One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
Last time I left you all in suspense, I was waiting to receive an answer from my own personal Devil, Jim the Editor. As a reminder, the Devil card says:
The Devil: If you own eight Pokémon or fewer (not counting Pokémon in the Vessel) when you draw this card, or if you are using a party given to you by the Vessel, ignore it and draw another. Otherwise… Immediate: Catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area, then have an observer choose a new party of six Pokémon from all the Pokémon you own, except for Pokémon in the Vessel. Revoke any ongoing rules that would make this team illegal. Ongoing: All of the chosen Pokémon are compulsory.
So I went to Jim with a full update on all my cards and Pokémon, and here is what he said.
Chuck only has two Pokémon. They’re both much higher levels than mine – 29 and 31 – but they are also both open to manipulation, because Chuck’s signature move in this game is Focus Punch, which can be disrupted by attack damage. Only two of my Pokémon should be in danger of being petrified here, Paradise from Rock Slide and Killgore from Focus Punch, and in theory that shouldn’t be a problem for Killgore as long as he just keeps attacking. Even if we lose one or both of them, I’ll get one back if I can win the battle.
With Morty defeated and the Fog Badge in hand, I can continue west from Ecruteak City, towards Olivine City, or turn and head east, towards Mahogany Town.
Johto’s mid-game is pretty open; you can do the next three gyms in almost any order. Whichever way I go, I’ll need Surf, either to investigate Lake of Rage or to cross the sea to Cianwood Island – but not immediately. I don’t have any Pokémon accessible at the moment who can use Surf, but the Kingslocke rules do make exceptions when you need an HM to move forward in the story; if it becomes necessary, I’ll be able to defy the Eight of Wands and withdraw Abazigal the Dratini to handle that. Still, it would be better if I didn’t have to… and I think my odds are best if I head to Olivine City first.
Ah, yes. Ecruteak City – and on our first visit to Ecruteak City’s Pokémon Centre, we meet Bill Gates the PC man. Once you’ve met him here, Bill returns to his home in Goldenrod City, and we’re going to pay him a visit, because…
Last time we left off, I was hoping to prepare my team to challenge the Goldenrod City Gym and its infamous master, Whitney’s Miltank. There’s a lot of trainers up to the north of the city that we can fight before we move on to earn some more levels, and some of them even have personalities!
This is Juggler Irwin. Irwin has heard about the Slowpoke Well incident, is now the player character’s fanboy, and wants to hear about everything they do. I am not certain this is an appropriate relationship for him to have with a preteen child.
When we last left off, the cards had dealt me a new team of two Pokémon – Breeze the Pidgey and Trixie the Gastly. Trixie is only level 4, so we’re just going to time-lapse over some grinding in Ilex Forest and skip to the good stuff.
I neglected to screenshot the first line of this call from Picnicker Liz (which was something like “the Kimono Girls aren’t just good dancers, you know!”), but it seems like she’s plugged into some surprisingly deep gossip! The Kimono Girls and Professor Elm don’t even tell the player about this stuff until the end of the game, and you’re supposed to be helping them somehow!
Where we left off, I had just drawn the Three of Pentacles on my way into Union Cave, which will allow me to catch the first Pokémon I see. I’m hoping for a Geodude or Onix; either one would be a pretty significant asset going into the next two gyms.
Hello, Johto, my old friend; I’ve come to play through you again.
There is some deep part of my nostalgia that Heart Gold and Soul Silver touch in a way that Fire Red and Leaf Green somehow don’t. Maybe it’s just that they’re better put-together than their predecessors, or that the original Gold and Silver were better put-together than their predecessors. Maybe we’ll figure out what it is. There’ve been longer shots, after all.
Of course, I’ll have enough on my mind just keeping my insane tarot-based challenge rules straight.
So here’s the deal: this is gonna be a test of the Kingslocke Advanced Rules. The second test, in fact (I’ve already run the Advanced Rules once on X and made a couple of changes based on that experience, although I didn’t fully document that run). The Kingslocke, for anyone just joining us now, is the dumbest and most convoluted Pokémon challenge run ever devised by a mortal fake gamer guy (I am the guy; it me). Its basic mechanic is just that, whenever you visit a new location, you have to draw a card from a tarot deck and follow a unique rule based on the card you draw. And that is the only simple thing about the Kingslocke.