Big rules here, little rules down there, let’s go.
DID YOU JUST IMPLY THAT TEAM GALACTIC MURDERED YOUR POKÉMON???
I mean yes the obvious reading is that Team Galactic literally “took” his Pokémon, that they stole them from him, but then why would he be in the graveyard tower?
Okay that seems to confirm it; you wouldn’t talk about honouring your Pokémon’s memory, or moving on instead of wallowing in grief, if it had been kidnapped.
These two women at the top of the tower give you the HM for Strength, telling you that in order to use it, you have to visit a Pokémon gym… somewhere, but they can’t remember where (this is because you can do either the Veilstone gym or the Pastoria gym next, and either one will unlock Strength).
I’m not sure what their deal is – they just hang out here, alone at the top of the tower, on a floor that has only two gravestones, while the other floors have many. I sort of wonder whether those might be their gravestones; ghosts do seem to exist in the Pokémon world.
Now, about that Misdreavus…
We’re now in Solaceon Town, a small settlement whose main attraction is the Pokémon ranch, which acts as this game’s day-care service, allowing us to breed Pokémon here. There’s no gym and not much else to do, so we won’t be here long.
I now firmly believe that all Pokémon eggs are delivered by magical Delibird like the stork of German fairytale lore.
And out the back of Solaceon Town…
There’s only one species of wild Pokémon in the Solaceon Ruins – Unown – but it still counts.
Justice: Catch one wild Pokémon of each species in this area (counting evolutions as the same species). You must use as many of those Pokémon as possible until this rule is overwritten.
Well… the good news is, if evolutions count as the same species, Unown forms definitely also count, so I don’t have to catch one of every letter. The bad news is…
…Effie here is joining this party as a permanent member, at least until I can somehow ditch this Justice card.
Even better, they have a gentle nature – the same as Karpe Doom, which means as long as the Hermit stays in play I’m saying goodbye to my Gyarados as well. Press F to pay respects.
By the pure luck of this wild Starly happening to have a Yache berry, I can say for certain that Effie’s Hidden Power is Ice-type, which is at least one of the best possible options, and a type that none of my other Pokémon have.
bird fµ¢£ing jesus, I’m looking on the bright side of being forced to swap out a Gyarados for an Unown
I haven’t used an Unown since my first playthrough of Silver, when I was 11 years old and still naïve enough to believe Game Freak wouldn’t be so cruel as to make a Pokémon this bad without giving it cool high-level moves or an evolution or something. And even then I gave up on it long before the end of the story.
well… back to the ruins then, I guess…
The inscription in the entrance hall gives directions, in the Unown script, to navigate the ruins.
Y’know, I haven’t talked a lot about the impact of the Waterfall rule because a lot of the time it’s fine, but there are definitely times when it sucks. Poor Testudo here still only has one damaging move – Take Down, which is a decidedly poor attack at the best of times – and is pretty helpless against even a much lower-level Geodude, but with no switching allowed I just have to ram his face into the enemy until he drops (you can see why I wrote clauses that prevent this rule from being active at the same time as Snake Eyes, although I imagine for the truly hard-core it might pose an interesting challenge).
Geodude is honestly one of the most polarising opponents you can face in the early part of a lot of Pokémon games, especially if you’re doing any sort of challenge run. Magnitude’s variable power makes it extremely swingy, and as a Ground attack it’s super-effective against a lot of Pokémon and does no damage at all to a lot of others; Geodude itself has really impressive physical stats and resistance to Normal moves (which a lot of low-level Pokémon rely on), but garbage speed and special defence, as well as double-weaknesses to two common attack types. It can easily be either incredibly dangerous or a total nonentity, depending on what’s in your party.
Most of the rooms in the Solaceon Ruins are these small dead-end chambers containing a single rock, which often contains some sort of minor treasure if you examine it. I wonder if the ruins might be catacombs – the rocks grave markers, the treasures offerings to the dead.
This is the final chamber. If you struggle with the Unown script, the inscription reads:
All lives touch other lives to create something anew and alive.”
A pretty simple sentiment: relationships between people are greater than the sum of their parts and enrich the lives of everyone. I’m going to take that as an invitation to enjoy the hospitality of the ruins’ previous occupants by taking their stuff.
Whoooo daaaares to eeeeat the tooooomb caaaandy???
Ooh, even better – TOMB DRUGS. I’mma get Blinkerbel to snort this $#!t ‘til she sees the FUTURE!
Okay, we’re done with Solaceon Town. It’s time to move on to the next route – and we all know what that means…
Lucky number seven!
Seven – Lucky Sevens: Draw two more cards and follow the rules for both.
Five – Guys: You cannot use your female Pokémon (unless you have no male or genderless Pokémon). This rule is overwritten by drawing a Six/Chicks, and ends if you draw another Five. You may catch the first male wild Pokémon you see in this area.
Queen – A Ship Came Into The Harbour: …carrying a boatload of Pokémon! Keep catching the first Pokémon you see in this area until your party is full (or until you have caught three, if you have fewer than three empty slots in your party).
Hmmm… well, that’s it for Blinkerbel and Madame Malheur, at least for now (and Malheur is so close to evolving, too!). Oh well; I guess we’d better stick them in here…
Although I’ve given Effie a vaguely feminine-sounding name, their actual gender is of course “voiceless labiodental fricative” so that particular albatross is staying firmly around my neck. Since I’ve just lost a Gastly, maybe it’s time for Divine to make his debut. And with Karpe Doom firmly off-limits, bringing Jerry back also seems like a reasonable choice.
(I’m also working with a rotating team of 5 at the moment since I’m still carrying that egg around, but I’m pretty sure it contains a Happiny and they’re always female, so once it hatches it’s going straight in the box)
Thanks to that Queen, I can also catch Pokémon in the new area until either my party is full (it already is) or I’ve caught three. This isn’t a very exciting route; I think the only Pokémon available here that I don’t have already is Ponyta, but we may as well see if I can snag one.
[While finalising this post, I remembered that because of the Five of Swords I should also have caught a random male Pokémon on this route, but there’s nothing here that I want badly enough to go back and do it retroactively; anyway, the card does say that you “may” catch one, so I’m not in violation of anything by forgetting about it]
Got it in one.
(Damn it, gen IV, how can you have all this bull$#!t on your keyboard but no é; it’s in the word “Pokémon”)
A note on the Queen rule, while we’re here. The Queen tells you to catch the first Pokémon you see, but also to keep catching Pokémon until you’ve caught at least three and filled your party. If you mess up and a Pokémon faints, you still keep going until you have the number the Queen promises (this actually happened here; I found another Geodude before Gran, but it Selfdestructed on me – which it did purely out of spite, since Normal attacks can’t damage Divine). In theory, this means you could deliberately screw up over and over, and just catch three Pokémon of your choice. I can’t stop you from doing this, but I do think you should make a good faith effort to catch each Pokémon you meet until you’ve filled the Queen’s quota.
None of my new Pokémon really change the calculus of anything I’m doing, but hey, the more the merrier. Also, at the moment Divine’s only damaging move is Astonish, but he should get Psybeam at level 23, so I might take a brief aside back in the Lost Tower just to hurry that up a little bit.
I missed these jogger guys coming through here the first time, because they’ll only battle you in the morning (I think their cutoff is 10 am), like Gold and Silver’s policemen around Goldenrod City who’ll only challenge you if you meet them at night.
Okay, I feel like we should talk about what a colossal pain Staravia is in single-player. It hasn’t yet come into its own as the devastating threat that Staraptor can be, but it does have:
- Intimidate, so your physical attacks will be powered down
- Endeavour, so it can bypass defence and resistance
- Fµ¢£ing DOUBLE TEAM
oh yeah, this Pokémon… exists… and is in this game. Y’know, it’s really a shame Girafarig is so incredibly bad; I actually love the design.
Route 210 continues north and west to Celestic Town, but we can’t go that way right now, on account of a… blockade of Psyduck. Instead we’ll have to turn east and head for Veilstone City on route 215.
But wait, what’s this?
This little cheese omelette is female, so it’s not her time yet. Back in the box for now.
This wilderness café, as well as selling Moomoo Milk (a wonderfully cost-efficient healing item available nowhere else in Sinnoh), has three trainers you can battle, but I think to be consistent with my previous judgements I probably shouldn’t regard it as a new “area”; there are no wild Pokémon and only a few trainers.
But here? This definitely counts.
Okay, neat; I’ve been hoping for a proper opportunity to show how one of these can affect a team.
Page – Never Have I Ever: Teach all of your current party Pokémon a new move from a TM (if possible, this must be a move that Pokémon has never known in the past). If some of your Pokémon can’t learn any new moves from the TMs you have, do as many as you can.
As of this “edition” of the rules, I can only use TMs if a card tells me to, and the Pages are the main ones that can do so. Let’s see… Effie can’t learn anything because Unown is useless, but I should be able to do something for each of the other five. I have a TM for Return, which I think would be a solid move for Jerry, and one for Double Team, which is a good fallback if I find I have one Pokémon left that needs to learn something. No one can learn Bullet Seed and Bullet Seed is garbage in generation IV anyway; no one can learn Roost or Steel Wing either. Rock Tomb would finally give Testudo an alternative to Take Down; he’d otherwise be waiting until… let me just check this… Ancientpower at 28? Seriously? Hmm… oh, Jerry can learn Pluck? Is that good? I could give Return to Brighteyes instead; there aren’t many other good options for him. I don’t really have anything that makes sense for Divine; maybe I should just give him Flash in case I need the utility. King Louie at the moment has Flame Wheel, Mach Punch and Grass Knot and I don’t really want to get rid of any of those, but he has Cut in his fourth slot and the move deleter’s still a long way ahead. I think we lose Mach Punch, on the theory that he’ll learn more Fighting attacks later but may not get another good Grass move.
Okay. I think I’ve got it.
Effie – Nothing (Unown is not allowed nice things)
Testudo – Rock Tomb
Divine – Flash
Brighteyes – Return
Jerry – Pluck
King Louie – Double Team
And I think that’s as good a place as any to stop for now!