Big rules here, little rules down there, let’s go.
So… I know I caught Blinkerbel specifically for the memes, but god Chingling is awful. Fortunately, she picks up Confusion at level 14.
The good news is, the Old Chateau – full of Gastly who are weak to both Confusion and Lick, and prone to finishing themselves off with Curse once damaged – is a really good place to train for both Blinkerbel and Madame Malheur, with Karpe Doom watching from the back with an Exp. Share.
That’s much better. There’s just one more thing. I have a sort of personal tradition that a Magikarp should earn the last few battles’ worth of experience it needs to evolve on its own. They don’t have to be hard fights, just real ones.
SEIZE THE DOOM
Whatever else you might think about Cyrus, the leader of Team Galactic, you kinda have to respect him for just no-context walking up to you in the middle of a cave, explaining his incredibly abstract motives and grievances to you without introducing himself or giving any indication of who he is, then leaving after getting no response from you whatsoever. He’s completely bananas, but he knows what he’s about.
There are loads of religions and philosophies that tell us to separate ourselves from the material universe to achieve a higher truth, believing that the physical world is corrupt, the source of all evil, and weighs down the immortal perfection of the human soul. What’s kind of interesting about Cyrus is that he believes just the opposite – that the material world of time, space and inert matter is perfect and that evil and suffering exist because the soul is wrong.
I dunno if that helps his case or anything but, I mean, at least it’s a bold stance, right?
Out the other side, and…
The Star: You may catch one Pokémon of your choice from each of the next three areas. Areas without wild Pokémon (such as gyms) do not count. If another card would allow you to catch a Pokémon from any of those areas, you get one extra. This does not count as an “ongoing” rule, and you still get three Pokémon even if you draw the Tower, the World or a Ten/Rule Card before you can catch all of them.
In divination, the Star represents blessings, possibility and growth; it’s one of the most unambiguously “good” cards in tarot. Accordingly, in the Kingslocke, it’s one of the nicest things you can draw. You not only get three Pokémon, absolutely guaranteed, even if you draw the card in an area with no wild Pokémon, you even get to choose what they are!
There isn’t anything new or super exciting in this area, so let’s pick up a Meditite.
And she has the Pure Power ability; nice!
We’re in Hearthome City now. There’s a whole brief subplot here where you’re introduced to Pokémon contests and get given the idea of following in your mother’s footsteps, whatever; I’m gonna go look at the architecture instead.
There is a prominent building in Hearthome City, which the town map describes as “symbolic of the city’s status as a place where different cultures meet.” It looks loosely like a Christian church or cathedral, with bell towers, a dome, pews and stained-glass windows, but doesn’t seem to be based on any specific real building anywhere on Hokkaidō (it looks a little bit like the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Tōkyō, but not enough that I’d confidently say “this is it!”). The inside of this building is one of the only places in the game (maybe the only place? I’m not sure off the top of my head) with no background music whatsoever, and there are several townspeople inside who all talk about spirituality, emotions, harmony, never anything that’s explicitly religious but it seems clear that that’s what they’re getting at. I dunno what this building’s deal is; I’m not sure anyone does. There have always been fan theories about how these people are worshipping Arceus or whatever, but honestly I think it may just be part of the “vibe” of Hearthome City with no Deep Lore Significance whatsoever – like a way for the developers to quietly say “actually, the Japan we know is multicultural.” Then again, having said all that… it’s supposed to be a building that symbolises foreign cultures, but the main stained-glass window depicts Mount Coronet. Maybe that’s the message? Wherever we all came from, here we all are – under the sacred mountain.
Hearthome City does have a gym, but the leader, Fantina, won’t battle you until you have four other badges already. The next two gyms, in Veilstone City and Pastoria City, can be taken in either order, much like several of the mid-game gyms in generations I and II, although Veilstone first is “canonical.” Platinum replaced this with a more linear path, where you face Fantina as soon as you arrive in Hearthome, then Maylene in Veilstone, then Wake in Pastoria, in that order.
Y’know what, I’m not allowed to switch Pokémon in battle because of the Waterfall rule, but I don’t even need to; poor Barriam is losing to a meme and he is losing hard.
This is honestly getting kinda sad.
Last Resort has serious anti-synergy with Uproar, but it’s not like I’m going to be using Growl anyway, and it has the major advantage of making Chingling even more of a meme.
bro your Roselia’s confused; you’re about to get soloed by a fµ¢£ing Chingling, and she didn’t even go into this with a real level advantage
A truly heroic performance from Blinkerbel, and two levels well deserved.
Why, yes I do… I’ll just box Brighteyes for a while so I can take it; he won’t mind.
Thanks to the Star, I get to catch another Pokémon of my choice on route 209 – probably Bonsly, I think everything else here will be a duplicate – but I also need to draw another card.
Three – Me: You may catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area.
I guess we’re also getting a random Pokémon here (the Star explicitly says that you can double up if you get another card that lets you catch something).
Hmm. Well, not that useful when I already have Jerry, but I may as well take it.
It is very important that you understand that this Pokémon is a real tree and not at all fake.
Oh yeah; I get a decent fishing rod here. Maybe I should have factored that into choosing my new Pokémon from the Star… then again, I have plenty of Water-types already.
Also: it’s been a long time; I’d forgotten how much I like the music for this route. Everyone talks about the Hoennese brass section; not so much Sinnoh and its piano riffs (Eterna Forest is another favourite of mine).
These things are all over Sinnoh – because, of course, there are underground tunnels all over Sinnoh.
aww, look at the cute little Pikach-wHAT THE Fµ¢£
Just as an aside here, this is the first generation where Gyarados is really nutso strong. It’s solid but not amazing in generation I thanks to a high special stat and great special movepool, then really gets the short end of the stick in generation II when special splits into special attack and special defence (to add insult to injury, Bite is a special attack in generations II and III, like all Dark-type attacks, so a newly-evolved Gyarados is often better off sticking with Tackle), starts to recover in generation III when it picks up Dragon Dance, then generation IV gives it physical Water attacks and it becomes fully bonkers.
Don’t mind me, just climbing into a random hole to find mushrooms.
Because I’m playing on an emulator I’ve tweaked the game a bit to change trade evolutions to level evolutions, but unfortunately I don’t think there’s anything we can do to fake the multiplayer interactions necessary to summon Spiritomb to the Hallowed Tower.
Before visiting the Lost Tower I’m going to quickly jump ahead to the Pokémon Centre in nearby Solaceon Town so I can change my party order – Karpe’s been doing all the work for a while and gained a couple of levels; it’s time for Madame Malheur to have a turn.
The Lost Tower has multiple levels, but I think the same wild Pokémon on each floor, so I’m going to make the executive decision to treat it as one “area” and just draw one card.
Eight – Mate: Box the Pokémon in your current party that has been with you the longest over the course of the game (this may be a judgement call). You cannot use that Pokémon again unless another card revokes this rule.
A judgement call indeed – King Louie is my first Pokémon, but he hasn’t consistently been with me; I’ve had to remove him from my party to comply with rules like the Six of Cups and, briefly, Justice. No, I think this has to apply to the Pokémon who’s done the most for me: my loyal former champion, Andi Site. Let’s bring back Testudo the Shieldon to replace her.
The Eights are some of the more resilient cards in the Minor Arcana; drawing another Eight removes another Pokémon and doesn’t bring the first one back, and there’s no other Minor card that specifically overwrites an Eight. Unlike the Kings, though, they can be undone by cards like the Tower and the World.
Final order of business: there are wild Pokémon in the Lost Tower, and this will be the last area where I can catch one of my choice, courtesy of the Star. I’d quite like to pick up a Misdreavus here, but they only appear at night and I’ll have to wait a few hours, so this seems like a good place to break off for now!