Let's Play! Merritt learns about (Poorly Made Romhacks) in Dark Rising [COMPLETE]

Hooo boy, I really hope you have an actual gameplan for the champion`s ace. You KNOW why that thing will be harder than the entire rest of the elite four pokemon combined (although the champ also owns all of the elite four aces sooo). During my own playthrough of this game around half a decade ago I had to use a tyranitar and keep healing it over and over just so that I at least one mon that isn`t straight up ohkoed by it ;-; Either way good luck!


literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
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Mega-Pokebattlerz: Might as well ask why play it at all (this is a good question). No more bad eggs fortunately.

sg pokemon: Due to circumstances, Shadow Lugia turned out to possibly be the easiest of the champ's Pokemon. Thanks for the luck!

This is it, the final rush to the end. Five more battles stand in the way of being able to put this to bed, there's no postgame to Dark Rising.

Let's get into it.

We had an absurd amount of money and Big Pearls remaining. They went to good use after organizing the bag a bit.

Our final 6 did a quick grind to 100 and were given TMs for their final movesets. Nobody learned anything new going from their current mid-90s to 100.

Let's go through the team.

I still maintain that Gible is the creator's favorite of the three starters. A low Speed IV and poor EVs leave Garth feeling a bit sluggish at times but she's fast enough to get by. Her Attack is excellent and she's surprisingly bulky on the physical side, letting her potentially get out of some rough spots. EdgeQuake coverage is made better when Stone Edge is 100/85 with 10 PP and Swords Dance finishes that off to let Garth menace slower opponents. Return was largely out of a lack of better options, but it's fine enough for the rare thing that resists both Stone Edge and Earthquake or where we can't afford Stone Edge to miss.

wincon is the MVP of this playthrough by a long shot. I took a peak under the hood and found out that she has a perfect Speed IV, something that I've been able to feel and greatly appreciate all throughout this run. If I had to have one complaint it's that wincon's Special Attack is kind of a letdown a lot of the time - even with a positive nature it's still lower than her SpD. The moves are pretty self explanatory, Flamethrower hurts while Drought is active, Solarbeam hits waters, Nasty Plot turns wincon into something a bit more deadly, and Zen Headbutt is insanely broken considering how fast wincon is. Lax Incense is for the meme but who knows, maybe it'll come in handy.

If you must play Dark Rising I can't recommend Vulpix enough, it's very good.

Raising a Pokemon on a diet of exclusively Atk EV enemies will give them excellent Attack, who'da thunk? speed is frail, kind of slow, and has to use Flamethrower off his lower Special Attack but none of that matters due to Speed Boost. speed is possibly the most lethal sweeper on the team and has proven himself a ton throughout this playthrough, sweeping plenty of otherwise problematic battles with Bulk Up, nailing things with a powerful Sky Uppercut, or forming a destructive duo with wincon and unleashing sun boosted Flamethrowers.

If I have one regret about this whole playthrough it has to be that I didn't go back and steal a Choice Band from one of the major battles, probably from the Florina Aerodactyl if that battle reset. flamberge has as much Attack as a transformed Timid Ash-Greninja has Special Attack, banding him would have been hilarious.

So let's go through Archeops step by step. First, let's give it Intimidate instead of Defeatist. That alone makes it very good, but we can't exactly stop there. Next, let's buff Rock Slide to 90/90 and Stone Edge to 100/85 so Archeops can use that STAB more effectively. We're starting to get somewhere, but let's hand Archeops Brave Bird by level. Most people would have stopped at this point if not earlier, but not Dark Rising. Instead, it also gave Archeops Swords Dance.

flamberge is a monster beyond compare, running a very similar set to Garth but with a nuclear Brave Bird instead of Return. flamberge has nearly 0 bulk but who needs bulk when the enemy is already dead? I do wish he was faster, but being second fiddle only to wincon isn't exactly something to complain about.

[Serious nature, holding Quick Claw]

To say I was a little surprised when the Kyogre was shiny would be a bit of an understatement. I'm annoyed that it happened on a romhack instead of an actual cart but sure, whatever. haiga's had an eventful life, including a stint as a gamebreaking abomination, but it came out the other side as something stupidly strong. This is a fairly classic Calm Mind set for Kyogre because that's what works and I don't see any reason to mess with that. haiga also has really good special bulk, though its physical bulk leaves a little to be desired. Still bulkier physically than wincon, speed, or flamberge though.

haiga is going to tear the league a new one.

dex #400 is definitely legit dont worry

There's not as much to say about captain, as it's a relatively new member of the team and is very straightforward, being a normal Giratina-O in terms of stats and lacking some EVs due to being obtained at level 98. It's a pretty big oversight that we were allowed to catch this but certainly not gamebreaking considering the lack of moves and the massive quantity of legendaries thrown at us. captain's here to be fat, eat X items, and overwhelm the league with stats alone. Not something I'd necessarily recommend catching, but as one of the few legendaries that Dark Rising tries to not let us get we couldn't not use captain.

We're as ready as we're going to get. We've got 5 more battles against some of the most absurd stuff Dark Rising can spit at us. This is Dark Rising writhing about as we kill it, we just need to avoid the claws and tail and go straight for the head.

Let's get to it. You're definitely not Lorelei.

Yes, the giants from when we fought Kayo using Raikou are back and this time have some stuff to say. None of the "Elite Four" use a single typed team, instead having very vague themes capped off with their own special limbo slot legendary.

Umbreon @ Leftovers Lv98: Ice Beam/Mean Look/Calm Mind/Psychic
Wobbuffet @ Leftovers Lv98: Rest/Mirror Coat/Cosmic Power/Counter
Claydol @ Leftovers Lv98: Psychic/Ice Beam/Calm Mind/Thunderbolt
Bronzong @ Leftovers Lv98: Calm Mind/Earthquake/Psychic/Ice Beam
Cresselia @ Leftovers Lv99: Ice Beam/Calm Mind/Psychic/Rest

In Lust's (yes that's her name) case, that theme is high bulk mons using setup moves.

The team itself is largely a nonthreat, though Cosmic Power/Rest Wobb is certainly a thing. A good Dark type so long as it's not weak to Ice or Ground can rip though this team pretty much by itself. While in theory Wobbuffet could be an issue, remember that Ghosts and Dark types are immune to the respective reflecting moves when using their STAB.

The threat on the team is the Cresselia, not only because Dark Rising is a weird funhouse mirror reflection of BW OU but also because it's not a real Cresselia.

where does the umbrella end and the outfit begin

Umbreon is not a good Pokemon offensively. Calm Mind does not fix that. Umbreon is setup fodder for wincon. Three Nasty Plots go by as Umbreon Calm Minds once and fires an Ice Beam and Psychic before Flamethrower OHKOs.

Both of these are OHKOed by +6 attacks.

Just to be safe, Wobb gets hit by ZHB to make sure it's in Flamethrower range.

The ace goes the same way. You might be a little surprised that Zen Headbutt did that little at +6, even if it's resisted. That's because

Cresselia: Psychic, Levitate, 160/110/170/115/180/105

840 BST.

Setting up to +6 on the lead tends to make even 840 BST opponents easier.

Even aside from the giantism, that's an unappealing sprite.

Conkeldurr @ Leftovers Lv98: Drain Punch/Earthquake/Stone Edge/Swords Dance
Scrafty @ Leftovers Lv98: Drain Punch/Earthquake/Cosmic Power/Recover
Tyranitar @ Leftovers Lv98: Rock Wrecker/Earthquake/Recover/Cosmic Power
Ferrothorn @ Leftovers Lv98: Recover/Leech Seed/Earthquake/Cosmic Power
Regigigas @ Focus Band Lv99: Hyper Beam/Bulk Up/Earthquake/Stone Edge

I assume that the theme of this team is something to do with every single member having Earthquake, something pretty annoying for poor speed who would otherwise be happy to take a hammer to it. The Ferrothorn is the only completely ignorable member of the team, everybody else has at least some degree of threat to deal with. Swords Dance Conkeldurr is a thing that certainly exists here and there are far too many Pokemon with Cosmic Power on this team (including Tyranitar what the hell).

Focus Band on Regigigas is incredibly cruel because "Regigigas" in Dark Rising is right up there with the most absurd Pokemon I've ever seen.

go back to the poorly colored bw sprites

Out of a desire to not get stomped by a Swords Dance Conkeldurr, flamberge takes it out with a Brave Bird.

Wrath decides that this is an excellent opportunity for Regigigas to get some air. Of course it doesn't have Slow Start, or at least it's not announced. flamberge hits it with a Brave Bird.

Regigigas takes less than 50% and KOs with Stone Edge.

Regigigas: Normal, Huge Power, 160/180/150/110/150/110

860 BST feat. 180 base Attack with Huge Power.

captain would have been able to tank a single Stone Edge, only taking about 70% from it, were it not for the crit. The AI on the league isn't as dumb as most other trainers in Dark Rising, they'll go for the killing move.

We exploit this by having Regigigas OHKO Garth with Hyper Beam, letting speed use Bulk Up, and get down to business since it outpaces Regigigas after Speed Boost. Focus Band doesn't mess with us, and +1 Sky Uppercut KOs.

Set up, speed OHKOs the rest of the team.

2 losses in that battle, though captain could have maybe been avoided if we baited out Hyper Beam immediately. I doubt +1 Sky Uppercut would have OHKOed Regigigas from full though.

Gluttony claims that he's strategic. His AI isn't different, so the difference must be in his team.

Zen Mode @ Leftovers Lv98: Fire Blast/Psychic/Surf/Recover
Snorlax @ Leftovers Lv98: Iron Head/Recover/Earthquake/Body Slam
Gengar @ Spell Tag Lv98: Shadow Ball/Recover/Ice Beam/Flamethrower
Dusknoir @ Leftovers Lv98: Earthquake/Cosmic Power/Stone Edge/Recover
Palkia @ Dragon Fang Lv99: Dragon Pulse/Hydro Pump/Thunderbolt/Earthquake

Strategic=Recover on almost everything. Got it. Physical Shadow Ball Gengar as well as Cosmic Power/Recover Dusknoir are interesting features on this team with Very Legitimate moves. The Palkia's the least silly thing here.

Well, for a certain definition of 'silly'.

rather than 'strategic' i think the word he wanted was 'fat'

Zen Mode is less passive than Umbreon was, but Calm Mind and haiga's excellent special bulk let it set up to +6 with some Full Restore support. At +6 Surf OHKOs many times over.

Gluttony goes straight into the big boy. While Palkia was a decent answer to Kyogre in Ubers for a couple generations, that usually required that Kyogre not have gotten to +6 yet.

Palkia: Dragon/Water, Pressure, 140/140/130/200/160/120

i mean 890 BST is neat and all but have you seen +6 thunder

While Palkia did outspeed and hit haiga with Earthquake, the rest of the team is either outsped or Quick Clawed (not sure if Gengar was slower or what) and OHKOed.

yes i imagine a kyogre would give some pretty severe indigestion

The walk to Lance's room includes Bianca walking all over DHR .-. because placing him a little to the side or changing the player's path would be too much.

bianca you stepped on DHR .-. all by yourself don't blame him for that

Hydreigon @ Dragon Fang Lv98: Hydro Pump/Fire Blast/Dark Pulse/Dragon Pulse
Haxorus @ Choice Band Lv98: Stone Edge/Earthquake/Brick Break/Iron Head
Eelektross @ Magnet Lv98: Flamethrower/Thunderbolt/Ice Beam/Surf
Aerodactyl @ Hard Stone Lv98: Rock Wrecker/Earthquake/Brave Bird/Iron Head
Dialga @ Dragon Fang Lv99: Dragon Pulse/Flash Cannon/Earthquake/Flamethrower

Unfortunately speed can't outspeed Hydregion and Hydro Pump would OHKO. The team as a whole is somewhat exploitable and doesn't have nearly as many silly things as the previous members. Aerodactyl sure wishes it had Rock Head Brave Bird in standard though and Ice Beam is an interesting choice to add to Eelektross' moveset.

Dialga offers a nice conclusion to the spacetime trio. Good to see them featuring as enemy exclusives in this hack about Arceus.

oh no cheren's become a delinquent

When in doubt vs a strong special attacker, press the haiga button. +1 Ice Beam OHKOs and Dragon Pulse does not manage a 2HKO after Calm Mind.

Good try but no cigar. Surf OHKOs.

I feel somewhat confident that Haxorus could outspeed haiga, so instead of risking it we're going to brutally exploit this banded Haxorus. It has no super effective moves so it's going to go for the strongest neutral move it has.

flamberge will take advantage of this, and while Haxorus stubbornly stays in and keeps using Earthquake flamberge sets up SD and then KOs with his own Earthquake.

flamberge cannot outspeed the Aerodactyl, but Rock Wrecker is needed for Aerodactyl to OHKO. Naturally the Aerodactyl goes for it, which provides speed a chance to come in and set up Bulk Up twice, taking a Brave Bird like a champ after the second Bulk Up before OHKOing with Stone Edge.

Dialga: Steel/Dragon, Pressure, 150/140/160/200/130/110

At +2, Sky Uppercut OHKOs even the 890 BST Dialga.

blah blah blah let's go finish this

Adrian also insists on expositing at us despite the sheer lack of interest we have.

Mewtwo @ TwistedSpoon Lv99: Psychic/Aura Sphere/Calm Mind/Recover
Cresselia @ Leftovers Lv99: Psychic/Ice Beam/Calm Mind/Recover
Regigigas @ Focus Band Lv99: Hyper Beam/Earthquake/Bulk Up/Stone Edge
Dialga @ Dragon Fang Lv99: Dragon Pulse/Flash Cannon/Earthquake/Flamethrower
Palkia @ Dragon Fang Lv99: Dragon Pulse/Thunderbolt/Earthquake/Hydro Pump
Shadow Lugia @ Focus Band Lv100: Dark Chaos/Aeroblast/Flamethrower/Recover

Oh look, it's the aces of the others with two more fake legendaries. How interesting. What exactly are those two other legendaries?

Mewtwo: Psychic, Pressure, 140/150/125/210/125/160
Lugia: Dark/Ghost, Shadow Tag, 170/150/170/160/210/150

Oh, nothing special, just 910 BST and 1010 BST BST respectively. What about Dark Chaos? Oh that's not anything important, just a 200/100 Dark-type move with a 100% chance to poison the opponent and 25 PP. They're both absurd, stacked right around the already pretty nutty aces of the rest of the league. Both have a "weakness" of sorts - Mewtwo can't touch Spiritomb or Sableye who are useless against the rest of the league but useful for this one Pokemon while Shadow Lugia can't just OHKO Tyranitar. Shadow Lugia is still a 1000+ BST Pokemon with no weakness.

No point in stalling, let's go.

This is where I got my face stomped twice. I led captain in order to fight Mewtwo, but the Mewtwo set up Calm Mind twice, wasn't taken out by Shadow Claw (probably because of its 140/125 physical bulk) and then OHKOed everything on the team with +2 Psychic. After it failed twice, once without X Items and the second time with, I decided on a different lead to try and beat Mewtwo before it could Calm Mind up.

Now, let's actually go beat the final boss of Dark Rising, the ultimate enemy.

It was DHR all along

flamberge is kind of like a panic button. It was certainly panic inducing when Mewtwo decided to go for Psychic instead of Calm Mind after outspeeding the second fastest member of the team.

flamberge is the best and wins the roll. Brave Bird does finish off flamberge, but it does nearly 50% to Mewtwo.

Like a coward, DHR .-. has Mewtwo flee from captain as we use an X Speed. Since we don't want to risk captain at this point and Dragon Claw isn't liable to do much to Dialga, wincon is sent in to hopefully survive a Dragon Pulse.

The decision to give wincon Lax Incense is completely vindicated when wincon dodges the Dragon Pulse. Zen Headbutt slowly drives down Dialga's HP with only one hiccup where it misses and wincon has to eat a Dragon Pulse.

It ends up in Flamethrower range eventually though and wincon puts us on the board.

We employ the same strategy for Regigigas, though we run out of Zen Headbutt PP partway through due to Dialga's Pressure earlier.

Regigigas survives Flamethrower and in a stunning lapse of judgement decides to express its frustration with Hyper Beam. speed KOs with Flamethrower from this point.

oh boy mewtwo's back guys

It 2HKOs with Psychic as captain barely misses the KO with Shadow Claw.

And I mean barely. Since Adrian's going to use a Full Restore at this point, haiga sets up a Calm Mind and begins a CM war with Mewtwo.

This helps with the war. Mewtwo goes down after haiga goes to +3.

Second verse same as the first.

We're most of the way there and the bane of my existence appears to taunt me. To prepare for Shadow Lugia, haiga goes to set up to +6 with some Full Restore support, while Cresselia goes for a couple Calm Minds as well.

This was the turn that haiga got to +6.

The rest of the team (Garth and speed) can't fight Cresselia so for the first time this entire run I use a revive. A max revive specifically, and bring haiga back from the dead.

And so begins the worst 10 minutes. haiga sets up to +6 with the last of the Calm Mind PP, Cresselia goes to +6 as well, and a back and forth begins raging. No crits are anywhere in sight. Psychic isn't doing too much, but Surf is doing maybe 40% which is easily healed by Leftovers and Recover.

Several minutes into this, Cresselia runs out of Psychic PP and then Ice Beam PP and starts spamming Recover every single turn. Remember that in Gen 3 Recover still had 20 PP. Full Restores and Ethers have been flying on our side of the field. Eventually we get lucky with paralysis procs and Cresselia is in Surf range.


DHR .-. uses two more Full Restores after Recover finally runs out and Cresselia is forced to use Calm Mind over and over as we slowly Surf it to death. After the third Full Restore on Cresselia (the 4th total in the battle), justice is served.


Now for the big guns. The 1010 BST Dark/Ghost Pokemon with a 200 BP STAB move.

Quick Claw activates and +6 Surf OHKOs.

We're done. It took casualties and Revives in battle, but it's over.

The plan going in was actually to stall out the Lugia's PP using Revives, hence the over 500 of them. Once we got past Mewtwo things were basically won, it was just a question of how long.

No, the dialogue here doesn't explain why we went to the hall of fame. It's all about setting up for the sequel.

The easier way to beat the league is to use Chlorophyll Stun Spore and a Destiny Bond Gengar paired with significant Revive abuse, but I'm content with how we did it.

The ending sequence shoves us into a wall for old time's sake.

The credits aren't really altered in any intentional sense.

It shows the edited areas though, including the World of Trees. Also some schmuck who wasn't even in this game.

Guess I might as well give my final thoughts on Dark Rising, though none of this should come as a surprise.

I do not like Dark Rising. It's got too many flaws that are all front and center for me to enjoy it in any way other than ironically. That said, there were points at which I was having something close to fun; there's some enjoyment to be derived from seeing absolutely ridiculous things like level 70 Kyurem-Alt ambushes or imaging the panic when the level curve approached the cap too early. However, from an objective standpoint and looking back on the playthrough it's easy to say that Dark Rising is a bad romhack.

There's a lot of places where Dark Rising falls apart. The way it's scripted is horrific, stuff like the respawning major battles, the respawning items like the Lift Key, the legendary Pokemon who stick around and can be refought after capture, moments where the text glitches out and tries to fit several lines of dialogue onto a single line of text, all of these smack of poor code. I can forgive this to an extent since this was an early project of the developers, but it's something that reeks of not doing enough playtesting. Alongside being tedious or breaking the 'balance' of the game, it also helps destroy any suspension of disbelief. You also have particularly unpleasant glitches like the game freezes when talking to a ghost Red, being spotted by a trainer, or when stepping in the tiles beside the exit to the lab. A special mention goes to when Kyogre turned into a gamebreaking bad egg for reasons I still don't understand, as well as the over 30 bag eggs I found scattered around the PC.

It's beyond just poor coding but it's the design decisions that really hurt Dark Rising, both balance and otherwise. The many ambushes with battles that are jacking up the level curve is just the tip of the iceberg. There's the abrupt legendary Pokemon spam. There's the absolutely huge number of rivals and battles with said rivals to the point where making it to the next town with only one major battle was a shock. It's made clear very early on Pokemon balance wasn't being considered carefully, what with the Drought Vulpix with Overheat and buyable Fire Stones right at the first gym. Even earlier than that honestly, considering that Dratini is nigh unusable and the game all but expects the player to get to level 12+ before they obtain Pokeballs. That brings us to the level curve. I could type a whole page about Dark Rising's level curve but christ it's just a mess. A particularly memorable moment for me is when the gym leader who had an ace at level 70 gave the player a badge that caused traded Pokemon up to level 50 to obey. Then there's the fakemons, both the full blown ones and the fake Pokemon like PIKACHU!!!. Giving opponents 600+ BST Pokemon with Wonder Guard is not good difficulty. Neither is 1010 BST Pokemon with a 200 BP STAB. It's trying to make things unfair for the player in order to overcome the inherent advantages given by items and the player generally being smarter than the AI. It's not well done and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth after overcoming these sorts of obstacles, not any kind of triumph.

One last thing to mention before I cut myself off is the plot. The game tries to advertise itself as having a "brand new deep storyline involving many characters with actual emotions compelling them to move foward [sic]" and it does not live up to that. Aside from the game being essentially a straight line (and the game made a straight line out of Kanto which is almost impressive despite how it annihilated the Fly map), the characters are constantly acting in an unmotivated, nonsensical manner. The largest example of this is of course the protagonist's sympathy for a character with the depth of a teaspoon if said teaspoon was filled with concentrated sociopathy. There's also the cliched Darugis whose name is mentioned far too often, the characters who decide that it's worthwhile to side with basically Satan in this universe, and the obviously evil characters. I called it a fanfic level plot, and that's what it is, a poor fanfic.

There are a limited number of things that Dark Rising does well that I feel alright praising it for. The limited required spots for HMs is the largest one, with only Strength and Surf being strictly necessary (though Fly is all but required). The first real Strength gate being so far away from the last PC isn't good though. It also does a lot with mon variety, there's many potential options. Unfortunately, a limited number of them are capable of competing with the stupidity that endgame contains. Most of the things I found enjoyable though were ultimately poor decisions from a balance standpoint - Intimidate Archeops is hilarious, as is 100% flinch Zen Headbutt, but those are both incredibly broken.

Dark Rising is not my least favorite romhack, but it's definitely down there. I would not recommend playing it to people since the faults overshadow the enjoyment by far too much for me to say I had fun playing the game. There's many better romhacks available, a statement that I'm sure Pikachu, lord of shadow, would agree with.

Since there's no postgame, this really is

Well, how about one more glitch for the road?

I now get to see Derp Rising in all its "glory" and why it's so bad. I don't know if it's good for me to say this, but thank you Merritt for suffering through this hack to show how bad it is. May others here know not to deal with this shitty hack in the future. And also, thank you for the entertainment. Twas funny seeing some of the broken ass shit in this mess of a hack.

Hopefully my hack will turn out pretty decent, if not good. I don't think it'll be as much of a mess as this one. Now me and Giratina93 have to finish it and finish playtesting it........
After all the dumping you did on this, if this isn't your least-favorite ROMhack I'm a bit afraid to know what is (both the content and your opinion thereof)
Congrats on finishing this! Yeah the poor coding and programming might be because iirc the creator said that only she and another person had been working with the creation of the original dark rising aka this game; all of the future dark rising games have had actual dev teams behind them. Still, this doesn`t excuse these ridiculous bst legendaries as aces (although in their defense, this was probably done due to a lack of ev traning, also turner`s legendaries in the final battle in pkmn vega also have absurd bst because of this) nor the respawning major battles which is just absurd/silly and a complete waste of time/patience. With that said, `legendaries that don`t disappear after being fought until you either run away from them or KO them` is actually something that is present in a lot of gba pkmn romhacks, not just this one; particularly when those legendaries have the sprites of a deoxys triangle in the overworld. Also somewhat dissapointed you didn`t showcase shadow lugia using a move with psycho boost`s animation to OHKO freaking EVERYTHING except ttar and some other fat dark types, but I guess it was for the best.

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