Pokemon Blue, Day Forty-four

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Back to the checkerboard!

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And now the maze of statues.
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As you see, there is indeed a wrong way, because whoever was dropping these things everywhere felt the experience would be improved by having to backtrack if you did anything wrong.
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But as absurd a place as this is, it really does seem portentous and inspiring, and has some very nice music to go with it. The music for this game is surprisingly good, which is a large part of why I made sure to play it on an emulator that was designed to match the gameboy speed.
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And here we are.
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It’s actually a bit anti-climatic – why is there a big shelf of items when practically no one ever comes here? – but he’s about to mention something that terrified me out of any other considerations.
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Yes…
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Obviously, this means ‘start the fight with them all over again’ but I read it as ‘YOUR GAME IS DELETED AND YOU HAVE TO START A NEW ONE’.
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We finish up with seven rare candies so far.

Since I can cheat and don’t want to bother with Cinnabar…
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Yes, that’s better.
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Which, by implication, means other pokemon are not human-level intelligence.

I’m not going to use the dragonite, I just had it to get the pokedex data.
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Also, here’s a muk. I want to show you my preteen brilliant plan for it.
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And at long last, my nidorina is properly evolved!
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And this is the team I’ll be trying out the elite four with. This will go well.
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But first, a reminder.
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As it should be.

One of the various things that bugged me about Black was that you finish the game and open up new areas full of totally ordinary trainers with L60 pokemon and tall grass full of the same. Sure, it’s convenient from a training POV, but it undercuts any sense of accomplishment. By the time I beat the final bosses of a game, I want to be the strongest thing around. Areas with pokemon like mine should be so terrifying they’re off-limits for ordinary people, and trainers of similar levels should be limited to a tiny handful of optional bosses. I want winning the game to mean I’m awesome.
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Also for some reason, this girl?
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Been a while since I’ve seen that sprite.
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As you can see, the power level is set in case you came here as soon as you gained surf.
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But anyway, what’s with the whole mushroom thing here? This comment seems to be explaining why she’s talking about these pokemon when there obviously are none, but there’s no reason for her initial comment claiming she found them right here either. And why would there be mushrooms in this area in the first place?

Well, anyway…
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Missing in this description is the most important distinction about how the elite four work.
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But first, some fun.
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Why the statue pillars in this game are coded to function like water is beyond me, but isn’t it fun?

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They really are. Of course, she doesn’t actually use them all that much and there are  my knowledge no moves with an increased chance of the status effect kicking in, so the chances of getting frozen here are low.
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In theory.
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She looks surprisingly demure for someone cackling about her inevitable victory.
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I’ve always had trouble with Lorelei. You can’t use grass types, of course, but even electric moves (on or off an electric type, since unlike grass moves they’re widely available) aren’t too great – they’re special, and water and ice types both need decent special for their attacks, plus the pookemon tend to be the bulky high HP sort. End result is her pokemon are tough to knock out quickly.
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Admittedly, part of the issue is that persian have terrible special themselves, but I’m not using my nidoqueen with her type weakness.
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As always, tauros can flinch anything to death. Not sure why it seems to have such good luck compared to my persian.
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Amnesia won’t save you from physical attacks, you idiot.
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Stompy stomp stomp.
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And here’s the final pokemon, who always gave me extra trouble. Here, it interrupted my momentum and ended up wiping out the rest of my team.
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I survive only because of my cheaty articuno.
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Nope, just got a legendary bird.
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I am not doing well at all.
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This is the real issue with the battles, you can’t leave. It makes a lot of sense with how the NPCs were emphasizing the one after another bit, but it’s a shock when the rest of the game always let you retreat whenever you wanted to.
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I;m not sure how seriously to take this. My view on the fighting/training connection is basically the one you see in the second gen fighting gym – your own ability has nothing to do with theirs and if anything it’s a distaction – but I’m not sure how the game’s intending it. The fact he’s one of the best trainers in the world should mean he knows what he’s talking about, but after the dojo it’s just impossible to take the karate type of trainer seriously.
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Articuno sweeps them, but honestly, what doesn’t? I find once I can get past Lorelei Bruno isn’t any trouble
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Are these real tombs or are they fake ones because you just like the atmosphere?

Also, your overland sprite doesn’t look that old.
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I found it weird that Agatha has all this other stuff to say, but looking back I like it – you have all this backstory and such that doesn’t need to exclusively revolve around you and your interests.
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It’s not too clear why there’s a dichotomy there. Perhaps she means that cataloguing them is pointless and just a distraction from battling. She does have a point there.
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Enemy GENGAR is a speedy little guy.
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And so I lose.
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And you just keep trying until you win!
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There’s some item use, but it’s pretty poor. Super potion generally recovers  less than the damage I do in a single move.
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Not my venusaur’s best showing.
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Did marginally better.
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Yes, it just used thunderpunch.
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Speaking of terrible item use, Bruno loves this one despite the fact that it’s special they’re weaker on and so I’m hammering them with special attacks instead.
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And she’s swept his team.
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At which point you’re autopiloted for some reason.
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Luckily it gives you control back before the next trainer. Imagine how bad it’d be if you were walked right up to your opponent without a chance to heal or anything!
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Although you can finally check these out, it’s blank.
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It’s tempting to try to sneak by, but doomed.
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Not really.
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They’re still pitifully weak to electrocution.
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And here’s my brilliant muk strategy.

As I’ve mentioned, I really liked messing with accuracy lowering moves. I didn’t like water types, so I’d rarely have ice moves on hand, which meant type wasn’t a consideration here.

This is easy to set up because the AI is an idiot who just keeps using agility.
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Even Lance’s better items can’t save things.
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Maxed evasion.
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Sludge isn’t particularly good here, but it doesn’t matter, I have as many turns as I want.
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He’s rather Gary-like, isn’t he?
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Well, then really, we’re just matched, it doesn’t mean he’s any better.
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No, pretty sure he didn’t accomplish anything more than I just did.

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And it autowalks me right up to him.
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This terrified me. I hadn’t been expecting to be forced right into battle so I hadn’t done anything to heal my pokemon beforehand.
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THE
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This is a strong point against the dead raticate theory- Gary admits he changes his pokemon around for maximum advantage.
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Gary’s looking rather scruffy. Guess it was a hard day.
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Nidoqueen is really doing well.
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My persian outraces his alakazam.
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And that speed ultimately determines victory.
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With the pokeflute, you never need to worry about sleep again.

…for some reason the game seemed to know I was doing this and just kept using hypnosis again until I stopped, but whatever, my nidoqueen just woke up immediately on her own.
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My nidoqueen would be perfect if only she were faster and able to get the first move.
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And my persian, despite its speed, suffers from terrible offensive skill, as show by a gyarados surviving an electric move from it.
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Fun fact: there’s a glitch that causes the move to not have a recharge period if it faints the opponent, making it far more dangerous. At the time I assumed it was deliberate and knowing when to use it was part of the game strategy, but then later games fixed it.
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Finally taken down.

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Oh. Gary, you have chosen poorly. Very, very poorly.
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Rage locks you in, so once it was picked, I knew my muk had nothing to fear. It’d do piddling damage while I minimized to invisibility, then wouldn’t be able to hit once its attack boost kicked in.
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And that’s how I beat Gary.
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I was surprised too. Usually your charizard is a lot tougher.
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You can feel a bit sorry for the guy.

It helps, though, that league champ is Gary’s default position. You can refight him again and again, and this is where he’s hanging out. Very different from beating your rival at the entrance to the elite four and sending him off a failure.
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Oak: still the subtle kind of asshole.
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This gets taken to mean that everyone does the trust and love thing. I saw the opposite meaning, that it’s totally possible, easy even, to do otherwise.
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Another issue is the game’s claim that to be the best you have to love your pokemon, and since it’s mechanically optimal than surely no one would do differently? Because no one ever does things that aren’t mechanically optimal.

It seems more like you’re exceptional for it than a uniform feature of trainers.
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People who failed to find the many, many issues.
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And more.
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Let’s find out who I’ve been complaining about.
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Huh, so I guess it was a Japanese speaker doing it?
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I was pretty unsettled to see this. The end? But I wanted to keep playing!
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Wait, what?

18 Comments

  1. purplekitte says:
    Having to fight immediately always freaked me out too. Every time I win a battle, I heal or save before going through the next door, because what if it’s another huge boss fight on the heels of the previous one?!
    1. Farla says:
      I took the same lesson from it, and now I get disappointed if the game doesn’t end up trying to pull that trick on me.
  2. Morieris says:
    And now, Mewtwo. I’m hoping against hope that there was actually a different sprite designed for the world’s strongest pokemon than standard standing monster with waving arms.
    1. Farla says:
      Yup! He’s crouching!
  3. Dragonfree says:
    The first time I finished Yellow, I saw “The End” and thought it really meant The End. I tearfully started a new game and saved it and then went to school the next day and all the kids were telling me about how after beating the Elite Four you could catch Mewtwo. I was so mad.

    Of course, on that playthrough I’d wasted my Master Ball on Articuno because when I encountered it I was like “HOLY CRAP WOW A HUGE BIRD IN THE OVERWORLD” and beat the Elite Four using it while neglecting the rest of my team, and my second playthrough was the one where I had an awesome glitched Jolteon and really fell in love with the game, so I’m kind of glad.

    1. Farla says:
      I think losing your first game is just one of those things that have to happen for the real first gen experience. I outright lost my articuno in the first game, so I was even more screwed over.

      What was up with your jolteon?

      1. Dragonfree says:
        The Jolteon had a glitched-up stat screen – if I viewed its stats, the screen would turn blank, but if I then pressed A again it would bring up the normal stat screen except with some of the labels for the data missing (so e.g. it had the OT number, but not the “OT” label above it). It was like that when it was an Eevee too; I wondered if evolving it would fix it, but no. It was the normal in-game Eevee from Celadon Mansion and I’d never used any cheats or exploited any glitches at all, so to this day I have no idea how it got that way, but the fact it was glitched like that made it unique and unusual, hence awesome. Otherwise it was just a normal Jolteon (or at least I never noticed anything else unusual about it).
        1. Farla says:
          Oh, that’s cool. Wonder what was going on there.

          It’s a shame Nintendo doesn’t seem to get that it can be cool to just have an unusual pokemon even if there’s no mechanical difference, given how much they seem to hate the average player getting their hands on a shiny pokemon these days.

  4. Savanah says:
    Hey, Farla are you going to fight Oak?
    1. Farla says:
      No, I’m, not going to fight Oak or any other gameshark code requiring things. It was only late GSC-era that I got one of those myself, so I’m only using them to shave off time, like say, months of trying to get a fucking tauros.

      You know, I wonder if Oak was supposed to show up for a fightt when he appears after Gary. I mean, he comes by right after you win and through the same doors you came from…

      1. Fool says:
        Personally, my theory is that he was going to be some kind of post-game optional boss, like Cynthia and developer cameo guy in B/W.
        1. Farla says:
          Perhaps, but you’ve got access to a mewtwo by then, and his team is only slightly stronger than Gary’s, so nothing that could slow you down once you’ve got the god monster on your team.
          1. tobia says:
            I always thought he was original supposed to be the Viridian Gym leader. That would have been cooler and more logical than Giovanni (why would the pokemon league let a known hardcore criminal maintain an official position of power? WTF, Elite Four?).
            1. Farla says:
              Hm, that does kind of fit with the location and Agatha’s rant about how he used to be cool.

              I think the idea with Giovanni, though, was that people didn’t know Giovanni and ROCKET BOSS were the same guy, at least not for most of the game. It’s only when he shows his hand at Silph that people learn the connection.

              …why apparently no one knew he was the one running the gym in the first place is harder to explain. But if the gym predates the formation of the whole pokemon league thing, it makes a bit more sense.

              Reply
  5. actonthat says:
    My brother and I always thought it would be cool if, as the champion,
    you could challenge people who beat Lance. Gary gets to stand in that
    little room and monologue– why can’t we?
     
    1. purplekitte says:
      Yeah! It always felt like you were inexplicably forced to miss out on the coolest part of being the champion. Gary, some guy off the street who you beat a lot, gets to do it!
      1. Farla says:
        Eh, I suspect that aside from you and Gary, no one else can get that far.

        It would be interesting if instead of refighting the elite four to level grind, whenever you show up you’re told to go fight a bunch of trainers who’ve beaten the league since last you visited.

    2. Farla says:
      Well, you can’t just stand there forever, so they’d need some way of calling you when another trainer won, and calling wouldn’t be implemented until the second gen, which redid the champion to just be the fifth member of the elite four.

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