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.
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.
As we all know, Timey Diamond and Spacey Pearl are coming out in a little over a month, with Legends: Arceus following early next year. I feel like revisiting Sinnoh, so I want to do a playthrough of the original Pearl version – but not just any playthrough. I think it’s time to revisit the dumbest Pokémon challenge run ever devised: the Kingslocke.
This is a challenge run I created with basically two aims in mind:
That it be more forgiving than a Nuzlocke, with mostly temporary penalties and consequences, as well as fewer unwinnable scenarios, but also…
That it be absolutely bat-fµ¢£ insane and require the player to rethink their party and strategy constantly.
In pursuit of these goals, Jim the Editor and I developed a challenge ruleset where the player would regularly draw from a normal deck of playing cards, with each card changing the rules. The effects of the different cards are very loosely based on a popular drinking game that we call “Circle of Death” in New Zealand (because, at least in our version, the cards are arranged in a big circle around a vessel in the middle of the table), but which is more commonly known in America as “Kings” or “King’s Cup,” hence the name “Kingslocke.” You don’t have to drink to play with these rules, but to be honest you probably should.