is this: she took me to play dress up and I really just want her gone.  I was definitely rooting for the dad on this one...

In my exploration of Nimbasa City, I stumbled upon "N" who decided that he was into little boys and invited me onto the Ferris Wheel with him to "look for [Team Plasma] there"...yeah, sounds like a trap to me too.

But I have no control over my character at this point--most likely because he, like myself, is paralyzed with fear--so I follow him on, where he reveals that he is the king of Team Plasma and that he is going to beat the Pokemon Champion and that the only way for me to defeat him is to collect all the gym badges and beat him at the Pokemon League...because apparently all those other times I whupped his sorry ass (including mere moments before!) didn't count. Also, does this seem contrived or what?In my exploration of the surrounding areas--including some desert ruins, I caught Yamask, Maracacti, and Trubbish. Yamask is a ghost type with some potential so I gave "Pinky" the boot. Then I found the name rater and changed "A"'s name to "Deedoon" and it soon evolved into Tranquill. It evolved at a fairly arbitrary level at 21 or 23 or something so I feel like it was just refusing to do so before I renamed it...Looks like my first squadmember has reached their highest evolution! At least I hope these other guys evolve...

Current Squad:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Since it's early in the mid-game now, there is little new development in terms of story so my musings will have to be put on hold for the moment.

That being said...

The definition of Scraggy is "Rough, Bony and Lean" which I think is a good fit for one of my new favorite pokemon. I replaced "Zoey" the Liepard with "Scrappy" the Dark/Fighting type Scraggy pokemon and to be honest I couldn't be more satisfied. I don't know what it is--but this little guy has some Moxie! (That was a terrible joke that requires explaining: his ability is "Moxie" which raises your own attack stat whenever you KO a pokemon.) I can't wait to see what he evolves into!

Also surprising is how strong Swadloon, newly evolved from Squiggles the Sewaddle, is. If you look at the picture its pretty clear that its a leaf-coccoon, so another evolution is on the way--so "Butterfree 2 the sequel" is yet to come.

Team Plasma, not yet content to let me get through a town in peace, came and stole one of my two irritating friend's (Bianca's) pokemon, so not only did I have to deal with them but also Bianca's incessant whining, but they left after only one battle so that was nice of them. I DO, however, like how they actually take an active role in the game rather than just sitting in a warehouse somewhere waiting for you to come by and whip their collective ass. Also I'm beginning to think that they are the Illuminati from the opening cinematic because I noticed that their leader has a red laser eyepiece.

Thanks to Rock Jock, Red, and Scrappy, Gymleader Burgh's bug pokemon did me a huge favor and died for me.  The Insect badge was mine. And immediately after this I battled not one but both of my friends who continue to follow me everywhere I go.  I should have just kept Bianca's stolen pokemon for myself...

Current Squad:

A Pokemon-Catching Spree!

After stealing the "Dragon skull", Team Plasma charged-off into the forest, followed by Gymleader Lenora, some artist named Burgh, and, because the story required it, myself. Burgh ran ahead along the road to "head them off" and told me to traipse through the forest after Team Plasma.

Seeing this as an opportunity to beef up my pokedex, I caught Venipede, Tympole, and Sewaddle.  Soon after, I caught Sandile, Scraggy, and Darumakka. I immediately replaced Pansage with Sewaddle which has turned out quite favorably, but I think I have some big choices to come over Sandile and Scraggy...

Team Plasma did what they do best--suck and burn--and just when I had beaten the last guy, some old guy who talked like an eighteenth-century ass approached me and said that it doesn't matter that I stopped them because, "...this is not the skull of the pokemon that we have been searching for for so long, it is completely unrelated." I'm glad that Team Plasma themselves are coming to grips with the fact that everything they are doing is complete nonsense.  Even I could have told them that a skull--no matter whose it is--is not going to free pokemon.

Burgh and Lenora showed up just in time for the old guy to launch into a ten-minute long monologue about how awesome Team Plasma is and how they are going to free all the pokemon--making sure to tell us all in excruciating detail the explicit instructions on how to foil their next plans. Even more disturbing is how he made sure to tell me that Burgh was a bug pokemon trainer and that he is the gymleader of the upcoming town (and that I should catch some flying and fire pokemon before I battled him).

About fifty minutes later I finally made it to Castella City, which is absolutely massive! I'm not even kidding, this place is HUGE! That last link goes to a youtube video of some guy exploring it.

Zoey (Purrloin) evolved into Liepard, which looks awesome, but isn't any better than she was, so we'll see how long she lasts...

Current Squad:

Gym Leader Lenora's Boring Pokemon!

Nacrene City is located just outside the game's first forest and just north of a bog. Naturally I decided that it was time to catch new pokemon and left for the forest where I was immediately blocked by about 20 team plasma guys standing there, clearly waiting for me to beat the town gymleader.

I went back to town and found the gym--located in the basement of a museum--and was stopped by the "Champ-in-making guy" (who seems to pop-up in every game) who said that Lenora uses Normal-type pokemon--basically that she has no hopes and dreams and that her life is just a nightmarish bore. He went on to hint that I should look for some special fighting-type pokemon in the aforementioned bog.

Remembering the last time this game hinted that I go do something else before a big gym battle, I decided to take his advice and combed the swamp for new pokemon.

Now, there are three fighting pokemon that I found in the area: Timburr, Sawk, and Throh (clockwise at left)...Which one of these would you honestly allow onto your squad? Throh and Sawk are the same pokemon and Timburr is just absolutely repulsive...are those veins? What is this game rated?

Deciding that if I couldn't beat NORMAL pokemon with my current team then I didn't deserve to even play anymore, I returned to the gym. Lenora carried a Herdier and a Watchog, so she may as well have just given me the badge up front. Her first mistake was using only Normal Pokemon and mistakes 2 through 79 all involve the fact that she was basically carrying two Raticate.

Honestly though, I'm surprised that Lenora didn't say something like, "Oh you didn't catch a fighting pokemon like we asked you to? Then I guess that means you'll be fighting my sister, Steelio the Steel Pokemon trainer instead as punishment, HAW-HEE-HAW-HEE-HAW!"

As it were, Herdier is the evolution of Lilipup, so I guess my Growlithe hypothesis was completely wrong...also this is the second gym out of two so far with a form of Lilipup...sensing a trend...

Before I could even save my game after the battle, team plasma attacked that very Museum and stole a Dragon skull. No clue why having that particular skull will free pokemon from their trainers but surely that will be explained in excruciating detail after I whip their bums.

Cheren and Bianca then showed up AGAIN because they realized I was just starting to have fun and in the ensuing battle, Tepig evolved into Pignite.

Current Squad:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nacrene City at Last!

After finally catching my Purrloin and training it up, I'm starting to realize with a certain bit of disappointment that it kind of sucks. I guess this should not have come as much of a surprise to me considering how often I've seen other trainers carrying it up to now but the result--frustration--is still the same.  This begs Nintendo to say something about the ratio between a Pokemon's "usefulness in battle" and "difficulty to find". 

As the title suggests I have just arrived at Nacrene City where the second gymleader resides and to be honest the road was quite long--and was made noticeably longer by my meddling friends, who just would not leave me alone.

I was excited to come across my first cave and immediately went inside...then three minutes later I came right back out again because I needed "Surf" to get anywhere in it. I know you want me to come back to earlier areas Nintendo, but could you at least put up a sign, "Don't bother getting your hopes up beyond this point"?

Along the way I replaced my final two Growlie's with a Rock type called "Roggenrola" (I really hope this isn't a rock-and-roll pun) who I named "Rock Jock" and a flyer named "Pidove" whom I accidentally just named "A"...just "A". Noteworthy to state that I had some serious trouble making the current squad badge (at the bottom of the page) this time because Roggenrola doesn't have a face or really any appendages at all. Its just a rock. I wish I could come up with a joke for this but it's seriously just a rock!

Right after this I fought a trainer whose opening comment was "You can never have too many Lilipup!" which I found to be hilarious given my situation--and he closed with, "I don't think I have enough Lilipup."  You have no idea...

I haven't gone 30 steps without either Cheren or Bianca bugging me about something--I wonder if that will become less annoying as I continue playing...

Current Squad:

Team Plasma!!!

As I was searching for Purrloin, I was met by Dr. Fenel who is apparently a "Dream Expert" (which sounds more to me like being an expert at making up doctorates).  She sent me on an errand to collect this "dream gas" that a certain pokemon emits...sounds gross.

I kindly told her that she was not the boss of me and went on my way. After traveling about 30 steps and realizing I couldn't continue, I decided to listen to her "just this once".

Here I encountered Team Plasma trying to make the pokemon in question, Munna...erhm...pass some gas. Then, to my surprise they challenged me to a battle. Needless to say I was confused that a group that is against pokemon servitude would carry pokemon, but they went on to explain that "its different for [them] because [they're] using pokemon to free pokemon!" After I decided to just go with it, I beat them down and took the dream gas for myself, making sure to catch the psychic type Munna in the process and naming it "Pinky".

I had tried earlier to go to Route 3 but was stopped by an old man who said I needed a gym badge. I tried again after defeating Cress and he said I first needed to complete an errand for Dr. Fenel in town. Still a third time he said that she still wanted to see me, so imagine my surprise when the man let me through this fourth time without making up some excuse like I hadn't collected the Mystical McGoven necessary to proceed or that I needed 100 Donkleberries to feed the dragons ahead.

However, as I took my first step into the grass, I finally was able to find and catch a Purrloin, whom I named "Zoey" because I always wanted a cat named Zoey..

Current Team:

Sticking it to Gymleader Cress

Upon my arrival at Striation City (and still unable to find a single Purrloin), I decided that "Red and the Growlies" (which is sounding more and more like an awesome band name) were ready for a gym battle. Typically one can tell from the name of the gym or the trainers or decorations inside what kind of pokemon will be involved, but every trainer in the gym had either a Lilipup or a chipmunk-thing called a Patrat which looks to be another kind of Rattata.

After finally making it to the leader, he said that I should go and train in the "dreamyard" because I wasn't ready. Of course I told him to go to Hell and I fought him anyways wherein he noted that I chose Tepig as a starter and as a result I would be fighting his brother instead--the Water trainer Cress. He had a Lilipup (go figure) and a water-monkey named "Panpour".
After getting soundly beaten I decided to try and figure out why this "dreamyard" is so special. Turns out that for defeating both trainers there you get a free pokemon whose type is based on the type of your starter--and since I chose Tepig I got the Grass-typed "Pansage" to make my gym battle against "Panpour" go better...I see what you did there, Nintendo...

At least I didn't choose Oshawatt because that fire monkey looks absolutely stupid...which I guess is double punishment for choosing Oshawatt, who also looks dumb.

I returned to the gym and re-battled Cress, easily defeating him with Pansage (whom I had named "Wuggles"), earning me the "trio badge" (clever, real clever).

So, bidding one of my Growlie goodbye I returned to my task of trying to find "Purrloin"...

Current Squad:

The Arrival of PETA

After arriving in Accumula Town and making a stop at the Pokemon Center, I encountered the first real change in this game--the pokemon centers and the pokemarts are the same building now! To be honest this is absolutely genius and I'm surprised I didn't think of this sooner.

Then when I got back outside there was this whole disturbance with a group of people who I assume to be the Illuminati from the opening cinematic talking about how bad it is to keep pokemon in balls and make them battle. So I guess PETA is the Team Rocket of this game...although I wonder how they will be any trouble since they preach pokemon equality and an end to pokemon as battlers...clearly they won't battle with them as a result and it shows because they left without a fight...Also I really don't understand what the "Plasma" thing means, it doesn't really make sense in the context of their cause.

Afterwards some kid in the crowd with green hair and a Rubik's cube necklace (hmmm...sounds familiar) attacked me, saying he has to speak with my pokemon and that his name is "N"...I don't know...I wasn't really paying attention because I was too busy deciding that I wanted to eventually catch his pokemon, which was called Purrloin.

After I beat him with Red and my legion of Growlie's I checked the pokedex for Purrloin's area and found that it was right where I was! I searched for about an hour. No Purrloin yet...

Current Squad: