Pokemon Blue, Day Forty

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That’s it for Cinnabar!


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I’m never quite sure what to make of these things. It is interesting to have things going on that have nothing to do with you, but if it’s a triathlon, where is everyone else? Also, why are you just floating in place?

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I really like this sprite. It looks so grouchy.
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Why would there be…

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Oh.
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The protagonist is actually pretty mouthy, isn’t he?
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And right next to him is this hippie.

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Look at that amazing speed. Sadly, speed is one of those things where the total number doesn’t much matter, just if it’s higher or not. In this generation it’s also tied to critical hit chances, but after this, speed-focused pokemon completely suck. Poor persian.

I’ve never been able to figure out what they were thinking here. It’s not like they were going for a cheetah – and cats can be fast, sure, but they’re also pretty damaging.

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One of the fishermen out on the floating platforms is a six magikarp guy, so how’d he get out here? Also, why go on these platforms at all? It isn’t like you catch anything different from them (although it would be interesting to implement that somehow…)

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Here I go again.
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Back home!

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Hi Mom!

Mom I traveled all over Kanto and I got seven badges and I’m going to get eight and then fight at the pokemon league and I got an articuno and-
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This always really bothered me. I don’t think the designers really understood how much I wanted people to react to my exploits. The only place it happens is Silph.
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My, that’s convenient! I was just thinking that’s the last gym I need to face!

Who are you, anyway? Are you here to fight at the gym, or just someone hanging out here by chance who noticed the change? Are you watching the fights from the window because you’re a battling fan?
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You again.

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And it never occurred to you to just walk over and find out? I always had the impression that if you didn’t have any pokemon, trainers would let you go past. Maybe not, though. It would fit with the whole secluded thing if gym leaders actually used their undertrainers to keep out curious non-trainers as well as winnow down actual challengers to only the most powerful.
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What makes you think that? You don’t even know who the guy is!

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So not only was it too hard to go to see who the gym leader is, but even going over to one of the trainers and asking what they train was too much? Who’d you hear the bit about ground types from, anyway? Why were you out gossiping instead of doing your job?

But okay, it has been a mystery all game. I guess we’ll just have to challenge the gym leader to find out who they are.
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Or we could just read the sign.

I still don’t get why the designers did this, it’s so weird.
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Also, once again Gary has beaten us to the punch.

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This is one of the more expansive gyms, down to actually having an item lying around.
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As you can see, the gym uses a similar puzzle as the hideout in Celadon, but it’s less confusing.


Also, what’s with the whole whip business? So many sprites have whips.

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The other pokemon struggle to get a hit in, as my tauros always steals the first move.
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Even against another tauros quite a few levels above it. This is the point the game’s level system is really breaking down. I assume most of this is from the badge bonuses. Also, do trainers get the stat boosts from battle experience? I don’t think so.

Pretty sure this is also the only tauros outside the Safari Zone. So, skip this guy and your pokedex will be easier to fill.
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Three pokemon into this gym and not one ground type. They are the same general bunch as you’d expect rockets to use, though.

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The connection between training in fighting and training fighting pokemon continues to be ambiguous. If he’s so focused on his own mastery, why train pokemon at all? Perhaps it’s because there’s so few opponents, while he can have fights by proxy with a huge number of trainers. Also, if he’s so great, why not fight me himself? I don’t think we’ve had any evidence humans can go toe to toe with pokemon, so he’s probably just trying to sound impressive.

Also, ugh grammar. And it’s hardly the only such error in this gym.

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And what’s up with that guy? He spends his days staring down an empty corridor that no one had reason to try to get through, since he’s blocking the way. If he were two spaces up, this would be a potential shortcut, but as it is…
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See? Nothing you can do to get past him. But then, this gym’s whole layout is weird. The entire area I’ve just been wandering in is completely optional – though when I first went here, I was confused enough that this didn’t occur to me. I remember Viridian Gym as a massive, sprawling labyrinth of powerful trainers, but it’s really pretty simple.

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And you’ve decided to therefore spend your time staring down empty corridors.

But really, what was going on in the time he wasn’t here? Were the trainers still hanging out and practicing together, but keeping the front door locked the whole time? Or were they going about with their regular lives until they heard the gym was reopening and flocked back? How are there so many trainers here when it’s such a small town?

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Finally, a ground type.
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Whoever was supposed to be proofreading was drunk by this point.

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Also, this raises a problem. As we’ll soon see, there are plenty of trainers who passed the badge gauntlet. If this is required to do so, and Giovanni’s been missing a long time, how’d they get there?

Maybe until the gym reopened they let you in with seven badges. It’s just that in order to get that many, you have to defeat Giovanni, causing him to reopen his gym and therefore changing the requirement back to eight.
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There’s that item ball mocking me…

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Here’s an interesting little area.
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The arrows this time are just to bounce you back and forth…

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And it’s impossible to go further. There’s only one actual path through the gym…
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And it’s here.
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This is an area accessed by just going up. It’s quite easy for this to be your first battle.
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Another rare ground type!
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I wonder what martial arts looks like in this universe? Do they try to emulate pokemon moves, including stuff like rage?
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It always amused me to make them line up.
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Not actually a music related sprite, though –
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Just another tamer. How tamers are different from trainers remains unclear.
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And another ground type!
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Do you? I mean, why is this a mystery anyway! Isn’t the secret that Giovanni is the boss of Team Rocket? If he’s well known to be a criminal, how would he keep it a secret from all of you? Also, wouldn’t whoever’s in charge of the badges know who he is? This actually makes astoundingly little sense.
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This bugged me. Why is it here?
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I guess this is to help in case the battle’s too hard?

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Giovanni has a weird collection of undertrainers.

Hm, maybe that’s actually the idea. He’s reopening his gym after a long time and absolutely doesn’t want any trainers bugging him when he’s there, so he needs a lot of people between him and the public yet probably doesn’t have much of a talent pool to draw on, so he has to take anyone he can get.

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Here’s blocky guy! Now that he’s moved, he blocks this entrance instead but frees up the other area. Or, of course, you can just leave to heal your pokemon or whatever and reset his position.
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I thought that other guy handing out the pokemon was? I guess with karate marginalized compared to pokemon, there aren’t the same rigorous standards working out who’s the best.
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I just curbstomped you, dumbass.

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No need to go back and heal.

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Doesn’t seem like the best plan. Maybe he means to recruit from those undertrainers? It just seems like a gym would be under a lot of increased scrutiny.
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I’m a trainer collecting badges, dumbass. I had no idea you were here. You could have just handed a badge to an underling and had them fight me and I’d have left none the wiser.

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There’s no reason for him to have been, but it’s true his pokemon in past battles were weaker. Perhaps he doesn’t always bring his strongest with him when he’s going out, but considering the kind of stuff he’s getting up to, you’d think he’d want to be armed with his best then. So, probably just trashtalk.

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There’s still four people who are supposed to be tougher than you, you know. And judging by their pokemon’s levels, they really are.

Anyway, I’m going to mock you by beating up your pokemon with my articuno. Bet you wish you had one.
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The in-battle dialogue is a bit weird, isn’t it? Most of it’s just “ack!” and “oh no!” fluff that seems a waste of code, but sometimes you have these extended monologues in it too.
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I think this is the most concrete evidence that the badges are supposed to be gotten in a particular order. It does beg the question of what the point of the rest of them is. If there was a system requiring you to have the previous badge before challenging the next gym, it’d make sense, but as it is, it seems like you ought to be able to snag the earthbadge and then demand entrance to the elite four. Which was particularly annoying in my first game, as I was missing the thunderbadge.
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Like I said, you actually can’t without the rest of the badges. I tried repeatedly to get past the damn guard, all to no avail.
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The badge? Because that’s not a gift, that’s what I just earned…
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 Or did you mean this? Because if so, you can’t use “it” like that. Pronouns like that refer to a noun mentioned previously.

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What he doesn’t say is that’s only if it hits, which it does rarely.

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It’s not always clear if people are talking about making a TM or a move itself. It doesn’t make much sense for Giovanni to have invented a move, but if you stop to think, it doesn’t make much more sense for him to be handcrafting TMs either.
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You already lost to me several times! Also, Gary just beat you before I showed up.
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Whoa, there’s no need to jump to crazy conclusions here. Team Rocket is the best team! Don’t feel you need to stop on my account.
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…aren’t you guys like evil pokemon users? How is this helping?
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And then they never did.
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Hey, you aren’t –
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And he’s gone.

I found the resolution to the plot pretty poor. You’re chasing this huge criminal organization. They do bad stuff, like the whole Lavender business. And yet, in the end your only victory is you make the boss have a midlife crisis. He’s never brought to justice or punished for his crimes. As you learn in the next gen, this didn’t do anything to really deal with all his criminal underlings that were running around, either.

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IT SAYS SO RIGHT ON THE POST NEXT TO YOU!

9 Comments

  1. purplekitte says:
    “If my POKEMON were as good at Karate as I…” Huh? That’s actually grammatically correct for once, both “for once” in terms of this game and the fact people usually do that wrong. “If they were as good as I am.” Karate doesn’t need to be capitalized, but it was the 90s.

    The anime did such a lame cop-out for the earthbadge fight too. Giovanni was busy the day Ash showed up and made Jessie and James fight instead, as I recall. There was this feeling that Giovanni/Team Rocket was going to be the final boss of the series, particularly after the Mewtwo movie, but then money and they decided not to have a Big Bad fight or take advantage of the really good ending point they had right after the Pokemon League, then stretched the filler and the pointless badge getting for hundreds more episodes.

    1. actonthat says:
       Yeah, I didn’t catch the error there either.
    2. Farla says:
      It was the 90s in a translation of a Japanese game. They knew enough of the language to know that karate was not derived from any name and deserve every iota of my judgement.

      You know what’s most annoying about the earthbadge? It wasn’t even a proper copout! Jesse and James did everything short of stick a sign out front saying THIS GYM SECRETLY BELONGS TO TEAM ROCKET, Ash notices this and…does nothing and then forgets about it. If they wanted to dodge the whole thing, they should have dodged it properly! 

      But really, I think it was already much too late for the big bad plot by then. The last time things were going properly was during the SS Anne period – you see they’re a large and dangerous organization when the group tries to steal everyone’s pokemon, rather than two members trying to steal one electric rat, the aftermath sinks the ship, then they end up on the weird island that turns out to be another business of Giovanni’s, showing how widespread his influence is.

      By the time of the earthbadge, all the show can manage is to set up Mewtwo. Ash really has no real grudge against Team Rocket the organization by then, just the two idiots bugging him, so it doesn’t make sense for him to defeat Giovanni. Johto even ends up making J&J basically freelancers by firing them, and while everything about Johto was terrible, it’s telling that they could so easily do that without having to change anything, because it hadn’t mattered that they were part of a larger group for so long.

      I mean, say Ash gets back from Mewtwo and realizes it’s the same pokemon used against Gary back at the gym. So what? All that means is that the guy there was using a pokemon he couldn’t control properly. The second time, he does oppose Team Rocket and try to help Mewtwo, but even still, he really has no stake in stopping them because he already helped beat them at what is, to his knowledge, the only bad thing they’ve actually done. There’s nothing in the anime about killing a pokemon in Lavender, or attacking Saffron. They aren’t even doing white collar crime at the slots – could have had a good plot about smuggled pokemon and the evils of money. The only properly bad thing Team Rocket did after the SS Anne was that fake breeding center thing, and that was just another pair who were only nominally connected to the organization, and came very late.

      So there really couldn’t be any big bad because there was never the plot arc to support it, and that was actually true for a long time, .they just kept teasing it anyway

  2. Savanah says:
     Oh, Farla, don’t be so harsh with the poor man, he never learned to read =(
  3. Jax says:

    Also, what’s with the whole whip business? So many sprites have whips.

    S&M is a big deal in their world.

    1. Farla says:
      That only makes the whole training thing more disturbing…and that, in turn, makes all the people in later generations dressing up like pokemon more disturbing.
  4. “So, skip this guy and your pokedex will be easier to fill.”…easier to fill? What?
    1. Fool says:
      I think the idea is that you won’t know tauros exists, so you won’t spend months chasing after it and will just exist in blissful ignorance.
      1. Farla says:
        Exactly. Just assume the empty slot is for mew and chase after that. It’s more productive and when you finally hunt down someone with one, odds are they got it by gameshark and can give you a tauros as well.

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