September 15, 2016
It’s been a while, and this post is a reflection on that. You think you’re the only one who can do long posts, Charles? WELL SUCK ON THIS.
We last left our hero having gained the Thunder Badge from Lt. Surge in Vermilion City. A quick thought before we move on – has anyone considered how weird it is that the guy whose gym is full of electric types lives in a coastal town? Like, the sea is right there. He’s ex-military, too. I can’t help but feel like he’s planning something…
But never mind that! We head east, where we encounter Diglett’s Cave.
Digletts apparently love to dig things in nice geometric shapes, and as such the journey is a very easy one – except for being attacked by a million digletts (diglett?) on the way. I HAVE NO NEED FOR YOU, PHALLIC POKEMON. I step out into the sunlight, and… Alright, I’m going to admit, I don’t really remember what I did here. All I know for sure is that I headed to Rock Tunnel, fighting every possible trainer on the way. That’s a bit of a theme of my playthrough – no trainer is left unturned, and although that’s bad for my time it’s good for my POWER.
I am also conveniently reminded that a Bellsprout has a name that sounds like a venereal disease and a face that looks like Michael Gove.
I encounter people who are continuing the stereotype of the jolly fat man…
…those who are creepin’ out on the routes…
…And a man who is belittling when challenged but rapidly changes his tune once beaten.
And in I go to Rock Tunnel. Seeing as I worked out my final team early and went HAM on evolving them, I’m the first to be able to do this…
As with everywhere else, I aim for every trainer I see. This leads me to discover people with all kinds of pleasant and varied habits!
Then as I get further in, I begin to encounter more troubling trainers…
…And finally, two women who are, I think, trying to be sexy, but I’m really not sure and also our hero is ten.
I leave Rock Tunnel out into the air, reinvigorated enough to fuck up some poor guy with a very reasonable reaction.
And then a man who really doesn’t know how breathing works.
Then I arrive in Lavender! I’ve been playing this almost entirely with the sound down because reasons, but after seeing so many people talking about Lavender Town’s music I turn it back up to have a listen. I then rapidly turn it back down, because that shit is piercing. I pop into the Pokémon house, only to find that…
I also do something none of my fellow competitors do and pop into the house next door to right some wrongs.
It’s important to name your pokémon correctly. These are your companions, the creatures that will be with you through thick and thin. They’ll save your life and you’ll save theirs. Flopabout, for example, is very fitting for a Magikarp – but as a Gyarados, he needs something better. Something powerful. Something that shows its style, grace and strength.
I also officially rename my Butterfree to Flappy Joe, and then continue on. I recall that I need the Silph Scope to take on Lavender tower, and so I head off to Celadon, meeting a real downer on the way.
I then wander around Celadon a little bit, getting both exposition…
…And the newest member of my team!
I poddle over to the department store, because Team Rocket very kindly wait for me before doing anything too dastardly. There I have a quick rest to play some games…
…And pick up the next important part of my team.
I also think it’d be a nice time to treat a couple of my team. I get a few stat boosters and dish them out, and also I feel like it’s time for something very important to happen.
I then pop briefly into the gym, because I’ve completely forgotten what I came here for.
I then head back over to the game corner, and meet the least suspicious man in the entire game.
A quick battle sends him packing, and I can steal my incredibly valuable poster. EXCEPT
And so, our intrepid hero heads down into Team Rocket’s hideout below Game Corner.
I skulk around the place beating up every rocket I can find, until one of them does this…
He makes absolutely no attempt whatsoever to pick it up, nor does he block me when I go to pick it up myself. It’s like he turns a blind eye. “Oh no. Where did it go. I guess I will have to report it lost.” “It’s… It’s right here. I’m holdi-” “WHAT A SHAME I HAVE LOST IT”. In fact, hang on…
Alright, I’m calling it. My Pokémon AU: THE WHOLE THING IS A SET-UP ARRANGED BY THE PEOPLE OF PALLET TOWN. Our plucky hero has ostensibly lost his father and has a hankering for adventure. Everyone clubs together and secretly arranges for this kid to have the adventure of a lifetime – they get in a few actors to be trainers (explaining why most trainers look alike – for something of this scale actors would have to play multiple parts), write a plot and then MAKE SURE THE KID WINS, because IT’S ALL A GAME and he JUST DOESN’T KNOW IT. Why else would Giovanni, leader of a huge criminal organisation, say something like this after being beaten BY A CHILD?
He even gives me the Silph Scope, which only serves to lead me to the next Rocket encounter. After coming to this realisation everything seems to make a lot more sense in this mad world. For instance: you are a trainer at a Pokémon gym. The fourth one in the sequence – this isn’t small fry stuff. You’d make sure that your team is solid and prepared, right? In fact, you’d have a team of favourites that you’d rely on all the time, right? So why would this excuse work?
Of course, there’s other stuff which is still weird no matter what.
Anyway, this battle is pretty straightforward – I use The Boss as much as possible to grind, because Flareon doesn’t learn any fire type moves until level 31 – only six levels, but when you’re at the plant gym it’s sad, so sad. It’s a sad, sad situation. Still, the gym is soon beaten (thanks to a shitload of tackles and a little input from Gyarados) and I get the Rainbowbadge!
Anyway, after beating the gym I head back over to Lavender and the creepy Pokémon graveyard tower. Now that I know that the entire world is some kind of cross between The Truman Show and The London Dungeon experience, getting told weird stuff by random people seems to make a lot more sense:
I’ve barely got my foot in the door before Dickbag shows up. I’ve decided that at this point he’s starting to feel comfortable in his role as my rival, and decides to go off-script and ad-lib his trash talk – he starts well, but then falters.
Anyway, after this he decides that the best place to have a pitched rival pokémon battle is in the middle of a fucking graveyard, and the mourners watch on as I soundly beat him. At this point I feel like his veneer slips – he’s actually a very competent trainer, and that’s why he was picked to be your rival in this story, and it stings his pride to deliberately lose – so he tells you he deliberately lost.
He buggers off because he’s “got a lot to accomplish”, which basically means he needs to go and wait for me at Silph Co., having a coffee with the rest of the cast and shooting the breeze about how much bullshit this all is. I proceed up the tower, meeting basically the hammiest actors in the whole production. They are “possessed”, of course, which in my mind means they flail about and shout before not-so-subtly dropping a pokéball behind them to release a ghost type.
I get to the penultimate floor and I’m set upon by a G-G-G-GHOOOOST, or a Marowak that someone released while hiding behind a gravestone.
Up one more floor and I get the usual Rocket extras, all standing suspiciously uniformly as if someone had told them “stand randomly! Act naturally!” They have Mr. Fuji, they tell me, and because I am a child and this is a game they don’t make threats. They tell me that:
I “save” Mr. Fuji, who has forgotten the whole premise and contradicts everything that the Rockets have said – what a shitty guy. The first rule of improv is to work with what you’re given and build on it, and that contradicting stuff just makes it harder for the other actors. Anyway, despite me not having saved him at all according to him, he gives me a reward:
Time to go a-wandering, and I meet one of Oak’s aides, who has a present for me!
I also come to realise that the trees in Kanto are on some kind of steroid growth hype. I cut down a tree, had a skirmish with the guy stood behind it, and lo and behold it has returned. That tree grew in like 90 seconds. Deforestation is not a concern in Kanto.
I head over to Saffron, and bump into a Rocket. Because the buggers are everywhere. I decide to have a chat with him…
…And his answer is so stupid it knocks me all the way back to Celadon. Honest, that’s why I’m back there. Still, while I’m here…
Anyway, after orting that out I pop back to Saffron and into Silph Co., where Rockets are littered about the place like computer tape banks.
I mentioned earlier that I’m making a point of fighting every single trainer. This is making my run incredibly slow (although not as much as something else, which I’ll reveal later in this very post), but it means that I’m getting a good grind on and soon enough:
There are scientists around the place who have become turncoats and are fighting with Team Rocket – I’m trying to decide whether this was to add a layer of intrigue to this part of the story or because the company running the show for the kid ran out of Rocket costumes and just went “this’ll do. You’re a traitor now.”
Thanks to the teleportation-based maze, it takes me a little while to do it but I do – I fuck up every single trainer in the place, including the four Rocket Brothers (not mentioned before or since), and…
He tells me that he’s off to the Pokémon League to be The Very Best Like No-One Ever Was, but obviously he knows deep down that he’s just a placeholder. Sad times for Dickbag. I skip past the Scientist that I know wants to give me a Lapras, then off to meet Giovanni again. Hey, didn’t we just see each other?
I was going to put a joke in here about how the owner of Silph Co. is so happy to be saved that he gives you a master ball which is of course utterly useless to me, but others have already done it, so accept this boring placeholder text instead.
I wander around Saffron a little, popping into a house with the rudest woman in Kanto:
Shocked and appalled, I seek the company of enlightened people – and head to the fighting dojo.
The fighting dojo is absolutely no match for Flappy Joe and his psychic moves – I wipe the floor with all of them and then spit on their honour by refusing to accept their gift. A terrible affront. I then head next door to Sabrina’s gym, where two things become obvious:
All in all I black out at this gym three times. I’m not proud of my achievements here – it feels like a real slog, and I can’t quite fathom why. That is, until I get the Marshbadge.
Yep – I’ve done what others have done before me and got gyms 5 and 6 the wrong way around. On the plus side, that means that I can just about scrape through tougher fights than I should, so I take it as a small victory. I head over to the Bike shop where I alarm the clerk.
I truck on and head east and then south, beating Fishermen aplenty until I come to a selection of Bird Keepers, some of whom have Doduo in their team:
…Which reminds me of one of my favourite cartoons on the entire internet. There is a generator that will combine any two Pokémon you ask of it – someone decided to combine Weepinbell and Doduo to get Weepinduo and, well.
I head on west and head the wrong way up the cycling path, because I’m that kind of maverick. It’s weird – the trainers on that route only have negative things to say. They either hate their pokémon…
…Or each other…
At the top there’s a lookout, where I find another one of Oak’s Aides!
Then I get to Fuschia, where I’m greeted by a man who can’t talk because he’s lost his dentures. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve spoken to people with dentures before, and I could still understand them plenty clearly when their dentures were removed. Also, their dentures weren’t made OF GOLD. Gold is a terrible material to make dentures from! It’s expensive, it’s soft, and your likelihood of being mugged goes WAY up. Thirdly, I have never known anybody to ever leave their dentures IN THE MIDDLE OF A FUCKING SAFARI PARK.
My reward for making it through Safari Zone is twofold – I get both Surf, which I teach to Gyarados, and Strength. This next screenshot was taken especially for Charles. This is what I saw when I went to teach Strength to a Pokémon. Yep. TWO, motherfucker.
Time to head over to Fuschia’s gym, which feels so damn easy after doing things backwards. I get asked surprisingly deep questions.
I beat Koga, and get the Soulbadge:
And then head back to the little hut tucked away near the lookout point:
And my reward for doing so is the final HM in my collection, the incredibly useful and entirely-necessary-for-a-speedrun Fly. I’ll just teach that to Butterfee, and-
Now, I’m not going to say that I didn’t have a moment of real despair here. Everyone else has skipped Seafoam Islands, and in order to do that you need to go back to Pallet town. I tried to walk back to Pallet, except there’s one tiny little ridge that you can’t pass. I’m boned. I have no Fly, DESPITE BUTTERFREE BEING A FLYING TYPE, and I must walk and cycle everywhere. My run, it is long.
Seeing as I’d travelled all the way north to try to walk back to Pallet, I decide to try out my new Surf skills and head to the Power Plant, an area rich in items, electric-type pokémon and fuckin’ hidden Voltorbs.
It’s a nice little opportunity for a grind, and then I sneak up behind a legendary Pokémon!
…Which is a way higher level than I remember.
Zapdos soundly fucks me and my whole team without batting a wing, and I pass out. Rather than trying again, I decide to press on and head south to the sea. I’ll set off for Seafoam and see how it goes. I really fucking hate the rock-pushing puzzles.