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So, a long time ago I started a thread to share my opinions and discuss anime that I'd been watching. I kinda let that die as I got burned out on watching five episodes a day. (Great idea, I know...) But I've had an interest in rebooting something like this with a new take. Something I'm much more interested in exploring and discussing and I hope I can get a better following in doing this here!

Recently I've been watching a YouTuber Raocow who has done an entire series playing every single game in the megaman series up until the then-current date. After finishing that series, he's since moved on to a new series playing every Sonic the Hedgehog game. What makes these series so interesting to me is that it's not nearly as simple as you think. It's not just simply Sonic 1, 2, 3, etc. When I say every Sonic game, I mean EVERY Sonic game in chronological order of original release date. Main series, spinoffs, any ports with especially notable differences, he's even gone so far as to include tiger electronics handheld LCD games and Sega Pico educational "games." It's really bizarre to look at the series from this perspective and to see how not only the series, but the franchise as a whole has evolved from its roots.

I'm talking about this because I decided I wanted to play along with a series of my own choice. A while back, I started this with the pokemon series. While I'm not going to be as lax as Raocow in terms of what constitutes as a "game" (he literally made an entire episode about a screensaver), my goal is to play every game in the series from beginning to end. One franchise I've been particularly interested in revisiting is Pokemon. Hence the title of this thread. I've compiled a list of Pokemon games and spinoffs and I'm currently going through it, kind of making up the rules as I go along.

I actually started playing these a while back, so I'm going to be starting this thread with recounting my experiences with each game up until the one I'm currently on. As I'm writing this initial post, I've just finished Pokemon Gold, so I've got a lot of catching up to do. I'll make one post for each game summarizing my thoughts on each. Please don't be discouraged from posting here as I'd love to discuss your favorite pokemon games with you! This series has been a huge part of my life since I was a child.

================

List of Games

--------------------------

Spoiler

Games organized by original release dates and will be played (with noted exceptions) in chronological order of release.

Note: Many games or "games" may have been omitted from this list due to lack of accessibility. Some games on this list may be unaccessible but I will have no way of knowing this for sure until I investigate further, which I will do once it rolls around.

1996

  • 02.27.96 GameBoy [JPN] -- Pocket Monsters Green Version [Finished]
  • 02.27.96 GameBoy [JPN] -- Pocket Monsters Red Version [Played Green Version]
  • 10.15.96 GameBoy [JPN] -- Pokemon Blue Version [Played English Red and Blue instead]

1998

  • 08.01.98 Nintendo 64 [JPN] -- Pocket Monsters Stadium [Played]
  • 09.12.98 GameBoy -- Pokemon Yellow [Completed]
  • 09.28.98 GameBoy [US] -- Pokemon Red Version [Completed]
  • 09.28.98 GameBoy [US] -- Pokemon Blue Version [Completed]
  • 12.12.98 Nintendo 64 -- Hey You, PIkachu! [Unplayable]
  • 12.18.98 GameBoy Color -- Pokemon Trading Card Game [Finished]

1999

  • 01.21.99 Nintendo 64 -- Super Smash Bros. [Played]
  • 03.21.99 Nintendo 64 -- Pokemon Snap [Finished]
  • 04.14.99 GameBoy Color -- Pokemon Pinball [Played]
  • 04.30.99 Nintendo 64 -- Pokemon Stadium [Finished]
  • 11.21.99 GameBoy -- Pokemon Gold Version [Finished]
  • 11.21.99 GameBoy -- Pokemon Silver Version [Finished]

2000

  • 09.21.00 GameBoy Color -- Pokemon Puzzle Challenge [Finished]
  • 09.25.00 Nintendo 64 -- Pokemon Puzzle League [Played]
  • 12.14.00 Nintendo 64 -- Pokemon Stadium 2 [Finished]
  • 12.14.00 GameBoy Color -- Pokemon Crystal Version [Finished]

2001

  • 03.28.01 GameBoy Color -- Pokemon Card GB 2: Here Comes Team GR! [Finished]
  • 11.21.01 GameCube -- Super Smash Bros. Melee [Finished]
  • 12.14.01 Pokemon mini series 1 [Played]
    • Pokemon Party mini [Finished]
    • Pokemon Zany Cards [Unavailable]
    • Pokemon Pinball mini [Unavailable]
    • Pokemon Puzzle Collection [Unavailable]

2002

  • 03.21.02 Pokemon mini [JPN] -- Pokemon Tetris [unavailable]
  • 04.26.02 Pokemon mini [JPN] -- Pokemon Puzzle Collection Vol. 2 [finished]
  • 07.19.02 Pokemon mini [JPN] -- Pokemon Race mini [unavailable]
  • 08.09.02 Pokemon mini [JPN] -- Pichu Bros. mini [finished]
  • 10.18.02 Pokemon mini [JPN] -- Togepi's Great Adventure [completed]
  • 11.21.02 GameBoy Advance -- Pokemon Ruby Version [finished]
  • 11.21.02 GameBoy Advance -- Pokemon Sapphire Version [finished]
  • 12.14.02 Pokemon mini [JPN] -- Pokemon Breeder [played]

2003

  • 05.30.03 GameCube -- Pokemon Box Ruby and Sapphire ["played"]
  • 07.18.03 GameCube -- Pokemon Channel [finished]
  • 08.01.03 GameBoy Advance -- Pokemon Pinball Ruby and Sapphire [finished]
  • 11.21.03 GameCube -- Pokemon Colosseum [finished]

2004

  • 01.29.04 GameBoy Advance -- Pokemon LeafGreen Version [finished]
  • 01.29.04 GameBoy Advance -- Pokemon FireRed Version [finished]
  • 09.16.04 GameBoy Advance -- Pokemon Emerald Version [finished]
  • 12.02.04 DS -- Pokemon Dash [finished]

2005

  • 03.10.05 DS -- PokePark Fishing Rally DS [unplayable]
  • 08.04.05 GameCube -- Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness [playing]
  • 10.20.05 DS -- Pokemon Trozei!
  • 11.17.05 GBA -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team
  • 11.17.05 DS -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team

2006

  • 03.23.06 DS -- Pokemon Ranger
  • 09.28.06 DS -- Pokemon Diamond Version
  • 09.28.06 DS -- Pokemon Pearl Version
  • 12.14.06 Wii -- Pokemon Battle Revolution

2007

  • 09.13.07 DS -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time
  • 09.13.07 DS -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness

2008

  • 01.30.08 Wii -- Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  • 03.20.08 DS -- Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia
  • 04.25.08 WiiWare -- My Pokemon Ranch
  • 09.13.08 DS -- Pokemon Platinum Version

2009

  • 04.18.09 DS -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky
  • 06.16.09 WiiWare -- Pokemon Rumble
  • 08.04.09 WiiWare [JPN] -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Keep Going! Blazing Adventure Squad
  • 08.04.09 WiiWare [JPN] -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Let's Go! Stormy Adventure Squad
  • 08.04.09 WiiWare [JPN] -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Go For It! Light Adventure Squad
  • 09.12.09 DS -- Pokemon HeartGold Version
  • 09.12.09 DS -- Pokemon SoulSilver Version
  • 09.12.09 PokeWalker
  • 12.05.09 PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure

2010

  • 03.06.10 DS -- Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs
  • 09.18.10 DS -- Pokemon Black Version
  • 09.18.10 DS -- Pokemon White Version
  • 09.18.10 Web -- Pokemon Dream World

2011

  • 03.24.11 Pokemon Trading Card Game Online
  • 04.21.11 Learn With Pokemon: Typing Adventure
  • 06.06.11 3DS -- Pokedex 3D
  • 07.15.11 iOS/android/web -- Pokemon Say Tap?
  • 08.05.11 DS [JPN] -- Pokemon Trading Card Game: How to Play DS
  • 08.11.11 3DS -- Pokemon Rumble Blast
  • 11.12.11 Wii -- PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond

2012

  • 03.17.12 DS -- Pokemon Conquest
  • 06.23.12 DS -- Pokemon Black Version 2
  • 06.23.12 DS -- Pokemon White Version 2
  • 06.23.12 3DS -- Pokemon Dream Radar
  • 07.14.12 3DS -- Pokedex 3D Pro
  • 11.23.12 3DS -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity

2013

  • 04.24.13 Wii U -- Pokemon Rumble U
  • 10.12.13 3DS -- Pokemon X
  • 10.12.13 3DS -- Pokemon Y
  • 12.25.13 -- Pokemon Transporter
  • 12.25.13 -- Pokemon Bank

2014

  • 01.14.14 Web -- PokeMileage Club: Balloon Popping
  • 03.12.14 3DS -- Pokemon Battle Trozei
  • 04.15.14 Web -- PokeMileage Club: Graffiti Eraser
  • 06.05.14 3DS [JPN] -- The Thieves and The 1000 Pokemon
  • 06.19.14 3DS -- Pokemon Art Academy
  • 09.13.14 3DS -- Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
  • 10.21.14 iOS/android  -- Camp Pokemon
  • 11.21.14 3DS -- Pokemon Omega Ruby
  • 11.21.14 3DS -- Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
  • 11.21.14 Wii U -- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
  • 11.21.14 Web -- PokeMileage Club: Mine Cart Adventure

2015

  • 02.03.15 Web -- PokeMileage Club: Poke Doll Grabber
  • 02.18.15 3DS -- Pokemon Shuffle
  • 04.08.15 3DS -- Pokemon Rumble World
  • 04.28.15 3DS -- Super Smash Bros. for 3DS Mewtwo DLC
  • 04.28.15 Wii U -- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Mewtwo DLC
  • 05.07.15 android -- Pokemon Jukebox 
  • 09.17.15 3DS -- Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon
  • 12.02.15 3DS -- Pokemon Picross

2016

  • 02.24.16 iOS/android -- Pokemon Photo Booth
  • 03.18.16 Wii U -- Pokken Tournament
  • 04.12.16 iOS/android -- Pokemon Duel
  • 07.06.16 iOS/android -- Pokemon Go
  • 11.18.16 3DS -- Pokemon Sun
  • 11.18.16 3DS -- Pokemon Moon

2017

  • 05.17.17 iOS/android -- Magikarp Jump
  • 09.21.17 iOS/android -- Pokemon Playhouse
  • 09.22.17 Switch -- Pokken Tournament DX
  • 11.08.17 google assistant -- Pikachu Talk
  • 11.17.17 3DS -- Pokemon Ultra Sun
  • 11.17.17 3DS -- Pokemon Ultra Moon

2018

  • 01.31.18 Switch -- Pokken Tournament DX DLC Wave 1: Aegislash and Mega Rayquaza + Mimikyu
  • 03.23.18 Switch -- Pokken Tournament DX DLC Wave 2: Blastoise and Mew + Celebi
  • 03.23.18 3DS -- Detective Pikachu
  • 05.30.18 Switch -- Pokemon Quest
  • 11.16.18 Switch -- Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu
  • 11.16.18 Switch -- Pokemon Let's Go Eevee
  • 12.07.18 Switch -- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

2019

  • 02.04.19 iOS/android -- Pokemon Trading Card Game Card Dex
  • 05.01.19 iOS/android [US] -- Pokemon Pass
  • 05.02.19 Playground: Pokemon Detective Pikachu
  • 05.15.19 iOS/android -- Pokemon Rumble Rush
  • 08.29.19 iOS/android -- Pokemon Masters
  • 11.15.19 Switch -- Pokemon Sword
  • 11.15.19 Switch -- Pokemon Shield

2020

  • 02.12.20 Switch -- Pokemon Home
  • 03.06.20 Switch -- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
  • 06.17.20 Switch -- Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC: The Isle of Armor
  • 06.17.20 iOS/android -- Pokemon Smile
  • 06.24.20 -- Pokemon Cafe
  • 10.22.20 Switch -- Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC: The Crown Tundra

2021

  • 01.04.21 Web -- Pokemon Kids Winter Fest
  • 04.30.21 Switch -- New Pokemon Snap
  • ??.??.21 Switch -- Pokemon Brilliant Diamond
  • ??.??.21 Switch -- Pokemon Shining Pearl

2022

  • ??.??.22 Switch -- Pokemon Legends: Arceus

????

  • ??.??.?? Switch -- Pokemon UNITE

================

Table of Contents

----------------------------

Spoiler

 

I apologize if the formatting doesn't look too great on mobile. I usually make these posts on a laptop.

============[Gen I]=============

[GB JPN] Pocket Monsters Green..................................................................1

[GB] Pokemon Blue Version..........................................................................1

[N64 JPN] Pocket Monsters Stadium...........................................................1

[GB] Pokemon Yellow Version......................................................................1

[N64] Hey You, Pikachu!................................................................................1

[GBC] Pokemon Trading Card Game.............................................................1

[N64] Super Smash Bros.................................................................................1

[N64] Pokemon Snap......................................................................................1

[GBC] Pokemon Pinball..................................................................................1

[N64] Pokemon Stadium................................................................................1

============[Gen II]==============

[GBC] Pokemon Gold Version........................................................................1

[GBC] Pokemon Puzzle Challenge.................................................................1

[N64] Pokemon Puzzle Leage.....................................................................1-2

- P1: Intro, Misc. Menus, 1P Mode (Easy)                                                   

- P2: Time Zone, Spa, Puzzle University, 1P mode (Remainder)              

[GBC] Pokemon Silver Version......................................................................2

[GBC] Pokemon Gold and Silver Prototype '97............................................2

[N64] Pokemon Stadium 2..........................................................................2-4

- P2: Misc. Menus, Gym Leader Castle (Violet - Team Rocket)                 

- P3: Gym Leader Castle (Remainder), Pokemon Academy, Poke Cup,   

Little Cup plans, Gold Cleanup, Challenge Cup (PB - GB)      

- P4: Challenge Cup (UB-MB), Prime Cup, Little Cup, Vs. Rival,              

Mini-games, Cleanup                                                               

[GBC] Pokemon Crystal Version..................................................................4

[GBC JPN] Pokemon Card GB2: Here Comes Team GR!..........................5-6

- P5: Prologue, GR Island 1, 2, Psychic Fortress, Card Island Revisit      

- P6: Colorless Altar, GR Castle, Postgame                                               

[GCN] Super Smash Bros. Melee..................................................................6

[mini] Pokemon mini Series 1......................................................................6

[mini JPN/EUR] Pokemon Tetris...................................................................6

[mini JPN] Pokemon Puzzle Collection Vol. 2.............................................6

[mini JPN] Pichu Bros. mini..........................................................................6

[mini JPN] Togepi's Great Adventure..........................................................6

=============[Gen III]==============

[GBA] Pokemon Ruby Version...................................................................6-8

- P6: Prologue through Dewford Gym                                                       

- P7: Granite Cave through Victory Road                                                 

- P8: Pokemon League, postgame, contests, and cleanup                     

[GBA] Pokemon Sapphire Version................................................................8

[mini JPN] Pokemon Breeder mini...............................................................8

[GCN] Pokemon Box: Ruby and Sapphire....................................................9

[GCN] Pokemon Channel............................................................................8-9

- P8: Days 1 - 3                                                                                                

- P9: Days 4 - 5, cleanup                                                                                

[GBA] Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire...................................................9

[GCN] Pokemon Colosseum......................................................................9-10

- P9: Introduction - Shadow Pokemon lab & Purification,                         

Phenac Stadium, Mt. Battle Areas 1-7                                            

- P10: Pyrite Colosseum Revisit, Realgam Tower - Endgame,                  

Mt. Battle Areas 8-10, Under & Tower Colosseum, Postgame,  

Battle Mode, Cleanup                                                                    

[GBA] Pokemon LeafGreen Version.......................................................10-12

- P10: Introduction - Cerulean Gym                                                             

- P11: Vermilion Gym - Victory Road                                                           

- P12: Elite Four - Postgame & Cleanup                                                       

[GBA] Pokemon FireRed Version..........................................................12 - 13

- P12: Introduction - Cinnabar Gym, Lostelle Quest, & Zapdos                

- P13: Moltres & Viridian Gym - Postgame & Cleanup                             

[GBA] Pokemon Emerald Version..........................................................13 - 14

- P13: Introduction - Endgame & Cleanup                                                 

- P14: Beginning of Postgame, Battle Factory,                                          

Rest of postgame sans remainder of Battle Frontier                      

[DS] Pokemon Dash.......................................................................................14

[DS Download] PokePark: Fishing Rally DS................................................14

[GCN] Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness................................................14 - 16

- P14: Introduction - Gateon Port & Machine Part delivery                    

- P15: Agate Village - Endgame & Beginning of Postgame/Cleanup     

=======================

Hall of Fame

=======================

This is where my final team for each playthrough will be listed. I'll make updates as necessary but ultimately this should consist of the teams I've finished each game with. Note that as pokemon get transferred forward, I may no longer have access to them or I may have evolved them further for use in other games. But these are the teams I've defeated the final boss of each game with.

Spoiler

 

Note: Only main series and battle-focused spinoffs will be recorded here.

[GEN I]

========================================

Pocket Monsters Green: ゴーリン (Green)

Spr_RG_Red_1.png Spr_1g_003.png Spr_1g_101.png Spr_1g_038.png Spr_1g_085.png Spr_1g_111.png Spr_1g_148.png

Pokemon Red: Aura

Spr_RG_Red_1.png Spr_1b_006.png Spr_1b_034.png Spr_1b_026.png Spr_1b_085.png Spr_1b_143.png Spr_1b_148.png

Pokemon Blue: Red

Spr_RG_Red_1.png Spr_1b_009.png Spr_1b_101.png Spr_1b_143.png Spr_1b_124.png Spr_1b_142.png Spr_1b_126.png

Pokemon Yellow: Yellow

Spr_Y_Red.png Spr_1y_025.png Spr_1y_003.png Spr_1y_006.png Spr_1y_009.png Spr_1y_097.png Spr_1y_148.png

Pokemon Stadium Prime Cup: Aura (Team from Red, Blue, and Yellow)

S2_Hero.png 150.png 149.png 009.png 034.png 101.png 085.png

[GEN II]

============================================

Pokemon Gold: Gold

Spr_GS_Ethan.png Spr_2g_157.png Spr_2g_181.png Spr_2g_195.png Spr_2g_241.png Spr_2g_067.png Spr_2g_250.png

Pokemon Silver: Ethan

Spr_GS_Ethan.png Spr_2s_160.png Spr_2s_076.png Spr_2s_094.png Spr_2s_212.png Spr_2s_082.png Spr_2s_227.png

Pokemon Stadium 2 Poke Cup: Gold (Team from Gold and Silver)

S2_Hero.png 157.png 160.png 076.png 212.png 082.png 227.png

Pokemon Stadium 2 Little Cup: Gold

S2_Hero.png 231.png 063.png 137.png 228.png 170.png 123.png

Pokemon Stadium 2 Prime Cup: Gold (Team from Red, Blue, and Yellow)

S2_Hero.png 150.png 149.png 009.png 034.png 101.png 085.png

Pokemon Crystal: Kris

Spr_C_Kris.png Spr_2c_154.png Spr_2c_018_s.png Spr_2c_059.png Spr_2c_036_s.png Spr_2c_135.png Spr_2c_245.png

[GEN III]

==============================================

Pokemon Ruby: Ruby

Spr_RS_Brendan.png Spr_3r_260.png Spr_3r_275.png Spr_3r_282.png Spr_3r_323.png Spr_3r_335.png Spr_3r_383.png

Pokemon Sapphire: Sapph

Spr_RS_May.png Spr_3r_257.png Spr_3r_272.png Spr_3r_286.png Spr_3r_310.png Spr_3r_344.png Spr_3r_382.png

Pokemon Colosseum Story Mode: Wes

180px-Colo_Wes.png 196.png 197.png Box_Colo_181.png Box_Colo_195.png Box_Colo_334.png Box_Colo_237.png

Pokemon Colosseum Battle Mode (Lv. 50): Sapph (Team from Ruby and Sapphire)

90px-Colo_May.png Box_Colo_257.png Box_Colo_272.png Box_Colo_275.png Box_Colo_286.png Box_Colo_310.png Box_Colo_344.png

Pokemon Colosseum Mt. Battle (Battle Mode): Ruby (Team from Ruby)

90px-Colo_Brendan.png Box_Colo_260.png Box_Colo_275.png Box_Colo_282.png Box_Colo_323.png Box_Colo_335.png Box_Colo_383.png

Pokemon Leaf Green: Leaf

Spr_FRLG_Leaf.png Spr_3f_003.png Spr_3r_169.png Spr_3f_028.png Spr_3f_101.png Spr_3f_115.png Spr_3f_121.png

Pokemon Fire Red: Red

Spr_FRLG_Red.png Spr_3f_006.png Spr_3f_026.png Spr_3f_065.png Spr_3f_083.png Spr_3r_208.png Spr_3r_230.png

Pokemon Emerald Story: Emerald

Spr_E_Brendan.png Spr_3e_254.png Spr_3e_277.png Spr_3e_291.png Spr_3e_326.png Spr_3e_340.png Spr_3e_082.png

Pokemon Emerald Battle Factory: Emerald (Rental Team)

Spr_E_Brendan.png Spr_3e_289.png Spr_3e_205.png Spr_3e_065.png 30px-Knowledgesymbolsilver.png

Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness Story Team: Xander (Party rotation utilized)

120px-XD_Michael_head.png Box_XD_135.png Box_XD_217.png Box_XD_229.png Box_XD_356.png Box_XD_087.png Box_XD_308.png Box_XD_207_s.png Box_XD_249S.png

 

------------------------

[Edit]: Unforutnately, at some point Bulbapedia updated its pages and all of the links to sprites were broken when this happened! As a result, you may notice several broken images. I'm going to update the thread wherever I realistically can, but at the time of catching this, the thread is already 15 pages in. Realistically, I cannot fix every instance with as extensively as I've been using these sprites. I really hate to leave the thread looking like this and it's really unfortunate considering how much I love all of these early sprites. Perhaps I'll periodically fix older posts as I update new ones. I may even utilize this as an opportunity to update some of the older posts to fit more standardized designs.

Starting from Page 15 onward, though, as of writing this edit, the sprites should be working again.

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So, a long time ago I started a thread to share my opinions and discuss anime that I'd been watching. I kinda let that die as I got burned out on watching five episodes a day. (Great idea, I know...)

100% yes.  Both of them can go die in a fire, especially Karen.   As my boy Fredrick would say, "Pick a god and pray." (and maybe hope your Kadabra doesn't get killed because he's a win co

I just realized that Pokémon was short for pocket monster. How did it take me over 20 years to get this? 😄

375px-Green_JP_boxart.png

Starting at February 27, 1996 is Pocket Monsters Red and Green versions. I wasn't sure whether to include the original Japanese release here but I understood there to be some notable differences between these games and their localizations Red and Blue. I didn't want to waste too much time (especially given just how many Gen 1 games I'd be playing going forward), so I decided to only play one of these versions, sticking to the Green version that this pair is more usually associated with.

For anyone who doesn't know, generation 1 had a lot of oddities in its localization. Today's Pokemon fans tend to understand the concept of each generation starting out with a pair of games that contain version exclusives with each other, then a third definitive version comes out later that contains elements of both versions and often new features and general improvements over the originals. For gen 1, a lot of people think of Pokemon Yellow as this definitive version, but that was actually more of a special edition, bonus version. More on that later. In Japan, Pokemon Blue was actually the definitive version of the trio: Red, Green and Blue. The Red and Blue we got are actually both based on Pokemon Blue, though there are still some differences, making the Japanese Red and Green much more different.

For my playthrough of Green, I of course chose Bulbasaur as my starter. The biggest challenge for this playthrough was of course, having to play everything in Japanese. Since I'm currently studying Japanese and this game is designed for Japanese children and thus doesn't have a heavy reliance on Kanji, it was actually really easy for me to at least be able to read the names of items, pokemon, etc. Though understanding what people were saying was fairly difficult, espeically in battle where text often auto-scrolls. Still, combining my knowledge of Pokemon along with online resources, I was able to power my way through the game with relative ease. It was quite amusing learning the Japanese names for a lot of characters, like how a Lass is simply a "ミ二スカッと" or miniskirt. For my team, I tried to choose a selection of pokemon that were better in this gen than in future games. I opted not to nickname my pokemon so I could more easily become familiar with their Japanese names.

I'm not going to give you a play-by-play of my experiences with most of the game. I was honestly disappointed by how little was actually different. I was more interested in the regional differences rather than the actual changes from the Japanese red and green to blue. The most notable change between the versions are pokemon sprites. A lot of people say the Red and Green sprites were really ugly, and for good reason. In fact, some of them I actually like more than the remade ones. Here is a list of sprite comparisons I found for you to judge yourself. One cool detail I came to understand while looking into this matter was that, believe it or not, the sprites you see here are actually the very first designs of these pokemon. They were redesigned between the initial sprite and their more iconic official art created by Ken Sugimori. As a result, there are inconsistencies for many pokemon when comparing the designs between the original sprite and the official art, but these inconsistencies aren't actually mistakes like I had previously thought. It seems there may have been some disagreements this early in the franchise as this issue persisted even in the redesigned sprites for Blue version.

As for my team, I tried to lean more toward pokemon that I recall being much more difficult to use in future games. Gen 1 had a lot of mechanics that worked very differently than the generations that followed after and I planned to take full advantage of that. Most notably, in this generation there was only one Special stat that determined both Special Offense and Defense. Because of this, many pokemon were much more useful offensively than they are in more modern pokemon games. Due to the conditions I was playing on, unfortunately trading would be an impossibility, so I also ruled out any pokemon that could only reach their final stages through trade evolutions. Unfortunately, HM's had to ruin a lot of my fun with team building. Pokemon I thought could learn certain moves surprised me by being unable. TM/HM compatibility in Gen 1 is a very strange tangent you don't want me going down. My final team was:

=========================

Spr_1g_003.png Spr_b_g1_003.png

フシギバナ -- Fu shi gi ba na (Venusaur); I felt it was only fitting to use the mascot of Green version on my team. I don't usually start with Bulbasaur, Squirtle is my typical choice.

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ドードリオ -- Do - do ri o (Dodrio); Probably my favorite bird from kanto. His Drill Peck is especially powerful given Gen 1's critical hit mechanics based around the pokemon's base speed rather than a pre-determined percent chance. This thing will basically never fail to crit the opponent.

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ハクリュー -- Ha ku ryu (Dragonair); It didn't quite evolve by the end of the game. Consequently, it kinda lacked. I didn't intend to use it but my team lacked a surf user. I originally had a Hypno on this slot. Don't worry, though, Hypno got his time to shine later on.

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キュウコン -- Kyu u ko n (Ninetails); I've always loved Ninetails' design, it's such a beautiful pokemon but it's unfortunately just not very good after this gen.

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サイドン -- Sa i do n (Rhyhorn); I felt it was only fitting to have the very first pokemon ever created on my team in one of the very first pokemon games ever created.

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マルマイン -- Ma ru ma i n (Electrode); An electric type I've always wanted to use but never really gave a fair chance. This pokemon really surprised me with how incredible it was. This most certainly will not be the last you see of this guy.

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All in all, I was really satisfied with the way my team turned out. I wasn't too worried since this particular playthrough was pretty much just a one-and-done deal, but it was very cool and surreal to play through a version that predates what I originally thought to be the first game as a kid. Other than the sprites, the only other significant difference in the Japanese Red and Green was the design of the final dungeon in the game, Cerulean Cave or Mystery Dungeon. This dungeon is already a nightmare in Red and Blue but its definitely at its worst here. There are so many dead ends and winding paths that do nothing but waste your time with another dead end. All the while having to deal with over-leveled wild pokemon inflicting you with every status ailment known to man, only to face off against Mewtwo at the very end of it all. 

I really enjoyed my playthrough of Green. It was a fun experience but by the end I was quite exhausted with having to constantly look up what items I was getting. It got especially frustrating with the vitamins. In English they're just named after nutritional supplements: Carbos (Carbs), Protein, Iron, and Calcium. But in Japanese, they're named after medicines... which makes it really difficult to find out which is which when you're using google. (This is before in-game descriptions to tell you what the items do, not that I'd be able to read them anyway given that they'd be in Japanese...) 

The very next game on the list was... Pokemon Blue Version! Which upon further research, I decided to merge into the English Red and Blue rather than playing the Japanese version.

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On October 15, 1996 Pokemon Blue Version was initially released in Japan... but exclusively to subscribers of Corocoro magazine. It wouldn't actually hit shelves in retail until, to my surprise, October 1999! This game was on the shelves in Japan alongside Gold and Silver! Still, for this list I'm playing by initial release date and the Corocoro release is technically the initial one.

Anyway, as I said in my previous post, I decided to mix things up a bit here. My original plan was to play the Japanese Blue version and then the English Red Version once that date rolled around, since Red and Blue are technically different versions compared to anything Japan ever saw. However, after looking into exactly what was different I found the idea... well, less than ideal. You see, while there are version differences between the US Red and Blue and the Japanese Blue, the only difference is the pokemon available in the wild. One would think with Blue being the definitive version that it would have some interesting changes to the wild pokemon encounters. But there really... weren't. The most significant changes were that pokemon that were previously only available as in-game trades were now available in the wild. Jynx can be caught at Seafoam Islands and Lickitung can be caught in the Safari Zone, making this technically the only legal way to get these pokemon without a nickname in Gen 1. Otherwise you'd have to trade it backward from Gen 2. Sounds great! But the cost? Taking their place as trade exclusives, now Kangaskahn and Tauros, who once were catchable in the safari zone, no longer are and must be obtaned through in-game trades or trading with another version. Additionally, neither Magmar nor Electabuzz is available. Jynx effectively takes their place as a pseudo version exclusive. This decision is baffling to me, though, as Jynx was already available in Red and Green. 

Ultimately, this coupled with my lingering frustration with translating while playing Green led me to avoid the Japanese Blue and just stick to the American version which I honestly believe to be the superior version of the standard gen 1 games, though I actually do prefer Red over Blue but details. Anyway, for my team in Blue version, I used a bit of foresight and decided to create the most competitive Gen 1 team I could muster while of course making accomodations for HM's and all that. I think you know what I'm getting at here, but we'll get there when we get there. I should mention that I play Pokemon games on Set mode. This means that in a battle with an enemy trainer, when I knock out a pokemon I don't get a free switch to prepare for the next one. I see this as an "easy" mode and I find the games a lot more fun to play without that advantage. There's not really much more to say here, so without further ado, my team consisted of:

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Skuttle (Blastoise); Blastoise is actually one of the few pokemon whose Green sprite I prefer over his Blue one. I'm not a fan of this sprite. Something about it just seems... off. He looks inflated. Anyway, I went with Blastoise obviously to match the version mascot once again.

Moveset:

Surf -- A respectably strong STAB move that I honestly didn't mind having over Hydro Pump due to the increased accuracy, though due to Blastoise's bulk, he can afford to miss a couple times.

Blizzard -- I tend to prefer the weaker but more accurate variants of these moves, but again, Blastoise can usually afford a miss here and there and let's not forget that Freezing is absolutely broken in gen 1. Once a pokemon is frozen, it cannot be thawed unless it's hit by a fire-type attack that can burn or an item is used to heal it. If you don't have an item to heal, that pokemon is as good as fainted. Though the main purpose Blizzard has on this team is type coverage as it helps Blastoise to deal with pesky grass types, the multitude of birds Gen 1 loves to throw at you, and of course the tyrant that is Dragonite.

Earthquake -- More type coverage to help Blastoise get out of sticky situations with Electric types. It's also just a decently strong physical attack to help him deal with special walls like Alakazam.

Mimic -- This doesn't really serve much of a purpose, but I actually find Mimic to be a very fun move in gen 1. It doesn't get much use later on because the way it works was changed, but back in good ol 1996 mode, Mimic lets the player see the opposing pokemon's moves and choose one to copy for the duration of the battle until it's knocked out or switched out. It can be a fun move to play around with. Unfortunately it doesn't have the same use outside of these specific games so there are other moves that might have been a better choice.

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Arsene (Aerodactyl); This pokemon was... genuinely infuriating. My original plan was to use this pokemon over Fearow because I wanted to use a flying type I didn't normally use. I thought being able to take advantage of moves like Rock Slide along with its fantastic stats would give it an edge in battle... But no. In Gen 1, Aerodactyl learns exactly ZERO rock-type moves. This is a running trend across many pokemon in gen 1, but in Aerodacty's case this even includes TM compatibility.  I am never falling into the trap of trying to use Aerodactyl in Gen 1 again. Still, I tried to do the best I could with the tools I was given.

Moveset:

Dragon Rage -- Dragon Rage is a strange move. It's the only offenseive Dragon-type move in Gen 1 so you'd think it's strong against dragons, right? Well... no. Dragon Rage is a 40 HP fixed-damage move which means it isn't affected by type match-ups at all. It's always been this way and always will be, but what makes it so strange is how it was hyped up in the anime to be this all-powerful attack when it can literally do no more than 40 HP. Late game, that's usually around a fifth of the opponent's health if you're lucky. The goal of Dragon Rage really isn't to do a lot. It's more so to guarantee a kill or just the opposite in the case of catching pokemon. It's always nice to have a fixed-damage move if you can't have a priority like Quick Attack.

Agility -- Speed is king and that is doubly true for Gen 1. Unfortunately, increasing your speed artificially through moves like Agility doesn't actually increase your crit chance, but still getting a head start on the opponent can really be the difference between life and death in some situations. It's always good to have a status move like this to use on the off chance the opponent goes underground or flies into the air.

Fly -- Unfortunately Aerodactyl's best choice of flying move. It's either this or Wing Attack. It's not a great move for battle though. Not only does it take two turns to hit, but it has a pretty reasonable chance of missing. So expect to waste a lot of time if relying too much on this move.

Double-Edge -- I'm usually not a fan of recoil moves, moves that damage the user by a fraction of the damage dealt. They just don't have enough longevity for a single-player run. You use it a few times and now you have to switch your lead pokemon or slap some potions onto it. Still, in gen 1 you don't have to worry about recoil if you can finish the opponent off, so it's got some good uses competitively. Plus, Aerodactyl could use the extra hard hit.

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Sauna (Snorlax); I wanted to get a little experimental with this build. I wanted a pokemon that could take advantage of Gen 1's special stat to the max and while I was originally looking at Chansey or Clefable, one move in particular on Snorlax caught my eye: Amnesia. This move isn't too notable in later games, but here, it sharply raises your Special stat. Which is basically like if Swords Dance both raised your attack AND defense by two stages. This move is incredibly powerful in Gen 1 and is known by very few pokemon for that reason.

Moveset:

Fire Blast -- I think I could have gone with a better special move for this build in hindsight, but this was the best one I had access to. Fire unfortuantely just doesn't seem super useful in Gen 1 because there aren't many good grass types out there and there are very few ice types that aren't also part water to cancel out that weakness. Plus, a lot of good pokemon resist it. It has its niche uses, but if I were to redo this build I'd definitely go for Psychic here.

Amnesia -- The key to making this build work. Amnesia was given to Snorlax presumably to bulk up its defenses. However, by slapping a Fire Blast onto this beast, that special stat can be weaponized! Maxing out Snorlax's stats is very easy since he's so bulky by nature. All you really have to do is hope the opponent doesn't crit while you tear away at their health. Even if you don't end up using Fire Blast at all, that extra defense will still help immensely.

Rest -- A must-have for any Snorlax. Though a bit toxic and boring of a strategy to play, when desperate it's a good fallback. Just stall out with Snorlax and rest whenever his health gets low -- just make sure you're watching the damage you take as it's rare Snorlax will be able to outspeed his opponent.

Double-Edge -- Snorlax really doesn't care if he takes recoil damage. He has so much health it'll hardly affect him. Even though this is a special build, his natural attack isn't too shabby either.

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Lola (Jynx); This is another pokemon I've always wanted to try out. I was stuck between choosing her or Starmie, both were incredible options, but I do not regret my choice to go with Lola. I decided to go with Jynx because I felt that this was a pretty significant relic of pokemon history as this gen, as well as gen 2, featured the infamous... racially insensitive design. I certainly don't believe there was any ill intent in this design, especially given the way its' animated in Stadium seems to imply that it's not really a black face so much as eyes and a mouth hovering in a black void, but I can definitely see how some might be offended by such a design so I suppose it's a good thing they changed it. I also wanted to use this pokemon because it was a pretty big footnote on the Japanese Blue, so having Lola here is like a sort of spiritual representative of that version.

Moveset:

Ice Beam -- Since Jynx is a lot more delicate than Blastoise, I figured it was best to give her the more accurate ice-type attack. Besides, the STAB boost on top of Jynx's naturally high special helps to balance Ice Beam's lower power out. Almost nothing can survive a hit form this. And if it's something that can, then that's what I have the next move for.

Psychic -- Another really powerful STAB move. Easily tears through almost anything physically oriented. Specially oriented? Psychic still reduces its special stat occasionally. You can never go wrong with a good Psychic.

Lovely Kiss -- I haven't mentioned it till now, but while Ice is much more broken in gen 1, Sleep isn't much farther behind. A pokemon can fall asleep anywhere from 1 to 7 turns in gen 1 and to make matters worse, the turn they wake up, they can't attack. In other words, you could fall asleep for seven whole turns and finally wake up, only for your faster opponent to laugh and use hypnosis again. In competitive battling, there are rules to help combat this, and for that reason I don't think relying too much on moves like Lovely Kiss is a good idea, but in a pinch it can be useful!

Reflect -- I've mentioned that Jynx is pretty delicate, so setting up a Reflect which in gen 1 halves all physical damage until she's switched out, is a good way to cover your bases. 

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Watt (Electrode); I told you you hadn't seen the last of him! Electrode was a really good pokemon in Green and I couldn't wait to use him again in a more competitive field. Unfortunately, Electrode does fall into a similar boat as Aerodactyl in that his natural learnset doesn't include a single electric type attack in gen 1. However, unlike Aerodactyl, he actually does have TM compatibility and some damn good compatibility at that! Nothing outspeeds this thing and it's powerful to boot. Once the opponent's finally widdled its health down? It's time to go boom!

Moveset:

Thunderbolt -- A generic STAB move. Pretty much his main purpose is to spam this as much as he can.

Thunder Wave -- If a single Thunderbolt isn't gonna take it out, then it might be a good idea to paralyze it with Thunder Wave and switch out. You don't need to worry about any damage it'll take in the process, it's surprisingly durable and as I said before, it's gonna outspeed almost anything your opponent throws at it.

Light Screen -- This one didn't really serve much of a purpose, but he learned it naturally so I figured what the heck. It could have a use somewhere. (Admittedly, I initially let him learn it because I thought it worked like it does in gen 2, covering the entire party at once. I was wrong, unfortunately...)

Explosion -- When all else fails, Electrode is really good at blowing up. Usually, when this thing comes out your opponent will send out any ground types to wall it. These ground types are usually pretty bulky in their own right so I like to blow up and take a huge chunk of their health right then and there so I don't have to worry about switching into an earthquake.

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Maug (Magmar); It felt like if I was going to be playing Blue version, I should be taking advantage of at least one version exclusive. That honor of course went to my token fire-type. Magmar is another pokemon I've always been curious about. I'll be honest, he did kinda fail to impress, but that was probably most likely due to the lack of use for fire types in general.

Moveset:

Flamethrower -- Another basic STAB move. Again, I tend to prefer these weaker but more consistent moves because I hate being in the heat of the moment only to miss a vital Fire Blast or Thunder. Magmar's Flamethrower is respectably powerful in its own right.

Strength -- Moreso just here for convenience in the single-player adventure. Though Magmar is a pretty decent mixed attacker so I figured I should take advantage of that somehow.

Confuse Ray -- One of the best status moves in the game. Confusion is dangerous. It can turn a one turn kill into a 5-turn kill because you keep hitting yourself. Confuse Ray is 100% accurate, meaning it's either going to force a switch to cure the confusion or stall for some time which works well in conjunction with

Toxic -- If you don't know what to do to a wall, throw some toxic at it and watch it crumble. The damage builds up every turn so unless they have a way to cure the poison, they're done no matter how much damage they can tank.

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I definitely enjoyed playing through Blue, but by the end I was feeling a bit burned out. I had just gotten done playing a game that was almost identical to this one and now I was having to do the same thing again. As I said previously, there are very few changes between Red and Green and Red and Blue, and my choice to play Blue version instead of Red meant that I didn't even get the benefit of having different version exclusives. Still, it was fun once again playing from a different perspective and raising pokemon for the purpose of competitive battling. This was a system I was going to follow with each main series game going forward as it worked wonders here and I was only going to learn from my mistakes and improve with time!

After the Japanese Pokemon Blue's release date comes Pokemon Stadium, but probably not quite the one that immediately comes to mind.

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The next game on my list, released on August 1, 1998, was Pocket Monsters Stadium, a Japanese exclusive predecessor to the Stadium we know and love internationally. This game is actually a prototype of the international Pokemon Stadium that was modified for retail release. If I have my understanding correct, this was because Pokemon Stadium was delayed after being moved from the 64DD to a standard cart. This game doesn't actually feature all 151 pokemon. It only had 42 which mostly consisted of final form pokemon. You can find the list of which pokemon were available in this game here.

I didn't spend much time with this game because obviously it was all in Japanese once again. Still, I poked around at the game's various modes. It really does just feel like a prototype of the familiar Pokemon Stadium. I was able to load my data from Green into here, so I was able to use my team. I didn't last long in any of the modes, though. partially because I couldn't read and partially because half my team was unavailable and my team in this game wasn't really designed for competitive use. 

It was a cool experience though, and it was just as surreal hearing a japanese announcer commentating the battle. There wasn't really much else to say, though. It was just a gutted Pokemon Stadium.

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I honestly expected more spinoffs along the way, but the very next game, released on November 12, 1998, was Pokemon: Special Pikachu Edition Yellow Version. I had mixed feelings going into this one. On one hand, this was the most unique and seemed to be the most polished version of the Gen 1 games with lots of learnset improvements, adjusted encounter rates, and just all around more accessible gameplay. On the other, I was had only a brief pitstop after my burnout during Blue. As much as I was enjoying Gen 1, I was also kinda sick of it. I hoped my experiences with this game would help me through it.

Pokemon Yellow is a special version of the Gen 1 games that was designed as a reference to the anime. Remember how Ash caught a Pidgeotto in Viridian Forest? How silly! you can't encounter one there! Well, now you can! Though, strangely enough this comes at the cost of being unable to catch Weedle. Yeah, Yellow has some odd pokemon exclusions, but when planning out what to do with this game, I got a bright idea. Why don't I actually try to catch 'em all? It's a difficult task, but I've done it in ORAS and again in SM. Completing the pokedex in gen 1 shouldn't be nearly as tough and I'd already carefully selected my one-of-a-kind pokemon in my playthrough of Blue so as not to contradict a playthrough of Red I'd done long before. With this in mind, i quickly got to work, cramming as many pokemon as I could into pokeballs. To help me in this gargantuan task, I decided not to make a party plan ahead of time but rather to focus my team on one simple rule: Only use pokemon who have level-based evolutions that are not available in the wild. The goal this time was to save time in catching 'em all. Basically, any time I found a pokemon whose evolution wasn't available in the wild, I would make room for it on my team and bump off a fully-evolved pokemon. Surprisingly enough, there actually weren't too many pokemon that fell into this category. Meaning I was still able to keep a relatively consistent team throughout the story. Since I didn't really have much of a plan, I'm not going to bother detailing their movesets here.

I will say, though, that it seems the sprite artists finally struck an agreement with the art director because the sprites in this game look incredible! It probably has to do with the game being based more on the anime than the other games, but all of the pokemon sprites are created to fit Ken Sugimori's iconic designs. THough there are some unfortunate losses in design, the spritework is overall so much better than the awkward drug children we had before.

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My final Team in Yellow:

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Poncho (Pikachu); You can't play Yellow and not keep your Pikachu around. It's basically a sin! That said, it's easy to forget that Pikachu is... not great. It really can't do much of anything but Thunderbolt and Thunderwave. It will never take a hit and if it doesn't one-shot the opponent, it's going down.

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Venus (Venusaur); Using Vensaur was strangely cathardic for me. It was like greeting an old friend even though it was only a couple weeks ago I'd played Green. Anyway, there was some information I do wish I had going into this game when deciding Vensaur's moves. In gen 1, the way Toxic's damage is calculated actually affects damage dealt by leech seed as well. In other words, toxic's damage will increase every turn but so to will the damage dealt by leech seed, and they stack. You can eat away at a lot of a bulky pokemon's health and heal a lot off of it in the process thanks to this little trick. Might be good to know for future reference. Unforutnately, I didn't know this at the time and stupidly replaced Leech Seed with Toxic. I couldn't resist giving him Mimic, though!

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Apollo (Charizard); I definitely could have designed this moveset better. I didn't realize until too late that Charizard could actually learn Swords Dance by TM. I wanted to take advantage of that but I had already given him the Dig TM with the intention of giving Earthquake to Mercury for type coverage. I really should have thought that through better because Earthquake on Apollo would have been a much better choice. Between Dig and Fly, all of this pokemon's moves turned out to just be too slow to be especially useful. It really is a shame because he had a lot of potential that I squandered because I was too antsy with an early game TM.

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Mercury (Blastoise); For Mercury, I tried to go for a more ideal setup but instead was given the dreadful reminder that I needed HMs. Mercury's moveset turned out to be almost identical to Skuttle's but with Ice Beam instead of Blizzard and Strength instead of Mimic. Skuttle definitely proved to be the better Blastoise.

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Donut (Hypno); I really enjoyed using Hypno briefly in Green and if it wasn't for HM's I would have kept him there. Needless to say, I was excited to find that I had an excuse to use him again with this catch 'em all run. Being able to put wild pokemon to sleep really helped with catching them, too!

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Darnius (Dragonair); Once again, I couldn't quite get it to evolve. This time it wasn't coincidence however, as I was very careful with the leveling of my pokemon fro reasons we'll discuss soon enough. 

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I was worried catching all the pokemon would prove to be a boring and repetitive task, but it actually proved to make things much more exciting! What's more, the very different encounter rates and modified learnsets made the game much more interesting as I was constantly surprised by what pokemon would appear in each area. Though there were some bits of frustration here and there (I will never set foot in that Safari Zone again!!) I actually enjoyed myself a lot this playthrough. I think it was because I had a goal to work toward. Of course, actually completing the pokedex would take some time as there was one more game I would need to bring it all together...

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[Edit]: The video I originally linked to here was removed so like the next post, I'll just be using the commercial instead of the title screen since I can't find a video of it.

It seems 1998 was around the time GameFreak realized they struck gold with their favorite yellow mouse because immediately following Yellow is another Pikachu game: Hey You, Pikachu! for the N64. Release on December 12, 1998, this was a very fascinating game for its time but... I didn't really get much time to enjoy it today. You see, this game took advantage of specialized hardware, always a fun thing to deal with when working on projects like this. Unfortunately, this voice recognition software is apparently really difficult to emulate. I've tried looking all over the place for a way to emulate the N64 Microphone but I couldn't find any way to do it. I can't exactly drop a whole bunch of cash on a physical copy of this game and the accessory required for it and I don't see it being re-released anytime soon due to the nature of the game. It's a shame, because this is a game I've always been curious about, but it seems I just may never get this chance. Perhaps this game will just become lost as a relic of the past...

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I couldn't find a video of the intro, so here's the commercial for the game instead!

But, do you know what isn't stuck as a relic of the past? This gem! The Pokemon TCG has always been a strange experience to me. Yeah, I knew the rules and had a general idea of how to play, but trying to figure out which strategies worked and which ones didn't was always a headache. The modern metagame is filled with all sorts of cards with overwhelming effects that just kind of leave me feeling discouraged from ever really getting into it. The Pokemon TCG isn't the only card game that's made me feel this way and for that reason, I've always loved TCG video games. They do an excellent job of easing you into the mechanics, though they do often come with a major problem: Your starting deck always sucks. This game is no exception, though by following a few quick guides, I was able to pick up on some game-winning deck-building strategies in no time. It was just a matter of survival until I could get some better cards to work out my deck. I don't usually like grinding in video games, I tend to just throw myself at whatever is in my way until it caves. That was true in this case. I wasn't going to take the cowards' way out and just grind out until I got all the best cards, I went in with what I had and built my deck along the way. It was tough getting started and at first I wasn't certain I would bother sticking it out until the end, but once I got a good deck going, I was so glad I kept pushing!

I started with the Squirtle & Friends Deck, so it only seemed natural to end with a deck built around Blastoise's signature Rain Dance. The deck took advantage of the Breeder trainer card in conjunction with as many squirtle and blastoise as I could get. Everything else was just draw power, search power, and energies. Since nothing seems to resist water, Blastoise's Hydro Pump just decimates any opposition. The only thing that can really stop it once it gets momentum is parahaxing, but overall I found it to be a very consistent strategy. Of course, the deck certainly could have been improved as I was missing a few staples by the end of the game, but all in all, it worked out quite well.

I thought it was really cool that this game included cards that were exclusive to the game as well and took full advantage of the fact that it's a video game to do effects that would be impossible or overly convoluted in the actual card game, such as random number generation and pulling energies out of thin air. I very much enjoyed this game, though I'm not sure how I'll go about the sequel... Not being able to read the cards would be a tough limitation I'd have to fight through. I may have to skip it but I'll at least look into it. Maybe there's a fan translation somewhere?

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Kicking off the year 1999, we're going to be starting with a somewhat silly choice to include on this list, but I felt this was a very significant part of Pokemon's history that should not be ignored: it's inclusion in the Smash Bros. series! The first installment of which was initially released on June 21, 1999. 

The big question I had to ask myself with this one was: What exactly should I do to qualify "beating" Smash Bros. in respect to this list? Well, I think it would be a bit ridiculous to worry about absolutely everything the game has to offer when we're just focusing on it and its relation to Pokemon, so I decided to focus primarily on the game's Pokemon-related content. However, I still want to go through the various modes each game has to offer.

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Pokemon actually just happens to be one of the most represented franchises in Smash 64 with two characters, a stage, and the Pokeball item. The latter two of which contain many cameos of a variety of pokemon from the gen 1 games. 

My plan of attack for "beating" Smash 64 in this series, I was going to play through 1P Mode using the two Pokemon characters on Normal difficulty. If I failed to clear either of the bonus stages, break the targets or board the platforms, during that playthrough, then I'd jump back in and do those bonus stages directly from the main menu until I cleared them. Lastly, just for fun, I'd do a standard 3-stock battle between the two pokemon characters on the stage Saffron City with the pokeball item only on high. Yes, it was chaotic, but I did win and isn't that all that counts?

Anyway, going back to this game, I found it really difficult to get back into. Maybe it's just because I'm used to Ultimate's gameplay, but something about this one just felt really clunky to me. I found it difficult to perform Smash attacks with the N64 joystick. I think I found a preference for Jigglypuff since she doesn't really rely on her Smash attacks to deal some pretty devastating blows. I've never been particularly good at Smash, but I do enjoy beating up some AI every now and then. I enjoyed this little change of pace and I certainly intend to include future Smash Bros. games in this series. 

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Pokemon Snap is the next game on the list! Released on March 21, 1999, this is a game I have fond memories of as a child. It's still a very endearing game with lots of personality. I remember being seriously disappointed realizing we never got a Snap 2 featuring pokemon from Gold and Silver, but I guess you just gotta let some things go. Anyway, Pokemon Snap is a very simple game and quick to beat. All you have to do to "beat" the game is to take a photo of Mew on the final track. However, there's a second credit roll if you manage to take a photo of each of the 63 pokemon in the game. Yes, 63. And yes, that's including Mew. What a disgusting joke somebody pulled on us.

In all seriousness, it does seem there was planned to be 64 pokemon in this game as beta footage does show the Pokemon Ekans in an african safari-themed track that doesn't appear int he final game, but Ekans is unfortunately absent in the final game. 

When it came to my approach toward this game, I decided to take it a bit seriously. I wanted to at least get a photo I was satisfied with of each pokemon. This can be really tough, as a lot of pokemon are in very awkward positions or on opposite sides of each other. You really have to be on your toes to get the best pictures and nine times out of ten if you think you have a perfect picture, Professor Oak will disagree.

To this day, I still have no idea how Oak judges your photos. It seems inconsistent. He wants the pokemon to take up a certain percentage of the frame, but not too much. He sometimes wants the entire pokemon to be in frame but sometimes the pokemon is just too big to fit entirely in frame from up close. Taking a photo from afar in such a situation? What a crime! 100 points! You were close! I suppose in a way it does accurately portray the life of a freelance artist. You never really can totally satisfy your clients, can you? 

That aside, this was a fun, cute little game that made for a relaxing joyride while we slowly march toward the upcoming madness this series was going to throw at us. 

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...and madness it certainly brought with our little gift from April 14, 1999. This game. Ooh, this game. This was actually a game I was particularly excited for. The criteria for "beating" the game seemed really simple. At first, I was just going to go until I cleared all of the bonus stages in the game. Then, I modified that requirement to just clearing one bonus stage. Eventually, I just said "fuck it" and just tried to open a bonus stage. I couldn't even do that. I couldn't tell if I was missing something, but no matter what I did, I could not for the life of me catch three pokemon in one game, nor evolve a single one. I knew how to do it, and I got really close several times. But the process felt insane. Something about this game made it so that I just never felt like I was in control. There were points where the ball would be rolling onto the paddle, I'd flip the paddle, and the ball would just clip through and fall down into the gutter. How could such a fundamental technique in pinball be so broken? I'm not very good at Pinball myself, so I suppose it could be my own lack of skill, but I've never had this much trouble with a pinball game before. I never recalled having these problems with the Ruby and Sapphire pinball game, so I'm certain there's something wrong with the way this one is programmed.

Everywhere I look, this game is highly praised by critics so I can only assume that there must be some technique to it I'm missing, but as far as I could tell, this game was just a broken mess. The hitbox for the pokeball felt way too big and could only get through the slots if hit at the perfect angle and don't even get me started on how janky the blue board is. 

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the idea of this game. Pokemon and Pinball weirdly enough are such a perfect blend. It really gives you a fun objective to work toward while you enjoy your game of pinball. I just felt that the enjoyment was lost on me with the frustration of being unable to do anything I tried to. At the very best, this game came off as a very difficult pinball game to master. In the end, I walked away from this game lowering my clearing requirement to simply playing a few games to the best of my abilities on each board and called it a day. A very long, tedius, and frustrating day.

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The next game, released on April 30, 1999 in Japan as "Pocket Monsters Stadium 2," we finally get to the big bad final boss of Gen 1! There is a lot of content to this game, so I really had to buckle down to see everything this game had to offer. This was perhaps the game I was most hyped for because this is a game my family has owned for over 20 years now and by locking my self in to finally completing this game, I was going to be unlocking a lot of content that has never been touched on our copy before. I'd actually been using the lab in this game to store items I wasn't using in the main games. It was just a simple workaround for the annoying inventory limits of these games for a more comfortable experience.

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This game is split between several modes and it was going to take the combined efforts of all my gen 1 playthroughs to complete it. To get through this game, I was mainly focused on clearing Round 1. I wasn't worried about Round 2 because you really don't get anything for clearing that. In order to complete Round 1, you need to focus on two main modes: Gym Leader Castle (in the top left) and Stadium (center screen) modes. Stadium mode is divided even further, but more on that when we get there.

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Gym Leader Tower is a rough representation of one's journey through their gym challenge adventure. Its focus, however, is less on travelling across Kanto and more so on the gyms themselves. Here, each of the gym leaders own their own tower and posses the key to the next one. The player has to visit each tower in order to climb their way up to the Pokemon Leage and the top of the castle. Don't underestimate this task, though, as it is not an easy one. The trainers you'll face off against have much more well-rounded teams than you might expect. Make sure you come in with a good balance as if you're challenging the elite four. You're gonna need your best team. Your pokemon need to be at least roughly the same level and they also need to be at least level 50. Your opponents' levels will default to 50, but if you have any pokemon higher than that, all of your opponent's levels will scale to be equal to your strongest pokemon regardless of whether or not that pokemon participates in the battle. This means that bringing in your level 70 Mewtwo you just caught with a master ball fresh out of the Pokemon League is going to put you at a massive disadvantage with a bunch of ~Lv 50 pokemon against a full team of Lv 70's. I personally elected not to grind my pokemon out just to excuse using Mewtwo and instead opted to focus exclusively on the pokemon I used for my journey. For this mode, the pokemon were identical to my final team in Blue:

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009.png Skuttle

101.png Watt

143.png Sauna

124.png Lola

142.pngArsene

126.png Maug

===========================

In each tower, you'll have to battle three gym trainers before you get the chance to challenge the gym leader of the tower for the key to the next one. As previously stated, many of the teams you'll be facing will surprise you with unexpected pokemon and moves. Make sure you don't just bring a bunch of pokemon that have a type advantage against the gym's type or you will be countered hard. The first couple gyms aren't too tough but things start to get harder around Erika's gym. Sabrina's gym is where things start to really ramp up and Blane's gym is perhaps the hardest. Still, with a well-prepared team, nothing here was too terribly difficult. 

One key difference between battles in Pokemon Stadium and in RBY is that before each battle, both players look at the pokemon in the others' party and select three pokemon from their team to participate in the battle. This means all of the battles are three on three rather than six on six which causes battles to go by much faster, but also means you're going to have to be a bit more strategic about the pokemon you choose. Your opponent just might have some surprising tricks up their sleeve so try to anticipate everything their pokemon could have, not just the moves you immediately associate them with. That Snorlax just might selfdestruct on you, that Wigglytuff might freeze your ground types over with a harsh Blizzard.

Once you defeat Giovanni's tower, you'll unlock the pokemon league tower. Here you'll battle the Elite Four one after another. I haven't mentioned it till now but the music in this game is incredible. I absolutely love the remixes here in Gym Leader Tower especially. I'm mentioning it here because you get to hear some of the best tracks in the game right here at the Pokemon League, perfect for the intensity of some of these battles. In order to clear Gym Leader tower, you'll have to defeat the Elite Four and then the Champion all in one go. If you lose anywhere, you'll have to start all over from Lorelei. A neat touch is that if you're using a Gameboy team like I am, the champion's team will change depending on your choice of starter or, in the case of Yellow, whichever form his Eevee evolved into. Of course, if you're using a team of rentals, he will also have a generic team.

I don't recommend challenging the Gym Leader Tower with rentals as, in my experience, the rentals aren't very good. Many of the highest evolved form pokemon are lacking in their moveset and the pokemon with good moves tend to be the first and second forms. You'll have to find a good balance of stats and moves which might prove to be challenging. You're always at a distinct disadvantage, though it's never technically impossible to do. I do tend to use rentals for a few modes in Stadium, though.

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Stadium Mode is divided into four cups. This is my least favorite part of this game if I'm being honest. Each of these cups are designed to give the spotlight to a specific group of pokemon, but actually getting competitive level teams to fit the criteria of each of these categories pretty much takes an entire playthrough to do. It's rough and they expect a lot out of you. For this reason, I actually do recommend just using Rentals for some of these, but the Poke Cup and Prime Cup you may want to use a GB team. Just know that the levels will not scale here and in the Prime cup, all of your opponents will be level 100 so be prepared.

The best thing about the prime cup is that there are no restrictions to the levels you can use, so you can raise your pokemon as much as you like. As for the Poke Cup, things get a little bit more annoying here. You might think on the surface that the level 50-55 range implies you'd want a team of level 55 pokemon, but you would be dead wrong. The maximum level may be 55, but each individual battle also has a separate level cap. The total level of the three pokemon chosen for battle cannot exceed 155. This means that if you have one level 55 pokemon, the other two pokemon you choose must be level 50. It's an annoying limitation that the game isn't really upfront about. For maximum flexibility, try to make sure your team is exactly level 51, with exactly two pokemon at level 52. That way, no matter what, you can have any combination of three pokemon on your team without exceeding 155.

For the Poke cup, I used the same team as in Gym Leader Castle. This is why I was careful about leveling in my Gen 1 playthroughs.

So, how are you going to get your pokemon to level 100 for the prime cup? Really easily, actually. Just use the Missingno. Glitch to multiply rare candies and vitamins. It may be considered cheating by some, but the alternative is battling the elite four over and over and over, grinding all the way to level 100. This is just a method to speed up the process. Keep in mind these same pokemon just may prove to be useful for more than just gen 1. The vitamins are extremely important as just increasing a pokemon's level through Rare Candies isn't going to give it the stats it needs to deal with equal level opponents in a competitive field. You can feed a pokemon each type of vitamin until it won't take anymore. Then move on to the next vitamin. Once your pokemon is maxed out, it actually doesn't matter if you do this before or after leveling to 100. Just deposit it in the PC and bring it back out and its stats should be maxed out appropriately. If you want a quick and easy way to do this from Pokemon Stadium, you can simply head over to the Gameboy Tower which is actually a buit-in Gameboy Emulator capable of playing any Gen 1 pokemon game. 

The Prime Cup was the ultimate final challenge. I used a hybrid team of pokemon from Blue, Yellow, and my old Red file and I wasn't afraid to bring out everyone's favorite secret weapon since nothing is off limits. My final team for the Prime Cup was:

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150.png Khan (Mewtwo)

Psychic, Barrier, Hyper Beam, Amnesia

149.png Darnius (Dragonite)

Hyper Beam, Dragon Rage, Thunder Wave, Blizzard

009.png Skuttle (Blastosie)

Blizzard, Earthquake, Seismic Toss, Surf

034.pngFirma (Nidoking)

Surf, Earthquake, Thunderbolt, Rock Slide

101.pngWatt (Electrode)

Reflect, Explosion, Thunderbolt, Thunder Wave

085.pngPrince (Dodrio)

Drill Peck, Fly, Tri Attack*, Agility

*note: Tri Attack doesn't inflict status ailments in gen 1. It's just a generic Normal-type attack.

(For tacky, novelty sake, I decided to color code the pokemon with the game they're originally from)

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All four cups play relatively the same. You go through a series of eight battles. Clearing a battle without losing a pokemon grants you a free continue. If you lose a battle, you can use a continue to try again. If you lose a battle with no more continues, it's game over and you have to start all over. Consistency is key. You may get screwed over by RNG every now and then but if you're losing too frequently, you may want to reevaluate your strategy to ensure you aren't relying too much on luck. This is again why I prefer the more accurate but weaker attacks. It's better to deal damage that doesn't kill than to miss entirely. If an attack is super effective and targets the right defenses, it will almost always one-shot the target regardless of its power unless it's an especially weak move or weak pokemon unless the target is especially bulky. In which case, you're going to want to take another approach rather than just blindly attacking it till it dies. 

You don't get much for clearing the Petite or Pika cups on their own, but you'll need to clear them in order to complete Stadium mode. They weren't too much trouble with a balanced team of rentals, though.

The Poke and Prime cups, though, those contain multiple tiers and they honestly get pretty tedious. You'll have to go through the Poke Ball, Great Ball, Ultra Ball, and Master Ball Cups in order to clear these cups. But upon clearing one of them, you'll unlock the Doduo Gameboy which will allow you to play a Gen 1 game in the Gameboy Tower at double speed. Clear both of them and you'll unlock the dodrio gameboy which lets you play the game at up to 4x speed. This is immensely helpful for hunting down especially rare pokemon for pokedex completion as well as any other tedious grinding you need to get out of the way. 

Once you've cleared all four cups in Stadium mode, it will be cleared. If both Stadium and Gym Leader Castle have been cleared, the sun will set and a familiar challenger will appear. 

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The final boss of Pokemon Stadium, Mewtwo, is honestly a joke after everything you've been through up to this point. Just use the same team you used against the Prime Cup and paralyze him early on and he'll be done in no time. Defeating him plays the credits, marking the end of Pokemon Stadium and unlocking Round 2 where you can use Mew as a rental pokemon! That is, only in Prime cup. If you're above using glitches then this is the only way you're going to get a Mew legitimately registered in Victory Palace in Stadium. 

Anyway, I'm not to worried about going through Round 2 because we still have a whole other Pokemon Stadium game coming up. I definitely enjoyed playing through this game in spite of the tedium. It was well worth it to see all these features being unlocked that have been 20 years in the making for me personally. I can't tell you how excited I was just to have the Doduo tower unlocked, let alone Round 2! Seeing all my hard work pay off in such a beautiful way made this whole adventure through gen 1 feel so damn worth it. But that doesn't mean we're quite done with this one because there's still some features I wanted to take advantage of to aid me in pokedex completion. But first, why not wind down at the kids club?

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I didn't spend too much time here, but I do recall this being my favorite part of the Pokemon Stadium games as a kid and for good reason! All of these minigames have a surprising amount of depth to them. They all feel like they'd be right at home in a game of Mario Party and they all have so much character and personality. I still love them to this day! Though... loving them doesn't mean I'm too terribly great at them. I suppose I could have forced myself to unlock the Hyper difficulty, but that involves winning five times in a row against the hard AI and three of these games are button mashers, three are rhythm games, and another requires precise flicking of the N64 control stick. Yeah, no thank you. About the only games I can consistently win at are Clefairy Says and Sushi-go-Round and I don't have any intention of blistering my thumbs mashing buttons for a side mode in Pokemon Stadium 1 thank you. They're all fun, mind you, but not so much when you have to take them too seriously.

Anyway, back to pokedex completion. There are several pokemon I've been unable to evolve for all this time. For that, I needed to head to Professor Oak's Lab where he has all sorts of useful tools for us. Of all of these, though, the Trade Machine is our guest of honor.

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I had to order a second transfer pack for this, but this is a fantastic way to get the highly sought-after trade evolution pokemon that are normally barred behind the requirement of having a second gameboy and a link cable. Instead, all you need are any two versions of gen 1 games and two transfer packs. You can trade pokemon here using your N64 as a link cable! You can even watch your pokemon evolve in 3D! Needless to say, this made my inner 90's kid very, very happy.

With all this in play, a little playing around with the PC to withdraw all the necessary pokemon into Yellow, the easiest game to complete the pokedex in since you get all three starters without the need to go through tedious trading sequences, I was able for the first time in my life, to complete the pokedex in a generation 1 game! Going to the director in Celdadon City with a pokedex of complete entries for 150 pokemon (that's right, Mew isn't required!) let's you view a diploma as proof!

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(This image is ripped from Bulbapedia, not the same diploma)

With this final achievement, I can finally say goodbye to Gen 1. Kind of. Any Pokemon fan knows that Gen 1 never really goes away, but this marks the official end of the generation as the next game finally takes a leap into generation 2 with Pokemon Gold! I have to say that I actually enjoyed playing through gen 1 a lot more than I thought I would. I was expecting that by the end of playing through effectively the same game three completely different times, I'd be bored out of my mind by the end, but I actually thoroughly enjoyed each playthrough for different reasons. This has really given me a whole new appreciation for this generation where I used to just look at it as an overrated, unfinished, glitchy mess. I really hope this series helps to change my mind on a lot more generations going forward!

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Eros Angel

I played pokemon red when it first came out and loved it, I of course did the Lost Number  cheese to give myself 99 Master Balls to sail through the endgame.

Oh Pokemon, I wonder if I'd have fun with a new Pokemon game or if they have changed too much? Is the core experience still fun I wonder?

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1 minute ago, GM Angel said:

I played pokemon red when it first came out and loved it, I of course did the Lost Number  cheese to give myself 99 Master Balls to sail through the endgame.

Oh Pokemon, I wonder if I'd have fun with a new Pokemon game or if they have changed too much? Is the core experience still fun I wonder?

I think so! The series definitely has changed a lot and there are a lot of new features that have been added. I'm not a fan of how much the modern games have been babied down in terms of difficulty, and some of the design decisions almost seem backwards. It's almost like they're adamantly fighting against people who want a challenge. Still though, if you're just looking for casual fun and love pokemon for their designs and want to see them moving around and interacting with each other and you, then Sword and Shield really aren't bad choices for that! Some things may be a bit overwhelming at first, though given the vast array of new pokemon, types, abilities, etc. I've started getting into old man territory where I've stopped remembering the names of a lot of newer pokemon. (I thought I'd never live to see the day!)

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Eros Angel

Cool, I'll definitely check it out, haven't played a good hand held since I finished Breath of the Wild on the Switch(which I use as a handheld)

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1 minute ago, GM Angel said:

Cool, I'll definitely check it out, haven't played a good hand held since I finished Breath of the Wild on the Switch(which I use as a handheld)

I hope you have fun!

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Well, the latest game I've finished for this series is Pokemon Gold version, originally released on November 11, 1999. This marks the official launch of the second generation of Pokemon and I was more than excited to jump into this game! I actually bought the copy of Gold I've been using at Pensacon this year and I've been waiting to play it till this moment. After Stadium it was the next big milestone I couldn't wait to reach! When I realized this game was next I couldn't wait to get started on planning for it, only to then begin to realize just how many problems were going to arise from this...

You see, I quickly realized that were Gen 1 had TM/HM compatibility issues, Gen 2 has very bad Pokemon accessibility issues. This game was a HEADACHE to plan for. Every time I thought of a pokemon that might be cool to use, I'd realize said pokemon was only available near the end of the game where it would be severely under leveled and just plain difficult to get ahold of and it would only be obtainable well after it could ever be useful. I was baffled by how many iconic generation 2 pokemon aren't available till near the end of the entire adventure. Larvitar? Mt. Silver. Okay, that's understandable, it's a pseudo legendary. How about Mysdrevous? The only Ghost-type aside from Gastly... Also... Mt. Silver. Houndour might make for a good dark type! Oh... Route 7... in Kanto. A Johto pokemon that can only be found in Kanto. Slugma, who is the single most generic fire-type from Gen 2 is also only available in Kanto. That's fine. You can get Eevee, right? Maybe I'll just get a Flareon! As if. You can only get the evolutionary stones in Kanto. No, if you want a Fire-type and it's not Cyndaquil, you're getting a Growlithe in Gold or a Vulpix in Silver. That or you can use Ho-oh which I'm honestly not against here. Electric types? Mareep or Magnemite. Oh, wait, you can get Voltorb, too! All you need is a thunderbolt TM! Except... there's... no Thunderbolt TM. Instead you have Thunderpunch which Voltorb and Electrode can't learn. 

This is a major problem I found myself struggling with in Gen 2. It is extremely difficult to create a well-rounded team with how limited your options are over the course of the game. Every time I end up playing these games, my team just ends up looking the same which is incredibly frustrating. I always set out with high hopes of using new pokemon I've never used before but I end up using almost the exact same setup. Even when I try to set out to try something new, I always have second thoughts at the end because I realize just how valuable every other team member I have is. For a game with a character like Elite Four's Karen who suggests a true trainer should try to win with their favorite pokemon rather than the strongest ones, which is a sentiment I totally appreciate, they really seem hell-bent on forcing you to use a very specific set of pokemon. I haven't even gone over the HM's which are far more intrusive this time around.

Returning from Gen I are Cut, Flash, Surf, Strength, and Fly. But now, there are two extra HM's: Waterfall and Whirlpool. Two water moves. Waterfall is an interesting counterpart to Surf as it's a little weaker but comes with a chance of flinching but the two moves are moreso interchangeable and definitely should not be on the same pokemon. Waterfall is an atrocious move that does barely any damage and only has the advantage of trapping the opponent in battle... for... as little as two turns. It's a very situational move at best and again something you don't really want on your team. So now Whirlpool makes a third useless HM move and Waterfall is a completely unnecessary duplicate of surf. In other words, if you don't want these four moves on your team, then you're gonna need not one, but two HM users because no one pokemon can learn all four! I would suggest Psyduck to be one of your HM users because it can learn many HM moves including Strength, Flash, Surf, Waterfall and Whirlpool. Assuming you have Surf or Whirlpool on a pokemon in your team, this one pokemon can cover all your bases when exploring from the water. Bellsprout can cover the remaining Cut and can also learn Flash. But you may also want to keep Sandshrew handy as it can learn strength, cut and Rock Smash. Oh, yeah, Rock Smash is a thing in this game, but it's just an ordinary TM. Thankfully it's never actually required, but it is if you're trying to catch all the pokemon! Sandshrew can also use Headbutt which is another move used to catch specific pokemon. If you're playing Silver though, you're going to need to get a Sandshrew from the Game Corner in Goldenrod. We all know how much fun that place is.

Anyway, that whole rant about pokemon accessiblity was a huge tangent but I just couldn't help but complain about it all as I found these games to unfortunately be filled with disappointments. Thankfully, though, it wasn't all bad and we can finally start getting into the upsides! Though I definitely miss Thunderbolt, Ice Beam and Flamethrower from gen I's TM pool, Fire Punch, Ice Punch and Thunderpunch aren't too shabby. Though pokemon without fists typically can't learn them, almost anything with a fist can. And that is a huge plus factor to type coverage options. This means that your team can cover its bases much more easily than in Gen I where it was often weirdly rare for a pokemon to even know a move of its own type, let alone a type to cover its weakness. Even though I don't appreciate how samey my teams always turn out to be, I'll give an A+ for at least allowing each of my pokemon to be a lot more capable of defending themselves when push comes to shove. My final team in Gold and Silver:

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Spr_2g_157.pngSpr_b_2g_157.png

Quilliam (Typhlosion M); Charcoal

Fire Punch, Thunderpunch, Sunny Day, Iron Tail

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Spr_2g_181.pngSpr_b_2g_181.png

Maria (Ampharos F); Magnet

Thunderpunch, Fire Punch, Light Screen, Thunder Wave

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Axel (Quagsire); Leftovers

Surf, Earthquake, Amnesia, Strength

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Spr_2g_241.pngSpr_b_2g_241.png

Dairy (Miltank F); Pink Bow/Przcurberry

Shadow Ball, Milk Drink, Curse, Return

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Spr_2g_067.pngSpr_b_2g_067.png

Muscle (Machoke F); Blackbelt

Seismic Toss, Rock Smash, Focus Energy, Cross Chop

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Spr_2g_250.pngSpr_b_2g_250.png

Ra (Ho-oh); Sharp Beak

Sacred Fire, Steel Wing, Fly, Earthquake

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Yes, I am aware that Ho-oh is banned in certain modes in Stadium 2. I do have every intention of temporarily replacing him with a Crobat for the purpose of the Poke Cup and I also intend to replace Machoke with a Tyranitar for the Prime cup. I'll also likely give held items a bit more thought before actually preparing for Stadium 2. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.

 

Anyway, I don't totally hate Gen 2, but this playthrough did remind me of a lot of the negatives I'd forgotten about. I think I'll probably have a better time playing through Silver knowing ahead of time what to expect and how to deal with it. I may even include some fresh new faces to the team. I'll have to see where my plans go. I did very much enjoy a lot of the playthrough. The music in Gen 2 is fantastic, especially the remixes of the Kanto music which is an unnecessary more than welcome surprise! I will say though that the level scaling in this game could use some work. When you know the game has 16 gyms as opposed to RB's 8, you would expect to end at a higher level, right? Well, when all was said and done and I'd collected all 16 badges and faced off against Red... Yeah, my pokemon were still around level 50 compared to Red's huge level spike all the way to 81 on his Pikachu. Granted, his absurdly high level only made his battle that much more intense. This was the first time so far I've actually felt pressured to use items in battle, though that was mainly because I really wanted to keep my team within Pokecup range and didn't want to overlevel by grinding to defeat Red. I'll definitely say exploring Kanto three years after the events of Red and Blue is a really cool experience. While I used to think the more compact design of Kanto was a let down, I actually found myself appreciating it more as it made getting around a whole lot easier. Although, there are some oddities like how you suddenly have to use cut to get around Fuscia City while that bush used to only be a shortcut. 

I haven't addressed my favorite aspect of gen 2, though, and that's the characters. I absolutely love the variety of personalities they gave the gym leaders they all feel so much more alive than in the previous gen. Sure, you had some interesting leaders in Gen 1 like Sabrina, the child prodigy who doesn't actually enjoy battles, or Lt. Surge the war veteran, but for the most part the gym leaders just stood around waiting to be battled. Here, a lot of them interact with you in a different way. Chuck throws a strength boulder before comically noting that it doesn't actually have anything to do with pokemon battling, Whitney cries upon being defeated and Clair downright refuses to admit defeat even after losing her battle. Even some of the returning gym leaders seem to have more character or expanded stories, like how Koga advanced to join the elite four, entrusting his gym to his daughter or the comedic scene where you stumble up on Misty and end up ruining a date. Overall, gen 2 just seemed to have a lot more wit and humor to its characters and I haven't even scratched the surface of the fascinating character devlopment relating to Silver or the touching encounter with Jasmine who refuses to leave a sick Ampharos' side. 

All in all, I have very mixed feelings about Pokemon Gold. Gameplay-wise, I definitely think it could use some work, but the story, characters, and world are filled with fascinating details that completely dwarf that of Red and Blue. I suppose I'd sum the comparison between the two up as Kanto going for a more modern, urban feel while Johto goes for more of a historic, rural feel which I just find that much more interesting. I'm a bit worried about how Pokemon Stadium 2 will play out,but we'll have to wait and see. 

I have a doozy of a story relating to Silver, but long story short, I'm going to have to wait for a new copy of the game to be shipped in. Until then, we're finally caught up to where I am today. I've decided to move on to the next game and I'll retroactively revisit Silver. Going forward in this thread, I think I'll be doing a sort of play-by-play approach where I summarize the things I've done each day. That way you don't have to read massive essays like this to understand everything I did, and I can provide more details and really talk about everything that catches my attention.

Next time, I'll be playing a particular puzzle game that I'm a bit nervous about but we'll see how it goes!

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Now that I've caught up to where I am today, I'm going to start talking about these games as I play them rather than summing up my thoughts at the end. I was originally going to do separate posts after each session, but instead I think I'm going to make a single post and edit it as more thoughts come to me. With that said, the next game I'm playing through is Pokemon Puzzle Challenge.

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This game kicks off the year 2000 on September 21st. I think any puzzle game fan can already tell exactly what it is just by looking at the cover art, but this game basically seems to be a reskinned version of the classic Panel De Pon, or Tetris Attack as it was localized. Interestingly enough, in looking at the unlockables of the game, I actually found out there is a secret code that can be inputted to play Panel De Pon right here! I'm guessing this is was some sort of debug feature using assets from some point in development before the game was reskinned with the Pokemon branding, but it was a neat little discovery I didn't expect to find.

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Anyway, I said in the previous post I was worried about this game. This is because I am no good at vs puzzle games like this. At most I tend to be able to get combos of two or three while my opponent pulls off incredible combos that just dump a lot of junk onto my side. My victories tend to just rely on luck with whatever junk I do manage to send over having to land in just the right spot to jam the opponent's combos. I can just never seem to get a feel for what the definitive strategy is or how long I should try to make the chain before setting it off. To make matters worse, these puzzle games tend to have sharp difficulty curves. I played Tetris Attack on the SNES, the localized version of Panel De Pon with a Yoshi skin of all things, and the game seemed to go well enough up until a few games in where suddenly I had to face off against a boss that just absolutely destroyed me and any hopes I had of beating the game, even on the easiest difficulty. I'm worried this same thing will happen this time around.

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The game seems to have several modes, the first of which being Marathon. This is your standard single-player puzzle game where you just play until you lose on your own. These modes tend to be pretty boring so I didn't bother finishing a game once I felt like I got a hang of the basics. I was able to set up a few decent combos, so I suppose some of my memories of Tetris Attack still remain.

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On the pokemon select screen, there are a lot of unlockable pokemon. Whether or not I go after all of these I think I'll wait to see. As mentioned before, I have looked ahead to see what the unlock requirements are for some of them, but I didn't pay too much attention. We'll have to see how difficult such a task would be. I may not bother. From the start, though, we start with a choice of the three starters and there appears to be four different eggs. I'm not sure what the deal is with those just yet. Maybe we'll find out by the end?

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The next mode is "Challenge," which I assume to be the story mode. In this mode, you play as Gold and walk down a path in this cute little Panel De Pon-inspired artstyle in order to challenge each of the gym leaders from the Johto region using one of your own pokemon against theirs. I'm not sure if your choice of Pokemon matters, but I tried to choose the pokemon with the best matchup against each gym's type just in case a type advantage gives you some sort of advantage.

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Winning these battles isn't anything too tough. Though this is where the learning curve starts as it seems like just clearing blocks isn't enough to damage the opponent. You have to either make combos or clear more than three blocks with one move. There are also special "!" blocks that always seem to damage the opponent, even if they're only destroyed in threes. I can't tell if they deal any extra damage or not though as I'm usually focused on keeping my combos going rather than watching their health. Surprisingly, though, you don't actually get to see your opponent playing the game. Presumably because of the Gameboy's tiny screen. I suppose this is just how the game's multiplayer works. I guess what would normally send junk to the opponent's field just decreases their HP in this mode as you don't seem to have HP of your own.

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As a side note, I did want to mention that some of the gym leaders have pretty weirdly drawn eyes... LIke Bugsy here whose eyes appear to be looking in two different directions.

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I was actually able to get through the gym leaders and defeat Clair pretty easily. Although, despite losing, Clair told me that I still need more training. The fact that the path continues past this point tells me that I needed to perform better in the previous battles to move on and battle the elite four. But then immediately after that, I was met with a "congratulations" screen.

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So I'm not really sure what exactly this means. Do I have to play on a higher difficulty to get the true ending? Do I have to do better combos? Defeat my opponent's faster? The game really doesn't make that clear, but I suppose for now I'll move on and come back here later. I'll look into it online if I have to.

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I should mention that this game does have a training mode, but it's not really that helpful to me.

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"Practice" just puts you into a marathon mode that's severely slowed down so that you can practice setting up combos. I think you'd be better off practicing at normal speed so as not to pick up sloppy habits.

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"Demo" let's you see tutorials that help you to learn more advanced combo setups. It seems the game expects you to use some of these more advanced combos, but it's really overwhelming to think this far ahead in an actual game. Especially when you look at stuff like this:

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Can... people actually set something like this up in the middle of a real game? It seems absurd and requires thinking way too far in advance for me when dealing with other obstacles like junk or the pieces just not lining up properly. I guess the idea is just to take the fundamentals and recognize certain patterns, then just stacking them up like building blocks before pushing them over, but I think these tutorials would be better showing me techniques on how to set these patterns up rather than just doing the combos as already set up. They make it look far easier than it really is.

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The next mode, "Time Zone" sets a time limit during which you have to increase your score as high as you can.

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I was able to get 2nd place on the high score list, so I guess that isn't too bad? 

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The next mode, "Line Clear" seems to be where I'm going to be spending most of my time. Once again, it seems I have to go through each of the gym leaders. Although this time, instead of defeating them in battle, I have to do a different survival challenge with their guidance. Each one has five levels of difficulty and it seems I'll have to get through them all. Maybe I'll pick up some useful tricks that'll help me get the true ending in Challenge mode?

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At the start of each round, the leader will appear and give me a hint with a pretty cool backdrop of their hometown form the games. 

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The challenges themselves aren't anything too difficult to understand. After you survive for a while, a "Clear" line will appear. (It is a clearly visible blinking white line, it just so happens that I apparently took a screenshot during one of the blinking frames). Once you get all the blocks below that line, you clear the stage and advance to the next one.

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Once you clear each of the five stages, you've cleared the round and move onto the next stage. Round 2 seems to be the same gimmick, so I can't really imagine this mode getting any more difficult except for increasing the game speed. Let's just see how this goes!

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Falkner and Bugsy didn't give me much useful information, but Whitney actually provided an interesting bit of info. By performing combos and chains when you're just one row away from losing, you can stop time for longer. I assume this also means you'll send more junk in a versus match or deal more damage to your opponent in challenge mode. This might actually prove useful for knowing when to set up and when to unleash combos. I'll definitely try to keep this hint in mind going forward!

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(Side note: It's difficult to see and maybe its just the hentai enthusiast in me, but I swear it looks like they drew Whitney and Jasmine's portraits with ahegao eyes. You can't see it well with this aspect ratio, it just looks like they're looking to the side, but the black line is actually the edge of their eye. With the screen blown up in the emulator, you can clearly see that they're looking up. I really can't tell what they were going for but they seriously look like they're doing ahegao faces just without the tongue and I find that hilarious).

Well, immediately after defeating Whitney, I was caught off guard by Morty's stage being a special stage! In this stage, I basically just had to do my best to defeat Morty in a battle. The stage is still cleared even if you fail...

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And that's for good reason because I died within the first two seconds of this stage. I was barely even able to register the pieces I had before I was already out! I'm not sure what the purpose of this stage is or if you get anything from it, but I sure as heck hope the game doesn't expect me to actually win this battle!

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After that disaster in the special stage, I moved on to Jasmine in round four. I haven't actually mentioned it until now, but this game treats Jasmine as the 5th gym leader in Johto which technically isn't wrong, she is the fifth gym leader you meet, but in Gold and Silver, Chuck is listed as the 5th gym leader and Jasmine the 6th. You can battle the later half of the gyms in any order you want, so no order is technically wrong, but I just thought this was an interesting note.

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Regardless, this is the point where the game's difficulty really starts to catch up. I suppose there's a reason they gave you such a vital hint in the previous round because Jasmine herself was pretty tough, but after her was when things started to get really rough! I haven't touched medium difficulty in any of the other modes, but as you may have noticed in Jasmine's round, there seems to be a new, dark blue, color added to the mix, meaning these stages are likely set to medium difficulty. I expected this to be the case since I didn't actually get to set my difficulty of choice, so I suppose we're just gonna have to learn and adapt!

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Chuck kicked my ass. A lot. They really stopped playing around here and I imagine the game only gets harder from here. Thankfully, there don't seem to be any limit to continues so if you fail a stage you can just try again right where you left off. So the game's pretty generous in that respect considering the nightmare it could be.

In each of Chuck's stages, the board starts pretty much right at the top of the play area. Meaning you have to IMMEDIATELY match a set of four tiles in order to stop time or you WILL lose. Freezing time and using that time wisely to set up combos is a must for this round. If I'm going to make it to the end I'm gonna have to get serious about setting up combos and such.

During my struggles with this round, I started to realize a few things that might make the later stages particularly frustrating. For one, luck seems to be a huge factor in this game, or at least this mode. The pieces you get seem to be entirely randomized. This was especially noticeable on Chuck's stage due to the need to immediately match a set of four or more. The randomization meant that sometimes I would just die immediately because there were no quick matches to open up with. 

Another thing is that, when setting up combos, you have to be very careful. It's really easy to accidentally screw yourself over by accidentally matching up a line of three while you're trying to move a piece into place. You could either lose the piece you're trying to move or offset other parts of your chain, ruining the whole thing. It is very frustrating when this happens, so it may be best to try to keep identical pieces away from each other unless they are a part of a combo.

Lastly, I think the main key to winning this game seems to be the ability to remain calm and collected under pressure. You have to move quickly and precisely. Just like in Tetris, it seems that quick decisions are often better than thought-out ones. You really just have to get in the zone with puzzle games like this to the point where you can match up combos and chains with little conscious thought. The more you second guess yourself, the more time you're going to waste. Staying calm is easier said than done, however, especially when the music starts to play telling you blocks are getting close to the top! 

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Pryce says "This is the final round"

Believable words from gym leader 7. Still, his difficulty is very, very high. Stage 6-4 has the same speed as Morty, the one who killed me in less than two seconds, and his final stage is even faster than that. Just like Chuck, if you don't get a combo of four right away, you're done for immediately. One small bit that helps buy some extra time is that, although you don't get an actual time stop, you can quickly match up any pairs of three to get a couple more frames which can help you search for a combo of 4 or more elsewhere. 

Also, if time is frozen and you can't seem to find any chains to set up, it may be more beneficial to focus on clearing out as many of a specific color as possible. With fewer colors to work with, combos will be easier to trigger. You don't have much time to dick around so make every second count!

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And, what a twist! Looks like someone was lying after all. I'm expecting this challenge to be rough, but with enough perserverence, I should be able to win!

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This final battle is actually arguably easier than Pryce's final stage. The blocks start higher on the screen. Still, matching up a combo of 4 right away will help with that. Just like any other stage, you can try again as many times as you want. Clair warns you at the start that you can't win unless you use combos and chains and she isn't lying! There's no getting lucky here! Unlike the other rounds, this one is a battle against Clair. Morty's was as well, but this is one you have to win. In fact, I'm pretty sure this round is identical to Morty's. Still, this shouldn't affect your playstyle. If you've gotten this far without relying on combos and chains then I think that's pretty impressive in its own right. 

When I say this is arguably easier, it's because the match isn't about surviving until a certain point in the game like all the others. This round will end as soon as your opponent is defeated and you only have one stage to deal with. Still, it's no pushover and is more than deserving of the title final boss.

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With a little bit of persistence, I was finally able to defeat the dragon queen and after a total time of 1:25:36, I've finished this mode!

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The credits roll in kind of an odd way. There's no slideshow of all the gym leaders or anything, it's just... Pryce. I guess he was a favorite of the director or something? This one image of Pryce hovers over the screen and it's apparently so important that the credits only get this tiny window about a third of the screen's real estate.

I actually really enjoyed playing this mode despite dreading it going in and I personally think that's one of the highest praises you can give a game. This actually got me excited to give the rest of the game more attention. Hopefully everything else lives up to this one!

Oh, but what's this?

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Secret options!!! Shh, don't tell anyone~

Anyway, looking back, this particular post is really long. I think I'm going to start the next mode in a new post rather than continuing to edit this one. Going forward, I'm probably going to break each game into smaller chapters to cover individually. It's also worth noting I'll only be able to use screenshots for games I'm emulating. Otherwise I'll just have to recount my experiences using whatever screenshots or sprites I can find online. I'm excited to continue the series going forward though, but we're not quite done with this one! In the next post I'm going to be covering puzzle mode!

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Continuing on in Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, Puzzle mode proved to be much more of a doozy than I expected. In hindsight, I probably should have seen this coming, but just like Line Clear, there are a LOT of puzzles to go through.

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Going in, I had no idea how long this would take, but every round has 10 puzzles!

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The object of the mode is self-explanatory. In the allotted number of moves, you have to clear every single block on screen. It starts out with mundane puzzles like this, but obviously things get much more complicated much faster.

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Thankfully, you don't actually have to clear every puzzle. It seems that you only have to clear 8 puzzles out of the ten. In addition, during any puzzle you can press select to be given a hint, though each puzzle only has one hint and you're only allowed to use a maximum of three hints per round. Additionally, the game fails to explain this part, but hints are a consumable resource. You start with three hints and the game tells you you're only allowed three hints per round. It's only natural to assume once you move on to the next round, the hints will return to 3, no? Well, no. In addition to only being able to use three hints per round, you have to earn more than three hints across the entire mode!! It is pretty generous that they offered a hint system at all, but it's kinda rude that they lead you into a false sense of security like that right off the bat. 

So, if hints are consumable, then there must be a way to earn more, right? Well that would be correct!

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By clearing all 10 stages in a round, you'll earn another hint and reveal a silhouette of one of Johto's baby pokemon! 

The first few rounds were fairly simple, but once I got to round 4, things started to get really tough for me.

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This was around where I started using hints because these stages expect you to think several steps ahead. They may seem simple at first but they are almost all harder than they look and the solution almost never involves an immediately apparent chain. For the most part, if you're matching chains in the first couple of moves, you're probably doing it wrong. Most of these puzzles, you end up solving the entire puzzle in a single chain with your last move. There were a few techniques I picked up on over the course of the mode, namely that if there are less than six of a certain color, you'll have to clear all of those pieces at the same time. It's obvious when you think logically, but it's very easy to be tempted into going after a combo of three only to realize you have one or two of the same color left over with no possible matches.

Thankfully, if you make a mistake, you can just press B to undo your last move. 

All that said, I'm going to be honest, I gave up playing this mode on my own merit. It's just too drastically different from the way you play the main game. Where the main game is all about reflexes and instinct, this one is all about slow, methodical planning. It's the polar opposite of the rest of the game! While I get that this may be appealing to some, this was very, VERY boring to myself playing through without a guide. So, I looked up a guide and found this one to be quite helpful.

I started following this guide somewhere around stage 4-6 and used it to speed my way through the rest of the mode. Even with the guide, it still took me over an hour to finish the entire mode. There are 6 rounds in the list, and there was very little variation. It was all just setting up big chains then blowing them up on the last move and I genuinely have no idea how a human being could set these up. Again, puzzle games like these just aren't my forte.

Anyway, once you've cleared 8 stages in every round, you're done! Or so you thought! Because Professor Oak decides to Pryce you at the very end and gives you one last challenge:

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You only have to clear one of the three stages in the final round, but that didn't make it any less annyoing that I still had more to go.

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I went back and finished clearing all 10 stages in all previous rounds to reveal all the silhouettes and you get... nothing. But okay, maybe you get your reward after clearing all stages in the final round?

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I tried just that and was met with another credit roll and... nothing else. 

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I figured maybe revealing the silhouettes of the pokemon meant I'd unlocked them for use in other modes? So, I decided to check out the next mode on the list: Garbage!

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I was a bit surprised to find out that I'd apparently unlocked Igglypuff! But no one else. I figured maybe this was the reward I got, but after looking it up online, I found that Igglybuff is unlocked by clearing Challenge mode on easy difficulty. In other words, I got jack crap for clearing Puzzle Mode other than "bragging rights".

Okay, that's not entirely true, but I think the real reward I got was even more disheartening than nothing.

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...yup. There's a hard mode. 7 more rounds of even more difficult puzzles than before! Before diving headfirst back into hell, I looked up to see if there was anything I got for clearing this mode and I couldn't find anything of the sort. It seems this mode exists just for "fun." And to waste the time of people like me who just want to see everything the game has to offer. So, instead of going through the whole list of puzzles again, I just moved along, pretending I didn't see anything, and minded my own business right back to the Garbage! mode.

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This mode is pretty much identical to Marathon mode except that junk blocks will periodically fall. They can be transformed into standard tiles by clearing a combo adjacent to it. If you're lucky, you can actually take advantage of this and artificially extend your chains! Again, you don't really seem to get anything from this mode, so I just played around in it for a bit before leaving.

With that out of the way, all I have left is to revisit Challenge mode and see what I can dig up. Looking up info online tells me that most of the unlocks in this game are tied to doing certain things in challenge mode on difficulties harder than easy, such as doing high-numbered combos or taking out opponents quickly. I don't think I'll bother unlocking everything in this game because I think I'm already ready to move on, but I will at the very least aim to clear Challenge Mode on Hard because, as I suspected, there are extra challengers after Clair if you play on harder difficulties.

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So, going back to challenge mode, I knew I'd need to play on a harder difficulty but I wasn't sure exactly what that would entail.

Things started off pretty normally. Prof. Elm warned me that there would be more challengers this time around, but other than that, medium wasn't too much harder in the beginning.

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With my newfound skills thanks to Line Clear mode, Falkner was easily dealt with and in the process, I was apparently able to meet the secret requirements to recieve a challenge from Gentleman!

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This was a welcome surprise. Nothing too majorly shocking (no pun intended), just a standard battle against him and his PIkachu.

 

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I was able to defeat him easily enough and my prize was his PIkachu!

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Marching forward into Bugsy's gym, I wasn't sure if using Pikachu was a good idea. I haven't mentioned this yet, but after losing a battle, you lose the pokemon you chose for the remainder of the playthrough. I wasn't certain if merely defeating Gentleman was enough to permanently unlock Pikachu, or if I'd have to also finish the playthrough with Pikachu still on my team. If that latter is the case, however, this was going to prove far, FAR more difficult because later on down the line, things got pretty intense.

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Bugsy and his Kakuna went down pretty easily, though I unfortunately didn't meet the unlock requirements for any of the other unlockable pokemon here.

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The same could be said for Whitney's Clefairy and Morty's Ghastly. Though Morty had me going a little because this was where the big threat of medium difficulty started to take effect. The opponent piles junk onto you like crazy and this is just the start of it. Junk can actually be a bit of a blessing in disguise sometimes if you're lucky enough. But if you're not, it often jams your combos or traps you into a position where it is literally impossible to erase them. It was at this point where I realized using Pikachu definitely didn't seem like a good choice. So after giving him the chance to shine against Whitney, I benched him for a bit.

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Then came my first loss against Jasmine in stage 5. 

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Sure enough, the Cyndaquil I used was gone for the rest of the playthrough. It's weird to see permadeath in an official pokemon game, but I'll just have to work around it. It doesn't seem like type advantage actually gives you any sort of actual gameplay advantage, so I wasn't too worried in that regard. After this encounter, I decided to start using savestates as a precaution so that I wouldn't have to worry about losing Pikachu in any upcoming battles.

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Chuck and Pryce both went down without much of a problem.

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Against Clair, however, I unfortunately lost my Totodile. I wasn't going to load state over him, however, so I pressed on and Chikorita was able to avenge him!

 

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This time, after defeating Clair, she told me there were still more opponents to face. Gold then calls Prof. Elm to ask about said opponents. Prof. Elm tells him to keep marching forward to find said stronger opponents.

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And here we meet the Elite Four! Starting with the Psychic-type user Will and his Jynx!

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This battle was far tougher than Claire's, but I still managed to win. I did have to load state a few times, though.

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But let me tell ya. If I didn't feel save states were justified yet, I certainly did now. Koga was the difficulty spike I was expecting this entire game. You see how even in my victory board, I still had junk at the very top of the screen? Yeah, this entire battle is like that. Your best bet is to just keep matching combos of four and set up more chains and combos in the little time you allot yourself by doing that. Because the moment the screen starts scrolling, you're done for. Koga's Crobat is constantly piling junk after junk and one really annoying thing about this is that, when there's a big block like this one, breaking it once will only transform the outer layers into usable blocks. You still have to brake the inner layer once again. This can really screw you over if you're in a really tight spot. but with enough patience, I was able to persevere.

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A part of me was hoping that issue with the Junk blocks piling up immediately was just a gimmick of Koga's. He did start the battle by promising his technique was tough, but unfortunately for me, I struggled all the same with Bruno. These battles took a lot out of me and there was no way in hell I'd be able to clear them in only four tries. Let alone the three I'd have if I didn't unlock Pikachu!

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Next up was Karen. I don't know if I just got lucky here or what, but I found her battle much, much easier to beat than the others. combos just felt a lot more natural. It was still a high-energy battle and even though I was dealing a lot of damage to her Murkrow, she was also rapid-firing junk at me. But I was able to win with relative ease. So, next up is Champion Lance, right?

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Wrong. 

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Yup. Once again, the game teases us by cutting us off just short of our next target. Karen tells us that we could be even stronger and Prof. Elm calls us to tell us to try once again on the hard difficulty. sigh. Looks like it's back to the drawing board!

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At least this time we get a credit roll! That's new!

As for what to expect out of hard mode, I'm really not sure. I'm hoping I just have to battle Lance and his Dragonite as a really tough final boss, but I also have my suspicions that I may also be battling Red and his Pikachu or Charizard. Maybe not though! Maybe they wanted to keep such an encounter a surprise for the main game only. They could also include a challenge against Gold's rival, but we'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

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As for Pikachu, I stepped into Marathon mode real quick to verify that, yes indeed, we have officially unlocked PIkachu! Do I intend to unlock all of these pokemon? I really don't think so. As much fun as I've had with this game, it's also gotten to the frustrating part and I don't think I want to linger on this game much longer, especially knowing what game is immediately following it. Still, if I encounter any other surprise challengers, I'll do my best to unlock as many pokemon as I can!

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HARD MODE IS SOMETHING I NEVER WANNA TOUCH AGAIN WITH A TEN-FOOT POLE

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Right off the bat, I can see that I start with Pikachu. This tells me that I probably didn't have to worry about keeping Pikachu till the end last time, he was probably just unlocked the moment I defeated Gentleman, but also that, if I were playing without savestates, it would be in my best interest to hop onto medium difficulty and unlock all of the remaining pokemon so that I could go into Hard mode with effectively 9 lives. But that isn't easy.

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Anyway, there's nothing to write home about this mode. Once again, it's just more of the same with tougher opponents than before.

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One bit to note here was that during my battle with Bugsy, I was able to string together a large enough chain to be challenged by Swimmer M and unlock Marill! This is significant, because looking at the unlock requirements, Marill seems to be one of the most difficult of the pokemon to unlock intentionally. I just got it by blind luck!

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Anyway, one after another, I took down all the gym leaders with relative ease, although Clair felt to be on par with the later elite four members of Medium difficulty. That wasn't a good omen. I did lose a couple times along the way, but not nearly as much as I would going forward.

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Will really showed me what the Elite Four was all about. I lost time and time again against his stupid Jynx. I don't know what he was doing on his board, but he was constantly piling junk onto me and it really just came down to luck as to whether or not I happened to have a combo near the top to get rid of the raining bricks. Still, he was nothing too bad compared to the horror I'd have to deal afterwards.

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Koga and Bruno both me apart inside and out. Their strategies involved stringing together chain after chain all at once to absolutely bury you in junk. These battles were where I really came to understand that your worst enemy in this game isn't the junk piling up from above, but the tiles rising up from below. If you aren't paying extra close attention, tiles will pop up from below and clear lines of three without your input. You could be in the middle of setting up for a huge 10-block combo only for a triangle to pop up from below and take away half of the pieces you had in place and offset the rest. Couple this with the frustration of accidentally setting off 3-block combos when just trying to slide a single tile into place and you're in for one hell of a struggle.

I found the best way to counter this was to focus on two main things: Never clear blocks unless you're getting something out of it. Being used to puzzle games like Tetris, it's very easy to get in the habit of just clearing blocks to give yourself a cleaner playing field. However, in this game you'll often find that doing so will leave you with very little to work with when junk falls. In most puzzle games like Puyo Puyo, this isn't too bad because you can just clear the junk by building up combos from above them. But in this game? New blocks come in from below and these blocks cannot be moved further up. This means that, if you don't have any combos to set off in the top few lines and junk falls, you could very well be screwed completely because it will take far too long to clear enough tiles just to get into the position where clearing the junk is even possible. 

Keep in mind that you don't deal damage to your opponent with three-block combos. It's not just very little damage, it's absolutely nothing. Three-block combos without any chaining only serve the purpose of moving other blocks into place, something that is admittedly very difficult to do, or most effectively to clear junk. 

If you're not at the point where you're desperate to clear tiles, then you're not desperate enough to worry about having too many blocks in your play area. Just take your time and set up four-block combos or 2-combo chains at least. The more blocks you have, the easier higher-scoring combos and chains should be to set up. 

Try not to set off your combos until you absolutely have to. I usually try to build onto a combo up until the opponent drops junk on me. That's when I finally set the chain off. BUT BE WARY. Remember the tiles creeping up from below. They WILL ruin your combos!! Don't get too distracted trying to set up a really awesome chain only to lose it all just because a triangle decided it couldn't spawn one tile to the right. 

The other tip I have is to take advantage of the junk tiles! I've mentioned this little trick before, but it's especially useful here. Every time you clear junk, it turns into playable tiles that then rain from above. This can be a blessing and a curse, but if you're quick enough, they often lead to really easy combos. These tiles will transform one by one and until they all transform, they won't fall. This means the larger the block, the more time you have to react. Try to line up the blocks below so there are matching doubles for as many falling pieces as possible to land on. These will count as links in the same chain and, with quick enough speed and a little luck, you can deal some massive damage. It's important to note that fact that larger junk blocks give you more reaction time. This will become very helpful later on.

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Karen was the calm before the storm. Once again, she felt pretty easy compared to her predecessors. Her strategy seems to be to overwhelm you by rapid-firing combos left and right, but as long as you keep your cool and clear them as they come, this battle isn't too bad.

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Of course, this time the game is done teasing us. We get to march forward toward the true final boss of Pokemon Puzzle Challenge: The Dragon Champion Lance and his esteemed Dragonite.

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There's surprisingly nothing special about this battle. He doesn't seem to have any more health, there's no unique gimmick, no new colors. It's just a standard one-on-one game like all the others. But don't let that fool you. This son of a bitch will tear you apart again and again. His strategy involves setting off huge combos and dropping massive blocks of junk onto you. These blocks take two, sometimes even three combos to destroy completely. But, remember how I said you can turn these into easy chains? That's the key to defeating Lance. Use his attacks against him and counter with chain after chain using the colorful rain he provides. You barely have to worry about setting up you're own combos. I'd just keep lots of vertical pairs of twos in preparation to catch the falling pieces.

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Still though, this is no easy battle. Three combos in a row is a tall order. There is a grace period while the blocks are off screen where you can save yourself, but I lost several, several times to this guy regardless and there were multiple times, like this one here, where I could have sword I won but my combo was just frames away from being set off, or barely enough to not kill him.

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Eventually, after several tries, I was finally able to win. Even when I won though, I genuinely thought I'd lost because so many battles really came down to just a matter of frames. I've had close match after close match and lost so many times. I have no idea how I ever would have done this if I didn't rely on save states. This whole mode just feels stacked against you. Winning so many battles with only so many lives. There is some leniency given that you have a maximum of nine tries, that's IF you've managed to unlock the other pokemon, but it felt far too difficult to be beatable with limited lives at all. You do have to remember that this was a handheld game, however. It was likely designed to be a game to come back to time and time again over the course of many months rather than beaten in one playthrough like me. But, I'm sticking to the rules I've established. This isn't all the pokemens I feel like, this is all the pokemens.

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Anyway, this game left me with a cute little message that I promptly ignored. I've already looked online and know that Lance is indeed the final boss. You don't unlock anything for clearing Super Hard mode aside form one more difficulty above even that. Hard was rough enough for me. I. Am. Done.

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As for the pokemon, I did unlock Marill, but there are still four more. Plus, three baby pokemon which I suppose can't be used in challenge mode. If you're curious, the remaining pokemon on top are:

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Togepi, PIchu, Bellossom, and Sentret

While the three remaining eggs hatch into:

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Elekid, Cleffa, and Maby respectively.

I find it odd that Pichu and Togepi aren't counted as babies and can be used in battles while Magby and Elekid can't. It also seems like an odd choice to omit Smoochum, but I'm not gonna lose sleep over it. If you're wondering how to unlock these pokemon, you can find out here. As for how to hatch the eggs, I genuinely have no clue. There is conflicting information on it, but the general consensus seems to be that it just happens as you play the game a lot. 

Anyway, overall, this game did have a lot of fun parts, but surprisingly enough most of the fun I had came from the Line Clear mode. Challenge and Puzzle mode were just way too difficult and tedious for me to really enjoy. By the end, I felt a little burned out on all this puzzle gameplay and I'm really excited to move onto something different!

Hehe... yeah... something... different...

Edited by Aura
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NyxAvatar69
On 05/04/2020 at 18:36, Aura said:

They weren't too much trouble with a balanced team of rentals, though.

*sips nonexistant tea in Pika Cup Round 2 with rentals only*

On 05/04/2020 at 18:36, Aura said:

let alone Round 2

*groans of despair in Round 2 Pika Cup*

 

On 06/04/2020 at 01:43, Aura said:

I'm a bit worried about how Pokemon Stadium 2 will play out,but we'll have to wait and see.

If you're using the team from Gold, you'll probably be fine outside the times you can't use them.

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1 hour ago, NyxAvatar69 said:

If you're using the team from Gold, you'll probably be fine outside the times you can't use them.

That's good to know! I was worried while doing Stadium 1 that I wouldn't be able to use a team from Silver for reasons I'll get into when my copy arrives in the mail, but it seems like that might not be an issue given the next game I have to go through.

*shudders*

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*sigh* Yes, there's ANOTHER one. Literally FOUR DAYS after Puzzle Challenge released in Japan, on September 25, 2000, Pokemon Puzzle League was released in United States on the N64. This game never actually came out in Japan oddly enough, but Puzzle Challenge was. I really have no clue what the story is behind this because, other than the Panel De Pon source and the title, the two games seem to have almost nothing to do with each other. Judging by the branding for this game, it's very clearly based on the anime which, at least in America, must have still been focused on gen 1. 

It's interesting to note that this game actually did come out after Puzzle Challenge. We didn't get Puzzle Challenge in the west until December, and that seemed natural as it included gen 2 pokemon while this one only seems to have gen 1. At the time of this game's release in America, Pokemon The Johto Journeys had already begun airing in America and had been airing in Japan for quite some time. My guess as to why these two games were made came from Japan simply opting to make a new game based on Generation 2 rather than localizing this weird American game form a season of the anime they'd long since moved on from. 

I never really followed the anime too closely, though it was a huge part of my childhood, but I can only assume this game is based on the second season of the Anime which explored the Orange Islands, though it also mostly seems to be its own thing.

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Right off the bat, interestingly enough, this game seems to feature entirely original animated FMV cutscenes in the style of the anime with voice acting and everything! If I had to guess, these aren't actually original animated scenes and are instead just photoshopped versions of scenes spliced together. It's especially noticeable in that second to last shot showing the village. Still, it's a lot of effort to put into a silly spinoff game like this!

Anyway, Ash is relaxing outdoors when he's contacted by Professor Oak on some sort of... poolside computer? Anyway, Oak informs Ash that he's been invited to participate in the Pokemon Puzzle League which is apparently a very high honor. Ash and Pikachu, excited to explore this new type of battling, head straight for... oh geeze... "Pokemon Puzzle League... Village."

I don't know how many of these scenes there are, but I can't imagine there are too many. Probably just an intro and an ending for the main mode.

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After this scene, we're met with a whole new menu. For the most part, these modes seem pretty much identical to Puzzle Challenge.

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Professor Oak's lab is the general tutorial area. Right off the bat, this game gives off a very cheesy DVD-menu vibe which I actually kind of appreciate in a weird way.

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There doesn't seem to be much here, just simple PNG's and brief video tutorials to show how to set up combos and such. But they're all really long and drawn out for no reason compared to the GBC version which had the tutorials in a quick and snappy menu.

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I appreciate having official art of Professor Oak holding an N64 controller, but I don't understand why they felt the need to make these tutorials so drawn out. Do we really need a tutorial on how to move the cursor? I suppose the game is made for children, so hopefully this will be a sign that this game will be easier than Puzzle Challenge? Maybe? God, I hope so... I didn't spend much time at all in here because of how boring these tutorials were. I've already beaten Puzzle Challenge! I know how to put blocks together! I've been lining up blocks since before you were born!

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There is one tutorial which caught my attention, though, and it scares me... I guess this game has a 3D Puzzle mode.

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Oh, and uh... now might be a good time to mention that I'm emulating this game... N64 emulation isn't the best and leads to stuff like this. Nobody... expects me to seriously do a puzzle like this, right? I mean, I can try, but this is disgusting to look at. From what I can tell, this only exists for a single marathon-style mode, so I shouldn't have to worry too much about it, but if it ever shows up in a main mode I might just have to back out.

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This is what the cylinder is supposed to look like, by the way. Mine is just... really broken.

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The Pokemon Center contains options and settings.

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Profile brings up this disgusting monstrosity. This shows the cast of characters and you can click each one to find that they have a selection of three pokemon each, with the exception of Team Rocket who share three pokemon.

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Their iconic Arbok, Weezing, and.... G-Golbat? I mean, Team rocket uses Golbat in the games, but Jessie and James have never once had one to my memory. They easily could have gone with Lickitung or Meowth himself, but I guess there's nothing much I can say. For the most part, everybody just uses pokemon they used in the anime, so this really seems like the odd one out. 

In the game options, you can adjust things like the number of battles in a match and the difficulty of the AI. I assume this doesn't apply to the main mode. You can also change the design of the blocks to the more traditional Tetris Attack shapes if you prefer, but I'm sticking to the badge designs to at least pretend that I'm playing a different game. The Sound options includes a Sount Test which I may have appreciated as a kid but don't mind so much today.

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The Mimic House just contians more boring tutorials. I imagine these give you a chance to practice with hands-on experience, but it just seems like more of the same. I'll pass.

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Well, that's enough stalling. It's time to go into 1P Mode. This I assume to be this game's version of Challenge Mode. I decided to start on easy so I could get a feel for the new mechanics. Maybe this time I won't be forced to do the harder difficulties and the whole experience will be a lot smoother!

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The first opponent is Gary. After a little bit of banter from him, the game lets us both choose one of our three pokemon. I'm not sure if this has any gameplay application, but Gary chose to use Krabby only after I chose Pikachu. I can't imagine this gives you any advantage though. It seems to just be aesthetic. 

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This was actually a huge breath of fresh air. After being destroyed so much in the GBC game, being able to absolutely destroy an easy AI genuinely felt good. I'd better appreciate it while it's here because I can't imagine that will last too long. Still hoping I don't have to worry about the higher difficulties!

I can definitely say it actually is a big help coming off of a version of this game that forced me to make combos of four or more. Comparatively, this game makes me feel like a pro just lining up a basic 6-combo. 

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The next opponent is Brock. There's really nothing much to talk about here, all the opponents went down pretty quickly.

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After defeating Brock, I earned the Boulder Badge! 

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The next several stages, we just went through the numbers. Gym leader after gym leader, collecting the badges along the way.

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Tracey came as a surprise opponent for stage 9, but he wasn't any sort of a threat.

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Likewise, I was challenged by Team Rocket before taking on Giovanni. Again, they weren't much of a threat.

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Finally, I was met face-to-face with the final gym leader, Giovanni.

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Again, this one wasn't tough either and I was able to move on to challenge the Puzzle Master!

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Or... so I was told. Yup, honestly can't say I didn't see this coming. Looks like, once again, we'll be coming back for the harder difficulties after all and I now officially want to die.

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NyxAvatar69
8 hours ago, Aura said:

That's good to know! I was worried while doing Stadium 1 that I wouldn't be able to use a team from Silver for reasons I'll get into when my copy arrives in the mail, but it seems like that might not be an issue given the next game I have to go through.

*shudders*

Let me rephrase what I said before.  I only finished Stadium 2 last year using only rentals (because I don't have any of the stuff to use my own mons nor do I want to spend the money on all that junk).  Gym Leader Castle is fairly easy because gym trainer amounts vary outside Jasmine (who you fight straight away with no extra trainers beforehand) but then the difficulty picks up hard after Jasmine with Clair being a massive wall.  The Elite Four also has two members with really annoying strategies and Lance is still the same "spam Hyper Beam and hope he obliterates everything fast".  Luckily, the Kanto Gym Leaders are just the gym leaders themselves.

As for the Stadiums, Little Cup only allows Level 5s, making it similar to Stadium 1's Petit Cup...except with lower levels, no chance of Level 30s blindsiding you, and items.  The last battle sucks with rentals because you need to pray he doesn't bring Abra because you auto lose unless you crit if he brought Abra because Psychic and high Speed (or just use Houndour, but you need to consider the fact you're doing 8 battles so you need good mons that can handle a variety of situations).  Poke and Prime are standard fare and Challenge Cup gives you random teams, but seeing as you played Stadium 1 and that game already makes you consider strategy on team preview, you should have no issues.  Although...the bot does tend to get a bit bullshitty because during my Challenge Cup Master Ball run, my Tentacruel with +4 evasion got hit by all of my opponent's Snorlax's Hyper Beams and I lost a battle solely because of that.

Also have fun with the final battle.

The rentals are honestly worse in Stadium 2 than they are in Stadium 1, though.  Kadabra and Wobbuffet tend to be mains for most cups, but I'll stop there before I say anything else.

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