Pokémon Spain Version: Even More Red

Artazon seems nice.  “Picturesque,” I think is the word.  Flowers, a windmill, pretty little houses, sunflowers, and lots of weird sculptures created by the town’s gym leader, Brassius.

A tragedy in two parts.

That’s the great thing about abstract art – if you find it confusing or alienating, the artist can still declare that a victory!

As is gym leader tradition, Brassius has a silly little test for us to complete before we can actually challenge him.  In this case, we have to find ten Sunflora – Artazon’s mascot Pokémon – hiding around the town.

I don’t know if there’s a random element to where the Sunflora are hiding.  When I did this, three of them were standing right behind me when I turned around at the very beginning of the test, indicating that they have absolutely no respect for this game whatsoever.  This is also, not coincidentally, the greatest respect I have ever had for Sunflora.

Brassius is not particularly challenging, as gym leaders go.  Stacking my team full of Pokémon with type advantages against Grass before the battle might have been overkill.

We saw this before the game came out, but I still think it’s worth drawing attention to – Paldea’s regional flagship mechanic of sparklification means that a gym leader or other type specialist can potentially have their strongest Pokémon be something completely different that sparklifies to their own type.  Brassius, for example, has a sparkly Grass-type Sudowoodo.  That’s a cool flavour choice (because Sudowoodo’s whole thing is mimicking plants), a cool strategic choice (because, even sparklified, Sudowoodo still has Rock attacks, which are very strong coverage moves against the major weaknesses of the Grass type), and a cool gameplay choice (because it introduces players to the kind of interesting things you can do with this mechanic).

booyah

One of the things my progress has apparently unlocked is more classes back at the academy, including two new subjects – home economics and history.  Heck yeah, I’ll take a history class; I don’t even care how basic it is.  Gimme that sweet lore!

According to history teacher Ms. Raifort, the Paldea region was once the Paldean Empire, which was formed around two thousand years ago.  In order to compete more effectively with neighbouring powers, the dictatorial Emperor of Paldea apparently sent several expeditions into the giant swirling vortex of doom in the centre of the region, seeking a mysterious treasure that supposedly lay at the bottom, though none of these expeditions ever returned.  I’m sure this information is completely incidental to the plot and will have no bearing on future events!

Oh, yeah, as long as I’m back here – I noticed this earlier but forgot to mention it last time.  Along with a pile of interesting lore books about mysterious Pokémon (which, again, I’m sure will be completely incidental to the plot and have no bearing on future events), the library at Naranja Academy has a copy of the student registry.  Pretty dull reading, one imagines – but several pages have been torn out from near the end.  Someone is trying to hide information about a recent enrolment – or expulsion – at the Academy.  Conspiracy is afoot.

From just outside Artazon, we can already see all the way to the next big city, Levincia (which I think might be València?).  Probably the sensible thing to do at this point is actually to backtrack, clean up the lower-level areas on the other side of Mesagoza and go for a second badge in Cortondo, but according to Cassiopeia’s intelligence we’re also very close to the first Team Star base, and I want to check that out first.

Hmm.  This is interesting.  I’ve seen spring Deerling in Paldea already, and now summer Deerling.  Deerling and Sawsbuck have been problem children for a while; their seasonal form changes are the entire point of the design, but there hasn’t been a seasonal cycle in any more games since they were introduced in generation V.  Accordingly, Deerling and Sawsbuck (in their spring forms only) were relegated to obscure postgame spots in generation VI and didn’t appear at all in VII or VIII.  As far as I can tell, there are spring Deerling in Paldea’s South Province and summer Deerling in the East Province.  According to the Pokédex, Deerling live all over Paldea, so presumably we’ll find their winter form in the chilly North Province and the autumn form in the West Province.

May as well also check out the vaunted sandwich minigame. Making sandwiches can heal your Pokémon in the field and grant them a modest amount of bonus experience, as well as giving you can assortment of utility buffs. You can follow a recipe (and learn new recipes from NPCs in towns), but why would you do that when you can just mash together obviously incompatible ingredients to create a ridiculous frankensandwich?

As far as I can tell, the object of the sandwich minigame – as in real life – is to pile as much bull$#!t into your sandwich as you possibly can without actually causing the thing to collapse under its own weight.

Well, this looks like we’re on the right track.

uh

hi

so, as we’re planning our assault, we’re approached by this… character… called Clive, who is clearly Director Clavell in a wig, exuding what I can only describe as “how do you do, fellow kids?” energy.  Cassiopeia is (rightly) suspicious of Clive and doesn’t want to put him on the front lines of Operation Starfall, but seems to think we need all the help we can get, so they assign him to a reconnaissance role.

Anyway, let’s talk Team Star.

According to Cassiopeia, Team Star’s leaders operate by a sort of honour code where they must step down from their positions if they are defeated in battle.  However, we have to get to them first, and this involves a special kind of battle unique to Team Star, called a Star Barrage.  “Battle” here is a loose term; it’s really more of a brawl, where the entire crew sends out all their Pokémon, and you run around the base with three of your Pokémon, who can each fight Team Star’s Pokémon independently.  To win the Star Barrage you have to knock out a certain number within a time limit.  That’s really all there is to it; it’s not as interesting as it sounds.  Once that’s taken care of, Team Star is sufficiently impressed to allow us to battle…

Mela and her sweet pimped-out ride!

Mela is no joke, and I’ve probably overreached by challenging her so early in the game; her Pokémon are much stronger than mine.  Fortunately, although her Drought Torkoal can put out a lot of damage, she doesn’t seem to have any efficient response to Pokémon with total immunity to Fire.  Against my Charcadet, her damage output is low enough that I can just heal through her attacks and use Nightshade (which doesn’t care about defence stats) to whittle her down.

wait, hang on

the car is her Pokémon?

No… no, the engine is her Pokémon.  She built this crazy rig around a Pokémon called Revavroom.  That’s insane; I love it!  Fortunately it’s still heavily reliant on Fire damage and doesn’t have any way to strike a decisive blow on Charcadet.

oh

uh

are we getting a flashback

am I… seeing this?  Is this Mela remembering this?  Is she telling me this story?  Can I ask her a follow-up question?

Mela’s flashback recalls a meeting between her and the other four leaders of Team Star, one year previously, when they were preparing for something called “Operation Star.”  Details about what this operation actually entailed are not yet forthcoming.  However, there is mention of a “big boss” – some higher-up overall leader of Team Star.  If I were the kind of person inclined to look for symbolism and meaningful names – and I am – this would make me even more suspicious of Cassiopeia’s intentions and their true relationship with Team Star.  Like I said last time, Team Star’s five “squads” are named after the five stars in the constellation of Cassiopeia, so if I were a hack writer – and I am – looking for a Meaningful Name for the “big boss” of Team Star, there’s one pretty obvious choice.

Mela seems like she’s willing to be a good sport about this whole thing, even handing over a knock-off badge to prove that she’s been defeated.

I think she might also have punched me in the face, but that’s probably a gesture of respect in Team Star.

And now we get the real reason Clav- sorry, Clive is here.  He’s been trying to help a Charcadet named Charlos reach Mela.  Mela recognises Charlos as one of several Charcadet she trained at the Academy.  Clive seems to have hoped that meeting a Pokémon she’d helped and being reminded of the good she once did would spur Mela to come back to school.  I don’t know if it’s worked yet, but I think maybe he’s planted a seed.  This is genuinely a very good response to a problem student!  Reminding Mela of her past constructive achievements sends the message that her actions as a Team Star “troublemaker” do not have to define her, and lets her know that there are still other people in her life who will see and appreciate good choices she makes in the future.  It’s a shame a perfectly ordinary student like Clive, who is definitely not Director Clavell in a wig, had to take on that duty, rather than one of the actual teachers, but at least someone at this school knows what they’re doing.

In response to further questions from Clive, Mela claims that the Schedar Squad built the Starmobile for some big fight they were expecting – part of “Operation Star,” presumably – but have never actually deployed it until this moment.  Whatever this mysterious “operation” was supposed to entail, it may never have actually happened.

That’s the first objective of “Operation Starfall” complete. In addition to a reward of League Points and TM blueprints transferred directly to my phone, Cassiopeia promises to send “someone from [their] supply unit” to drop off a package of useful crafting materials.  This “someone” turns out to be Penny, which only further cements my belief that she is definitely Cassiopeia.

And I think that’s enough ground covered for today. I might do a separate roundup of all the new Pokémon I’ve seen since my first post in this series, since I forgot to include one with the last post and they’re starting to get out of hand. Anyway, next time we can go and kick the $#!t out of the Cortondo gym; it should be hilarious.

5 thoughts on “Pokémon Spain Version: Even More Red

  1. Deerling being added to Scarlet and Violet is a bit strange to me. Not that I’m not pleased to see it again (believe me I AM, this thing can do serious damage with serene grace, or failing that be a decent chlorophyll user) but making it’s gimmick no longer viable anymore and relegating the forms to directions in Paldea as opposed to seasons kind of makes it a bit redundant. Though I suppose it does grant Winter-form Sawsbuck the opportunity to become an ice type, Spring form to get the fairy type to complete the general “Japanese cherry blossom love in Nara” aesthetic, and Fall form to represent what happens to most trees when the weather gets cold (if you’ve seen the crown for the Steel Tera, you’ll know what I’m talking about)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, you’ve probably seen it since you snooped around the library and just thought it wasn’t worth bringing up, but I wanna put out the fact it’s got a copy of Sonia’s book in it is really cute, good for her

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Funnily enough, there are legitimate adult students in the Academy so the “how do you do fellow kids” is completely unnecessary. Also, it later turns out that the terrible disguise actually fooled Cassiopeia.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s