Let's Play! Pokemon Engrish Emerald - What Do? COMPLETE

Introduction

Years ago, when I was a stupid child who didn't realise that Ebay sellers don't always tell the truth, I unwittingly made one of the greatest purchases ever.

Let me set the scene. Pokemon Emerald had only just come out in Japan, and we in the West were hooked on sites like Serebii, Psypoke, and PKMN.net for information about all the new and exciting features contained within. Today's cossetted children, with their simultaneous worldwide releases, just don't understand the pain us English-speaking Pokemon fans used to have to go through - while Emerald was released in Japan in September 2004, it didn't come out in English until May 2005 - and that was only in the USA. If, like me, you were in Europe, it didn't arrive until October. More than a whole year later.

But, ever the impatient type, I was determined to beat the odds. Christmas was incoming; I looked on Ebay and saw someone advertising an English copy of Pokemon Emerald.

"How can this be?" I thought. "Did they break into a warehouse and steal it? Did they just translate it themselves?" Well... kind of.

Enter... Pokemon Chinese Emerald. Also variously known as Vietnamese Emerald or, perhaps more accurately, Engrish Emerald.
A bootleg copy which someone (very, very badly) transliterated before there was an official English release.

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In addition to being a spectacularly poor English translation with bizarrely-named characters and locations, Pokemon Engrish Emerald also appears to have been made from an earlier development version than the finished game. There are numerous minor glitches that point to it being unfinished: the jingle that plays when registering a trainer in the PokeNav cuts off if a button is pressed, Carvanha's sprite is glitched, and the Vigoroth at the start of the game still make Machoke noises.

Despite this, however, it still plays like an ordinary copy of Pokemon Emerald in most respects. It is not recognised by the DS or Gamecube games as a real game, but is capable of trading with the legit versions. However, the save data is pretty unstable (as with any game that displays the "the save file will be loaded" message) and has a tendency to delete itself when rebooted.

But the most notable aspect of this game is, of course, the text and dialogue. It's a pretty sloppy translation, in which a lot of the dialogue from NPCs borders on gibberish and, in stark contrast to the mainline Pokemon games, occasionally strays into profanity. Despite this, unlike in Vietnamese Crystal, there is a surprising amount of consistency and you can just about follow what most of the important characters in the story are saying (to the point where, if you'd never played Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald before, you could probably just about manage to get by).

None of the characters or locations retain their standard English names, even though Ruby and Sapphire had long since been out in English when this was first made. Littleroot Town is "Tianyuan Town" and Slateport City is "Ka Yi City", while Rustboro is "Old Water", "Gold Water", or "Kingshui" depending on who you talk to. Petalburg Woods is rather simply called "The Forest", while Mt Chimney is "The Hill", and the Safari Zone is "The Eden". Mt Pyre is "Sunset Mountain". Sootopolis City is my absolute favourite, as it's called "Double Deers". All gyms are referred to as "Training Fields" and all land routes are known as "Roads" while sea routes are referred to as "Canals".

Much as in the Japanese games, names of Pokemon and characters can only be 5 letters long, though some NPCs have names that break this rule. Many of them have names that sound vaguely Chinese. Professor Birch is "Dr Odd" (or "Aode" in some instances), May is "Chunzi" (though referred to as Chuzi in-battle), Wally is "Daofu", Maxie is "Songbu" and Archie is "Qingbu".

As for the Pokemon themselves, they're referred to as "mons" or "the pocket mon" singularly. Due to the character limit, most of them have simplistic and descriptive names:
  • Treecko is "Frog", Grovyle is "BFrog", and Sceptile is "0Frog"
  • Torchic and Combusken are both called "Fbird", presumably meaning "fire bird", while Mudkip is "WMon", presumably meaning "water mon".
  • Taillow is "TSwlw", presumably meaning "Tiny Swallow", while Swellow is "BSwlw", presumably meaning "Big Swallow".
  • Skitty is "Sqrel", Nincada is "Earth", Zigzagoon is "Erat" while Marill is "Wrrat" (presumably earth rat and water rat) and Magikarp is "CarpK" (Carp King, I'm guessing). Mew is "Illus", presumably short for "Illusion".
  • Some unrelated Pokemon share names, too: Geodude and Aerodactyl are both "Stone".
  • Some names are much more abstract: Numel is "Niqi", Tentacool is " CnAca", Slakoth is "VGMon" (very good mon?). Latias is "Bupi" and Latios is "Xigqi".

Anyway, that's enough of that. Let's get to what we're all here for - the playthrough.

I tend to play with a vague idea of what I want to use so this won't be a Nuzlocke challenge; however, I'm open to taking suggestions for rules to make the experience a little more fun if people can propose some good ones. Otherwise, it'll just be a bog-standard Let's Play. I can only apologise for the poor quality of the photos from here on out, as I'm using my phone camera.

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Part One - The Journey Begins

I start up the game and meet Professor Birch - sorry, I mean Dr Odd. It's going to be fun remembering to call everyone by their new names. After telling me a bit about himself, he prompts "Boy? Or girl?" Well, he's nothing if not direct. I choose to play as a girl, and Dr Odd barks "Name!" at me like I've just started some ultra-strict military academy. I think for a moment before giving myself the rather quirky-sounding name of Chizz.

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I zoom down into the game world and am transported to the back of the moving truck where, upon hopping out, mother (referred to hereafter as Ma) informs me we've made it to Tianyuan Town, where I, lucky child that I am, get to have my own room! Makes you wonder what their previous house in Johto was like. Probably a one-room hovel like most houses in the Pokemon world seem to be.

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After saying hello to a pair of Vigoroth who sound oddly like Machoke, setting the clock, finding a spare Potion lying around in my PC, and narrowly missing seeing my Pa on the TV, I get to know the neighbours. They seem nice enough, although their son Yuki is incredibly abrupt.

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Oh, well. Maybe I just got a bad first impression.

I decide to explore my new hometown some more. The nearby Pokemon lab is empty except for one lonely worker, so I head out north but quickly am stopped by a concerned child.

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Turns out it's not just "like" help, it is "help"! After venturing onto Road 101, I'm alarmed to see a man being chased by what appears to be a small brown raccoon. Of course, it's a Zigzagoon. Or as this game calls it, an Erat. I never got why Emerald made this change, Zigzagoon is about 50 times less threatening than Poochyena. It just makes Professor Birch look like even more of a massive wimp than before (and doesn't he have any Pokemon of his own on hand...?)

Anyway, that's not important. What's important is that I'm a big damn hero. So I promptly step up and choose my first Pokemon to defend him with.

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I decide to go for Mudkip because reasons. There's not really an optimal starter choice in the Hoenn games imo; Torchic struggles a bit against Roxanne but beyond that they're all fairly decent. If you take Team Magma and Aqua into account, Mudkip is probably the best choice in Ruby while Treecko is probably the best choice in Sapphire. But I'm just going with who I haven't used recently.

Oh hey, it's a female! Nice.

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I swiftly despatch this menacing Erat using Bump, this reality's name for Tackle.

Back at the lab, Dr Odd tells me I can keep the Mon as a thanks for saving him, and asks if I'd like to nickname it. Given that WMon is a hugely uninspiring name, I choose yes. Stumped for a decent nickname, I decide to go for a nice non-controversial theme and name all of my team members after British political parties. Since Mudkip is blue, it naturally follows that she should be called Tory.

Dr Odd tells me he's going to visit his son, Yuki, and asks if I'd like to come with him. Despite me saying yes, he remains in the lab as I head out. I'm expecting many more miscommunications of this nature to come.

I wander up through Road 101, encountering a new Pokemon on the way: the curious red BRbug (Wurmple) before reaching Dao Ji Town, a slightly larger settlement which is home to a big building with a red roof - "the center of the mon". No, really, that's what its called. There's nothing else of particular interest here except from a nerd who won't let me leave and a man who excitedly informs me he's the clerk of the store with the notable blue roof, and gives me another Potion, which the game rather generically dubs "medicine".

Out on Road 103 I encounter a PIdog (Poochyena) and Sgull (Wingull, shockingly). Battling a couple of them lets Tory grow to level 7, learning a strange new move in the process: Conf. What could this possibly do? Well, funnily enough, it doesn't confuse the foe, so I've no idea why it's called that instead of something more logical like Sweep or Fling. But fair enough.

Yuki is up at the top end, standing aimlessly in a patch of grass, so I go over and say a friendly hello. He instantly demands a battle, which I feel is quite forward, but as I'm given literally no option but to accept I shrug and go with it. He sends out Frog, a green lizard-like Pokemon. It goes down within a couple of hits. Not one to let this get him down, Yuki proclaims "so, go back to institute!" which I decipher to mean he intends to return to the lab. I follow him back to Tianyuan.

Inside, without so much as a hello, Dr Odd tells me to take the Mon Map to facilitate my research efforts! Perplexed, I take the Mon Map. It seems that it's some sort of listing which will add Mons when I encounter them. Interesting. Yuki kindly gives me five mon balls, telling me that if I meet "lovely mons", I should use the balls to catch them. Righto, gotcha. I resolve to catch lots of mons. But only the lovely ones.

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Oh, okay. I guess I'm dismissed.

Outside, Ma stops me and asks if I want "to be an adventure". Um... come again?

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She then strips me naked without warning.

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The people in this universe really need to take some lessons in consent.

Still, her assault had a silver lining: new shoes, with which I can run. Someone should really think of a catchy name for that.

I run north to Dao Ji Town and buy some extra mon balls. Something tells me I'll need them. I buy 10, and get given a freebie: the B Ball, which is entirely white rather than half red. Cool! The nerdy boy who was blocking the way west has wandered off so I proceed to Road 102 unimpeded. This route is full of interesting mons - a leafy blue and green creature known as Dmon, and a mysterious little white thing known as Perce. It seems rather weak, but the Mon Map has this tantalising insight to offer:

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It's not long before I'm challenged to do battle by a small child - the brilliantly-named Heshu of PantsChild! It seems that all trainers in this game follow the style "[name] of [trainer class]". Very formal, I'm sure. He only has a weak PIdog, which I see off with ease. I'm also spotted shortly after by a young girl, whose name turns out to be Qiaji of MiniSkirt. Interesting. Are all the trainers in this region grouped by the clothes they wear? If so, I'm not sure the miniskirt would be the band to which I'd ally myself.

There also appear to be some plants growing in this area. The orange tree has something called an OrFrt growing on it (sounds tasty) while the green tree contains the terrifying-sounding PSNFrt! I take both and store them in my bag, hoping they'll come in useful later on.

All the catching and battling has left my team somewhat ragged, so I head for the bright lights in the distance - the city of Tianyuan. Wait, wasn't my hometown called that? Ah, I see. My hometown was Tianyuan Town. This is Tianyuan City. Ironic, since Google informs me that Tianyuan means "rural" in Chinese. So this is a rural city.

A woman is pacing around outside this city's center of the mon. Something about her screams "worried", so I approach her and see if she's alright.

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But...? Oh okay, you're just going to leave me hanging. Fair enough.

To the west, I can hear the cries of gulls and the gentle sound of the waves - it seems like we're near a beach! Excited to go paddling, I make for the city's western exit, but some busybody gets in my way and informs me that "when trainers arrive at a new place, their first job is to check out the training field!" But I haven't even said I want to be a trainer, you fruitloop. Regardless, he marches me over to the big building in the north of the city, and informs me that this is Tianyuan's training field, and that I should go in once everything is neat. I get the impression he's not going to leave me be until I go in, so I dutifully make sure my hair's lying flat and my collar's straight before I make my way inside.

Current team:
Tory the Mudkip - Level 9
Perce the Ralts - Level 4
BRbug the Wurmple - Level 4
PIdog the Poochyena - Level 3

Stay tuned for part 2, coming soon.
 

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qtrx

cadaeic
is a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
Reading this brings back a lot of memories as the original Chinese version of this Engrish Emerald is what I grew up with. Granted it was not nearly as broken/garbled without the additional layer of English translation.

I like how some of the Pokemon names here, albeit truncated, are still somewhat intelligible. Though if you haven't figured out "Perce" is short for "perception" because that's what the bootlegging translators decided to name Ralts in Chinese. They were entirely correct in rendering Lass as "miniskirt" though (also the reason why the infamous "I like shorts" quote isn't that weird originally).
 
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Very interesting. I remember this game, because I also have (or had) a copy of it! Not sure if I still have it laying around somewhere, chances are I donated it to a second-hand store last year, don't remember exactly. Either way, I bought it on an online site similar to Ebay back when I was 14, thinking it was legit. This was at some point during Spring 2005, roughly half a year before Emerald was released in Europe and possibly even before it was out in the US. I was very disappointed when I got the game and realized that it was "fake", but I still played through it. My motivation wasn't very high and I was on a mini-burnout on Pokémon at the time, so my playthrough took a while. I remember that I didn't complete it until at some point during the summer. I have several memories from the game, some good, but most of them are unfortunately bad.

But this isn't about my experience with the game, so I'll stop here (unless someone wants me to share more of my memories from it). I usually don't follow the Let's Play threads here on OI in super-deep detail, but I think I'll follow this one just because I want to see how this goes. I also want to see if reading through a playthrough of this game will make me remember more things from the game than what I can remember right now.

However, I really feel that I need to tell you about one thing. Bewere, as it is about a potential "spoiler" for the endgame (lol). green_typhlosion, I don't know if you are aware of this since I don't know if you have beaten the game in the past, but I felt that I really had to tell you this in case you don't know about it. Back when I played the game, I remember that after I had beaten the main game, my save file automatically deleted itself. I tried to get it back, but there was no way to do so. I guess this happens for all cartridges of this game, unfortunately. I don't know what your plans for this Let's Play are, but I felt that I should tell you this. Though if you are only planning to go through the main game, this should have no impact on it.
 

qtrx

cadaeic
is a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
Very interesting. I remember this game, because I also have (or had) a copy of it! Not sure if I still have it laying around somewhere, chances are I donated it to a second-hand store last year, don't remember exactly. Either way, I bought it on an online site similar to Ebay back when I was 14, thinking it was legit. This was at some point during Spring 2005, roughly half a year before Emerald was released in Europe and possibly even before it was out in the US. I was very disappointed when I got the game and realized that it was "fake", but I still played through it. My motivation wasn't very high and I was on a mini-burnout on Pokémon at the time, so my playthrough took a while. I remember that I didn't complete it until at some point during the summer. I have several memories from the game, some good, but most of them are unfortunately bad.

But this isn't about my experience with the game, so I'll stop here (unless someone wants me to share more of my memories from it). I usually don't follow the Let's Play threads here on OI in super-deep detail, but I think I'll follow this one just because I want to see how this goes. I also want to see if reading through a playthrough of this game will make me remember more things from the game than what I can remember right now.

However, I really feel that I need to tell you about one thing. Bewere, as it is about a potential "spoiler" for the endgame (lol). green_typhlosion, I don't know if you are aware of this since I don't know if you have beaten the game in the past, but I felt that I really had to tell you this in case you don't know about it. Back when I played the game, I remember that after I had beaten the main game, my save file automatically deleted itself. I tried to get it back, but there was no way to do so. I guess this happens for all cartridges of this game, unfortunately. I don't know what your plans for this Let's Play are, but I felt that I should tell you this. Though if you are only planning to go through the main game, this should have no impact on it.
Oh god I didn't want to be reminded, that save corruption bug was so very soul-crushing back in the days :blobsad:

Apparently it happens because the game tries to access the both the current and backup files during the Hall of Fame save, but the bootlegged cart only comes with 64k flash memory (instead of 128k) and consequently doesn't support backups. iirc you could power off as soon as the "SAVING..." prompt appears and the save data might be saved. But even after that the game softlocks when you meet Scott aboard S.S. Tidal. :blobthinking:
 
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Part Two - Four New Team Members

I enter the gym ran by my erstwhile Pa, to find him waiting for me in the lobby. I was certain my Pa's name was Norman, but everyone keeps calling him Shengli. Potato, potahto.

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I think you mean "want to be a trainer like me", but sure, why not. If enough people keep saying I'm a trainer, I guess I must be one.

Suddenly a boy I've never met bursts in and demands a Mon.

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My Pa seems to recognise him and addresses him as Daofu. He promptly hands over a Needle Rat, which turns out to be another name for Erat. Daofu heads outside, but demands I come with him, and walks into the grass on Road 102 where he finds a Perce and quickly catches it.

Back at the training field, Daofu thanks my Pa for his help and swiftly leaves. Well, that was abrupt. He seems like a nice young man. Probably won't see much of him from now on. Pa turns his attention back to me and informs me that to be a trainer, I must go to a place called Kingshui and battle with Fengshi, the head of the training field there. Well, that seems simple enough.

On my way out of the city, I get stopped by a mysterious man in sunglasses, who seems awfully interested in whether my coat is dirty.

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Okay, firstly, I'm a girl. How dare you misgender me. Secondly, I've only just become a trainer. Now you want me to be a model as well?!

The fashion scout informs me he has no time before heading off. I don't know, this place is crawling with weirdos. Ah, well. I head out to the beach to relax.

After enjoying the sand for a while, I head north into the location ominously known as "The Forest." What delights lurk inside, I wonder? Well, for starters, there's a cute little mushroom Pokemon known as "Fmon". I decide to add one to my team and continue my theme of British political party nicknames by calling it LibDm. Also awaiting me are a cute bird Pokemon by the name of TSwlw and some cocoons called SMBug.

A man dressed entirely inappropriately for the woods is dawdling on the path up ahead. When he spots me, he asks if I've caught the Fruit Mon, which I surmise is what FMon is short for. But our friendly meeting is cut short when an aggressive and oddly-garbed man appears and starts yelling.

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Oh. Um. Should I... maybe leave you two alone, or...?

The man in the green suit seems even more alarmed than me, and hurriedly hides behind me. What, so I'm a human shield now? He asks if I'm a trainer, and since I guess I am, I engage the alarming blue man in battle. His name is revealed to be Xiaoz of the Water BR. A little weird. I swiftly knock out his PIdog and send him on his way, but not before he mentions that he has plans in Kingshui. Wait, isn't that where I'm going? Oh no, I sense that this might not be the last I see of him.

The green-suited man exclaims that the blue man has plans in Kingshui. Yes, thanks, I heard him too. He then scurries off after him, but not before giving me a Super Ball. Cool!

I make my way to the exit of the woods, battling with a couple of aptly-named Insect Boys on the way. Sadly they're just boys who train insects, not half-human, half-insect boys. That would have been cooler. Once I emerge, I'm met by a boy who tells me I need to learn the technique of ejecting seeds. I don't know that I need to, but sure, thanks. I also pick up an item called Valid. Don't worry, all items are valid to me.

After battling with a pair of twins, I make my way into Old Water, which seems to be alternative name for Kingshui. It's full of grand old stone buildings and inhabited by contemplative, philosophical people.

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I wish I knew, dear fellow.

Investigating into one of the houses, I meet a young lad who asks if I want to exchange Perce for his Smon. Sure, why not? Using traded mons is always fun. I'm interested what the inhabitants of this world might nickname their mons, and to my surprise, his traded Smon has the curious name of -tT. Each to their own, I suppose. After looking in on the school and a few more of the houses, I decide it's time to visit the training field as my Pa recommended. It seems that Fengshi and her disciples use Rock-types. Well, with my Water-type starter and my two Grass-types, I naturally steamroller her. She gifts me TM39, and the very neat-sounding Dragon Stone Medal!

There's little time to enjoy my victory, though. After walking outside I hear a yell. Oh no, it's the shouty blue man from the woods. And the green-suited chap too.

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Increasingly convinced that these two are in some sort of weird abusive relationship. I chase after the green-suited man who tells me, without so much as a "hello", to reclaim the baggage. Very well. I follow Xiaoz of Water BR to a cave east of Road 116 full of big-eared Pokemon known only as Qiqi. He continues to be incredibly aggressive.

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I give him a second trouncing and recover the much-vaunted baggage. An old man by the name of Kiye comes rushing in to save the Sgull Xiaoz stole. He informs me he lives in a cottage near Tianyuan Forest and... that's it. Not "come visit" or anything. Just... I live in a cottage. Make of that what you will.

The green-suited man rushes me up to his boss's office where I hand over the parts. The boss introduces himself as the president of the company, and gives me a reward: the main menu. Yes, apparently you have to get the first badge to unlock the main menu. A strange design choice. He also gives me a letter and asks if I can deliver it to a person known as Daihou, who lives in a place called Shanmu Town across the sea, as well as some parts which he wants me to take to a yard in Ka Yi City.

With that in hand, I attempt to leave the city, only to be stopped by Yuki, who insists on registering himself in my main menu. Um, sure. He then demands a battle, revealing that he's caught an Sgull of his own to go with his Frog. (Side note: if you choose Torchic, he has a Torkoal in this battle, rather than the Slugma he's meant to have. I wonder if that was changed in the finished game since Torkoal is pretty beefy for this stage of the game - for reference, it has a BST of 470, whereas Roxanne's Nosepass is far behind at 375. Even Marshtomp only has a BST of 405.)

After beating him, I travel back through The Forest and find Kiye chasing his beloved Beek around the house. Though I'm loath to interrupt, he offers to take me across the sea to Shanmu Town. Thanks bro, that'd be helpful. We set off and arrive barely a minute later. For a crusty old man, he's sure got one hi-tech boat.

Shanmu Town seems nice. It's full of charming seaside cottages, a centre of the mon, and even a training field! Plus, the people are friendly. A young lad gives me a Xik Scarf, which I'm told "boosts the Normal skill". Cool. I meet another young lad outside the village hall.

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Oh so you're a basic bitch? I can relate.

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Oh. Um... no. No, I haven't. Oh well, guess we're not so great a match after all.

I decide to explore a bit before I tackle the training field, and head north to what is apparently a very dangerous beach.

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Inside the cave I find some cool new Pokemon, including the pudgy Fighting-type Bbear, the metal dinosaur Tiny, and the flighty Psychic-type Kathy (amusingly named for one of my favourite comedians). Though Tiny is a very cute name, intuition tells me it won't stay tiny for very long, so I continue my nickname theme by calling it Labor. The American spelling rankles me but what else can you do with the five-letter limit. It takes me a couple of resets to nab a Kathy with my Super Ball, but I finally get one and give it the name UKIP.

Finally I make it to the end of the cave and stumble on Daihou! He seems like a decent sort, but doesn't stick around to chat. Also apparently he doesn't live around these parts, so it seems like the President just flat-out lied to me.

Looks like it's time to take on Shanmu Town's training field!


Current team
Tory the Mudkip - Level 14
-tT the Seedot - Level 13
LibDm the Shroomish - Level 14
Labor the Aron - Level 11
UKIP the Abra - Level 8
 
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However, I really feel that I need to tell you about one thing. Bewere, as it is about a potential "spoiler" for the endgame (lol). green_typhlosion, I don't know if you are aware of this since I don't know if you have beaten the game in the past, but I felt that I really had to tell you this in case you don't know about it. Back when I played the game, I remember that after I had beaten the main game, my save file automatically deleted itself. I tried to get it back, but there was no way to do so. I guess this happens for all cartridges of this game, unfortunately. I don't know what your plans for this Let's Play are, but I felt that I should tell you this. Though if you are only planning to go through the main game, this should have no impact on it.
Don't worry, I've had this game for many years and have completed it before - well aware of the unstable save data. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. It's currently in the lap of the gods whether my save data will survive intact, but I guess we'll find out!

As qtrx mentioned, the game softlocks when aboard the SS Tidal so you can't ordinarily access the Battle Frontier; however, cheating devices can be used to warp you there. Unfortunately I don't have anything of that nature but emulators can probably accomplish this quite easily.
 
Part Three - Bad Manners for Bad Boys

After exiting the cave, I make my way to the Shanmu training field, blundering my way through the darkness to battle with many trainers, all of whom use the pudgy Sbear, the yogic TKMon, and the muscular Brawn. Eventually I make it to the back room where Guitai, the head of the training field, awaits. I don't know much about this fella, so I expect he'll tell me all about himself.

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Never mind.

Despite not being very forthcoming, he turns out to be ferociously tough and utterly flattens my poor team. So I decide to do a little backtracking and toughen up my squad. There was a trainer on the beach I missed so I start there, but he foxes me with a disarming question.

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Well, functioning genitals and toilet paper, I'd say, but I'm no expert.

I do a bit of grinding in The Forest and on Road 116 too. Despite my intuition that UKIP and Labor will be very powerful some day, for now they need some babying, especially since Labor, being hugely weak to Fighting-types, will be of minimal use in Shanmu. -tT has grown dramatically and even evolved into Bmon, but unfortunately, due to being a traded mon, has started to become unruly and disobey. But it's not going to be particularly useful in my rematch against Guitai so I can afford to neglect it a bit for now.

Also, LibDM learns a new move which is bound to come in useful: a Grass-type attack which steadily drains away the HP of the opponent every turn.

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...oh god, no. No no no. Absolutely not.

I also make a quick detour to Ka Yi, our next destination, as there's an item I'd like to pick up - the Soft Sand. What? Yes, it's called the Soft Sand in this game too. Of all the things to be translated perfectly. I guess there were no appropriate synonyms for "soft" or "sand" that could be used instead.

While on Ka Yi beach, I hear rumours of an ancient prophecy.

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Never one to try and avert the hand of fate, I duly visit her Pa's store, where three trainers challenge me. In the ensuing ruckus, Tory evolves into Gmon and learns Force, a strong new Ground-type attack which reduces the opponent's Speed! I'm rewarded with six Pop for my efforts. Another pretty accurate translation, there.

Feeling suitably beefed up, I return to Shanmu and challenge Guitai again. This time, Tory manages to dispatch his first two mons very quickly, before falling to his Bbear. However, copious usage of Force has slowed it down to the point that all of my team outspeed it with ease, and Labor surprises me by getting the win. Hurrah! Guitai rewards me with the hilariously-named Nike Medal. Well, that's fitting for a sporty Fighting-type trainer I guess. With my shiny new medal making my shirt look pretty, I leave the island of Shanmu behind and head out for the bustling port of Ka Yi.

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Dude, I know.

(Side note: didn't get a screenshot, but when a Pokemon in this game uses Detect - or Eye, as it's called here - the game describes it as "[Pokemon] come into the eyeshot of defence!" which is just wonderful-sounding. Reckon that'd make a pretty kickass title for a Gym Leader in a future game.)

We arrive and I head up from the beach into the big city, pausing to pick up a Het Scale (yes, that's not a typo, that actually is its name. It is a scale intended solely for hetero people) on the way. I'm sure that'll be useful later.

There's so much to see in the city - a thriving market, a colourful tent up in the northwest, and a marine-themed museum! Oh, hang on. Looks like there's a bunch of people dressed in the same blue uniforms as that unpleasant man from earlier lined up outside. Having no desire to have more abuse hurled at me, I steer clear of that gang. Keep your nose clean, etc.

Sightseeing is fun, but I'm on an errand. So I head up to the shipyard to see about delivering that baggage I was entrusted with. However, the fella working in the shipyard, Nanmu, is no help at all, and doesn't even tell me where I'm supposed to go. Luckily I have a sense of intuition which tells me I'll have to go to the museum. Ugh.

Inside, as expected, it's absolutely crawling with those obnoxious blue-garbed men. And wouldn't you know, the first one I speak to happens to be the one I met earlier! He cries "forgive me!" and hands over a TM. Ah, that's kind. Maybe I misjudged you and you're not such a bad fella after all.

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Oh wow, okay. My mistake. Seems like you're still the same foul-mouthed jerk as always. He runs off, and I sincerely hope that's the last I see of him.

I head upstairs and find a science guy admiring a model of a ship. He tells me that his name... is also Nanmu. Huh, interesting. Anyway, we don't have long to chat, as two blue guys burst in and demand that Nanmu hand over the baggage I was just about to hand him! Being the bold hero that I am, I step up to defend him. The first assailant sends out a horrifically deformed fish called Biya.

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(God, but that is absolutely hideous. As far as I've seen, Carvanha is the only species to have a sprite deformity like that. Why that's the case, I've no idea.)

Anyway, I beat them back with little effort. But before I can savour my victory, a man enters. I can tell from the way he effortlessly brushes aside one of the blue men that he's the big cheese around here.

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And on that enigmatic note, he departs. Nanmu thanks me for bringing him the parts, then leaves. I decide I'm done with this place and head off as well.

On my way out I'm stopped by that strange sunglasses-wearing man I encountered way back in Tianyuan City. He acknowledges that we have met before, and formally introduces himself as Jinhua. After learning that it was I who defeated the water fight group, he decides I'm worthy enough of registering on the main menu. Sure, why not. I've given this number out to all sorts of freaks, might as well include you too.

Jinhua then heads off, but I bump into him moments later when I try to access the brightly-coloured tent in the northwest of the city. He enigmatically declares "challenge for the super-challenge!" and walks away. Yes, sure.

I investigate inside the tent, where the assistant proclaims it to be "the tent of big challenge". Seems like fun, but I've got stuff to do. Maybe later. A nice man randomly gives me a TM, though, proclaiming it to be attractive. I think he might have it confused with another one. You know, the one that actually attracts. Oh, what's its name again...? It's on the tip of my tongue.

Never mind. I take another look around the city. There's surprisingly little to buy in the market and there are no ships in the harbour, so I figure I might as well head on out. I'm sure I'll be back before long, though.

Next time: we bump into a few familiar faces and aim to get our third medal! Check back soon for the next pulse-pounding installment.
 

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Part Four - All Around Me Are Familiar Faces

I finish up with Ka Yi and decide to head out onto to Road 110. As I make my way northwards I run into Dr Odd! He burbles some total gibberish at me before registering himself in my main menu. He then pauses before asking me one final question.

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Yes, Doctor...?

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Hell yeah, I'm cute as a button.

There's a couple of double battles in this route so I take the chance to get UKIP some experience since it still can't attack directly. My first bout is against a middle-aged duo who use two mons I haven't seen before: the near-identical rodent-like red Laslu and blue Maiyi. I've no idea what those names derive from. After a short bit of grinding, UKIP finally evolves into Yojla!

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There's also a strange house on this route. Entering yields the message "Whose eyes.." and a glint on the table in the centre of the room. When I investigate, a man appears and proclaims himself to be "the most mysterious man in the neighbourhood - the king of Gu Li!" He flies out through the ceiling and I investigate behind the door at the back to find a maze full of skinny trees. Interesting. But I don't have a mon that knows Ja Cut, as it's known here, so I leave.

Further up the road I see another familiar face - it's Yuki. Oh joy. With scarcely a word of introduction he launches straight into a battle. Typical.

I've historically always found this fight fairly brutal, but this time it goes fairly easily. Yuki has acquired a new mon - the lava slug SSNai, which falls to a couple of blows from UKIP. Up next is his Frog, which has evolved into a Bfrog! UKIP sees that off with ease, too. The same goes for his Sgull. God damn, this thing's a nuke.

Yuki accepts defeat gracefully, and gives me a parting gift in the form of a mysterious device known as... Device.


I head north, battling a few more trainers, and make it to the delightfully-named Silver Leaf City! There's a lot to see here. A bespectacled man in the first house I enter proclaims my mon to be strong and promptly hands over HM06, the "secret skill rock-broken". Nice. It's a pretty weak attack though so I'm not sure I'll be rushing to teach it to any of my team.

There's also a shop with a bunch of bicycles out front. Neat. Enquiring inside, I meet the owner, a snazzy fellow by the name of Shengren. He seems nice. Maybe a little too nice, because without any prompting he offers me a bike, for free! That's no way to stay in business. But I'm not one to turn down free stuff. He gives me a choice of two: the wind horse, or the shadao. Both sound like ancient Chinese spirits. I plump for the wind horse as it sounds like it'll be a speedy choice of mount. Fengren hands it over, and tells me to find him whenever I want to change. Change my ways? Oh right, the bikes. Got you.

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A boy near the training field asks if my mon learn how to turn. I... think you forgot some words there, fella. But eventually I discern that he's offering to teach one of my Pokemon a new move. Hmm... maybe later. I think I just spotted someone I know!

I'm right. Standing in front of the training field's front door is Daofu. You know, that scared-looking boy from earlier who rather rudely demanded my Pa give him a mon. There's a man with him, too, who identifies himself as Ncle. It seems like they aren't going to budge, and I'd quite like to go in and get my third medal.

Daofu recognises me, and asks if I'll fight him. Well, if I must. I'm all ready to punch his lights out before I remember we need to use our mons.

He sends out the Perce he caught when I last saw him, which has grown a fair bit since then. Unfortunately it's still not very powerful, and I swiftly defeat him. Dejected, Daofu thanks me and declares me to be a real trainer. Ncle tells him not to be upset, and that he'll be strong someday. Sure! The two of them leave, but Ncle turns back and asking me to take a trip to Xida, which apparently is where he lives.

Just when I think the whole affair's over, Jinhua appears from a flashy building across the street! God, it's like Friends Reunited around here. In that most of these people aren't my friends and just happen to be people I met in my hometown a while ago. He asks if that young man was called Daofu and walks away. Um... okay, bye then.

Some time later, Daofu calls me out of nowhere on the main menu. How did he get my number? Honestly, the little creep.

I decide to do a bit more grinding before I challenge the training field. The nearby Road 117 is crawling with trainers, many of whom have colourful and interesting views about the world.

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Insect bedlamite sounds like the Pokedex category for a new legendary and I am here for it.

I also encounter a Wrrat in the grass and catch it. I'm pretty satisfied with the five team members I currently have, but I think I'll need an HM slave, and Wrrat is a particularly good mon for that. It needs a name, though. After a moment's thought, I round out my selection of UK political party nicknames and dub it SNP.

My team are getting into good shape so I do a bit more training on Road 118, too.

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Huh, have you met the girl on Road 117? I feel like you two would really hit it off.

Finally, we're ready. Right - to the training field we go, then.

Silver Leaf's training field is a wacky little room full of jazzy electrified barriers. It looks intimidating, but I've faced down kings, presidents, and portaloos - it'll take more than this to scare me. I navigate my way through trainers who strangely don't use Electric mons and deactivate the barriers so I can find my way to the back, where Tiequ, the leader, awaits.

(Sidenote: Diamond & Pearl get a lot of flak for having gym trainers/leaders use Pokemon not of their type, but it happens a fair amount in this gen, too. There's a couple of trainers in the Lavaridge Gym who randomly use Kecleon and Meditite for no apparent reason. Very odd.)

Tory's strong Ground-type move leads me to suspect this battle won't be tricky, and I'm entirely right. Each of Tiequ's mons - the red-and-white ball Thuba, the canine ELmon, the magnet trio Sansi, and the bigger canine THmon*, are dispatched with the greatest of ease. Tiequ yields to me the Daqi medal and also TM34, Shock, which I teach to UKIP since the elemental punches aren't an option during the main game. Nice.

(*Electric mon and Thunder mon! Oh, I get it now. That's genuinely only just clicked.)

Well, where next? I could pay a visit to Xida Town and visit Daofu, but I don't want to spend any more time with that whiner. He looks kind of sickly, and we're in a pandemic, for god's sake.

Instead, I head north again, onto Road 111. To my surprise a large green tower has been installed where once there was nothing but blank mountainside! Puzzled, I enquire inside. The woman on the reception desk tells me that this is "the house of the trainers" which was a helpful bit of nothing. She stipulates that I must save the game before proceeding to the first floor, so I agree.

The first floor does, indeed, contain some trainers. I initiate a double battle only to find that the trainers here talk incomprehensibly. Er, more incomprehensibly than everyone else at least.

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They're like androids!
Each trainer has three Pokemon each, so I end up having to heal after each battle. I've never exactly been quite clear how this place works even in the Japanese versions (which this technically is) so I'm surprised to find that there are only two floors. Eventually I make it to the rooftop, where I'm met by a gentleman. He congratulates me on making it up here, and... that's it. Well, that was a colossal waste of time.

The way ahead is blocked by rocks, so I get my newest team member SNP to do the honours.

Up ahead is a vast desert in which I can spot some hardy-looking trainers. There's also an ancient-looking stone tower I'd like to check out, but unfortunately due to a raging sandstorm I can't go any further. Talk about health and safety gone mad. If I want to be torn to pieces by the weather, I shall, and no man or woman has the right to tell me otherwise.

Not to worry, though, as there's a nearby volcano to visit! Oh, but wait. Looks like I can't go here either. Two oddly-dressed men are blocking the way to the cable car. At first I think they're more of those insufferable blue men from earlier, but this lot are wearing red! Don't tell me there's two groups of these objectionable berks running around.

However, it would seem there's a tunnel going through the mountainside. If I want to proceed, it looks like that's the way to go. But we'll get around to that in the next installment. Be there or be square!

Current team
Tory the Marshtomp - Level 21
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 22
LibDm the Shroomish - Level 21
Labor the Aron - Level 21
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 21
SNP the Marill - Level 13
 

qtrx

cadaeic
is a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
Nice to see this part; I remember the Trick House being particularly garbled in the original as well. It fits the settings too, since the confusing text makes the Trick House even tricker, yknow. :blobthinking:

the near-identical rodent-like red Laslu and blue Maiyi. I've no idea what those names derive from
From Plusle and Minun, respectively (names are identical in Japanese).
 
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Nice to see this part; I remember the Trick House being particularly garbled in the original as well. It fits the settings too, since the confusing text makes the Trick House even tricker, yknow. :blobthinking:



From Plusle and Minun, respectively (names are identical in Japanese).
Plusle is Prasle in Japanese according to Bulbapedia. I suppose Laslu and Maiyi sound vaguely like romanisations...?

You're an absolute superstar when it comes to deciphering all the names, though. Please keep it up! So many of these seem so obvious when they're pointed out but when it comes to things like CnAca (Tentacool) or Xigqi (Latios) I'm stumped.
 
Part Five - Songbu, Qingmu, and all the freaks I never knew

I make my way through the shortcut called... Shortcut? Huh. Apparently "fiery path" was too difficult a concept to come up with a new name for, so this game just calls it "shortcut". Well, at least it's to the point. Though it's a short passage, I run into a couple of new mons: the immense fire turtle KUmon and the poisonous, skull-and-crossbones-adorned Gasbo.

We emerge on the north end of the inaccessible desert, knocking aside any foolish trainers who dare challenge us with ease. There's a house here too, containing a woman who very kindly heals my team, but then keeps asking if she can do it again, and again, and again, and again, and this is no less creepy than it would be if it were in perfect English.

Westwards we go, and end up in a forest where ash is constantly falling from the sky. This... would just straight-up kill you if you spent too long here, but hey, Pokemon logic. This area is full of strange bouncy panda-like mons called Qbear (quirky bear? Quizzical bear? Quixotic bear? Queer bear? Anything's possible) and an imposing metal bird known as Hbird (hard bird, I'm assuming. That one's easier).

After beating up a bunch more trainers, LibDm finally evolves!

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We come to the sleepy little village of Ha Ji, where not much of anything seems to be happening. In the shop, a little girl offers to teach one of my mons a new move by the curious name of Dong Zhi, which Google Translate tells me means... Toshiba? Hmm. Interesting. Metronome (as anyone who's played Emerald will know this to be) is a fun move, but only UKIP is capable of learning it, so I decide to pass.

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In the centre of the mon, I meet a lady with a name that's quite a mouthful. She invites me to her home for... reasons which she leaves unexplained. Creepy!

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Why can't we just talk here, where there are all these bright lights and people?

I poke around a bit more and end up at the house of a man named Dr Kongyiji. Only thing is, he isn't home. His assistant or maid or wife or friend or whatever she is tells me he's missing, because he went with the lava group. Finally, something plot-relevant!

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Isn't it lovely how so many of the location names in this game ended up being unexpectedly beautiful? "The shooting star waterfall" sounds like the kind of place you'd want to go on honeymoon.

Anyway, that's finally given us some direction, so it's off to Road 114. Ha Ji Town really was sublimely boring. If I ever need to come back here I'll do so with a heavy heart.

Road 114 might well be the weirdest place I've visited yet. It is absolutely crawling with freaks. From the house of a strange man who demands fossils...

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...to a PIdog which appears to be in horrific pain...

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...to a young woman whose deluded vanity has alienated all of her friends...

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Maybe hanging out in such a remote and quiet place has caused them all to go loopy. It certainly would for me.

Regardless, I finally make it to the shooting star waterfall. Ah, now this is nice. Smooth gray caverns, glittering cascades of deep blue water, and hardly a person in sight. This is so picturesque...

...oh, but wait. It's a bunch of those men in the garish red uniforms. Ugh. What are they doing here?

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Aerolites sounds like a crappy new soft drink that claims to increase your brain power or something stupid like that.
Suddenly they spot me. Oops.

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I'm reasonably confident I can take them but, before they can attack, someone shouts out from across the cavern.

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Oh no, it's the blue people. Ugh.

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I'm getting the impression this "Yantu Mountain" place might be important.
The lava group people exit stage right. I really love the way they run right over you.

Their leader decides he wants to chat. What was his name again?

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Ah yeah, Qingmu. That was it.

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You thought I was a member of the lava group? What on earth gave you that impression? I don't even own a Fire-type mon. What a dummy. So, naturally, he asks if I want to join the water fight group. Uh... that's a no, as well. I'm good, ta.

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Despite the fact that I can't recall anyone mentioning it by name, it would appear Yantu Mountain is the giant volcano we passed earlier on. Well, if more of those lava people are there, I'm happy to give the place a swerve.

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Umm, hold up. Are you forbidding me from going there? Well fuck, now I really want to go, just to spite you. How you feeling about THAT, Mr Qingmu?

Anyway, he and his goons depart in pursuit of the lava group (though with the amount of time they wasted talking to me, they'll be long gone). Now there's just one guy left, who turns out to be Dr Kongyiji! He mentions the Aerolite and seems dreadfully upset that it's been taken by the lava group. Yeah, nice to meet you and all, but I've got places to be. Bye.

I continue on through the cavern and find an exit at the southern end, which ends up connecting to Road 115 just north of Kingshui! It's nice to be back in a big city again. I head east to see if I can get back to Silver Leaf Town and find the hapless green-suited man from earlier waiting for me outside the cave. He recognises me and seems pleased.

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(In the English games he treats you to a great spiel about hailing you as a hero and showering you with gratitude, but here it's just... ahah!
The translators are really dropping the ball lately.)

I head through the cave only to find it blocked by some rocks. Worse still, there are two lovers on either side pining for each other. Well, no problem. I get my resident HM slave SNP to smash them out of the way. (Was there no-one from the neighbouring Silver Leaf who could have done this? Must I do EVERYTHING?) The digger is overjoyed I helped out and gives me a reward, though phrases it in the weirdest possible way.

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You killed a man, didn't you?

His girlfriend is pleased to see him and takes him back to her home.

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They say "come home for a rest" because it's a kid's game, but we all know he's excited to get laid.

With the path cleared, I follow them out and emerge into Xida Town!

...oh, crap. This is where that annoying wannabe Daofu lives. Well, I suppose since I'm here I'd better pay him a visit, just to be nice.

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Sir? Sir?! Are you fucking kidding me? I come all this way and you misgender me like that? It's ma'am!

It's deeply weird the way their house only has one bed. Do they take turns sleeping in shifts?

Anyway, there's no time to waste. I head back up Road 111 and arrive at the base of Yantu Mountain. This time, I find the way to the cable car unblocked, and take a ride up to the top. Sure enough, the place is full of lava group members. The water team are here as well. Just like a bad superhero movie, they've all paired off into individual fights, seemingly only using their PIdogs.

(Side note: I never really understood the logic behind this, and I can only conclude it's to make it an even fight. Otherwise, since Team Magma uses mainly Fire- and Ground-type mons, and Team Aqua uses Water-types, it makes for a very one-sided battle.)

It's so hard to tell who's in the right here. Some might even say there are very fine people on both sides. And you know, there's something to that. After all, they're using the same tactics and the same mons. But while to the untrained eye their PIdogs seem to be identical, there is one a very clear difference. The water group's PIdogs go "HA!" and the lava group's PIdogs go "ahah!"

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It's a small thing, but it makes all the difference in the world.

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Yeah, buddy, I'm sorry. I don't even really know why I'm here.

I find Qingmu straining to beat off three aggressive men at once. (Wait, that... sounded completely wrong.)

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He makes it sound like whatever's going to happen has already happened, and how cool would that have been? I'm almost tempted not to intervene.

But, y'know, I'm the hero, so I gotta.

I battle my way to the lip of the volcano, and find a mysterious man dressed in red examining a machine containing the fabled Aerolite everyone's been talking about.

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You're going to give the volcano acne? Well, that's mean.

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Well, with such an invitation, how can I refuse? Despite him not introducing himself, the game identifies him as Songbu, and he engages me in battle.

(For some reason, he repeats his dialogue verbatim before battling you. I've no idea why.)

Shockingly, he actually turns out to be quite tough. He leads with the intimidating BLdog, which my recently-evolved LibDm takes down with a couple of quick hits. Then he sends out Baku, the fully-evolved firey camel (and the capital of Azerbaijan. Coincidence? I think not). It utterly devastates most of my mons, even Tory, who just barely manages to finish it off. Then comes SpBat. I should count myself lucky it isn't evolved (weirdly, Emerald de-evolves the Golbat he had in Ruby). Bruised and battered, I emerge the victor. In true villain fashion, Songbu gives up right then and there, and proceeds to vanish. Qingmu appears, makes congratulatory noises, and leaves me there.

Right, I'm out of here. Oops, better remember to take the Aerolite. From the way people have been banging on about it, I bet it's worth a pretty penny. Down the mountain we go! But that's for next time. Check back in soon for the next update.



Current team
Tory the Marshtomp - Level 24
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 24
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 25
LibDm the Breloom - Level 25
Labor the Aron - Level 24
SNP the Marill - Level 13
 

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Part Six - Super Powered Nails and Wood

Having valiantly vanquished the lava group from the top of Yantu Mountain, we proceed down the southern slope, an area known only as Concave. Interesting choice of name there. But it's not long before I come across a straggler.

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Sorry, am I supposed to recognise you? Not to sound like a bigot, but all you red people kinda look the same to me.

I quickly defeat him and he concedes my brilliance.

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Anyway, downwards we go, and presently we arrive in the charming mountainside town of Fei Yin. It's a cozy-looking place full of nice wooden cottages and hot springs, populated seemingly only by elderly retirees who seem extremely relaxed. Like, maybe a little too relaxed.

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I also meet a small child who offers to teach me to suck eggs.

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Have no fear, you mansplaining imp. I can do that perfectly well already.
Well, the senior citizens are... fun, I guess, but there's something of greater interest to me here: Fei Yin has a training field. I heal up my team and head inside. The guide at the front informs me that the head of the training field, Mingci, uses flame mons. Really. I'd never have guessed. I take it that's the reason this place is like a gigantic sauna.

I navigate through the strange blowhole-like passages between the upper and lower floors, blasting trainers out of my way as I go. Having just spent an afternoon beating up lava group members and their obnoxious Fire-types, this place isn't too hard.
We make it to Mingci soon enough. I'm expecting a big, grandiose speech from her, but instead she just says "I've been dreaming to be a head of the training field" and launches straight into it. Wow, they really edited out her theatricality here. I guess she's already had the character development losing to me would have given her and gone straight to being humble. Well, whatever.

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Being as UKIP is lagging behind in levels a bit, I intend to let it deal with her Niqi and SSnai, but it gets obliterated by the high-powered Fire move known as Super, which all her mons know. So it's up to Tory to mop up, since the rest of my team are weak to Fire. Unfortunately, her KUmon is an actual titan. It gets the sun shining with a move known as Bones (um, okay) and tears chunks out of Tory with Press, a powerful Normal move which also paralyses it.

There's only one viable strategy. Gratuitous switching. I sacrifice SNP while healing Tory and set up Species using LibDm in order to slowly drain its HP away.

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Using this move never fails to make me uncomfortable.


And that's Mingci taken care of. She hands over the Magic Force Medal (my god, these names are getting better and better) informing me that mons under level 50 will obey my instructions. Good, so I no longer have to worry about -tT being a pain for the rest of the game. She also gives me TM50, which apparently contains Super Magic Force! Cool, so I can use the attack she was using to slaughter my team. In theory, anyway, because none of my squad are capable of learning it.

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It's like an episode of Power Rangers up in here.

Her parting words of wisdom are that I should go and meet my father, Shengli. Why exactly is left up to my imagination. But maybe he'll want to battle me now that I've got an impressive four medals.

As I exit the training field, Yuki emerges from the shop opposite and ambushes me. Ugh. He expresses surprise that I'm collecting medals and scoffs with derision ("collecting medals! Come on!") before unexpectedly gifting me a set of goggles. Uh, thanks, but are you sure you weren't thinking of Digimon? Oh, I see. I can cross the desert east of here if I have them. Well, alright then. Yuki gets onto his bike and speeds off.

(Side note: an interesting thing I found out a while ago is that in RS, if you white out from poison while in Flannery's gym, you can skip the chat with Brendan or May and they'll just hang around the middle of town until you talk to them. Emerald lets you do the same thing, but they'll approach you as soon as you take a step. What a weird thing to update.)

I figure I will go explore the desert, because why not? It's full of trainers and teeming with interesting new mons: the shrew-like P.rat, the odd spinning top GSmon, the snappy ant BHmon, and a cute green cactus thing which I know is here but I can't find even after ages of running around in the deep sand because of its shitty 6% appearance rate. There's also a big stone cavern with no visible entrance which I'm sure can't be important in the least and won't be relevant later on, oh no.

But I'm not here for them. I'm here for the massive stone tower which is stood literally at the entrance of the desert so that all the very laziest explorers can stroll right in (seriously, could they not have put this in a better location? It could even have moved around the map). It's a very cool location, though, with cracked stone floors you can't cross unless you have a fast-moving bike. Fortunately, I do! Eventually, we arrive at the top floor, where two ancient fossils sit upon a dais as if they were placed there just for you.

I examine them carefully, and eventually discern that the one on the left is the Wood Root, while the one on the right is the Nail Fossil. Slightly inconsistent there but hey, it still works. Weirdly, the game doesn't tell you which is which unless you choose not to take it. Not that it matters since of course you'll eventually get both. I plump for the Nail Fossil and this promptly triggers a massive earthquake, hurling me out of the tower as it crumbles into the dirt. The Wood Root flies down beside me and sinks into the sand. I feel like the slowness of the cutscene means that I could quite easily have grabbed it but whatever. Let's be nice to the developers and pretend it was some sort of terrible, heart-rending choice.

K so I'm done with the desert now so I figure it's time to see my Pa. I head down to Silver Leaf then go west, passing through Kingshui on the way. From there, it's just a short trek through the Forest until I arrive in Tianyuan City. Ah, haven't been here in a while. I feel so much more grown up than when I was last here. (Even though it was like four days ago but shhhh, immersion is everything.)

We enter Pa's training field. This time, he's not in the front room. The guide informs us that the door on the left-hand side will take us to the Room of Celerity, while the right leads to the Room of Hit! Wow, interesting. Both sound thoroughly intense. Rationalising that Celerity is either a nutritious root vegetable or a one-way ticket to fame and fortune, I opt for the left.

Inside I find a lone boy, who gleefully tells me that attack first = profit. Nice. I send out -tT, and he sends out Bswlw, the bigger, badder, and evolved form of Tswlw. Oops. After a brutal struggle, somehow I manage to defeat him.

There are two doors in here, too. He tells me that the left leads to "advane" and the right to the Room of Defence! Well, the former sounds oddly mysterious, but checking the door clarifies that it's the Room of Advance. I'm guessing he just misspoke. Hmm, Room of Defence it is. I'm just so impressed by the fact that they spelled it the correct (British) way that I can't pass it up.

Inside I find a young woman, who sends out a mon rarely seen in these parts: the pink and fluffy Pangk. Damn, but it's tough - it knocks out -tT in a single hit. So I switch to Labor who stomachs all of its Normal-type attacks with ease.

There's another two doors in here, too. Left leads to The Room of Force, and right to the Room of Hit Skill. Hmm, both sound likely to result in something painful. But let's go with the Room of Hit Skill.

This room, unlike the others, only contains one door. The boy in here tells me I must work harder before sending out mokey, a large white thoroughly brutal-looking ape. This one's really tough, too. It takes a lot to bring it down, and by the time I do my team's a wreck.

At least the boy's nice when I win.

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Okay, you just lost the point you gained for good spelling and grammar earlier. Respective of what, exactly?

Sigh. I'm wondering how prepared I am to take my Pa on, but there's no turning back now. Well, actually there is since I need to heal. But once that's done, I screw up my courage and prepare to take him on...

Current team
Tory the Marshtomp - Level 25
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 26
Labor the Aron - Level 26
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 26
LibDm the Breloom - Level 27
SNP the Marill - Level 13
 

Attachments

Part Seven - Water, water everywhere, so let's all have a drink

I ready myself for an inter-generational clash with my Pa. I'm still not convinced my team is quite tough enough to take him on, so I check my bag to see if I've picked up any vitamins. I have two: Paean, which raises Attack, and Yindexi, which raises smartness. Even though smartness and cleverness are associated with Special Attack and Special Defence in later generations (and the corresponding Contest category corresponds to Special Defence-boosting natures) this item actually affects speed, as proven by the blue hue of the bottle. I give the Yindexi to -tT and the Paean to Labor.

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I've also picked up a very special item known as Cheese! This will raise my mon's level by one. However, I'll save this for much later.

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Back into the training field I go. Pa expresses incredulity that I - useless, feckless child that I am - have gathered four medals, and accepts my request to battle.

He opens with the quirky Qbear, which comes in many patterns. Luckily, it's no match for Tory, who overcomes being confused to bring it down.

Next out is his Mokey. I send out Labor, hoping its Steel-typing will guard against its powerful Normal moves. It survives repeated hits, but its attacks still do so little damage in return. Eventually, after healing, I finally bring it down.

He sends out VImon, a huge and bulky sloth-like creature. However, having fought the pre-evolution VGmon before, I know that it must rest every second turn, and I have a way to exploit this. -tT knows the move Dream - a weak Normal move that makes the foe flinch on the first turn. This gives me an opening to use Grow on the next turn and boost my power while it rests. Unfortunately, it strikes back on the next turn and OHKOs. I switch in Tory and hit with a couple of Water moves to capitalise on its weaker Special Defence, but it gets a critical hit and KOs Tory too. All is not lost, though. LibDm has a Fighting move, so I switch it in and use Pincer - a weak move that always strikes first - to take it down while it uses the bizarrely-named move Evil to try and put me to sleep.

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Lastly, Shengli sends out Brat, a lithe ferret-like creature. (While I'm sure that's meant to be B rat, not brat, it still makes me chuckle.) It falls quickly to two uses of Pincer.

Well, okay, that was... easier than expected.

Pa congratulates me on my win and awards me the Balance Medal, telling me that with this, I can use the vaunted Surfing Skill. Okay, sounds cool, but where do I get...

...oh, okay. Daofu's father walks in and tells me to come with him to his house. We teleport to the front of the gym and into his house, and he gives me HM03, which contains the aforementioned Surfing Skill. Nice! Tory could do with a new Water move - the one it knows, Gun, is pathetically weak - so I promptly teach it.

Daofu's father burbles something about how well his son is doing, but I'm not interested in that. I'm going swimming! I backtrack through a bunch of areas I've already been to and pick up a bunch of items I couldn't previously access, as well as paying a visit to the northern portion of Road 115, possibly my favourite location in all of Hoenn. I love out-of-the-way little nooks like this area.

On my way back through Silver Leaf City I bump into Tiequan, the leader of the training field, who's loitering around the middle of the city for some reason.

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Isn't that just Daofu's uncle's dialogue from earlier on? How sloppy.
Despite his nonsensical dialogue, Tiequan hands me a key and insists I look for a place called "New Yinye" on Road 110. Alright, I suppose I could. A little exploration reveals there to be a cave on the eastern side of the route, which I enter.

Inside, I use the key to access a dingy underground room full of empty boxes and belligerent Electric mons. Well, they're always fun. Luckily, I have a couple of Preetives in my bag. They're a spray-like object which keeps wild mons away for a short while.

But even that doesn't do any good! Several of the item balls are actually Thuba, the red-and-white Electric ball. (E: Oh right, Thunder Ball. Another one that took me a while.) Fortunately, they aren't so tough. I proceed through the basement until I make it to the back room, where a large red generator is buzzing away. There's a red switch in front of it - am I supposed to step on it? Who knows. Tiequan didn't tell me. So, taking matters into my own hands, I decide to do so and see what happens.

I'm hoping for a colossal explosion or for a ferociously powerful Electric mon to emerge, but all I get is a weird bird sound. Kakaka!

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My second anticlimax of the day. Insert filthy joke.

I return to Silver Leaf and Tiequan gives me TM24, a powerful Electric move none of my squad can learn. He then insults me right to my face.

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Why does everyone in this game keep misgendering me?

Best to move on from this whole unpleasant ordeal. I head out east to Road 118, where there's a river I've yet to cross. But only moments after landing on the opposite bank, I run into Daihou! You know, Daihou. The bloke we met in the cave near Shanmu Town earlier on? No, I don't particularly remember him either. He proclaims "ah! You become a trainer in Shanmu" and wanders off. Well, that was helpful. Thanks for your amazing insight, Daihou. You have officially enriched my life.

Proceeding further east takes us onto Road 123, where a pair of trainers team up to battle me with two impressive-looking mons I've not yet seen - the lithe black MFmon and the stag beetle Bigsh! (Any guesses on the meaning of those names?)

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This route is nice, with lots of flowery plants everywhere. I stumble upon a cute little cabin inhabited by an old couple. The man identifies himself as "the tree fruit famer"... uh, I think he meant farmer, but he's old so I can forgive a mistake like that, especially since he gives me a couple of fruits to take away. His wife asks me for a motivational quote, but unfortunately I find my vocabulary rather limited.

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Still, I do my best and proclaim A90 00000. She takes pity and tells me I did a good job, giving me another fruit as a consolation prize.

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Her parting words are a bit odd, though.

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Wait, are you trying to tell me that man you're with is actually your grandson? My god, how old were you, 12?

The eastward road is barred by high ledges, so we can't proceed any further. However, the road north is open, so that's where we go.

Road 119 is lovely - I've always thought so. One of the most gorgeous locations in the games, and especially so for the GBA. It's also raining here, which turns Tory's new Surf attack into an absolute nuke. I struggle through a thicket of tall grass full of strange adolescents who would almost certainly be larpers in the real world, obsessed with mimicking the movements of any who come near them (side note: it's kind of hilarious that the Gen VI games apparently couldn't make this work. In ORAS, the Mimic Circle just walk around randomly) and also run into one of my favourite mons, with a hilariously apt name.

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But when I reach the top of the route, I see a very unwelcome sight. Two of those awful blue-garbed men. Ugh. It's been all of five minutes since we last ran into those. I was hoping for longer. It seems they've taken over the nearby building and are holding everyone inside hostage.

Once again, it's got precisely nothing to do with me. But, as I keep reminding myself, I am a great hero. So it seems like I'll need to intervene and free them all! But I'll save that for the next instalment.

Current team:
Tory the Marshtomp - Level 30
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 30
Labor the Aron - Level 29
LibDm the Breloom - Level 30
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 29
SNP the Marill - Level 13
 
Part Eight - A Little Light Sequence Breaking

The Weather Institute (yes, it's called that here too - a rare case of the translation being spot-on) has been taken over by the Water Fight Group! Oh, dear. That sounds like not even remotely my problem. But since two of those irritating twits are blocking the bridge that leads to the next town, I guess I'll have to clear them out.

Inside we find a small child cowering by a bed. Sorry kid, busy. I proceed upstairs, battling the intruders as I go. The members inside are as pitifully weak and disgracefully foul-mouthed as ever.

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On the second floor, a red-haired woman is holding a group of scientists hostage. Despite the impressive figure she cuts, she too is ridiculously weak, and my squad are able to dispatch her with few problems.

We don't get to enjoy our victory for long, however. Once we've beaten her, one of her underlings rushes in and informs her that the lava group have been spotted nearby. He expositions the next plot-significant location, and the commander reacts with shock.

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Another beautiful-sounding location that these chumps are no doubt going to spoil for me.

Once they've disappeared, the lead scientist comes forward and thanks me for my help. He then gives me... the small electrical mon? Um, sure. Because my party is full, it's sent straight to the PC, but when I check I see that it is in fact called ELmon. What a weird choice of name. (ELmon could be element or elemental mon, I guess, but they did specify electric.) Anyway, moving on.

The two berks blocking the bridge are gone, so I go for a quick dip in the river, noting with disappointment the large waterfall I can't yet scale. Downriver leads me to an area overlooking another waterfall, and an item known as Coralite! It's a strange name for something that looks like a leafy sort of stone, but intuition tells me this might be valuable later on. Hmm... I wonder which member of my team could make use of a big, leaf-patterned rock? It's a true mystery.

I head back to the riverbank and proceed up the hill to the next town... only to get ambushed by Yuki. Boy's persistent, you've gotta give him that. He asks how my training is going, and then engages me in battle before I can answer.

He leads with his SSnai. It's a rather weak mon for this stage of the game (side note: Slugma really did get the short end of the stick - terrible typing AND a late evolution? Damn) and the fact that it's raining really doesn't help it, either. Next comes his Bfrog, which does some serious damage before I can take it down. He finishes up with Ich, a big pelican-like creature I've somehow not seen yet. It's actually surprisingly bulky, though it doesn't actually do anything except keep protecting itself over and over, which makes piling on the damage fairly easy.

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"Not bad"? Try "50 times better than anything you could come up with", you conversationally-challenged dullard.

As usual, though, he's very generous in defeat, and hands over HM02, the Fly Skill, informing me I can use it to fly to a familiar city. Ah, nice. Too bad none of my team can learn it. Oh, well.

After he cycles off, Jinhua, the sunglasses guy, appears and asks if I'm going to the training field in Richuan City. I presume that's where we're headed, so... yes, of course. That's literally all he has to say, so he wanders off as soon as the question has been asked.

Following this, it's only a short walk before we arrive in Richuan City! Well, this place seems nice. All the houses are little wooden cabins high up in the trees. How charming. The first one we come to contains a small child who asks if we have Qili, since they want to exchange it for Laslu. Unfortunately I haven't managed to catch Qili (it's a rare encounter in this game) so I have to pass. The second house contains a woman who asks if I want to obtain power. Well, duh. It's my goal to rule this country with an iron fist and plunge it into an eternal winter. Sorry, what? Nothing. She asks me to choose "R" or "L". Hmm, they're both fine letters I guess. She repeats her question a few more times, and ends up giving us TM10, Power. Probably won't be bothering with that but it's nice to have. Her husband offers to teach us to dream instead. Nah, I've got plenty of those. Just the other day I dreamed that Germaine Greer shot me with a rifle because I called her pet squirrel ugly.*

*not even a joke

Anyway, in the centre of town is the training field! I excitedly hightail it over. ...oh, but what's this? Something invisible is blocking the way. How strange.

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My thoughts exactly, random girl. Only a bit more comprehensibly-phrased than that.

Well, with the training field inaccessible, there's not much to do in Richuan. I guess I'll be on my way then. I proceed to Road 120, intending to head on over to the next town. But something very strange is happening. All over this area, there are invisible things in the way, just like in Richuan City. How bizarre.

I try to cross the lake in the middle of the route, but standing in the middle of it is Daihou, who we briefly ran into earlier on Road 118. He's already forgotten my name.

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I reply in the affirmative, and he asks me to show him the power of a trainer. Well, alright. He uses a device called the Tianlisi, and a strange little green lizard mon is revealed in front of me!

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It's a tricky customer which changes type based on the last move you hit it with. Unfortunately, Ground is weak to Water, so it takes a quick two hits from Tory to knock it out. Easy-peasy. Daihou is impressed and gives me the Tianlisi, informing me he loves diligent trainers before flying away.

Well, now that I've got this, I could go back and clear out the training field in Richuan. However, just for the fun of it, I'm not gonna. I've never actually skipped the 6th gym in any playthrough before, and I'm curious whether the dialogue will pick up on it when it becomes relevant.

(Side note for anyone unaware: in the original RSE, you can skip Winona until just before the Elite Four since Victory Road doesn't check for badges. This scenario was even accounted for by the developers, since Wallace/Juan will acknowledge the player only having seven badges and tell them to go back and defeat the Fortree Gym if they want to challenge the Pokemon League. This isn't the case in the remakes since ORAS forces the player to defeat Winona sixth.)

There are some decently tough trainers on Road 120. My team gets some much-needed beefing up, and Labor finally evolves!

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When we arrive onto Road 121, it's with a heavy heart that I see three men from the Water Fight Group gathered on the road ahead. They confer amongst themselves and decide to head down to Sunset Mountain, and head south. Well, Sunset Mountain sounded nice, but if that lot are going to be there, I'm definitely going to skip it. Instead, I head east and come to the massive port known as Tian City.

What a bustling place. There's an art museum, a contest hall, a shipyard, and even a strange old man advertising himself as "the grandfather of disrememberance". Oh, and Yuki's here, hanging out in front of the shopping mall and blocking the door like the general nuisance he is. Rather than spend any more time on him, I decide I deserve a rest and head to the beach.

But the Water Fight Group are here too! One of them has even assembled a bunch of Whale mon in the sea (to what end is anyone's guess) and refuses to move. A man near the beach informs me that the Gulf Cave to the east of town has an entrance. Why, so it does. I decide to have a look inside, and find it to be less of a cave than a strange sort of hideout. But the entrance is blocked by two more members of the Water Fight Group, who inform me that their boss has gone to Sunset Mountain. Ugh, they're just not going to budge, are they?

It looks like I'm going to have to go to Sunset Mountain after all...

Current team
Tory the Marshtomp - Level 33
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 32
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 33
LibDm the Breloom - Level 33
Labor the Lairon - Level 33
SNP the Marill - Level 13
 
Part Nine - Two mountains, both alike in dignity

With Tian City overrun with Water Fight Group people, and their leader engaged at Sunset Mountain, it looks like I shall have to go and ferret them out if I want to proceed east across the sea.

After healing up, I Surf southwards from Road 121 and arrive at the beautifully-named Sunset Mountain. It appears to be a giant graveyard - ew, creepy. Who would hang out in such a place? Well, a bunch of right oddballs, it turns out. Like this middle-aged man who apparently got really high...

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or this foul-mouthed goth girl...

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God, what a place. Let's try and get this over with quickly.

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Yes, and like most of the places this journey has taken me to, I'm regretting it already.

I head up the interior of the mountain, finding no Water Fight members, but lots of trainers. My team are all approaching their mid-30s, and they're all looking pretty strong - apart from Labor who, rather ironically considering the British political party she was named after, still remains disappointingly weak. I'm still having to baby her in a lot of battles - which is a good thing considering the high amount of Double Battles to be found in this area. But still.

Eventually, I make it to the top floor having found no blue people. But I do pick up some items, namely TM30, Shallow - a Ghost-type move which only UKIP can learn (eh, I'll pass, Ghost moves are physical) - and an item called DamThing!

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Oh, Dam like the thing a beaver lives on. Right. I get it. Still a hilarious name though.
Hmmm, no Water Fight berks here. Maybe they're outside?

Okay, the outdoor bit of Sunset Mountain is way nicer. The ambience is calming and exotic (genuinely one of my favourite tracks in the entire series, this) and the side of the hill is covered in flowers. Ahhh. Lovely.

This is also where I notice my bag's full. Oops.

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Must stop by a shop and sell some items.

Ah, and here they are. As charming as ever.

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There's a whole gaggle of them arranged in formation up the steps to the summit of the mountain, but it doesn't take long to sweep them aside. And there I find Qingmu, deep in conversation with the elderly couple guarding the shrine. He excitedly proclaims that he has the Red Jade (Can... can jade be red? Huh. A quick Google informs me it can. The more you know...) and, like all good villains, tells me openly that his team's next destination is the city of Ka Yi, which we visited some time ago.

With that, he departs. The old woman comes forward and tells me I need the Blue Jade to "catch the boy". Well, I've absolutely no idea what that means, and it looks like she isn't going to clear it up. She gives me an item known only as "mark" and tells me that...

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If anyone could find a scrap of coherency or meaning in this whole string of events, I applaud them. Luckily, of course, I've already played this in English so I know precisely where to go next. Ka Yi City!

...oh wait, no. Dammit. I always forget the order you're meant to do this in. We're going to the Concave, to find the lava group's hideout. You see, what the old woman meant to tell me, but didn't, is that the lava group came by Sunset Mountain ahead of the Water Fight Group, and took the corresponding Blue Jade. My younger self always found it deeply stupid that the red team always takes the blue stone and vice versa no matter which version you play. Maybe they're just super genre-aware and think that you need the blue stone to control the red monster because water beats fire. But then what's the other team's excuse?

Anyway, never mind. I make it to Yantu Mountain and head down the mountainside looking for clues. But I don't need to look very hard because before I take a few steps, there's an almighty earthquake and a door cracks open in the rock! This must be it. It seems that the lava group have built their headquarters into the heart of the mountain itself. Neat.

Some boulders bar the entrance. Time for my little HM whore SNP to shine. It dutifully shifts the boulders aside and I proceed, remembering to apply a Preetive (which keeps wild mons away for 200 steps) after a wild KUmon jumps out at me. Wouldn't it be awfully inconvenient to work in a place where wild mons were running around and getting in the way? Or do all the members of the lava group have to spray themselves with Preetive 16 times a day? Questions, questions.

It isn't long before I bump into a couple of team members. They all seem dreadfully excited about something. Apparently Something (capital S so you know it's serious) awaits inside the heart of Yantu Mountain. And they're going to find it, it seems. How interesting...

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You really don't good at grammar either, mate.
(Another oddity I just noticed: despite Torkoal being a Fire-type and literally catchable in the hideout, not one Grunt here uses it. What a waste.)

I make my way through the network of caves. It's a relatively straightforward route, despite there being a few branching paths here and there. The lava group members grow more numerous, many trying to bar my way, but their legion of Ground mons are washed away by Tory's Surf. The lava group hideout is full of items, including a GoldBead (you'd think that'd melt, sat next to a pool of lava, but then again everyone in here is still alive...)

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If you're expecting life advice, I'm not sure I'm the best person to talk to.

Then one of the grunts I beat up lets slip that the mysterious Something is a mon... the legendary Gula mon!

Curiouser and curiouser. Have the lava group really found a way to awaken a legendary mon from the ancient past? I sure hope not, this bunch of buffoons can't even build a hideout that would pass a basic health and safety compliance evaluation. No way should they be messing with something capable of starting a worldwide drought and setting off earthquakes. That sort of power is better off in my hands. The hands of a literal child.

I digress. Eventually we arrive at what seems to be the deepest part of the hideout - a gigantic well of lava, on the edge of which is that unfriendly fellow Songbu. He's gazing out at something in the heart of the well - a huge, shadowed, motionless creature. Could that be Gula mon? Looks like we got here just in time.

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Before we can stop him, Songbu activates the Blue Jade, causing a colossal tremor and awakening the slumbering mon. But something seems to go wrong - and Gula mon flies upwards and out of the room. Songbu reacts with understandable confusion.

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Well, at least until he notices me there and decides to blame me for Gula mon flying away. I mean, get a grip, you moron. What the hell do you think I did?

Still, he engages me in battle nonetheless. It's a surprisingly tough fight - all of his mons are pushing level 40, and most of the trainers we've been grappling with so far have been in their early 30s at most. Still, we emerge victorious, and Tory marks the occasion by evolving into her final stage, Smon!

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Songbu declares that he will chase Gula mon, and he and all his underlings vanish, leaving the hideout empty. I'm sure we won't be hearing about this place again.

Absolutely nothing in the game indicates where we should go next, but luckily some deep-seated intuition of mine tells me we should go to Ka Yi City! So that's our next destination...


Current team
Tory the Swampert - level 36
Labor the Lairon - level 35
LibDm the Breloom - level 36
-tT the Nuzleaf - level 36
UKIP the Kadabra - level 37
SNP the Marill - level 13
 
Part Ten - Stink, Crazy Bikinis, and the Most Powerful Ear in Hoenn

Having witnessed Songbu awaken the legendary Gula mon, we're off to stop him! ...oh wait no, my bad. We're off to Ka Yi City to confront the Water Fight Group.

Yeah, I don't really understand the pacing of this game either.

Anyway, once we arrive, I notice a large group of people gathered outside the port building. Going over to investigate, it turns out Nanmu (the guy we rescued from the Water Fight Group earlier - remember him? No, me neither) is being interviewed. We miss most of it but he sticks around to chat afterwards, mentioning that Canal Route 128 might be the location of a fabled destroyed cave. Interesting.

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Dude, TMI.
Suddenly there's a raucous noise inside the terminal! Alarmed, Nanmu brings me inside to find out what's going on.

It's Qingmu and one of the Water Fight Group! They react to my presence but refuse to battle, jumping into the submarine and speeding away.

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Nanmu is sad that his prized new submarine has been stolen.

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Wait, they're part of the confederacy now? This game just took an unexpected turn.

I have a hunch that they'll have docked the submarine at their hideout in Tian City. Because I feel bad for Nanmu - the poor sap - I decide I'll head there and see if I can get it back.

I trek back up across eastern Hoenn and make it back to Tian. This time, I find the Water Fight Group's hideout unguarded! I head inside and find a maze of teleports. Confusing, but in games of this nature there's generally a simple rule of thumb - if you meet a Trainer you're generally going in the right direction. I encounter a few belligerent blue grunts but eventually end up in a fancy office. Hmm, are these Qingmu's digs? He's doing alright for himself. After admiring the big model ship, I notice four tempting-looking items on the floor and decide to steal them. When in Rome, right?

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Oops. Turns out two of them are ImBom, a big red-and-white mon that's clearly the evolved form of Thuba, waiting to entrap the unwary. Both bomb balls promptly explode on me, devastating my team. Well, that's what I get for being greedy.

Oh, but every cloud. There's a GoldBead here, and... a Mas Ball? What's that? The bag description informs me it's "the best ball is sure to catch". Well, that seems fairly plain. Nice one! I'm keeping that.

How come only one evil team has this? Yeah yeah I know, you're only allowed one Master Ball (unless you win the lottery) but it's kinda dumb. What was the other team's plan, chuck a bunch of Ultra Balls and hope to get lucky? Like that ever works.

With the Mas Ball safely secured in my bag, I continue through the hideout, still searching for any hint of the submarine.

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Yes, before the pandemic I was hoping to visit Switzerland, and possibly Italy if I could manage it. There's a whole host of countries on my bucket list; I've never actually been to Asia, and -

The grunts I meet on the way all provide a useful opportunity to give Labor some much-needed experience, as nearly all of them are using Biya and PIdog, both of which die to a light breeze.

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Hey, look at that. They're starting to learn some manners.

Eventually, I make it to the final room, where Achao, one of the heads of the Water Fight Group, awaits me.

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He's a tougher fight than all the grunts I've battled so far, I'll give him that. But Labor manages to prevail over his BLdog and Bibat for the win.

Unfortunately, however, I'm not quick enough to stop the submarine departing. Achao laughs and mockingly tells me that it's bound for an undersea cave. He won't tell me where exactly. But luckily Nanmu clued me in that it's probably the one on Canal Route 128! The only problem is, uh, getting there.

Well, with that done, there's not much left to do around these parts - apart from a quick visit to the nature reserve just outside the city, which I forgot to visit last time we were here. I head up and pay the fee to enter.

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Pal Park? Last I heard those were just in Sinnoh and Kanto, didn't realise they'd opened a branch in Hoenn too.

Amusingly, once I'm inside the game refers to the location as "the Eden". Another strikingly beautiful name. I mean, yeah it's a pretty nice area but I wouldn't go that far.

This place is full of rare mons not commonly seen in the rest of the region, like the clumsy yellow Kduck, the solid and ferocious Arrhi, the quirky giraffe-like Dbmon, the two-headed Duodo, the doleful plant Stink (possibly my favourite name ever), and the tiny bird Dollb.

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We also pick up TM22, Empty! Ooh, this one's a powerful Grass-type move. I'm sure we'll be needing that later.

Having experienced nature, I decide it's time to experience the sea, and prepare to head out east. Oh, but wait. Yuki is still hanging around in front of the mall. God, that boy really is keen, isn't he? Maybe I should go and put him out of his misery by firmly shooting him down. Look, Yuki, you're perfectly pleasant and all, but I'm just not that into you...

But then he stops me in my tracks with this puzzling riddle.

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I know he's usually fairly concise, but this is ridiculous even for him. I'm truly at a loss as to what he's asking, so I flip a coin. Yes. He cries "it can't be true!" before engaging me in battle. Wow, he took that badly.

As usual, he's a total pushover. He hasn't even fully evolved his starter, for god's sake. How lame. I defeat his team and he announces that he will return to Tianyuan Town to finish the Mon Map. Oh my god, the Mon Map! I've been so busy running all over the place dealing with the antics of those red and blue annoyances that it's only just occurred to me I've hardly filled it out at all. I currently only have 18 mons registered. Not to worry, though. Yuki tells me to keep collecting medals and challenge the mon union. Oh, okay then. I'll do that, you do the Mon Map, between us we'll be the perfect trainer.

Though... how do you intend to finish the Mon Map in Tianyuan Town? Pretty sure the whole point of this is that you need to travel all over.

The Water Fight member who was blocking the bay has vanished, so I hop aboard Tory and Surf outwards into the deep blue sea beyond, meeting a few hard-bodied swimmers as I go. Nice, I might hang out here a while. Hilariously, in this game the male Swimmer class is called Crazy, while the female Swimmer class is called Bikini.

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My thoughts exactly, fellow perv.

After all this time slogging around on land, it's nice to drift around in the sea for a bit. I encounter a few more swimming trainers before arriving at the island city of Daogu!

This is a pretty place, all right. It's covered in flowers and big green trees, and the houses are all charming little stone cabins. And there's a big building on the very top of the hill, which turns out to be a space centre! Oh, how cool. Maybe they'll let us ride in a rocket and visit the moon or something.

Inside I unexpectedly find Daihou. He explains that the lava group want to rob the centre's rocket fuel, and sure enough, there's a note on the table saying more or less that. Hmm, that's not good. But as they're not here, I'm not sure what I can do to help. A nice man nearby gives me a SunRock, which I put in my bag fully intending to sell later.

I have a look around the rest of the island, and unexpectedly run into Jinhua. Damn, for someone with no mons, that guy sure does get around. He walks off after saying nothing much. Why does this creep keep turning up everywhere? It's like I'm cursed with a coterie of shite-talking stalkers. A man on the beach also makes me a strange-sounding offer, and takes it rather badly when I refuse:

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There's also a large hut with a reception desk, where intuition tells me we can play games wirelessly. Hmm, might give that a go later. Not just yet, though (connecting with legit games seems to increase the likelihood of your save file corrupting, so it's a no-no for now).

And there's a training field! Nice. It's been too long since I got my last medal, so I heal up my team and decide to tackle it straight away.

Well, this place is super cool. It's composed of lots of little chambers filled with statues and rotating platforms, which I can move by stepping onto differently-coloured switches. And, like nearly all of the training fields in this game, it seems that all the trainers in here are set up to favour double battles. From all of the mons used against me, I deduce that this place specialises in the Psychic-type.

Fortunately, the puzzle isn't too tricky, and it doesn't take me long to rotate the platforms in a way that allows me a clear path to the head of the training field.

...uh, I mean heads. That's right, there's two of them! Neat. I can't believe that in the entire series we've only ever had one gym with a pair of leaders. However, despite there clearly being two different people present, the game refers to them as if they're one person. Translator done goofed again, methinks.

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Bloody hell, but they're tough. Hideously so. They open with a nasty GUmon and Fbird combo (that's, uh... a different Fbird to the Fbird we could get from Dr Odd. This one's a Psychic bird, the evolution of Dollb) who unleash a devastating combo of attacks on my squad, making use of Fbird's immunity to Ground moves to strike both my team members with the powerful Ear move. Yes, Ear. Underestimate Ear at your peril.

It's lucky I've got some healing items because I quickly need them. But it's not enough. My squad are hopelessly underlevelled and are rapidly outmatched by Xiaoyan's powerful mons. I try once, and then again, but am quickly trounced both times.

Sigh. Looks like it's time to do some grinding...


Current team
Tory the Swampert - Level 37
LibDm the Breloom - Level 38
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 38
Labor the Lairon - Level 37
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 38
SNP the Marill - Level 13
 

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Part Eleven - Lava Group? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Bruised and battered from my fruitless bouts with the Daogu training field heads, I venture out into the vast oceans of Hoenn to do some grinding, bringing me into conflict with the various fishermen and swimmers of the region and their assortment of marine team members.

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I got amused by NPCs referring to Wailmer as "pipi whale" and Googled it on a whim. Don't, uh... don't do the same if you're at work.

While on my grind I pass by a vast island covered in flowers - the mighty Shanyou City, home of the Mon Union! Also referred to variously as Shayou and Hanyou. Sadly, due to the immense waterfall, it's inaccessible for now.

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(Side note: Interestingly, some trainers were nerfed on Route 128 between RS and Emerald - Cooltrainer Ruben goes from 3 pokemon to 2, while Fisherman Wayne goes from 4 to 3. Wonder why that change was made?)

My voyage southwards ends up unexpectedly leading to a tiny town in the south by the name of Ji Na! I once knew a girl by the name of Gina... she was absolutely horrible. The town itself is a collection of small wooden huts floating on the water. How quaint.

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Nearby this town is a strange cavern. I venture inside to find that it leads to an immense old tower by the name of the Sky Pole! But unfortunately the door is locked. Oh well, guess I won't be exploring in here then.

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Yeah, this place doesn't seem significant in any way. On we go.

Westwards of Ji Na the tides are unexpectedly fast-moving, and I miss many items and trainers as I speed through the routes uncontrollably. Luckily UKIP still knows the move Atack, which teleports me back to the last town I healed in, and I'm thus able to run through them several times and fully clean them out.

And my persistence is rewarded when Labor finally evolves into the monstrous-looking Viole!

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Oh, Viole like Violent? Makes sense. But how weird that the base form is Tiny, which evolves into Small and then Violent. Not "Large" or "Huge"?
Feeling suitably beefed up and more confident, I make the trip back to Daogu and face Xiaoyan once again.

I lead off with -tT and LibDm. -tT incapacitates Fbird with Dream (Fake Out, for those not keeping up) while LibDm lays down Species (Leech Seed). GUmon subsequently KOs LibDm with a powerful Will (Psychic). I send out UKIP in its place and strike Fbird with Shock. GUmon unleashes an Ear which almost finishes UKIP, while Fbird boosts its stats.

Because Fbird is at 10% now due to Species damage, Xiaoyan heals, so I take the opportunity to switch out UKIP for SNP to avoid a KO while -tT chips at GUmon, whose Ear is only a 3HKO. Next turn, UKIP comes back out and is finished by Ear, but now Fbird and GUmon are in KO range and Tory promptly finishes them with Surf.

Out come the twin's signature mons, CRmon and Sunfl. (Hmm, CRmon... crescent rock mon?) -tT dies to Sunfl's fire move, but a combination of Tory's Surf and Labor's Steel moves do for both of them, and I win! That's my seventh... uhh, sixth medal in the bag.

I head out into the sun, feeling cheerful and ready to kick back, but... oh god. There's a bunch of lava group idiots gathered near the Space Centre. Sure enough, they form up and head inside. As usual, this isn't my problem, but I have a feeling it soon will be! So I follow them in to find they've taken over the place and are holding everyone hostage.

An old man inside the space centre sums up my feelings perfectly.

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The first grunt I talk to makes it perfectly clear what they're here for - the rocket fuel. Hmm, what on earth could they want that for?

I fight my way through the grunts swarming the lower floor, then wind up in an ambush of three grunts. This is a nice touch. They're not that tough, though - they only have one mon each.

They're the last grunts I have to take down, though. I find Daihou cornered by Songbu and his minion whose name I can't recall. Daihou questions why the lava group need the fuel, and Songbu smugly proclaims they need the power of fuel to make the volcano break forth. He doesn't say which volcano, but I'm guessing he means Yantu Mountain. Um... not cool.

It strikes me here that using the rocket fuel would accomplish their original plan - to make the volcano erupt and expand Hoenn's landmass. Yet the way it's framed (in the official translation, at least) makes it sound like they just want to make it erupt for the hell of it. Kind of a weird oversight.

Daihou gets shoved by Songbu's chief grunt, then asks to me to team up with him and take on the lava group. Oh, go on then. This battle is actually cool as hell and I always look forward to it.

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Daihou's team is darn tough, especially his lead, Fenmu. (Okay, no idea what that means. qtrx, do feel free to weigh in - your interpretations have been on-point so far.) Songbu and his minion put up a good fight, but it takes us very little time to utterly flatten them.

Dispirited, Songbu announces he will "give up the rocket fuel", even though there's no indication he actually had it. He rambles a bit about Gula mon (who... hasn't actually done anything yet, but I'm sure we'll get to that) and mentions the water fight group before he and the rest of them vanish.

Daihou congratulates me for winning and lets me know that his house is on this island before he vanishes, too. You... you could have brought me there with you, you dick. Oh well. I bike over to his house and he presents me with HM08, Diving, though he doesn't tell me what it does, instead just saying that I can go to places on water with the Surf skill. I... yes, I know, it's how I got here... oh, never mind.

Well, now that we have this, and the medal from the Daogu training field, I guess we can dive underwater! Nice.

So, where next? Not sure yet. Before I can decide, I get a call on the main menu from Yuki. Ugh, what does he want? He tells me that he saw a big green dragon in the sky. Ha! Yeah, sure you did. Pull the other one, bozo, it has bells on.

I mean really, what are the odds of that?




Current team
Tory the Swampert - Level 42
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 41
Labor the Aggron - Level 42
LibDm the Breloom - Level 42
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 42
SNP the Marill - Level 13
 
Part Twelve - Disaster Strikes!

With my nifty new Diving skill, I decide to explore the depths of Hoenn's seas, and pick up a few cool items on Canal Route 125. Not bad.

I head off to the next city on the map - the giant white mountain on Canal Route 126. The map informs me that this place is actually a city! Wow, that sounds neat. Diving under the water reveals a hidden doorway leading under the mountain, and I surface to find myself in the city of Double Deers. What an astonishingly brilliant name. I love it. Though, curiously, all the residents refer to it as Shuanglu City. Is Double Deers a cute nickname or something? Like the Big Apple or the Square Mile?

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The sky is blue! My bike has two wheels! Boris Johnson is an appalling excuse for a Prime Minister! Look at that, I can state the bleeding obvious too.

For a city containing a training field, Double Deers is pretty darn sleepy. Fei Yin had more of an atmosphere than this place does. Still, it's a soothing kind of vibe, I suppose. Speaking of the training field, it's closed. I bang on the door and holler for someone to let me in, but no joy.

I get some freebies, though. A young girl by the name of Qili (isn't that Volbeat's name in this game?) calls me sister and gives me two berries. Awfully kind of her. A man in one of the houses up at the top of the city gives me TM31, Fixed, a powerful Fighting-type move. Might teach that to one of the squad later, we'll see.

In the centre of the city is a cavern. It's guarded by an old man, though, and he rather rudely makes it clear I'm not welcome.

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Well, that's nice.

A man on the east side of the city informs me that there are ancient ruins under the sea. Hmm, well, since there's not much to do here, why not, right? Might find some treasure.

I head back out and onto Canal Road 127, diving back under the waves to look for these ruins. Hmm, no joy. But then I come to Canal Road 128 - and I find an opening! Well, that really wasn't that difficult to find. How come no one else has discovered these ruins yet?

But then I enter the cave, and find an unwelcome sight. It's the submarine the water fight group stole from Nanmu.
I guess they found their way into the ruins they were looking for, after all.

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Though, how has it taken them this long? They stole the submarine ages ago. I've been all over since then. These damn incompetent villains and their sluggishness.

I surface to find myself in an undersea cave, which the game rather unflatteringly dubs "the hole". Um... might want to rethink that one. There are boulders blocking the path, but my trusty HM slave SNP takes care of that. But then I wind up face to face with a water fight grunt!

Luckily, like most of his unpleasant colleagues, he only has a weedy PIdog. -tT takes care of it. I proceed into the depths of the cave. It's a twisty and occasionally confusing route, with more of those fast-moving water currents. But eventually, I make it to a room where the red-headed woman we found holding up the Weather Institute is waiting for us, accompanied by a grunt. She sends out Niya, a ferocious-looking shark mon that's clearly the evolved form of Biya. (Hmm, Niya and Biya... sensing some sort of link there, but what?) Sadly, for all that it looks tough, it's no match for me.

Quami (oh yeah, that was her name, by the way) manages to get in one last insult before we leave.

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It's "pity", you dunce.

Past one final maze of boulders, we emerge into a deep and misty cavern. And here I find TM26, containing Ear! Nice. Looking forward to seeing one of my own mons smacking things around with that.

At the very end of the cavern, my eyes are greeted by an astonishing sight. There in the water is a mysterious shape - a powerful mon, lying dormant. It's beautiful... but I don't have long to admire it, as Qingmu appears out of nowhere to kill the vibe.

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Qingmu asks me if I'm here to "take trainings" (???) before finally engaging me in battle. And for someone I've been waiting the entire game to battle... boy, does he suck. He leads with the predictable boring BLdog, which goes the way every other BLdog I've fought so far does. His Dwbat falls to a single hit from UKIP, and LibDm knocks out his Niya with a single hit.

(Side note: seriously, given that there are three Water specialists in this game, it's incredible that so many Water-types in this game go unused. Starmie. Relicanth. Huntail. Gorebyss. Seaking. Corsola. Lanturn. Golduck.)

Qingmu commends me for defeating him, but reminds me that it makes no difference - for, of course, he has the Red Jade. He activates it, and I watch in horror as its light fills the cavern.

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However, something's wrong. Just like before when Songbu tried to use the Blue Jade to awaken Gula mon, it doesn't seem to work - and the mysterious creature in the water swiftly flies upward and out of the cavern too.

Qingmu says he has no idea what just happened, finally naming the mysterious creature as Qiqi mon. He gets a message from one of his team members on the surface, and says that it has started to rain heavily. This doesn't seem to dismay him, though - he says that means they'll be able to find Qiqi mon.

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Suddenly Songbu and a couple of the lava group team members rush in! He tells us we all need to leave, now.

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We exit to the surface and find that it is, indeed, raining heavily. What's going on? Qingmu seems lost for words, until Songbu harshly asks him what he has done. Songbu tells me that he and Qingmu are leaving to go and fight. Qingmu takes a moment to reflect that the super-ancient mons "lost all balance" before following, and the two depart as the weather unexpectedly changes. Now, it's extremely sunny - a harsh sort of drought.

Well, I'm completely lost. Luckily, Daihou promptly flies in to explain. He tells me that the clouds are spreading to other places, all from Shuanglu City. Ah, so whatever's happening is happening there. I see. He advises me to follow him to Shuanglu before flying away.

I follow him north to Canal Route 126. Something bizarre is going on with the weather. Every few steps, it shifts and changes - one minute there's a heavy downpour, the next the sun starts blazing bright. I've got a hunch what's caused this, but I refrain from theorising until I've seen what's happening.

All is revealed, of course, when I arrive in the city. Two massive titans - the gigantic red Gula mon Songbu awakened, and the massive blue Qiqi mon Qingmu awakened - are fighting in the middle of the crater surrounding the town. All the citizens have gathered fearfully on the banks of the water to watch their bout. This must be what's causing the weather to fluctuate - every few seconds one of them gets the upper hand, and wrests control of the atmosphere above the city. But because they're evenly matched, neither can truly emerge victorious.

Except... Gula mon was awakened ages ago, long before Qingmu awakened Qiqi mon. Why wasn't the weather sunny until now? What has it been doing since then? Was it just sitting around waiting for Qiqi mon to show itself?

It's a weird plot hole, caused mostly by the awkward pacing of the plot. But never mind that.

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Well, that's basically what I said.

Outside the training field, Songbu and Qingmu are frantically urging the beasts on, trying to control them to no avail. You'd think at some point it might occur to them to switch their Jades and try with the opposite colour, but... who am I kidding.

I find Daihou on the western bank. He urges me to be careful before leading me up through the city. As we reach the higher streets, he takes a moment to gaze fondly at the sight of the two ancient mons. Come on, you fool! This is no time to admire the view. We proceed onwards until we arrive at the Juexing Temple, where I was turned away earlier. After a moment's talk, the old man guarding it steps aside. Daihou tells me that I can get help from a man named Jianze inside, and basically shoves me through the door.

Jeez, dude. I would ask why, if it's so important, Daihou doesn't go himself, but I'm long accustomed to everyone expecting me to solve their issues for them. I guess I'll have to talk to this Jianze person and sort things out.

The Juexing Temple turns out to be a very short cave, with only two levels. The lower level is a small, foggy cavern, filled with curious red and blue crystals. Standing a short way away from me, apparently deep in contemplation, is a man I take to be Jianze.

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I introduce myself, and he tells me he doesn't know where Mumu mon is. Um... neither do I. Nor do I even know what that is. Mumu? Isn't that the name of the sick Miltank in a different game? Or a big shapeless garment Hawaiian people wear?

Suddenly something occurs to Jianze, and a truly bizarre sequence unfolds. Jianze asks me if I know where Mumu can be found, and presents me with three options: Sunset Mountain, Juexing Temple, or the Sky Pole. Well, this is the Juexing Temple, and the only mons I've encountered here are SpBat. I suggest the Sunset Mountain - it's a sacred place, after all, and just the sort of location that might be hiding a secret. But Jianze tells me not to make a joke. Fine, then I guess it's the Sky Pole? I'm not even sure where or what that is... wait, didn't we go there earlier? Yeah, I think that was the name of the old cavern near Ji Na. But the tower was locked - I mean, for all I know it could be full of lollipops and singing crabs. But Jianze seems to like this idea, calling it "Tianzhu", and bids me depart for there immediately.

He then leaves without taking me with him. Godsake, why do people keep doing that?

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Not to worry, though. It doesn't take me too long to follow him. I head south from Shuanglu and onto Canal Route 129, where the bad weather suddenly clears up. Ah, looks like the distortion hasn't spread this far yet. I reach the cavern beneath the Sky Pole and enter it. Jianze appears and informs me that he has managed to open the door. I wish we'd seen how he managed that. ORAS implies that he probably has a key to this place, but up until then I just assumed he'd battered down the door.

Suddenly, there's a violent tremor, and it begins to rain. Jianze isn't pleased.

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He tells me that if I climb the tower, Mumu must be at the top. Okay, sure. So are you coming with...? Oh, never mind. He disappears again, leaving me alone to venture into the Sky Pole myself.

We still don't have any indication what Mumu actually is (besides the box art and game intro but shhhh). Giant cow? Six-breasted alien monkey? Obtuse rubber goose? Green moose? Guava juice?

I digress. The tower itself, while old and shadowy, is fairly devoid of any actual distinguishing features apart from some rocks. One floor has some cracked tiles which look likely to send me hurtling through to the floor below, but it turns out I need to do that anyway to proceed. Only a couple of wild mons trouble me, but they pose no impediment.

Finally, we emerge onto the highest level. What a gorgeous view of the surrounding area we get - oh wait, never mind. Something appears to be waiting in the centre of the maze of rocks - a giant coiled green shape, dark and sinuous. Could this be the Mumu mon Jianze spoke of?

But as we approach, it appears to awaken, raising its head and letting out a deafening roar that shakes the building. I brace myself, but it's gone - flying away to parts unknown.

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Could it have flown to Shuanglu City, I wonder? There's only one way to find out...

I tear back to the city as quickly as I can, just in time to see what happens.

Still locked in their unending struggle, Gula mon and Qiqi mon continue to circle one another. But, as if from nowhere, a bright green light splits the dark clouds circling overhead as Mumu mon descends! It hovers menacingly over the two combatants for an instant before unleashing a devastatingly powerful attack, sending them scurrying hastily away as if they were no more powerful than your average BRbug.

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With the two legendary mons departed, the weather swiftly returns to normal, as it was when I first arrived. Mumu lingers for just long enough to let out one final, earth-shaking roar before soaring away as if nothing had happened.

Well... that was certainly an eventful afternoon.

The citizens of Double Deers/Shuanglu continue to mill about on the banks of the water, dazed and incredulous after witnessing such a titanic clash between three super-ancient legendary mons. Daihou, Jianze, Songbu, and Qingmu have all gathered outside the training field, seemingly deep in thought.
I expect the authorities will want to talk with Songbu and Qingmu, being responsible for unleashing these monsters on the region, but neither Daihou or Jianze seem that bothered, and after I speak with the two team leaders they both vanish from the city. Daihou wonders where they've gone, and suggests they're now at Sunset Mountain.

Jianze finally (finally!) thanks me for helping him, and gives me a gift: HM07, Clamber. He tells me it's a skill that can help me climb falls. Ah, like the waterfall at the entrance of Shanyou City, I suppose. I promptly teach Clamber to SNP, though of course I can't use it without the medal from Shuanglu's training field.

And speaking of the training field, Jianze moves aside to let me enter it! I'm a little surprised (and also a little concerned) that the head of Shuanglu's training field apparently didn't think an apocalyptic crisis involving legendary mons to be worth his or her attention. Not very civic-minded, is it? But maybe since the training field was locked this whole time, they simply didn't notice what was happening right outside. Sure, let's go with that.

Whatever the case, I'm going to have to take them on. My team is fighting-fit, so I square my shoulders and prepare to head inside...




Current team
Tory the Swampert - Level 43
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 43
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 42
LibDm the Breloom - Level 42
Labor the Aggron - Level 43
SNP the Marill - Level 13
 

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Part Thirteen - Eight, then Six, and now Four

Pumped up by my heroic actions mere moments ago, I enter the Double Deers training field and prepare to face Hoenn's greatest trainer, Janze... which is what he calls himself, even though the guide by the door and several of the trainers call him Jianze. Like, the bloke we met in the Juexing Temple who's currently waiting outside. Hmm, the translation done goofed up again, I think! Either that or everything around here has multiple names. After all, the city is called both Double Deers and Shuanglu.

Anyway, this place has a nifty little puzzle - ice floors! Missteps send me tumbling down to the basement, where a host of pretty young women lie in wait to try and drown me with aggressive fish. I emerge victorious and head back upstairs to try again. After a couple more attempts, I make it to the top where Janze stands in wait. He proclaims "water is good!" and immediately engages me in battle. Well damn, if he gets the jump on everyone like that, no wonder he's such a successful trainer.

His choice of mons leaves a little to be desired, though. He starts off with the pathetically weak YSmon, a cutesy love heart that plinks away ineffectually before I smash it. His Seal and Dcrab pose little threat, either: two or three hits from my hard-hitters render them unconscious. Finally comes the Ground- and Water-type mudfish Dlaoc, which gets an unexpected KO on Tory before -tT revenge kills.

The problems start, though, when he sends out his signature mon, the majestic-looking and aptly-named very stylish Hipdr. Though Tory (promptly revived thanks to a sacrifice from SNP) manages to slow it down with a few judicious uses of Force, it promptly uses Drow to send itself to sleep and fully heal its HP, before using Slip to increase its evasion and make it harder to land a hit. Nuts.

Let's try a different approach. I switch to LibDm and luckily manage to pull off a successful usage of Species, meaning I can steadily drain its HP, before it KOs me in return.

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Ugh this fucking move I can't even
Not to worry, though. Luckily, UKIP still knows Shock - the Electric-type move that cannot miss. It starts chipping away as Hipdr repeatedly goes to sleep and heals off the damage, but repeated blows combined with the residual damage from Species do the trick, and finally it falls.

Janze bows to my superior skill, and hands over the Leiyin medal. Cool. He also gives me TM03, a disappointingly weak Water-type move you'd expect to receive at a much earlier stage in the game.

Now ordinarily this would be the last medal I have to collect, but of course I skipped the sixth training field earlier on. I was curious as to whether the translation would pick up on this given how much else it missed, and surprisingly it does!

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By jove, he's right.

Neat. I'm impressed.

We'll get there eventually. First, though, I have another objective in mind.

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Yep, I'm gonna head to the Mon Union first. Doing things out of order is fun, right? Also, I want to toughen up my squad against the powerful trainers in the cave... 9PLN Champion. Um, yeah. That's... that's the name of this place. 9PLN Champion. It's... certainly a choice, I guess.

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Here we are... the final test before the Mon Union. They say it's a tough gauntlet full of the best trainers you'll find anywhere. Big talk. Let's find out.

I head inside and make my way onwards to the next level of the vast, gloomy cave. But I don't get far before someone comes up behind me.

It's Daofu. Who? Oh, right! The little sick kid from earlier who kept being creepy and wanted to get a mon of his own and be a champ. Or something. Idk. He wasn't that charismatic, I've kind of forgotten he existed. Also he disappeared for like 70% of the game so there's that too.

But he thanks me for bringing him here (I didn't, though. Oh my god, have you been following me?!) and challenges me to a battle.

He starts with Blark, a beautiful blue cloudy dragon. (Much as I'm aware that that's probably Blue Lark, to me that just sounds like the sound of someone vomiting.) UKIP dispatches it with ease. The same goes for Bsqrl, LImon, and Sansi. I expect his final and most powerful mon, the elegant Shaye, to pose some problems, but it turns out it can't touch -tT due to not having any attacks that can affect Dark-types! How utterly anticlimactic. Why do these wannabe-powerful trainers not know that only running a single attack is a terrible option?

Daofu mopes about not being able to defeat Sir Chizz. Oh for the love of god, how many times?! I'm a girl! A girl! Do you not see my overdeveloped bosom and fetching hair ribbon? My god, I've never met a kid who deserved debilitating breathing problems more than this one does.

Anyway, must get on. I descend to the cave's lower level, to find it extremely dark and full of boulders. Just a standard day in this universe, I suppose. Every so often incredibly tough trainers come lurching out of the darkness to challenge me, but I keep my resolve and fight back with all my might. Luckily, I've got a good stock of items from all my travels across the region, so I'm able to heal my team back up when needed.

It's not a very long cave, however. In what seems like very little time, I emerge not far from the exit and a final pair of trainers, who take me on in a double battle with a pair of tough VImon.

But I prevail, and finally make it to the Mon Union!

It's a grand old building, surrounded by cheerful bright-coloured flowers. Ah, idyllic. I stroll inside and heal my team before speaking with the two very charming young lads guarding the door.

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Right, this is absolutely as far as we can come. Time for some heavy backtracking, and that final sixth medal. Luckily once we get that, Fly will be unlocked, so I can warp back here pronto. Or anywhere else, come to that...

I dash back through 9PLN Champion (oh, such a memorable name), Surf across the sea to Tian City, and head upwards back to Richuan City, home of the sixth training field. This is a pretty cool place, gotta say. Probably my favourite training field in the game, so it's nice to save it for last. It has a bunch of moveable barriers which can impede or enable progress forward, and some have to be strategically positioned so that you can pass through without getting stuck. How that relates to flying I'm not sure. I guess it was beyond the game's capabilities to have them be blown open or shut with wind cannons or something. Oh well, still cool.

I quickly reach Naiyi, the head, who is at least a bit more talkative than the other training field heads I've encountered.

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Naturally, with my huge level advantage, I flatten her and her posse of birds. But you saw that one coming, right?

She gifts me the Chaohua medal! Interesting name, I like it. Also included in my victory package is TM40 (the imaginatively-named Wing), a very nifty Flying-type move which never misses. Nice one.

So that's all eight medals obtained! And with the handy Fly skill unlocked, I decide to revisit some old locations and go hunting for secrets. Plus do a little more training because my team, while pleasingly uniform in levels for the first time in a while, is still a little on the weak side. We want to be on top form for when we finally challenge the Mon Union...

...but that's for next time. Stay tuned for the next installment, featuring spelunking, dragons, a thoroughly disappointing exchange, and a titanic clash against the first of the Top Four Kings!

Current team
Tory the Swampert - Level 45
Labor the Aggron - Level 45
LibDm the Breloom - Level 45
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 45
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 45
SNP the Marill - Level 13
 

Attachments

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Part Fourteen - A Dreadful Trade and the First of the Top Four Kings

Endowed with the cool new Clamber skill, I decide to do some exploring, heading to the northwestern corner of Hoenn where I distinctly remember there being a couple of waterfalls.

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Not least, of course, the beautifully-named Shooting Star Waterfall cave. I just know there's going to be some cool stuff in here, and I'm right. My foray into the cave yields two nifty new moves, Air and Cut - the former Steel, the latter Dragon. There are also a few other people in here, as well - a caped Dragon trainer and an old married couple who I assume are on vacation but for all I know might actually just live here (since apparently people do).

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Sounds like the secret of a successful marriage, grandma.

In the chamber at the back of the cave where I found Cut I also come across Djima, a gnarly-looking little Dragon mon! I waste a huge amount of balls trying to catch one and finally bizarrely manage it with the W ball, which is specialised to be effective on Water and Bug mons. Neither of which this is. Never mind.

(Side note: it's at least less stupid than the time I caught a Slugma in a Dive Ball. Never living that one down.)

The Mon Map refers to Djima as "the mighty monster" and we all know that thing never lies. Exciting stuff! I go ahead and catch another one because it's always good to have a spare.

It occurs to me suddenly that I encountered someone in Ji Na who was after one of these. Sure, why not. I fly over there and seek out the guy, who excitedly tells me about his Bikhi.

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Okay, Bikhi? I've no idea what that means.

I accept his offer and submit my Djima for his Bikhi, a cute little seahorse mon which appears to be the base form of the Hipdr Janze used against us earlier, and which he has nicknamed gQ-. Catchy.

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Yeah... wow. That's really quite underwhelming. RSE really doesn't have great in-game trades at all.

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I'm assuming what he means by this is "no backsies".


Oh well. Better luck next time I suppose. I've got one other stop off to make - after flying to Shanmu, I surf east and eventually reach a curious sight - a wrecked ship. Hmm, seems like this place might be full of treasure... so I promptly go in and start ransacking the place, eventually stumbling across TM13, Electro, an... um... Ice-type move. Sure.

Anyway, that's enough of that. We've got somewhere to be - the Mon Union. And because I finally have all eight badges, the guards at the door finally agree to stand aside and let me enter.

This is it... the final challenge. Everything we've done so far has led to this. My team are strong and almost ready. After using a couple of the TMs I've acquired on my travels and attaching some items, I heal and prepare to enter. The Bikhi I traded for earlier can't be deposited since it's holding Mail, so it'll be the sixth member of my squad instead of SNP. One might say SNP has... acquired independence.

I take one final stock of my team. They're a good-looking bunch. A flawless Modest shiny Latios to whoever can work out all their moves and what they're holding!
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-tT @ P Frt
Seed
Plot
Dream
Grow​
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Tory @Wate Bead
Surf
Force
Rush
Electro​
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UKIP @ Yel Frt
Will
Shock
Self
Atack​
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Labor @ XikScarf
Rush
Conf
Air
Wall​
1621359558561.png

LibDm @ SMachine
Eye
Stone
Hea
Species​
1621359503364.png

gQ- @ nothing
Smok
Stare
Gun
Cylone​
It's time. I summon my courage and head through the big door into the Mon Union proper.

The first room I enter contains Geyue, the first of the ultra-powerful Top Four Kings. He introduces himself in the typically brisk fashion I've come to expect from the people of Hoenn, and we begin our battle.

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He opens with BLdog. Well, we've fought dozens of those by now - LibDm swiftly takes it down.

Next up is Dcrab - the same as that used recently against us by Janze. (Side note: while they presumably changed it from Sharpedo because of all the Team Aqua people who use that, it's weird that they gave him one of the same species used by Juan. Like I said last time, there were literally dozens of Water-types he could have used instead.) It, too, falls easily to a hard strike from LibDm.

Next up comes MFmon. I expect this to be an easy kill, but it unexpectedly shreds LibDm with a super-effective Wing move, knocking it out in one hit. Damn, see what happens when I get overconfident. I send out Labor and we trade blows before I eventually get the upper hand with Rush.

He follows up with Lmon, the evolved form -tT might someday become. With Slip to raise its evasion and Relea to confuse my mons, it proves a tricky foe, easily outfoxing Labor, and Geyue soon uses a healing item. I revive LibDm and send it out hoping to score another easy kill, but it uses the powerful Psychic move Rate and KOs me again. God damn it.

Labor is the only one who can stand up to repeated blows from this thing. It just can't land a hit in return. However, it's only a matter of time before one move connects and, thanks to Lmon repeatedly raising my attack power with Relea, it's sure to be a clean KO. Finally, I score a hit with Rush and it's a win for me.

One mon left - the humanoid cactus Nikus. Unfortunately, it gets a sneaky KO with Needle, but LibDm is ready to come back and win the day.

Well, that wasn't so hard... the next three will be just as easy, right?

Geyue swears to keep improving, and the door behind him to the next room swings open. Time to heal before we proceed to the next room...

...but that's for next time. Stay tuned! The next instalment should be coming tomorrow, now that real life has stopped being quite so busy. Apologies to the three or four people who seem to be enjoying this run for the infrequency of the updates.

Till then.



Current team
Tory the Swampert - Level 46
-tT the Nuzleaf - Level 45
UKIP the Kadabra - Level 46
Labor the Aggron - Level 46
LibDm the Breloom - Level 46
gQ- the Horsea - Level 30
 

Attachments

I take one final stock of my team. They're a good-looking bunch. A flawless Modest shiny Latios to whoever can work out all their moves and what they're holding!
View attachment 341759
-tT @ P Frt
Seed
Plot
Dream
Grow​
View attachment 341760
Tory @Wate Bead
Surf
Force
Rush
Electro​
View attachment 341763
UKIP @ Yel Frt
Will
Shock
Self
Atack​
View attachment 341761
Labor @ XikScarf
Rush
Conf
Air
Wall​
View attachment 341764
LibDm @ SMachine
Eye
Stone
Hea
Species​
View attachment 341762
gQ- @ nothing
Smok
Stare
Gun
Cylone​
Here's my guess, based on what's been mentioned, what bulbapedia says are direct translations for moves, and filling in with what's easily obtainable in Emerald.
Nuzleaf @ Persim Berry ? Guessing Pink Berry that isn't pecha (which is confirmed PSN Frt)
Bullet Seed
Faint Attack ? Plot just aligns itself with the Dark type
Fake Out -name confirmed
Growth- confirmed to boost offenses

Swampert @ Mystic Water-
Surf -confirmed HM
Mud Shot -ground attack that reduces speed
Take Down- needs to be in both Swampert and Aggron movepool, JP name 'charge', counterpart in Colo is Shadow Rush
Ice Beam- confirmed TM13

Kadabra @ Sitrus Berry
Psychic
Shock Wave- confirmed Wattson reward
Recover- JP Self-Regeneration
Teleport- comfrimed utility

Aggron @ silk scarf
Take Down- see swampert entry
Mud-Slap -early mudkip move shared by aron line
Iron Tail- confirmed via TM
Iron Defense- JP Iron Wall

Breloom @ Quick Claw ? I got nothing here
Detect -confrimed and named
Rock Tomb
Headbutt
Leech Seed -confirmed and named

Horsea @ none
Smokescreen
Leer
Water Gun
Twister

Natural Horsea moveset

Edit: brainfarted and forgot Rock Tomb Existed.
 
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Here's my guess, based on what's been mentioned, what bulbapedia says are direct translations for moves, and filling in with what's easily obtainable in Emerald.
Nuzleaf @ Persim Berry ? Guessing Pink Berry that isn't pecha (which is confirmed PSN Frt)
Bullet Seed
Faint Attack ? Plot just aligns itself with the Dark type
Fake Out -name confirmed
Growth- confirmed to boost offenses

Swampert @ Mystic Water-
Surf -confirmed HM
Mud Shot -ground attack that reduces speed
Take Down- needs to be in both Swampert and Aggron movepool, JP name 'charge', counterpart in Colo is Shadow Rush
Ice Beam- confirmed TM13

Kadabra @ Sitrus Berry
Psychic
Shock Wave- confirmed Wattson reward
Recover- JP Self-Regeneration
Teleport- comfrimed utility

Aggron @ silk scarf
Take Down- see swampert entry
Mud-Slap -early mudkip move shared by aron line
Iron Tail- confirmed via TM
Iron Defense- JP Iron Wall

Breloom @ Quick Claw ? I got nothing here
Detect -confrimed and named
Rock Tomb
Headbutt
Leech Seed -confirmed and named

Horsea @ none
Smokescreen
Leer
Water Gun
Twister

Natural Horsea moveset

Edit: brainfarted and forgot Rock Tomb Existed.
Very, very close! A+ for effort though.

Nuzleaf is holding Cheri Berry, P Frt stands for Paralysis fruit or Poison fruit I guess.

Breloom is holding Focus Band (why that is S Machine I'll never know); its moves are Mega Drain, Sky Uppercut, Headbutt, and Leech Seed (yes, Stone is Sky Uppercut, it makes no sense)

You've come closer than anyone else conceivably would so you win!
 

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