Pearl Kingslocke: Episode 20

Big rules here, little rules down there, let’s go.

Where were we?  Oh yes.  The Frozen North!

Oh, you flirt; stop it! 😉

(but seriously, no, keep going)

As exciting as this news is, Moon Moon is female and therefore isn’t eligible for my party at the moment, so I have to pop back to Celestic Town, deposit her and pick someone else to fill that sixth slot.  Any male Pokémon whose nature is not sassy, careful, gentle, rash or impish will do.

I’d kinda like to bring Otto back, but he’s rash, same as King Louie, and I have to use King Louie if I can.  Likewise for Karpe Doom and Effie (both gentle).  Beetlhoven is also rash, although in his case that’s more of an excuse not to use him than a reason.  Testudo, Brighteyes, Loras, Mr. Sandman or the new Sneasel, Locksley, would all be fair game though, and I can see arguments for any of them.  Brighteyes probably makes the most sense, but I’m kinda sad about getting this far into the game without having a Grass-type on the team, so…

Seeing as the nearest Pokémon Centre is all the way back in Celestic Town, up the valley and through the caves, Game Freak have thoughtfully placed a little rest house here where we can heal our Pokémon before moving further.

As we turn the corner and head north into even harsher weather, we step onto route 217, which of course means that we draw…

The Wheel of Fortune: Box the highest-level Pokémon in your current party.  You cannot use it until this rule is overwritten.  You may catch one Pokémon of your choice in this area.

Oof.  Well, the highest level Pokémon in my party is Tiktok, who had a bit of a head start on the others from when I was using him in the Johto-only era of this run; he’s level 36, while the others (except for Loras) are still catching up at 35.  Sorry, Tiktok…

(Tiktok is not technically in the Mate Crate, but this is more convenient than labelling a new box just for him)

I can catch one Pokémon of my choice on route 217 (I’ll probably go for a Snover; I don’t think there’s much else there that I don’t have already), but the Wheel doesn’t actually require me to use it; I’m free to pick another of those Pokémon I was looking at earlier, so let’s bring back Brighteyes.  He’s level 27, he can handle himself.  Kind of.

I’ve been thinking about changing the Wheel of Fortune when I do my end-of-run rule revision, because it’s a bit of a boring one and quite similar to the Eights.  Maybe have a “spin the wheel” mechanic where there are several different things it can do; it wouldn’t match the divinatory meaning as well, but on the other hand, it would be hilarious.  I was actually thinking this would be a good place to put some rules about using Pokémon whose nicknames meet certain criteria (e.g. no party Pokémon whose nicknames start with the same letter), because if there were several random possibilities, you wouldn’t be able to game it by naming your Pokémon strategically.  Or, at the very least, it would be harder.

Anyway, let’s move.

You can handle this, right Brighteyes?

See?  Easy.

…this, on the other hand, perhaps not.  Too bad we’re still not allowed to switch; I guess things are going to be hit-and-miss for Brighteyes.

🎵 You see it’s true-ue-ue (shoo-bee-dee-boo)/An ape like me-e-e (scoo-bee-doo-bee-doo-bee)/Can learn to be hu-u-uman too-oo-oo… 🎵

For real though this route seems extremely dangerous for anyone who doesn’t have a ton of experience hiking in snow.

AHH JESUS Fµ¢£ WHERE DID YOU COME FROM!?  WERE YOU JUST HIDING IN A PILE OF SNOW!?

how am I not dead

Oh yeah; Luxio evolves a second time.  I knew that.  I totally remember that.

I think this patch of grass, with the icy rock that allows you to evolve Eevee into Glaceon, is the only place on route 217 where you can actually catch wild Pokémon, and I’m owed one of my choice by the Wheel of Fortune, so let’s take a look.

Works for me; I’ll always take another Grass-type.

The surface-level implication of this line is that people think they see ghosts in the snow because the blizzards are so think and reduce everything to vague, fuzzy shapes in the distance.  But also… Sinnoh does have quite literal snow ghosts…

And here we are at Acuity Lakefront, the last stop before Snowpoint City.

Knight – Challenge: Choose one of your current party Pokémon to fight every trainer battle in this area solo.  If it ever loses, it must be boxed and cannot be used again until another card revokes this rule.  If it wins, it becomes your champion and ignores all other rules and restrictions.  Either way, drawing another Knight ends all effects of this card and issues a new challenge.

Hmm.  Well… this might be a special case I need to explicitly write into the rules, because I don’t think there are any trainers on Acuity Lakefront.  There are wild Pokémon and the game defines it as a new area – if this were a Nuzlocke you’d definitely be allowed to catch a Pokémon here – but there isn’t really anything for the Knight to do.  I think we just have to treat this as a nothing draw, like if you pull a Two or Three somewhere that has no wild Pokémon.

Okay, but I’m not Snowpoint’s Gym Leader so can I just-?

Is that what you’re in this for?  ‘cause I could, like… take you to Mount Coronet and help you catch a Clefairy.  We can get you on the straight and narrow, dude; I mean it (or if the straight and narrow doesn’t work for you, there’s always the broad and gay, if you know what I mean 😉).

Anyway, as urgent and vital as this other task is, I’m apparently not allowed to just clock these guys on the head or bury them in a snowdrift or something, so I’ll just have to enter Snowpoint City and challenge the gym to move the story forward.

Well… maybe level-grind on Acuity Lakefront just a little bit; Brighteyes and Loras are still well behind my other Pokémon, which wouldn’t be a huge problem, except that my other Pokémon are also honestly a bit underlevelled, so it would be nice to at least have everyone on the same page.

Yeah, this’ll do.

There’s really not much in Snowpoint City.  The main point of interest is this ancient temple, which is apparently off-limits to everyone except “the chosen.”  The temple is related to Regigigas, but I honestly can’t remember exactly what you have to do to get labelled “the chosen,” and I’m not allowed to look anything up because I’ve still got the Moon in play.  It doesn’t really matter; this is all optional stuff for the very end of the game.

Here’s Snowpoint Gym – let’s draw a card.

Oof.

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.

So… uh… gimme a minute…

well, it’s definitely not Smeagull or Loras, and it’s probably not Jerry or Brighteyes, but I think it could be Effie, because we’ve had several long periods where King Louie was unusable – either because he, specifically, was banned after the last time I drew the Eight of Wands, or because I’ve been forced to build my team around Effie.  In principle I might turn to Justice as a tiebreaker, because Justice says I have to use Effie if I can – but I’ve also got the Devil saying I have to use King Louie if I can.  I think it’s close enough that I can justifiably drop the one who’s going to be less useful in an Ice-type gym.  And… well… King Louie is a powerful Fire Pokémon, and Effie is an Unown whose Hidden Power is Ice-type.

eh, it’s fine, someone will wipe the Eight off the board next time I draw a Ten

And once again I need a sixth Pokémon – a male Pokémon whose nature is not sassy, relaxed, quirky, rash or careful.  Hmm.  Well, what about Locksley?  His nature’s serious and he’s already close to a decent level.

Sure.

Anyway.  The gimmick of the Snowpoint Gym is the same as the gimmick of every other fµ¢£ing Ice-type gym ever designed: a slippery icy floor that you slide across in straight lines.

Even four generations in, there’s not that many Ice-types to choose from, especially since a lot of the older ones aren’t found in Sinnoh, so many of the trainers here just use Pokémon that happen to know Ice attacks.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha this is you.  This is what you sound like:

The big snowballs in this gym block your path, but you can smash right through them if you can build up speed by sliding from a higher level to a lower one.  To clear a path to Candice, we need to break up all the snowballs on the centre line.

And here she is.  For some reason Candice’s name is a meme now, in the vein of “ligma”?  Y’know, someone says “oh, it’s such a shame, so-and-so died of ligma,” “what’s ligma?” “ligma balls!”  Except for Candice it’s “oh, what’s that Ice-type gym leader’s name?” “Candice?” “Candice dick fit in your mouth!?”  Which is just… weird, because the phrase that Candice’s name sounds like is just “can this” which is not even slightly unusual or provocative.  “Ligma” is already a less clever shadow of “updog” and “Candice” is less clever and less funny than that.  Is that how humour works now?  Do we just say things that are dumb and not funny, and the fact that it’s not funny is the joke?

Besides, as you well know, the answer is “yeah, easy; it’s a lot smaller than your dad’s.”

Brighteyes has the dubiously useful Rivalry ability, which boosts physical attack damage by 50% against enemies of the same gender, but cuts it by 50% against enemies of the opposite gender (and leaves it unchanged against “genderless” enemies).  I think all of Candice’s Pokémon are female so this is going to be pure liability here.

Still, Candice’s Snover is really just here to get Hail going with its Snow Warning ability (the auto-weather abilities are permanent until overwritten in generations IV and V, so they can be really strong openers).  It doesn’t seem to have any plans to actually fight back – just use Ingrain and Leer while Brighteyes smacks it around.

Candice is going straight to her strongest Pokémon, Abomasnow, presumably for its resistance to Electric attacks.  I don’t particularly expect Brighteyes to win this fight, so I’m going to hit it with Crunch instead of Return for the chance to lower its defence.

…or this could happen.

Loras ain’t gonna win this fight either, but he can make life a lot harder for Candice.  Toxic Spikes will poison her other two Pokémon as they come in (I’m pretty sure she has a Sneasel and an Ice Punch Medicham – again, not a lot of Ice-types to choose from), and if I have more time I can try to paralyse with Stun Spore too.  Grass-types have always been immune to Leech Seed, but immunity to Stun Spore and Sleep Powder is a change of… I want to say generation V or VI?

Avalanche is a Revenge equivalent; it only has its full power if your Pokémon has been attacked in the same turn.  I thought I could reasonably hope that an unboosted Avalanche wouldn’t one-shot Loras, but the Random Number God had other ideas.

All right; time to stop fµ¢£ing around.

This buys time for Candice to drop a hyper potion, but when King Louie wakes up…

Random Number God giveth, and Random Number God taketh away.

Under the circumstances, Candice… perhaps not the move I would have used.

Wait, why use the hyper potion on Abomasnow when it was burned but save the full restore for Sneasel and-? oh, whatever.

Sneasel, predictably, doesn’t last much longer and we’re down to Candice’s final Pokémon.  Oh, hey, we actually have a move for this situation from one of those Pages.

Again, I get in theory why you have that move, but you’re not going to win this by drawing it out.

And there it is.  Seven badges down, only one to go!

And now that we’ve beaten the Snowpoint Gym Leader, these two are just… no longer in the way.  For no particular reason.

Y’know, it would have been really easy to write this in a way where defeating Candice actually has some kind of understandable causal link to getting into Lake Acuity.  Earning the Icicle Badge gets you out-of-battle access to Rock Climb; there could have been a back way into Lake Acuity over some cliffs that Team Galactic wasn’t guarding.  Not that anyone asked me.

Because we mucked around challenging the gym instead of just barging through with the biggest Pokémon we had, we’re too late to help Barriam fight off Commander Jupiter, who has humiliated him and secured Uxie for transport back to the Team Galactic HQ in Veilstone City.  Oh well; better go deal to them.

Unlike the other two lakes, there are no Team Galactic enemies to fight here, but there are wild Pokémon both in the lake itself and across the water, so…

The Hanged Man: None of your Pokémon may evolve, although you may continue to use Pokémon that have evolved already.  You may catch the first unevolved Pokémon you see in this area.

Hmm… except for Loras and Locksley, all the Pokémon I have now are fully evolved already, but I could be made to leave some of them behind at any moment, and a lot of my other Pokémon aren’t fully evolved.  Could be tricky.

I have been a little worried that the Hanged Man wouldn’t be a serious restriction, because Pokémon don’t evolve all that often and you can always just wait to evolve them until the rule is gone, but now that I’m up to seven Major Arcana slots, that… might be a while.  In the future I might find myself forced to rely on Pokémon that don’t evolve at all, like Unown (lol no).

Anyway, I can catch the first unevolved Pokémon I see here, and… I’m pretty sure the grass has the same stuff as everywhere else in northern Sinnoh, but I could try the water…

Eh; it’s not exactly huge, but it’s a different gender from my Gyarados, and close to evolving.

Anyway, that’s quite a lot of progress for one day – let’s call it here and head for Veilstone next time!

5 thoughts on “Pearl Kingslocke: Episode 20

  1. Why did it take me THIS LONG to realize King Louie is not only a monkey (like the character he’s named after) but also is literally a fire monkey (and the original character is obsessed with having the power of fire)?!? I can’t even be mad at the cleverness because I have to be mad at myself for taking this long to notice.

    As for The Challenge, might I make a suggestion for the future? Since it’s such an interesting card that can swing either way (as opposed to cards that let you catch Pokemon, which are purely a loss when you draw them at the wrong times), maybe it could have a clause where, if there are no trainers in the current location, it’s applied to the next route location with trainers? I do worry it leaves a loophole where, provided multiple paths, the player can chose the one with less battles for lower risk, but having it completely misfire is just so anticlimactic. It’s the *Challenge*, someone needs to take it! 😉

    Alternative idea: it applies for that location OR, if there are no trainers, the next X number of trainers – still gives the player wiggle room but it does guarantee the player can’t wimp out and pick a route with 1 trainer when given a choice…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, maybe? I’ll think about it. “The next X trainers” actually might be a good addition to the default rule, so it isn’t too easy if you happen to draw it in an area with only one or two trainers (e.g. Oreburgh Gate).

      Also: King Louie is definitely one of my better nicknames. I’ve had a bunch in this game that I really like, actually.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. God I fucking love Routes 216 and 217. They’re one of the longest single slogs in any pokemon game, they’re a frozen and desolate wasteland that’s nonetheless populated by like dozens of trainers, at times you’re up to your eyeballs in the snow and can practically feel how cold it is through the ds screen… You’re basically trudging through the ninth circle of *hell.* And all that time… the music is FUCKING THIS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybi_vUST3ls&t=533s&ab_channel=OfficialVGM XD XD XD

    Dat doo-dat doo-dat-doo-dat doo da-doo-da-*da~!* 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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