Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 12

Introduction/rules here.

A weird radio broadcast about Team Rocket? Don’t worry; Professor Elm will call someone who’s sure to sort it out – that pre-teen child who does chores for him occasionally.

Team Rocket have taken over Johto’s radio broadcasts, and every channel is now repeating this loop where they announce their return, call for Giovanni to join them and then just start lamely ad-libbing as they wonder where he is.  There’s no explicit pointer here at where we have to go, but we know where the source of all Johto’s radio transmissions is.

Before we leave, a little bit of housekeeping from last time.

Now, where were we?

Team Rocket has barricaded Whitney and her minions in the gym.  This closes the plot-hole from the original games of “why aren’t the gym leader and her incredible murder-cow helping?”, but, by drawing our attention to the gym, opens the all-new plot-hole of “why don’t we just kick the $#!t out of this one particular Team Rocket grunt?”

DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO

So this weird little line of dialogue kicks off a weird little side-quest that isn’t in the original Gold and Silver.  Apparently we can’t get into the Radio Tower unless we’re wearing Team Rocket clothes.

Fortunately, Team Rocket is taking on new members, so they’ve appropriated a stockpile of fresh new uniforms from this photo studio that lets you dress up to pose with your Pokémon.

…yeah, it’d be… really inappropriate for a member of Team Rocket to go around scaring people.  That’s… that’s not what Team Rocket is about at all.  I can see why you’d want to warn your recruits not to intimidate civilians; people might get the idea that you’re… like… bad guys or something.

While wearing the uniform, you can talk to people in Goldenrod City and they’ll react to you as if you were a real Team Rocket member.

Oohhhhhh, sick burn!

Y’know, considering the circumstances, it’s really very thoughtful of him to even try to talk me down.

While dressed as a Team Rocket grunt, you can’t leave Goldenrod City.  Other Rockets at the north and south exits will order you to return to your post, and the game won’t allow you to Fly out of the city.

Anyway, I should get on with-

I just need my fix okay

just a few quick games

no one needs to get their legs blown off

I don’t have a problem; YOU HAVE A PROBLEM

Anyway this whole sequence sets up a little “infiltration” mission where we use our Team Rocket uniform to slip past the guard, move up the tower and investigate what’s really-

Oh, never mind, This Douchebag is going to show up and immediately blow our cover.

So we’ve been exposed and have to fight this guy anyway.

And then This Douchebag is going to insult us and leave.

so

so what was the point, of… of any of that?

The uniform didn’t get us inside; we were exposed and had to fight the dude anyway.  Why couldn’t we have fought him in the first place?  Is it like an etiquette thing?  We couldn’t fight him because he didn’t want to fight, but once we’ve somehow provoked him with our failed disguise he’s fair game?  And then after losing he just completely forgets that he has the power to prevent us from entering the Radio Tower indefinitely?  Lance fµ¢£ing Hyper Beamed a man in the face!  I would understand it from a gameplay perspective if we got to keep the Team Rocket uniform and do other stuff with it later; even if all we could do was wear it around, it would’ve been a cool cosmetic addition, but we don’t even get that.  Did we need this “infiltration” subplot just so we could talk to people in Goldenrod City and learn that, yeah, it turns out they really do dislike Team Rocket?

eh, whatever; let’s draw a card and get on with it

ah, yeah, this might as well happen

Five – GuysOngoing: Your female Pokémon are banned (unless you have no male or genderless Pokémon).  This rule is revoked if you draw a Six/Chicks and cancels out if you draw another Five.
Immediate: You may catch the first male wild Pokémon you see in this area.

Five of Swords: Your genderless Pokémon are also banned.

Because the Five of Swords and Six of Swords include genderless Pokémon in their bans, it hits my entire party, including Orbius.

So, let’s do that old dance again… of the Pokémon I have to use, which ones am I allowed to use…?  Everyone in the Justice League is female except for Barkley; all the servants of the Devil are female or genderless except for Barkley, Lil’ Toby and Suey, and Suey is banned because he’s a type that the Four of Swords doesn’t like.  Lil’ Toby is Adamant and Barkley is Modest, so they’re fine together with the Hermit (and Toby is in the Flying egg group).  

Past that, uh… let me just arrange my remaining male Pokémon according to their natures…

Conveniently, we can just about make a full Hermit-compatible party.  Lil’ Toby is -Sp.Atk, Barkley is -Atk, William is -Sp.Def, Darwin is -Spd.  For -Def I can pick Zoltar, Deerthing or Abazigal… no strong reason to prefer any one of them; I think I’ll go with Abazigal.  And for a neutral nature, we’ve got Sesame, Asa and Mothball.  Sesame and Asa can both use their STAB moves because the suit of Swords favours Psychic-types (so can Zoltar, actually, but I think we should stay away from the type redundancy there).  Sesame has the added bonus of being unbannable.  I think…?

…yeah?

Levels aren’t even too bad; most of these Team Rocket morons are only in the mid-20s.  I’ll bring everyone up to 27ish and we should be fine.

As for move restriction compatibility… Toby ignores the lot, Sesame ignores the Four and has nothing that upsets Temperance, William has Double Kick, Abazigal has Dragon Rage (fixed damage means it doesn’t get STAB), Barkley has Headbutt and Reversal… we need a non-STAB move for Darwin, though.  Could be tricky; Eevee’s movepool is notoriously terrible.  Hmm… Iron Tail doesn’t work with Temperance… Secret Power only has variable effects, not variable type… Eevee can’t learn Thief… uh… oh, wait, hang on.  We should be able to buy Dig TMs from the department store, right?

Oh, okay, uh… the answer is no.  Huh.  Ugh, I can’t deal with this, let’s just evolve him so he doesn’t get STAB on Normal moves anymore.

And at last, Darwin’s theories are vindicated!

Umbreon is arguably a poor choice for single-player because it’s so passive and needs Toxic to do damage, and we just… don’t have Toxic.  On the other hand, it’s the only Dark-type available in pre-Elite Four Johto, and it sure beats the $#!t out of Flareon, which is still the only option I have the correct stone for.

All right; let’s beat the $#!t out of these losers.

listen, my guy, I don’t know what your last DM let you get away with under the pretence of “I’m Chaotic Neutral!” but you’re gonna have to do better than that to get your “not evil” card.

I love the implication that the player is such an avid listener of Buena’s dumb password show that, in the middle of all this bull$#!t, they just walked up to her and demanded to know why she hasn’t broadcast today’s password.

The Radio Tower has multiple floors.  You could draw a card for each floor and I wouldn’t say you were wrong, but I don’t quite think it’s worth that.  There’s going to be some clear points later where we’ll want to draw more cards.

Most of Team Rocket’s top brass are in a secured section of the upper levels of the Radio Tower, and we can’t get to them right now.  But, supposedly, the Director will help us if we can reach his office.

“Team Rocket aren’t music lovers”?

Uh…

I rest my case.

We’ve made it to the Director’s office, but…

le gasp!

It’s Team Rocket’s master of disguise, Executive Petrel!

In this fight, Petrel uses a team of five Koffing and a Weezing, completely different from what he had the last time we fought him.  This is because, in the original Gold and Silver, the Executive who impersonates the Director is just not the same character as the one in Mahogany Town with the traitorous Murkrow.  Personally, I think I would have changed the team he uses here to include the Zubat and Raticate he had in the Hideout, but I suppose I can understand wanting to keep the “gimmick” aspect of this fight – all his Pokémon know Selfdestruct.

Fortunately, Sesame can just brain-laser them all.

There is another little continuity aspect to this – in the original games, this Executive claims that he’s been impersonating the Director for a while to lay the groundwork for Team Rocket’s takeover.  This is presumably why the upper levels of the tower are closed to the public when you first visit Goldenrod City, but open after Team Rocket has been banished.  Petrel hasn’t been in deep cover in Goldenrod City, because we met him in Mahogany Town, but I don’t think anyone gives any other reason why the normally public areas of the tower were closed.

Anyway, we know where the real Director is, and we have a key that will get us there.  To the Underground!

Just for the record, the Kimono Girls are big-league Pokémon trainers themselves.  I get that they’ve got their own important bull$#!t going on, but… come on.  A little help?  Look, Lil’ Toby’s with me; Toby’s really important to you for some reason, right? 

nah

We’re in!  And…

well, that image always says you’re in for a good time.

Ten – Rule CardImmediate: An observer to the game may revoke any or all (or none) of the cards you have in play, AND free any or all (or none) of your petrified Pokémon.
Ongoing: Your observer may either make up a new rule, which becomes the ongoing component of this card, OR change the rules for one other card in play or in the deck (except the Kings).

Ten of Swords: If your observer uses this card to revoke one or more of the cards you have in play, they may permanently remove those cards from the deck.

Okay, you know the drill – readers have been sending in their suggestions for custom rules, and Jim the Editor now has the opportunity to pick one, as well, as throw out some cards or free petrified Pokémon if he wants to.

…yeah, this may as well happen.  I’ll deal with the repercussions of no longer being a Hermit later, we have a trip to take.

There’s gotta be something here that’s not an Unown… Jim’s right, I already have a Natu, and the wording of hugh_donnetono’s… lovely… rule specifies that it can’t be something I have an evolutionary relative of already.  There’s always Smeargle, which… well, I wouldn’t be thrilled about it, but it’d be fine… what’s in the water?

Hmm.  I can’t look it up to confirm because of the Moon, but it seems like there are only Wooper and Quagsire here.  Maybe in the trees?

Doesn’t seem to be anything here at all.  That’s weird.  Damn; I was kinda hoping I might be able to finagle this into a Heracross.  I guess that leaves fishing…

You know what, I will 100% take a Poliwag; Poliwag is great.

By the mysterious power of the Ruins of Alph, Effie has returned to me across the great gulf of time and space.

Unfortunately, this incarnation of Effie is female, so she’s going to have to get back in the kitchen, but she’ll join the Justice League, the servants of the Devil and Madame Mirror on the list of Pokémon I have to use if I can.

Now, with the Hermit gone, not just from play but from the entire game… hmm.  I don’t think it changes much, actually; the only other Pokémon I’m allowed to use at all are Mothball and Asa, who are now free to join the team alongside Sesame, and Deerthing and Zoltar, who are legal with Abazigal.  There’s nothing wrong with any of them, but I think the team I have is pretty solid for now.

Where were we?

Oh, good, This Douchebag is here.

He has a few levels on us, but I have every confidence in this team.

Ouch; nice switch on This Douchebag’s part.  Unfortunately, because of the Ace of Wands, I am not free to do the same.

Agh; thought we’d last long enough to get off a Wish there as well as a Yawn.  Oh well, it’s asleep now; Abazigal can fµ¢£ it up.

Thanks to Lil’ Toby, Golbat should be no problem either.

Ouch!  Haunter packs a hell of a punch with Shadow Ball.

…oh dear.  The Ace of Wands dictates I have to use William next… but Temperance dictates that he can’t use Thunderbolt.  He has no moves that can damage Haunter.

A little gesture of defiance is all we can do.

…buggeration.  Barkely’s in the same spot, this time because of the Four of Swords.  Flame Wheel is not allowed.

For the record, I did consider Haunter when I put my team in order – but I didn’t anticipate that This Douchebag would switch to Sneasel so early and knock out Toby, who would have been extremely strong against Haunter.

It’s faster than Sesame???  Uh oh.

Well, uh… Darwin doesn’t know any Dark attacks yet, and wouldn’t be allowed to use them even if he did, so this is similarly a non-starter.  I don’t like using Revives with an Ace in play because it really confuses “party order,” but there’s no other way we’re getting out of this, and it should take Haunter several turns to knock out Darwin.

yeah you’re a little late to the party on that one, buddy; I’m already not allowed to switch out.

There, that should hopefully do the trick… now we just need to express our derision.

I kick sand in your general direction!  Your mother was a Morpeko, and your father smelled of Leppa Berries!

Right, that’s quite enough of that.

Having taken a super-effective hit, Lil’ Toby is now required by the Ace of Wands to switch out.

ugh, we’ll need the sleep turns to get over this confusion

Three turns out of four.  Nice.

well, this is deeply unpleasant.  But Magnemite is at -2 defence from Leer and Barkley’s HP is down, so…

WHAM.

I should probably heal now… low HP is good for Reversal, but this low is dangerous.

I hate this so much.

I’ve changed my mind, I don’t even want to win this battle.

An underrated reason the Aces are horrible is that, if you encounter a Pokémon that decides it wants to drop your accuracy to -6, you can’t switch out to cleanse the effect.  You just have to sit there and suffer.

HAHA Fµ¢£ YOU!

I’m seriously running low on healing, though, and I don’t have a lot of money right now to buy more.

oh thank god

For the record, I had to heal Barkley like 4 or 5 times between those two hits, and used Reversal twice each time.

I don’t care.  I- just- have your identity crisis on someone else’s time

so this door puzzle

The way this puzzle works is, every time you hit one of the coloured switches, it opens or closes all the doors adjacent to all the rooms marked with the same colour.  This means each door is controlled by two different switches, so getting the right ones open is not trivial.  But did you ever play the original version of this puzzle?

I think I said once in this run that Voltorb Flip is the best change Heart Gold and Soul Silver made to the old Johto games, but I’d like to rescind that.  This puzzle is the best change.  Because in the old version:

  • The switches are in different rooms, so you have to walk back and forth every time you want to flip one.
  • The game screen is smaller and the switches are further away from the doors they control, so you can’t even see what happens each time you flip a switch without walking around the whole area.
  • There are no colours to indicate which switches control which doors; you just have to figure it out one at a time.
  • Finally, and this isn’t part of the puzzle itself, but the context of Gold and Silver – this was in the year 2000.  Not everyone had a home internet connection in 2000, and even if you did, it probably ran through your home’s phone landline, which, as a young child, you would not have carte blanche to monopolise at any time of your choosing.  Personally, I could only use the internet for school work, under supervision.  So if you can’t figure this puzzle out on your own… you don’t necessarily have a lot of places to look for help.

My strategy for this puzzle – and, I think, the strategy of many kids who were my age when Gold and Silver were released – was to push buttons completely at random until the right doors opened.  I’ll be honest, I still have no goddamn idea how the original version works; for all I know, it could be that each switch controls all the same doors, and all the remakes did was add colour-coding.

This disused warehouse links up to the underground storage areas of the Goldenrod Department Store, so there’s potentially some interesting loot down here.  A few petty criminals not affiliated with Team Rocket are also taking advantage of the situation.

Okay; through the door puzzle!  Next card please!

Whoo!  Aces cancel; no more Ace of Wands.

Now we just have to fight our way through a few grunts here, find Mr. Director Man…

…take his key and leave him down here with the Rockets for safekeeping…

…back up the stairs into the basement of the Department Store…

…take the lift back to the ground floor…

…back up the Radio Tower…

…and now we can open this door!  I think this calls for one more card.

Well, it’s an old favourite at this point.

Six – ChicksOngoing: Your male Pokémon are banned (unless you have no female or genderless Pokémon).  This rule is revoked if you draw a Five/Guys and cancels out if you draw another Six.
Immediate: You may catch the first female wild Pokémon you see in this area.

Six of Wands: When you draw this card, roll a 6-sided die to randomly choose one of your Pokémon to identify as female for the rest of the game (if you roll a Pokémon that is already female or has already changed gender in the past, reroll, unless there are no eligible Pokémon in your party).  All cards and rules permanently treat that Pokémon as female, even after this card leaves play.

Well, let’s see who has a new self to embrace…

What a twist!  Vasya’s rival for the throne is not a prince but a princess!  And perhaps not a conqueror after all, but the ruler of a court of love…

Anyway, with the exception of Sesame, who still enjoys the favour of the King of Pentacles, our male Pokémon will have to take a back seat for the final showdown with the leaders of Team Rocket.

Let’s see… Effie should definitely have priority, because the Fool and the Ten of Swords are both telling me to use her… after that, it’s any three of Orbius, Explodia, Madame Mirror, Dandy and Yolquelin.  I think we take Madame Mirror and Orbius for sure, and… uh, y’know what, Explodia’s close to evolving; I don’t remember exactly when Pineco evolves, but it’s low 30s, and once she’s a Steel-type she’ll be favoured by the Four of Swords and be able to use STAB moves; that seems like a good bet.

[coming back to this later, I think this was incorrect – Sesame and Eleanor should have yielded their places to the other compulsory Pokémon; they didn’t before because so many of my male compulsory Pokémon are banned that I had two free slots left, but I forgot to keep track of who was in the team because they had to be, who was in the team because they could ignore stuff, and who was in the team because they were just allowed to be]

Effie will need a non-STAB move that’s less $#!t than Doubleslap (but not as good as Ice Beam, otherwise she’ll get in trouble with Temperance).  TM selection is… eh, I’ll just give her Headbutt; it’s easier.

(one level later…)

ugggggh Body Slam is really good but it’s more than 80 power so I’ll have to teach her something else if she forgets Headbutt… what can Poliwag even learn…?  Do I just keep both Normal moves for now and overwrite Headbutt when Temperance is gone…?  Eh, I guess we don’t need Rain Dance.

I gotta admit, I like her better like this.

Now, let’s get back to business.

Ah, time for the second and final appearance of Executive Proton.

Once again, this was an unrelated character in the original games – an Executive who gave no indication that he had met the player before, and referred to himself as “the Team Rocket Fortress.”  His only Pokémon was an unsettlingly high-level Golbat (not allowed to look it up right now because of the Moon, but I think level 36 – the strongest single Pokémon in the entire Radio Tower).  Unlike Petrel, though, Proton gets a higher-level version of the roster he had at Slowpoke Well – not sure why; the overlevelled Golbat seems just as worth preserving as the “whoops, all Koffing” team to me.

Y’know, that seemed like it was going really well at first, but then his Golbat woke up after only one turn asleep, and Effie missed her next four Hypnosis attempts.  I guess you can take the Effie out of the Unown, but you can’t take the Unown out of Effie…

Whatever, let’s waste this moron.

dude, I barely know who you are; you are not a memorable character; I cannot stress enough how much this is not about you

oh, just shut up

Like I said back in Mahogany Town, Ariana is the only Executive who actually does appear twice in the original games; the female Executive you fight in the Radio Tower remembers you from the Hideout and uses a higher-level version of the same party.

I know I’m kinda harping on the conversion from the old Executives to these new characters, but it’s one of the only things I think Heart Gold and Soul Silver genuinely did a pretty bad job with, so it sticks in my craw a bit.

oh, $#!t, she means business.

Fortunately, finishing off critically weakened opponents was always what Effie did best.

Sweet Scent/Sleep Powder is honestly not a bad combo.

Fortunately, although Ariana’s Vileplume is a tough cookie, Eleanor proves she can handle this with all the grace and strength of a future queen.

As for Murkrow, we can just orb all over it.

Y’know, Ariana, I appreciate that; I always did think you were the least dumb one.

Up we go.

[archer]

dude… who even are you

wait, no, I don’t care

Okay, that time it actually might not be Effie’s fault; one of Houndour’s abilities is Early Bird.  She does seem to be faster, so maybe we can just hope for flinches.

Heheheh, yeah boi

Look, this episode is already late and I’m in a bad mood, I’m just gonna brain laser you.

you ready to get wobbed

hmm… I don’t actually know whether his Houndoom has Crunch or Dark Pulse… or both… I’m gonna bet on Crunch though.

Or Bite!  Bite works too!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA GET WOBBED

You got wobbed, that’s how

I think if you’re gonna turn what was formerly one of many faceless Executives into a unique character… you’ve gotta write him, like… a new line of dialogue, at least.  Add something.  Archer comes completely out of nowhere in this scene; we’ve never met him before, we don’t know what his deal is.  I honestly kinda think the faceless Executives worked better because there was sort of a point in how the Johto games portray Team Rocket as a cult of personality around Giovanni, and how everyone below him, even the leaders, is basically interchangeable and expendable.  I think if you’re going to create unique characters to lead Team Rocket in Johto, you don’t bother trying to do that for all the Executives; just focus on the two Executives who are implied to be the same people as the Team Rocket grunts you meet at the end of Fire Red and Leaf Green’s Sevii Islands arc, who use the same Pokémon rosters as them (the characters who became Archer and Ariana).

ugh, whatever, that’s my dumb grievance out of the way, let’s listen to the Director and then we can wrap up for the day.

In the original games, the Rainbow Wing/Silver Wing is all you need to meet Ho-oh/Lugia; you could, in principle, go and look for them right now.  Heart Gold and Soul Silver have bigger plans for that, though, in keeping with the greater plot significance that the mascot legendaries of generations III and IV were given.

Will we get there next time?  Eh, probably not, there’s another gym battle still to go, but let’s give it a shot.

Here’s the team that saved Johto:

And here are the cards:

Just to remind everyone…

The Moon – I can’t look stuff up
Justice – Dandy, Hana, the Diglettes, Barkley, Yolquelin and Explodia are compulsory
The Devil – Vasya, Lil’ Toby, Barkley, Suey, Antares and Orbius are compulsory
Temperance – no moves with more than 80 power
The Fool – new Pokémon are compulsory (Madame Mirror, Effie)

4 of Swords – no STAB moves except on Flying/Ice/Steel/Psychic types; Grass/Ground/Rock/Fighting types are banned
6 of Wands – no male or genderless Pokémon
8 of Cups – Hopewell the Butterfree is banned
10 of Wands – Big Red and Esca hate each other
10 of Swords – Effie the Poliwhirl is compulsory

3 thoughts on “Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 12

  1. Well, I’m just happy Effie lives on, even if she did get a downgrade into a lower life form than “a mysterious building block of language and maybe even more intrinsic understanding of the actual nature of existence”.

    Also I have my mascot back to root for and I can feel less bad about her torturing you because Poliwhirl (potentially Poliwrath) isn’t completely awful. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Unown he didn’t!*
    *Been waiting for a chance to write that, but with Effie as a Poliwag it’s not as zesty as I wanted. Disappointing. A compulsory Pokémon that’s literally any other species than Unown is the opposite of disappointing, however, so I guess balance is maintained…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Was hoping for at least a Smeargle, ah well. Long Live Effie!

    And the point of the outfit sidequest is so that Silvio can canonically rip your clothes off. :V

    Liked by 2 people

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