Pokemon Blue, Day Forty-three

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So. Here we are.

The translucent block is a barrier that needs to be removed to progress. And as you can see, boulders will feature heavily here.

This is my least favorite dungeon. I got terribly lost in it as I always did, but by this point in the game I was pretty tired of getting terribly lost.


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And before I could even get lost, I had to ask a friend how to progress. See that little round thingy? I had no clue what it was or what it had to do with anything. Moving boulders out of your way is pretty intuitive. Moving boulders into holes a bit of a stretch, but even if you don’t see how that’ll help you can still figure that moving it into a hole will do something to the hole and then stumble upon the answer. But why would putting a boulder on what looked like a delicate round thingy do anything helpful?

I wonder if the designers would have done anything different if they’d realized just how many kids would be coming into this with no background videogame knowledge. Not that I’ll complain – BW obviously had that issue very much in mind, and that was really not what I want out of these games.

Interestingly, they did put an NPC in to tell players what to do. It’s just he’s hidden past the initial barrier, so you’ll never find him to get that advice unless you figure it out first.

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Anyway, for those of you with the slightest knowledge of how puzzles work, it’s obvious a boulder puzzle and a new thing mean to stick the boulders on it.
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And barrier gone!

Also, if you’ll look to the upper left corner, you can see that it’s impossible to do anything with the other boulder from this side. At the time this just infuriated me, but thinking about it now it’s actually pretty good design. I was terribly lost in Seafoam and couldn’t even find the way I came in. Here, if you run into problems and need to get back out, it’s relatively easy.

In later games they’d just use ledges to serve the same kind of purpose, but actually the boulders are better, since it’s so easy to accidentally hop a ledge or even deliberately do it but only because you don’t realize you’re in an area you already reached. The boulders have to be moved deliberately and allow you to retrace your steps if you realize you made a mistake.
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Here’s another puzzle. This one’s fun because there isn’t actually a solution – you’re just supposed to go to another level, reset it, then come back – but despite how simple it is and how obvious that makes it, it can still make you spend a little while trying to solve it properly because you assume things have solutions in this game.
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Here’s our first trainer of the area. Whips sure are popular.
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So, relatively powerful, but not earthshakingly so. I’m at more of a disadvantage than usual since my pokemon are usually in the L50 range around now, but it’s still pretty manageable.
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Thanks in no small part to the terrible AI. I’m not sure that the ninetales even had any physical moves.
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She seems to be suggesting this is her first loss. Or maybe it’s a more general lament.
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While the game is not particularly good at gender stuff, the splitting of the cooltrainer type into male and female versions was a nice move. They’re the strongest regular trainer type, so it means both are represented well in the final area.
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The game tried to make these trainers seem smarter than ones in the past, but not very well. They mostly do things like use x attack all the time. This guy had all the second stage starters, plus a lovely charizard, and despite all of them using special attacks, he wasted a turn on x attack for each of them. And while his charmeleon did a good chunk of damage to my tauros with its flamethrower, as you can see his charizard is stuck with ember instead.
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Another barrier. That boulder above is another of the one-way options.
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And you can’t just ask that guy to push it out from his side, because he’s a jerk.
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Easy to see what you’re supposed to do here.

Backtracking to reset the boulders…

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Sky attack sucks.

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I never liked fighting types, and part of it was stuff like that. Why the hell does it have a belt? How can that be a feature of a species? And how does leveling up work in this case, if it’s already way stronger and deliberately choosing to limit its power, what’s the point of trying to raise its fighting ability?
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But anyway, back to boulder puzzles.

They really don’t make much sense, do they? How are all these other trainers around but not messing with the puzzle, and how are they even getting around?
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HOLY SHIT IT’S ANOTHER OVERLAND POKEMON WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO ME ABOUT STUPID SHIT LOOK LOOK LOOK OMG IT’S RIGHT THERE!
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No, I think that’s beating the champion.
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You’re behind a barrier, I’ve already figured things out by now.
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But seriously, look! I was so excited to see this. I don’t think I’d even figured out the whole legendary birds thing, I just knew it was a pokemon and I wanted to talk to it.
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Another pressure pad but one with no boulder in sight.
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An okay but not exactly vital TM.

Still, this is a good place to be putting these. In game terms it’s a couple more TMs to help fix up your team, and in-universe it makes sense that trainers here would be dropping stuff.
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Standing on it does no good.
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Come on! I’ll whip you!
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…you know, given the sprite I’m not sure the text was using the non-literal meaning…
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Ah, luck.
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Well, yes, by gaining eight badges and being let on by the guards.

What’s with people here and acting like they’re the ones in charge?
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I actually enabled a cheat that makes pokemon have 0 HP so I can reduce the tedium of wild battles.That makes it a lot easier. But otherwise, it is pretty tough. There’s L40 pokemon running around.

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Four pokeballs and one pokemon.

A lot of the trainers here have pathetically small teams. How’d they manage to get so far without more pokemon? I suppose the reason is to allow trainers to have high level pokemon without overwhelming the player.
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Ooh, substitute. I and others played around with this in the day, but no one really knew how to use it properly. In practice, the substitute would usually just shatter the next turn.
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Like so.
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As you can see, tauros compare pretty favorably with other pokemon right now. Of course, dragonair evolve again.
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Then many trainers are idiots.
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Submission’s actually a good move because mewtwo learn it. Not that it’ll matter this gen, but when porting over your team to play against someone intending to finally take your damn mewtwo out with some dark type, it’s quite nice to have.
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Conversation here is really dull. If they’re not asking what right I have to be here, they’re stating the obvious about why I’m here. Maybe it’s nerves. Everyone’s so busy thinking about the upcoming elite four fights that they babble vaguely related nonsense whenever prompted to speak.
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Another bit of the game trying to have these trainers be more advanced. All switching pokemon does is serve to give me a free turn to continue the stomping.
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We’ll assume I asked, because it’s weird he’d remember one particular kid.
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Look, the exit! Not that it’s at all accessible, but at least I can see it.
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And now I can see the ladder leading down to it, though I can’t reach that either.

I don’t think I ever noticed that back in the day. I didn’t make much effort to consider how maps lined up on the different levels.
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While this could really be either of us, he does seem to mean me.

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Look at all those status effects getting thrown around, it’s like I’m fighting a real person.
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Yup. Unclear if I just bragged or if there’s already a rumor of a child prodigy who did that around, and he’s now asking me to confirm.

I wonder if Gary and my exploits are getting smushed together into the rumor of one superkid, or if Gary has no rumored exploits because he hasn’t been doing anything showy like me.
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Also, why was this guy just sitting here staring at such a great item? Max revives can’t even be bought.
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And yet another one-way boulder.
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And now to tediously push this across the map. If you don’t know where you’re going, you have to first find the pad, then come back, then push it across, then come back.
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A great move for link battling but practically useless for the in-game part, where staying alive for the next battle is what matters most of the time.
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It’s a shame moth pokemon weren’t a more common feature of caves.
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I once made the mistake of going down the ladder before placing the boulder, resetting everything.

It’d be even more of a mistake to skip the area entirely, though…

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I’d like to point out that area chamber has a trainer standing just one screen away. Maybe he’s too scared to actually try to come over here.
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Holy shit that’s useless.
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Part of the problem with the legendary birds’ sprites is the whole space limit thing. They can’t be both big and have big wingspans for their body.

But also this is just ugly because sprites are ugly in this game.
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It’s kind of weird to be reminded that legendary birds isn’t just some fandom term we made up out of thin air.
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So anyway that’s blue moltres.
Also:
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It is a black hole of exp. I just want you to evolve already!
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The barrier flashes back into sight in the instant after a battle.
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And who appointed you?
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This is the guy who likes to spam x attack while his blastoise readies for skull bash. I should add that this and other similar item use aren’t possible for the player.
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Well, at least sometimes the game remembers to include the.
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Hey look, a boulder and a hole…
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And now I’m here.
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If you want to screw yourself over, you can push the boulder down from the steps. I did that once because I thought it needed to be one square down.
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But as you can see, that just leads to the boulder getting stuck in the corner.
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And the way out!

I figured this was the way  I needed to go back in my first game because it was the one thing I couldn’t figure out how to get through for ages.
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Finally!

Those of you familiar with later games may not believe me, but golbat are rare. Even zubat only show up here now and then.
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Yeah, sure, “energy” drain is making it so physically heavy it can’t fly.

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I missed it, but her first pokemon was a L43 bellsprout. People have weird, weird teams.

Also, if you leave this level and come back…
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The dungeon resets the boulder location, but keeps the barrier down. Why? I have no clue. It looks like it’s an error of some kind.
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And…
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That’s the end!
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Well, also grab this.

6 Comments

  1. Guest says:
     “Yeah, sure, “energy” drain is making it so physically heavy it can’t fly.”

    And as Golbat urinates constantly while it feeds, pure Red Bull comes out.

    And now you know where your energy drinks come from.

    1. Farla says:
      I don’t drink them ::::D
  2. Minder says:
    With regards to all the missing “the”s–I wonder if “Pokémon League” was originally the name of the location itself, instead the challenge, before they changed it to “Indigo Plateau” to fit in with the color theme.

    …I mean, it’s a bit far-fetched, but that would at least explain why trainers are telling you that they’re “going to Pokémon League!” the way they’d say “going to Viridian.”

    1. Farla says:
      Well, the place having its own name was present in the Japanese version, and also, it’s not the only place they’re missing articles. Japanese has none, so it was entirely the translator’s call where those went.
  3. actonthat says:
    I never struggled with the boulder thing as a kid, but Victory Road was still a giant maze of confusion. I was surprised when I replayed once I was older that it actually made sense– my recollection of it was like a mouse in a maze.
    1. Farla says:
      That’s my recollection of all the later game mazes. I think a lot of my problem is I thought they were too big to understand so I never tried in the first place.

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