Some readers, upon encountering my awkward flesh body (the cocoon from which my true fleshless self slithers forth and rejoins the internet like the angry spirit of a polluted river returning to the sea), have taken the great kindness of congratulating me on my successes in the playthrough so far. To these kind words I have two points to make.
First: are people aware of Pokemon ROM Hacks? It’s where people on the internet take apart Pokemon games and modify them for fun. There are some where you play as Team Rocket; some with completely fan-made regions; even ones with original Pokemon, types, and moves. The downside to this, of course, is that the only people more mental than those who make games for a living are those who make games for free.
i chooes DARK LUGA! Draco_xx_darkangel97 Shouted loudly! hymeniorny gaped shockedly, WTF, wen did LUGA becum VAMPIRE?
But the kind of ROM Hacks I want to talk about are the randomised ones - where Pokemon are randomly distributed across the game without reference to natural habitats, so it’s possible to encounter any Pokemon in any bit of tall grass.
For example, the beautiful natural fauna of Pallet Town.
These hacks come to my mind, when people tell me how well I’m Nuzlocking, because they really show up the way the original, unmodified FireRed is deliberately designed to be easy. The designers made sure, for instance, that Mankeys roam the city before the weak-to-Fighting-type Rock gym. The grass paths north of the Water gym city have a 50% chance of encountering Oddishes. And now, literally twenty steps from the front door of the Electric gym - there is the Diglett cave.
Well, isn’t this a surprise! The solution to your immediate problems!
Unlike even Oddishes in Cerulean, which have a 50% chance of appearing on two routes, the Diglett Cave is unapologetically foolproof. You have an 80% chance of finding a Diglett. The other 20% are Dugtrios.
I’m starting to realise why Lt. Surge barricaded himself in.
So that’s the first of two points I’d like to make about my progress so far. I’m doing well because the game is actively helping me - so I don’t know if I deserve any congratulations for simply following explicit instructions better than my 8-year-old self (who Thundershocked his way through Brock’s Onix 1 hit point at a time).
Secondly, while I’m on the subject of the Diglett Cave, Suseigh died horribly.
Long-time readers will remember Suseigh the Jigglypuff, and her invaluable (and only) contribution as the “capture specialist” - chiefly because, as I’ve said before, she can put people to sleep and can’t hit hard enough to kill. Naturally, I switched her in to help me grab my only possible Ground-type.
I know some of you will question my decision to send a physically weak, seductive, musical Pokemon to fight something based on a real-world animal that is traditionally known to be both deaf and blind.
Crossed with Mr Potatohead.
But you know what? Blame is cheap, retrospect is easy, and I stand by my actions that day. Mistakes were made - I don’t deny that - but when it came down to the line, all I could do was make the most informed choices possible given what I could know about the situation on the ground.
Well, the situation under the ground…since we went into a cave system to fight an enemy with a move called Earthquake. It makes the earth quake, and apparently, scales its power randomly each time - on the Richter scale.
I’m unsure as to whether the damage is really magnified ten times with each magnitude, as the Pikachu depicted is simply one-shotted; but just for comparison’s sake, the largest earthquake in recorded history occurred in 1960 in Chile and displaced over 2 million people. That was a magnitude 9.5.
Nevertheless, I manage to capture this catastrophic doombringer of a mole by tagging Anna in after Suseigh fell. Apparently, Earthquake doesn’t affect Pokemon who can fly! What, I was just supposed to have known that?
Mistakes were made. I admitted it when we pulled Suseigh’s body from the rubble - she looked deflated, like a whoopee cushion used to prank a corpulent man - and I admit it now.
But if my team are unhappy with my executive decisions, they can’t be half as angry with me as they must be with their new teammate. I named him Simon. I have to hope Jeremy is willing to work with the mole that murdered his girlfriend.
I have to hope, because I haven’t tested it. Jeremy is uninvolved in Simon’s solo destruction of Lt. Surge.
The team watched as Simon’s victory got narrower and narrower. I didn’t ask them to help; but nobody volunteered.