literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
There's a balance in the world. For all fun things, there is an unpleasant thing. For every blessing, a curse. For every good romhack, some twenty-odd bad ones.Welcome to Dark Rising, a not-so-good romhack that I'm planning to play through and probably make fun of quite often for its many bugs, balance issues, and terrible plot. If you're a fan of this hack then I'm sorry though I'm going to try my best to only rip on the stuff that's clearly not good. If you're familiar with Dark Rising then welcome back, I hope time hasn't dulled your memories too much. Let's get started, shall we?
wait that doesn't sound balanced at all
wait that doesn't sound balanced at all
Dark Rising uses a FireRed base, so we have the usual blurb at the start. I think the text here might be slightly edited but I could just be misremembering the original words here. I usually just skip through this bit as fast as possible, so I guess it could be the same as the base game.
Well bar the lobotomized Pikachu, that's new.
Also Arceus has taken the place of Oak. I'm not sure if the Pichu implies that Arceus itself is actually a trainer or what.
Arceus exposits at us for a bit, apparently we're the Chosen One and need to defeat DARUGIS or DOGSRUS allcaps with Arceus' power.
Names chosen by Gummy and MeepBard. I'm playing a girl because the developer is bad at making sure dialogue checks gender, so there's going to be a lot of referring to Bianca as "him" which will make this slightly funnier to me.
Also our rival is apparently a "chosen" like us and unfortunately neither of us get to keep using these good looking sprites. It's a shame.
And we're off to the races. The PC contains a Potion like normal, this is an even better idea to grab than in normal play.
Before we're allowed to leave, MOM steals our current shoes and forces us into the Running Shoes. This is always a good change that I'm very happy to see romhacks implement.
The instant we're allowed outside though it's pouring rain and this guy drags us over to Professor Ivan's lab. This is in fact DHR .-., he was just catfishing us with the earlier picture.
In the lab, because the world is apparently ending due to extreme weather (i hadnt noticed), Professor Ivan's package is late. His solution is to give the two of us a starter to keep and send us off on an errand to get his stuff. That's a fair trade I suppose, though as usual for a FR base we'll be picking first while DHR .-. gets to go second. Since I went with the Grass starter in Vega, maybe I'll do Fire or Water this time?
psyche its actually three pseudolegendary dragon base stages haha
To actually discuss their relative merits, Dratini is awful and far and away the worst of the three starters here. The reason for this is simple - Dratini's only attacking move for nearly 10 levels is Wrap. This means not only is the starting battle nearly unwinnable, but even the wilds are liable to be 1v1ing Dratini until it gets several levels under its belt. Pair this with the latest evolution level of the trio (though this actually matters way less than you'd think) and you've got a clear dud.
Bagon is the middle child. It doesn't really have anything wrong with it, it's actually pretty much just fine. Shelgon isn't very good in Dark Rising unfortunately but Salamence certainly makes up for it and since there's no Physical/Special split in Dark Rising Salamence is probably the best of the three in terms of actually using its Dragon STAB.
Gible is the creator's favorite.
Name courtesy of Altissimo
I'm taking Gible because this hack is actually difficult at times. Not in a fair way unfortunately, but it certainly has no compunctions about tearing your face off. Gible can get either Sand Veil or Rough Skin because that was necessary.
Par for the course, we've got a rival battle. Notice our High Quality backsprite.
This is not in fact Ivan. This is Arceus, or rather "the voice from my dream" as Bianca puts it. We've got a direct line to the big G.
Apparently Oak is in our head too. This is actually from using Mud Slap, it triggered both the damaging and the status move lines.
Since we did not choose Dratini this goes quickly and fairly easily with Mud Slap making poor Bagon miss nearly half its Bites, and we're free to leave.
Well, as long as we don't step on either side of the doormat since that'll freeze us in place and we'll need to load our savestate.
It's still pouring rain in town and these three campers look awfully suspicious. Talking to any of them gets us challenged to a duel against all three in a row with our newly obtained starter.
Mercifully, the game is willing to let us say no this one time. We could probably take them on, they're using Pokemon on the same level as the wilds and we're healed fully after each battle, but in the interest of safety we'll be doing some minor grinding to prepare.
It's pouring rain on the Route 1 equivalent too, but the guy waiting at the entrance is not in fact an ambush trainer but a nice man who gives us a Dragon Fang. This will surely see use (it probably won't).
There's huge variety in the wilds on Route 1 with most regions through Unova getting some representation. They're largely underwhelming unfortunately, but it's much better than just two options for wilds.
Decent EXP too. Reminder that Bite is special here since it's a Dark-type move.
Taking out the wannabe gauntlet rewards us this. It's not really very helpful because we're going to end up with more money than Scrooge McDuck, but the gesture is nice enough.
Much less nice though is the single house on Route 1 which is actually the trainer's school.
The instant we step into the building, this woman accosts us, drags us to the center of the classroom...
challenges us to a battle...
and starts what is an incredibly rude ambush. I did a bit of grinding on the wilds because this fight is Very Dumb. Roselia has fantastic stats for this early in the game and its moves are Sunny Day, Rain Dance, and Weather Ball. This is possibly the only point in the game where Gible is the worst starter choice because Rain Weather Ball hits Gible for the full approximately 150 BP of damage while everybody else is only taking roughly 75 BP attacks regardless of weather. It's a very dumb fight that's only manageable due to the AI's stupidity and near constant attempts to switch between sun and rain. The single Rain Weather Ball that hits Gible though does over 25 damage and it's a lot of Mud Slaps before Roselia drops.
There is no appropriate reward for this fight.
Anyways, our real destination is this random cave on Route 1 because that's where deliveries are made apparently. Pete is allegedly a friend from town and he challenges us to a battle as you could probably already expect at this point.
He's thankfully not much of a challenge at our level.
The inside of the cave actually has some decent quality stuff, including Timburr, Geodude, Roggenrola, and Zubat. We're quickly going to grab Dragonbreath at level 14 in anticipation of the back of the barely edited Altering Cave.
Which is where this chick, BlueMars, attacks us for recognizing the name DARWINGUS. She's incredibly nasty if the dragon isn't level 14 where it learns Dragonbreath.
This is because of her high leveled Axew which for some insane reason has Intimidate as its ability. With Dragonbreath it's not an issue thankfully, but if picking Dratini the issue would be getting to level 14 in the first place.
Right through the hole in the cave is this fully furnished building for unknown reasons. I don't understand how these people actually leave, unless they're just kind of ok with fighting through the wild Pokemon every time they need to go for a walk.
On the subject of walks though, we head out of the cave to go deliver our package and meet Lance and his pet Tornadus just kind of hanging around outside. You might expect that we're instantly jumped the second we step outside, but you'd be wrong. It's the tile one step down that we need to go to that triggers the cutscene.
Turns out Bianca is a moron and she wants to fight this guy who is apparently about to get off on breaking our bones. Thankfully we're a little overleveled for this point in the game though we're also out of Potions at this point.
No, I don't know why the tutorial dialogue appears again. It's exactly the same as the rival battle as far as I can tell. Even so, that is still a level 50 Tornadus before we've even gotten pokeballs.
this is my absolute favorite screen in the game
So, presumably because the hacker couldn't figure out how to get Thunder's perfect accuracy in rain working for Hurricane, they took the easy route and just make it so Hurricane is a 120/100 move. The 120 BP STAB move from a level 50 Tornadus OHKOs Garth handily.
i didnt use good enough strategy
It is possible to avoid this battle by wiping to the wilds in the cave but there's no real reason to do so. Coming back later and destroying him has no differences in the cutscene afterwards, it still acts as though we lost.
i did nothing to him but he did something to her
(this is a common occurrence but here is the first instance I believe)
We black out and wake up back in our bed. Leaving the house shows that the rain has finally cleared up.
We finally finish our errand and so has DHR .-. who was told to go collect Ingredients from the forbidden forest while we got jumped by the insane dragon lady BlueMars and lance with Tornadus. DHR .-. is trying to claim our name but don't be fooled, those words are coming from his mouth.
As payment for our services we're given a Pokedex and 5 Pokeballs along with a mandate to kind of go do whatever. 5 Pokeballs isn't really a lot though and we've got plenty of money so naturally we're going to head back into that cave and buy some more before going on a catching spree.
or not because this apparently isn't a mart because who needs items like potions or antidotes or pokeballs 5 is plenty right
North of Route 1 is this place which is a maze filled with two things: an absurd number of trainers and a ton of Grass and Bug types.
Two of which are dirty traps. These both have incredibly low catch rates so they'll eat all 5 Pokeballs we have if we went for them without abusing savestates. I don't really want to go for either of them honestly, though Bulbasaur could be quite nice.
The good stuff to go for is actually back in Altering Cave. Timburr and Geodude are both excellent investments, and Geodude in particular has very early access to a hugely buffed Rock Slide. Other decent options include the Starly on Route 1, Venipede isn't the worst choice, or even
A spot of training later and we're done with Twist Woodlands for now and can finally move on.
Move on to an immediate ambush. Unlike before, we're not allowed to say no to this three trainer gauntlet. We get a little bit of plot here though.
Apparently we look like our father who these guys really hated.
They're not real slouches either, both of the first two have Pokemon at level 16 with the second one being a Skorupi to mess with basically all the stuff in the forest.
There's no brakes here either. The last one has a level 18 Frillish and poor mish mish got mished by Skorupi. Mud Slap saves the day again.
Plus side, DHR .-. doesn't actually want to fight us after the DARK THUGS run away and we can finally move into our first actual town with four buildings.
The town is home to this incredibly rude boy who walks away from us while we're talking to him. No this didn't softlock the game, it's just that the NPC doesn't actually stop and face us, he just keeps wandering around.
Stepping into the center meanwhile gets us ambushed.
By this girl who just gives us a Munna. I don't really get it but ok?
This, however, is incredibly unpleasant of the hack to do. To heal Pokemon we need to talk to the dude in the white hat to heal. If we talk to Nurse Joy with two or more unfainted Pokemon in our party (and remember that stepping in here gave us a level 1 unfainted Pokemon to add to our team immediately!) then she explains who the guy is.
Apparently at every center it's this guy Roy who's responsible for healing and Joy's just an assistant.
Then they both attack us in a fight we can't refuse. This could potentially be a very nasty surprise if taken on with just a single weakened teammate and the level 1 Munna.
Another house in town has this girl also jump us when we talk to her. Lesson learned, never talk to strangers kids you don't know who'll attack you. She's not a pushover like Roy&Joy were either, she's got 3 level 15s with good movesets, items, and she has Potions to heal them with.
Her last mon Gothita does have Skill Swap so you'll be able to switch sooner or later but yeah the Gothita line has Shadow Tag. Yaaaaay.
Dig is still 60 BP but it's stronger than Mud Slap and a physical STAB attack would be nice.
Before we're done in town it's time to hit up the mart. The fact that we can already buy revives is not a good sign. (I grab 2)
Leaving town brings us to Lavaburn Path, a Route 2 reskin with slightly different tree placement allowing us to get to the house normally near Diglett's Cave immediately but we still have to go through 'Viridian Forest'.
The house, aside from letting us get up onto the roof, actually still contains a trade for one of the less common encounters in the grass outside, Abra. The common encounters aren't worth mentioning.
Doing the trade sends our poor Abra into a glitchy hellscape, but the prize for us is something neat.
A Larvesta is a neat earlygame option, though the late evolution level is kind of offputting.
wait nevermind it's locked to jolly and therefore not very good longterm pass
Heading back to Tiki Village causes Red to appear in the trees. Talking to him freezes the game. He never appeared heading out of Tiki Village, only when returning, which is real weird. Either way, this isn't our real destination.
We're heading to Lavaburn Forest.
But first an ambush from Pete the second we step inside the gate to the forest. He's improved a little, he's got 4 mons and his Trapinch caps at 16 now, but he's not hard. After sending him packing we're free to explore the forest itself.
this is the least forest forest i have ever seen
Lavaburn Forest is filled to the brim with Fire-types, stuff like Houndour, Ponyta, Growlithe, Torkoal, and Darumaka. However, there's one thing that's the real prize here.
Come to poppa. Not all Vulpix have Drought but it's easy to figure out which ones do. This is absolutely worth picking up for several reasons, not least of which being that this is how you can run a sun team ingame.
Caught 4 of em, took the one with the best nature. wincon actually has fantastic IVs too, 20 or higher in everything but Attack which is near 0.
An extremely brief grind in Twist Woodlands later and wincon is mostly caught up and we're ready to head to the next town which is where the first leader is. I hope you're not worried about the level curve just yet.
The first leader is a bit of a doozy actually but our levels are high enough that I don't think I'll need to grind to prepare. Maybe.
I'm pretty sure I already know what I'm using and it's mostly going to be stuff to express my dislike for the balance of this game but you can still suggest things. No promise I'll use em though.