Long-time Friend of the Blog and expert spicy-take-haver Shibarianne has just finished and released her magnum opus: Pokémon Ephemerald, a ROM hack of Emerald with retyped and redesigned Sapphosian forms of every Pokémon (…minus Deoxys, Unown, Castform and Spinda, because apparently their multiple forms are coded into the gen III games in a way that makes them an absolute nightmare to do anything fun or interesting with).
Every last one of these bizarre fµ¢£ers has a new type, and apparently every possible combination of the 17 types is represented (17, not 18: Ephemerald is still gen III; it does not add the Fairy type, or import any other fundamental mechanical changes from generation IV+). Not only that, every Pokémon is obtainable; Shibarianne has found spots in the Hoenn region for all three-hundred-and-whatever, and crafted special areas and events for the legendary Pokémon that aren’t in vanilla Emerald. I believe the plot of Emerald is unchanged, but there are also several optional bonus bosses, a reworked difficulty curve and a little type rebalancing.
Also I know that at least one of my Pokémon suggestions made it into the game, so you should play it just for that.
More information and a download link can be found here. As is standard for ROM hacks, the download is a .ups file, which contains instructions for patching a standard Emerald .gba file, so you’ll also need a program that can read those instructions and apply the patch (Shibarianne recommends Tsukuyomi, Lunar IPS, or UpSet for Windows users; for Mac, I have found success with MultiPatch), as well as a vanilla Emerald ROM and an emulator that can run it; Google can help you find all of these.
I think I’m going to write some more about this, while/after playing it, but I’m not sure what exactly (if for some reason you have strong opinions, leave a comment!). Maybe short-form reviews of the redesigns for a couple of my favourite Pokémon. Maybe some commentary on how the difficulty curve feels, or some of the boss fights like gym leaders? We’ll see.