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BigKlingy vs Unova

Big Klingy

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I see several of you liked my New Mystery playthrough log, so I thought I'd do another. Pokemon Black came out yesterday where I live, and, well, being tied with FE for my favourite game series of all time, it seemed the perfect choice. Before we get into things...


This is a "mostly-blind" playthrough. What I mean is: I know most of the stats and evolution methods of the new Pokemon, and the Gym Leader's teams, but nothing else. If you want me to be specific, here's what I don't know:

-Which Pokemon appear on which routes. (apart from a few general ideas)

-The Rivals' teams and when you battle them

-ANYTHING about Team Plasma and N, apart from basic pre-release info.

-The Elite 4 members' teams (I know their type specialties though)

-Most of the music (not really relevant here, but hey.)

-HM locations

-The general layout of the routes and cities.

So, in order to keep this playthrough blind, absolutely no spoilers please. Anything that relates to one of the points listed above IS A SPOILER.

On a related note, no suggestions will be accepted. This may seem a little harsh, but 1: I want to keep this blind, 2: I wish to experience the first game of a new gen in my own way, rather than doing what others tell me.

BTW, I already sort-of know what I'll be using in my final team, but I'll keep that a secret for now.

Sorry about that. Right, I suppose it's about time to get started.

Chapter 1: Three Adventures Begin

Ok, turn on the game... standard 'Nintendo 1995-2011' opening message, blah blah...

WOW, pretty flash new Game Freak logo!

And... the opening. It's, well... hugely unexpected. It actually looks more like something out of Final Fantasy or FE than Pokemon. In fact, if you showed this to some random person, I don't think they could possibly tell it was a Pokemon game, except for that scene with the young boy and his Hihidaruma (I prefer its Japanese name) and even then they'd need prior knowledge of gen 5. Already I'm getting the sense of something very different, more, "epic", so to speak.

A sense that's furthered when I hear the title theme. It's a very different take on the classic tune, its darker, but not to the ridiculous extent of the DP title. (Which I thought was pretty stupid, I'm glad they brought back the old theme in HG/SS) 'Epic' is really the only way to describe it, but not in the internet-culture sense, think back to the original use of the term. What I mean is, this theme sounds like something out of a fantasy epic, rather that the 'kid-friendly anime' image that's come to be associated with Pokemon over the years.

At the roar of Reshiram, (yes, you actually see the mascot roar its cry now, rather than just hearing it in the background) I'm taken to the new game screen. Professor Juniper gives me the speech we've all heard 100 times before, nothing much to note here, other than the fact I found the idea of "introducing you to your 2 best friends" quite funny.

Now I already had the impression before, but what happened next really hammered home the more story-driven nature of these games...

Game Freak Presents...

Pokemon: Black Version

Slowly fading in over a bird's (Pidove's?) eye view of Nuvema Town.

Wow, did NOT see that one coming. Suffice to say I'm pretty impressed now.

Typical hometown music plays as my character stands alone in their room, of course, both the music and 'alone-ness' don't last long, Bianca comes charging in, mentioning a present from the Professor. (Just what I always wanted, a cute furry creature with untold destructive powers!) Cheren soon joins us, although I'll save my comments on him till later.

For now, it's Starter picking time! Now that I think about it, actually, this is the earliest in the entire main series you get your starter. Other gens tried to find more and more outlandish ways for the selection process to happen, but it seems they've decided to get strait to the point here. 'The less time you spend running around with no Pokemon, the better.' was what they were probably thinking. I'd agree with that.

Ok, enough stalling: I choose you... Oshawott! (Naysayers be damned, Samurott pwns all, and I WILL find a competitive use for one!)

I always go with the starter I like the best (ALWAYS based on final evolutions. In a 3rd version I eliminate the one I have already and go with the best of the remaining two. Though it inevitably turns out to be the one my sister didn't pick, so we have access to all 3.) but for some reason that always tends to be Fire or Water. (For those of you who're interested, my choices were, Red: Charmander [Charizard remains my favourite Pokemon to this day], Gold: Totodile, Crystal: Cyndaquil, Ruby: Torchic, Emerald: Mudkip, Diamond: Piplup, Platinum: Chimchar, HeartGold and FireRed: same as their respective originals)

None of the grass starters really appealed to me for some reason, except maybe Torterra and Venasaur, but they got 'out-awesomed' by the other choices in their games. Still, I get the feeling I'll be choosing Snivy in the inevitable 3rd version, as I'm not really a fan of Emboar.

After the decision, Bianca challenges me to a battle! (who didn't see that one coming) Her Fire vs my Water, though its still pretty fair as neither of us have our STAB moves yet.

But as I prepare to select my move, after gawking over the now fully animated sprites, I find another unexpected surprise,

my Oshawott... is female!

This is the first time I've ever got a female starter without explicitly resetting for one, talk about lucky! Although I am annoyed it threw my planned nickname out the window. (Tokugawa, after the Samurai warlord. Actually, apart from the Pink Princess, does anyone know any female with samurai motifs, fictitious or not? I mean, you see female Ninja all the time in fiction, but Samurai?? I'm allowing suggestions for this one.)

Well, apart from that, all I'm noticing is that the camera likes to shift around a lot in battle, which gets a bit weird with only small Pokemon fighting. Oh, and the new animation for stat drops is pretty good.

That little pig couldn't match me for speed, so this was pretty easy. I managed to get a crit on my final blow too... woah, what just happened to the room! Sorry about that, it was probably my last crit that caused it. Cheren gets all annoyed at your rashness, and heals both of you. I'm actually starting to get a serious Soren vibe from this guy, with a touch of Edgeworth mixed in. Anyway, you can actually move now, and it takes a little while to get used to the new, more 3D perspective.

Predictably, Cheren challenges you now, and this one's a little tougher due to Snivy having the Speed advantage. Still, I manage to win due to some AI stupidity, and get my first level up into the bargain. (Bianca doesn’t quite get you enough, oddly. But she does fill the bar about 99% of the way.)

I greatly appreciate the new buffs to Tackle (from 35 Power, 95% Accuracy to 50 Power and 100% Accuracy) note that it means your early opponents will rarely miss either though.

I can use the menu now, although I may have had access before Cheren, I didn't check. You've got all the options right from the start, except the Pokedex, obviously. But mainly, I can finally check my starter's nature...

Rash (+Sp Atk -Sp def). That's actually pretty amazing by in-game standards. I realised here that if you want to reset for nature you may have to do those 2 battles again. But I really don't see much point in that unless you get a really awful one.

One other note is the name option takes you right to your badges, you need to tap the small + icon in the bottom left corner to get your Trainer Cards... wait, what?! I have a nature?! Maybe its something you can change later, or its based on your Secret Id.

You can also put a short phrase here, and I lol'd that "Do you like_____?" is an option. Seeing as all Pokemon names are in the vocabulary... you get the idea.

As for what I'll put there, I've got no idea. I was going to have something proclaiming my hatred for Stealth Rock, but I couldn't find the move in the word list. "I love _____, I love _____ too!" has potential, but I need to transfer a Bastiodon over in order to mimic the quote properly.

Oh, and you can save now. It actually tracks the saving process with a bar at the bottom of the screen, which is nice.

Downstairs, Mum give the Xtranciever, but I can't actually use it yet. I check the TV before leaving, and I find a program that teaches basic Japanese phrases. This game just keeps giving me that 'pleasantly surprised' feeling.

A bunch of Pidoves fly away as I step into the hometown proper. Right, off to the lab!

"That's unusual, you already had a Pokemon battle!", the Proffesor observes. How can you tell, oh yeah, the fact mine's had a massive Exp gain. She then explains that she's researching how Pokemon came to be. Uh, I think we already have an answer for that: Arceus. Anyway, I NOW get the option to nickname my starter. I'll have to pass for now, see above.

She's then about to explain why she brought us here

"It's for the Pokedex, right?"

Heh, I can't help but smile here. Cheren's actually pretty genre-savvy, something you will see more of later. Still Juniper goes trough he mandatory tutorial anyway, and we get our 'Dexes. Oh, and mum comes back to give us each a Town Map before setting off. I know this item really just tends to get used once at the beginning, to check where everything is, and then forgotten, but its the thought that counts, right? Oh, and a picture of the key item flashes on the screen when you get one.

I decided to look through mine before setting off, the one that really stands out is a location just east of Nuvema, which the map says contains Team Plasma's secret lab.

Team Plasma's secret Lab, eh. They why is it marked on a mass produced map given to children?!?! I know evil teams tend to be dumb, but REALLY.

Together with Bianca and Cheren, I take my first steps onto...

Route 1

Pretty jaunty music here, but it's quite nice. The Professor gives the standard tutorial on catching wild Pokemon, give us our first Pokeballs, (that sentence nearly came out VERY wrong) and leaves.

Cheren: "She forgot to mention Pokemon jump out at you in tall grass."

No, I am not making this up, he really does say that. Gotta love genre-savvy'ness. Seriously, I think they designed this guy specifically to say what all those who've played the previous gens are thinking. Cheren and Bianca have a challenge going to see who can catch the most Pokemon here, and I'm all too happy to oblige. Right, time for my first ever Unova encounter (it's kind of like a right of passage)

A Lilipup! The new Wild Pokemon battle theme is awesome by the way. I can tell this one's not going to get old when I start EV training. (DPs one certainly did.) Sadly, I went a little overboard and KO'd it. It was only Lv 2, and it was really hard to tell if I was doing just over 50% damage to it or just under. Turned out it was the former.

Anyway, let's keep looking... oooh, a Patrat! Will this be my first capture...

Yes! Ok: nickname time! (I don't usually nickname my Pokemon, actually, but for some reason I feel like doing it now. Maybe it's because some of the English names are pretty stupid. Patrat's fine though.)



Sorry, that one was a little immature, but Patrat's battle sprite was just begging for it. Level 4, which mans I need less grinding to get it up to shape with Oshawott. I like to keep my party evenly-leveled, and try to avoid having my starter become a Jeigan early on. (although honsetly they're more akin to Seth or Titania)

I went back to Mum to heal up, but damn you're slow without Running Shoes. Anyway, I find another Lilipup, lv 4 this time, which makes me kind of glad I knocked out the first one.

Got it! Now a nickname...


(Yes, I just finished Ghost Trick a few days ago, yes, it was awesome, and yes, Missile is possibly the most badass "cute-looking dog" in the history of everything.


Anyone else notice that Stoutland bears a huge resemblance to Old Missile?


Moving on now, and it just wouldn't be Pokemon without random NPCs giving you Potions.

Almost at the exit now, but I notice something odd... Missile had an Escape Rope! Then I realised, Pickup! Having a Linoone in the 90's in Emerald, I know how amazingly useful it is to have a Pickup Poke in your in-game party. Missile's a keeper, that's for sure. (although I think it loses it on evolution)

I leveled my new recruits a little, as I wanted them around lv 5.5-ish at this point. At the end, Cheren and Bianca compare your progress to theirs, they both only have 2 Pokemon with them, while I had 3. I'm not sure if you're allowed to progress any further until you have 3 or more, but I always endeavour to catch one of everything on each route anyway.

Got an Xtranciever call from Juniper, and you see close ups of everyone's official art in the call. Video phones have always been shown in the anime since it started, but now they've finally incorporated them into the games, which is pretty cool.

Accumula Town

The music seems a little mundane here, as if something's missing...

Before meeting up with Juniper, I decided to look around. There's quite a few houses here, and you can actually see Route 2 from the top of the tallest hill! That's probably the most interesting part of the city in another way though, you see, there's a lone house there, in it, two NPCs, one with a paino, one with a drum. They ask you if you want them to play. Say yes, and they do... continuously, adding their rhythms to the normal music for the town... and it's AMAZING. Seriously, it's now become one of the most beautiful, and catchy, themes in the series, IMO.

The Professor meets you at the Pokemon Centre, and the full, classic "follow me" them plays. She basically shows you how Pokemon Centres work, which is important as they've changed slightly.

The main difference is, they've now outsourced Pokemarts. The shops are now found within the Pokemon Centres themselves. All those poor shopkeepers who lost their jobs...

But anyway, back to the tour, Bianca's here too, and she proceeds to do a fantastic example of lapshade hanging on the whole issue of "Someone's PC". "Who's someone?"

There's three attendants upstairs, but none of them let you in yet. The first is the Union Room, the others don't say, but I presume one is GTS and the other is WiFi Battles.

As for the Pokemon Centre theme, I'd say its the second best in the series, after HG/SS's version.

After you leave, people seem to be gathered in the town square.

"Hello, my name is Ghetsis. I represent Team Plasma. We're definitely not villains. Please ignore that ominous music playing, I just happen to like that genre. Really. Don't judge me."

Ok, so I made most of that up, but that's the impression I got here. He then proceeds to speak about 'liberating' Pokemon. The audience is a little confused. Afterwards, the crowd parts... leaving just a mysterious green-haired man...

He mentions he can hear your Pokemon's "voice", before challenging you to the tune of an awesome battle theme.

Vs N

[i'll put significant opponent’s teams in spoiler tags for those of you who wish to find out for yourself]

Purrloin Lv 7

Not too much of a hassle, seeing as he's only got one Pokemon and you just got a mandatory heal. He mentions wanting to hear your Pokemon's voice mid battle, which is really starting to creep me out. I managed to take him down without even using Oshawott. OPTICBLAST and Missile both leveled up out of it.

A few interesting things about N. Firstly, he makes some pretty valid points, the fact that you can even empathise with the villains at all is kind of a first for the series. Secondly, he speaks fast. His text scrolls faster than normal, and Cheren mentions his odd speech in dialogue. I always pictured him sounding cold and calculating, but this is forcing me to rethink a little. He's kinda different to what I was expecting in some ways, but similar in others.

Before leaving the town, there's one more building I haven't visited yet. On the top floor, there's a little girl who challenges you to "Pokemon rock-paper-scissors". It's Fire-Water-Grass obviously. It is a pretty creative way of teaching type matchups though. Although if I could speak in this game, the conversation would probably go like this:

Girl: Let's play Pokemon rock-paper-scissors! Fire, Water, Grass...

Me: Dragon.

Girl: What?

Me: My Dragon resists all your options. Which lets me set up Dragon Dance. Now you've not only lost this matchup, but possibly your entire team.

Girl: Mommy!

Anyway, there's also a guy here who gives you one. regular. Pokeball. Yeah, thanks.

Before we're off into route 2, we've got to go through the gate. Now, as many of you know, gates now have their own theme. What you may not know is that they have a scrolling bulletin board, which tells you the date, the weather of nearby areas, and some facts about those places. Absolutely amazing.

Route 2

As soon as I step in here, I get am Xtranciever call from... Mum?! She doesn’t talk long before hanging up, but that's because, she's here!

FINALLY, I get Running Shoes!!

Looking down the route, I notice that Strength rocks are HUGE now. I'll need to come back later. The wild levels are up to the 6s here, which can be a problem if your team's not balanced enough. But I need to search, because the Dex tells me Purrloins can be found here...

After a few Patrats, I got one. Its female, so I can't use the nickname I had in mind, which I won't disclose due to MASSIVE MASSIVE SPOILERS!

But anyway, there was a lot of foreshadowing that I'll be having my first Trainer encounters here, and sure enough, a Youngster. Jimmy, I'm sure I've seen a Youngster with that name before. Anyway, one Lilipup, not much challenge. Next up, a Lass. On a side note, I find the Lass encounter theme here kind of creepy. A Purrloin, simple stuff. Another Youngster who's apparently very proud of his Lilipup... although it did take down my new Purrloin with a lucky critical, while I was spamming Assist for Tackle, which is actually superior to Scratch now. That'll teach me to use luck-based gimmicks.

My team's starting to learn some new moves. Oshawott got Water Gun, so I can finally make use of that nature. OPTICBLAST and Missile learned Bite, which used to be a godsend to early-game Normal types. Not so much anymore, since a STAB Tackle is significantly stronger now. (75 BP, crazy by early game standards)

There's a cut tree towards the end, which looks a lot like a Sudowoodo. Oh, and a couple of items on a hill, a Poke Ball and Potion.

As I'm about to enter Straiton City... Bianca comes out of nowhere. I haven't really had time to heal yet, damn it.

Vs Bianca

Lilipup Lv 6, Starter Lv 7.

Has one Potion.

Yeah, that Potion was annoying. Other than that, this was a cakewalk now that Oshawott has Water Gun. Time for this little piggy to GO HOME!

So that's that. The first gym is in sight. What new challenges await us? Will N strike again? Find out next time!

But read this one final note first.

My overall impressions so far:

'Pleasantly surprised' has been a real theme, I'm sure you've noticed. For instance, while I didn't think they would at first, I've found the new Pokemon have a real charm to them. And I'm really interested in how they'll develop the Team Plasma and N thing, although I get the feeling he'll become less of a villain and more of a tragic anti-hero later on. (10 Imaginary Bucks says he had some kind of traumatic past) I find the game is feeling more story and character-development driven, what it seems to be doing is focusing on the 'why' rather than the 'how'. The emphasis is not on going on a journey with Pokemon because the game says so, but on the inner growth the experience will bring to the protagonists. And on why we keep and train Pokemon while it may seem cruel outwardly. These games seem to be set on answering a lot of the questions the series posed, and covering much deeper issues. That's a plus in my book.

Secondly, I've felt they've struck the right balance between sticking to a tried-and-true formula while still feeling fresh at the same time. That's an area I feel the 4th gen failed in. Don't get me wrong, I loved the 4th gen competitively, but the main story just seemed to be lacking...something. And I am feeling like that 'something' is present here. I actually feel like I'm playing something new, rather than that 'more of the same' sentiment I had with DP. Unova really does seem like a whole new world, not just a cut-and-paste mash up of past ones.

Sorry, I've only played this game for a day and it already seems like I'm gushing over it. But that's just my opinion, really. I may even go so far as to say it deserved Famitsu's 40/40 score, but I'll play a bit further before I make that claim official.

Anyway, apologies for that wall of text, it'll hopefully get shorter later on in the playthrough. See you next time!

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Actually, apart from the Pink Princess, does anyone know any female with samurai motifs, fictitious or not?

Interesting point...

Uesugi Kenshin is depicted as female rather than male in Sengoku Rance...really, I've never played the game, but I picked this up when reading stupid shit related to the Samurai Warriors series.

There's a samurai furry in Usagi Yojimbo whose name I don't remember.

Also, I'm pretty sure that there's a female samurai in Tale of the Heike.

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Other female samurai? Let's see what my brain can come up with.

- Baiken (Guilty Gear)

- Meira (Touhou series)

- Hazuki (Suikoden V)

- DJ Sakura (Beatmania IIDX) (sort of)

- Klein

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Other female samurai? Let's see what my brain can come up with.

- Baiken (Guilty Gear)

- Meira (Touhou series)

- Hazuki (Suikoden V)

- DJ Sakura (Beatmania IIDX) (sort of)

- Klein

Thanks for the help, I already found my nickname though, through pure coincidence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangaku (though I'd probably go for Itagaki rather than Hangaku.)

Will update tomorrow with 2nd part.

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That's precisely why I DIDN'T want to go with the Pink Princess name. Just, ugh.


Straiton city is a relatively small and compact place, with several side-entrance buildings to show off the new camera. In the second from the entrance, I find a man blocking the stairs, saying "Fennel is inventing something and had a really scary look on her face." Looks like my 'mission' here will have to wait.

Be sure to speak to all the NPCs here, many are actually helpful. A man in one of the apartments gives you a Great Ball, better than that sad excuse for a gift in the previous town. There's also someone who explains STAB, I'm not sure that's been done in the series before.

There's also a shifty-looking guy standing in what could be described as a dark alley, who gives you a Dusk Ball.

And then there's this one particular NPC...

"Grass Pokemon are weak to fire type moves...

Uh, I know more stuff!"

Another example of lamshading/self-pardody I find pretty funny. Really, if the NPCs were actual people, they really would be thinking "what, you expect everyone to teach you something?" by now.

There's a sort of hedge-garden to the west, some of the hedges are obviously Pikachu-shaped (I for one am hugely relieved I won't be running into that thing at all in Unova. I just can't stand it.) while others... seem to be Pidoves, but I'm not really sure. Speaking of which, I'm surprised I haven't see any Pidoves yet. I mean, the 'Early Bird' archetype, as I like to call it, tends to feature on the very first routes...

There's a hanging vine tunnel leading north, but, of course, the mandatory "I'm not gonna let ya through until ya beat the Gym!!" old man here. Stop calling it 'friendly advice', you're CLEARLY forcing me!

Well, apparently the Gym Leader is at the Trainer School, so I guess we'll have to go there now. Right at this point, I was thinking 'it's about time we encountered Cheren again.'

And, surprise surprise, he's there at the blackboard. But before that, there's a student who wants you to take a quiz on Status conditions. Ok, might as well, although it probably won't hel... What, you get a Full Heal for doing it?! See, that, people, is how you give players an actual incentive to view tutorials, make sure they get something out of it.

And of course, Cheren wants a battle. He says he wants to test the importance of items in battles, which I thought would mean more Potion spam. It seems you can decline here, but I'm sure the Gym Leader won't return until you beat this guy.

Vs Cheren

Starter Lv 8 [Oran Berry], Purrloin Lv 8

He sends his starter out first, for some reason. And yes, I discovered he actually meant hold items. I think this is a pretty good addition, you've never had a proper in-practice tutorial on hold items in the series before. You know, it's one thing to be told about it, it's another thing entirely to see it in action. He gives you 3 Oran Berries afterwards to play around with.

Right, the Gym Leader is in front of the Gym now, and you can challenge him now, but he hints that you may want to go through the Dreamyard first. A few other NPCs have dropped hints to that effect too. I already know why, and I think I'll be needing it.

By the way, the Gym Guy actually has a name now, Clyde! It's about time, eh. Although I did like the fan nickname Jim Gai. But for now it’s off to the Yard.


There's a couple of minor traners here, that's why I really went here to be honest. The third person you see though will give you the Elemental Monkey complimentary to your starter, in my case, Pansear. I couldn't come up with a nickname, but it's fine, because I think Pansear is a pretty cool name anyway. It's Level 10(!) too.

...Which none of my team was up to yet. (all 8-9 by this point) Training time!

Now, you can't actually get to the grass in the Dreamyard without Cut, which is a shame, so I had to backtrack. The lv 6 wild Pokemon in Route 2 do give a decent amount of exp though, so it wasn't so bad. Well, not as bad as the painful grinding I had to do for Roark in DPP. I decided to get everyone to Lv 10, hoping the Gym trainers would get me a few more levels. I'd probably get my butt kicked though.

Straiton Gym

The new Gym theme is great, although it’s hard to say whether it or the HG/SS one is better. I think they realised staying closer to the classic tune was the best way to go, the DPP version was a little too different IMO. (and by 'a little', I mean, HUGELY)

By the way, the Gym guy gives you a Freah Water on your first visit. There's a counter where the waitress explains that the place is also a resteraunt. I can practically picture her saying:

"Be sure to try out our Gym Leaders' personal recommendation: the extra large clobbering with a side of everything."

Anyway, the first opponent... a waiter. A Lv 11 Lilipup showed me that I was perhaps still a little underleveled, but he still fell rather quickly.

"Hello, waiter, I would like to order a course of NO MORE WAITER PUNS PLEASE!!"

It was at this point that I started comparing this place to Tres Bien, (from Phoenix Wright if anyone doesn't know) except without the creepy male/female chef or course. The next opponent, a waitress in a maid-style dress further confirmed this.

Wait... only two opponents before the Leader? Uh-oh, I may be horribly outleveled here. I decided to save and brave it anyway...

The three leaders come out to greet me. I like how they all have a distinctive way of speaking,

Chilli: Hotheaded

Cress: Calm and ultra-formal

Cilan: Hesitant

I didn't um, quite, uh, you know, expect err, that from uhh Cilan though. If there's anyone here who's seen the anime, is he characterised like that there too?

Well, I guess there's nothing left to do but...

Gym Battle: Cilan

Lilipup Lv 12, Pansage Lv 14

Potion x1

Ok, the first thing I noticed in this battle: PICKUP HAS A NEW EFFECT!

Basically, if a consumable (i.e. one-use only) hold item is used while a Pickup Pokemon is on the field, the Pickup Pokemon will immediately proceed to give itself the effects of that item. Note that this means the original user still gets the benefits, but you do too. Also note this also applies to your allies in a Double or Triple battle.

Confused? Let me explain what happened: My Oshawott got reduced to the point of using its Oran Berry. After it healed, I got a notification saying the foe's Lilipup's ability activated, and that it also used the Oran berry to heal.

I never actually read about this change on Serebii, so suffice to say it came as a bit of a shock! Not sure it's all that useful competitively, except maybe with Salac Berry (it'll effectively cancel it out by giving you the same boost) I wonder if it works on Focus Sash?

Back to the battle, I see Lilipup start to use Work Up. Alright, I thought, it's only one level, not much to worry about. I wasn't doing all that much damage myself, but hey, the foolish AI kept using it, giving me more opportunity to attack! That thing'll be gone long before it gets a chance to... POTION?! Oh crap, this isn't good. Still, maybe I'll be able to finish it before...

The foe's Lilipup used Tackle!

Oshawott fainted!

Gaah! I let it reach +6. Come on... OPTICBLA..!



Purrloin fainted!


Missile fainted!

Was this it? I was being swept... by a puppy?!?! So... humiliating... Right, maybe...

Go Pansear!

But it's probably hopeless...

Pansear used Incinerate!

Huh, I'm faster?

The foe's Lilipup fainted!

I... I actually stopped it!

The monkey will probably own me though.

Ugh, why does Incinerate have to be so... weak? Even with SE I wasn't doing much. Thankfully, his Vine Whip wasn't doing much either. But then he started using Work Up. I had learned the HARD way not to underestimate it now, I knew a few boosts and my resistance would mean nothing. I was doing ok though, I could only pray he didn't have another potion.

Guess what...

He... didn't.

Not the way I expected that battle to go, that's for sure. It meant Pansear ate up all the exp, and I really wasn't planning on keeping him, which was a bummer. But at least I'd won.


Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT underestimate Work Up. In a way, the Lilipup is probably more of a threat than their monkey, as you don't have access to anything it's weak to at this point. If you let it set up, it WILL sweep you, as I narrowly avoided here. Sadly, the only thing you can do to combat its boosts is to KO it as fast as possible. I suppose you could neutralise its boosts (on the Attack side) with Growl, as long as you survive to get all 6 off. Note that this works on Cilan (since Vine Whip is physical) but NOT Chilli or Cress, since their respective monkeys use Special STAB, and you have no way of lowering Sp. Attack.

...Come to think of it, that's an alright strategy, a shame I only came up with it AFTER beating him.

There's an actual animation for receiving Gym Badges now, and it's so awesomely satisfying. (Think receiving a dungeon mcguffin in a Zelda game) The trio gives me the Work Up TM, while reminding me that they're now infinite-use.

Best. addition. to. series. EVER.

Seriously. I taught it to Missile and Pansear, although I later found out the former would've learned it naturally. Still, you no longer 'waste' a TM if you do this, so it's fine!

Team Update

In the vein of my FE12 log, I'll be posting team updates. I think immediately after each Gym is a good time. Of course, actual raw stats really don't matter as much here as they did in FE, but I'll post them anyway.

Oshawott Lv 10

HP: 33

Atk: 18

Def: 15

Sp. Atk: 20

Sp. Def: 15

Spe: 15

Tackle Tail Whip

Water Gun


A decent powerhouse now that it has Water Gun, but a little slow. It'll be better once stuff weak to Water starts appearing.

OPTICBLAST (Lv 10 Patrat)

HP: 29

Atk: 18

Def: 14

Sp. Atk: 14

Sp. Def: 15

Spe: 16

Tackle Leer

Bite Bide


Kind of a filler, the only reason I'm keeping him for the moment is that I have a feeling he'll be learning Hypnosis eventually. Though Leer is pretty useful.

Missile (Lv 11 Lilipup)

HP: 31

Atk: 20

Def: 15

Sp. Atk: 11

Sp. Def: 16

Spe: 17

Leer Tackle

Work Up Bite


Fairly decent secondary attacker due to the buffs to Tackle. Not much else to note.

Purrloin Lv 9

HP: 38

Atk: 16

Def: 13

Sp. Atk: 16

Sp. Def: 14

Spe: 18

Scratch Growl



Filler, really. Since it only knows weak, non-STAB moves, (Tackle > Scratch now) her only real standout feature is her Speed.

Pansear Lv 11

HP: 33

Atk: 19

Def: 16

Sp. Atk: 18

Sp. Def: 16

Spe: 22

Scratch Leer

Work Up Incinerate


Saved my ass in the Gym battle, but I don't think I'll be keeping it. Mostly there's so much hype about how awesome the monkeys are as in-game Pokemon, which is turning me off a bit. Besides... I have a cooler Fire type in mind for my final team...

Well, one Badge down. But wait, who's this meeting us outside the Gym? Fennel! And it seems she has a special mission for me...

Chapter 3: Dreams... or Nightmares?

Fennel apparently has something to give me, turns out, it's our first HM, Cut. But that's not all, she apparently wants some Dream Mist from Musharna, so it's back to the Dreamyard, for what I supposed was a sidequest, but hey, I never pass up a new area to explore anyway.

But firstly, a look around Fennel's room shows there's someone else here. Those last words were truer than I thought, as speaking to her revels she is indeed "Someone". Or rather "Someone"'s real name is Amantia. I certainly didn't expect to meet her so early. She explains the new Battle Box feature of the PC, which basically lets you set aside 6 Pokemon to be automatically used in WiFi or Wireless battles. Certainly saves rearranging the PC every time you need a competitive team ready.

Ok, back in the city, the man at the exit still won't let us through, because apparently "fennel was looking for you." So the quest was mandatory after all. Seeing as what I'm pretty sure I'll be getting out of it, I'm not surprised.

Its a sad, sad fact that even Tackle outclasses Cut now. Decided to teach it to Purrloin because it's a least better than Scratch.

Dreamyard [2nd visit]

No time to waste, I cut down the tree, revealing a hole in the wall, but just as I'm about to go through...

Bianca! [she certainly likes surprising you like this, doesn’t she.) I sigh and prepare for another battle... but it seems she's just here on Fennel's request too. She says she can hear something on the other side of the wall...

Well, there's a Munna there on the other side, but my eyes are drawn more towards the grass at the back. Bianca follows, but the Munna begins to run away. Right now, I was expecting this to be a clone of 'Chase the Farfetched' from GSC, and sure, the Munna did try to run...

But suddenly, two figures emerged from behind the wall! I've seen those ridiculous outfits before, it's... it's...

Team Plasma!

Ah, the mandatory 1st Evil Team encounter, why did I not see this coming? It seems they're after the Dream Mist too, apparently so they can transmit their ideals into people's dreams. Not that their ideals are necessarily bad...

They're kicking the Munna. Yes, KICKING it. So, you're are all for 'liberating' Pokemon from 'foolish people' and want to threat them as equals to humans, yet you willingly endorse animal abuse. Congratulations, you just won the Hypocrite of the Year award. I feel no qualms about doing what I'm about to do.

First Grunt sends out a single Patrat. Not much of a threat.

Next up... a single Purrloin. With Sand Attack. Annoying, but still pathetic. The main thing of note here is the Victory Against Team Plasma theme is AMAZING. It actually kind of gives me a FE vibe, and I'd actually rank it among my favourite tracks in the series, AND DS games in general.

Oh, right, I should probably talk about the Team Plasma battle theme. Well, yeah. It's good, and pretty catchy, but it's not really up there with the better tracks in the game. It practically screams "We're the bad guys!" but I feel it's sort of missing that sense of character an Evil Team theme needs. I was a big fan of the Team Galactic theme, (which really says something considering how much I've bad mouthed the DPP soundtrack over the course of this log) mainly because it just had this sense of 'when you hear this, you think Team Galactic'. The HG/SS Team Rocket theme did this too, but I feel this one's a little too 'generic villain' for my taste. To put it in perspective, the Team Plasma theme would still fit Team Rocket battles, while the same can not be said for the reverse case. Anyway, that's just my opinion.

Oh, and Oshawott learned Water Sport. Yeah... Thank you, Ruby and Sapphire, for introducing one of the most pointless moves of all time. I will give props to DP for actually giving it to Pokemon for which it actually makes a difference (those weak to Fire, like Budew) but still, you could get the same benefit and more with Rain Dance.

And now my Purrloin wants to learn Sand Attack. Uh, no.

And the grunts are still kicking the Munna. Don't they ever learn? And they still go on about us mistreating our Pokemon? Anyway, it seems they won't respond to people the see as beneath them, then who?

How about their boss? The music just switched to that ominous theme from earlier, and Ghetsis just appeared out of freaking nowhere!!! He is not pleased at their failure...


[yes, that was literally my reaction]

AND NOW THE TWO GHETSIS'S MERGED INTO ONE and he seems to imply he'll kill them, or at least invisit some horrible, HORRIBLE punishment upon them. The grunts say they'll tell him they're sorry, but then run away. Which is COMPLETLEY UNDERSTANDABLE given what just happened.

But now it seems a Musharna has arrived, and it leaves with the smaller dream-elephant-tapier-thing, while leaving behind an item on the ground, which I presume is the Dream Mist. Before we get a chance to collect it though, Fennel arrives and does it for us. Is this time one of those Pokeball-shaped item thingies is picked up by an NPC?

Anyway, she explains that Musharna has the power to control dreams, and that power was what scared the grunts off. Okay, so that was all just a hallucination... I so dearly hope. Seriously, Ghetsis now officially scares the crap out of me. He's kind of like a cross between Manfred Von Karma and Xehanort. Already Cyrus has nothing on this guy, and I haven't even battled him yet!

The mission successful, Fennel wants us to come back to the lab. But I am of course more interested in the grass here. Maybe I can get myself one of those hallucination-inducing tapiers... Ok, Purrloin, another Purrloin, come on Munna, I know you're in here somewhere. Little did I know the game was about to surprise me yet again.

Wait, what's happening?! The battle music just changed! But surely there can't be any roaming legends this early? Just what is this...


Ahhh, right, that thing which appears everywhere but with only a 1% chance or something. It appears rarer Pokemon get a slightly different remix of the normal wild theme. That's actually a really cool feature, it really encompasses that feeling of satisfaction you get when you finally find one after searching for ages. Of course, it only adds to the frustration if you fail to catch it, and I wasn't going to let that happen! This seemed like a good time to use that Great Ball. (although I can buy them in shops now, actually)

Gotcha! Okay, this thing is a healer/support Pokemon, it's pink, and it's cry is slightly annoying. I already had a nickname in mind: Serra. Come on guys, I had to do an FE related nickname at some point. Judging by how strange a coincidence it was, I think I'll keep her in my party for the time being.

There is more to this place, I can see some stairs leading down, but there's a road cone blocking it off. I guess I'll need to come back later.

For now, back to Fennel, and sure enough, my reward for these efforts is the C-Grear. Now I can't really talk about it in detail until I get access to multiplayer (probably when my sister gets White, which may be a while) but I think having immediate access to trading is very useful, it saves having to scramble to a Pokemon Centre every time.

Oh, and it seems "someone" has a gift for us too, the Pal Pad. That probably means WiFi is accessible now, but I'll check just to make sure...

Yep, all three upstairs Pokemon Center facilities are available. And speaking of the Pal Pad, you can now register friends directly through IR, rather than having to write down their friend code. (although that remains an option should you like far away)

I also discover you can still polish Badges like you could in DPP. Each Gym Leader will also leave you a memo on this screen after you beat them, a kind of 'parting advice'.

But now the man at the gate will FINALLY let me through! I'm still a little frustrated because there's a hiker-looking guy across the water I still can't reach. Oh, well, back with Surf, I guess.

I think its about time to set off once again, farewell for now, Straiton City!

Route 3

The first thing I notice here are a couple of solitary buildings on a hill. Could it be... yes, the Day Care! That means I'll be getting very familiar with this route, as I'm going to be taking countless long Bike rides here. It situated a lot earlier than I expected though.

What's also surprising is its situated next to a real, human Day Dare. Which I find a little, uh, creepy considering what goes on in the place opposite... (and there is a child intently watching the Day Care pen, yeah, the less thought about that the better.) Anyway, one of the teachers is actually nice enough to heal your party! Don't you just love not having to walk all the way back to a Pokemon Center?

Another point of interest, there's some Twins here, so I feel the first Double battle is coming. They now act like they did in RS, only battling you if you actually talk to them.

As for the battles themselves, the camera zooms in on whichever Pokemon has their 'turn', and zooms out when you're selecting moves. The touch screen interface has a clever way of showing which targets will be affected by moves too.

Another thing I want to mention here, I love the new ability activation notifies. It really streamlines the whole process and makes it much easier to understand what's going on. It's also really satisfying to see when it works in your favor, like here when OPTICBLAST's Keen Eye blocked Sand Attack. It's like seeing a big 'DENIED!' sign.

Oh, one more thing, it's a small touch, but it's been a long time coming. You can now see both your Pokemons' Exp bars in a Double Battle. Again, another extra step in making things easier to understand, I mean, it's hard to keep track of the battle if most of it is just scrolling text.

It was here that I thought of going back to buy supplies, most notably a few Great Balls. Turns out it was a good thing I did, judging by what was coming...

But first, lets humiliate some preschoolers for cheap Exp! Three of the kids are notable, as they have between them Pansear, Pansage and Panpour, meaning you'll get all three monkeys registered in the Pokedex. Checking the area data, it seems they can be found in the wild, in Pinwheel Forest. One of the teachers had a Munna, so I went and looked that up too. It is pointing at the Dreamyard, but I couldn't find any last time. Maybe they're in the basement?

Oh, and one of the kids' challenge lines made my laugh for several minutes

"Take this, Hyper Beam!"

Afterwards he remarks his Pokemon can't learn it yet. Just the thought of a preschooler coming up to you and yelling that, before being forced into a battle, is priceless.

Moving on, I reach a fork in the road, and who do I find but Cheren. He gets straight to the point this time.

Vs Cheren

Starter Lv 14 [Oran Berry], Purrloin Lv 12

I had Oshawott out first, which is bad. His starter most definitely can use STAB moves now, and I wasn't quite 14 yet either. But now I had a Fire type on hand, although I let it use its berry before I could Incinerate it, which was stupid. Snivy also gave me the first glimpse of the new, improved Growth, raises both offences now. Pansear is pretty damn fast though, even if his STAB is weak, so it wasn't much trouble.

By the way, I found out something interesting here. When a move misses for whatever reason, the message is always "____ avoided the attack". Shame, "____'s attack missed!" was a pretty iconic phrase. That pretty much means "It's super effective!" is the only battle message that's survived all gens unscathed.

Missile wants to learn Helping Hand now. Although useless outside of Doubles, it was so in-character I couldn't say no.

"We have the same number of Gym badges, so our strength should be equal." says, Cheren.

Dude, maybe the fact that I have 4 more Pokemon that you has something to do with it. But before I get a chance to berate him more, two men in ridiculous, yet familiar, outfits dash past. Followed by...

Bianca! (again.) But she's got someone else with her. Oh no, Team Plasma stole the little girl's Pokemon! We can't have that now, can we. I guess we have to get it back. We don't have a choice anyway, seeing as Bianca has now blocked the other path. Still, I do like the more story-focused nature of this game so-far.

What dastardly, albeit well intentioned, schemes will Team Plasma get up to next! Find out soon...

Edited by Big Klingy
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Chapter 4: The Cave of Frustration

Following Cheren up the road, I come across a Pokemon Breeder with a Pidove. FINALLY. Now to check its area... Actually, I'm right where it should be, and it isn't on any of the previous routes. That's pretty late for an "Earlybird", don't you think? Doesn't matter, it sucks anyhow.

The breeder is also nice enough to give me a free berry upon my victory. I've heared several trainers give out free items now, which is cool.

Cheren is waiting for me at the entrance to the cave, but he suggests I heal before going in. I think I'll save too.

Now, when I next switched on the game, I noticed a new option on the title menu: Battle Competition. Selecting it plays some really epic music, and you get a choice of WiFi or Live competition. It also says you need to use your Battle Box team. I presume this is an option for the official tornaments Nintendo holds, but I'm surprised it'll be doing some over WiFi. That's great, as the VGCs seem to have stoped coming to Australia for some stupid reason that makes me angry. WE tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to live events too, although WiFi somewhat redeemed that.

Sorry for that long tangent, but anyway, before I enter the cave, I thought I'd get me a Pidove while I'm at it. But I was surprised when I first found a... Blitzle! To be honest, I thought they'd live more around the 4th Gym. Tuns out they're ONLY found here on Route 3. Its a decent Pokemon, so I'd advise picking one up if you want an Electric type. Me? I've already got another Electric planned...

Oh, and I did get a Pidove too. But again, they kinda suck. I also went back to Straiton to get a Cut tree I missed, and pick up a Munna at the Dreamyard. Turns out they ARE found in the area you can get to now, but they're kinda rare.

I was surprised to find out mine was Modest. But I never realised just how much of a blessing that was until a few days later, when I remembered it also had Synchronise. Talk about hitting the jackpot, that'll come in REAL handy when I go to get Reshiram.

Ok, I think that's about enough stalling. Let's get that Pokemon back! Time to enter...

Wellspring Cave

...which certainly sounds a whole lot better than 'The Opening of an Underground Water Vein'. (though I guess that name sounds fine in Japanese) Now, Cheren is confronting two grunts the moment you get there, but oddly you can actually run into wild Pokemon before you get the them. I'll talk in detail about them later.

Right, I was sure I was in for a Multi Battle with Cheren, but it seems we each take on one grunt at a time, like what you and Lance did in GSC. Another Patrat. I get the feeling Team Plasma likes these. The Evil Team does tend to have a fondness for the respective region's early rodent Pokemon, Team ROcket certainly liked Ratattas, while Team Magma/Aqua were all about Poochenna. (not a rodent, but in a similar role) Team Galactic on the other hand were fond of Glameows and the Wurmple line, for some odd reason. (Then again, it would be even more creepy had they used Bidoof...)

Right, with that dealt with, a second wave of grunts arrives, and it IS a multi this time. I decided to switch to Serra yo try out her Doubles support moves. Snivy's Vine Whip did a fair bit backed by Helping Hand.

They seem to have learned their lesson and run this time, but not before telling us we're mistreating our Pokemon. Cheren then mentions humans and Pokemon learn from eachother and grow togeather. This questioning of morality is "a little hardcore for a kid's game", to semi-quote a certain fictitios pharoh with ridiculous hair, but it works.

Now Cheren leaves to return the Pokemon, (disappointingly, you don't get to find out what it was) leaving you free to explore the cave... well, sort of. I say that because there's not much to explore, without Surf that is. Just a high ledge with a TM Thief. (it's a recurring theme to get it somewhere connected to the Evil Team) But I wouldn't advise leaving the cave just yet, not until you've picked up a couple of potentially useful team members.

Roggenrola was the first I saw. You know what? I actually think this little guy is cooler than Geodude. It's also kind of a pain to take down because of Sturdy, but you can use that to your advantage if you want to use it yourself. Which I would recommend, provided you have access to trading. I don't as of now, so I had to pass. Purrloin managed to steal an Everstone off one though, that'll come in hady when I start breeding. Now they appear quite often, but they're slow and so easy to flee from, not so with...

Goddamn Woobats. Yeah, like its distant cousin, it's pretty annoying. Gust and Confusion surprisingly hurt, as does Confusion's chance of, you know. Being in the cave for a while though, I found several ways to take them down. Unlike its 'cousin', it's part Psychic, which means you can put your Lilipup and Patrat's Bite to good use here. It's also one of the cases where Purrloin actually does something decent for once, it's immune to Confusion, and if you teach it that TM Thief you just picked up (although with a name like that I figured it'd learn it eventually, but hey) it'll finally find a use for its STAB, and a pretty good one at that, it tend to do around 50% to them. Abuse these, and they're EXp fodder, albeit still annoying.

Now why was I in the cave for so long, you may ask? Simple, occasionally, I heared a digging sound, and a dust cloud rose from the floor. That could only mean one thing, Drillbur! And that was that, I simple HAD to get my hand on one, I would NOT be leaving the cave without it.

The problem, the dust cloud disappears if you find another wild Pokemon before reaching it. I had a few Repels from Missile's Pickup, but I learned the hard way that they don't work on Pokemon equal to your level. (I'm so used to carrying around a team in the 80's-100's) Those damn Lv 13 Woobats would always get in my way, once even one tile away from the Drillbur! But I wouldn't give up! Must... get... Drillber...

After much lost sanity, I finally found one. I wasn't going to take any chances, so I chucked the Dusk Ball. In my excitment I forgot to nickname it though. I was planning on calling it 'The Mole', after the Thundrbirds machine, that or some obligitry Giga Drill Breaker reference. Oh well, I probably won't use it anyway. While I'm at it I LOVE its idle animation, juts look at it opening out its claws, you get the that 'these aint for show' feeling.

Now, time to get as FAR away from the Cave of Frustration as possible. That said, I like their approact to the early game cave this time. You need to go there for one early event, after that you're welcome to explore if you want to, but you aren't forced to.

Back to the girl, and she give you as a reward... some Heal Balls. Yay... uh, no. Most useless Pokeball of all time. (Though now that I think of it they could be VERY helpful in Nuzloke runs)

Now we can move on, but Cheren meets us again, near some tall dark grass. I already know he's going to explain Wild Double Battles, which have become permenant (but optional) now rather than one-off events. That 'rare' variation on the wild theme is used for wild doubles.

At was at this point that I started to feel Missile's -Def nature. And some trainers use Roggenrola, and yes, Sturdy is a major pain. But a huge improvement on the old version. Oh, and the lake here looks nice.

Another gate awaits at the end of the road. The headlines actually mention my victory at straiton Gym! The forcast is sunny for Nacrene City, so what am I waiting for?

Nacrene City

Cheren is here, again, but no battle this time. He just shows you the Pokemon Center and gives some Chesto Berries. Which means I have a bad feeling Sleep moves are coming soon.

The City is actually uses a very interesting and unique concept, it's a binch of old warehouses that go turned into houses and art galleries. In the first house, there's a lady 'thinking of decor so great it will appear in a dream', a Dream World furniture shop perhaps? Another houses the Happiness checker NPC, as well as a girl offering to trade one version exclusive Grass type for the other. There's also someone who gives the type-enhancing item corresponding to your starter.

It's odd that this is the so-called 'city of art', and yet Burgh's Gym is in another town. Many NPCs do mention him by name though. He come here when he gets 'artist's block'.

There's a cafe here two that apparently has specials on Wednesdays. Since it wasn't, I guess the only place left to check is the Museam...

Wait, what, who's this mysterious green haired... N?? Crap, I forgot to heal. He wants to 'test to see if I can understand his point of view', in the only way anyone in this universe can.

Vs N

Pidove Lv 13, Timburr Lv 13, Tympole Lv 13

His team's totally changed from before, but I realised why a little later, you see, it seems resonable to conclude that N has no static team, rather, he uses whatever Pokemon that can be found in nearby areas. I really like this concept, it means that unlike most other recurring opponents in the series, you'll need to change your approach completley every encounter. It also fits well with his concept of treating his Pokemon as 'friends'.

This time, a harsh truth set in once I say his second 'friend': more that half my team at this point is weak to fighting. This is where a Pidove, or better, a Woobat, would be helpful, but I really couldn't have seen it coming, and I have a natural detraction to stuff that ends up crap later on. (You may notice I take a similar approach to Fire Emblem)

This was also my first encounter with a new Pokemon I don't like. I'll...save my thoughts on that one till later.

Beaten, N wanders off saying he needs to find Zekrom, and that 'you and I will be friends.' I'm not sure if he was reffering to me or to Zekrom, but either way, its creepy.

Now to the museum. The director, Hawes, give you a guided tour. Among the items on display, you can see a dragon skeleton (looks like a Dragonite, but could easily be Zekrom) a fossilised Armaldo, a meteorite containg a space virus (WHY display it in public then!! although I have my suspicions its hamless to humans, and only affects one particular Pokemon...) a round stone found in an old castle (which Hawes mentions is pretty pointless besides looking pretty) a big stone tablet written in unknown text (no, not Unown) an ancient mask (doesn't bare resemblence to any Pokemon) and bones that were once used as weapons by a certain Pokemon. ([sarcasm]hmm... I wonder which...[/sarcasm])

But the main attraction, at least to me is... the Gym! The Gym guy (or Clive) gives you another fresh water, and says that Normal types are weak to Fighting. Apparently, fighting types can be found in Pinwheel Forest. I think I know what my next destination will be, besides, I'm a bit underleveled for the Gym anyway.

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Wait, you can find drilburs in that cave there? Oh! Well, I know what sidetrack I'm making now. Also, fun log. I will keep reading.

Yeah, I remembered hearing something about finding them in the first cave a while ago (i.e. when the game was out in Japan) so when I saw the digging dirt patch I just had a feeling it'd be there. My advice: stock up on Repels (don't worry, they won't work on Drillbur) and make sure your leading Pokemon is Lv 14 or above.

Swoobats actually end up pretty good later on.

Is your electric the bug, or the eel? Cause Tynamos took forever to find. Trust me.

Like I said earlier, I'm keeping my final lineup secret for now. But I will say one of those two is right.

Chapter 5: How to break an archaeologist’s backbone

Well, looks like it's time to go get a fighting type. It kind of feels like that anime episode where Ash has to go and get a Ghost for Sabrina's gym. Although if the anime followed game logic, the guy who told Ash a Ghost type would help him win was a sadistic liar, we all know what good Ghosts did against Psychics in Gen 1. But this isn't the anime (thankfully, I never really liked it) and a Fighting certainly would do good here. I had a suspicion exactly which fighting it would be, but...

Pinwheel Forest

Now's the perfect time to talk about another thing I think this game does much better than previous generations. Whenever you reach a new Gym, you'll likely be a few levels behind and need some grinding. We all know how that felt, backtracking and pacing up and down grass you've been through many times before. Personally, I found Sinnoh was particularly bad for this, and most of the Gyms were so tough grinding was near mandatory.

Here, however, the game knows you won't be ready for the Gym right away. It knows you'll need some more training. So it's kind enough to introduce a new area for you to explore in the meantime. It helps take a bit of the monotany out of grinding, as you'll actually be doing it somewhere new and different. This area also tends to graciously provide you with decent Pokemon to use against the Gym, provided you know what you're looking for.

Here we see an example of this in action. Oddly enough, the forest itself is inaccessible now, blocked by a Team Plasma rally. But the outskirts are surprisingly large, containing many trainers to fight and a bunch of never-before-seen (well, outside of N) Pokemon to catch.

But firstly, the first NPC will give you Rock Smash, now degraded to TM once again. Still, that's hardly an issue seeing as they're unlimited use now. Honestly though, I didn't bother using it, for reasons you'll soon see. But I suppose its an option to teach the rest of your team if you have a crippling aversion to using fighting types. (seriously though, if you do, why are you playing this generation?)

Right before the forest, a sign greets me:

"Pinwheel Forest. Did you remember to pack an Antidote?"

Thanks, I'll, uh, keep that in mind.

Like I said, the forest itself is blocked. The Team Plasma grunts are reciting their goals and ideals, one of which includes "We are right! Everyone else is wrong!" Now, I'll avoid going into too much detail here, but I find this interesting, as the one group of people I hate above all else are those who think like that. Team Plasma are a truly unique group of Pokemon villains in that their intentions are good, it's the way the go about them that's wrong. In fact I'd go so far as to say the main theme of these games is looking to be ideology and differences in ideals. Again, surprisingly deep for the series.

But enough on that. The first trainer down the road is especially important, she's a Nurse. I'd heard about these people before, basically, after you beat her, she'll offer to heal your Pokemon whenever you want, free of charge. Just go back an talk to her when you need a patch-up. This alone makes this a great training route for this point in the game.

There are a couple of kids with Cotonee and Petilil, but it seems they're only available in the forest itself. Both these outskirts and the latter are referred to as "Pinwheel Forest", making looking up locations in the Pokedex a little troublesome. Still, they're not really the wild Pokemon we're interested in.

But here is one. Okay, it's gotta be a Timb...


Wow, to be honest, I never expected them to show up this early. But I was here for a fighting type, so who cares? Caught it, and decided on the nickname Gouken. (I thought Ryu at first, but he fitted Lucario more. And its too blue for Ken. [who I think is more Blaziken] yeah, I know Throh would be more appropriate for the name, but yeah.)

Ok, the next one will be a Timburr for sure... Tym..pole?

Right. I apologies for all you Tympole fans out there, but here it is: I've run into my first Pokemon I outright hate. And trust me, that's a rare thing. For something to make my list, I have to dislike it both design-wise AND stat-wise, which is a VERY rare occurence. But this one counts for both, design: What, the hell? It's a human face grafted onto a tadpole... just, uuuuugh. And we already have Poliwag, what's the damn point?! gameplay: oh great, yet another inferior Swampert clone, just what we need. Are they like mandatory every generation or something? At least Shellos won points for originality.

Caught it anyway, since I like to get one of everything on each route. Will NOT get used though. And I'll have fun beating up on them for Exp. Though their Bubblebeam hurts a lot, actually. (Found that out in the N battle too.)

Nooooow you show up, Timburr! Caught it. I would have actually used it in my final team, had I access to trade. Unfortunately not, and I really hate having unevolved Pokemon in my party around the last third of the game. A shame really. It seems Gouken will have to do for this Gym.

So, I went back to the PC to get him, and to my tremendous surprise, he was Adamant. Oh hell yes! Though now I'm not sure I want to screw him with random EVs... oh well, I can always use the lowering berries later. For now it's off to train for the upcoming Gym battle. I had to drop Pansear, I guess this can be my 'effective against current Gym' slot for the moment.

I immediately realise I made the right choice. He's freakishly strong, AND fast for this point in the game. He knew Rock Smash from the start (which is why I said earlier that I didn't need the TM) but it was a few levels later that he really showed his true colours, learning Double Kick. This utterly murders everything at this point. Plus you can combo it with Focus Energy (if you like to gamble) for 2 chances to crit per turn.

It was about here that I found another Audino, and noticed another, HUGELY useful quirk about them: they give an absolute freaking ton of Exp. And I'm not just talking slightly more than normal, I really mean MASSIVE. One around now gives Exp in the mid 900's. To put that in perspective, you're lucky to get 100 out of most other things here. KOing one is often enough to gain two levels right there. Did I mention that's not hard to do? Seriously, these things are an absolute godsend when training. If you see shaking grass, run to it!!

At the end of the road and up a small cliff, there's a Battle Girl (they look much more Chinese-inspired now) and a Black Belt to battle, as well as the Challenge Rock people have been mentioning. If you have a fighting type in your party, you can break off a Star Piece from the rock, but only once per day. Cool, huh?

I decided to train up to Lv 16 for now, hoping I'd get my first evolutions. And I did, Missile evolved into Herdier! Sadly, that did mean losing Pickup, and I didn't get Intimidate either, which would've been useful. It's not all bad though, it now has Take Down, which is VERY dangerous backed by STAB. I always saw the move as crap in earlier gens, as not Pokemon would only tend to get it around the mid levels, when it was ceasing to become useful. (you know, it was about the time you could get that kind of power without any of the drawbacks) Well, not anymore!

The next surprise I encountered was not so pleasant. Oshawott did not evolve at Lv 16. Looks like this gen's another that breaks the 16, 36 rule.

OPTICBLAST learned Crunch too, I'd seen one opponent with this and it surprised me that it got it this early. Its usefulness just increased, if only marginally.

I think it's about time. Time to see just how much 'backbone' this archaeologist really has.

Nacrene Gym

Being in a museum library, it makes sense the Gym puzzles would revolve around... looking for books. You have to battle one trainer first though, with a Patrat. (remember that)

Book no.1 is "Nice to meet you, Pokemon" in the children's section. Here, you see Lenora has left you memos in the books, each with a new clue. This one is simple: what was the first Pokemon you met in the gym. "The Biology of Patrat" is in the next row of bookcases, so let's check it out. The next clue mentions something about 'smoke streams from its head when it runs, and a fire burns inside it' or something to that effect. It's quite easy to be "wrong-genre savvy" here, as there's a book on Tepig just to the right, but it turns out this is one of those classic 'it doesn’t have to be a living thing' twist riddles. Let's go see the scientist reading about Locomotives. But she wants a battle first, apparently. Oh, she uses X Defend, for some odd reason.

And Oshawott just grew to Lv 17 and learned Razor Shell. Now we're talking!

NOW it's evolving! I actually suspected it'd learn Razor Shell on the same level it evolved. Still, 17's a bit odd for a starter evolution.

Now the next clue is the 'cooked in a pan and delicious' one. Aaah, so that book on Poffins in the first row wasn't just an obscure past-game reference after all! The last one though...

"From this bookcase, take two steps backward, one to the left, two steps forward, one to the right in one backward."

Ok, I'm really sorry to break my rules here (just this once, I hope) but I had to use a guide here. No matter how many times I followed the directions I never find anything. And I tried interpreting the directions in about 5 different ways too. (I.e. foward from the player's view or the character's view, etc.)

Turns out, it's meant to point you at the last trainer, who's reading the Tepig book. Of course, a battle. And I got thoroughly humiliated when my first use of Dewott saw me eat a facefull of my own shell (damn you Bide!) Despite that setback it wasn't tough.

The bookcase slowly slides away, revealing a staircase to Lenora's hidden study. I was prepared for the worst, I'd heard some pretty scare things about Lenora. Were they true? You're bout to find out...

Gym Battle: Vs Lenora

Herdeir Lv 18, Watchog Lv 20

Super Potion x1

Missile was up first, I was saving Gouken as my 'secret weapon'. So it was dog vs dog! Lenora had Intimidate on her side, so I used Work Up to negate it. Thankfully her Take Down missed twice in the first two turns, I knew full well what that was capable of.

I managed a bit of damage, but hers finally slammed home, leaving Missile with 4 HP! I had already selected Take Down, which meant there was no turning back, I'd already sealed my fate. Hers goes down, but Missile faints from the recoil... a double KO!! Ouch, that means no-one gets the Exp, damn.

Right, she's down to her last, so it's Secret Weapon time! By now Gouken had learned Low Sweep, a 60 power Fighting move which lowers Speed. It worked wonders in the Gym, would it do so here? She Leers me, but I hit for a little over 60%.

Predictably, she goes for the Super Potion, but my next hit pretty much undoes it, and now that I'm faster...

Gouken seals the deal with two swift kicks to the hurty bits. Victory! That was easier than I thought.

MY ADVICE FOR 2ND GYM: Four words: Get. a. Fighting. type. Preferably Sawk or Throh, they're pretty overpowered for this point. I can't really say much more since I didn't really get to see her strongest's moves, but as for her first: watch out for Take Down. Backed by STAB, it HURTS!

I get the TM Retaliate for my trouble, but before I get to use it...

Hawes rushes in, Team Plasma are attacking the museum, stealing old bones! That can't bode well. But I'm worried about a battle without the chance to heal. I'll teach the TM first, and give you the team update.

Team Update:

Serra (Lv 16 Audino)

HP: 59

Atk: 28

Def: 35

Sp. Atk: 27

Sp Def: 35

Spe: 24

Retaliate Helping Hand

Refresh Doubleslap


Decent tank by early-game standards, though I'll probably end up dropping her later. Doubleslap does a surprisingly ok amount of damage, provided it hits more than twice. Helping Hand is very useful in Doubles.

Missile (Lv 16 Herdeir)

HP: 47

Atk: 36

Def: 26

Sp. Atk: 18

Sp Def: 28

Spe: 25

Retaliate Take Down

Work Up Bite


I'll say it again, STAB Take Down is crazy at this point, and the recoil usually isn’t too bad. Although I feel Retaliate may be more useful later.

Gouken (lv 18 Sawk)

HP: 60

Atk: 57

Def: 37

Sp. Atk: 18

Sp Def: 32

Spe: 38

Low Sweep Leer

Double Kick Focus Energy


Absolute lifesaver in the Gym. And an all-round great sweeper. Low Sweep and Double Kick should be fine for now.

Dewott (Lv 17(

HP: 56

Atk: 35

Def: 27

Sp. Atk: 39

Sp Def: 27

Spe: 27

Razor Shell Tail Whip

Water Gun Water Sport


Much stronger now it has its signature move, which I suspect I'll keep using well into the game. It'll really start to shine once I get better mixed attacking options though.

OPTICBLAST (Lv 17 Patrat)

HP: 42

Atk: 27

Def: 21

Sp. Atk: 21

Sp Def: 22

Spe: 25

Retaliate Leer

Crunch Detect


Crunch is nice, but it's been pretty much left behind by my newly-evolved team members. Hopefully I'll get Hypnosis soon.

Purrloin Lv 16

HP: 43

Atk: 25

Def: 20

Sp. Atk: 25

Sp Def: 21

Spe: 30

Thief Growl

Assist Cut


Became a bit more useful with STAB against those Woobats. Now it's kind of mediocre again.

Chapter 6: The Case of the Stolen Skull

Back in the lobby, and they're already here. And they announce that they're about to use a smokescreen. Seriously? And we know what they're after, you'd think this place would have better security. Of course, it's also a Gym, and messing with a Gym Leader is NOT a good idea.

But it turns out, it's not just one Gym Leader they'll have to deal with. A brown haired man just arrived, who seems to know Lenora. She introduces him as Burgh, Gym Leader of Castelia City.

Before we can get properly acquainted, Bianca arrives. AND Cheren! Wow, what's everyone doing here?

Bianca and Cheren are on 'museum guarding duty', they Leaders and I are on the trail. To the forest!

Burgh asks if I'm "raring to round up the robbers.' He seems to have a thing for random rhyme and alliteration. But before we go, Bianca has a gift, the Dowsing Machine! Forests do tend to have a lot of invisible items.

Burgh seems to know the forest, he says there are two paths, the straight road to the exit and the long, winding path through the forest. Naturally, I get the winding path. At least he'll cut off any escape route.

The winding path may be my designated route, but that doesn't mean I can't battle the trainers on the upper road! Some of them don't battle you, though.

Back to the mission, the first grunt in my path has a Sandile. You know this is probably the first time someone's used something that isn't available either immediately or very soon?

That's another thing I like about this game, it tends to 'tease' you less regarding Pokemon. You probably know the feeling, a trainer sends out a really cool Pokemon, but Ha ha, you have to wait another 10 hours to catch it! In this game though, trainers only tend to use something if it's found no more than 2 routes away. Sure, it restricts their choices somewhat, but I think its a fair trade off; if you like what you see, you know you'll be able to pick up one soon.

A little while down I run into another grunt. She thinks I'm sabotaging them because I'm jealous of their cool outfits. Uh, no, actually, quite the opposite. Did I mention they have the stupidest outfits of ANY evil team, and that's REALLY saying something.

OPTICBLAST finally learned Hypnosis at Lv 18. Finally he's getting something useful. Now would be a good time to go after some wild Pokemon. I caught a Venipede, Sewaddle and Cotonee. Now I realise why the sigh advised me to pack antidotes, Venipede's Poison Point is infuriating. But I discovered something interesting... poison no longer drains HP outside of battle. Hmm... maybe they thought it was too annoying? But personally, I thought DP's approach, making so it can't KO outside of battle, was enough.

In the first grassy area, there's a moss rock. This must be where you evolve for Leafeon.

Now, I needed to get two Cotonees, one for the trade. You can tell which ones have Mischievous because their Growths will go before you. Oh, and priority Leech Seed is painful.

I also noticed another cool battle feature here, sleeping Pokemon change their idle animation. (eyes closed, hardly move) A very neat touch, just makes battles feel a little more 'alive'.

I decided to go back to Nacrene for the trade. One of my Cotonees turned out to be Timid! Not trading that one!

Bringing the other one to the girl in exchange for Petilil, I notice 2 things: first, the trading animation is fast now. Secondly, it seems in-game trade Pokemon have set natures now (Petilil was Modest) which could be useful. For now, back to the case.

It was evening now, and the forest looks amazing, the trees just give off this kind of subtle glow. I continued down the path, and reached a log tunnel, but before I could go through, a Pokemon Ranger jumped out of a pile of leaves! By the way, female Rangers are now Carmen Sandiago. It's way too much of a resemblance to be a coincidence. She gives me a berry after the battle.

Random note: wild Pidoves have Air Cutter now, which is problematic for Fighting types.

I tried out the dowsing machine too. It now simply shows an arrow in the direction of the item, and beeps wildly if you're standing on it. It's certainly simpler, but I preferred the HG/SS version.

There are more Carmens, I mean, Rangers, down the path. They all give berries. Finally another grunt. He tells me if I don't step lightly, they're going to get away. Yeah, It'd sure be easier if these Rangers stopped ambushing me. They must have bribed them or something, seriously.

Past the 3rd Ranger, there's a small pond surrounded by grass. I thought I may as well go down there, and it turned out to be a very valuable detour, I found the Grass Knot TM! That's going straight to Dewott, but I noticed Purrlon got it too. No harm in it, I guess. It's a great thing I can actually afford to use this on in-game Pokemon now, rather then having to save it for competitive. I'll say it again, reusable TMs: best addition ever.

Finally, I reach a clearing with flowers, and the final grunt. Patrat, Patrat, Sandile. No problem. I even got to try out Purrloin's new grass knot. "Take your stupid skull" he says, before going on about "The dream our king had..."

Suddenly, that ominous music played again. Oh crap, not this guy, anyone but him. But it wasn't Ghetsis, but an older man wearing a cloak. The grunt identifies him as Gorm of the Seven Sages. He informs that this is not the legendary Pokemon they're looking for anyway. But still, he wants to fix it "so you never interfere with us again." Fine by me, I'm ready for an epic boss fight...

Except it'll have to wait. Burgh and Lenora have caught up, and Gorm doesn’t fancy his chances. He promises to "settle this someday" though. I'm sure we will.

As a rewards for getting the skull back, Lenora gives a Moon Stone. With that momentary interruption (albeit a fairly epic one) done, it's off to the next city.

One more thing though, there's a path just off the main road, but an old man is blocking it. "I feel the presence of a fierce Pokemon", he says. That's gotta be Virizion.

Next time, out of this rural island, into the big league. Castelia City here I come!

Edited by Big Klingy
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As ugly as Team Plasma's outfits are. . .it has a purpose. Think of what you've seen up until this point. I think I figured out why Team Plasma is dressed the way they are at about this point.

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Let's go see the scientist reading about Locomotives. But she wants a battle first, apparently. Oh, she uses X Defend, for some odd reason.

That's their AI. Scientists try to use items to boosts stats first. It happens when you fight more later on.

By the way, female Rangers are now Carmen Sandiago. It's way too much of a resemblance to be a coincidence. She gives me a berry after the battle.

So I'm not the only one that thought that...

Just in the event you want one and don't know it, you can find the three monkeys in Pinwheel forest in case you want them. They're pretty rare though and only show up in shaking grass.

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Just in the event you want one and don't know it, you can find the three monkeys in Pinwheel forest in case you want them. They're pretty rare though and only show up in shaking grass.

I knew that (checked Pokedex) I just forgot to mention it for some reason. I did get a shaking patch once, but it was an Audino.

And the scientist thing, if found that out once I got to the Battle Company. (log on that coming up soon)

And it's good to see someone agree with me on the Carmen thing.

EDIT: Next part up

Interlude: It's a Bridge

"It's just a bridge. It's no big deal. Really. Get over it."

Ah yes, the immortal words of Joe Hokage. They sum up this place...

In no way. At all.

I think this area deserves its own segment, really. Because I feel this is the part where the game crosses the line into insanely awesome once and for all. It was right now that I really knew: this is the best game in the series. Well, for me at least.

Exiting the forest, I find myself in a small 3D section, with a full view of the bridge in the distance. But there's one more gate to cross before getting there.

Inside, there's a Hiker who gives me a ...Quick Claw...



As you can see, I don't like Hax Items. Mostly because of painful experiences in the Battle Tower. Yeah, it says it has a 10% activation rate, but for the AI it's really more like 70%. I once saw a Battle Factory opponent activate Quick Claw 5 times in a row! No joke, I actually had a Vs. Recorder video of it, but it's probably gone now. Try looking up... okay it turns out I just have a list of numbers in a word doc, with no idea which video each is, but anyway, try 69-42830-19342 or

82-69450-68800. In general, I hate anything that lets someone win due to pure luck rather than strategy.

Sorry about that, now on the bridge proper.

The camera starts at a birds's-eye view as you exit the gate. Up a huge set of stairs, onto a wide, spiralling ramp. You can ever see trucks passing on the road below. The camera tracks seamlessly as you make your way up. You can make out a highway in the distance. Eventually, the camera pans out a bit, and you can see he gate you started from down below.

Now, just when you think it can't possibly get any more awesome, the camera pans to a front view, and you see the first enormous arch of the bridge itself. As you run down the bridge, the camera zooms out until you're just a tiny dot, and moves over the top of the arches. You can actually hear Pidoves cooing. Oh, and you can see boats pass by on the sea below. The camera zooms forward again, then quickly snaps to a diagonal forward view. (probably my only criticism here, this perspective change comes as a little sudden, and only lasts about 5 seconds) Through the final arch, the lights of Castelia City are slowly coming into view. Down another huge set of stairs... closer...closer.

You almost don't want it to end. Oh, did I mention the music is amazing? It practically screams 'look how far we've come'. I think my jaw just impacted the floor.

But the good new is, this feeling isn't over. What comes next is just as amazing...

Chapter 7: The City that Never Sleeps

Holy. Freaking. Crap. This place is just so awesome in so many ways. I had to spend the first few minutes wandering around gaping in awe. Then I realised I needed to come up with a clear plan of attack with regards to exploration, as this place is HUGE. I mean really freaking massive. Saffron and Goldenrod aint got NOTHING on this.

Firstly, it's a good idea to actually check the signs, otherwise you WILL get lost. There are how many piers?! My first port of call was locating the Gym. It's in the last street, but it's a 'side-entrance' building, so you could miss it if you don't look up at the buildings.

Cheren comes out when you get there, and Burgh rushes out too. It seems Team Plasma is up to no good again, so the Gym challenge will have to wait.

Ok, now to explore the city... there's sooooo many ways I could do this: piers first, streets first, going left to right, leaving the buildings to last or visit them in turn, AAAAAAAAGH!

Well, I'll need to heal first anyhow. To my surprise, there's someone USING the Pokemon Center. But it's just a minor NPC who'll step aside if you talk to them. She asks you if you know about Geonet, but she explains it whether you say yes or no. There's also a guy who'll assume your favourite Pokemon is the one first in your party. I'll leave it till later, when I have a Charizard.

The man in a black suit and dark glasses on the upper level asks if you've traded a lot, and says he'll give you items if you do. Now, I've heared you can get a Master Ball this way, but I'm not sure.

Oh, and you can buy Net and Nest balls here, from the 2nd counter.

Right then, 1st Pier: Here, a man will give you the stone you need to evolve your monkey.

The 2nd Pier contains the Royal Unova, but it's not ready yet.

At the 3rd Pier... well, it seems this is the one Burgh said to meet at. He's there with Bianca, and a certain purple-haired young lady. They seem to have taken Bianca's Pokemon, a Munna. Burgh introduces the other girl as Iris, as if it wasn't obvious. She runs fast, by the way, and it seems like she's very much a nature girl, large cities seem to confuse her.

Apparently, finding those Team Plasma members in the city is apparently like "finding a needle in a haystack."

Well it would be if one didn't run in just at that moment.

"I spy a Gym leader!

Last time went so well, I thought I'd go grab another Pokemon...


I think I'll get out of here."

Ok, they're officially the best generic grunt ever now. Seriously, I lol'd at that line. Burgh gives chase, while Iris agrees to bodyguard Bianca. Don't you like how Gym Leaders actually do something now, as opposed to just being there for the badge battles?

And there's an ominous black boat docked here...

4th Pier: An NPC mentions that both Pokemon and humans will find their destined partner some day." Of course, for most of my Pokemon, this will be a Ditto. Actually my designated Dittos are going to be 'destined partners' for a whole lot of things, if you know what I mean. That's really all there is to this pier.

Burgh is at the end of the road, and says Team Plasma went down the Gym street. Before I go there, I have a lot more exploring to do. The 5th Pier has the boat to Liberty Island, but I haven't got to the event yet. Besides, I'm not the kind of cheap to use Victini in the main story.

Okay, streets now. The first one features a zoomed out view, with people running past, even while you pause. They say random, one-word lines. The Game Freak building is here too, and it's pretty flashy this time. On the bottom floor, there are two boys. One is telling the other a story about Zorua, while tho other remains silent.

Now, I know: that boy is Zorua. But I think you need the event Celebi for him to reveal himself, and that hasn't been released where I live. I discovered later that you actually get Zorua 'seen' in the Pokedex after this conversation.

Now it seems buildings in this city only have two floors, with a lot of space in between. This one for example has floor 1 and 22. What do they do with all that space? 22 is the standard Game Freak room, with the pokedex-fill guy there, saying the standard stuff. There's also a guy who warns you to avoid spoilers, because he's working on the ending.

Then one guy says "when you get strong, come back for a battle." Ah, so that's him. The one beside him says he's a Snorlax, and mentions the importance of Leftovers, which I find quite amusing. Yes people, Game Freak is aware of the competitive community. There are numerous pieces of evidence. I think what they do is acknowledge its existence without catering the games specifically towards it.

Moving on, the second street features a more zoomed in view. There's an ice cream stand but it's sold out for the day. I think it only works on specific days.

There's an art studio where a man wishes you to show him a Pokemon of a certain type. Unfortunately, he said Ice this time, one of the few I have no access to at this point. Oh well.

The 3rd street is a dark backalley, where a guy jumps out from behind a dumpster and gives you the TM flash. There's also a cafe here, where the man at the counter gives you a free Lemonade.

The 4th street is the one with the Gym from before. Now, all 4 streets lead to the fountain square, which contains Vending Machines (a welcome change to having them in buildings) and a single Dancer.

Now, there are two major sidequests in the city you can do now, both giving important items, and the first involves the dancer. He wants you to find two other dancers in the city so they can form a group. But first, he wants a battle. He has a Lv 21 monkey (I think it was Pansage.) which is significantly higher than what I'm used to, but mostly fine.

The second dancer can be found in the alley, while the third is at the 4th Pier. Both want battles first, obviously, and they each have another monkey. Once you've rounded up all three, go back and talk to the first one to get the Amulet Coin. Very useful to keep on your party, especially this early on.

As for the second, well... one little detour first. Exiting the square gets you to the final street, which contains a few more houses, one of which is having a party, and a bouncer has to frisk you first. So, yeah, they'll let anyone is so long as they're not carrying any weapons. But now that I think about it, who needs guns when you can carry creatures that can start Earthquakes or Tsunamis, make things spontaneously combust, cut things with razor sharp shells, or even explode at will. Yeah, that's where logic kinda fails.

Anyway, the only real thing of note here is a the Attract TM from a girl. But there are NPCs who speak German, and Italian, and Spanish, which is pretty cool.

In the building on the left hand side is... the Name Rater! I knew he'd be either here or at Nimbasa. So, I changed Dewott's nickname to Itagaki. It does fit, actually.

On the top floor of this building, there's a man who wants to give you medicine, but only if you know a special password. Which I didn't. (Note: I now believe it to be the 'Everyone Happy Simple Connection' one.) At the top is Mr Lock. When that Lock Capsule finally becomes available, I'll be sure to let him know.

In another house, there's a man who gives you the Evolite, provided your Pokedex is good enough. And a man on the top floor explains what the badges do, but it's mostly pointless now since they all just increase the trade limit by 10 levels each. At least he tried to be helpful.

At the end of the street, there's a gate. To my surprise, Route 4 is accessible now, or at least part of it is. But its the part with the wild Pokemon, which is all I need. There's one wild Pokemon here I know will particularly come in handy...

And there it was, first try... a Darumaka! Just in time for the Bug Gym! On a side note, Missile's ability is actually showing it's worth something here, it makes him immune to Sandstorm damage and helps him outrun most foes.

I'll be back to the sea of sand later, cos I needed to get back to a PC pronto. Yes, this little gal (it's female) is going into my permanent team. Lax nature, which isn't great, but it'll do. Nicknamed Hihidaruma, because I like its evo's jp. name much better than its English one. Actually, I'm really surprised they changed it, I don't think anything would be a better example of an 'obligatory keep the Japanese name' Pokemon than this one, its pre evo did for goodness sake! Hihidaruma is a 4-way pun (Hi= fire Hihi= baboon daruma= Daruma Hidaruma= covered in flames) which the English name just failed to convey. I dumped Purrloin for it btw. I would've liked to keep it until it evolved, but it really wasn't achieving much.

Anyway, it's a little underleveled, but I'll soon fix that. Time for the second sidequest I mentioned before: the Battle Company.

Located roughly 2/3rds of the way through the main road, it's kind of like a mini Silph Co, in a way. You get to battle your way through the floors of an office building. Well, just two. Be warned, the people here will challenge you on sight, so be sure to heal first.

Getting Hihi some exp here, and boy did it catch up quickly. This thing is scarily strong, seriously. Well, as long as you know which moves to use. See that it has Incinerate when you catch it? Yeah, DO NOT USE IT! Its Special Attack fails, horribly. Use Fire Fang, on the other hand, and you soon get the feeling you're being a little unfair. The move gets boosted by Sheer Force, and, combined with Darumaka's crazy (by now's standards) Attack, it spells doom for just about everything. A Super Effective hit WILL mean a OHKO. No exceptions. Just what we need for the Gym, eh?

Of course, there are a few clerks on each floor who won't battle you. One of the first gives you some Quick Balls and Timer Balls. One on the second floor gets you a Scope Lens.

One of the clerks has a Basculin, which seems to give out significantly more exp than most things here. Which reminds me, shouldn't we have received our first fishing rod by now? Hmm...

On the second floor, there's some scientists who, as Psychedelica pointed out earlier, are fond of using items. I recall one of them here used a Dire Hit, the others had X items. And OPTICBLAST finally evolved at Lv 20!

We fight one clerk who looks to be the boss, but he's not the last opponent here. Time to take on the strongest member of the company, who claims to be the chairman...

Janitor Jeff?!

And he has Trubbish. lol. Also a Mincchino. Apart from Toxic Spikes it really wasn't much trouble. "You really cleaned up." he says. Ohoho, have you considered a career at 4Kids? But any respect I just lost for him was regained when he gave me the Exp Share as a reward for my efforts. See? Worthwhile rewards from these sidequests.

The Battle Company should give more than enough levels to take on the Gym, but I need to sort out a few things first...


I find Burgh and the Plasma grunts outside a building near the Gym. Sorry to keep him, and Bianca's Pokemon, waiting.

"There most definitely aren't any members of the Seven Sages inside!" says one. Thanks for that.

The battle that followed was so pathetic I forgot what Pokemon the guy used. But afterwards he claims the situation is "bad. badbadbadbadbadbadbad. Bad for Team Plasma, or Plasbad for short." This team's grunts do get points for wierd lines, I'll give them that. Iris and Bianca arrive, apparently Iris got lost. Time for all of us to go in.

And who do we find but Ghetsis!! And Bronius of the Seven Sages. Ghetsis goes on to explain the story of the creation of Unova. A black dragon and a hero brought unity to the hearts of the people. He wishes to bring back the two, to create "the world that I, no, Team Plasma, desires." You forgot the bit where you say you're definitely not a villain.

Burgh mentions that everyone’s ways of thinking and lifestyles are different, which sees to be a major theme of the game. He then says, and this is interesting, that he remembers Team Plasma's speech at Accumula Town, and that it was responsible for making him rethink his relationship with Pokemon, and thanks them. He does seem to acknowledge that these guys have the right idea, he just can't forgive stealing as a means to that end. Nonetheless Team Plasma give back the Munna without a fight, and leave.

Iris decides to keep bodyguarding Bianca, but gives you a Yache berry before leaving. It's cool the developers acknowledge how important that item is to her specialty type. Before leaving the building, I check an item Team Plasma left behind, which turned out to be a Smoke Ball.

Now, before the Gym, there's a few things I wanted to do. First, I went back to the PC and dropped OPTICBLAST in favour of... the Cotonee I picked up earlier. I needed to round out my Water-Grass-Fire triangle, plus I thought a status supporter would be helpful, especially one with priority. With all those ground types, the desert seemed the perfect place to train.

Route 4

The main path is blocked off due to construction, but there's still a fair bit to the side to explore, with plenty of trainers to battle. Cheren is on the road, but to my surprise he doesn't want a battle, for now. He muses about needing to catch some Ground Pokemon, a bit of foreshadowing for the next Gym.

The first Fishermen are encountered here. Yes, apparently, people go fishing, in the desert. Odd. They all have Basculins. You do kind of miss the obligatory 6 Magikarp guy though.

One thing I should mention here is that there is no longer a sandstorm animation between turns, only when it starts. It certainly helps speed things up. The in-battle menu will also notify you of the current wether, but most of you already knew that. Oh, and Aqua Jet looks awesome now.

Continue up the path, but take a quick right, to reach a house by the main road, where a kind lady will heal you team. Moving on, I think it's a nice touch that there's no grass in the desert, rather, you find wild Pokemon in dark sand patches. Though it does mean you have to look very closely to know which ground is 'safe'. Caught a Sandile and Scraggy here.

There's some construction work ahead, which is cool, and helps set this place apart from the RSE desert. But seriously, who'd want to live here? They'd better have damn good air conditioning.

At the end of the currently accessible path lies the TM Torment. I also discovered here (don't ask why) that you can now change your trainer title at will on the Trainer Card. Since everyone is going to go with Ace Trainer, I thought I'd set mine to Pokemon Breeder; after all, I do IV breed.

Back at Castelia City, it was Tuesday now, so I could get an ice cream. You have to line up though, and you can only get one per day. They're just another odd Full Heal clone, I guess every gen starting with 3 had to introduce a new one.

Right, time to see just how 'insect' the Gym Leader really is.

Castelia Gym

The guy gives a Fresh Water once again. I like the nice 3D effect you get when the gates open here.

Oh, and the trainers are all clowns. Actually, they're called Harlequins in this game, strangely. Damn Venipede's Poison Point is annoying.

Not much to say about the puzzle, but some of the switches spawn Trainers. Which is good, I like to get ever bit of Exp I can.

One such opponent though taught me a harsh lesson, they sent out a Dwebble, which proceeded to annihilate my Darumaka with Rock Blast. (don't be fooled by is looks, those things are surprisingly fast) I'm actually glad I fell for that trap though, because it was about to be used again, and I'd be ready this time.

We finally meet on the field of battle, Burgh. I know we've helped each other out in the past, but I'm not going to hold back now. Let's do this.

Gym Battle: Vs Burgh

Whirlipede Lv 21, Dwebble Lv 21, Leavanny Lv 23

Hyper Potion x1

His first likes to use Screech and then hit you with a surprisingly strong Poison Tail. Missile fell to this combo early, but I wasn't daunted. Hihi came in to OHKO with Fire Fang (see what I said before) but I knew to get out, FAST, when I saw Dwebble coming. I wasn't going to fall for that again. Gouken took its Knock Down like a pro, and eventually KOd it with a few Double Kicks.

Now for the last one. I always thought it was a bit strange that you see the 3rd stage evo before anyone so far has used the 2nd stage. I felt for sure someone in the Gym would have it but... no. It was now safe to bring Darumaka out and, what do you know, Fire Fang OHKOs once again. That wasn't so bad now, was it.

MY ADVICE FOR 3RD GYM: A fire type works wonders, but keep it away from Dwebble. In fact, the entire difficulty of the fight is really just this one trap, a brutal wakeup call to new players unfamiliar with secondary typings. The game tricks you into sending your Fire out early, has Dwebble clobber it and thereby leaves you screwed for the remainder of the match. Have something else handle the hermit crab. Its Rock/Bug typing is actually pretty hard to crack at this point, try using a Roggenrola if you have one. Or Water moves. Fightings work well too as the resist most of its moves. Just keep the Fires away. Unless you have Pignite, of course, who's secondary typing negates the Rock weakness, and can thus proceed to destroy everything.

With the Insect badge and a rather useless TM won, it's about time to head out.

Team Update:

Gouken (Lv 21 Sawk)

HP: 69

Atk: 66

Def: 42

Sp. Atk: 19

Sp. Def: 36

Spe: 44

Low Kick Leer

Double Kick Focus Energy


Still doing OK, you may notice no change in moves, but they're fine. One thing I have noticed is its really the main speedster of the team, which is really saying something. Don't worry, I will be getting something faster soon...

Missile (Lv 21 Herdeir)

HP: 59

Atk: 45

Def: 33

Sp. Atk: 22

Sp. Def: 35

Spe: 32

Retaliate Take Down

Work Up Bite


Retaliate isn't so good as a STAB move, I discovered, due to only having 5 PP. Take Down is as amazing as ever, and it's found a new niche in Sandstorm thanks to its ability.

Itagaki (Lv 21 Dewott)

HP: 67

Atk: 42

Def: 32

Sp. Atk: 47

Sp. Def: 32

Spe: 33

Razor Shell Tail Whip

Water Gun Grass Knot


Grass Knot helps a lot, and basically makes it a perfect Water type counter. Razor Shell is still a great move.

Cotonee Lv 20

HP: 50

Atk: 18

Def: 35

Sp. Atk: 21

Sp. Def: 27

Spe: 40

Growth Leech Seed

Stun Spore Mega Drain


A pretty good adittion, actually, although he's a little behind as I (understandably) kept him away from the Bug Gym. He's a surprisingly decent tank with those defences plus priority Leech Seed. Priority Stun Spore also works wonders, especially against fast opponents; curcumvent their speed to hit them with a move that effectivly negates it. I realised, however, that it can't learn Sleep Powder, so I hope Stun Spore + a False Swipe user is enough for catching.

Hihidaruma (Lv 22 Darumaka)

HP: 67

Atk: 51

Def: 33

Sp. Atk: 14

Sp. Def: 21

Spe: 29

Fire Punch Rage

Fire Fang Facade


Scarily powerful, and I mean really scary. Its speed is really the only problem. I liken it to a bulldozer, hardly subtle, just roll it out when you need something smashed with minamal effort. Oh, and it has Fire Punch now, which I think benefits from Sheer Force too, ouch! (kept Fire Fang just in case it doesn't)

Serra (Lv 21 Audino)

HP: 74

Atk: 35

Def: 45

Sp. Atk: 35

Sp. Def: 44

Spe: 31

Secret Power Helping Hand

Refresh Doubleslap


Still a good tank, although I'll probably drop her soon, as I haven't seen any Double battles in ages, and mono-typed offence is starting to lose its value now that there's more variety in opponents.

Edited by Big Klingy
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Chapter 9: Road to Ruins

Immediately after the Gym, I get an Xtranciever call. (it's been a while, hasn't it) Bianca wants a battle, and she'll be waiting at the Route 4 Gate.

When I arrive, she wants to get straight to it, but first she asks the attendant something. She says its okay to battle here as long as you don't damage the electric bulletin board. Hopefully Itagaki can restrain itself now.

Vs Bianca

Herdeir Lv 18, Munna Lv 18, Starter Stage 2 Lv 20, Pansage Lv 18

Super Potion x2

She's certainly a big step up from last time. (she did say she trained under Iris for a bit) The first is no problem, but I was then surprised to see her bring out the Munna we saved earlier. My surprise later turned to shock, as I realised that thing is a freaking TANK. Seriously, it can take quite a beating, confuse you with Psybeam, and it has Moonlight! After a long set of turns, it finally goes down.

Her starter is stage 2 now, but it's still the one weak to yours, so it's not much of a threat.

Her last is a monkey. Now, I get the feeling which monkey she uses depends on her starter. (So, in my case, she had Pansage) As long as you've picked up something to compliment your starter (as I have with Darumaka) it's fine.

Before we part (certainly not for long) Bianca explains that she's had many new experiences on her travels. See the theme here? (it's about to come to a peak soon, so keep that in mind) For now, our next 'new experience' will be crossing a desert. Well, it should be familiar territory for those who've played RSE, but there are a number of things that set this one apart. (for one, it's not optional.)

But before we get there proper, there's one more obstacle. Be sure to use the heal house before progressing, because Cheren does want to fight this time!

Vs Cheren

Pidove Lv 20, Stage 2 Starter Lv 22 [sitrus Berry], Panpour Lv 20, Liepard Lv 20

I like to call this a Rival Rush, two battles right after one another. You may notice Cheren is a bit stronger than Bianca in the level department though. He also seems to prefer hold items over Potions. I may be overanalyzing this (as I tend to do with most games) but I think they have a sort of theme going with the rivals in this game. While Bianca is the beginner, to whom everything is new, Cheren is the veteran player of the series. Seriously, he pre-empts what tutorial NPCs are going to say, makes use of hold items [in only a basic way, but not many rivals do, remember] and sprouts phrases that are vaguely competitive. He's also a bit more detached in the emotional department, and I'm not implying all competitive gamers are emotionless robots, just that when you play a series like this for so long, you tend to be only there for the gameplay. (Although I must say this game did bring back the emotional attachment I got from the earlier games, and I think that was sort of its goal.)

Weird critical analysis aside, there were only a few things to note in this battle. Serra was somehow faster than Pidove, and Servine's Leaf Tornado was... really annoying. Decent damage AND lowers Accuracy? He also has a monkey, and I believe its the same deal as with Bianca's. His last surprised me a bit, but then Gouken went and took it down in one hit. lol Sawk pwns.

The Xtranciever rings again, and its the professor this time. She's waiting at the gate to Nimbassa, and wants you all to meet her there. She called Bianca earlier but she didn't respond. Hmm... I wonder what's happened. She was with us only a few minuets ago.

Now we can finally move on. A lot of Backpackers up ahead. They seem no have no set pattern as to what they use.

The first area is sort of a maze of dark sand, but most of the wild mons here aren't much trouble. (I'd also caught most of them)

But I quickly stopped myself and realised I should go back and get supplies. (Ant trust me, I later found out it was a good thing I did) Stocked up on Lemonades, they're cheap and fully heal most things at this point. Although you can buy Hyper Potions now, I wouldn’t recommend it, you'll get the same benefit at a lower cost by using Lemonades and the like. One new item was appealing however, Revives. Always a good idea to have some on hand. (I prefer at least 5)

I then took a big detour back to Nacrene city because it was now Wednesday, and I was keen to check out the cafe special. As it turns out, it's just a free Soda Pop. I came all this way for that?!

Back to Route 4, and just ahead of the sand patch, there's an overhead freeway, with trucks periodically passing. How do they drive in that sandstorm?

Up the road is the gate, but I didn't want to enter Nimbassa just yet. I was keen to see those ruins that are such a big tourist attraction, I had the feeling I'd find something good there...

The side road is filled with Workers, who like Roggenrola and Timburr. Sturdy sure is annoying.

Just across from a group of houses, and another highway, is a vending machine. Seriously, a Vending Machine... in the middle of a desert?! They should try that in real life, it'd be so convenient. Only it's be hard to power all the way out there... and you'd go insane if you were lost in the desert, found one, but realised you had no pocket change.

In one of the houses, a worker gives the TM of Dig. Taught it to Hihidaruma. Just up ahead is the...

Desert Resort

I've got no clue why they call it this. There's no accommodation, and it's possibly the harshest part of the desert. And it shows, the levels here, both wild and trainers, have taken a bit of a leap. Either this is the location of the first big difficulty spike or they don't want you going here until after Nimbassa. At least it's good prep for the Gym.

Different wild Pokemon appear here too, although the old desert ones are still here, which can get annoying. It seems Scraggys have Brick Break now, which Missile learned the hard way, poor guy.

Through a gate and we get into the main area. It uses the cave theme, and it's a little harder to see here. It's also pretty damn big, and its often hard to tell if you've found a new area or you're just going round in circles. It's also tricky to make a mental checklist of trainers, so to speak.

But the first person on that list should be the Doctor, immediately visible from the entrance. He uses a Solosis, which doesn't appear in Black so I can't tell if its a 'tease' or not. (see previous post for my definition) Oh, and he has a Hyper Potion. He'll heal you anytime afterwards, and you will need it.

Managed to find and catch a Dwebble. According to the Pokedex, it can spit acid or something. What?

I later ran into a Backpacker with a Tranquill, Lv 23. Yikes! See what I said about the level leap? At least these don't have Intimidate like DPP Staravias.

Actually, a lot of the trainers here will use stuff you've never seen yet, but it turns out that most still abide by the 'no more than 2 routes away' rule I said this game established earlier. Some of them may even be closer than you think. You'll see Ducklet, Maractus, Sigliph, Yamask and, the moment I was dreading, Gothita. (NOOOOO. The My Immortal Pokemon. Lets just hope it won infct os wit iz bsd famfick spelloong, k? Fangs to Mssl for ko'n ot, geddit cos itz goffic... BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT

Sorry. We are now rid of the evil Enoby Pokemon. Moving on.

There's many items to find here, a Fire Stone near the bottom, a Heart Scale in the top left area, Blackglasses more towards the right, Soft Sand from a dark suited man near the Blackglasses and most importantly, the TM Rock Tomb in the very bottom left corner. A great compliment to Fighting moves for now, there aren't really any better Rock options at this point.

Caught a Sigliph too. I'm not going to use it despite people going on about how amazing it is. (at least in-game.) Kind of an odd Pokemon, I think it looks more like the kind of monster you'd fight in a Final Fantasy game. But still, it's somewhat Aztec-ish, which gets a plus in my book.

There's a few Psychics here too, one of which uses a Yamask with a really annoying Wil-o-whisp/Hex combo. (Hex does 2x damage if you have a status problem.) I later found out wild Yamasks are capable of this too, but a little less effectively due to their worse (only marginally) AI.

Also encountered a Lv 23 Watchog with Super Fang. A bit early for that, isn't it? Now that I think of it it'd make Watchog a pretty decent catcher, although I dropped mine mostly for personal reasons. (I just can't stand stats that low.)

One final note, one of the Backpackers won't battle you, rather he'll make a reference to the Go-Goggles from RSE.

Finally its time to explore the Relic Castle, which was apparently built by the hero and the dragon in ancient times. I feel that will become significant later.

Relic Castle

There are two entrances here, one in a tower to the west and one guarded by inactive Zen Mode Darumas in the east. The tower entrance, however, doesn't go anywhere right now. I really like the music here though.

Inside the second entrance, you'll find several trainers, and some sink holes. So much as touch one and you'll fall to the lower floor, which doesn't have anything of consequence except stairs leading back up. Manage to pass by the second sink hole (by going down not up.) And you'll find a female Backpacker who'll offer you one of two fossils: the Cover Fossil or the Plume Fossil. I'll take Plume, thanks. There is more to the castle, but apparently they're still clearing the sand and I'll have to come back later. But before I go...

Lots of Sandiles here. Actually, this may be a good training spot for whatever EVs they give out. (I presume Attack) After a few though, I find what I'm looking for, a Yamask.

Its name makes me lol, as I keep thinking its short for Yami's Mask. Well, he was a pharaoh, so he must have had some kind of death mask. (And in case you can't tell, I am a Yugioh Abridged fan)

Well, that's about all for now... or it would be, if I hadn't realised there was one more desert Pokemon I hadn't yet found. After searching a while outside, I caught a Maractus. One thing cool about this Pokemon: its ability, Water Absorb, is a fantastic nod to real-world cacti, and shows someone at Game Freak must have done some research. (What I'm referring to is that cactus needles are specially designed to avoid water loss, unlike leaves. And I learned this from Magic School Bus when I was about 6.)

I had one final detour to make before Nimbassa. Back through the desert, the city and across Skyarrow Bridge. Back to Nacrene city once more. Why? Well, I already had a new team with me, but he, well... can't do much in his current condition. Have you guessed by now?

Oh, you no longer have to 'wait' for fossil revival, it'll be ready right there. Say hello to Quetzalli, my new Archen. I couldn't go with Quetzalcoatl because it wouldn’t fit, so I thought Quetzal, but that's the name of a perfectly normal bird species. But as it happens, the name is derived from the Nahuatl (ancient Aztec for those who don't know) word Quetzalli, meaning "large, brilliant tail feathers". That certainly sounded appropriate. It was Jolly too, which is great! Coming in at Lv 25 also means It didn't require grinding, double plus!

And yes, I know it can't learn Fly until it evolves. But I hope it'll be close to evolving when the HM comes.

About time to enter the city of lights.

Chapter 10: The Truth About N

Juniper is waiting inside the gate, and Cheren has already arrived. But it seems all she wanted to do was give us some free Ultra Balls and ask how we were going. It was mostly an excuse for Cheren to contemplate why they were given the Pokedex in the first place, and the consequences thereof. You know, more of that journey stuff.

Once entering Nimbassa City, there's no time for sightseeing, an old man is being harassed by Team Plasma. We'd better help.

It seems Team Plasma is ramping things up a bit, s they now use Watchog. This one is only level 18 though (HACKERS!) which is a lot less than I've been used to, and thus went down without much fight. At least Missile learned Crunch, it was about time to replace Bite.

Defeated, the grunts run off into the amusement park. And the man turns out to be (surprise, surprise) the Day Care Man! And he decides to reward you by giving you...

the Bike!

Wow. He decides to head back home, which I presume means you can now raise two Pokemon there, and thus have access to breeding. Two amazing rewards from the one guy, thanks! (and I really man that this time)

And... Bianca's back. See what I meant when I said she wouldn't be gone long? She says she's going to check out the Pokemon Musical. I'll... probably explore the rest of the city first.

Now, there’s lots to see and do in Nimbassa. I'd actually go so far as to say that it's around this point where the game starts becoming somewhat non-linear. The Pokemon Center is always a good first stop, and here someone informs me there's a man giving out free Strengh HMs somewhere in the city. Turns out, he's only about one building away. And you don't need a badge to use it!

In another building, an old woman gives you a Soothe Bell if your lead Pokemon has high enough happiness.

In one of the nearby houses, people are talking about Shiny Pokemon. And yes, they do actually call them that. One of the rare cases where a fanon term has ended up becoming fully official. I hear a similar thing happened with 'Eeveelution'. On the top floor of said building you can get a Sun Stone. And the man giving it to you does mention Cotonee needing it.

Next up, the two stadiums. Of the sports variety. Man, the Big Stadium is, well, big. The sport being practiced both here and on the small court changes every day, but I could only battle one person on each stadium.

Now, I had a strange occurrence here: Darumaka's Fire Punch missed a Pansage despite having 100% accuracy. Odd. I'll talk about this later, because it has happened more than once. On wild Pokemon. So I know they don't have Brightpowder.

Now, if you try to enter Route 5, Bianca will stop you and take you to the musical hall. She does the same if you meet her at the entrance and talk to her. She wants to show you, and you're forced to enter. And meet the owner, who gives you the incredibly girly looking Prop Case.

He then explains how to decorate your Pokemon with props, and tells you to pick a Pokemon. But, what if I don't want to? Oh, well, Missile!

"Let's dress up Missile with props!"

But, but... I don't want to make my Pokemn look ridiculous... Why don't I have any say here? Well, one thing to note here is that accessories now 'snap on' to specific areas as opposed to just being placed anywhere. Not really sure if this is better or worse than before.

Thankfully, you're only forced to do this once, Bianca then leaves. Speaking to people here, I receive the TM Echoed Voice from a girl on the lower floor.

While I'm here, I may as well try this, just to see what its like. I enjoyed 3rd gen contests, but I thought 4th gen really ruined them. How about this variation...

Meh, I really don't think I'll be doing that again. There's... virtually no interactivity of any kind. I mean, if it was a rhythm game I may have gotten into it, but it's really just sitting and watching, the only thing that effects the actual dance are the props you select beforehand. It really goes past the point where it ceases being a game. I get that it may appeal to different demographics, I just feel they could have done a bit more here.

But the main reason you're dragged here is for a major story event. As soon as you leave, you'll see Bianca speaking with her father, who says he's come to take her home. The music here is truly beautiful, unlike anything I've ever heard in the series.

Just as Bianca says she wants to do things her way, a blond haired lady enters. She introduces herself as Elesa, the gym leader, and also a model. (Which explains... a lot.)

Elesa: "There are many people who have different ways of thinking to yours. Sometimes you may get hurt."

Bianca's dad: "That's right! It's because I'm worried about that..."

Elesa says it is important to learn the differences between yourself and others. Bianca says even though her journey has been hard, she's met lots of nice people too, and feels she's already getting stronger.

Bianca's dad: "Well, I suppose if you wanting to continue your journey is selfishness on your part, wanting to stop you is selfishness on mine. I can't believe I'm the one being childish at my age."

[don't know about you guys, but I found that line surprisingly deep, by Pokemon standards anyway.]

Her father finally decides to let her take the path she wants. Bianca promises she'll return once she finds out what she really wants to do.

As he leaves, Elesa remarks that he must have traveled as a trainer in the past. Now, I get the feeling this is going to spark many crazy theories as to who Bianca's father is, or at least spawn a huge number of 'Bianca's father when he was a trainer' fanfics. Anyway, Elesa wants you to come to the Gym later, so she can show you just how tough a journey can get. I've got a bad feeling about the upcoming battle...

Right, I think I've covered everything here but the Battle Subway, which I'll get back to later, and the Battle Institute, which they won't let you use yet. Time to enter the amusement park.

Nimbassa City: Amusement Park

The moment you enter, you'll be greeted with a familiar, but not necessarily friendly, face. N says Team Plasma is in the park and asks you to follow him, passing by a few building, we arrive at the ferris wheel.

"They're not here. Let's ride the ferris wheel to see if we can spot them.

I love ferris wheels. [...]

They're like a collection of elegant formulas."

Ok, N is really starting to scare me now. I don't think it's a good idea to get on the ferris wheel with... but as if I have a choice here. While I check out some rather nice 3D views of the ferris wheel, N nonchalantly states:

"By the way, I am king of Team Plasma."

Yeah, I knew that from pre-release material. I didn't realise they called him king though. But I suspect he has a little more significance than just that title...

Ghetsis asked him to help save the Pokemon, apparently. Now, there aren't many people who would trust someone who's... Ghetsis, but I do think N seems like one of them.

The grunts enter, calling him 'my lord N'. Apparently they're all 'people brought in by the same person [Ghetsis] to help save the Pokemon'. Hmm... N asks if I follow his logic, but a battle is sure to follow either way. Interestingly, he acknowledges he can't beat you now, but that he can at least buy time for his fellows to retreat.

And he finally has his own battle intro now.

Vs N

Sandile Lv 22, Sigliph Lv 22, Scraggy Lv 22, Darumaka Lv 22

If you've figured out N's pattern by now you can predict what he's going to use. I'm quite used to fighting most of these, and three of the four are very easy to take down with the right weaknesses. Sigliph, on the other hand, is annoying. At this point they're kind of like minibosses in their own right. I send out Missile to Crunch it, but it's still only a 3HKO.

Only other thing to note is that, early in the battle, he'll say:

"Your Pokemon look happy."


And he uses the Plasma victory theme now, as I thought.

N says he "has a future he must change." Then, he moves towards you, and we get a zoomed-in shot of his face.

"I will defeat the champion and become unbeatable, unlike any other."

He tells you that if you want to stop him, collect the badges and go to the Pokemon League. Right, so you actually have some kind of incentive to do this now. Come to think of it, most of the past games, barring RBY, didn't really give you an actual reason for challenging the gyms, other than, 'because they're there.'

Speaking of which, that bright neon building we passed was the Gym. But I feel I need a little more preparation. I've challenged myself to do this without a Ground type, after all.

Edited by Big Klingy
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1. Once you get past the fourth gym, this was my take on the Ferris wheel scene:


2. Pokemon Musicals are a ton of fun. I have a very perverse sense of humor, so. . .

3. Gothita is awesome.

4. Your Darumakka missed Fire Punch for a reason. Go check its stats.

Edited by eclipse
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Her last is a monkey. Now, I get the feeling which monkey she uses depends on her starter. (So, in my case, she had Pansage) As long as you've picked up something to compliment your starter (as I have with Darumaka) it's fine.

Correct good sir! Just like how your monkey changes with your starter, the same thing happens with the rivals.

Caught a Sigliph too. I'm not going to use it despite people going on about how amazing it is. (at least in-game.) Kind of an odd Pokemon, I think it looks more like the kind of monster you'd fight in a Final Fantasy game. But still, it's somewhat Aztec-ish, which gets a plus in my book.

Still can't find those. They like to elude me. >_> Almost as badly as Tynamo.

One final note, one of the Backpackers won't battle you, rather he'll make a reference to the Go-Goggles from RSE.

This was my biggest indicator that I thought they were going to remake RS. That and Dive.

Relic Castle

You get the Shandow Ball TM here. But I'm not sure when, cause I still haven't gotten it and I've reached the 6th gym. :/

Just as Bianca says she wants to do things her way, a blond haired lady enters. She introduces herself as Elesa, the gym leader, and also a model. (Which explains... a lot.)

And also looks like a Vocaloid.

Speaking of which, that bright neon building we passed was the Gym. But I feel I need a little more preparation. I've challenged myself to do this without a Ground type, after all.

Don't worry about ground, it's Rock you want. Use that Rock Tomb TM. They all have Emonga, so they resist Dig, and there's only Elesa's Zebrakai thing, and one Blitzle from a trainer.

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Psychedelica, (sorry, it wouldn't let me quote you for some reason) for me, it was Maractus that eluded me. Although I'm pretty sure I only found one Sigliph, thankfuly I caught it and so didn't need to look anymore.

And thanks for the comments everyone, it's good to see someone taking an intrest in this.

Chapter 11: Watching the Trains go by

Ok, yeah, this is pretty much my first 'procrastination chapter'. But there are a few areas I need to talk about.

When you try to enter the Subway for the first time, a girl will run out and give the Vs Recorder. It came surprisingly late, but I guess there's no better time than now.

The Gear Station is a pretty nice looking place, but the main point of interest is the music, it's a rock/techno remix of the classic Battle Tower theme, I think it suits the atmosphere of the place pretty well.

I can't access the Super trains yet, which I believe are like regular Battle Tower in the old games, but yeah, I'd get slaughtered there anyway. I guess I'll try Single first. I selected Itagaki, Hihidaruma and Cottonee.

The first opponent had a Sewaddle AND Swadloon. Odd. But I lost Hihi and Itagaki to their other, which I can't remember. It was down to Cottonee. I knew I couldn't do much (4x resistance) but perhaps spamming Growth would work...? It just seemed to be using String Shot over and over, fool...

Who has Bug Bite. Oh great, no way I can stand against that.

So yeah, got smashed in my first battle, that was embarresing. Maybe I'll do better with Quetzalli?

Well, marginally better. I got through a few people before having my streak ended by an Oshawott when I lost all my Water resists. At least I got to see some interesting Pokemon like Larvesta. Too bad they're not registered in the Pokedex though.

I tried Doubles after that, and found out something interesting: multi-target moves now damage both foes at once, like in PBR. You'll also get specific messages for if the move is effective/ineffective on one or both targets.

I'm not really doing so well here. Despite the fact that most opponents are unevolved, they are EV trained, so in-game teams at this point may still struggle.

One more thing, I didn't find this out until later, but Multi is CHEAP at this point. But in the opposite way to what you're probably thinking, I'll give you the run down.

Ok, so you're my AI partner. You're asking what kind of team I want you to use... I'll go with offence. Right, let's go: first opponent sends out some unevolved Pokemon...

Hilda sends out Haxorus

Yeah. And it has Outrage. Needless to say, it swept everything. She had a Swak too, but never got the chance to use it.

And it seems winning a streak takes you to some random station platform in the middle of nowhere, where you get the option to continue your challenge or go back to Nimbassa. I like how they give you he option to keep going without having to sit therough the receptionist's monologue again. That will certainly be convenient when I start taking on thes plase proper.

And yes, you can get to Anville town from here, but it seems there's really nothing much to do there except on weekends, so I'll save my report until then.

For now, routes 5 and 16 are available. Yeah, wierd numbering, I know. Let's check out 5 first.

Route 5

Apparently this is an entertainer street, or something. There's a bunch of people preforming for a crowd. Noe, all the preformers are trainers, but they won't battle you unless you actually talk to them. This includes the Baker at the front near the trailer. She has all three monkeys at Lv 25, and says they help her bake. Now, I can see that with Pansear, but the others? I really don't see how Pansage would help, unless you were making some kind of herb bread.

Speaking of culinary-related things, the lady inside the trailer wants you to sell her ingredients. Now, I believe its Mushrooms she's after, but I don't think I have any.

The guitarist here is nice enough to give you an Electric Guitar... as a musical prop, of course. And Itagki learned Water Pulse. Well, at least its better than Water Gun.

The old man here, however, WILL challenge you on sight, he's an Artist. After the battle, he starts talking about colours, the ones he mentions are "white, black, red, green, blue, yellow" Heh, I do kind of like how they put lots of subtle refferences to the earlier games in, ones that veteran players will get but won't detract from the experience for newcomers. There have been many examples of that, just look back through my log and try to spot them.

You can't go any further since the bridge is raised, and apparently only Clay can lower it. Apparently Elesa could help you contact him.

The grass here contains several new Pokemon, namely Gothita (in Black), Trubbish and Minccino, all of which I caught. It also contains wild Liepards, watch out for them as they're hard to run from. Wild levels go up to 25 now, in case you were wondering.

And there was a trainer with Tympole's evolution: Palpitoad. Just... look at the face it makes in its animation, what a troll. Well, that's my impression at least.

Oh, and its a perfect time to try out my new Bike. Ok, I will say one thing, the new Bike theme is absolutley amazing, one of the best tracks in the game so far. It really makes up for that gigantic fail that was the DDP Bike theme. You know what, it actually sounds like it could have lyrics. It would be cool if someone actually wrote some for it.

Let's ride to...

Route 16

A man in the gate gives you the Macho Brace, which is pretty useless in the main story. To be honest, now that Power items exist, it's pretty much useless, period.

There's a Policeman here, two things to note: first, the look nothing like those from other regions. (I would ask if they're a Japaese steriotype of American Police officers, but there is still something undeniably Japanese about them, mainly the face) And secondly, it dosen't have to be night for you to battle them. The ones from this region like Herdiers.

And there's a Strength rock here, so I taught the move to Missile. Now you just have to puch the rocks into a conveniently-placed pit. Like I said earlier, no badge required. At the end of this path is the Payback TM.

And it seems this route is a no-go too, the Marvelous Bridge is being checked. Shame, Black City is on the other side. Come to think about it, I wonder how you even get to the eastern part of the main Unova island? The western path already takes you through all the gyms, so... just what is in the east part?

Don't answer either of those, by the way. I want to find out myself.

The main attraction of this route is Lostlorn forest. The music here reminds me of Zelda for some reason. There's a small river with a waterfall near the entrance, then a patch of grass and... a trailer. Apparently the woman living there preffers to be alone. She doesn't speak. Hmm... where have we seen that before... I think I need a shiny beast here.

Now, most of the wild Pokemon here are either the same or evolved forms of those in Pinwheel forest. Since I have a thing against catching evolved Pokemon in the wild, there isn't much for me here. I stayed a bit to look for shaking pathes (which I think you can get Emolga in) but found nothing.

I guess the only place left to go now is the Gym.

Chapter 12: Do you know what happens to a [insert any mamber of my team here] when it's struck by lightning?

Well... first one last moment of sidetracking. It was only now that I realised you could buy TMs at the shop, the list is:



Thunder Wave

Gyro Ball

Light Screen



I just bought Return for now, the others will be more useful later on. Strangely, this is probably the first game where you have to buy Return/Frustration, rather than recieve them as gifts.

Finally, on the the Gym. I really like the effect on the roller coaster here, although the puzzle is a little too simple for my tastes. The only real thing to note is that a trainer will come out of the 3rd and 4th cars you find.

And, as has been mentioned before, it's Rock Tomb that works wonders here. About 60% of the Pokemon here are Emolgas, the other 40 is Blitzles. I remember reading in the Sawk solo topic that some people are annoyed the Gym knows only 2 Electric types. But personally, I feel it's to avoid 'teasing', like I mentioned before. I mean, I can think of two more Electrics, but they don't come until a fair while later. The 'no more than 2 routes away' rule is still in force. There IS one area where it's broken, but I'll get to that later.

Quetzalli got the first Ancientpower all-up... except by then the battle had ended. Oh well.

After one final loop (pretty epic), we reach the leader. She dosen't waste time chatting, it seems.

Gym Battle: Vs Elesa

Emolga Lv 25, Emolga Lv 25, Zebstrika Lv 27

Hyper Potion x1

Ok, this is a bit of an odd battle, as her first two like to use Volt Switch, which means they won't be staying around for long. Fortunately, they have different genders, so they're easy to tell apart. Also, Static is irritating. So I decided to beat her at her own game, Priority Stun Spore go!

Cottonee has the added bonus of resisting Electric... but that annoying pair both have Aerial Ace. I managed to take one down, which meant the next would have oly one option to Volt Switch to...

So her strongest came out early, and proceeded to nail Cottonee with Flame Charge. But I managed to get a Thunder Wave in first! This enabled Missile to 2HKO with Strength. (the foe was fully paralyzed once)

That just left one, time to bring out Gouken for some Rock Tomb action. Unfortunately, he was my only user of the move, and he's weak to Aerial Ace...

My first Rock Tomb lowers its Speed enough that I can outrun it, but my second misses! I only have 11 HP left. But I just need one more...

BAM! And that was that.

MY ADVICE FOR 4TH GYM: You don't need a Sandile, and in fact one will only help in taking their Electric attacks, as most are immune to Ground. Rock Tomb however works wonders. (Note that I already did this long before you guys started suggesting the move) Using a Grass to resist Electric is NOT a good idea though. (AA and Flame Charge) Also, be ready for her highest leveled team member to come out earlier than you expect.

Recommended level (thought I'd add this): 26.

Right, Elesa says she'll fix it so we can cross the drawbridge. Time to head back to Route 5. Route 16 is still a no-go.

Team Update:

I thought of something new here: I'll post my Pokedex progress here to. I never play to complete it, but I do like to catch one of everything on each route. (except evolutions of stuff I already have) I hope this gives a good idea of how well I'm doing, but as evolved forms are coming, the ratio is going to get worse from here on.

For now: 51 Seen, 33 Owned

Hihidaruma (Lv 26 Darumaka)

HP: 77

Atk: 60

Def: 39

Sp. Atk: 16

Sp. Def: 25

Spe: 34

Fire Punch Dig

Work Up Facade


Ok, I feel like a complete moron. I now know why Fire Punch keeps missing, Darumaka has Hustle!! Forgot it didn't get Sheer Force until evolution. Damn. I really feel it sometimes, like when Dig wastes a turn only to miss. (happened here) Still, Fire Punch is as strong as ever.

Missile (Lv 26 Herdier)

HP: 71

Atk: 56

Def: 40

Sp. Atk: 26

Sp. Def: 43

Spe: 39

Strength Take Down

Work Up Crunch


Gave it Evolite for better defences. Strength works great as a general no-drawbacks STAB move for now, but Take Down still pretty much OHKOs everything. Crunch is a big plus.

Quetzalli (Lv 26 Archen)

HP: 65

Atk: 64

Def: 31

Sp. Atk: 43

Sp. Def: 33

Spe: 50

Pluck Ancientpower

Agility Quick Guard


A great attacker, if a little frail. Ancientpower still does good damage despite a -Sp. Atk nature. Unfortunatly it didn't get to show its true colours in the gym, for obvious reasons. I haven't quite figured out exactly how Quick Guard works, (i.e. is it just a worse Protect or is it more?) as every time I've tried it my opponent ends up useing a priority move.

Gouken (Lv 26 Sawk)

HP: 83

Atk: 81

Def: 51

Sp. Atk: 23

Sp. Def: 44

Spe: 55

Low Sweep Rock Tomb

Double Kick Focus Energy


Still amazing. Not really much more to add.

Cottonee Lv 26

HP: 62

Atk: 23

Def: 44

Sp. Atk: 26

Sp. Def: 34

Spe: 52

Growth Leech Seed

Stun Spore Giga Drain


The only member of my team that isn't nicknamed, come to think of it. I need to think of one. Anyway, much better offence now that I've replaced Mega Drain with the upgraded version. (which comes with a new improved 75 base power) Only problem is it's near useless against fellow Grass types. But I've never had problems with them anyway.

Itagaki (Lv 26 Dewott)

HP: 81

Atk: 52

Def: 39

Sp. Atk: 57

Sp. Def: 39

Spe: 40

Razor Shell Tail Whip

Water Pulse Grass Knot


It's now starting to have the makings of a great mixed attacker. (I can pick-and-chose bettwen Water moves depending on my opponent's weaker defence stat) I think it's about time to add a new move to its arsenal though...

Taught return to Itagaki, I figured it should have decent happiness now. Yes, this chapter is continuing, as it was a little shorter than I thought.

Guess who was waiting for me at Route 5?

Vs Cheren

Liepard Lv 24, Monkey Lv 24, Tranquill Lv 24, Stage 2 Starter Lv 26

Very little difference from last time, apart from one evolution. The AI on Liepard is odd, it seems to think Pursuit is a good move to use as your primary STAB. It did manage to Torment me though.

Cheren: "I'm surprised you chose that move."

Dude, you gave me no choice, I was Tormented. Anyway Hihi learns Thrash out of this, I decide to keep it due to its new 120 base power. (How many people saw that change coming.)

Quetzalli went up against Servine, which was still faster than it, but I got the last laugh when I stole and ate its Sitrus Berry! The rest of the battle went by quickly.

Elesa then arrives, and says its nice you're helping eachother get stronger by competing. She takes us to the bridge... but wait, it seems there's someone among the preformers who wasn't here before. I'd recognise that spiky red hair anywhere, it's...

Axel! Uh, no. It's Alder. (Though I do think he pretty much is what Axel would look like in the future if he could age.)

Now, anyone who's looked at pre-release sprites, you'll know full well who this guy is. But the game kind of surprised me here: Elesa formally introduces him to you as the champion. So it seems they've dropped the old "some random (albiet strangely badass) NPC who later turns out to be the chamipon" twist, since everybody always guessed it or knew beforehand anyway. (Well, except with Wallace. Man, that came as a HUGE shock when I first played Emerald.)

What is new is that he gets his own theme. And it's pretty unique. Now here we have a very interesting story event.

Alder asks Cheren his goal, and Cheren says to become the champion. Alder then asks what Cheren wants to do after becoming the champion. Cheren is a little confused, and just says he wants to become stronger.

Alder: "To become stronger... Is that alone enough of a goal?"

He then asks the two of you to have a battle with two children. It's tougher than you might think, as the both have Lv 26 Herdiers, with Sitrus Berries. This means Cheren's team is a little low. Liepard help out with Fake Out, but then couldn't do much for the AI reasons mentioned above. His Panpour on the other hand had Scald, which was a huge help. (In case your wondering, only one Herdier has intimidate. Thankfully.)

Alder did that to show you that everyone has different views when it comes to Pokemon, and there is no single right answer. I think this quilifies as a kind of Crowning Moment of Heartwarming for basically the entire series, and I actually think the scene was very well done.

Elesa finally gets on the line to Clay, and the bridge is lowered. The animation is awesome, even more so in my case as it happened in the evening, so I got to see the view of the bridge lit by a beautiful sunset.

Next time, we go west to lands unknown.

Edited by Big Klingy
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Sorry about the double post, I just don't want the previous ones to get even longer than they already are. This first most of the criteria for the project thred exception, at least I hope. I apologise if that's not the case.

Chapter 13: A Chilling Revelation

...Oh God that was awful. Sorry about that, I just couldn't think of much else.

Dirftveil Drawbridge

Some pretty epic music here. It's pretty much signaling that you're past the halfway point, and things are going to get tougher from here on out.

Shadows will occasionally fall on the bridge, you can tell by the sould of wings flapping, although sometimes they appear a little bit behind you, so it pays to check back. Sometimes, you'll get a Wing item from them. These increase EVs by 1 point each, good for those spreads where you need exact numbers. Unless there's some kind of limit to them like there is to vitamins. Is there?

Of course, othertimes you'll get a Duck. A Ducklett to be specific. Unfortantely, I KOd the first one with an accidental crit, but it's not as is they're eactly rare, so I easily found another and caught it this time.

There's an NPC here who says "When Driftviel is mentioned, Cold Storage i what comes to mind. And Charels."

Who's Charels? Well, I guess I'll find out.

Not to long after, I take my first steps into Driftveil. Love the music here. It's one of the few Pokemon songs I instinctively want to headbang to. Anyway, someone here mentions the bridge is also called the Charizard Bridge. Personally, I think it needs significantly more fire to be worthy of that nickname. There's another bridge up ahead, although this is only a small stone one. On the other side, I find Cheren, along with the local Gym Leader.

And yeah, Clay could well be Jake Marshal's estranged uncle or something. And it seems he wants to test you before he'll let you enter the Gym. There's some Team Plasma members on the loose, and we'll have to go round them up. Cheren says he would've looked for them anyway, as he could get stronger battling them. I wholeheartedly agree.

Now, one thing I realised is that Cold Storage, despite being a separate area where battles of both types can occur, is right across a small bridge, and has the same music as the city, so it's a fairly seamless transition. Which is why I got caught of guard by a Youngster. I'd advie poeople to be careful to heal before going in here.

Looking around the city, I notice the Market, (where you can buy Herbal Medecine and Moomoo Milk. Strangely, they say the milk is freash and farmed nearby, but Miltanks aren't native to Unova...) and a house where a man will teach your starter its corresponding Pledge move. Which are virtually useless in-game unless you've already traded for another starter by now.

Now, there's a lone Biker riding up and down near the market. Turns out, this is Charels. He says he invented a new style of battling to impress girls, and he'll teach you with a practical demonstration. It's called a Rotation Battle.

He sends out Basculin, Krokorok and Zekstrika, all Lv 27. Now, it pretty much plays out exactly how I immagined it: just like Single 3v3, except you can switch and attack in the same turn. So prediction is even more vital. You also need to be really careful of Speed priorities, as they could mean your rotated Pokemon gets hit, possibly crippled, before it can do anything. The other main thing to note is rotated-out Pokemon are still considered 'in-play', and so will keep stat boosts and drops.

You can substitute other members of your party like a normal switch or if an active Pokemon faints, so it's like the others are your 'reserves'. Although I believe 'official' (i.e. Wifi) rules for Rotation are 6-choose-3, meaning you get no reserves.

You know, I think I could really get in on rotation battles. I may need a bit more practice though, and annoyingly Battle Subway doesn't support this mode.

Back to the main log, I find Zebstrika's cry somewhat unnerving, it sounds like it's screaming in pain or something. Achen learned Acrobatics, which is going to really come in hand later.

Charels says I should go to Opelucid City for more Rotation Battles. Meanwhile, back at the Pokemon Center, I discover you can buy Dusk Balls here. I bought as many as I could, those are certainly some of the most useful un existance. There's an old man in another house who'll give a Shell Bell if you've seen 50 or more Pokemon. There's another person offering a Basculin in excange for a Minccino. It's a good deal since you can't Surf or fish yet, but I don't have a spare Minccino on me at the moment. A girl wants to see a Pokemon that's learned Echoed Voice. Oh, and a guy in the market wants to see a Pokemon level 30 or more.

Time to hunt down Team Plasma once again.

Cold Storage

The outside of this place doesn't look all that cold, which explains why you find Herdiers and Minccinos here. (I thought it was almost cruel that the Pokedex listed their locations as 'Cold Storage' earlier. "Hey kids, remember when we said we sent the dog to live on a farm? Truth is, we put it in cold storage. If your great grandkids ever want one, tell them to go and thaw it out.")

There is one little thing that's cold here though, Vinilite! I actually encountered the first one in Double Grass, where I discovered something: in wild Double battles, it 'costs' both Pokemon's turns to throw a ball. (the first one has to be the one to select it)

A worker standing in the narrow gap between two containers gives you the Rugged Helmet. I already have a decent use in mind for that item. The other workers here are only interested in battles though.

At the end of the path I find a large storage area with a door. Cheren says Team Plasma is probably inside.

The music in here is... weird. It's probably the only track in the game I'd describe as grating.

But it seems this place is the obligitry sliding ice area. These aren't as tricky as some of the ice puzzles in GCS/HGSS's Ice Cave, though you do have to do a little out of your way for the TM Scald. The only other thing to note is one of the workers has a Gurdurr.

A large container lies at the end of the area, and Team Plasma is insidse, along with the Sage Zinzolin. By the way, Cheren seems to have developed the catchphrase "it's a bother, but...", he didn't seem to say it as much before. There's a lot of grunts here, so we each take a side. It seems mine has slightly more though.

Ok, Acrobatics is freakishly strong. The move alone 1HKO'd the whole teams of three consecutive grunts! Ouch.

It seems Clay is impressed, and lets us challenge the Gym, before he sends some Workers to take the Team Plasma members away. Wow, we've finally got one of the Sages under arrest, this will surely be a huge blow to the group...

Except it wouldn't last. The moment I approach the Gym, who do I find but Ghetsis. He tells Clay to release the others or... something bad will happen. Ghetsis doesn't seem like the kind of guy to make idle threats, so we have to comply for now. He again goes on about freeing the Pokemon, but Clay replies "What yer saying sounds an awful lot like lying to me." I always suspected Ghetsis had other motives, but what? No time to find out now, they're gone, all that's left is another Gym challenge.

Chapter 14: My (Underground) Boss, My Hero

The distance between Gyms is getting shorter, isn't it? Another thing I find about this game is that there's less 'Gym droughts'. We all remember them from DPP, the gap between Gardenia and Maylene was particularly infamous. (nearly half the freaking continent) This game seems to be going out of its way to eliminate that problem. Just one stop was necissary here.

Route 6 is fully accesable to you now, which is nice for a change. I didn't feel I needed much more leveling, since I was pretty confident against Ground types. So I satisfied myself with just catching Pokemon from the first grass patch. Karrablast and Deerling, specifically. For a Pokemon revealed so early in promotion, Deerling comes surprisingly late. And if you're thinking of reminding me 'there's also Foongus', I know. I just waited until a bit later for that one.

I also checked out Anville town, since it was the weekend. There's nothing much here except the item traders. The first wants 20 Poke Balls in exchange for a Full Restore. Uh... no. But the second offered a PP Up in excange for a Star Piece, yes please! Another was traveling and forgot excape ropes, and so would give you a revive for two of them. I decided to do this mostly out of sympathy for him.

Did just a tiny bit of training at Cold Storage, and Gouken learned Brick Break. Ok, here we go.

Driftveil Gym

We finally have a 'proper' Ground Gym. Giovanni didn't really count, I don't really recall many of the trainers in his Gym using Ground types, and nearly all of them were dual typed anyway.

The gimmick here is going down through the rock strata using elevator platforms. (Which are marked with a symbol that looks like a D-pad) Not really much to say here, but a few of the trainers are Clerks, who are a kind of hint at Clay's origins, considering they're based of Japanese 'Salarymen'. Apparently the developers said that Clay is designed as a Japanese man who went to America and got rich off oil, which does kind of make sense when you look at him. (it's not hard to immagine him picking up an accent either)

Now, if you thought that loop before Elesa was epic, think again. The final evelator goes down, down, down, through the strata, reaching a huge steel gate with the Gym logo, through it, it goes even further, to a mining area with conveyor belts (that are actually carrying pieces of ore in a realistic manner) and a spinning fan in the distance.

Time to take on the boss himself, who's real name I like to think is Clayton Marshal. (Now that I explained his origins it doesn't really work so well though)

Gym Battle: Vs Clay

Krokorok Lv 29, Palpitoad Lv 29, Excadrill Lv 31

Hyper Potion x2

Yes, more than one Hyper Potion. His first Swaggered Missile, but all that did was give him the power he needed to OHKO back. The second was easy prey for Cottonee, what with that 4x weakness, but it didn't quite OHKO. This was fortunate though, as it forced Clay to waste his Hyper Potions.

I was a little scared of his last initially, what with all the hype that things been getting. It started using Hone Claws too. Its idle animation is kind of interesting, it reaches for the ground with its claws, as if saying "must... dig... let me...dig" But it went down easily to Itagaki. See what I said about not being worried by Ground types?

MY ADVICE FOR 5TH GYM: It's not really a question of the battle itself so much as what you use. It's completley trivial for Waters, and simple for Grass, but I only just realised this game sufferes from the same thing Fires did in DPP, well, kind of. You see, if you didn't start with Oshawott, the only real decent water option up to this point is Panpour... which you don't get if you chose Tepig. (the situation in which its sorely needed here) No Surfing or fishing does that. I suppose there's the Basculin trade.

You may also be thinking of Vanilite, as every Gym is conveniently positioned near some Pokemon that's good against it, right? Well... in this case you may want to be careful, as only one of his team actually is weak to Ice. Deerling from Route 6 is probably the better choice, although that misses out on an SE on his strongest too. I actually need to play this with a Tepig starter, and see how much harder it is.

Recommended Level: 30, although you can get away with less if you use Waters.

Team Update:

Pokedex: 58 Seen, 38 Owned

Missile (Lv 29 Herdier)

HP: 78

Atk: 62

Def: 45

Sp.Atk: 29

Sp.Def: 47

Spe: 43

Strength Take Down

Work Up Crunch


Hasn't changed much.

Gouken (Lv 30 Sawk)

HP: 94

Atk: 94

Def: 39

Sp.Atk: 27

Sp.Def: 50

Spe: 63

Brick Break Rock Tomb

Double Kick Focus Energy


I must have noted down his Defence wrong. I'll go back and check. But since this is going to be his last time appearing here, I may as well give my full final impressions:

Sawk is pretty much the Sirius of this game. Arrives a short while into the early game, but is already absurdly strong, doesn't need an evolution, and effective against a lot of things well into the game. Its final stats may be a little lower than some other Pokemon, mostly in Speed, but in-game it really doesn't matter. An amazing choice. (Yeah, that does sound like Sirius, doesn't it?)

Quetzalli (Lv 30 Archen)

HP: 74

Atk: 74

Def: 35

Sp.Atk: 49

Sp.Def: 37

Spe: 58

Arcrobatics Ancientpower

Agility Quick Guard


Acrobatics is crazy. Seriously, it has to be seen to be believed, and you don't really miss the item slot in-game. And lol, two Pokemon with their HP and Attack values the same, one after the other.

Itagaki (Lv 29 Dewott)

HP: 90

Atk: 58

Def: 44

Sp.Atk: 63

Sp.Def: 27

Spe: 38

Razor Shell Return

Water Pulse Grass Knot


Now we're talking! The Water/Normal combo is still great in terms of coverage. It's now that shes taken a valuable role on the team as mixed attacker.

Hihidaruma (Lv 29 Darumaka)

HP: 85

Atk: 67

Def: 42

Sp.Atk: 18

Sp.Def: 27

Spe: 38

Fire Punch Dig

Work Up Thrash


Speed is starting to be a little troublesome. I hope it evolves soon. Not to say it's not good, it's still got the same great power as before.

Cottonee Lv 29

HP: 69

Atk: 26

Def: 49

Sp.Atk: 29

Sp.Def: 37

Spe: 58

Growth Leech Seed

Stun Spore Giga Drain


Great in the Gym, although Giga Drain's PP can be an issue. (At least it's not 5 anymore) I don't think the moveset will be changing much, and I can evolve it now if I want, but I may wait to see if it gets something worthwhile. Although come to think of it Whimsicott learns a move that may be just what I need...

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Quick Guard apparently protects against moves with increased priority like Quick Attack.

Tepig people get Pansage though. :/

Grass isn't quite as good as Water for the Gym, personally. Then again Fire is good on Excadrill (provided it doesn't hit you first), so it balances out.

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I hope you continue to find the story amusing.

I let my, erm, "other" side out, and turned it into a bit of a parody.

Thanks to you, I can no longer take N seriously. But I am enjoying the rest.

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I hate to admit it, but I hadn't really checked out Serebii.net for this generation yet. The fact that TMs are now unlimited-use, just like HMs, that I saw here made me yell "HALLELUJAH!" Seriously, it was such a gigantic pain in the rear end to have to go and either a) invest in an Action Replay so I could have all the TMs I needed for one particular move I wanted to teach to my Pokemon, or b) have to save that one TM for the one Pokemon who really needed me to teach it that one particular move. Either way, I'm SO glad Game Freak got rid of what turned out to be a significant annoyance. My friend Amy will also be quite thrilled, because she probably hasn't looked up anything related to Pokemon B&W yet, and she's probably going to say the exact same thing I did: HALLELUJAH!

Also, I'm really intrigued by the whole self-referential humour thing, that sounds right up my alley.

And I'm really surprised that the Pokemon trainers now have Pokemon from right around there at the levels you need to level up your Pokemon. Also, it looks like grinding isn't NEARLY as monotonous and often as it was in Platinum, and that's a very good thing indeed.

All around great surprises, and btw BigKlingy, I really like what you're doing here, it's pretty great what you're doing. I'm really intrigued, especially since Game Freak really wants you to make a team from these games and level THEM up instead of just throwing a perfectly-leveled Pokemon from another Pokemon game and taking down the later gyms with them. It looks like they got wise to what we were doing in previous Pokemon games in a hurry.


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