August 31, 2016
Last time we saw our hero, he had just arrived in Vermilion City having defeated Misty, Byron AND Team Rocket, all in one day; and made a new friend in Booker D, the five time, five time, five time, five time, five time World Heavyweight Champion Diglett! What adventures await aboard the St. Anne? Will he be able to beat Lt. Surge? Find out… now!
With Booker D now in the stable and the party all rested up, we head over to the S.S. Anne. The approach to the S.S. Anne makes me truly realise for the first time that I’m playing this game on a GameBoy Colour ROM, something I hadn’t really registered properly beforehand.
I’m not wearing my T-Pain hat, but it is fair to say that I am on a boat. In usual fashion, I have also completely missed the party, so I decide to vent my frustration by barging into peoples’ cabins, challenging them to Pokémon battles and stealing anything which they happen to have lying around. I keep fighting Team Rocket for trying to steal stuff… then taking what they were stealing. Now I’m stealing things from boats. I start to have an existential crisis about my own morality, when I’m suddenly greeted with a striking reminder of how much worse I could be as a person.
For some reason, Byron is surprised to see me on this boat which has just hosted a party for Pokémon trainers.
Byron’s team has come along quite a way since our last battle; with all 4 Pokémon reaching their second evolutionary stages after our last encounter. All are quite easily taken out – Ratticate by a particularly brutal combination of Thundershock and Dig which did NOT leaving it looking good – and Bryon wanders off, without handing out some Top Quality Advice before he leaves.
The battle with Byron has weakened the whole team, so I decide to Dig out and heal up – but I’m not able too because apparently Prof. Oak works for the Kanto Ministry of Health & Safety.
Grinding up on this boat was fairly straight-forward for the most part; with Booker D taking out most of the competition with Dig and leaving the errant water-types to Jericho. However, running into so many old dudes with these pesky little buggers is making me jealous.
A memory blank in the S.S. Anne’s layout brings me to the Captain’s cabin much earlier than I had originally planned to be there. Rather than leaving and coming back, I reckon I probably survive the rest of the battles without leaving the ship, and soon after:
For the most part, the battles look like this:
I found this guys’ reaction to losing to a WWE Hall of Famer a little over the top:
And this interaction just made me upset:
All is going well – including finding a Great Ball in the trash, because again, I am a child thief – until THIS GUY.
What should’ve been a run of the mill outing for Jericho turns into a disaster, as he misses multiple attacks on a Tentacool and ends up jobbing out entirely. Shocked, angered and slightly embarrassed, Bulbtista steps forward and smashes his Tentacool and his Staryu to pieces, fueled by my rage and sadness (not really; he’s just learned Cut so he’s pretty much untouchable on the boat).
With everyone defeated and everything stolen, I head back to the shore. The cut-scene where the S.S. Anne leaves is unnecessarily slow. THIS IS A SPEED RUN, NIANTIC. A quick trip to the Pokémon Centre later…
Vermilion City gym is full of bins. It’s just weird. Like, why would you hide all the controls to your electric fence in 2 of 16 bins? Why does that make sense? This is demonstrating worse survival skills than Solid Snake (who is a guy who literally just hides in a box). I don’t know who or what Surge is frightened of, but his methods of self-preservation are ridiculous. For a start, I would describe his followers as meek:
Surge presents absolutely no issue. Booker D deals with most of the battle without taking a whole lot of damage; my love of the cartoon sees me pitting Jericho against Raichu because if Ash’s disobedient Pikachu can beat him… turns out that wasn’t actually a good idea, because Jericho’s Quick Attack is not *that* good, so Booker D tags back in to deal the final blows. It was worth doing though as Jericho learns Swift off the back of the experience, and we end up here:
We leave Surge to treat his PTSD through electric shock therapy and head out into the world. Now, at this point, it starts to become apparent that I have forgotten how we’re meant to proceed from here. Even skimming back through the updates of people who have completed this stage before me proves unfruitful, so I make a decision to pop back to Cerulean City and pick up my BRAND NEW BICYCLE! The guy behind the counter initially seems upset that I have a voucher, which makes sense – if you were selling bikes for a million dollars, you’d be upset about giving one away for free too – and I use it… to head back to Vermilion City. Then I head out East; knowing, in my head, that Lavender Town is in that direction. So, off I go, taking on Gamblers, Junior trainers, Youngsters and THIS GUY:
He has one Pokémon. I can’t even remember what it was, but it was an electric type. It may have been a Magnemite. Whatever it was, it was met by Booker D; who used one round of Dig and KOed it. It landed zero attacks. It did literally nothing.
I was pretty incredulous at this suggestion too:
After giving all the trainers a good thrashing (and seeing off some errant Spearows), I head onwards. Imagine my surprise as I head through the guard post and chance upon… a sleeping Snorlax blocking my path! Bollocks. I’ve literally done it all wrong, like a tit. This the moment when I remember the other path out of Cerulean (WHICH I HAVE ALREADY BEEN BACK TO TODAY), the rocky path, the Rock Tun-oh. The Rock Tunnel. With no Flash. Goddamnit.
So, off I go, on my little bike, cycling back through Vermilion, back into the underground path, back round Cerulean and out to the East. You can tell when you’re in the North of Kanto because you keep meeting these idiots.
I can’t figure out what is so attractive about all these Weedles that people keep having, and then I remember my friend Heather sent this to me a few days ago and all suddenly becomes clear:
Koko leaps at the chance to take business into his own… wings, and thrash some Weedles into submission on this trek, though. I don’t want him to think I’ve been neglecting him (but there have been LOADS of Pikachus lately), and he’s getting pretty strong regardless.
A couple of trainers have some more diverse stables, and the battles leads to a beautiful thing happening:
And then, into Rock Tunnel. I don’t remember anything about this from previous play-throughs; not that it matters, because I can’t see a damn thing anyway. There’s a pretty worrying moment early on when my phone switches to Power Saver mode and the ROM freezes:
My worry turns to abject terror when the ROM unfreezes, and rather than loading the text normally, just snaps the whole conversation into frame immediately
Aside from this momentary glitch, my passage through is objectively quite easy-going. Jericho fronts the party, newly armed with Thunderbolt after the Surge win, and we spend most of our journey one-shotting Zubats; switching to the others only to deal with any Rock type Pokémon who spring up. Jericho learns Swift along the way, furthering his Cruiserweight credentials. Other trainers give no indication that I can’t see a thing.
Eventually, we emerge from the cave and head down South, finally landing in Lavender Town. I’ve suddenly got a lot of time to make up after all the unnecessary faffery outside Vermilion, so decide to call it a day, happy with the progress my stable has made on the run. Though I am worried about how close to Level 30 we’re all getting…
As we bed down for the night in the Pokémon Centre, I can’t help but think back to the S.S. Anne. I met a lot of interesting characters on that boat, despite missing the party – but the words of one particular individual have stuck with me all the way to Lavender Town. One gentleman, whose relationship with his Growlithe was so strong, he referred to it as his friend. As I look across at my sleeping Pokémon and think about the challenges we’ve faced, the battles we’ve won and the journey that lies ahead, his words in defeat echo around my drowsy head…