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Aura

All the Pokemens

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Aura

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Pokemon League Entrance

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We've finally arrived at the Hoenn Pokemon League and the anticipation is hot! But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We have lots of TM's we haven't used and a lot of our pokemon could use the extra boost. We're going to be making some final adjustments to our team before we continue. Most of these TM's I've obtained in previous posts, however, TM22: SolarBeam is something we haven't touched on. This is obtainable back in the Safari Zone which we still aren't quite ready to thoroughly explore just yet. For that reason, I just dipped in to nab this TM and then left. If you want to do the same thing, then the TM is located in Area 3, the northwestern region of the Safari Zone. You'll need a Mach Bike and Surf to reach this item, so make sure you have these before you enter! You'll also need to have the PokeBlock Case from the Contest Hall in Slateport City in order to have access to the Safari Zone. We'll cover the Safari Zone in more detail later, I'm definitely not forgetting about it!

I taught Marco Ice Beam to help cover its weakness to grass and give it a little better variety in type coverage. This can help it deal with those pesky flying-types and it'll be a good offensive option in case I step on my toes with Drought and hinder Surf. I replaced Marco's Mystic Water with a NeverMeltIce since Surf already gets a boost from STAB but Ice Beam doesn't. I entertained the idea of replacing Protect with Rain Dance to help him out in case of the aforementioned toe-stepping, but since Marco's the only pokemon on my team that benefits from rain, I didn't think that was necessary.

For Seedling, I gave him Shadow Ball because he really deserved a decently strong physical attack to take advantage of his higher physical attack stat. Shiftry's special attack is notably lower, so a potential special defense drop from Shadow Ball could help quite a bit. In addition, I gave him SolarBeam. This works wonders in conjunction with Groudon's permanent sunlight because, just like in Gen 2, SolarBeam doesn't need to charge during harsh sunlight. The high power of SolarBeam really helps makeup for Shiftry's subpar special attack. In hindsight, I probably should have taught Seedling Sunny Day as well since his speed is typically high enough to at least get it out before going down. I could have replaced Nature Power, but I felt that Nature Power turning into Swift could prove useful if any opponents got any really annoying evasion strats up.  I gave Seedling a Focus Band in hopes that it could potentially save him from a fatal blow. Especially dangerous given his weakness to Fire during a drought. Unfortunately, Shiftry really lacks options to cover for his weakness to Fire. The best he has is Dig or Rock Tomb, neither of which are particularly strong enough for this point in the game.

For Rarity, I gave her almost a complete overhaul to her moveset. Gardevoir doesn't actually learn all that many useful moves by levelup. Still, don't underestimate her based on that alone. She's usually able to take a few hits on her own and Light Screen and Reflect can help her stay around longer. They're great support options as well and can set up for easy switch-ins. I also taught her Thunderbolt just to get a bit more use out of her powerful psychic typing. My team lacks an electric type, so I thought this would be a great place to make use of Thunderbolt. For the record, Thunder's accuracy is further reduced during sunlight, so I am far more adamant here than usual that Thunderbolt is a better option over Thunder. (That said, Gardevoir can't even learn Thunder, strangely enough). I gave Rarity the Lax Incense which will potentially help her get some scummy evades.

For Numa, I replaced Amnesia for Sunny Day. Amnesia's main purpose was to help it survive water attacks, but I figured between the harsh sunlight and light screen, he probably wouldn't have any issues with that. Again, I probably should have taught Sunny Day to Seedling instead, but hindsight is 20/20. 

For Zeal, I taught her Return. By this point, her happiness should at least be pretty close to max. I was pretty confident it was significantly stronger than Crush Claw. The 100% accuracy is well worth the swap over Crush Claw which has a chance of missing every time. The only downside is, of course, I'm missing out on that fantastic 50% chance of reducing the target's defense, but I think the extra power and accuracy from Return will be more consistently helpful. I also taught her Brick Break over Detect. I was on the fence with whether to teach her Brick Break to help deal with Steel Types, or Shadow Ball so that she could deal with Ghost Types, but after going through my reasoning for giving Shiftry Shadow Ball, I decided to go with Brick Break for Zeal. Plus, the ability to lift Light Screen and Reflect can really help him out of some tough walls. I gave Zeal the King's Rock as well since she's likely to be outspeeding a lot of pokemon.

I didn't do much to Behemoth. I just gave him Hyper Beam so that he had another powerful physical attack option. You may question why I replaced Bulk Up instead of Slash, but my main reasoning is that I'd definitely want this Groudon to have SolarBeam, which it learns by levelup at a relatively high level. Obviously, he won't be getting it anytime soon, but some planning ahead definitely won't hurt.

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My Team:

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Marco (Swampert M); Lv. 48

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Item: NeverMeltIce

Ability: Torrent | Moves: Protect, Mud Shot, Ice Beam, Surf

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Seedling (Shiftry M); Lv. 48

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Item: Focus Band

Ability: Chlorophyll | Moves: Nature Power, Fake Out, Shadow Ball, SolarBeam

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Rarity (Gardevior F); Lv. 48

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Item: Lax Incense

Ability: Trace | Moves: Light Screen, Psychic, Reflect, Thunderbolt

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Numa (Camerupt F); Lv. 48

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Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Magma Armor | Moves: Sunny Day, Rock Slide, Eruption, Earthquake

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Zeal (Zangoose F); Lv. 48

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Item: King's Rock

Ability: Immunity | Moves: Return, Quick Attack, Swords Dance, Brick Break

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Behemoth (Groudon); Lv. 49

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Item: Charcoal

Ability: Drought | Moves: Slash, Hyper Beam, Earthquake, Fire Blast

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

As we approach the gate to the pokemon league, two employees stop us to check to see if we have all 8 Hoenn League Gym Badges.

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As our badges are checked, it's always nice to take a moment to reminisce over the challenges we've faced along the way. We've certainly come a long way from Littleroot Town. We've claimed Roxanne's Stone Badge, Brawly's Knuckle Badge, Wattson's Dynamo Badge, Flannery's Heat Badge, Norman's Balance Badge, Winona's Feather Badge, Tate & Liza's Mind Badge, and of course, Wallace's Rain Badge. But we've got some of our toughest challenges yet just ahead of us. As the guards look over our badges and step aside, it's time for the final frontier: The Elite Four.

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Elite Four #1: Sidney

The first of the Elite Four is the Dark-type specialist Sidney!

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Mightyena Lv. 46

He opens up with Mightyena which is a bit of an annoyance with its Intimidate.

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I led with Rarity to set up a Light Screen which weakened the incoming Crunch. I then retreated from there.

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Behemoth's drought brought out the sunlight! This is a key focal point of this team's strategies, but it's not always good to bring Groudon out too early. Anyway, I was expecting Mightyena to go for Take Down, but he ended up hitting me with a Sand Attack which is never a fun time. This actually gave me some issues on my first run. I had some very bad luck against Sidney between lots of misses from a single Sand Attack and multiple crits on his part causing some unfair KO's. I feared the worst when my first Earthquake missed, but the next one was thankfully able to connect.

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Sharpedo Lv. 48

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Sharpedo was his immediate response to Groudon's threat. This didn't bode well for him. Once again, though, I missed with Earthquake and he was able to get a Surf off against Groudon, but the power of Surf was reduced thanks to the sunlight, so it didn't hit quite as hard as it could have. The next Earthquake was able to connect and take Sharpedo out!

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Cacturn Lv. 46

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With Cacturn, I took a bit of a risk and went for Fire Blast. This was a point where I would expect to miss, but surprisingly, I actually landed the hit and Cacturn went down in a single shot!

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Absol Lv. 49

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Absol is his strongest pokemon but, honestly, probably not his most dangerous. I was able to get past it rather easily with a couple of Earthquakes. Looking at its moveset now, its only harming moves are Aerial Ace and Slash which honestly aren't great moves to pair with Sword's Dance.

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Shiftry Lv. 48

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Shiftry has some pretty heavy potential to turn my strategy against me. Especially when its initial move is to set up a Double Team. Against all odds, I was able to hit it with Fire Blast as well, though this was a really stupid gamble on my part. I definitely should have switched out here as I had plenty of other pokemon I could have resorted to.

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With that, Sidney was defeated and I could progress!

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MVP: Behemoth

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Elite Four #2: Phoebe

What a cute design! Despite her looks, Phoebe is a specialist in Ghost-type pokemon. She trained at Mt. Pyre where she developed her unique ability to communicate with Ghost-type pokemon.

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Dusclops Lv. 48

As will quickly become apparent, Phoebe has a very annoying role among the Elite Four. Her team will soak up the PP of your team through a variety of ways. For example, Dusclops here has Pressure for its ability. Pressure doubles the PP consumption of all moves used by its opponent while it's on the field. Needless to say, this is very annoying in an endurance round. Make sure you pack plenty of Ethers and Elixirs!

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I decided to lead this fight with Numa with the hopes that a full-powered eruption would be able to make quick work of her first pokemon. Unfortunately, Dusclops barely held on thanks to damage range and was able to get a Shadow Punch off to reduce Numa's HP. Thanks to this, my next Eruption would be weaker, allowing her to heal and get a Confuse Ray going. I decided to take the gamble and try to attack through Confusion with Earthquake and the gamble paid off! I was able to take out Dusclops with just Numa!

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Dusclops Lv. 51

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Up next, she brought out another Dusclops. This one happens to be her strongest pokemon and it's well-equipped to deal with a variety of pokemon types! It doesn't hesitate to show off its reach by absolutely destroying Numa with an Earthquake.

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I brought out Seedling next with the intent to Shadow Ball him to death, but instead, he caught me off guard yet again with an Ice Beam, taking Seedling out in one shot!

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Finally, Behemoth was able to turn the tides and take out Dusclops.

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Banette Lv. 49

This is another pokemon capable of hindering your PP. This time, with the move Spite which will decrease the PP of the last move used.

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However, it's going to have to survive an attack in order to use this!  With Earthquake, I was able to take it out rather easily.

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Banette Lv. 49

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Second verse, same as the first. However, by this point, Behemoth's Earthquake was out of PP, so I'd have to resort to Fire Blast for that last opponent!

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Sableye Lv. 50

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Well this is a joke. Sableye is a rather pathetic pokemon that isn't capable of doing much, especially at this point in the game. It doesn't have any weaknesses thanks to its Ghost/Dark typing, but its low defenses make it so that hardly matters. I was able to connect a simple Fire Blast and finish the fight.

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Of course, after a battle with Phoebe, you're more than likely going to want to use some of your Ethers or even Elixirs to fix up your PP. You've still got a few more fights to go and the opponents only get tougher!

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MVP: Behemoth

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Elite Four #3: Glacia

Now this battle is a bit of a handful against my team.

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Glalie Lv. 50

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Opening up against Glacia, I led with Behemoth, but it's rather important that keep Behemoth alive. This is because almost every pokemon on Glacia's team knows Hail, which can immediately interrupt Drought's perpetual sunlight. For now though, Behemoth should be able to make quick work of Glalie with a simple Fire Blast, and that's exactly how it played out.

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Sealeo Lv. 52

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Her immediate response to Groudon, naturally, is one of her Sealeo. This thing was going to go for one of two options. Either it would try to take Groudon out as quickly as possible with an Ice attack, or it would use Hail to switch the weather in its favor. I decided to take this as an opportunity to swtich out.

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This was a good chance to get some use out of Rarity's Thunderbolt! Of course, I'd have to set up Light Screen first. Sealeo caught me by surprise by using Dive. A pretty odd choice for a move, but I figured I'd take the free turn to set up Reflect as well. Now, with a few Thunderbolts, I was able to take Sealeo out.

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Glalie Lv. 52

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She definitely wasn't about to make things easy for me by sending out another water type against Rarity. I decided to wait it out until Light Screen faded before I used another one to switch out. In the meantime, I went for Psychic. Glalie's crunch reduced my special defense and my health was getting low, but now I was able to set up another Light Screen before Rarity went down. 

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Zeal could finish the job! I set up a Swords Dance while he went for Crunch and... got a crit, completely nullifying the point of Light Screen. It was fine, though, because I had a Swords Dance under my belt and a Brick Break would surely... allow him to hang on once again due to damage range. But okay, as long as he doesn't... crit... again... Okay, game.

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I brought Behemoth back out to deal with Glalie once again. I didn't want to bring him back out so soon but my hand was kind of forced here. With a Fire Blast, I was of course able to take out Glalie in spite of her Full Restore.

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Sealeo Lv. 50

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She has another Sealeo! Once again, I needed to switch.

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Anticipating the Hail taking the sun away, I brought Marco out to enjoy the change of venue. With a few Mud Shots, I was able to take out Sealeo rather easily.

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Walrein Lv. 53

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Up next was her Walrein. It tried for a Sheer Cold which is an especially dangerous one-hit KO attack that can easily shut down many strategies if you're simply unlucky. Thankfully, it missed me and I was able to get a few more hits in. The next turn, though, Walrein went for Surf and took Marco out with a crit.

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Once again, out came Behemoth to bring the sunshine. Thankfully, Walrein didn't seem to know Hail! Instead, it went for Blizzard. I was able to take the hit and respond with an earthquake before Behemoth was taken down to another Blizzard.

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Since the sunlight was still out, though, my win condition had already been met. With Shiftry out, I was able to use SolarBeam to finish the fight.

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And now, Glacia was defeated and it's time to move on toward the final member of the Elite Four.

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MVP: Seedling

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Elite Four #4: Drake

Our final opponent is Drake the Dragon Master.

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Shelgon Lv. 52

Shelgon is his lead and this is a very bizarre pokemon for his team.

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I led with Marco because this Shelgon has a strange affinity for the move Rock Tomb. I guess the idea is to slow you down to ensure you can't outspeed his pokemon, most of the rest of his team is so fast that won't ever be a concern for him. Even against Marco, all he did was spam Rock Tomb. Still, I won't pass up a free KO with Ice Beam!

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Altaria Lv. 54

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Up next was an Altaria who opened up with Dragon Dance, so I was able to get a free Ice Beam in on it. It used Take Down to try and get some use out of that increased attack, but it was too little too late and I was able to take Altaria out as well.

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Flygon Lv. 53

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Flygon came next and was naturally able to be taken out with an Ice Beam, but not before it was able to whip up a Sandstorm.

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Flygon Lv. 53

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Another Flygon came but was still unable to defeat Marco.

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Salamence Lv. 55

Now came the big baddie of Drake's team. The Dragonite of Hoenn: Salamence.

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There was no way Marco was holding its own much longer, and Drake quickly proved me right with a Dragon Claw. 

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And here is where I made probably the stupidest decision of this entire playthrough. I thought it would be a great idea to bring out Behemoth and use Hyper Beam! Only problem is, now I've just set up Drought... and Salamence knows Flamethrower. And all of the benefits from sunlight absolutely do not help against Salamence in the slightest... wwwwoops...

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Numa was able to put up a pretty solid fight here. With some solid luck with Rock Slide, I was able to get it to a reasonable hope of victory for my next pokemon before Numa was taken out.

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Finally came Rarity. Of course, Salamence could easily outspeed her, so I had to cross my fingers and hope she'd be able to tank a Fly. Sure enough, she survived with a little less than half HP! From here, a Psychic was all it took to finish the job and defeat Drake!

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With Drake defeated, it's time to press on again...

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MVP: Marco

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

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The elite four are now behind us as we climb the stairs toward the climax of our adventure. What powerful opponent awaits us at the top?

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My Team:

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Marco (Swampert M); Lv. 50

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Item: NeverMeltIce

Ability: Torrent | Moves: Protect, Mud Shot, Ice Beam, Surf

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Seedling (Shiftry M); Lv. 49

Spr_3r_275.png Spr_b_3r_275.png

Item: Focus Band

Ability: Chlorophyll | Moves: Nature Power, Fake Out, Shadow Ball, SolarBeam

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Rarity (Gardevior F); Lv. 49

Spr_3r_282.png Spr_b_3r_282.png

Item: Lax Incense

Ability: Trace | Moves: Light Screen, Psychic, Reflect, Thunderbolt

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Numa (Camerupt F); Lv. 49

Spr_3r_323.png Spr_b_3r_323.png

Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Magma Armor | Moves: Sunny Day, Rock Slide, Eruption, Earthquake

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Zeal (Zangoose F); Lv. 48

Spr_3r_335.png Spr_b_3r_335.png

Item: King's Rock

Ability: Immunity | Moves: Return, Quick Attack, Swords Dance, Brick Break

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Behemoth (Groudon); Lv. 51

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Item: Charcoal

Ability: Drought | Moves: Rest, Hyper Beam, Earthquake, Fire Blast

(Behemoth learned Rest upon level up in the middle of one of the previous battles)

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

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Vs. Champion Steven

It's time to face off against the Champion of Hoenn, the most powerful trainer in the entire region: Steven Stone!

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Skarmory Lv. 57

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Right off the bat, Steven isn't holding anything back and neither should we! He opens up with a Skarmory who loves to use Toxic. A rather familiar strategy if I do say so myself. However, this Skarmory differs a bit from my strategy with Katana. Instead of stalling time with Fly and Sandstorm, he plans to use Spikes to hinder our switching. This is no good for my team which is why I opened up with Behemoth. With a solar-powered Fire Blast, Skarmory went down pretty smoothly. It even missed with Toxic, which is an extra tick for luck on my side!

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Aggron Lv. 56

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Aggron came next and naturally went down rather easily to an Earthquake.

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Cradily Lv. 56

This Cradily is probably the largest pain in the butt on this team. Its Rock and Ground typing is a very strange typing indeed. It's extremely defensively built, but don't underestimate its offensive capabilities either! This isn't anything like good ol' Lung who we just threw into storage after it evolved.

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Yes, I'd hoped an Earthquake would be enough to take it out, but alas, I was wrong and it was able to hit me with a harsh Giga Drain, taking out Behemoth and healing a lot of the damage I'd just dealt.

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My next best bet, or so I thought, was to bring out Zeal. But while I was setting up my Swords Dance, he was able to get some lucky crits in and take Zeal out. Okay...

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I went for Seedling next. A Fake Out didn't do a whole lot, obviously, but I wanted to see how much SolarBeam would do next. It wasn't too shabby and another SolarBeam would probably take it out! That is, if it didn't throw a Sludge Bomb at me, taking out Seedling as well!

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I needed to come up with a plan to get rid of this thing and fast, so I brought out Rarity next. I set up a Light Screen with the hope that Marco would be able to survive at least one Giga Drain from this beast. In the meantime, Cradily started spamming Ancientpower which was very scary. The last thing I needed was for this thing to get its stats boosted.

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Thankfully, spamming Ancientpower made his moves pretty predictable, so I was able to safely switch Marco in. Thanks to the combined efforts of the rest of my team, Cradily's HP was just low enough to surprise it with an Ice Beam and finish it off! Oh, but if only that were the end of the battle... We're only halfway through!

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Armaldo Lv. 56

Next came Armaldo and, thanks to the sun, Surf was weakened.

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Still, my options were rather limited at the moment, so Surf it was! Thanks to the sunlight, I wasn't able to take it out, but there wasn't much Armaldo could do to me in return. It just used Water Pulse presumably trying to confuse me. He failed to get the confusion and I was able to take him out with another Surf.

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Claydol Lv. 55

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This one seemed like a gimme, but you can't be too sure. It opened up with Light Screen to reduce the power of my Ice Beam, and since there's sunlight I don't even have the benefit of hoping for a freeze with Ice Beam! At this point, I'm kind of convinced that I'm not going to win. Ice Beam isn't doing nearly enough damage to take this thing out as quickly as I would like and if Marco goes down, nothing else will be able to deal enough damage to take it out! However, somehow, Marco managed to survive an Earthquake from this thing with miniscule HP remaining. I was able to get one last Ice Beam which was capable of finishing Claydol off!

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Metagross Lv. 58

But it was far too soon to celebrate just yet; I had one last trial before me. Steven's most powerful pokemon: Metagross.

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This matchup was not going to end well with Marco's low HP. Sure enough, he went down in seconds. Not only that, Metagross was able to get an attack buff off of Meteor Mash!

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This truly felt like the end of the line. One hit from Metagross' Earthquake and Numa was done for. There was no way Numa would be outspeeding this thing either. Not with a Camerupt nearly 10 levels below it. My only hope was for the quick claw to trigger here. If Numa went down, it was game over for sure. I hoped against all odds that the claw would trigger and, sure enough, Camerupt moved first on the next turn! With STAB full-HP Eruption plus the bonus from sunlight and super effective matchup, I was able to take out Metagross in one shot without it ever getting the chance to damage me!

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And with that, Steven Stone has been defeated.

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MVP: Marco

Trust me, I wanted to give MVP to Camerupt for that impressive clutch victory, but I don't think there was any one pokemon I was relying on more for this fight than Marco. Let's not forget how much of a hindrance Cradily was and don't underestimate that Claydol as well! Without Marco I wouldn't have been able to deal with either of those massive threats. It was all thanks to Marco's efforts that Camerupt even had a sliver of hope. I think Marco is very well deserving of MVP status here!

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Upon defeating the Champion, May rushes into the room ready to give advice but quickly realizes that you've already won! Professor Birch follows shortly after her and mentions that he'd told her she didn't have to worry about your ability. She seems embarrassed by this, but congratulates you on your win! Finally, Steven interrupts and leads you into the Champion's Room where your team can be registered into the hall of fame.

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

And after being registered in the hall of fame, all pokemon on my team were awarded the Champion Ribbon and we're met, of course, with the credits!

[Not my footage! The game displays various pokemon registered as "caught" in your Pokedex during the credit roll. This player obviously wasn't focused on catching all the pokemon so that's why you see so many of the same pokemon!]

I have to say that I absolutely loved playing through this game. Honestly, I think I've fallen in love with this generation all over again. I used to assume my fondness for Hoenn was just due to nostalgia, but playing this game through once again has really drawn my attention to all the cool details that really didn't need to be there at all. You can really feel that they were truly aiming to create the greatest pokemon game of all time with this game. There's definitely some very valid criticisms here and there, and even I have mentioned several areas the game could have been improved, but overall, I loved this experience. Everything about this game from the level of detail in the graphics  to the incredible soundtrack and even the characters... While the gym leaders definitely do take a backseat this time around compared to Gold and Silver, none of the gym leaders really being particularly memorable, I think I can appreciate their attempt to take the world in a different direction. They do such a good job making important story points feel foreboding and while there were a few points here and there where I did end up a little overleveled due to my persistence for hunting wild pokemon, I still had a good deal of difficulty with most of the parts that were intended to be difficult. The battle against Norman really was no joke and that wasn't even due to any self-imposed rules. I really did have to go all out against him, even busting out the items from my bag. Granted, I probably would have had an easier time with a team I'd planned from the start, but maybe we'll just have to wait and see how that pans out when we move on to Sapphire!

But for now, there's no point in getting all sappy just yet. There's still plenty more to explore in this game! The postgame here isn't nearly as expansive as in Gold and Silver, but there's still some nice things we've unlocked. In addition, there's also quite a few features of the game we haven't even touched yet! I'm going to try and see it all so buckle up because next time, we're starting the postgame!

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Player_Bedroom_RS.png

As per usual, starting up the game again after defeating the Elite Four brings you back to your home. Some things are a little bit different, though. 

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[not my trainer card]

If we check our trainer card, we can see that our card is now bronze! What does this mean? Well, there are several accomplishments you can work toward for filling out this card. I can't guarantee I'm probably not going to go through the hassle of getting all the stars, but we'll at least touch on what the requirements are for each one. 

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As we head downstairs, we find both of our parents together! Norman approaches us and gives us an S.S. Ticket from Mr. Briney. With this, we can take a ferry from Slateport or Lilycove out to the Battle Tower! We'll touch on that when we get there. In addition, we can find the TV is flashing with a news report of a Blue Pokemon that has been spotted roaming the skies of Hoenn! This is yet another detail we'll have to come back to another time. For now though, I think there's a few more bits of cleanup I want to do before really delving into the postgame content here.

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

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I think it's finally time to address that gimmick I've been talking so much about here on Route 119.

When you fish here with a super rod, you're normally only going to be encountering Carvanha. However, on this particular route, there is a special exception to the standard fishing encounter tables. On six random water tiles somewhere on this entire route, the encounter table is actually slightly different.

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On these specific tiles, we can find the ugly duckling Feebas! There are lots of strange mechanics this pokemon is built around, so we'll be dedicating an entire post to this little guy. We're going to be starting with our method of seeking him out. I'm not sure if it's possible for Feebas to appear at the northernmost part of the water above the waterfall, but just incase, I'd start up there and work your way down. According to bulbapedia, Feebas has a 50% encounter rate on any of the Feebas tiles, however I felt that I was encountering them a bit more consistently than that with the Super Rod. Still, even if you fish on a Feebas spot, you're not necessarily guaranteed to encounter on your first try. Still, with six tiles across the entire route, it's very unlikely you're going to pass all six without encountering a single Feebas as long as you're systematically checking every single tile along the way. This actually isn't nearly as much of a hassle as I expected it to be. It looks intimidating on the surface, but some portions of water are completely inaccessible. In this unfortunate case, you aren't completely doomed.

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Once you've searched all reachable tiles on the entire route, you can fly to Dewford Town and change the trendy phrase at Dewford Hall by speaking to the man standing outside of it. On the surface, one would assume this was completely unrelated and it's totally reasonable to think that way. But, changing the trendy phrase also somehow miraculously changes the Feebas spots on Route 119 all the way on the other side of the region. I have no idea how you're supposed to figure this out when playing blindly, but I suppose it's just another one of Hoenn's infamous cryptic secrets. I guess the idea is that some lucky player would randomly encounter Feebas while fishing and breed it for all their friends. I have to say, I do kind of miss this culture of absurdly rare pokemon. It made pokemon like Feebas a lot more attention. Anyway, you might assume that, since changing the trendy phase changes the Feebas spots, that the Feebas spots must be determined by what the trendy phrase is, right? Well, no. Instead, changing the trendy phrase simply re-randomizes the tiles. You can easily verify this by finding a Feebas spot during one trendy phrase, then changing the phrase and changing it back. It's highly unlikely the same tile will have Feebas again. This is just an option to resort to if you can't find any Feebas with your current arrangement.

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Once you've found your Feebas spot, don't think you're done just yet! Why? Because we're going to have to evolve thsi pokemon and it takes a bit more than just raising it up like any other pokemon. You'll want to take note of which tile it was at and check the Feebas' nature (alternatively, you could catch several before you leave the spot). You're going to want a Feebas with a Rash, Quiet, Modest, or Mild nature. For the record, I've been using this guide on GameFAQs for advice on how to evolve Feebas. It doesn't provide anything particularly new, but it's a lot of information that's compiled into one convenient area for quick reference and it helps with advice on where to get some of the rarest berries that will be important for evolving Feebas. This is why we skipped out on the Berry Master before.

In order to evolve your Feebas, you're going to have to level it up with a high beauty stat, which is a whole new mechanic we could have been playing with up to this point, but I decided to hold off on until now due to our embargo on berry production. 

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"Beauty" is one of five Condition stats which include "Cool," "Beauty," "Cute," "Smart," and "Tough." In order to evolve Feebas, we're going to have to increase its Beauty stat. But, in spite of all the progress we've made in training all our pokemon, absolutely none of them have any progress toward any of these stats! So, how do we raise them? Well, that's where Pokeblocks come in!

300px-Contest_Hall_Lilycove_Entrance_RS.

You'll have to get the pokeblock case from the Slateport Contest Hall. After getting your Pokeblock Case, I strongly recommend flying to the Master Rank Contest Hall in LIlycove to actually make the pokeblocks. In any contest hall, you can find berry blenders. One will be unoccupied and the other will have 1 to 3 NPC's surrounding it. Using the unoccupied blender, you can use a Game Link cable to blend berries with other players. This way, you'll have direct control over all berries used by all players. However, the more convenient option is the occupied one where you can make pokeblocks with the NPC's who will always use berries that compliment yours. Since berries are limited, I don't want to combine the berries of all my different playthroughs, so I don't want to be using 2-4 berries for every single pokeblock. By playing with the NPC's, you can get a pokeblock for the cost of only one berry each time. I assume you can get better pokeblocks combining rare berries between several players, but since I only get one of each, it's for the best that I focus on quantity. That said, you definitely want to use the rarest berries.

In this case, we want to improve Feebas's Beauty, so we're going to need really good Blue and Indigo Pokeblocks. More common berries can be used for weaker pokeblocks, but we want the best pokeblocks we can make with the berries we have. The best beauty pokeblocks come from the elusive Pamtre Berry. We don't have one of these, but remember the Berry Master we said we'd come back to on Route 123? Well, I think it's finally time to pay them a visit.

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The easiest way to get to the Berry Master's House is to head West from Mauville City. You can also get here by sailing past Mt Pyre. Inside this house, you'll find the Berry Master and his wife. If we talk to his wife, she'll ask if we've come to know any special sayings. If we respond with "CHALLENGE CONTEST", she'll give us the Pamtre Berry we're after! We can only get one of these, though, so if you don't have a dead battery, make sure to plant it! If you're wondering why we waited until now for this, the reason is that, for some reason, the word "CONTEST" is not available in the easy chat system you're forced to use until you've entered the hall of fame.

You'll want to save before talking to the Berry Master. If you talk to him, he'll give you two random rare berries. I don't think it's possible for him to give you anything as elusive as the Pamtre berry, so I'd recommend until getting one of the dry berries that can be used to make blue pokeblocks. Good pokeblocks to look for are Wiki, Kelpsy, Hondew, and Cornn Berries. Of course, you're also going to want to make sure you've collected all the berries you can from the world as well.

300px-Contest_Hall_Lilycove_Entrance_RS.

Now that we have the berries we need, let's make our way back to Lilycove and get to blending berries!

Berry_Blender.png

When we approach the group at the blender, we can join in with a four-player game (just... pretend this screenshot has four players). As said before, the NPC's will always use berries that compliment yours, so we'll go ahead and throw in our best berries. The Berry Blending minigame is very simple. Just time pressing A whenever the cursor is pointing toward your pin. If you time it wrong, you'll get an X, if you time it right, you get an O, and if you time it perfectly, you'll get a Bull's eye! The better you do, the faster the blender will spin and the better the resulting pokeblock will be.

The color of the pokeblock is determined by the berries used. The "Level" and "Feel" of the pokeblock are influenced both by the berries used and how well you do during the minigame. From what I understand, the "Level" of the pokeblock is how much it'll boost its respective stats while the "Feel" of the pokeblock is how much it fills the pokemon up. This is a key factor and why it's so important that we use the best pokeblocks we can. There is some leniency, obviously, but just throwing a bunch of oran berries in here probably isn't going to be enough to evolve your Feebas.

You see, once a pokemon is filled up, it will never be able to eat another pokeblock. You absolutely want to make sure you get the most out of the pokemon's belly. There's also another factor beyond the quality and color of the pokeblock, though. There's also the pokeblock's taste. Indigo Pokeblocks are Dry and Sour, so pokemon that like Dry and/or Sour flavors will enjoy Indigo pokeblocks. Pokemon who like the flavor of the pokeblock will gain more from it! How can you tell what flavor your pokemon enjoys? Well, that's where its nature comes in! Natures determine not only a pokemon's stat growth, but also its tastes! We'll probably cover nature's effects on stats a little later on, but for now, taste is what's relevant. This is why I stressed the specific natures we needed from our Feebas!

The Feebas I caught has a Mild Nature, so it favors Dry food. This makes the Indigo Pokeblocks I've been making that much more useful. Now that we've made all of these strong berries, it's time to start feeding Feebas! You can feed pokeblocks to your pokemon by using the Pokeblock case from your key items pouch in your bag. After feeding my Feebas several pokeblocks, its Beauty is brought really close to max. And from here, all it takes is a simple Rare Candy and...

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Finally, after all of this struggle, I was able to evolve Beaux the Feebas into Milotic! The Ugly Duckling has finally matured into a beautiful swan!

This is perhaps the most obnoxious pokemon to evolve in this game, so I'm glad to have this out of the way. It's a huge pain, but it really makes Milotic a special pokemon! And now, we don't have to worry so much about our berry consumption. I should mention it appears there's quite a bit of leniency with this. You don't have to be nearly as strict as I was, but I wanted to make absolutely sure to use up as little of Feebas's belly as possible. I want to make the most efficient use of the limited berries I have access to for some of the things I have planned for the future of this series. For now though, we're just going to have to put it up. I also wanted to make sure I had a good feel for how this mechanic would work out because it's not really something I've invested a whole lot of focus into ever before now. Anyway, next time, we'll explore some the natural progression of this point. I think it's pretty clear what I'm getting at here. I'm going to try my hand at some pokemon contests!

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Verdanturf_Town_RS.png

I think it should be pretty clear by this point, but our next focus is going to be pokemon contests! This is a whole new game mode introduced in Gen 3 that brings with it a whole new focus to raising pokemon. Raising a pokemon for a contest is so different from battles, in fact, that I'd argue you're better off raising pokemon for contests separate from your main team. We've already gone over the Pokemon Condition mechanic, but there's more to pokemon contests than your pokemon simply looking cool, tough, beautiful, cute, or smart. Your pokemon also needs to have the moves to back it up. I've never fully understood pokemon contest mechanics, but I'll do my best to share what I do know.

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It shouldn't come as a surprise, but we're going to be using Beaux since her condition is already relatively high. Our next step is to build a moveset for him. Since his condition is skewed heavily toward beauty, the obvious choice is to put Beaux through some beauty contests. Now, every pokemon move has a secondary page detailing how it behaves in contests. Instead of pokemon types, contest moves are divided into the contest categories. For example, Tackle is a Tough move while Growl is a Cute move. We're definitely going to want to build our strategy around Beautiful moves for a Beauty contest. Furthermore, each move has a different level of appeal, so you'll want to compare the number of hearts different moves offer. You may think the depth ends there. That we should just load up Beaux with Four high-appeal Beautiful attacks and call it a day, right? Well, wrong. Of course, just like how just running four high-power STAB moves is a bad idea for pokemon battles, just using four high-appeal moves of the contest's category is also a bad idea. Just like in battle, pokemon contest moves also have secondary effects. This can inflict various contest-specific status conditions onto your opponents and there is a lot more depth to this than you might think at first. 

First of all, it's important to note that each contest categories have different reactions to different categories of appeals. In a beauty contest, the audience obviously responds really well to beauty appeals, but they also don't mind Cute or Cool appeals. However, the audience will be disappointed to see Smart or Tough appeals. This doesn't necessarily mean that Smart or Tough appeals are 100% off the table, though. Sometimes it's not a bad idea to use a move the audience won't like to sour their mood and prevent your opponents from getting the benefits of an excited crowd.

Certain pairs of moves will work well together if used back to back in a contest. In Beaux's case, I'll be giving it the moves Hail and Blizzard. Blizzard is a high appeal beautiful move on its own, but if Hail is used before it, the appeal of Blizzard is doubled! The move Hail also has a "Jam" effect, which reduces the appeal of all attacks used before it in the turn. Don't worry if you're feeling a little lost, we'll cover all this terminology a little more specifically during the actual contests. Hopefully it'll be easier to understand there. We're also going to need a layer of protection. Dive is a decent option. It's also a beautiful move that has low appeal but will protect Milotic from disruptions to its performances while it's hiding underwater. Lastly, I'll give it the move Attract which has a chance of making each pokemon that comes after it in the turn nervous. If a pokemon becomes nervous, it will be unable to use a move during that turn. It's basically the worst thing that can happen to you.

And so, Beaux's moveset will be:
Hail: A weak beautiful appeal that can jam pokemon who move before it.

Blizzard: A strong beautiful appeal that forms a contest combo with Hail allowing for its appeal to be doubled

Dive: A weak beautiful appeal that protect the user from a single disruption during the turn.

Attract: A weak cute appeal that can make pokemon that move after the user nervous and unable to move.

To my knowledge, pokemon abilities don't actually play a part in a pokemon's performance in a contest, but I could be wrong. I feel like there's a lot I still don't know about contests.

180px-Pok%C3%A9mon_Fan_Club_Interior_RSE

Now that we have all that under control, the last thing I wanted to do before we jump into our first contest is come by the Pokemon Fan Club and talk to the chairman with Beaux at the front of the party. He'll be impressed by Beaux's beauty due to the pokeblocks and give me a Blue Scarf. This will further raise Beaux's beauty which will help it with the contest!

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Now it's finally time to return to Verdanturf and begin our Pokemon Contest career! 

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As we approach the receptionist at the Verdanturf Contest Hall, we can finally register for our Contest Pass and participate in our first Normal Rank pokemon contest!

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The first round of the contest is the Introduction round. Here, all four contestants show off their pokemon and the audience reacts with various degrees of excitement depending on how impressed they are with your pokemon's condition.

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My opponents introduced their pokemon: Gulwee the Wingull, Dusty the Dustox, and Slaoth the Slakoth.

After everyone introduces their pokemon, the audience votes on which pokemon fits the category the best. Thanks to Beaux's condition, though, he'll naturally dominate the competition for this Normal Rank contest.

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Round 2 is the appeal round and this is where strategy comes into play!

Your placement in the votes will determine the move order in the first turn. The pokemon with the most votes will go first. This is where the strategy I planned out for Milotic comes into play. Since Beaux is going first, I'm able to use Attract and potentially make the other pokemon nervous. There's a chance it won't do anything, but that's fine. The pokemon I do disrupt will have any early combos interrupted. On the second turn onward, the pokemon who made the greatest appeal the previous turn will go first. In this case, since we've made a relatively low appeal with Attract, we should be placed relatively low in the turn order. This means we can get a lot of use out of Hail's jamming effect. In an ideal situation, this will place us in a favorable position for the next turn where we can use Blizzard relatively early on and nearly guarantee a high placement the next turn. 

Every time you use an appeal that matches the category of the contest, the crowd will grow more excited and the applause meter will fill up. Once this happens five times, the crowd will go wild and you'll gain a huge boon to your appeal! However, actually gaining this takes a lot of planning. If you use a move the crowd is indifferent toward, the applause meter won't increase. On the contrary, if you use an appeal the audience doesn't like, the applause meter will go down. Depending on the audience's reaction, your appeal may get a boost or cut as well. By exploiting these factors, you can try to increase your odds of getting the max appeal boost, or sabotage the appeal to ensure your opponents can't get it. 

With a high placement, you can control the excitement of the crowd pretty easily, but you'll have to keep in mind that the other trainers are trying to do the same thing, and you have to choose your appeal at the start of the turn, so a big part of this game mode, much like pokemon battles, is trying to predict what the other contestants are going to do. Try to pay attention to what move combos the opponents seem to be setting up for and what moves they might use depending on their placement. Of course, for this Normal Rank contest, your win is pretty much assured as long as you've fed your pokemon a lot of good pokeblocks. This entire appeal round is pretty pointless at this point, but it's going to become incredibly important later, so it's a good idea to figure out our strategies early on. 

This round goes on for 5 turns. As we near the end, you'll have a better idea of which opponents will be a bigger threat and what sorts of threats they'll pose. You should focus your attention accordingly. Either try jamming the troublesome opponents or protecting yourself, or go out with a bang and set up for your greatest appeal!

At the end of the final turn, the appeal round is over and the results of both rounds are totaled.

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As expected, Beaux was able to win the Normal Rank contest by a landslide! My reward? Beaux earns a Beauty Ribbon!

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With the Beauty Ribbon, Beaux is now eligible to compete in the Super Rank contest hall in Fallarbor Town!

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For the Super Beauty contest, our opponents were a Swablu, Skarmory, and Goldeen! The results of this one were pretty much the same as the last one. The big difference here is that the Normal Rank contest can reasonably be cleared without pokeblocks, and it may be possible to clear this one without any either, but it will be a much more difficult task as all of your opponents will have some pokeblocks in them.

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For winning the Super Rank contest, Beaux earned his Beauty Ribbon Super!

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The Beauty Ribbon Super grants us access to the Hyper Rank beauty contest in Slateport City!

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If you were trying to get by without pokeblocks, or even with a collection of weak pokeblocks, this is probably where you'll be walled. All of your opponents have some impressive conditions and their movesets are much more strategically catered to their specific category now. The results of this contest actually came pretty close.

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Still, Beaux was able to come out on top and earn the Beauty Ribbon Hyper, granting us access to finally enter the Master Rank contest hall at LIlycove CIty!

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

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Bringing Beaux to the Master Rank Contest Hall, we're in for the greatest challenge the game has to offer for our contest star.

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My first attempt at the Master Rank Contest, Beaux was actually overcome by the Electrode I was faced against! The big threat I had to struggle with was Delcatty's Attract and Electrode's Explosion. Explosion is a huge appeal, but prevents the user from making another appeal for the rest of the round. If used on the final round, though, there is absolutely no downside. Electrode also likes to use Light Screen to protect itself from jamming. Not only is all of that a factor, but the opponents all have lots of strong pokeblocks. Electrode was able to get a small lead from the voting round!

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My second attempt went even worse than my first. This time, we had Gyarados who likes to use Hyper Beam. Hyper Beam is a Cool Appeal, but it harshly jams all other players. Another annoying thing Gyarados likes to do is use the combo of Rain Dance and Hydro Pump. This is annoying because Rain Dance, for some bizarre reason, isn't a Beautiful appeal, but instead a Tough appeal!  This means it sours the mood of the audience, making maxing them out a near impossibility, but Hydro Pump is essentially the same as Blizzard except that it combos with Rain Dance instead of Hail. I ended up coming in third place this time, behind both Gyarados and Electrode who one yet again.

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My third attempt was against Altaria, Pichu, and Gyarados. This time, through clever choices of appeals, I was able to outsmart my opponents and win the contest!

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For completing the Master Rank contest, Beaux is rewarded with, you guessed it, the Beauty Ribbon Master!

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Once you've cleared the Master Rank, you may want to check out the second floor of the Lilycove Museum! If you score especially well during a Master Rank contest, your pokemon's portrait will be immortalized here in the Lilycove Museum! This is how you fill out this art gallery! I'm not entirely convinced that this is possible without the ability to grow duplicates of those rare berries. Still, I'll be going over what we get for completing this gallery on a later date. I'm not going to be building up pokemon for the other contests just yet, but I'll probably at least be getting one Master rank ribbon from each category by the end of the generation! 

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Pokemon Contests are a really cool addition, I have to say! It's a really fun distraction from the main battling you'll be doing and it's a nice change of pace to raise a pokemon for a completely different purpose. That said, I do wish it was a bit easier to incorporate the progression of your adventure. But due to the permanence of pokeblocks, it's very difficult to justify doing these contests over the course of your adventure. The contests themselves do kind of lack in variation, though. The anime often tries to present Pokemon Contests as a solid counterpart to challenging gyms and that's just... I definitely can't say that's true, but I do recall putting a lot of time into these as a kid even though I never totally understood them. There are some features that, to this day, I still don't understand and it's not easy to find information on these things. For example, sometimes certain appeals would cause a star to appear next to the pokemon's icon. I'm genuinely not sure what this means as it never seems to directly impact anything. Still, I do look forward to exploring this in more depth in future playthroughs of the gen! Next time, though, we're going to be returning to the main adventure with some minor cleanup before we get to the main focus of the Ruby postgame.

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375px-Hoenn_Safari_Zone_RS.png

Hoenn Safari Zone

If you thought we were done with pokeblocks, you've got another thing coming! It's time for the Safari Zone! We did make a quick trip here with the Mach Bike to grab the TM for SolarBeam, but now it's time to get into the nitty gritty and start catching some rare pokemon! The pokemon available here in the safari zone are exceptionally rare pokemon from other regions that can only be found here in Hoenn.

In Ruby and Sapphire, the Safari Zone is divided into four quadrants. The two northern quadrants are only accessible with different types of bikes, so if you want all the pokemon you're going to have to take at least two trips. But the actual process of catching these pokemon is far more bearable here than ever before! You see, this time we have the assistance of pokeblocks! Once again, I don't fully understand the inner mechanics of this, but Bulbapedia has a pretty solid outline describing how to effectively catch pokemon here. In the center of many patches of grass throughout the safari zone, there are pokeblock feeders which you can place a pokeblock inside. This will lure pokemon with natures that are attracted to the flavor of pokeball placed around there until 100 steps. To circumvent this step limit, you can use the Acro Bike to bunny hop in place. If you don't have the Acro Bike, you can also spin in place just like in gen 1, and that's far easier to do here. Once you find a pokemon, you'll find that the Safari Zone options are different here than the one back in Kanto. Your options here instead of throwing bait or rocks is to throw Pokeblocks or move closer. These have similar effects to throwing bait and rocks respectively, but the pokeblocks add in an extra layer that can be exploited to potentially reduce the wild pokemon's ability to flee all the way to 0 rather consistently! From there, you can throw safari balls to your heart's content and the pokemon will never flee!

The two southern quadrants, Area 1 and 2, have the same encounter tables for their grass.

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The pokemon of interest available in the grass in this first area are Pikachu at 5%, Doduo at 10%, Natu at 10%, Girafarig at 20%, and Wobbuffet at 10%. None of these are particularly difficult to find and with all these unique pokemon, it's unlikely you'll get bored searching for the rarer Pikachu. If you haven't picked up a Skitty yet and your internal battery isn't working, you're probably going to want to pick up a second Pikachu while you're here.

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While Area 2 in the southwest quadrant features the same encounter table for the grass, it does feature some small lakes where you can fish! Most of the time you'll just find Goldeen and Magikarp, but at 20% with the Super Rod, you can find Seaking!

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You can also find Psyduck at an 100% rate here by surfing, but you'll probably want to search for him a little deeper in.

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

Area 3 is in the northwest. You can't access this area without the Mach Bike to ride up a steep slope.

Spr_3r_085.png Spr_b_3r_085.png Spr_3r_111.png Spr_b_3r_111.png

Spr_3r_127.png Spr_b_3r_127.png

In the grass up here, you can find Dodrio at 5%, Rhyhorn at 30%, and Pinsir at 5%!

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

Spr_3r_055.png Spr_b_3r_055.png

There's also another small pond here where you can find Seaking and Psyduck just like before, but up here, you can find Golduck at 5%! Strangely, I'd argue Golduck is probably the hardest pokemon in the Safari Zone to catch since you can't find him near any feeders and at 5% rarity, it'll take quite a while to catch it.

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

Area 4 in the northeast requires the acro bike to reach. There isn't a pond here, but the ability to bring the Acro Bike here makes searching for the pokemon in the grass here a bit easier. 

Spr_3r_178.png Spr_b_3r_178.png Spr_3r_214.png Spr_b_3r_214.png

Spr_3r_231.png Spr_b_3r_231.png

The unique encounters here are Xatu and Heracross at 5% each and Phanpy at 30%.

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

The Safari Zone is far less cumbersome than ever before here, I actually had quite a bit of fun collecting all of these pokemon. And to think this was one of the biggest parts of the game I was dreading. Next time we'll be taking on some more cleanup and then it's onto the true focus of the postgame!

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300px-Hoenn_Route_110_RS.png

Of course, before we move into postgame content, we can't allow ourselves to forget about the Trick House! We haven't been here since we got the Rain badge, so there's naturally something of note here.

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

Trick_House_puzzle_room_7_RS.png

Trick House Puzzle #7

Spr_RS_Psychic_M.png Spr_RS_Hex_Maniac.png Spr_RS_Psychic_F.png

This puzzle is based on Mossdeep Gym with a more complicated variation of the conveyor belt puzzle and psychics along with a Hex Maniac as your opponents.

180px-Tropic_Mail.png

The mail you can obtain from this puzzle is Tropic Mail. And by completing the puzzle, the Trick Master once again acknowledges us as his equal and gives us a PP Max! But that's not all this building has to offer. If we come back here after completing the champion, the Trick Master has one final challenge fo rus.

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

Trick_House_puzzle_room_8_RS.png

Trick House Puzzle #8

This puzzle may have been inspired by an early concept for Sootopolis gym. I say that because the last couple of puzzles were more complex variations of previous gym puzzles. Furthermore, this puzzle features a large polished floor that functions identically to the ice in Shoal Cave. This element was very underutilized throughout the game and Wallace's gym did utilize ice. Perhaps the ice mechanic was programmed into the game with the intent of being used for Sootopolis Gym before it was decided to go for a more unique puzzle there. Then they used the mechanic in Shoal Cave and left it here. There's no basis for that theory beyond those observations, but it's fun to think about.

Spr_RS_Cooltrainer_F.png Spr_RS_Cooltrainer_M.png Spr_RS_Cooltrainer_M.png

Anyway, your opponents here are all cooltrainers as you may have come to expect.

180px-Bead_Mail.png

The item you can obtain here is Bead Mail.

RedTentSprite.png

For clearing this final challenge, the Trick Master will acknowledge us as his superior and will set out to tour the country in search of inspiration for new puzzles. For our final prize, he'll give us a Red Tent which is a secret base decoration!

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

Now then, we could go and make a Secret Base now, but I think that'll be best saved for the next post. Instead, I think it's high time we go ahead and check out some of the postgame content. Our time is mostly around level 50 which is perfect for the main focus of today's post.

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

375px-Slateport_City_RS.png

Now that we have the S.S. Ticket, we can take the Ferry from Slateport or Lilycove! With this ticket, we can quickly travel between the two towns without the need for Fly, but we can also reach a new location: The Battle Tower!

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

300px-Battle_Tower_RS.png

Hoenn Battle Tower

This small island is basically your home once you've completed everything else the game has to offer. This is your typical postgame area where you can battle till you drop. I'm not going to be playing here until we cover everything we can get, especially not without a competitively-built team, but if you're finished with the game, this is probably where you'll be spending most of your time unless you're shiny hunting or still working on that pokedex. 

Battle_Tower_interior_RS.png

This place works nearly identically to the Battle Tower from Crystal, but with some minor changes. Namely, instead of being able to challenge the tower in level increments of 10, you can challenge it at either level 50 or level 100. My opinion on hard level limits like this I've already voiced in Stadium. I find it really frustrating that pokemon can't automatically be leveled down if they're too high level. If it wasn't for this level limit, I'd probably save this area for the finale of this game, but because of the level limit, I need to do it now before my main team passes level 50.

Once you select the level of challenge you want to face, you'll select three pokemon you want to enter with you. As you might expect, Mewtwo, Mew, Lugia, Ho-oh, and Celebi are banned along with the new additions to the banlist: Groudon, Kyogre, Rayquaza, Jirachi, and Deoxys. We'll touch on those last few soon enough. Obviously, the pokemon you select have to be of a level less than or equal to 50 or 100 for their respective challenges. All of your opponents will be the maximum level, so it's recommended you come in with pokemon of the same level to be on equal ground. You'll have to face off against a series of trainers back to back with just your three selected pokemon. You can't back out at any point until you've either lost or defeated 7 trainers in a row. For accomplishing this feat, you'll be rewarded with a random vitamin, just like before!

The biggest difference between this Battle Tower and the one from Johto is that this one features a brand new incentive for building longer win streaks! If you continue to do this challenge over and over and don't lose in the process, your win streak will increase from 7 to 14 to 21, etc. As your win streak grows higher, you'll face tougher trainers but once you reach a win streak of 35, you'll start getting prizes from a second list. This includes many extremely useful held items: Leftovers, Quick Claw, BrightPowder, King's Rock, Focus Band, and the Scope Lens. It also includes some brand new held items introduced here in Gen 3: The White Herb in a consumable held item that will neutralize any negative stat changes, the Mental Herb is a consumable held item that cures infatuation, and perhaps the most exciting is the Choice Band which increases the holder's physical attack by a whopping 50% with the major consequence that you'll only be able to use the first move you select until you switch out. If you're subjected to torment, or that move gets disabled, you'll just start to use Struggle instead. Needless to say, the massive power boost is well worth the downside, especially if you have a good tank to switch into.

SilverShieldSprite.png GoldShieldSprite.png

If you can win 50 consecutive battles, you'll earn the Silver Shield decoration for your secret base. If you win 100, you'll earn the Golden Shield! 

Winning_Ribbon.png Victory_Ribbon.png

In addition, for reaching a win streak of 56 in the level 50 and level 100 challenges, all participating pokemon will gain a Winning or Victory Ribbon respectively.

While having some of these rare items would definitely be nice, I really don't think any of it is worth pining for such a high win streak for, especially without a competitively built team. But don't worry too much. Some upcoming games have much more interesting alternatives to the Battle Tower that I'm on the fence as to whether or not I actually want to pursue. We'll see how well I'll be able to build my team for the challenges ahead.
=====================

Anyway, our checklist of things to do is getting ever smaller as we progress forward. But the things we have left are still pretty exciting! I'd say we have all of the boring cleanup stuff out of the way and the rest of this game will be focusing about exploring the rest of what the postgame has to offer along with one of my favorite features introduced in these games! Next time: A Secret Base!

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Let's talk Secret Bases!

Throughout our adventure, I've been making notes of various locations throughout the world that you can get decorations for your secret base, but I haven't gone into much more detail than that. Well, now I think it's time to really dive in and explore this mechanic! 

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

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Let's start from the beginning. How do you create a Secret Base? Well, first you're going to need a pokemon who knows the move Secret Power.

255px-Hoenn_Route_111_RS_sealed.png

This move is most easily learned through TM43. TM43 can be obtained on the northern half of Route 111. Thanks to the Go-Goggles, we can Fly to Lavaridge and cut through the desert in order to get here without any worry of wild pokemon. You'll find a young man staring at a tree. He'll give you the TM you need.

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

Once you have your TM taught to a pokemon, you can use the TM as a field move to reveal passages to secret caves or grottos throughout the region. These areas can be revealed at certain trees that stand out among their surroundings, square-shaped holes in rock walls, and those bushes you've seen dotting the area around Fortree City. When revealed, these bases can take a variety of forms.

Hoenn_Secret_Base_Gamma.png Hoenn_Secret_Base_Delta.png 225px-Hoenn_Secret_Base_Alpha.png Hoenn_Secret_Base_Beta.png

Trees will always have one of these four layouts.

Hoenn_Secret_Base_Chi.png 225px-Hoenn_Secret_Base_Phi.png Hoenn_Secret_Base_Omega.png Hoenn_Secret_Base_Psi.png

Bushes will always have one of these layouts.

Hoenn_Secret_Base_Eta.png Hoenn_Secret_Base_Epsilon.png 225px-Hoenn_Secret_Base_Zeta.png 225px-Hoenn_Secret_Base_Theta.png

Hoenn_Secret_Base_Lambda.png Hoenn_Secret_Base_Kappa.png 225px-Hoenn_Secret_Base_Mu.png Hoenn_Secret_Base_Iota.png

Hoenn_Secret_Base_Nu.png 225px-Hoenn_Secret_Base_Pi.png 225px-Hoenn_Secret_Base_Xi.png 225px-Hoenn_Secret_Base_Omicron.png

Hoenn_Secret_Base_Upsilon.png 225px-Hoenn_Secret_Base_Tau.png Hoenn_Secret_Base_Sigma.png Hoenn_Secret_Base_Rho.png

Caves can be one of four different sets of layouts: Yellow, Red, Brown, and Blue.

When choosing the layout you'd like, keep in mind that the rocks or bushes you see inside cannot be removed. They can be walked over, but furniture cannot be placed on top of them. You'll have to build your base around that limitation. In addition, any pits you see are a bit troublesome. You'll need a special ornament decoration that can only be obtained during a Rooftop Sale which may be impossible if your internal battery is dead. If you can get a wooden board to place over the pit, then it won't be an issue at all, but if you don't have one, you won't be able to cross these pits. They tend to block off some of the nicer multi-room floor plans, so they're a bit of a pain, but we won't let that discourage us! 

Once you've decided the floor plan you want, you can use Bulbapedia's page on the subject to find out where that plan can be found. Alternatively, you could just travel the world and blindly use Secret Power on every Secret Base location around the world and choose your favorite. Keep in mind, a lot of decorations might take up much more space than you expect, so you might not have room to do elaborate setups you might have plans for. It's very easy to overestimate how much space you have to work with.

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

In my case, I was thinking that, since I'm playing Ruby Version, I should focus my efforts on a Secret Base that revolved around a relationship with the land.

I decided the Tall Red Cave floor plan best fit this theme. It has a manageable amount of space and the volcanic terrain just screams "The origins of the Earth" to me.

255px-Hoenn_Route_111_RS_sealed.png

The location I settled on was on Route 111, northeast of the rest house. You need a Mach Bike to get to this location, but that's okay.

Hoenn_Secret_Base_Kappa.png

Once you've found a suitable location, it's time to gather some decorations! Keep in mind while you're gathering your furniture that you'll have to have room for them all, and you can only place a maximum of 16 decorations in your hidden base at a time. If you want to use any dolls or cushions, you'll have to have a table or large mat to set them on.

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

300px-Hoenn_Route_104_RS.png

Pretty_Petal_flower_shop_outside_RS.png

On the northern part of Route 104, south of Rustboro City, you can find the Pretty Petal Flower Shop. 

Pretty_Petal_Flower_Shop_interior_RSE.pn

RedPlantSprite.png TropicalPlantSprite.png PrettyFlowersSprite.png ColorfulPlantSprite.png BigPlantSprite.png GorgeousPlantSprite.png

Inside, you can buy some decorative plants. From left to right, these are the Red Plant, Tropical Plant, Pretty Flowers, Colorful Plowers, Big Plant, and Gorgeous Plant.

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

375px-Slateport_City_RS.png

At Slateport City's marketplace, you can buy a few decorations.

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

RedBrickSprite.png BlueBrickSprite.png YellowBrickSprite.png RedBalloonSprite.png BlueBalloonSprite.png YellowBalloonSprite.png NoteMatSprite.png NoteMatSprite.png NoteMatSprite.png NoteMatSprite.png NoteMatSprite.png NoteMatSprite.png NoteMatSprite.png NoteMatSprite.png

Once you're a member of the Secret Power Club (by obtaining the Secret Power TM), you can speak to the man on the northern end of Slateport to buy the decorations above. From left to right, these are the Red, Blue, and Yellow bricks on which you can place dolls and cushions, the red, blue, yellow balloons which, once stepped on, will be permanently popped, and note mats ranging from Low C to High C which will play their respective notes when stepped on.

Doll_Azurill_III.png Doll_Marill_III.png Doll_Skitty_III.png

Further south, there is a doll shop where you can buy an Azurill, Marill, and Skitty Doll, but all three of these are available at a more convenient location further along.

In addition, if you need another TM43, there's a merchant here who will sell you another one as well as TM10: Hidden Power making both of these renewable TM's. 

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

300px-Mauville_Game_Corner_interior_RSE.

Doll_Treecko_III.png Doll_Torchic_III.png Doll_Mudkip_III.png

At the Mauville Game Corner, you can get a Treecko, Torchic, or Mudkip doll based on your starter choice. Regardless, you can win all three as prizes for 1,000 coins each.

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

450px-Hoenn_Route_113_RS.png

PrettyChairSprite.png PrettyDeskSprite.png

If you're willing to put in the time, recall that the boss of the Glass Workshop can make you more than just flutes out of Volcanic Ash. With enough dedication, you can get a Pretty Chair or Pretty Desk for 6,000 and 8,000 steps respectively. Needless to say, that is a lot and I really think there are just better alternatives for this. Large tables like this also demand a lot of real estate so you'll basically have to build an entire room around this thing. 

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

300px-Hoenn_Route_114_RS.png

Doll_Seedot_III.png Doll_Lotad_III.png

On Route 114, but only in Ruby Version, you can get a Seedot Doll from Lanette at her house on Route 114. In Sapphire and Emerald, you'll get a Lotad Doll instead. 

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

450px-Fortree_City_RS.png

Fortree City is home to some of the more fundamental items you'll find yourself wanting. The southeastern house is a sort of marketplace.

SmallDeskSprite.png PokemonDeskSprite.png HeavyDeskSprite.png RaggedDeskSprite.png ComfortDeskSprite.png BrickDeskSprite.png CampDeskSprite.png HardDeskSprite.png

The shopkeeper on the left runs the desk shop which offers a variety of desks. From left to right, these are the Small, Pokemon, Heavy, Ragged, Comfort, Brick, Camp, and Hard Desks.

SmallChairSprite.png PokemonChairSprite.png HeavyChairSprite.png RaggedChairSprite.png ComfortChairSprite.png BrickChairSprite.png CampChairSprite.png HardChairSprite.png

The shopkeeper on the right runs the chair shop. Can you guess what's sold here? These chairs match their respective desks from the desk shop. Small Chair, Pokemon chair, Heavy Chair, etc.

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

375px-Lilycove_City_RS.png

At Lilycove City, there are a few places you can get decorations from.

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

240px-Lilycove_Department_Store_5F_RSE.p

The most prominent of these locations is the 5th floor of the Lilycove Dept. Store which has four clerks who will all sell you a different selection of Secret Base decorations.

Doll_Pichu_III.png Doll_Pikachu_III.png Doll_Marill_III.png Doll_Jigglypuff_III.png Doll_Duskull_III.png Doll_Wynaut_III.png Doll_Baltoy_III.png Doll_Kecleon_III.png Doll_Azurill_III.png Doll_Skitty_III.png Doll_Swablu_III.png Doll_Gulpin_III.png

Note: The transparency on some of these doll sprites are a little messed up. They're ripped from Bulbapedia. If I had to guess, I'd assume they simply set the color #FFFFFF to be transparent and didn't notice that this color was actually used for some of the sprites. This is why these sprites may look off if you're viewing this thread in the dark theme.

At the desk against the northern wall, the left clerk will sell you a selection of various dolls. These include, from left to right, Pichu, PIkachu, Marill, Jigglypuff, Duskull, Wynaut, Baltoy, Kecleon, Azurill, Skitty, Swablu, and Gulpin.

PikaCushionSprite.png RoundCushionSprite.png ZigzagCushionSprite.png SpinCushionSprite.png DiamondCushionSprite.png BallCushionSprite.png GrassCushionSprite.png FireCushionSprite.png WaterCushionSprite.png

The clerk on the right will sell you the Pika, Round, Zigzag, Spin, Diamond, Ball, Grass, Fire, and Water cushions. Again, keep in mind the transparency issue for the dolls applies here. Admittedly, I actually like the way black looks on some of these, but if you want a more accurate representation of these sprites, view the thread in the default color theme!

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

The counter in the corner has two more clerks.

BallPosterSprite.png GreenPosterSprite.png RedPosterSprite.png BluePosterSprite.png CutePosterSprite.png PikaPosterSprite.png LongPosterSprite.png SeaPosterSprite.png SkyPosterSprite.png

The clerk on the left will sell you posters. From left to right, these are the Ball, Green, Red, Blue, Cute, Pika, Long, Sea, and Sky posters. These posters can only be hung on northern walls and can't be hung on wall corners! Make sure you can actually hang the posters where you want them!

SurfMatSprite.png ThunderMatSprite.png FireBlastMatSprite.png PowderSnowMatSprite.png AttractMatSprite.png FissureMatSprite.png SpikesMatSprite.png GlitterMatSprite.png JumpMatSprite.png SpinMatSprite.png

The right clerk will sell you various mats. From left to right, these are the Surf, Thunder, Fire Blast, Powder Snow, Attract, Fissure, Spikes, Glitter, Jump, and Spin mats. On the large mats, you can place dolls and cushions. They're large enough to hold the larger dolls as well! Again, the same issue with the large tables apply to these large mats. The smaller glitter, jump, and spin maps have special effects when you step on them. 

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

171px-Lilycove_Department_Store_Roof_RSE

On the rooftop of the Dept. Store, much like at Goldenrod Dept. Store, a rooftop sale will randomly be held. During these sales, you'll be able to buy from a selection of especially rare decorations that can't be obtained easily by other means.

MudBallSprite.png FenceLengthSprite.png FenceWidthSprite.png BreakableDoorSprite.png SolidBoardSprite.png SandOrnamentSprite.png StandSprite.png SlideSprite.png TVSprite.png RoundTVSprite.png CuteTVSprite.png Doll_Wailmer_III.png Doll_Rhydon_III.png

From left to right, these decorations are the Mud Ball, the Fence Length, Fence Width, Breakable Door, Solid Board, Sand Ornament, Stand, Slide, TV, Round TV, Cute TV, Wailmer Doll, and Rhydon Doll.

The Mud Ball will be smushed if you walk over it, the Breakable Door will allow you to break through it, and the Sand Ornament will collapse if you touch it. All three of these items will respawn if you return to the room, so no need to worry about that! The Solid Board can of course be used to patch up those pits, granting access to the deeper parts of a secret base. The Stand and Slide can both be walked on, and I can only assume you can slide down the slide though I'm not actually certain if that's the case. Of course, the Wailmer and Rhydon dolls need a large table or mat to be placed on. 

If you're waiting for a rooftop sale, make sure to check the TV every day for a commercial!

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

300px-Sootopolis_City_RS.png

Doll_Wailmer_III.png

In a house near the pokemon center in Sootopolis City, there's a lady who will give you a Wailmer Doll for free. Unfortunately, there's no counterpart to her who gives you a Rhydon doll. This could have been a nice version exclusivity deal, but I won't complain too much. At least we're capable of getting one of these easily!

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

Of course, there's even more decorations that we can get, but these will require some extra blood sweat and tears. They make for some great bragging rights! Will anyone care that you have a golden shield in your secret base in Pokemon Ruby? ...probably... not... but, that's hours and hours of hard work, dammit!

300px-Lilycove_Museum_2F_RSE.png

GlassOrnamentSprite.png

If you manage to fill out the second floor of the museum by doing exceptionally well in all five categories of contests, you can claim a Glass Ornament!

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

180px-Trick_House_goal_RS.png

RedTentSprite.png BlueTentSprite.png

For completing the final puzzle at the Trick House, the Trick Master will reward you with either a Red or Blue Tent. You can walk through these tents and come out on the other side. You can also see yourself through the clear top as you walk under. In Ruby, you'll get the Red Tent. In Sapphire, it's the Blue Tent. In Emerald, you'll get your choice of the Red or Blue Tent.

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

Battle_Tower_interior_RS.png

SilverShieldSprite.png GoldShieldSprite.png

Lastly, we have the Silver and Golden Shield decorations which can be won at the Battle Tower for getting 50 or 100 consecutive wins respectively.

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

Now that we've gathered all our decorations, I think it's about time we assemble everything into one room! Keep in mind the limitations I've discussed up until here. Lots of furniture items demand a lot of real estate. There might be several different large furniture items you want to use but odds are, you won't be able to incorporate them all. Try to limit yourself to 1-3 large items and don't rely too much on dolls and cushions since every doll requires a table to sit on. If you want to use a lot of these, it might be a better idea to use them to decorate your room instead. Also try to forget your knowledge from Animal Crossing home design. Furniture items can't be rotated. Tables only come in sizes 1x1 which holds one decoration, 2x3 which holds 3 decorations, or 4x3 which holds 6 decorations (Or a large decoration and two small ones). Only dolls and cushions can be placed on these blocks. The only 2x3 tables that are lengthwise up north to south are the colored bricks from Slateport. Because of the tiling, it can be really difficult to get furniture items centered as well. 

On the other hand, keep in mind that a furniture item may take up more space than it actually blocks. You can't place a furniture item behind another furniture item, but you can still walk behind them. Don't be afraid to try various setups to see what you can work with. Just keep in mind you'll need a setup where you can actually make your way out of your Secret Base. Expect to be a little disappointed that your initial plans don't work out, but try to keep a positive attitude! It's really fun to play around in this mode and see what sticks.

To expand on my theming about the relationship with the land, I wanted to use decorations that reflected life that thrives on the land. Trees, bushes, flowers... I also wanted to incorporate decorations that reflected my own journey such ad Mudkip and Seedot who were both on my team, as well as a Red Tent since it's a fairly rare decoration that's inaccessible in Sapphire. I went with a Duskull doll as well since Duskull is a soft version exclusive for Ruby. I also used a few note mats and a glitter mat to add a small bit of interactivity to the base.

co5ba0L.png

This definitely isn't my first draft, nor was it my initial plan, but I definitely like the way this room turned out! This is the way I structured it. Note, some of the sprites may be a little off-center. I tried to keep them as close to perfect as possible, but there are some mistakes here and there. If you must know, I actually just reconstructed my secret base by pasting the individual decorations onto the basic map template from Bulbapedia. Aside from very slight pixel imperfections, this is a 1:1 recreation of what my secret base looks like! Keep in mind, you don't actually have to use all 16 furniture items if you're starved for ideas. I just wanted to use as much of a variety of items as I could, even if it might look a bit tacky. Honestly, I definitely can't wait to create my next Secret Bases in the other games! 

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

With our Secret Base finished, the end of the game is approaching really fast! Depending on how well things go, we've got one or two more posts to go before we can move on to Sapphire version. Believe it or not, this Secret Base actually will serve a small purpose later on, but that's going to be a part of Sapphire's cleanup. For now, this was just a fun little distraction to play with. I've always loved customizable elements like this in video games. It just makes the experience all the more special to me. But for now, I think it's time to get back to finishing up our adventure.

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Today is going to be the finale of Ruby Version! We've already thoroughly explored the majority of what this game has to offer and today we're just going to focus on obtaining whatever pokemon remain in the game.

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

450px-Mossdeep_City_RS.png

To start out, we're going to make our way to Mossdeep City. Now that we've defeated the Elite Four, it might be a nice idea to check up on Steven at his house. Inside, we'll find that Steven isn't here. He's left a journal behind claiming that he went off to train on the road and that he left a pokeball containing his favorite pokemon which he's entrusting to you. 

Spr_3r_374.png Spr_b_3r_374.png

Thanks to Steven, we can get our hands on the exceptionally rare Beldum. This pokemon is only level 5 and it only knows Take Down. Perhaps this is the offspring of Steven's own Metagross? It's quite a pain to raise up, but Metagross is an incredibly powerful pokemon. Once it evolves into Metang at level 20, though, it'll be much more viable. We'll worry about this at a later time.

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450px-Fortree_City_RS.png

Spr_3r_300.png Spr_b_3r_300.png

Back at Fortree City, we can also bring that spare Pikachu we caught back in the Safari Zone and trade it for a Skitty!

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

Those are the only pokemon we haven't obtained in familiar areas. That is, except for that mysterious blue pokemon that news report spoke about before.

Spr_3r_381.png

You've probably guessed it by now, but that's right, we're dealing with another roaming legendary! In this case: We're after the legendary pokemon Latios!

Now, the legendary roaming mechanics were modified slightly from Gen 2. Now, Latios is capable of traveling over the sea of Hoenn thanks to its ability to fly. It will still attempt to flee at the start of every turn, but in this game, if you manage to inflict it with a status condition, that status condition will remain active on the pokemon even if it flees. Because of this, paralysis is a much greater friend than ever before in catching roaming legendaries as it will cut their speed, greatly improving your ability to outspeed them with a pokemon that's lower level.

Other than that, roaming legendaries in Ruby and Sapphire behave identically to the ones from Gen 2, and because of the much more convenient layout of Hoenn's world, it's much easier to find the roaming legendaries in question. The method of tracking these pokemon down for the first time is quite simple, but whether or not it takes a long time or a short time is all up to chance. Are you feeling lucky?

300px-Hoenn_Route_110_RS.png

The best place to track down Latios is the southernmost patch of grass in Route 110. By entering and exiting the gate to Cycling Road, you can get Latios' location to shuffle. There's a patch of grass right outside so, all you need is a handful of Max Repels, a lead pokemon below level 40 but above 13, and a strategy for once you find it. If it manages to flee from you, you can then track its location using your pokedex just like in Gen 2.

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

Spr_3r_381.png

Latios, Lv. 40

If you're trying to catch Latios genuinely, I recommend bringing a relatively high level pokemon that knows Thunder Wave. Latios will undoubtedly be able to flee from you, but getting that paralysis up now will make it much easier to trap and weaken it later. And on the note of trapping, let's keep in mind that this is gen 3, so we have a whole slew of new abilities to help us with that! I should mention, first, that Trapinch's Arena Trap unfortunately doesn't work because Latios' Levitate ability makes it immune to that ability. 

Spr_3r_360.png Spr_3r_202.png

Wynaut and Wobbuffet are now really solid options for trapping pokemon in thanks to their new Shadow Tag ability which prevents pokemon from fleeing all the same. Wobbuffet is often considered a must-have for tracking roaming legendaries.

Spr_3r_169.png Spr_3r_302.png Spr_3r_356.png

Of course, the same strategies as before remain functional as well. You still have the option of using Mean Look...

Spr_3r_073.png Spr_3r_038.png Spr_3r_366.png

...or partially trapping moves like Wrap, Bind, Clamp, Fire Spin, Whirlpool, etc. to temporarily prevent Latios from fleeing as well. 

Of course, you also have my favorite method which works especially well in a game with only one roaming legendary... Just chuck that master ball you've been saving at it!

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

Aeon (Latios M); Lv. 40

Spr_3r_381.png Spr_b_3r_381.png

Item: Soul Dew

Ability: Levitate | Moves: Psychic, Refresh, Protect, Luster Purge

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

Now, before we move on, let's talk about an event that's essentially lost to time.

300px-Eon_Ticket_e-Card.jpg

During the era of Ruby and Sapphire, there were many distributions of an Eon Ticket. This was an E-reader card that could be scanned in order to allow the player to obtain the Eon Ticket from Norman in a manner similar to the S.S. Ticket that allows you to go to the Battle Tower. With the Eon Ticket, you can take a one-time ferry trip to a unique location: Southern Island.

375px-Southern_Island_RS.png

Southern Island

This is a remote location that isn't accessible without the Eon Ticket. There isn't much to really see out here, but a winding path leads you into into a forested area.

375px-Southern_Island_interior_RS.png

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It is inside this mysterious forest where you'll find what you came here for: Latias! I've always preferred Latias to Latios. I just think her design is much softer and more precious to me. But of course, Latias is locked behind an event in Ruby, but that's not to worry, because as you may already know, Latias and Latios' roles are swapped in Sapphire version. Instead of a Blue pokemon roaming the skies, the news broadcast will report a red pokemon: Latias! And, of course, here on Southern Island, you would encounter Latios.

Believe it or not, though, there actually is still hope to access Southern Island to this day, though it is significantly less likely you'll be able to do so. Long story short, if you or a friend have ever had an Eon Ticket, it's possible you could still obtain one through Record Mixing! I'll go over this in more detail later on, but by mixing records, you can gain access to the Eon Ticket! Unfortunately, the possibility for this is extremely slim and, odds are, your only reasonable option for getting to areas like Southern Island will require hacking or cheating.

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

Now, I think it's time for our final adventure. It's time we reach for the sky! 

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Do you remember that mysterious submerged object east of Pacifidlog Town on Route 131 that was just out of bounds? Well, once you've entered the Hall of Fame, the object has now emerged from the water! And it's not just any object, it's a cave! with the emergence of this cave on Route 131, the rock formations have been altered slightly as well to allow us to make our way toward it.

168px-Sky_Pillar_entrance_RS.png

Sky Pillar: Passage

This little cave has no wild pokemon, what's interesting is where it takes us.

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

168px-Sky_Pillar_RS.png

Sky Pillar: Outside

The other side of the cave spits us out on the top of the small island were we can see a massive tower that extends well off screen. This is the final destination through our journey through Ruby version.

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

168px-Sky_Pillar_1F_RS.png

Sky Pillar 1F

It's not going to take long to realize the wild pokemon encountered here aren't really pushovers. They're stronger than the ones at Victory Road! As you may have guessed, this is Hoenn's equivalent to Cerulean Cave or Mt. Silver. But just what lies at the top? We'll have to climb the tower to find out!

Spr_3r_356.png Spr_b_3r_356.png

Along the way, it's very likely we'll encounter Dusclops. The evolution of Duskull and another soft version exclusive. Though, this time, its counterpart, Banette, isn't actually catchable in Ruby. If you want one, you'll have to evolve a Shuppet. Alternatively, as you might expect, in Sapphire version you can find Banette here instead of Dusclops, so there's no need to raise a Banette.

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

168px-Sky_Pillar_2F_RS.png

Sky Pillar 2F

The even numbered floors of Sky Pillar feature many cracked floors to move over. You'll need the Mach Bike to get through. Be careful not to lose too much speed as you're making your turns. In a lot of these areas, you'll need to keep your momentum and make quick and precise turns to avoid falling through or trapping yourself. Thankfully, these even numbered floors don't feature any wild pokemon, so there's no need to bring repels along.

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

168px-Sky_Pillar_3F_RS.png 168px-Sky_Pillar_4F_RS.png

Sky Pillar 3F & 4F

As you climb the tower, the wild pokemon grow stronger and the crumbled floors get more difficult to navigate. Here on the fourth floor, you'll have to strategically fall from the cracks at the center of the top in order to land in front of the center staircase below. If you go too far, you'll land on the other side. Thankfully, there's a small area where you can safely build up enough speed to get over the first crack.

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

168px-Sky_Pillar_5F_RS.png

Sky Pillar 5F

On the fifth floor, there's one more new pokemon we can find.

Spr_3r_334.png Spr_b_3r_334.png

Altaria can be caught here at a 6% rarity. 

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

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Sky Pillar Peak

At the peak of the pillar, we come face to face with the most powerful pokemon in the Hoenn Region.

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

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Vs. Rayquaza, Lv. 70

I suppose you can say that Rayquaza is the Mewtwo of Hoenn.

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

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I led off with Rarity and immediately set up a Light Screen. Rayquaza went for Outrage and effortlessly outsped, but Rarity was thankfully able to take the hit. Locked into Outrage with Light Screen set up is a pretty solid result. The next turn, it missed because of my Lax Incense so I was able to hit it with a Psychic. the next turn it hurt itself in confusion from Outrage's fatigue, and I was able to hit it again. Finally, it hit me with an ExtremeSpeed to finish Rarity off.

Spr_b_3r_260.png Spr_3r_384.png

My main focus now was to get Rayquaza's HP down and the best choice to do that was Marco. I went for Ice Beam to take out a sizeable chunk of HP and Rayquaza went for Rest! This was perfect! With Ice Beam, I took out about half his HP and the sleep from Rest would make it easier to catch for the next two turns! Sure enough, I was able to capture it un an Ultra Ball before it woke up from Rest!

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

Unity (Rayquaza); Lv. 70

Spr_3r_384.png Spr_b_3r_384.png

Ability: Air Lock | Moves: ExtremeSpeed, Outrage, Fly, Rest

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

And now, at the end of the game, our pokedex stands at 155 pokemon caught. That isn't quite a complete pokedex, but I think it's a reasonable stopping point for now. Our journey through Generation 3 has only just begun after all! I think it's finally time to let some steam off and start anew. Next time, we'll be playing the version I personally grew up with: Pokemon Sapphire Version!

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Aura

375px-Sapphire_EN_boxart.png

Pokemon Sapphire Version

Now that we've finished with Ruby, it's time to begin our second adventure across Hoenn. This time, from a slightly different perspective through Sapphrie Version!

Spr_RS_May.png

Since we were playing as the male protagonist last time, I'll be using the female protagonist this time! Since I named my character Ruby before, the natural follow-up would be to name my character Sapphire here, but that doesn't actually fit with the character spacing, so "Saph" will have to do. Just like with our playthrough of Silver, we're going to be going through this playthrough rather quickly. We won't be nearly as thorough. I won't be putting as much emphasis on the story and will just be focusing on the key focal points of the adventure, namely boss fights and version differences, as well as the differences that come with playing as the female lead!

We've already seen one of the version differences being the intro. Ruby's intro features a landscape of mountains and trees in the background as Brendan bikes alongside Latios. In Sapphire, you get a view of the ocean instead along with Latias. Another one of the smaller version differences are with the predetermined names. In Ruby version, the first default name in the list for the boy is "Landon" and for a girl is "Terra". In Sapphire, these names are "Sean" and "Marina" instead. This names just further drive the themes of the land and the sea. 

A key difference in my playstyle here is that, rather than training up all the pokemon I catch, I'll be using a pre-planned team of only 6 pokemon. Because of this, there's going to be a much smaller emphasis on wild pokemon and much greater emphasis on team building.

Littleroot_Town_RS.png

Littleroot Town

Right off the bat, one of the first differences we'll find is that the house we move into is different depending on your gender. The boy will always move into the west house while the girl will always move into the east house. The other house will be Prof. Birch's house. As you can probably piece together from that, this means that the player and rival's roles are swapped when you change your gender. In this timeline, Norman has a daughter who is a promising up and coming pokemon trainer while Prof. Birch has a son who likes to help him with his research!

Of course, upon first moving in, we have to set our clock. I set my time to 1:00 AM. Obviously, this should be considered night time, but due to the way this game treats the Day/Night cycle, since it's AM, it counts as daytime. My Ruby playthrough was at night. I once again carefully chose this time to ensure the rest of Shoal Cave would be available to us.

Spr_RS_Brendan.png

When we cross over to the neighbor's house and introduce ourselves, we're met by our rival this time: Brendan. Brendan surprisingly has a bit of a misogynistic tone. He expresses surprise that you were a girl because he heard the person moving in next door was the kid of a gym leader, so he'd just assumed you'd be a boy. He follows up by offering to help you catch a pokemon before remembering he has to help his father with his research and leaving. Of course, shortly after is the point where we hear a scream!

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

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Route 101

Of course, when we run up to check the source of the scream, it's Prof. Birch being chased by a Poochyena! Naturally, we have to choose our starter pokemon and fight!

I decided to go with Torchic this time around. Once again, this might seem like a bit of a backwards choice considering a certain pokemon you can probably guess will be on my team, but once again, I have my reasons. Mainly, there are other pokemon I'd like to use with the types of the other two starters. Torchic's Blaze ability increases the power of its fire attacks when its HP is below 1/3. It's effectively the fire-type counterpart to Mudkip's Torrent.

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

With Torchic by our side, the Poochyena is really easy to take care of. After rescuing Prof. Birch, we go back to his lab where he lets us keep the Torchic we used, officially making it our own!

Cherry (Torchic M); Lv. 5

Spr_3r_255.png Spr_b_3r_255.png

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Scratch, Growl

He naturally suggests we meet with his son next, so in hopes of advancing the story, we move along. I think it's pretty clear where this is going.

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

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Route 103

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

Spr_RS_Brendan.png

PKMN Trainer Brendan #1

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

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Mudkip Lv. 5

Spr_b_3r_255.png Spr_3r_258.png

This battle is as simple as before, Cherry is able to win simply by using Scratch a lot.

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

After the fact, we return to Littleroot and get our pokedex and five pokeballs! With these pokeballs in hand, we've got some pokemon to catch already!

450px-Hoenn_Route_102_RS.png

Route 102

On Route 102 we have two targets in particular to seek out.

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

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Of course, we're going to need to pike up our Zigzagoon for HM usage. We'll call it Kiwi! Kiwi has Pickup which makes it a great pokemon to keep along for the ride.

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

Coconut (Lotad M); Lv. 3

Spr_3r_270.png Spr_b_3r_270.png

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Astonish, Growl

Lotad here is Sapphire's version exclusive counterpart to Seedot and this little guy is going to be in it for the long haul! Right now, he's a bit of a weakling, but it shouldn't take long for him to start pulling his weight. 

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

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Petalburg Woods

If you recall from Ruby version, Petalburg Woods was where we made our first run-in with Team Aqua. Sapphire sings a bit of a different song, though.

Spr_RS_Team_Aqua_Grunt_M.png Spr_3r_261.png

Instead of a Team Magma Grunt pestering the Devon Researcher for his papers, it's a Team Aqua grunt! That's right, the roles of Team Aqua and Magma are reversed depending on the version of the game you're playing! This idea really fascinates me and manages to tell the same story from a very different perspective, it further helps to drive home the idea that good intentions can be just as destructive as evil if taken to the extreme, but we're getting ahead ourselves with that message.

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

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Rustboro City

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My Team

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

Cherry (Torchic M); Lv. 14

Spr_3r_255.png Spr_b_3r_255.png

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Scratch, Growl, Ember

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

Coconut (Lotad M); Lv. 13

Spr_3r_270.png Spr_b_3r_270.png

Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Astonish, Growl, Absorb, Bullet Seed

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

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Rustboro City Gym

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

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Vs. Rustboro Gym Leader Roxanne

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

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Geodude Lv. 14

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Naturally, with Coconut's Bullet Seed, Geodude will go down very easily. 

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

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Nosepass Lv. 15

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Nosepass didn't last too long, either. It took a few hits from Bullet Seed but was ultimately unable to stand up to the barrage from Bullet Seed.

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

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MVP: Coconut

The answer of MVP is pretty clear for this battle. 

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

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What's more, Coconut leveled up to level 14 immediately after this battle and evolved into Lotad!

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

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And with that, our first gym is cleared! Next time, we'll make our way to Dewford!

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

Melon (Shroomish M); Lv. 5

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Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Absorb, Tackle

A side note is that I actually made a small adjustment to my team. I chose to head back to Petalburg woods to pick up a Shroomish for the team! I wanted to give this pokemon a shot and realized it might be difficult to fit it onto a team in Emerald alongside Treecko, so I decided that now would probably the best time to squeeze him in. The downside is that, between Blaziken and Breloom, my team is going to be rather weak to Psychic pokemon, but I think thanks to a certain addition to the team later on, I should be able to manage just fine.

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Small heads up, I've been having some issues booting up my old copy of Sapphire. The game repeatedly fails to read and I often have to take the cartridge out several times in order to get it to read. Today, the game even reset shortly after it started reading. I assume the pins are just loose or something. If this issue gets any worse, such as resetting in the middle of a session or taking significantly longer to read, I may have to switch over to an emulator. There is one pokemon that is only available through Sapphire and not in Emerald, but thanks to a certain upcoming game, that pokemon will still be available. I'd definitely like to finish Sapphire in a physical format, though, so for now, I'm going to try to keep going in spite of the technical difficulties. Hopefully I don't end up losing significant progress later on down the line.

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

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Route 116

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Here on Route 116, I decided to pick up a Nincada which I named Durian. I'll need a pokemon that can learn Flash soon, and this one was convenient to grab.

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

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Rusturf Tunnel

Spr_RS_Team_Aqua_Grunt_M.png Spr_3r_278.png

Of course, here in Rusturf Tunnel, we have yet another encounter with that Aqua grunt from before. Aside from the trainer class, this encounter is also identical to the one in Ruby. We defeat the grunt, rescue Peeko, return the Devon Goods and receive our PokeNav and the Letter for Steven, then we meet with Mr. Briney to set sail for Dewford Town!

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

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Dewford Town

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

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Dewford Town Gym

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

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While battling the trainers in here, Cherry reached level 16 and evolved into Combusken!

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My Team:

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

Cherry (Combusken M); Lv. 16

Spr_3r_256.png Spr_b_3r_256.png

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Double Kick, Peck, Focus Energy, Ember

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

Coconut (Lombre M); Lv. 15

Spr_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_271.png

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Astonish, Growl, Nature Power, Bullet Seed

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

Melon (Shroomish M); Lv. 15

Spr_3r_285.png Spr_b_3r_285.png

Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Absorb, Tackle, Stun Spore, Leech Seed

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

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Vs. Dewford Gym Leader Brawly

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

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Machop; Lv. 17

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I led off with Cherry and opened up with Focus Energy followed up by a series of Double Kicks. Peck is super effective, but it's not actually going to do more damage than Double Kick and Ember which both get STAB and are all-around stronger moves. (Double kick has slightly less power but hits twice). After a bit of back and forth, and a lucky crit to save the day, Machop went down and I had three pokemon against Brawly's final.

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

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Makuhita; Lv. 18

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In his weakened state, Cherry wasn't lasting long at all. I went for an Ember in hopes of at least getting a burn off but no dice.

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The obvious follow-up was to bring Melon out to help whittle away at Makuhita's health. I was able to get a Leech Seed off and thanks to Arm Thrust's multiple hits, Effect Spore was given many opportunities to affect Makuhita who wound up getting paralyzed. This paralysis helped me gain an edge over Makuhita, but ultimately his strength was enough to overcome Melon.

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_296.png

Thankfully, Makuhita was still weak and I had Coconut to fall back on! With a decent couple of hits from Bullet Seed and a little help from Leech Seed's draining, Makuhita was no more.

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

Spr_RS_Brawly.png

Now, the Knuckle Badge was mine! Next time, we'll make our way through Granite Cave and then head off to Slateport and, by extension, Mauville!

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300px-Granite_Cave_1F_entrance_RS.png

Granite Cave

Spr_3r_290.png Spr_b_3r_290.png

There isn't much to talk about in here. Thanks to Durian, I had an HM user for Flash to help me navigate the lower floors.

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

300px-Granite_Cave_B1F_RS.png

Spr_3r_302.png Spr_b_3r_302.png

Naturally, on the lower levels I definitely had to make sure to catch a Sableye. This is the Sapphire counterpart to Mawile. I'm honestly not to big of a fan of this exclusivity because it makes Sapphire out to be an easier game since Sableye is almost entirely immune to Brawly's team. Since none of Brawly's pokemon know Foresight, their fighting moves will be unable to affect you due to Sableye's ghost type. The only attack he can use is Makuhita's Knock Off which isn't going to do a whole lot since Makuhita isn't a special attacker. On the contrary, Mawile is a Steel type which makes it weak against Brawly's entire team. Still, I supposed it's evened out by the drought/flood later on. I think an easier early game makes the experience easier overall though, since you have more time to fully develop your team in the late game.

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

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Slateport City

Of course, in Slateport City, it's Team Aqua grunts lined up outside the museum and blocking your way on Route 110 instead of Magma grunts.

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Route 110

That said, there's enough room here in Route 110 to make our way to a grass patch here and catch our new part member!

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

Lemon (Electrike F); Lv. 12

Spr_3r_309.png Spr_b_3r_309.png

Ability: Static | Moves: Tackle, Thunder Wave, Leer, Howl

Electrike is a bit of a pain to raise early on. Until it reaches level 20, its only harming moves are Tackle and Quick Attack and it rather lacks the endurance to rely exclusively on such weak moves. Still, having an electric nice will be very nice for all those late game Swellow and Pelipper.

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

Spr_3r_311.png Spr_b_3r_311.png

I should also mention that Route 110 is home to the first soft-exclusive pair of pokemon. Plusle are much more common here than in Ruby. They're available at 15% while Minun is now only a 2% rarity. I was able to catch all of the soft exclusives in Ruby, though, so I don't actually have to worry about catching these guys. But, I'll try to take note of all of them if you're playing along and trying to complete your pokedex as well.

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

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Oceanic Museum

Spr_RS_Team_Aqua_Grunt_M.png Spr_RS_Team_Aqua_Grunt_M.png

Here is where Team Aqua start to show their primary difference from Team Magma in terms of pokemon preference.

Spr_3r_318.png

It isn't much, but any Numel from a Team Magma grunt is replaced with a Carvanha from the corresponding Aqua grunt. Of course, this also applies for Camerupt and Sharpedo. Be prepared to see a lot of these guys going forward. Carvanha can be a bit of an annoyance with its Rough Skin ability which damages you any time you make physical contact with it, but in most cases, that damage really isn't all that much to worry about and as you progress through the game, you'll have plenty of options to intervene.

Spr_RS_Archie.png

Of course, this is where the leader of Team Aqua: Archie makes his first appearance. Much like Maxie in Ruby, he warns you to stay out of Team Aqua's way before leaving you to deliver the goods to Captain Stern.

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

300px-Hoenn_Route_110_RS.png

With Team Aqua out of the way, we can make our way up Route 110 toward our next rival battle!

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

Spr_RS_Brendan.png

PKMN Trainer Brendan #2

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

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Shroomish, Lv. 18

Spr_b_3r_309.png Spr_3r_285.png

I led off with Lemon here mainly because I just wanted the exp. Lemon definitely wasn't going to be able to hold his own, though, so after paralyzing Shroomish with Quick Attack, I switched him out.

Spr_b_3r_256.png Spr_3r_285.png

With Cherry, Shroomish was going to be a joke. Unfortunately, I switched right into a Stun Spore, so it came at the cost of Cherry getting paralyzed.

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

Spr_3r_322.png

Numel, Lv. 18

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After a bit of back and forth, and thanks to some rotten luck with paralysis checks, Numel was able to overcome Cherry. 

Spr_b_3r_309.png Spr_3r_322.png

Cherry had brought Numel's HP really low, so I figured I might be able to sneak in a hit with Lemon to steal the KO and get all the exp. Unfortunately, Lemon was unable to take a hit from Numel and went down.

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_322.png

While Lombre doesn't have any water-type attacks just yet, I can at least take out Numel with some Nature Power Swift. 

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

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Marshtomp, Lv. 20

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At this point, the matchup was clearly in my favor. A couple of Bullet Seeds and Brendan was defeated.

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

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Mauville City

Of course, Mauville is next and we're naturally going to march right on up to the gym here.

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

Spr_RS_Wally.png Spr_3r_280.png

Standing in between us and our gym battle is our dear friend Wally who is just as easy to get past as you remember.This fight is not a problem at all and, just like before, we're not going to battle him again until Victory Road. Again, a really sad missed opportunity for a beautiful rivalry.

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

Mauville_Gym_RS.png

Mauville City Gym

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My team:

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

Cherry (Cumbusken M); Lv. 21

Spr_3r_256.png Spr_b_3r_256.png

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Double Kick, Peck, Focus Energy, Ember

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

Coconut (Lombre M); Lv. 20

Spr_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_271.png

Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Fake Out, Growl, Nature Power, Bullet Seed

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

Melon (Shroomish M); Lv. 20

Spr_3r_285.png Spr_b_3r_285.png

Item: Miracle Seed

Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Mega Drain, Tackle, Stun Spore, Leech Seed

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

Lemon (Electrike F); Lv. 18

Spr_3r_309.png Spr_b_3r_309.png

Item: Silk Scarf

Ability: Static | Moves: Quick Attack, Thunder Wave, Leer, Howl

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

Spr_RS_Wattson.png

Vs. Mauville Gym Leader Wattson

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

Spr_3r_081.png

Magnemite, Lv 22

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_081.png

Because I couldn't quite recall Wattson's lead, I opened up with Coconut who I considered to be a rather safe option. After using Fake Out, I quickly switched him out into a more favorable matchup.

Spr_b_3r_256.png Spr_3r_081.png

Unfortunately for me, Wattson's Magnemite was able to outspeed Cherry, so I would up taking two SonicBooms before being able to attack him. That Ember didn't finish the job, either, so I had to take a third SonicBoom as well. I did manage to finish the fight after that, but with Cherry now near dead already, things weren't looking good. It seemed Cherry wasn't going to be nearly as much help as I expected here...

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

Spr_3r_100.png

Voltorb, Lv. 20

Spr_b_3r_256.png Spr_3r_100.png

Voltorb naturally make quick work of Cherry with yet another SonicBoom.

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_100.png

I brought Coconut back out to slap it with another Fake Out. I was planning to chip away at the rest of its HP with Nature Power Swift, but was met with a SelfDestruct instead, which Coconut was thankfully able to survive.

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

Spr_3r_082.png

Magneton, Lv. 23

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_082.png

Coconut did his best against Magneton, but with his hindered HP, there was only so much that could be done.

Spr_b_3r_285.png Spr_3r_082.png

Without Cherry, my best hope of dealing with Magneton was to slowly chip at its health and try to stay alive. My options for that strat were rather limited, so I had to devise a plan. What I came up with was a bit silly. I brought out Melon and hit Magneton with a Leech Seed ASAP and followed up with a Stun Spore. Between Magneton's paralysis, SonicBoom's low accuracy, and Melon's healing from Leech Seed and Mega Drain, I was able to fairly consistently heal off the damage from SonicBoom in between hits. This wasn't too consistent though, and he was able to get my HP to near death before long. I was going to need a way to stall for time. I didn't want to use items if unnecessary, so I looked for another way to stall for time and decided the best way to go was to use a meat shield.

Spr_b_3r_290.png Spr_3r_082.png

So, out came Durian, my HM-user for Flash! My intention was just to have Durian take a hit and go down so that I could bring Melon back out and get a free heal from Leech Seed. However, I completely forgot to take into account that Durian was not only a ground-type, but that he had exactly 21 HP. This means that SonicBoom was a guaranteed tantalizing two-hit KO for Magneton and its only other offensive attacks were electric attacks that wouldn't affect Durian. I decided to go for Flash. Again, i didn't have the intention to cheese this pokemon, but Flash was the only move I had that would have any meaningful effect on the battle. The others were Scratch, Harden, and Leech Life. Keep in mind, Durian is only level 7 and is completely untrained. Well, the way this played out, Magneton hit me with SonicBoom, I survived with 1 HP, Flash connected and reduced Magneton's accuracy making SonicBoom harder to hit with. Next turn, Magneton's HP is sapped with Leech Seed, Magneton misses with SonicBoom, and I hit with another Flash. The story goes on for a while, Wattson uses both of his Super Potions to keep Magneton alive, but it just pitifully keeps attempting to hit my little bug with SonicBoom but keeps missing because its accuracy is minimized. I thought for sure that at some point, my luck would fail and he'd break through at least Durian, but no, Durian never got hit by another SonicBoom and Magneton wound up going down. Durian gained the Exp for defeating Wattson's most powerful pokemon.

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

While I would love to give MVP to Durian as a bit of a comedic moment, the only reason this hilarious circumstance was even possible in the first place was because of Melon's set up and stalling with Leech Seed and Stun Spore. I suppose you can just call my use of Durian a bit of extra disrespect. Still, it was only pure luck that kept Durian alive and I wasn't exactly banking on that either. 

Spr_3r_285.png

MVP: Melon

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

Spr_RS_Wattson.png

And now, Wattson has been defeated and we've claimed our third gym badge! Next time, we further our adventure and make our way toward Lavaridge! It's quite the adventure, of course, and there are a few points of interest along the way, so we've got our work ahead of us! Next post may be a bit of a doozy.

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Aura

450px-Hoenn_Route_117_RS.png

Route 117

Spr_3r_313.png Spr_b_3r_313.png

Not much has changed in this part of Hoenn, but I should mention that the rarities of Volbeat and Illumise are swapped here in Sapphire making Volbeat available at 18% and Illumise at 1%. This makes Volbeat a soft version exclusive for Sapphire, but I did manage to find one in Ruby so there's no need to track one down here.

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

255px-Hoenn_Route_111_RS_sealed.png

Route 111

So, our tour of the land begins again! There isn't much to say about Cycling Road or the other routes surrounding Mauville here, but I did go to Verdanturf to clear Rusturf Tunnel and got the Exp Share from the president of Devon, though it's not likely to get nearly as much use this time around.

Spr_3r_286.png Spr_b_3r_286.png

While battling with the Winstrate family, Melon reached level 23 and evolved into Breloom! This is where I think he's really going to shine! Breloom is a really welcome addition to the team and I think you'll find he'll start carrying his weight tenfold going forward!

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

300px-Hoenn_Route_112_RS.png

Route 112

Here on Route 112, you'll predictably find that the Magma grunts blocking the way to the cable car are replaced with Aqua grunts.

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

300px-Fiery_Path_RSE.png

Fiery Path

Spr_3r_088.png Spr_b_3r_088.png

The rarities of Koffing and Grimer, another pair of soft version exclusives, are swapped with Grimer being the much more common 25% while Koffing is just at 2%.

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

450px-Hoenn_Route_113_RS.png

Route 113

Of course we can't forget about Route 113! We'll make a quick stop here to farm up some huff puff and get our Yellow and Blue Flutes again! They were very helpful last time. Again, I normally don't use items in battle, but since these items are permanently reusable, I feel much more justified in using them liberally.

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

Spr_3r_310.png Spr_b_3r_310.png

While gathering soot from the grass, Lemon reached level 26 and evolved into Manectric! At this point, most of our team is already fully evolved! It shouldn't be too much longer before that's true across our entire party!

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

300px-Hoenn_Route_114_RS.png

Route 114

Doll_Lotad_III.png

After talking to Lanette at the PC in Fallarbor Town and finding her in her home here, you get a Lotad doll this time instead of a Seedot!

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

Spr_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_271.png

You probably don't need me to tell you that, along with Seedot being replaced with Lotad here, you can also find that Nuzleaf has been replaced with Lombre.

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

Spr_3r_336.png Spr_b_3r_336.png

What we are more interested in here is that Zangoose, a hard Ruby exclusive, is now replaced with Seviper here in Sapphire! It seems the snakes have overcome their predators in this universe! Seviper comes with the Shed Skin ability which gives it a chance to cure any visible status condition (burn, sleep, paralysis, etc.). I always thought Seviper was a really cool pokemon as well as Zangoose and I can see why Game Freak might have considered him to be the more popular of the two going forward. Since this is a new pokemon for my Ruby pokedex, I had to catch one and I named it Blackberry!

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

225px-Meteor_Falls_1F1R_RS.png

Meteor Falls

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

Spr_3r_337.png Spr_b_3r_337.png

Here we have a much more important version exclusive to Sapphire: Lunatone. Much like how Zangoose is only available in Ruby across all the main series games, Lunatone is only available in Sapphire. In the case that you're missing either of these two games, you're going to be just one pokemon short of completing the national dex (with the exception of mythicals for obvious reasons). If you don't have Ruby, you'll be missing Zangoose. If you don't have Sapphire, you'll be missing Lunatone. But that doesn't mean you need to play through both of these games. Thankfully, there's one title a little ways into this generation that will greatly help you with this minor inconvenience.

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

Spr_RS_Team_Magma_Grunt_M.png Spr_RS_Maxie.png Spr_RS_Team_Magma_Grunt_M.png

The event here in Meteor Falls also has the roles of Team Magma and Aqua reversed. This time, it's Maxie and two Magma grunts who come in and attempt to stop Team Aqua before they manage to slip away. The dialogue is almost entirely copy-pasted between versions with the occasional change. Long story short, take Archie's dialogue from one game, replace "Land" with "Sea"  and "Team Magma" with "Team Aqua" and you've got Maxie's dialogue in the opposite game. This goes both for the villain and support roles of these characters. It's kind of a disappointment that there's not more of a difference, but at the same time, this is a detail most kids are unlikely to notice since it's generally expected you would own one or the other.

I can definitely say, coming immediately off of Ruby, having Maxie here as an ally this time feels extremely surreal. That said, I had that same feeling when first playing Ruby for this series since Sapphire was the game I had as a kid. In fact, I'm playing on that very same cartridge! (Hence why there's some wear on the cartridge and why I've been having issues getting it to start up occasionally.)

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

300px-Mt_Chimney_RS.png

Mt. Chimney

There isn't much new to cover between Meteor Falls and here, but i think you get the idea of how these Team Aqua events are playing out identically to the Magma ones. There's no need to go into too much detail. The Magma Grunts are the ones outnumbered by the Aqua grunts. There is a bit more variance in dialogue here, though, but the event still plays out the same.

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

Spr_RS_Matt.png

Vs. Aqua Admin Matt #1

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

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Carvanha, Lv. 20

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_318.png

Matt's Carvanha went down rather easily thanks to Lemon's level and type advantage.

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

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Poochyena, Lv. 20

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_261.png

A Poochyena never stood a chance to begin with.

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

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Carvanha, Lv. 20

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_261.png

And, surprise, surprise, the second Carvanha wasn't any more difficult either.

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

Spr_RS_Matt.png

Yeah, the Aqua admins are just like the grunts. Their teams are just swapped versions of the other games which I won't fault the games for too much, but it also means that all the criticisms I had for the Admins in Ruby, I also have for the admins here in Sapphire. They just don't make for very memorable fights at all and as a kid I don't think I ever even knew they were supposed to be special, or even recurring characters. But hey, at least the Team Magma/Aqua battle theme is good.

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

Spr_RS_Archie.png

As we talk to Archie, we can find what his plans are with the Meteorite. It turns out, he actually does have a bit more variance to his dialogue here, but not by much. Rather than cause the volcano to erupt, his plan is to use the Meteorite to force the volcano into extinction so that it will never erupt again. Over time, the crater will fill with rain and form a new habitat for pokemon. There are... all sorts of problems with this plan, even more so than Team Magma's plan to force the volcano to erupt, but at least that one made some form of sense, albeit it was reckless. This just seems like a massive waste of resources and I'm not sure at all how stopping this volcano from ever erupting again could possibly help to further their goals to expand the sea. All that would do is damage the ecosystem here, but I guess he just doesn't see that, so we'll have to put a stop to his rash actions.

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

Spr_RS_Archie.png

Vs. Aqua Leader Archie #1

Now this is a battle that is much more memorable than the ones surrounding it. I actually remember losing this battle a lot back when I was a kid. Of course, I am a bit overleveled here once again, so this fight might be a bit easier than normal. 

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

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Mightyena, Lv. 24

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_262.png

I started out by leading with Coconut to soak up Mightyena's intimidate. Between Fake Out and Bullet Seed, I was able to get Mightyena's HP down a bit before switching out.

Spr_b_3r_256.png Spr_3r_262.png

With Intimidate out of the way, Cherry would have absolutely no problems stomping Mightyena to bits with Double Kick.

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

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Golbat, Lv. 24

Spr_b_3r_256.png Spr_3r_042.png

Obviously, this wasn't a fantastic matchup, but it wasn't totally helpless. I decided to wait and see what he planned to do first. He went for a SuperSonic and missed, so I hit him with an Ember. I went for another round which he successfully confused me, but I attacked through and hit him with another ember. His HP was low now and I did have the option of healing my confusion with my Yellow Flute, but instead, I anticipated his heal and took the opportunity to switch into a more advantageous position.

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_042.png

With Lemon at the lead, the rest of the battle was going to be a joke. Spark was super-effective against Golbat, taking it down.

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

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Sharpedo, Lv. 25

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_319.png

Sharpedo, too, was totally helpless and went down in just one hit from Spark.

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

Spr_RS_Archie.png

And with that, Archie admits defeat and leaves with his team. Maxie thanks you for your assistance and leaves. We can now retrieve the Meteorite from Archie's machine putting an end to this plan for good.

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

Lavaridge_Town_RS.png

Lavaridge Town

And finally, after that massive detour, we can reach Lavaridge Town and challenge our next gym!

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My Team:

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

Cherry (Combusken, M); Lv. 30

Spr_3r_256.png Spr_b_3r_256.png

Item: King's Rock*

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Double Kick, Bulk Up, Focus Energy, Ember

*I got this from Kiwi's pickup ability! It's no lie that this ability can net you some really awesome items!

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

Coconut (Lombre M); Lv. 29

Spr_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_271.png

Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Fake Out, Fury Swipes, Nature Power, Bullet Seed

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

Melon (Breloom M); Lv. 29

Spr_3r_286.png Spr_b_3r_286.png

Item: Miracle Seed

Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Mega Drain, Headbutt, Mach Punch, Leech Seed

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

Lemon (Manectric F); Lv. 29

Spr_3r_310.png Spr_b_3r_310.png

Item: Silk Scarf

Ability: Static | Moves: Quick Attack, Thunder Wave, Spark, Howl

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

Lavaridge_Gym_1F_RS.png Lavaridge_Gym_B1F_RS.png

Lavaridge Town Gym

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

Spr_RS_Flannery.png

Vs. Lavaridge Gym Leader Flannery

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

Spr_3r_218.png

Slugma, Lv. 26

Spr_b_3r_286.png Spr_3r_218.png

Just like before, the main plan is just to not let these Slugma get their sunshine out. Unfortunately, a headbutt isn't quite enough to take Slugma out, but thankfully I'd managed to make it flinch! She healed it in an attempt to keep it alive, but Mach Punch was strong enough to keep her in KO range so this Slugma was a lost cause.

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

Spr_3r_218.png

Slugma, Lv. 26

Spr_b_3r_286.png Spr_3r_218.png

This was the same story as before. Of course, Headbutt wasn't going to KO this one either, but I could still hope for another flinch or a crit. Of course, my luck isn't that absurd and Slugma was able to get its Sunny Day off. Still, I was able to take it out before it could get any benefit from it which is a plus.

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

Spr_3r_324.png

Torkoal, Lv. 28

Spr_b_3r_286.png Spr_3r_324.png

With the sunlight out, Torkoal was going to be a bit of a bigger threat than he was before. However, since I don't have any water-types on my team, it's not as big of a deal as it was in Ruby. Still, it'll help to power up his moves so I'm going to need to play defensively for a bit. I managed to hit Torkoal with a Leech Seed before going down to an Overheat.

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_324.png

Next up came Lombre to help stall out the sunlight with Fake Out. After that, there really wasn't much else he could do, so he just went down.

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_324.png

Lemon was able to finish the job with a combination of Thunder Wave and Spark to seal the deal. Torkoal did manage to paralyze Lemon with a Body Slam, but he still pulled through and overcame, winning the battle!

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

I definitely have to give MVP to Melon here. While I probably could have managed, I honestly didn't expect him to last till Torkoal when I found out Headbutt wasn't a one-hit kill on those Slugma. That one flinch really turned the tides of the whole battle. Without it, that first Slugma would have gotten sunlight set up and the second one would have used Flamethrower to take out Melon sooner. While I definitely still could have managed, things would have been a lot closer.

Spr_3r_286.png

MVP: Melon

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

Spr_RS_Flannery.png

And now we've claimed our fourth gym badge! We're already halfway through the gyms! Next time, we'll be making our way back to Petalburg to challenge our father and see how far we've come! But not before making a brief pit stop along the way...

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Aura

255px-Hoenn_Route_111_RS_sealed.png

With the Go-Goggles, we can now explore the desert! There are no significant differences here between Ruby and Sapphire, but there are a few things for my specific playthrough worth noting here. First is my new ally!

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

Pumpkin (Baltoy), Lv. 22

Spr_3r_343.png Spr_b_3r_343.png

Ability: Levitate | Moves: Mud Slap, Psybeam, Rock Tomb, SelfDestruct

Baltoy is a very nice pokemon to use and compliments my team makeup very nicely. Its ground type will allow it to switch in against electric types which will become relevant when i start to build my team around rain. In addition, its Psychic type will cover Cherry and Melon's weaknesses to Psychic rather nicely as well. In most cases, this pokemon should be able to handle itself rather well. The main downside is that rain will power up water attacks which it is weak to, but just some careful switching can work around that.

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

In addition to Baltoy, I also picked up the Claw Fossil, the alternative to the Root Fossil from before.

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

300px-Fiery_Path_RSE.png

In Fiery Path, I retrieved TM06: Toxic and taught it to Melon in place of Leech Seed! It doesn't heal me at all and it can't stack with other status conditions, but it will be much more helpful late game, I think.

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

300px-Rustboro_City_RS.png

Spr_3r_347.png Spr_b_3r_347.png

I actually forgot to do this during my session today, but as we pass through Rustboro City on our way to Petalburg, I could have revived my Claw Fossil into an Anorith. I'm thinking of naming my Anorith "Fig."

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

375px-Petalburg_City_RS.png

And now we are back at Petalburg and ready to challenge our father's gym!

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My Team:

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

Cherry (Combusken M); Lv. 30

Spr_3r_256.png Spr_b_3r_256.png

Item: King's Rock

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Double Kick, Bulk Up, Focus Energy, Ember

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

Coconut (Lombre M); Lv. 30

Spr_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_271.png

Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Fake Out, Fury Swipes, Nature Power, Bullet Seed

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

Melon (Breloom M); Lv. 30

Spr_3r_286.png Spr_b_3r_286.png

Item: Miracle Seed

Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Mega Drain, Headbutt, Mach Punch, Toxic

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

Lemon (Manectric F); Lv. 30

Spr_3r_310.png Spr_b_3r_310.png

Item: Silk Scarf

Ability: Static | Moves: Quick Attack, Thunder Wave, Spark, Howl

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

Pumpkin (Baltoy); Lv. 27

Spr_3r_343.png Spr_b_3r_343.png

Item: Hard Stone

Ability: Levitate | Moves: Mud Slap, Psybeam, AncientPower, SelfDestruct

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

270px-Petalburg_Gym_RS.png

Petalburg City Gym

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

Spr_RS_Norman.png

Vs. Petalburg Gym Leader Norman

Last time, I had a very heavily compromised team going into this battle and the results were very telling. This time, my team is much more strategically built from the start so things should go much more smoothly!

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

Spr_3r_289.png

Slaking; Lv. 28

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_289.png

I led off with Coconut. Fake out is especially useful against these Slaking due to Truant. Unfortunately, there isn't much to go off of when it comes to actually dealing damage in this matchup, so when he went for Yawn, I took the opportunity to switch into something that could fight more easily.

Spr_b_3r_256.png Spr_3r_289.png

Though I gave up a free turn with this switch, Cherry was certainly much more capable of dealing with this foe. Slaking unfortunately still outsped me so I wouldn't be able to get the effect of King's Rock off, but I was able to take two facades and between those two turns and the truant turns to follow, I was able to get enough hits in to take Slaking out.

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

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Vigoroth; Lv. 30

Spr_b_3r_256.png Spr_3r_288.png

Vigoroth is arguably the easiest pokemon on his team to deal with, but it doesn't have Truant so don't underestimate it! A few Double Kicks was all it took to take it out, but it managed to get a critical hit with Slash unfortunately, leaving Cherry really low on HP.

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

Spr_3r_289.png

Slaking, Lv. 31

Spr_b_3r_256.png Spr_3r_289.png

Needless to say, Cherry didn't last long at all against Slaking.

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

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_289.png

Since this was a Truant turn, it didn't make much sense to bring out Coconut and go for Fake Out, so I brought out my next hardest hitter, Lemon. I had to be very careful about paralyzing Slaking, though, because doing so would make Facade a highly dangerous attack. Still, I can't get lax on my damage output or he'll just heal all the damage off. So, I really just went for Spark and hoped to avoid paralysis. In hindsight, I probably should have sent Melon out instead, but I honestly forgot about Facade until after I'd already sent Lemon out. Thankfully, not only did I never paralyze him, but the only move he used was Focus Punch! As long as I kept my assault up, he'd go down easily. Sure enough, he never changed up his moves, so Slaking went down.

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

When it comes to MVP, I definitely think Cherry is the way to go. Any pokemon could have taken that final Slaking out if it was just going to spam Focus Punch, so Cherry definitely dealt with the much tougher opponents.

Spr_3r_256.png

MVP: Cherry

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

Spr_RS_Norman.png

And our fifth gym battle against our father, Norman, has been completed! Next time, we'll get our much anticipated Surf HM and start exploring the waters!

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225px-Abandoned_Ship_exterior_RSE.png

Route 108 - Abandoned Ship

After teaching Surf to Coconut, we can now explore the water! There's only one particular stop I should mention here and that's the Abandoned Ship on Route 108.

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

173px-Abandoned_Ship_B1F_and_rooms_RSE.p

After making my way through the wreckage, I got into the storage room to get my hands on TM17: Ice Beam. I immediately taught this to Coconut as it'll help to cover his weakness to Flying. Unfortunately, we still can't quite get the Water Stone needed for him to evolve, so it'll be a little while for that.

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

I also ran around and gathered the various items that are available to us, and did the New Mauville quest. None of which is worth going into any detail about since we've already gone through it before. I did get the TM for Thunderbolt, but I'm actually not going to use it on Lemon. If I'm gonna build my team around rainfall then it only makes sense to let Lemon know Thunder instead of Thunderbolt. There's no need to waste such a valuable TM!

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

300px-Hoenn_Route_119_RS.png

Route 119

Of course, route 119 where a majority of the action today will take place.

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

Spr_3r_357.png Spr_b_3r_357.png

First of all, we're of course going to catch a Tropius for HM usage. I can think of no name more fitting than "Bananas."

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

270px-Weather_Institute_1F_RSE.png 318px-Weather_Institute_2F_RSE.png

Weather Institute

Spr_RS_Team_Aqua_Grunt_F.png Spr_RS_Team_Aqua_Grunt_M.png

I think you know the drill about the Weather Institute. Team Magma is replaced with Team Aqua and the dialogue is mostly unchanged. This is our first time seeing female grunts though, and I do quite like this design for them!

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

Spr_RS_Shelly.png

Vs. Aqua Admin Shelly

Of course, the star of the show is the Aqua counterpart to Magma's Courtney: Shelly! Shelly appears with a much more confident and sexy design than her Magma counterpart who seemed more ferral and ferocious. They both appear intimidating for different reasons. I love the designs of the admins! Shelly's dialogue, of course, is mostly the same as Courtney, though, so the differences sadly only end with their character design and team.

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

Spr_3r_318.png

Carvanha, Lv. 28

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_318.png

As you'd probably expect, this fight was basically a joke. Her Carvanha went down especially easily to Coconut's Bullet Seed.

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

Spr_3r_262.png

Mightyena, Lv. 28

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_262.png

Her Mightyena was able to take a hit from Surf, but little good that did for her.

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

300px-Hoenn_Route_119_RS.png

With Team Aqua defeated, I moved onward without even bothering to claim the Castform since I don't really have a need for another one. But, of course, we're met with another rather underwhelming challenger.

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

Spr_RS_Brendan.png

Vs. PKMN Trainer Brendan #3

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

Spr_3r_285.png

Shroomish; Lv. 29

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_285.png

It just so happens that Coconut just happens to have the perfect moveset to make quick work of Brendan's entire team... woops. An Ice Beam easily took out Shroomish.

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

Spr_3r_322.png

Numel; Lv. 29

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_322.png

Surf was able to eliminate Numel.

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

Spr_3r_259.png

Marshtomp; Lv. 31

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_259.png

And Marshtomp naturally didn't stand a chance against Bullet Seed. I've literally had battles with wild pokemon that were more difficult than some of the miniboss battles in these games. But, I digress. It's time to move on.

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

450px-Fortree_City_RS.png

Fortree City

I quickly poked my head into Route 120 just to get the Devon Scope before coming back here and heading straight for the gym.

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

270px-Fortree_Gym_RS.png

Fortree City Gym

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

Spr_3r_257.png Spr_b_3r_257.png

While battling the gym trainers here, Cherry reached level 36 and evolved into Blaziken! With this comes the powerful signature move Blaze Kick! It's got 85 power and a high crit chance! On top of that, it also has a 10% chance of burning the target!

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My Team:

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

Cherry (Blaziken M); Lv. 36

Spr_3r_257.png Spr_b_3r_257.png

Item: King's Rock

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Double Kick, Bulk Up, Quick Attack, Blaze Kick

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

Coconut (Lombre M); Lv. 35

Spr_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_271.png

Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Fake Out, Surf, Ice Beam, Bullet Seed

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

Melon (Breloom M); Lv. 35

Spr_3r_286.png Spr_b_3r_286.png

Item: Miracle Seed

Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Mega Drain, Headbutt, Mach Punch, Toxic

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

Lemon (Manectric F); Lv. 35

Spr_3r_310.png Spr_b_3r_310.png

Item: Silk Scarf

Ability: Static | Moves: Quick Attack, Thunder Wave, Spark, Odor Sleuth

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

Pumpkin (Baltoy); Lv. 35

Spr_3r_343.png Spr_b_3r_343.png

Item: Hard Rock

Ability: Levitate | Moves: Mud Slap, Psybeam, AncientPower, SelfDestruct

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

Spr_RS_Winona.png

Vs. Fortree Gym Leader Winona

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

Spr_3r_277.png

Swellow; Lv. 31

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_277.png

Knowing Winona's strat with Swellow, I could think of no better leader for this battle than Lemon. I led off with Odor Sleuth to render her evasion tactics useless. From there, it was a simple matter of taking it down with a couple of Sparks.

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

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Altaria; Lv. 33

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_334.png

With Altaria, the first order of business was to paralyze it with Thunder Wave. Those Dragon Dances could make it incredibly dangerous, especially at such a low level. Cutting its speed will make it much harder for her to gain an edge. From there, I just kept using Spark until she stopped setting up Dragon Dance and hit me with a devastating Earthquake.

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_3r_334.png

I felt the obvious follow-up here was Coconut. This was where he'd be most useful but he's likely to be outsped if I let Altaria stay out too long. I brought him out and I'm unsure if I was actually able to outspeed thanks to the paralysis or if the Quick Claw had kicked in, but I was able to get an Ice Beam off which nearly took Altaria out! Unfortunately, it did hang on with a sliver of HP and took Coconut out with an Aerial Ace.

Spr_b_3r_343.png Spr_3r_334.png

Things were starting to look a little dodgy here. My Gut reaction, of course, was to bring out Cherry and go for the Quick Attack KO, but obviously Winona was going to heal this turn. Instead, I went for Pumpkin and started to use AncientPower. At this point, I was pretty confident this challenge was going to be a lost cause, but I pressed on regardless. Sure enough, thanks to some good luck with RNG, Altaria was unable to attack thanks to paralysis and I was able to continue using AncientPower. It did put up a decent fight with its powered up Aerial Ace, but Pumpkin was able to hold its ground and take out Altaria!

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

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Pelipper; Lv. 30

Spr_b_3r_343.png Spr_3r_279.png

Pelipper was next and it tried to go for SuperSonic in an attempt to confuse Pumpkin. It didn't work and I was able to take it out in a couple more AncientPowers.

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

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Skarmory; Lv. 32

Spr_b_3r_343.png Spr_3r_227.png

AncientPower was out of PP now, so all I really had to work with against Skarmory was Psybeam and SelfDestruct. I decided I'd try to get as much use as I could out of Pumpkin by trying to confuse Skarmory with Psybeam before blowing up on it. I never got the confusion off and ultimately succumbed to a couple of Steel Wings.

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_227.png

At this point, though, my victory was basically assured. A single Blaze Kick was all it took to finish the job with Skarmory.

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

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MVP: Pumpkin

I don't think there's any disputing how invaluable Pumpkin was to my victory. Lemon's Thunder Wave and Odor Sleuth were really helpful in setting up for my victory, but it was Pumpkin who put in most of the work. He survived far longer than I expected. I figured it would have gone down against Altaria and left me rather screwed by the damage range from Coconut's Ice Beam, but he went above and beyond this battle! I can't wait to see what this thing can do once it's evolved!

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

Spr_RS_Winona.png

And now, we have six gym badges and the seventh shouldn't be too far off! I think my team is rather well-built for double battles, but we'll just have to wait and see.

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Aura

Let me tell ya, doing one gym badge per post is rather unhealthy for this game... But I think that just goes to show how packed this game is with content! I may not be covering much in this post but don't let that fool you into thinking I didn't have to play through a lot! You're definitely getting the abridged version here. There is a lot of story and ground to cover between gyms 6 and 7!

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

308px-Hoenn_Route_120_RS.png

Route 120

Spr_3r_344.png Spr_b_3r_344.png

Since Pumpkin was already so close to evolution in the last post, it wasn't very far at all into this session that it reached level 36 and evolved into Claydol!

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

450px-Hoenn_Route_121_RS.png

Route 121

Spr_3r_353.png Spr_b_3r_353.png

Of course, in Sapphire version, Shuppet is available for capture here instead of Duskull.

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

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Mt. Pyre: Inside

Likewise, you can still find both Shuppet and Duskull inside Mt. Pyre, but their rarities are swapped so that you can only find Duskull on the higher floors instead of Shuppet.

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

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Mt. Pyre: Summit

Spr_RS_Archie.png

Here at the Summit of Mt. Pyre, we find that Archie has managed to steal the orb from the old couple protecting the shrine. This time, Archie steals the Red Orb to control the legendary pokemon of the sea before making his way to Slateport.

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

375px-Slateport_City_RS.png

Slateport City

Spr_RS_Archie.png Spr_RS_Matt.png

The event at Slateport plays out again pretty much identically to the Ruby counterpart. You arrive to an interview with Capt. Stern who describes his new discovery and then his submarine gets stolen by Team Aqua. Team Aqua makes their getaway and heads straight for their hideout in Lilycove!

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

225px-Aqua_Hideout_1F_SE.png

Aqua Hideout

While most of the Aqua Hideout is pretty much identical to the Magma Hideout in Ruby, there are quite a few aesthetic changes between versions.

225px-Magma_Hideout_1F_R.png

For comparison, this is what the same room looked like in the Magma Hideout of Ruby. There's much less water and more sets of stairs to climb up.

300px-Aqua_Hideout_B1F_SE.png

300px-Magma_Hideout_2F_R.png

There are similar changes to the second floor between versions and the layout is actually rather different as well. I thought there was something strange about this area when I explored it in Ruby version but I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I played this version. I'm not sure if I'm just paying less attention to the dialogue this time, but I have gotten the sense that the Aqua grunts are a bit less calculated than the Magma grunts as well. Team Magma challenged you to waste your time while these Aqua grunts seem to challenge you just because they're bored lazing around in the hideout. I'm unsure if this is an actual difference or if I've just noticed them less, but if it is, then I can definitely say I find Team Magma to be the more interesting evil team.

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

Spr_RS_Matt.png

Aqua Admin Matt #2

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

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Carvanha; Lv. 32

Spr_b_3r_344.png Spr_3r_318.png

With AncientPower, Pumpkin was easily able to take Carvanha out.

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

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Mightyena; Lv. 32

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Against Mightyena, my options were a bit more limited, so I just switched out.

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Cherry was of course able to make quick work of Mightyena.

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

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Sharpedo; Lv. 32

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_319.png

You would think a water-type like Sharpedo would be intimidating to my Fire-Type Cherry but you'd be wrong. With just a single hit from Double Kick, it went down without a second chance.

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

Spr_RS_Matt.png

Of course, we know how the story goes. Matt was able to hold us off long enough for Archie and his crew to make preparations and take their leave with the stolen submarine!

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

375px-Lilycove_City_RS.png

Slateport City

Back outside in Slateport City, we'll make our way to the Dept. Store and challenge Brendan so that we can get inside the store. He seems to be embarrassed about having come to visit the store to purchase pokedolls and insists that he came instead because of an errand for his father.

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

Spr_RS_Brendan.png

Vs. PKMN Trainer Brendan #4

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

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Swellow; Lv. 31

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Swellow went down to a couple hits from Pumpkin's AncientPower.

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

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Shroomish; Lv. 32

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Against Shroomish, I decided to take the free switch.

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With a Blaze Kick, I was able to take out Shroomish no problem and thankfully didn't trigger effect spore.

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

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Numel; Lv. 32

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Numel went down easily to a Double Kick.

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

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Marshtomp; Lv. 34

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You guessed it, Marshtomp went down to a couple of Double Kicks as well without much of a fight.

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

Spr_RS_Brendan.png

And that's that... Brendan confesses that he's a little embarrassed to lose to you considering he had a head start and all. He recognizes that you must have gotten so strong because of the gym challenge and decides that maybe he should try taking that challenge as well.

I never mentioned it in my playthrough of Ruby but May/Brendan is a very, very bizarre rival. Not just because most of their battles are rather underwhelming but this is your final battle with them. You never get to battle them with a fully developed team. Not even in the postgame! Their starter never even reaches its final stage! What's more, this final battle with them is entirely optional. If you don't want to go into the Dept. Store, you can just walk right by and completely ignore them. It's clear they were going a different route with designing the rival this time around, but if they wanted to create a character more focused on the pokedex rather than the gym challenge, I feel like they should have given them a larger variety of pokemon to use across all of their battles. Every single battle feels exactly the same. It's worth noting here that Marshtomp doesn't even know any water-type moves! It knows Mud Sport! This is a Single Battle. Mud Sport is entirely useless on a ground type in a single battle. Marshtomp was more of a threat to your Cumbusken back on Route 110!

Yeah, as much as I admire some of the things they tried to do with the characters in this gen, the characters definitely weren't their strong suit...

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

With Brendan out of the way, we can now access the Dept. Store which means TMs! For now, I'm only going to buy one TM and that's TM25: Thunder!

Spr_3r_310.png

Naturally, I'll be teaching this move to Lemon!

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

450px-Mossdeep_City_RS.png

Mossdeep City

Finally, with Team Aqua out of the way, we can make our way to Route 124 and challenge our next gym.

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

270px-Mossdeep_Gym_RS.png

Mossdeep Gym

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My Team:

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

Cherry (Blaziken M); Lv. 39

Spr_3r_257.png Spr_b_3r_257.png

Item: King's Rock

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Double Kick, Bulk Up, Quick Attack, Blaze Kick

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

Coconut (Lombre M); Lv. 40

Spr_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_271.png

Item: Lax Incense

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Fake Out, Surf, Ice Beam, Bullet Seed

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

Melon (Breloom M); Lv. 39

Spr_3r_286.png Spr_b_3r_286.png

Item: Miracle Seed

Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Giga Drain, Sky Uppercut, Mach Punch, Toxic

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

Lemon (Manectric F); Lv. 40

Spr_3r_310.png Spr_b_3r_310.png

Item: Amulet Coin

Ability: Static | Moves: Quick Attack, Thunder Wave, Thunder, Bite

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

Pumpkin (Claydol); Lv. 40

Spr_3r_344.png Spr_b_3r_344.png

Ability: Levitate | Moves: Mud Slap, Psybeam, AncientPower, Hyper Beam

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

Spr_RS_Tate_and_Liza.png

Vs. Mossdeep Gym Leaders Tate & Liza

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

Spr_3r_338.png Spr_3r_337.png

Solrock; Lv. 42 & Lunatone; Lv. 42

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_338.png Spr_3r_337.png

I led off with a rather fierce combo of Coconut and Lemon to build up some quick damage and take out Solrock early before it could pull off a Sunny Day. I started out by using Fake Out on Solrock to buy myself an extra turn. I hoped the Lax Incense I'd put on Coconut would be enough to keep it safe from Lunatone's Hypnosis but this was unfortunately not the case. Lunatone had managed to put Coconut to sleep but Manectric was able to hit Solrock with a solid Thunder! This took out a significant chunk of Solrock's HP while Lunatone took advantage of our distraction by building up its special stats with Calm Mind. Unfortunately, since Coconut has been put to sleep, I was unable to finish Solrock off before it was able to use Sunny Day. This is very bad for Lemon's Thunder. I've definitely mentioned it before, but much like how Rain Dance increases the accuracy of Thunder, Sunny Day decreases it. Thunder will simply be far too unreliable here. Thankfully, with a Bite, I was able to finish off Solrock.

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

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_337.png

Now all that was left was Lunatone. The battle isn't automatically won this time, though, because I don't have a Dark type on my team this time!

Spr_b_3r_286.png Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_337.png

I switched Coconut out for Melon with the intention of using Toxic to badly poison Lunatone. However, I made the extremely noobish mistake of using Thunder Wave with Lemon in the same turn! Because of this poorly thought out move, getting past Lunatone's buffed defenses was going to be significantly more difficult. I blame sleep deprivation for this really, really stupid move on my part. And it definitely got punished rather harshly when Melon was taken down with a super-powered Psychic.

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_337.png

I brought out Cherry and went for a Double Kick which was able to deal a decent chunk of damage only to be healed right off with a Hyper Potion. Another round went by and Cherry was picked off with a Psychic as well.

Spr_b_3r_271.png Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_337.png

Out came Coconut once again who got another Fake Out off. By this point, the sunlight had faded so we could now use our more powerful attacks. Between Surf and a few Thunders, Lunatone finally went down. 

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

Spr_3r_271.png

MVP: Coconut

I kind of dropped the ball with everyone in this battle. I wanted to give Melon MVP since my initial plan was to rely on Toxic, but since he never got the strat off I don't think I can count that. I was considering giving MVP to Lemon since he probably did the most damage out of any other pokemon on the team, but I didn't feel right doing that since he was part of the reason dealing with Lunatone was so awkward in the first place. I think Coconut is the best choice for MVP because he's pretty much the only pokemon on the team who actually played his part out as intend. The only thing that went against him was the fact that he got put to sleep with Hypnosis at an unfortunate timing, but even then he was able to make himself useful when he was brought out later!

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

Spr_RS_Tate_and_Liza.png

And now our 7th gym badge has been obtained! We're already rapidly approaching the end of the game, but let's not get too hasty! Next time, we'll see if we can put a stop to Team Aqua's plans once and for all!

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Aura

Apologies for the late update! I haven't been feeling particularly up to it these past couple days and there's a lot of ground to cover before the next gym. Again, this post may seem short on the surface, but keep in mind that I'm not covering most of the redundant stuff that we've already covered in Ruby and I'm focusing particularly on where the playthroughs vary

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

450px-Mossdeep_City_RS.png

Now that we have the Mind Badge, our first order of business is to catch an HM user for the move Dive, and, just like before, we have access to the perfect pokemon for water HM's right here!

Spr_3r_320.png Spr_b_3r_320.png

Once again, I caught myself a Wailmer and gave it only the most fitting name I could think of: Watermelon.

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

450px-Hoenn_Route_108_RS.png

Route 108

With our Dive User, we can return to the Abandoned Ship on Route 108!

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

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Abandoned Ship

Here, we can finally get TM18: Rain Dance and, even more excitingly, a Water Stone!

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With this, we can finally evolve Coconut into a Ludicolo! Now our team is fully evolved again! Hurray!

In addition, I also taught Rain Dance to Lemon. As my fastest pokemon, I figured she'd be most likely to get it off if necessary. She also arguably relies most heavily on it since her only STAB attack is Thunder with is rather inaccurate on its own.

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

240px-Lilycove_Department_Store_4F_RSE.p

My next step was to return to the Lilycove Dept. Store and buy TM17: Protect! I taught this to Coconut over Bullet Seed. I will be losing his only STAB grass option, but I still have Melon for that. Protect will help Coconut get more use out of his Rain Dish ability and in conjunction with Fake Out, it can also help me to stall out effects the enemy has up such as Light Screen and Reflect. My team is really shaping up!

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

450px-Hoenn_Route_125_RS.png

Route 105

Naturally, we're going to have to check out Route 105 and Shoal Cave!

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

225px-Shoal_Cave_entrance_high_tide_RS.p 225px-Shoal_Cave_inner_room_high_tide_RS

Shoal Cave

Thanks to the time we set at the start of the game and our dead internal battery, Shoal Cave is always going to be stuck at high tide during this playthrough! I'd like to stress again that this is not a version exclusive difference, though I did plan this out in such a way that makes it quite fitting as one. 

During High Tide, this cave is much smaller and less confusing to explore. The old man is still here and will again offer to make you something special if you can bring him four Shoal Salt and Shoal Shells. At high tide, we can only collect the four Shoal Shells which are found deposited among piles of stones. If we really want, we can actually trade over our Shoal Salt from Ruby so that we can finally have get the old man's present. Out of the items you give him, he'll make you a Shell Bell which is a held item that heals the pokemon that holds it after they deal damage. It's a decent way to help increase the endurance of a slow but powerful pokemon, though the Leftovers is a bit more consistently helpful. I don't think I'm missing out too much on this Shell Bell if I'm being honest, but for exploration's sake, I'll at least entertain the game enough to gather the four Shoal Shells throughout this cave.

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

375px-Hoenn_Route_127_RS.png 375px-Hoenn_Route_127_underwater_RS.png

450px-Hoenn_Route_128_RSE.png 450px-Hoenn_Route_128_underwater_RSE.png

Route 127 & 128

Of course, you all know the drill. It's time to storm the depths of the sea in search of Team Aqua!

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

143px-Seafloor_Cavern_entrance_RS.png

Seafloor Cavern

This area is mostly unchanged from Ruby except for the typical Magma and Aqua role swapping.

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

120px-Seafloor_Cavern_R7_RS.png

As we approach the end, we're stopped by Aqua Admin Shelly for our final battle against her!

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

Spr_RS_Shelly.png

Vs. Aqua Admin Shelly #2

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

Spr_3r_319.png

Sharpedo; Lv. 38

Spr_b_3r_344.png Spr_3r_319.png

Pumpkin was at the lead position in my party, but I don't think I need to explain why this is a bad matchup.

Spr_b_3r_286.png Spr_3r_319.png

Anticipating a Dark-type attack, I switched to Melon before taking Sharpedo out with a Giga Drain.

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

Spr_3r_262.png

Mightyena; Lv. 38

Spr_b_3r_286.png Spr_3r_262.png

Mightyena's Intimidate couldn't protect it enough to help it survive a Sky Uppercut from Melon! It went down with ease.

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

75px-Seafloor_Cavern_end_S.png

Seafloor Cavern Depths

The largest difference here is that, in the very depths of the Seafloor Cavern is a small pool of water with a large pokemon in the middle rather than the pool of lava with Groudon. I honestly do prefer this cavern with the lava in Ruby as I feel it has a more imposing visual and it really helps to convey how deep underground you are. With the water, it really doesn't stand out as much.

But, of course, as we approach the pokemon, we're met by Archie for one more battle.

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

Spr_RS_Archie.png

Vs. Aqua Leader Archie #2

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

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Mightyena; Lv. 41

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_262.png

I led this battle with Cherry. Mightyena was able to survive a hit from Double Kick thanks to Intimidate, but it was low on health. I anticipated a heal, so I went for Double Kick instead of Quick Attack. Sure enough, he did heal with a Super Potion but he was able to hold on with even less health. I figured he wouldn't go for another heal, so I went for Quick Attack instead.

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

Spr_3r_169.png

Crobat; Lv. 41

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_169.png

Archie really caught me off guard by switching to his Crobat here! Thankfully, I hadn't gone for Double Kick again like he seemed to anticipate. Crobat outsped me, so I was going to have to deal with the confusion from its Confuse Ray. Ultimately, I was able to power through and use Blaze Kick to defeat it.

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_262.png

Out came his Mightyena with Intimidate to cut my attack further. My first order of business was to use my Yellow Flute to heal off my confusion. Archie healed his Mightyena again and, thanks to my cut attack, he was able to survive my Double Kick much more comfortably this time. But then he made probably the stupidest decision he could have: He used Swagger. Again, this is an extremely backwards attack for a pokemon with Intimidate to have. I thought the whole purpose of switching out was to hit me with a second intimidate, but instead, he just immediately nullified the stat changes. Taking out Mightyena at this point was a joke. All I had to do was heal off my confusion and hit him with another Double Kick, just daring him to use another Swagger.

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

Spr_3r_319.png

Sharpedo; Lv. 43

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_319.png

Since my stats were returned to normal, Sharpedo didn't stand a chance. A simple double kick was all it took to finish the job, though it did result in a bit of pain on Cherry's part thanks to Rough Skin.

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

Spr_RS_Archie.png

Of course, just like Maxie in Ruby, Archie is only amused by the futility of this battle.

Spr_3r_382.png

However, before he's ready, the Red Orb suddenly begins to glow on its own and in the water, the legendary pokemon Kyogre awakens!

Shortly after awakening, much like Groudon, Kyogre disappears and Archie gets a transmission from his team informing him of the immense rainstorm plaguing the world.

Spr_RS_Maxie.png

Team Magma arrives to condemn Archie's actions and everyone returns to the surface together to see the damage Kygore has brought.

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

450px-Hoenn_Route_128_RSE.png

Back on Route 128, we can find that the world is indeed under a heavy rainfall with different music to the drought from Ruby. This rainfall threatens to drown the entire world, but while the music itself is much more catchy, I honestly think The Drought from Ruby was much more unique and helped to convey the feeling of the moment much better.

Of course, during this torrential rainstorm, all battles will have perpetual rain which arguably makes this part of the game harder than in Ruby since you're surrounded by water pokemon. However, I still prefer Ruby's version in this regard as well because, unlike rain, nowhere in the world features perpetual harsh sunlight, but in both versions, you can always find perpetual rain on route 120. I think this could have been implemented better if the weather on Route 120 was version exclusive; Rain in Ruby and Sunshine in Sapphire. Alternatively, they also could have simply added an area somewhere that has perpetual sunlight. Maybe Mt. Chimney?

Regardless, we still have to follow Steven to Sootopolis City in order to do something about this rain.

300px-Hoenn_Route_126_RSE.png 330px-Hoenn_Route_126_underwater_RSE.png

Making our way to the northwest, we can find our way here rather easily, though I still remember somehow getting very lost in trying to find my way to this area.

300px-Sootopolis_City_RS.png

As we arrive in Sootopolis, we're naturally going to make a beeline straight for the Cave of Origin, but not before going to stock up on pokeballs. This time, we'll be able to use Net Balls instead of Ultra Balls, though!

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

164px-Cave_of_Origin_Entrance_RS.png

Cave of Origin

This entire cave is nearly identical to the one in Ruby as well. The only significant difference being that Mawile is replaced with Sableye. 

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

110px-Cave_of_Origin_B4F_S.png

Cave of Origin Depths

Of course, the most significant change is in the very depths of the Cave of Origin. Here, the rubies increstened in the walls are now sapphires and the lava is, of course, water. We approach Kyogre in the middle and our Blue Orb begins to shine.

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

Spr_3r_382.png

Vs. Kyogre; Lv. 45

Right away, Kyogre's Drizzle takes effect and calls a perpetual rainstorm into the battle.

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_382.png

The obvious lead here was Lemon who was going to make catching Kyogre much less difficult than Groudon was because of one simple difference: I can use Thunder Wave to paralyze Kygore from the start! And thanks to the rainstorm, Thunder will also always hit! A single Thunder was enough to get Kyogre into a reasonable range to start throwing Net Balls at it, but a single Body Slam and Hydro Pump was all it took to eliminate Lemon.

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_382.png

My next follow up was Coconut who opened with a Fake Out to get some extra chip damage on this thing before I started throwing Net Balls again. Kyogre hit me with a Hydro Pump which was quad-resisted, so even with the legendary's stats combined with the boost from the rain, it still wasn't really enough to make a difference. I used my strategy with Protect to help myself heal. In the end, Kyogre was able to overcome Coconut with an Ice Beam.

Spr_b_3r_344.png Spr_3r_382.png

The remainder of my pokemon were all weak to Kyogre's moves, so if I didn't catch it soon, I'd black out! I went for Claydol who I believe has the highest Special Defense of my entire team but it ultimately didn't matter because the very next Net Ball successfully captured Kygore!

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

Leviathan (Kyogre); Lv. 45

Spr_3r_382.png Spr_b_3r_382.png

Ability: Drizzle | Moves: Calm Mind, Ice Beam, Hydro Pump, Body Slam

This here is the only pokemon on my team that won't be fitting with the naming convention of the rest of the pokemon I've caught. That's because I just felt that having Kyogre be called anything but Leviathan to play off of Behemoth from Ruby would have felt off. I didn't want to give this thing some silly name like "Papaya". 

300px-Sootopolis_City_RS.png

With Kyogre captured, the perpetual rainfall comes to an end and the world has returned to normal! We can now continue our adventure! I returned to route 126 to more thoroughly explore the area now that Kyogre's threat has been cleared out. And in Sootopolis City, I also claimed TM31 and taught it to Cherry in place of Double Kick. Now we're ready to finally challenge the gym!

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

225px-Sootopolis_Gym_1F_RS.png 225px-Sootopolis_Gym_B1F_RS.png

Sootopolis Gym

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My Team:

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

Cherry (Blaziken M); Lv. 43

Spr_3r_257.png Spr_b_3r_257.png

Item: King's Rock

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Brick Break, Bulk Up, Quick Attack, Blaze Kick

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

Coconut (Ludicolo M); Lv. 43

Spr_3r_272.png Spr_b_3r_272.png

Item: Lax Incense

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Fake Out, Surf, Ice Beam, Protect

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

Melon (Breloom M); Lv. 43

Spr_3r_286.png Spr_b_3r_286.png

Item: Miracle Seed

Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Giga Drain, Sky Uppercut, Mach Punch, Toxic

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

Lemon (Manectric F); Lv. 43

Spr_3r_310.png Spr_b_3r_310.png

Item: Amulet Coin

Ability: Static | Moves: Rain Dance, Thunder Wave, Thunder, Bite

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

Pumpkin (Claydol); Lv. 43

Spr_3r_344.png Spr_b_3r_344.png

Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Levitate | Moves: Earthquake, Psybeam, AncientPower, Hyper Beam

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

Leviathan (Kyogre); Lv. 45

Spr_3r_382.png Spr_b_3r_382.png

Item: Sea Incense*

Ability: Drizzle | Moves: Calm Mind, Ice Beam, Hydro Pump, Body Slam

*The sea incense offers a much weaker boost than the Mystic Water, but Mystic Water comes from the Castform that I never actually claimed. I could go back and grab it, but I figured it wasn't worth it. In addition, NeverMeltIce isn't available in this playthrough because I don't have access to the lower floors of Shoal Cave. This also means I can't get the TM for Hail. 

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

Spr_RS_Wallace.png

Vs. Gym Leader Wallace

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

Spr_3r_370.png

Luvdisc; Lv. 40

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_370.png

I decided to lead with Leviathan. This Kyogre had yet to see a battle, but opening up with Drizzle would give me access to Thunder to make quick work of most of Wallace's team with Lemon. However, this Luvdisc was completely incapable of putting up a fight and Wallace seemed rather content in leaving it out there. So, I took the opportunity to set up six Calm Minds to really build up Kyogre's power. I don't think I considered just how powerful this decision made him until after the fact. I was able to take out Luvdisc with a single Ice Beam, but that wasn't too much of a surprise given Luvdisc's natural weakness.

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

Spr_3r_364.png

Sealeo; Lv. 40

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_364.png

Sealeo was where Leviathan's strength started to show. With a Hydro Pump from Leviathan, it, too, went down in a single hit. However, I struggled a bit with the accuracy of Hydro Pump and missed a few times in a row, in which time Sealeo managed to paralyze Leviathan, cutting its speed and making it much easier for the remainder of Wallace's team to pile on the damage.

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

Spr_3r_340.png

Whiscash; Lv. 42

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_340.png

Whiscash tried to confuse me with Water Pulse, but didn't get the effect off before I could take it out with a simple Ice Beam.

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

Spr_3r_119.png

Seaking; Lv. 42

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_119.png

Seaking did manage to survive an Ice Beam and it was able to bring my HP pretty low with a couple of solid hits from Fury Attack. 

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

Spr_3r_350.png

Milotic; Lv. 43

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_350.png

This is where I was genuinely caught off guard. I was a bit worried about this matchup and thanks to my several misses earlier, my PP for Hydro Pump was rather low. Still, it wasn't too bad because Leviathan was only my first pokemon. By this point, the battle was pretty much already won. I went for my last Hydro Pump. Milotic hit me with Water Pulse and successfully got the confusion off, but I was able to attack through and take it out in one shot. Yeah, my special attack was up by 6 stages, but still, taking out a Milotic in a single shot is a scary feat.

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

Spr_3r_382.png

MVP: Leviathan

With literally no competition, it's clear MVP has to be Leviathan this time around!

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

Spr_RS_Wallace.png

And now we've completed our final gym! Next time, it's a bit of cleanup and then off to Victory Road!

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Aura

It has been a few days since I've updated this thread. This was kind of due to a perfect storm of coincidences that pulled my attention away from the game. A hurricane hit around my area a few days ago. Not to alarm anyone, hurricanes are rather common in this area and though this one was a bit more powerful and closer than normal, it's nothing too out of the ordinary. The only reason I bring it up here is because it happened to knock some construction equipment loose around a bridge that I have to cross every day to go to school, causing the equipment to fall over into and break a section of the bridge, leaving it under repairs. (Thankfully, traffic was already closed on the bridge at this time, so nobody was injured). Classes have been closed due to the hurricane, but they started up this week and my in-person classes should be starting next week, so I had to figure out how I'm going to deal with the damaged bridge. I'll probably have to get up earlier and take a longer route with significantly heavier traffic. In addition, I also have multiple projects coming up for several classes and it's a little overwhelming to think about right now. Due dates are likely to be extended due to the hurricane, but it's still been rather stressful.

Because of all this going on, I haven't exactly been in the cheeriest of moods and I just happened to be at another long stretch in the game that I wasn't particularly looking forward to, so I figured it'd be for the best to simply put the game off for a little while. I played a little bit here and there, but I mostly focused on other things. Anyone whose been following my posts recently probably knows that I've really gotten into Hololive vtubers recently and there was a huge rabbit hole in that fandom that I never saw coming. Mario 3D All Stars has also been released and I've had a lot of fun playing through these games again! Some people complain about the game, but I absolutely love it. These three Mario games were a huge part of my childhood and I have so many memories of them. They're just so much fun to me! But, this is All the Pokemens, so let's get back on topic!

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

225px-Meteor_Falls_1F1R_RS.png

Now that we can use Waterfall out of battle, I returned to Meteor Falls to grab TM23: Iron Tail which I taught to Lemon to give it a better option than Bite against most Ground-types. It comes with the caveat that it is significantly less accurate, but at this point in the game, Bite isn't going to be doing very much damage unless it's super effective, so I think it's better to just risk a miss than to barely deal any damage at all.

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

Of course, we also did all our typical pre E4 cleanup but, as I suggested before, I didn't bother catching the Legendary Golems this time around because it just felt rather unnecessary. I'm not going to be covering all the things I did during this cleanup because it's all the same as in Ruby, just know that it involved exploring the routes surrounding Pacifidlog Town. As you'd probably expect, no, Mirage Island did not appear for me here either. 

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

180px-Victory_Road_1F_RS.png 180px-Victory_Road_B1F_RS.png 180px-Victory_Road_B2F_RS.png

Victory Road

Now it was finally time to explore Victory Road! With the abundance of Ice- and Psychic-type attacks on my team this time around, I found the troublesome Golbat throughout the dungeon much easier to deal with. It's the wild Medicham that actually proved to be the biggest danger for me this time as I didn't really have anything that could easily deal with them. Of course, I also had to keep two pokemon in the PC the entire time so that I could have both Watermelon and Bananas with me to help with HM distribution. Again, there's really not much to say and, since I've already been through this dungeon once recently, I found it much easier to navigate the second time around. 

Of course, this time I made absolutely sure to go out of my way to get TM29: Psychic which I didn't hesitate to teach to Pumpkin. While Pumpkin does have Psybeam, Claydol doesn't actually learn Psychic naturally. Since Pumpkin is one of my primary go-to's for type coverage here, I think it's important for it to have some really strong physical and special attacks.

Of course, as we near the end of the dungeon, we are once again stopped by Wally for our final battle with him.

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

Spr_RS_Wally.png

Vs. Wally #3

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

Spr_3r_334.png

Altaria; Lv. 43

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_334.png

I opened up with Leviathan so that I could get the permanent rain out from the word go. Naturally, Altaria went down effortlessly to an Ice Beam from Kyogre.

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

Spr_3r_082.png

Magneton; Lv. 41

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_082.png

This Magneton gave me a far harder time than I ever deserved. I missed two Hydro Pumps against it and it managed to survive the third one, too! The entire time, it was pelting me with Thunderbolt and draining away my HP. This was definitely the worst possible spot to be missing. Still, I managed to pull through and take it out with an Ice Beam on the next turn, but Leviathan was starting to lag behind a little.

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

Spr_3r_315.png

Roselia; Lv. 44

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_315.png

Roselia naturally didn't even get the chance to attack. I took it out in a second with Ice Beam.

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

Spr_3r_301.png

Delcatty; Lv. 43

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_301.png

Against Delcatty, I missed for a third time with Hydro Pump! It survived the next one, but now I was out of PP for the move! Out of 5 attacks, I missed three of them! This is exactly why I don't usually use moves like this. I was able to take out Delcatty while holding onto a bit of extra health.

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

Spr_3r_282.png

Gardevoir; Lv. 45

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_282.png

When Gardevoir came along, it was down to 6 on 1, so there was pretty much no way I'd lose. I went for Body Slam and managed to paralyze Gardevoir. Gardevoir's Synchronize ability kicked in, though, which copies its status conditions onto its opponent. So, Leviathan basically ended up paralyzing himself. This would be his downfall because shortly after, Gardevoir was able to finish Leviathan off thanks to being unable to attack through paralysis.

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_282.png

By this point, Gardevoir's HP was still decently high, so I wanted my next pokemon to be something that could get some quick and easy damage and Coconut with Fake Out was the perfect way to do that! With a Fake Out followed by a couple of Surfs, I was ultimately able to overcome Gardevoir despite her increased evasion.

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

Spr_RS_Wally.png

And now, with Wally defeated, there is nothing standing in the way between us and the Pokemon League once again. It's time to see how our new team can handle the Elites of Hoenn next time!

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Aura

300px-Ever_Grande_City_RS.png

Ever Grande City

We've finally arrived at the Pokemon League and it's time to take our final steps here!

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My Team:

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

Cherry (Blaziken M); Lv. 47

Spr_3r_257.png Spr_b_3r_257.png

Item: King's Rock

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Brick Break, Bulk Up, Quick Attack, Blaze Kick

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

Coconut (Ludicolo M); Lv. 47

Spr_3r_272.png Spr_b_3r_272.png

Item: Lax Incense

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Fake Out, Surf, Ice Beam, Protect

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

Melon (Breloom M); Lv. 46

Spr_3r_286.png Spr_b_3r_286.png

Item: Miracle Seed

Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Giga Drain, Sky Uppercut, Mach Punch, Toxic

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

Lemon (Manectric F); Lv. 47

Spr_3r_310.png Spr_b_3r_310.png

Item: Amulet Coin

Ability: Static | Moves: Quick Attack, Thunder Wave, Thunder, Iron Tail

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

Pumpkin (Claydol); Lv. 47

Spr_3r_344.png Spr_b_3r_344.png

Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Levitate | Moves: Earthquake, Psychic, AncientPower, Hyper Beam

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

Leviathan (Kyogre); Lv. 48

Spr_3r_382.png  Spr_b_3r_382.png

Item: Sea Incense

Ability: Torrent | Moves: Body Slam, Calm Mind, Ice Beam, Hydro Pump

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

My team is a little bit lower level in comparison to the one from Ruby, but that's only natural considering there was much less grinding this time around. In addition, I also realized a bit too late that I actually forgot to teach one more TM. I was planning on teaching Leviathan Thunder over Body Slam. Still, I would be getting some use out of that extra move slot shortly, so this wasn't a total loss, but having Thunder definitely would have made a certain fight much easier.

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

300px-Ever_Grande_City_League_Lobby_RS.p

Pokemon League Entrance

Now that we're here, we can stock up on items to help us between battles before we get our badges checked and start climbing our way to the top!

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

Sidney_room_RSE.png

Spr_RS_Sidney.png

Vs. Elite Four #1: Sidney

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

Spr_3r_262.png

Mightyena, Lv. 46

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_262.png

Anticipating the Mightyena Intimidate lead, I started with Coconut to slap it with a Fake Out before switching out in anticipation of a Crunch.

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_262.png

I brought out Cherry who would resist the predicted attack. My prediction was slightly off, though, because he followed up with a Take Down. However, as a Mightyena, he wasn't able to deal much damage at all even without the resistance. A Brick Break was enough to take Mightyena out.

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

Spr_3r_275.png

Shiftry, Lv. 48

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_275.png

Shiftry of course hit me with a Fake Out. I was able to nearly take it out with Blaze Kick, but I did manage to make it flinch thanks to my King's Rock! After Sidney used a Full Restore on it, I was able to take it out with another Blaze Kick and a Quick Attack.

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

 Spr_3r_319.png

Sharpedo, Lv. 48

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_319.png

I tried to take out Sharpedo with a Brick Break, but it was able to outspeed Cherry and take him out with Surf!

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_319.png

I went for a rather stupid move here, but I used Rain Dance with Lemon to boost the accuracy of Thunder. He didn't use Surf this turn, though, and instead went for Crunch. Sharpedo may not have KO'd me, but he also got a crit so I'll never know if I would have been able to take the hit or not. Regardless, Sharpedo's Surf was now boosted and Lemon was unable to get any benefit from it at all.

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_319.png

I brought Coconut back out here to stall out against Sharpedo a bit and took it out with some Surfing.

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

Spr_3r_359.png

Absol, Lv. 49

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_359.png

By this point, the rain had faded, but I was still sitting pretty. I decided to let Coconut stay in and a couple of Surfs later, Absol went down.

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

Spr_3r_332.png

Cacturn, Lv. 46

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_332.png

Lastly, Cacturn didn't stand a chance at all against Ice Beam.

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

Spr_RS_Sidney.png

That's one member of the Elite Four down, three more to go!

Spr_3r_272.png

MVP: Coconut

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

Phoebe_room_RSE.png

Elite Four Room 2

Spr_RS_Phoebe.png

Vs. Elite Four #2: Phoebe

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

Spr_3r_356.png

Dusclops, Lv. 48

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_356.png

Again, Phoebe loves sabotaging your PP, so you really don't want to hold back against her! I showed no remorse by letting Leviathan be my lead! I started out using a few Calm Minds so I could easily OHKO the rest of her team. However, she quickly shut that strategy down by switching from Shadow Punch to Curse. I wasn't about to waste all that time I'd spent setting up Calm Mind, so I went ahead and milked that built up power for as much as it was worth and just started using Hydro Pump! With help from Kyogre's immense special attack as well as the water, STAB, and a bit of help from the Sea Incense, I was able to easily one-shot Dusclops.

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

Spr_3r_354.png

Banette, Lv. 49

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_354.png

The Banette that followed also went down with just a single Hydro Pump.

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

Spr_3r_302.png

Sableye, Lv. 50

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_302.png

Unfortunately, Hydro Pump missed against Sableye and Leviathan finally succumbed to his curse.

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_302.png

But, with the perpetual rain set up, I had no qualms about bringing Lemon out here and going for Thunder the rest of the battle. Sableye naturally went down rather easily.

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

Spr_3r_354.png

Banette, Lv 49

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_354.png

Her second Banette opened up with Toxic to poison Lemon. After a bit of back and forth, I was able to take it out.

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

Spr_3r_356.png

Dusclops, Lv. 51

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_356.png

Being faced with Dusclops, there wasn't much to it. I went for Thunder, but thanks to Banette, my HP was rather low so Dusclops was able to take out Lemon.

Spr_b_3r_344.png Spr_3r_356.png

After this back and forth, I finally brought out Pumpkin to finish the fight with a couple of Earthquakes. 

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

Spr_RS_Phoebe.png

We're now halfway through the elite four! Of course, after battling Phoebe it's always a good idea to check your team and use some Ethers or even Elixirs where necessary. She may not be very difficult to defeat, but if you're not paying attention to your remaining PP, she could easily haunt you during your upcoming fights.

Spr_3r_310.png

MVP: Lemon

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

Glacia_room_RSE.png

Elite Four Room 3

Spr_RS_Glacia.png

Vs. Elite Four #3: Glacia

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

Spr_3r_362.png

Glalie, Lv. 50

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_362.png

With my knowledge from my last playthrough, I decided to lead with Blaziken because I had the perfect counter to the pain this Glalie was going to bring me. It went for Light Screen, but with a quick response from Brick Break, the effect of Light Screen was lifted and Glalie went down!

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

Spr_3r_364.png

Sealeo, Lv. 50

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_364.png

Unfortunately, Sealeo wouldn't go down to a single Brick Break. It was able to set up Hail before I could take it down.

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

Spr_3r_364.png

Sealeo, Lv. 52

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_364.png

I expected the second Sealeo to take me out with a Surf, but instead it caught me off guard by using Attract!

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_364.png

Since the Sealeo hadn't attacked, I took the opportunity to save Cherry and get rid of the hail by switching into Leviathan. It took the opportunity to heal, but was able to overcome it with a few Hydro Pumps.

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

Spr_3r_362.png

Glalie, Lv. 52

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_362.png

Leviathan's HP was getting low, but with this second Glalie getting rid of my rain, I didn't want Leviathan to go down just yet. So, I retreated yet again.

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_362.png

I brought out Cherry once again. Unfortunately, Glalie managed to freeze me with Ice Beam! Because of this, Cherry was defenseless and he took me out with some Shadow Balls.

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_362.png

This twist of fate was rather annoying, so I had to improvise another, much more costly plan. I brought out Coconut and went for Fake Out. Of course, I forgot about Glalie's Inner Focus, so this ultimately did nothing and I took a hit without getting much damage off. This was okay, though, because my plan would work either way...

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_362.png

I switched back into Leviathan even though his HP was low. Drizzle brought the rain back. With Glalie's Shadow Ball, Leviathan went down, giving me another free switch!

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_362.png

Now that the rain was out and Glalie didn't have a chance to use Hail, I went for Thunder and was able to take it out!

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

Spr_3r_365.png

Walrein, Lv. 53

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_365.png

Walrein, as it turns out, doesn't actually know Hail. So, I was set for the rest of the battle. Walrein survived a little longer than I would have been comfortable with, but a few Thunders took it out no problem.

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

Spr_RS_Glacia.png

Now, only one member of the Elite 4 remains!

Spr_3r_257.png

MVP: Cherry

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

Drake_room_RSE.png

Elite Four Room 4

Spr_RS_Drake.png

Vs. Elite Four #4: Drake

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

Spr_3r_372.png

Shelgon, Lv. 52

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_372.png

I decided to lead off with Coconut here since Ice Beam was a pretty solid attack against most of Drake's team. Shelgon missed its attack, so I was able to take it out relatively painlessly.

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

Spr_3r_330.png

Flygon, Lv. 53

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_330.png

Next came Flygon who took a turn setting up Sandstorm, giving me the prime opportunity to snipe it right out of the air with Ice Beam. Thanks to its Ground/Dragon typing, Ice Beam was able to take it out in one shot.

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

Spr_3r_373.png

Salamence, Lv. 55

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_373.png

Salamence was a bit of a surprise to see this early, especially considering he'd gone out of his way to set up Sandstorm the previous turn. This is by far Drake's biggest threat to my team because of its speed and immense power. Right off the bat, it outsped me and went for Fly!

Spr_b_3r_310.png Spr_3r_373.png

I switched into Lemon to hopefully take the hit thanks to a resistance. I hoped I'd be able to hit it with Thunder Wave or, at the very least, paralyze it with Static. Unfortunately, this didn't prove to be the case. In hindsight, I probably should have used Protect with Coconut and then switch to Lemon in anticipation of the next Fly so that I'd have a chance to tank the next hit and counterattack with Thunder Wave. But, that's just not how well I thought things through in the moment and Lemon went down leaving me in a very awkward position.

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_373.png

I brought Coconut back out and hit him with a Fake Out. Of course, he went for Fly again as soon as he could, so I had to switch out again.

Spr_b_3r_344.png Spr_3r_373.png

I sent out my tankiest pokemon, Pumpkin, and while I was able to take a hit, again, I wasn't able to do much and the Quick Claw didn't even take effect.

Spr_b_3r_272.png Spr_3r_373.png

Yet again, I brought out Coconut and went for Fake Out again. This time, I tried using Protect to defend against Fly, but this would only stall for so long and was just going to be a waste of time considering Fly has 15 PP which is consumed every other turn and Protect only has 10. It would take stalling for 30 turns for Fly to run out of PP and I don't have the patience for that. And that's assuming the AI is using minimum PP for the move. His PP might be maxed out for all I know. So, it was time for yet another switch.

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_373.png

This time, I switched into Leviathan who actually was able to take the hit and counterattack with Ice Beam. Finally, Salamence went down after an embarrassing scramble.

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

Spr_3r_334.png

Altaria, Lv. 54

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_334.png

Altaria came next, but without a chance to set up Dragon Dance, it was rather helpless to Ice Beam.

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

Spr_3r_330.png

Flygon, Lv. 54

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_330.png

Ice Beam shot through Flygon's defenses easily.

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

Spr_RS_Drake.png

And with that, the last of the Elite Four has been defeated! It's time to advance to the final battle!

Spr_3r_382.png

MVP: Leviathan

I'm not really sure why I didn't think to bring Leviathan out earlier. I just didn't want him to take too much damage, I suppose.

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

Champion_Steven_room_RS.png

Elite Four Champion's Room

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

Spr_RS_May.png

My Team:

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

Cherry (Blaziken M); Lv. 48

Spr_3r_257.png Spr_b_3r_257.png

Item: King's Rock

Ability: Blaze | Moves: Brick Break, Bulk Up, Quick Attack, Blaze Kick

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

Coconut (Ludicolo M); Lv. 48

Spr_3r_272.png Spr_b_3r_272.png

Item: Lax Incense

Ability: Rain Dish | Moves: Fake Out, Surf, Ice Beam, Protect

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

Melon (Breloom M); Lv. 46

Spr_3r_286.png Spr_b_3r_286.png

Item: Miracle Seed

Ability: Effect Spore | Moves: Giga Drain, Sky Uppercut, Mach Punch, Toxic

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

Lemon (Manectric F); Lv. 48

Spr_3r_310.png Spr_b_3r_310.png

Item: Amulet Coin

Ability: Static | Moves: Quick Attack, Thunder Wave, Thunder, Iron Tail

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

Pumpkin (Claydol); Lv. 47

Spr_3r_344.png Spr_b_3r_344.png

Item: Quick Claw

Ability: Levitate | Moves: Earthquake, Psychic, AncientPower, Hyper Beam

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

Leviathan (Kyogre); Lv. 49

Spr_3r_382.png  Spr_b_3r_382.png

Item: Sea Incense

Ability: Torrent | Moves: Rest, Calm Mind, Ice Beam, Hydro Pump

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

Spr_RS_Steven.png

Vs. Champion Steven

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

Spr_3r_227.png

Skarmory, Lv. 57

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_227.png

I led off with Leviathan. Obviously, you don't want to give this Skarmory the chance to set up Spikes. With a Hydro Pump, it went down easily enough.

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

Spr_3r_306.png

Aggron, Lv. 56

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_306.png

Aggron came up and went down just as fast. I was wondering why he sent Aggron out of all things here, but looking at its moveset now, apparently this thing knows Thunder! It definitely makes sense now! Clearly, he was hoping for a miss. Even then, though, I can't see this attack doing a whole lot...

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

Spr_3r_344.png

Claydol, Lv. 55

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_344.png

My Hydro Pump unfortunately missed here, giving Claydol a chance to hit me pretty hard with an Earthquake. But, I was able to survive the hit! On the next turn, I was able to take Claydol out.

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

Spr_3r_346.png

Cradily, Lv. 56

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_346.png

It was an unfortunate decision on Steven's part to send out a defensive pokemon at this time instead of going in for the kill. This was the perfect opportunity for Leviathan to take a rest and regain all of its lost health! Cradily was able to get a Giga Drain off, dealing a decent chunk of HP, but after Leviathan woke up, Cradily was just fodder for a couple of Ice Beams.

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

Spr_3r_348.png

Armaldo, Lv. 56

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_348.png

Armaldo went down effortlessly with my final Hydro Pump.

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

Spr_3r_376.png

Metagross, Lv. 58

It may seem like Leviathan was going to take a monopoly on this MVP slot, but let's not forget that the real battle against Steven only begins once Metagross takes the stage.

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_376.png

With a Hyper Beam, Metagross was able to completely destroy what HP remained on Leviathan.

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_376.png

Thanks to the free turn, I switched into Cherry and went for Blaze Kick. I wasn't lucky enough to get a crit, but I did manage to reduce its health to about half! I figured the next turn he'd hit me with an Earthquake, so I considered switching into Pumpkin to dodge. However, since Cherry isn't actually weak to Earthquake, I wasn't totally certain he would go for that. Either way, it was pretty certain that Cherry wouldn't survive a hit. Let's not underestimate how much speed this monster will have, especially considering it has 10 levels over most of my party. I figured the best course of action here was to just let Cherry stay in and take whatever punishment Metagross had for it.

In the end, I was caught by surprise with how fast Cherry was, able to outspeed this thing even at 10 levels under. I was able to take it out in just one more shot, ending the championship battle!!

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

Spr_RS_Steven.png

With this, we have claimed victory over the Elite Four and earned our place in the Hall of Fame!

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MVP: Cherry

While I definitely could have given MVP to Leviathan for clearing most of Steven's team, truth be told, the rest of his team isn't actually all that tough and likely could have been taken care of with a lot of my pokemon. Cherry, though, surprised me several times over with his ability to deal with Metagross. I think he's more than earned the right to have this spot!

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

Spr_RS_Brendan.png Spr_RS_Birch.png

As you've come to expect, it's Brendan who comes in along with Prof. Birch to congratulate you on your victory before Steven pulls you aside to register your team into the system.

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

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  Champion_Ribbon.png

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

Note: Again, not footage from my own playthrough. If you're playing as a female character, you will see May here instead of Brendan. I tried to find footage of the female version of the ending, but no such luck. Of course, the same difference with Ruby still applies here where the pokemon you caught throughout your adventure will show up here, so you'll obviously see some discrepancies in that regard as well.

And of course, the credits roll shortly after this! Once again, there's a little more to do with this game before we move on, but I can definitely say that these games are always more fun to me when I plan my team out ahead of time. However, I may have burned myself out a bit playing the game the way I did last time. It seemed much more sustainable back in Gen 1 and 2 where there weren't so many pokemon to worry about, but now that there are plenty more to come, I'm definitely going to have to rethink my approach. Perhaps the pokedex isn't totally important after all. I'd still like to make an effort to get as close to pokedex completion as realistically possible, but I might just hold back on the grinding aspect. This time around, things were a lot easier than my playthrough of Ruby. Most likely because I wasn't using a makeshift team of whatever pokemon I needed to evolve at any given point in the game. Planning your team ahead to deal with a variety of situations really goes a mile. I probably would have made some modifications to my team under different circumstances, but there were certain specific pokemon I really wanted to make sure I used before advancing further in the series as those same pokemon would soon become very difficult for me to find a place for.

While I did get a bit burned out during these two playthroughs, I still absolutely love this gen and replaying these two games has really opened my eyes again to just how much I loved this generation of pokemon! The crazy thing is, we've only seen the very beginning of what Gen 3 has to offer. But Ruby and Sapphire created a world and conflict unlike anything the Pokemon franchise had ever seen before! And the idea of swapping the roles of Team Aqua and Magma was a really clever way to promote discussion of environmental issues in the world. I imagine at the time there were a lot of kids who were surprised to hear that Team Magma were the good guys in the other version of the game! 

Anyway, next time we'll be dealing with the postgame content for Sapphire! Obviously, there's no need to go into too much detail yet again because most of it is pretty much identical to Ruby, but there are some notable differences and personal touches I'll be making along the way. There's also some new features now that we have two completed playthroughs! So I'll be sure to show that off as well! Due to the nature of what I'll be doing though, I'm not sure I can guarantee my return to a consistent update schedule but I will definitely try my best to remain persistent!

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Postgame time! This time around, it's going to be a lot simpler, and it was already rather simple in Ruby! Since we've already done most of this, there's no point in retreading old territory, so let's focus on the differences.

Littleroot_Town_RS.png

One of the first differences you'll notice is as soon as you start up the game again. As you check the TV in the next room, you'll see a slightly different broadcast. This time, is is said that a mysterious red pokemon has been seen roaming the skies of Hoenn. More on this in a little bit.

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

168px-Sky_Pillar_RS.png

Sky Pillar

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

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Besides that mysterious red pokemon, there's one more soft version exclusive we now have access to: Banette here in Sky Pillar. I say soft since you can get this pokemon within Ruby version, but you have to evolve a Shuppet. It's only in Sapphire where you can catch a Banette straight out of the wild. I named him Raisin!

Since we've already caught Rayquaza, I don't see any need to go out of my way to climb Sky Pillar all over again, much like how I didn't bother to catch Lugia in Silver since I'd already caught it in Gold.

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

300px-Hoenn_Route_110_RS.png

Route 110

Back on Route 110, we can go ahead and finish the Trick House once again. I've been staying on top of this over the course of the game, but if you haven't, you can do them all one after another here. It's better to do them as you progress through the game though since the trainers' levels don't scale to yours so you'll just be fighting a bunch of Zigzagoon and such if you're only just now starting it.

36px-BlueTentSprite.png

For completing all eight Trick House puzzles, you'll be rewarded with the Blue Tent this time instead of the Red Tent from Ruby! I think I personally prefer the design of the Red Tent, but it's nice to have a special one-of-a-kind decoration regardless.

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

Naturally, it's now time to use the same method as before to track down our new legendary!

Spr_3r_380.png

Latias, Lv. 40

There's no sense in being coy about it. The mysterious red pokemon is obviously Latias! Once again, we'll just use the Master Ball to make quick work of this one!

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

Eon (Latias F); Lv. 40

Spr_3r_380.png Spr_b_3r_380.png

Item: Soul Dew

Ability: Levitate | Moves: Water Sport, Refresh, Mist Ball, Psychic

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

I know it's a little bit anticlimactic, but there's really not much else to cover at all here. I might still finish off with Rayquaza if I feel the need, but right now I don't see much of a point in that. Instead, I'll focus my efforts on making my secret base next time and finally we'll be focusing on the ways Ruby and Sapphire can connect together!

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With the postgame content of Sapphire covered, it's finally time to explore some of the unique interactions between two copies of these games! But first, some preparation is necessary. Just like in Ruby, we're going to want to make a secret base!

Since I went for a theme of the land for Ruby, it's only natural I theme this one around the sea!

308px-Hoenn_Route_120_RS.png

I settled on a secret base on Route 120. Specifically, the secret base as the edge of the northern pond, just north of the Scorched Slab. It's in a really convenient location to reach from Fortree City.

Hoenn_Secret_Base_Tau.png

This base is a wide blue cave with lots of open space to place large decorations. Perfect for the kinds of decorations I want to include, myself!

Of course, we're going to need to gather the decorations we need. No need to cover where they come from since I've covered them all last time, here's the ones I got:

BlueTentSprite.png GorgeousPlantSprite.png TropicalPlantSprite.png SurfMatSprite.png CampDeskSprite.png Doll_Wailmer_III.png Doll_Torchic_III.png Doll_Lotad_III.png Doll_Marill_III.png Doll_Azurill_III.png RoundCushionSprite.png CutePosterSprite.png RedPosterSprite.png LongPosterSprite.png PikaPosterSprite.png SeaPosterSprite.png

From left to right, these decorations are: Blue Tent, Gorgeous Plant, Tropical Plant, Surf Mat, Camp Desk, Wailmer Doll, Torchic Doll, Lotad Doll, Marill Doll, Azumaril Doll, Round Cushion, Cute Poster, Red Poster, Long Poster, Pika Poster, and Sea Poster.

TRQgsne.png

Again, I cannot take a screenshot off of my actual physical copy of the game, but here is a rough mockup of what my base looked like! The sheer size of some of these larger furniture pieces can be really difficult to work with, but I think this one turned our really nicely! The final product is pretty close to my initial plan, though I had to move more dolls to the desk than I originally intended because the Wailmer didn't allow any more than one on the same mat. But ultimately, I'm really satisfied!

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

Now that our Secret Base is set, there's a little bit more to explore. Namely, there is something different about my world here compared to the world from my playthrogh of Ruby. For this, we're going to want to visit the Mauville City Pokemon Center!

Pok%C3%A9mon_Center_inside_RSE.png

At the seats in the northwest corner of the first floor, you're going to find a peculiar NPC. This NPC is actually random depending on your Trainer ID. I was originally just going to ignore this because it's usually just a strange, quirky NPC who spouts a bunch of random nonsense. But it's actually quite relevant to what we're doing today, especially the one I happened to have gotten.

There are five different types of NPC's that can appear here.

The first is The Bard, he will sing a song made up of six easy chat phrases and the game will even play sounds to match the lyrics! After singing the song, he'll tell you that he's not satisfied with the lyrics and you will have the option to change one of the words to anything you want.

Next is The Hipster, who will unlock a new phrase for your easy chat system!

The Storyteller will list off statistics based on whatever topic is selected by the player.

Giddy is the NPC I had in Ruby. He'll tell you a story in which he asks a variety of yes or no questions. He's probably the least interesting, though, because his stories are extremely disjointed.

Last but definitely not least, is the most interesting of all and the one I just so happened to get here in Sapphire: The Trader! The Trader will carry four decorations with him:

Doll_Duskull_III.png BallCushionSprite.png TireSprite.png PrettyFlowersSprite.png

These are the Duskull Doll, Ball Cushion, Tire, and Pretty Flowers. The Tire in particular are the most interesting as this item is usually only available during a rooftop sale! 

If you want any of these decorations, all you have to do is give The Trader another decoration of your own! The decoration you give him will replace the one he traded you in the list, but you can only trade with him once!

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

Why is all of this suddenly relevant now? Because this mechanic is built pretty heavily into what we're going to be doing today: Mixing Records!

On the second floor of the pokemon center is the Pokemon Cable Club! Here, you can of course trade and battle with your friends using a GBA Link Cable. But there's also a brand new option: The Record Center. Mixing Records with another game can have all sorts of interesting effects that really help to further personalize your experience based on the people you know. You can mix records with as many people as you want so if you ever run into someone else playing the game, why not mix records with them? 

Right away, you'll find that mixing records will swap the NPC at the Pokemon Center and they will retain any changes caused from the other player. The Bard will sing the modified lyrics from the other player, The Storyteller will give you the other player's statistics, and Mixing Records can allow you to get more than just one phrase out of The Hipster! Most interstingly of these is The Trader, who will retain whatever decoration you traded to him. In other words, if you have The Trader in your world, you can use him to transfer rare decorations between save files. This even works with version exclusive decorations. So, if you're playing Sapphire and really want a Seedot Doll or Red Tent, you're not totally out of luck! If you've managed to get your hands on a rare decoration like the Glass Ornament or Gold Shield but you don't intend to make use of it, you can maybe give it to The Trader to really make someone's day when you mix records with them!

Another fun change to the world when you mix records are the TV's which will now discuss the actions of the other players. There's even all-new shows that will be unlocked after mixing records, such as Pokemon Angler which will discuss the other player's experience catching that pokemon. 

If you're lucky enough to Mix Records with someone with an Eon Ticket, that Eon Ticket can be distributed by Mixing Records up to 3 times. This will allow you to get access to the Latias or Latios, whichever one didn't wander Hoenn at the start of the postgame. 

Mixing records also swaps the trends at Dewford Hall. I'm unsure on how this affects the Feebas spots on Route 119 as I haven't actually played around with it yet, but this will either cause the Feebas spots to be reshuffled, or it will swap the locations of the Feebas Spots so that you can help out a friend who hasn't had any luck. I would assume the latter, but I'm hesitant to commit to that because, again, it isn't decided by the trend but rather it's randomly generated every time the trend is changed. If the Feebas spots do swap, then that simply means they may be included among other swapped data and may be independant of the Dewford Hall trend.

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

Finally, it's time to focus on the biggest and most exciting feature of Record Mixing in my opinion: Secret Bases!

255px-Hoenn_Route_111_RS_sealed.png

After mixing records with my ruby playthrough, if I make my way to Route 111 and head to the northeastern corner, I'll find a new opening where I'd made a base in Ruby! Going inside...

co5ba0L.png

It's Ruby's secret Base!!

As a kid, I was completely unaware this mechanic existed, but I can imagine for people who actually paid attention, it was really exciting back in this game's prime to have your world populated by the secret bases of all of your friends!

There's more to this than just seeing your friends' decor, though. In every Secret Base, there is at least one rock or bush which can be walked over but furniture cannot be placed on top of. It's on top of one of these tiles that, when visiting a friend's base that appeared after mixing records, you'll find an NPC representing that player! They'll assume a randomly decided trainer class. In this case, Ruby was assigned a Rich Boy! If we talk to them, we can have a one on one battle with the party they had when they mixed records with you! I think you can see where this is going.

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

Spr_RS_Rich_Boy.png

Vs. Rich Boy Ruby

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

Spr_3r_383.png

Groudon, Lv. 51

Spr_b_3r_257.png Spr_3r_383.png

I led off against Groudon with Cherry, hoping I'd be able to get a strong Blaze Kick in. I think I made this same mistake during the Elite Four, but for some reason I was under the impression that Fighting resisted Ground and that Earthquake would have no relation to Blaziken. With that mindset, I was pretty confident that Cherry would be able to take at least one hit from Groudon. I wanted to see how much the sunlight from Drought would help to take him out, but I unfortunately missed my Blaze Kick and was taken down in one shot with Earthquake. Unfortunate, to say the least.

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_383.png

It's only natural I'd have to shut down Groudon's sunlight with Leviathan's Drizzle! After kicking up a rainstorm, I blasted Groudon away with Hydro Pump!

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

Spr_3r_282.png

Gardevoir, Lv. 51

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_282.png

Gardevoir came next and naturally tried to set up her defenses. In the meantime, I focused on building up my own with Calm Mind. After setting up several layers of Calm Mind, I was able to take Gardevoir's Thunderbolt effortlessly and counteract with my own Thunder to take her out with one shot!

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

Spr_3r_323.png

Camerupt, Lv. 51

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_323.png

Camerupt should have gone down in seconds, but after missing three Hydro Pumps in a row, it was able to set up Sunny Day and hit me with two Eruptions. Thankfully, the last Hydro Pump was able to land. Even though it was weakened a bit by Sunny Day, the Calm Mind plus the quad-weakness was more than enough to make up for it.

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

Spr_3r_275.png

Shiftry, Lv. 51

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_275.png

Unfortunately, Hydro Pump was now out of PP and the sun is up, but I don't wanna waste all those Calm Mind, so I decided it was for the best to keep Leviathan out. Fortunately, he was very well equipped to deal with Shiftry. Strangely enough, Shiftry didn't even go for Fake Out, so I was able to take him out without any damage at all.

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

Spr_3r_260.png

Swampert, Lv. 51

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_260.png

Another Ice Beam and Swampert was down.

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Spr_3r_335.png

Zangoose, Lv. 50

Spr_b_3r_382.png Spr_3r_335.png

Lastly, Zangoose went down to an Ice Beam as well. 

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

Yeah, the AI isn't super great at battling. Had Gardevoir not given me the free setups, Leviathan probably wouldn't have survived as long as it did between Gardevoir's Thunderbolt and Camerupt's Earthquake. I can't say I understand the AI's decision making with using Eruption instead of Earthquake when my Special Defense was +4, nor do I understand why he simply didn't use Fake Out.

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

Well, it was really interesting being able to battle my team from Ruby with my team from Sapphire without having to simply do a Link Battle with myself. I don't think it's totally necessary to showcase a link battle here. I must admit that, even though there's really not much to this, this feature is perhaps the one I was most excited to explore as it's something I've never dabbled in before. 

On another note, as you can probably imagine, this mechanic can be taken advantage of in a lot of ways. For one, this isn't treated like a link battle. You still gain Exp and such, so if you mix records with someone with a full team of level 100 Blissey that don't know any offensive attacks, this can be a fantastic way to grind Exp on your pokemon! In addition, any new pokemon you encounter in a secret base will be registered as "seen" in your pokedex! This can help you track down the habitat of rare pokemon as well as identify which pokemon are version exclusives if you lack the resources to look it up externally. Most significantly, you can use this to track the location of Latias/Latios if you haven't encountered it in the wild yet!

But really, I think it's just really cool to have a whole bunch of secret bases populating your world! This is a mechanic that we're not going to see return in quite the same glory for a long time and it's a feature I know I'm going to miss going forward, so I'm happy to put a big spotlight on it while it's here! Before the end of Generation 3, there will be one more game that can explore this mechanic, but we've got a few things between here and there. Next time is probably going to be a bit of a shorter post as we'll be revisiting Ruby version and trying this battle from the opposite perspective!

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As promised last time, we're going to be revisiting Ruby to explore the things that have changed in this world after mixing records with Sapphire. We've already covered most of this, so this will be a rather short update.

308px-Hoenn_Route_120_RS.png

Route 120

The only notable thing to find here is, of course, my secret base from Sapphire will now appear here.

TRQgsne.png

Sapph's Secret Base

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

Spr_RS_Cooltrainer_F.png

Vs. Cooltrainer Sapph

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

Spr_3r_382.png

Kygore, Lv. 51

Spr_b_3r_260.png Spr_3r_382.png

Against Kyogre, it was rather difficult to come up with a plan to counteract it. Kyogre is pretty well-equipped to handle my entire team. My best bet was to set up to jam its drizzle as effortlessly as possible. I decided to lead with Marco so that, if I manage to get lucky, I can take it out with Mud Shot and still carry forward benefiting from the rain. Marco actually was able to remain in the ring for quite a while eventually Kyogre managed to get the Hydro Pump off and take Marco out.

Spr_b_3r_383.png Spr_3r_382.png

Now, of course I'll be bringing out Kyogre's eternal rival: Groudon! With the Drought rolling in, the torrent is dried up and I can lay waste to Kygore with a powerful Earthquake!

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

Spr_3r_272.png

Ludicolo, Lv. 48

Spr_b_3r_383.png Spr_3r_272.png

Wanting to preserve Groudon's HP, I decided to retreat against Ludicolo in anticipation of a Fake Out.

Spr_b_3r_335.png Spr_3r_272.png

Again, I really didn't have a clean switch-in here. I didn't want to switch into any pokemon that would be weak to Surf or Ice Beam if she chose to go for that instead of Fake Out. I switched into Zeal who was best equipped offensively to deal with Ludicolo. Ultimately, she went for Protect and wasted her turn. From here, I decided to try and set up Swords Dance. Ludicolo went for Protect again, so I was able to gain the stat boost. From here, I took Ludicolo out with Return after a bit more stalling with Protect.

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

Spr_3r_257.png

Blaziken, Lv. 49

Spr_b_3r_335.png Spr_3r_257.png

She went for Blaziken next, presumably for the offensive prowess, but it went down easily enough with Return.

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

Spr_3r_286.png

Breloom, Lv. 47

Spr_b_3r_335.png Spr_3r_286.png

Once again, Breloom definitely could have done something, but it didn't go for Mach Punch and I was able to avoid the effects of Effect Spore even with Return.

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

Spr_3r_310.png

Manectric, Lv. 48

Spr_b_3r_335.png Spr_3r_310.png

Once again, I was able to evade the effect of Static and take down Manectric with ease.

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

Spr_3r_344.png

Claydol, Lv. 47

Spr_b_3r_335.png Spr_3r_344.png

Thanks to my Swords Dance, not even Claydol was able to survive a hit from this monster.

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

And with that, we have finally reached the end of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire! I still think it's a bit early to get all emotional about saying goodbye to these games because it's still a long ways away before we'll be done revisiting them. However, this will be our first extended goodbye. The world of Hoenn is such a fascinating place to me and I absolutely loved exploring everything this world has to offer! Even though I grew up with this game, I still managed to learn so many new things about how it works! I have many memories of trading and battling with my friends and even other kids at ball parks. I imagine I would have had a blast mixing records had I known it would allow you to share your secret base decor. 

I've expressed my opinion on these games several times previously and I think I've done a really good job in the credits posts of both games, so I don't think it's necessary here, so I don't think I need to linger too much on this now. Instead, I think it's time to look toward the future. We've got some exciting games coming up, but up next, we'll be returning to the Pokemon mini for one more title!

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Breeder_mini_JP_boxart.png

7qhHSzd.png

Pokemon Breeder mini

Released on December 14, 2002, Pokemon Breeder mini will be the last game for the Pokemon mini that we'll be covering. This game is a pet simulator not too unlike a Tamagotchi. It takes advantage of an internal clock allowing for your pokemon to age in real time even while the game is off. I don't think there's really much substance to this game and I'm probably not going to play it to the end because it's another example of something that's clearly designed to be a long-term project, so it doesn't really lend itself well to a marathon like this. Still, I figured I should probably at least give it a spotlight. To my knowledge, this game was only released in Japan. But, I was able to find an english translation much like some of the other pokemon mini games I've played here. That said, I don't think this game would be too difficult to understand even without the translation. There may be some more technical things here and there, but for the most part everything you need to know can be found on the bulbapedia article for the game. 

U9p7iHr.png

The game begins with an introduction from Prof. Birch who explains to you that he has some pokemon eggs that need taking care of, but that he doesn't have the time to do it. That's why he's sought help from you, a fledgling pokemon breeder, to look after them for him.

yaJvqgu.png SdBJhFH.png

He offers you a choice of three pokemon eggs containing, as you'd probably expect, Torchic, Treecko, or Mudkip. Your choice of pokemon actually will affect certain elements of the game, but to my knowledge you'll only be able to choose one of them until you've completed the game without deleting your save data and starting from scratch.

EFuq1qT.png ErwpxgG.png

With our egg in our room, our first task is obviously to hatch it! Prof. Birch instructs us to put it in the bed and rub it until it hatches. We do so by moving the cursor back and forth over the egg until the meter at the top of the screen fills up.

rfDGJRV.png

Once it does, our lovely Torchic has been born! Now it's time to play with our new friend. We can continue to pet him a bit by wiggling the cursor over him, just like as an egg.

ThVSpNr.png

Prof. Birch left us a toy for playing with Torchic, but before we do that, let's check the menu by pressing C. There's lots of important things here for taking good care of your pokemon.

The first option lets you go outside, we'll cover that in a bit.

sTNuk70.png

The second option, Pokemon Food, fittingly allows you to feed your pokemon! As you feed your pokemon, its belly will fill up. Since Torchic just hatched, he's pretty hungry already. You have an unlimited supply of regular pokemon food so there's no need to worry about running out. The hungrier the pokemon is, the more energy it'll spend doing activities, so it's best to feed it whenever it's getting hungry! 

IzNtaXz.png

The third option, brushing, allows you to groom your pokemon whenever it gets dirty. It will usually get dirty after playing outside or eating, and it won't be as happy if it's dirty.

qbbvy5X.png

The fourth option is a bit of an interesting one. From what I understand, with this you can obtain pokeblocks to feed your pokemon in a similar manner. Apparently, you would actually be able to receive a pokeblock from the IR signal of a TV Remote! This is a very strange concept, but it's interesting nonetheless. This was probably the main way to build up your pokemon's stats quickly. I suppose you could also send unwanted pokeblocks to your friends who might also be playing the game.

l6rU8Ml.png

The growth chart is the fifth option and perhaps the most important if you're focused on actually beating the game. Your pokemon has four stats: Love, Strength, Intellect, and Beauty. In order to finish the game, you'll need to max out three of these four stats. You can increase these stats by feeding your pokemon pokeblocks, but that's not really an option for this playthrough. Instead, we'll be raising its stats through a variety of activities elsewhere in the game.

4B4muAK.png

The sixth option is the telephone. This will let you call either Prof. Birch or May/Brendon depending on whether you chose to play as a boy or a girl, much like in Ruby and Sapphire. They'll give you advice on ways you can improve your stats and other activities you can do, so if you're ever at a loss, you can always give them a call. But, this game overall seems rather simple, so I don't think they'll ever be of much help.

lAWAkRU.png

The Breeder's guide is up next and it's exactly what it sounds like. Just a collection of tutorials that, again, are pretty unnecessary.

sq8zFJs.png

The final option, "Quick Break" will return you to the title screen.

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

FJViTpu.png

With all that out of the way, it's now time to start playing with our Torchic! We can continue to pet him, of course, but what about that PokeToy Prof. Birch left for us? Well, we can get to it by clicking on the toybox here.

CYgzd2y.png 9SeV3n2.png

We can wave this PokeToy around to entice Torchic to chase us around the room and we can get Torchic to jump for it by holding it over his head. Of course, Torchic will have some fun and according to Brendan, jumping for the toy can potentially increase his strength as well! It takes away some of his energy and he'll get a little dirty, so we'll have to make sure to brush him off.

yjhzoEF.png PLit6xh.png

After playing with Torchic for a bit, he'll get tired and fall asleep. We'll want to move him to the bed so that he's nice and comfy. While he's sleeping, he'll recover his energy. His energy will recover faster if we turn the lights off by clicking on the lightswitch. This is a good time to put the game down and go on to do other things. In the meantime, we can check his stats to see that we haven't made a whole lot of progress.

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

pLAHWrG.png

After a few minutes, Torchic's energy will be back up and this time we'll take him outside! This is where playthroughs may differ a bit. From what I understand, the options available to you while playing outside vary depending on your choice of pokemon.

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Torchic can swing on the swing to increase his happiness or climb the stairs to increase his strength. I think he can also interact with the windowsill somehow but he doesn't seem very interested in doing so. He also likes to roll around in the dirt and get himself all dirty, so it's good to take care of his hygiene. You can still feed and brush your pokemon outside, so don't neglect that! Also remember to bring your pokemon back inside when it's low on energy so it can take a nap comfortably in its bed.

There is some more to do with this game, but there's nothing else that I can really make happen as far as I can tell. It's all just more of this until certain random events happen which may or may not even be possible to trigger. As cute of a game as this is, I don't think I have too much of an interest in keeping it going for much longer. It's not exactly the most exciting thing to sit and watch.

If you're curious, you can read up on the events that can happen. It seems that, while you're inside, there's a chance you can catch a guest pokemon outside the window and you can take a photo with any pokemon you see there to store in a gallery accessible from the main menu. Torchic can also meet other friends outside from which he can retrieve new toys to play with! I wasn't able to get any of this to happen this time. It's entirely possible that these events simply aren't available on the first day as the game wants you to focus on the basics, first, but I don't think this is the type of game that's really worth spending too much time on. If you guys have any objections, feel free to let me know and I might revisit this game again soon! Until then, though, I think we'll be saying goodbye to this torchic.

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Here's a look at what Torchic's stats are looking like after a few solid hours of consistent playtime. While we have made some decent progress, when you consider that three of these bars need to be maxed out, I think you can see why I don't really have an interest in finishing this game. Still, I hope I did the game justice! It doesn't seem like a bad game by any means, it's actually rather unique for a pet simulator and many of the animations are rather cute as well. I can see myself really caring for my little friend as a kid and devoting an unhealthy amount of time into building up those stats as quickly as possible. Anyway, this isn't going to be the last pet simulator we'll be covering. Next time is gonna be rather laid back as we focus on yet another one-off title which we unfortunately won't be able to get as much use out of as I would have liked.

Also, I don't know if it's an emulation issue or what, but holy crap the music in this game is actually grating. Might be a contributing factor to my willingness to move on.

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Pokemon Box: Ruby and Sapphire

Unfortunately, this title is extremely rare and really lacks the substance to warrant the hefty price you'll have to shell out to get a physical copy today. In addition, in order to play this game on an emulator would require the hastle of downloading a completely separate GBA emulator than the one I've been using as well as some add-ons to Dolphin in order to get the two emulators to connect. I'm not totally sure how smoothly this would go and I don't think the effort is really necessary. I really would like to have a physical copy of this game as it would make completing the pokedex seem much more manageable, but I'm definitely not willing to sell an organ for it.

The reason this game is so rare is because, when it was released, it was only available through the Pokemon Center store, making it surprisingly exclusive. It makes sense that they probably wouldn't want to produce too many copies of this game  considering how simple it actually is, especially for a GameCube title. Essentially, you are looking at Gen 3's answer to Prof. Oak's Lab from the Pokemon Stadium games. It even has a very similar gui as you can see in the video above. The video only shows off the main focus of the game, there's a bit more to appreciate in this game, so we're going to be taking a look at all the modes the game has to offer with screenshots courtesy of Serebii.net.

When you start up the game, you'll be met with a new character who, surprisingly enough, will actually become recurring going forward!

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If you've ever transferred your pokemon through Pokemon Bank, then you're probably familiar with Brigette! Well, game is where she made her debut! Her role in this game is rather miniscule but not totally uninteresting. We'll get into why that is a little bit later on, but for now, she's just going to be our guide.

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As is quite obvious, the main attraction of this game is the drastically expanded pokemon storage. The PC storage here can not only hold up to 25 boxes of pokemon, but each box can hold 60 pokemon as opposed to the typical 30! That means up to 1,500 different pokemon can be stored in here! This game is compatible with any Gen 3 pokemon game, even ones that weren't yet released! This means, just like Stadium, if you have a copy of this game and are playing along, this will probably become the central hub for your pokemon collection. Not unlike Stadium 2, though, you can't withdraw pokemon that were not deposited from your save file until you have at least 100 pokemon registered in your pokedex. That's unfortunately a bit of an obnoxious hurdle but it isn't nearly as intrusive as the limitation in Stadium 2. Again, I'm really not sure what the purpose for this limitation is considering there's nothing stopping you from just trading the pokemon over one by one. 

Much like the lab in the Stadium games, you can also use a search system to find the pokemon you want out of a list.

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With each individual pokemon, you can check their status with a nice gui that lists their battle stats on one screen and contest stats on another. 

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The Pokemon Collection is another mode where you can arrange figurines of your favorite pokemon and snap a photo of them which can then be used as wallpaper for your PC boxes. This can add a bit of extra personalization!

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As you fill up your storage, Brigette will acknowledge your collection and, at certain milestones, she'll even gift you with special eggs! These eggs will hatch into pokemon that know unique moves.

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At the very start, she'll give you an egg containing a Swabu that knows False Swipe.

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Once you've reached 100 pokemon, she'll give you an egg that will hatch into a Zigzagoon that knows ExtremeSpeed!

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At 500 pokemon, you'll get an egg with a Skitty that knows Pay Day! Keep in mind, there's only 386 different species of pokemon in gen 3, so even with an entire living dex, you're still going to need around 120 more.

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The final reward, for the obnoxious task of nearly filling up the entire storage system with a grand total of 1,499 pokemon, you'll be awarded with a Surfing Pichu. Since pokemon can be transferred up from Gen 1 and 2, this is the only way to get a Surfing Pikachu in Gen 3 today. But good luck catching that many pokemon. The person in the video I linked above only did so using Flash Carts to back up his saves and clone his pokemon over and over. Keep in mind that you can only hold a max of 420 pokemon in a single save file of pokemon. Filling up the PC Storage in three different playthroughs is still not enough to realistically get this pokemon, so make sure to cherish it!

...by the way, since it knows Surf, it can't be transferred forward out of Gen 3, so I hope you're prepared for that heartbreak as well.

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Lastly, this game offers "TV Mode," which allows you to play your copy of Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire on the big screen, much like the GameBoy Tower in Stadium. There are some drawbacks to this, however. Although this game does have compatibility with other Gen 3 games that came after Ruby and Sapphire, this particular mode is only compatible with Ruby and Sapphire. No Fire Red and Leaf Green or Emerald compatibility here, sadly. In addition, unlike the GameBoy Tower which could be upgraded with "Doduo" and "Dodrio" functionality to speed up the gameplay, there is no way to speed up gameplay here. You can only play at the standard speed for the game. The only purpose this seems to have is so that you can make adjustments to your pokemon before sending them off to the vault.

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I hope by this point you can see why I didn't find it necessary to shell out the money to buy this game or the time to get it functioning on Dolphin. It just really doesn't seem necessary. It would definitely be a cool, convenient thing to have, and I'd definitely argue it's worth the original $20 price tag given the extra layer of convenience it provides if you're an avid pokemon collector like myself. However, due to the unfortunate rarity of this title today, it seems to average around $100 for a used English copy. I cannot in good faith justify such a price unless you're primarily interested in the item for collector's purposes, especially considering some of the disappointing features it lacks compared to the Pokemon Lab features of the Stadium games that seem to be its predecessor. For example, there's no item storage. You can only store items by having your pokemon hold them. Furthermore, it doesn't seem that you can use items on your pokemon from the list like you could in the Stadium games either. You're stuck with what you have.

I do have some theories as to why this game has so much in common with Pokemon Stadium and why it seems so hastily thrown together, but we'll get back to that closer to the end of the third generation. With that said, I think next time we'll be changing the channel back and taking a look at yet another Pokemon pet simulator!

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Pokemon Channel

Released in Japan on July 18th, 2003, Pokemon Channel is a sort of successor to Hey You, Pikachu! Believe it or not, this game marks the 3D debut of many Gen 3 pokemon along with familiar models ripped from Pokemon Stadium 2 for Gen 1 and 2 pokemon who will also be making appearances. This game utilizes the GameCube's real-time clock which allows for new things to happen each day. At the very least, it will take us at least a full week to get through everything due to the nature of certain key items only being obtainable on the next day.

Even though this certainly isn't the most exciting game you'll ever hear me talk about, there actually is a part of me that is a little excited to explore this game again. I used to actually rent this game several times back in the days of good ol' blockbuster. Something about it really charmed me as a kid. Perhaps it was the simple joy of being able to watch Pokemon shorts on my gamecube. But I remember being really excited about a lot of the little collectibles throughout the game as well. There is a surprising amount of content to discover in this game, but I think I'll let you see for yourself.

Still, in spite of my nostalgic excitement going into this game, I also expect that'll wear up pretty quickly. Like I said, this isn't exactly the most exciting game and it's definitely lost some of its luster in the modern age where you can just pull up Netflix and watch full episodes of Pokemon right there anytime anywhere. It's also a lot harder to get excited over some of the sillier things I used to enjoy as a kid, but still, I'm sure I'll have some fun here!

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As we start up the game, a crew of Magnemite are delivering a brand new TV!

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The TV being carried overhead catches the attention of some wild pokemon who go following!

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Soon the Magnemite deliver the TV to our home where we receive a transmission from Prof. Oak who tells us that we have been gifted the TV by an up and coming TV Station to test their broadcasts. He requests that we watch the first program they're testing: Pichu Bros. There's not anything we can really do but accept the request, so let's watch the show!

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Pichu Bros. In Party Panic!: Part 1

I'm not sure if linking whole videos off of YouTube is a very great idea for longevity, it's not exactly unlikely that these videos will be taken down or that I simply won't be able to get videos for certain parts, but I felt that linking to videos of the entire shorts rather than just periodically taking screenshots of the short as we go through and summarize everything that happened. If the video is still there, then enjoy the show! If not, you should be able to find it somewhere on YouTube.

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In case the video has been taken down and you can't find it anywhere, then I'll just go ahead and summarize for you. The show begins with Team Rocket's Meowth and Wobbuffet standing at the top of a building overlooking the city. They're with a Cubone and a group of Squirtle from the Squirtle Squad! It seems Meowth's been preparing for something for a long time and in 24 hours, his "dreams" are about to come true! All of the pokemon are holding cards shaped like crescent moons with pictures of fruit on them.

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Next, we cut to the Pichu Bros. running around town and just enjoying life. These little guys debuted in the short Pikachu & Pichu which was paired with Pokemon the Movie 3: Spell of the Unknown. They have since become recurring characters along with their group of pokemon friends, the Pichu Posse. If you've been following along this thread, you'll probably recognize these characters from the Pichu Bros. game on the Pokemon mini I played a little while back.

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As this musical montage plays out, we're introduced to the rest of the Pichu Posse as they all are just living life to the fullest and having a blast! It's during this montage that Smoochum notices many pokemon walking around behind her holding the very same cards Meowth and co. were holding at the beginning of the short.

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The pokemon soon meet up at their clubhouse where Smoochum arrives last, telling the other pokemon about what she saw.

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Intrigued, everyone goes together to see for themselves. And indeed, it seems everyone has one of these cards except them! Teddiursa recognizes the shapes inside the cards as fruit and gets very excited. They simply must find out where these cards came from!

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The pokemon go to the park to see if they can find any information and it's here where they come across a Smeargle and Aipom who are playing with their cards. They demand to know what the cards are about!

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Aipom decides to answer their plea by explaining everything by painting with Smeargle's tail. They draw the various fruits which Teddiursa immediately identifies, but this is something they already knew.

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The Pichu Posse wants to know more and continues to demand!

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Finally, Aipom paints one more mysterious symbol on the wall.

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At the end of the video, we're stopped on a To be continued screen. After all, this is only part 1 of a 5 part short! As we progress through the game, more parts will be unlocked. For now, we're going to be left on a bit of a cliffhanger.

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Shortly after the broadcast, we're left with a cute little bumper.

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Now that the show is over, Prof. Oak requests that we switch to the Report Channel to file a report on our experience. Don't worry, it's all automatic!  Really, this is just a save screen and an occasional story beat to advance the story forward.

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For submitting our report, we're awarded with 20p which we can spend on the shopping channel which is one of a collection of channels that are about to go live soon!

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After a little bit of talking with Prof. Oak. We hear a sound! We back away from the TV to find the pokemon from the intro have followed the Magnemite all the way to our house and seem intrigued by what they saw on the TV!

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When we open the door, the other pokemon run off but Pikachu decides to make his way inside. This impresses Prof. Oak who... I guess is watching us through the TV? That's not creepy. He insists that it's incredibly rare for a wild pokemon to enter someone's house like this. We must be very lucky indeed! However, this works out great because Pokemon Channel also happens to be aiming to create broadcasts that people and pokemon can enjoy watching together! So, Prof. Oak insists that we include information about Pikachu in our reports going forward.

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He also sent us a PokePad which contains "all sorts of useful information." ...it's a pause menu.

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If we press start, we can bring up the Pokepad to see that it has four different sections. The first is the log where events you've witnessed get recorded. 

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The second is the list of shows that are currently available. At the moment, the only one that's available is Pichi Bros. Part 1.

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The next section is a catalogue of the various TV's that we own. At the moment, we only have the Ordinary TV but as we collect others, we'll be able to freely switch between them.

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The goods page is completely blank at the moment. I suppose this is where miscellaneous decorative items will be listed.

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Not long at all after checking out our Pokepad, Prof. Oak tells us the other shows are now live! These are the news channel's PNF, the shopping channel's Shop 'N Squirtle, the fitness channel's Smoochum Shape-Up, and the quiz channel's Quiz Wobbuffet. Don't worry, none of these other shows have any sort of story relevance, but I'll touch briefly on each of them.

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Quiz Wobbuffet is one of the two most important shows among this group as it's gonna be our main method of making money. This is a gameshow in which three random pokemon contestants will answer questions. But, periodically, the audience will be asked a question, and if you answer right, you can earn some pretty decent cash! The questions come in three different categories.

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The first is a who's that pokemon-style silhouette question. The game will show you a silhouette of a pokemon and you'll have to guess who that pokemon is.

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The second type of question will be a listening question. The pokemon will be hidden behind a curtain and you'll have to listen to its voice in order to identify it.

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The last type of question places a pokemon inside a rotating cylinder with a tiny slit that will rotate back and forth. You'll only get a glimpse of the pokemon through the little crack and it can actually be a bit tougher than it looks. 

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At the end of the broadcast, Wobbuffet will dismiss you with a pleasant farewell!

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

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The second show is Smoochum Shape-Up. 

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This show is pretty surface level. It's just a Smoochum doing various exercises which Pikachu will try to mimic. It can be pretty cute watching Pikachu exercise, but there's really nothing to talk about.

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The only show among these that'll prove more important than Quiz Wobbuffet is Shop 'N Squirtle! This is where you'll be able to purchase many very nice items!

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Each time  you tune in, the Squirtle host will showcase three different items which you'll have to decide whether or not you want to order. Occasionally, an item will be delivered instantly or come with bonus items packaged in! Most of the time, these are just decorative or silly little bonus collectibles, but sometimes you'll find some especially significant items here so be sure you check back every now and then!

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From this first broadcast, I bought a binder, a green Pokemon mini (more on that in a bit), and a Bulbasaur Doll! Nothing super significant today, but the Binder will lead to a recurring feature going forward.

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Immediately after the show was over, Delibird arrived at my door with a package! They really weren't kidding about immediate deliver on the binder!

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Indeed, the binder I ordered came with a pack of Pokemon Nice Cards! Nice cards are a recurring collectible throughout the game that you'll store in your binder. It seems that each pack of Nice Cards comes with four "single" cards and one "motion" card.

We'll take a look at these cards a little bit later on. For now, we've got TV to watch!

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The last channel is the News Channel's show: PNF!

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This show stars a Psyduck as a news anchor who will tell various humorous stories but I believe occasionally shed light on some special events going on.

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One of the things that'll occasionally happen here is Meowth's On-the-Scene Interview, where Team Rocket's Meowth will... "interview" a pokemon. It's about as in-depth as the interviews on the PokeGear Radio. Each pokemon has something to say and Meowth will just respond with something along the lines of "I see" or "interesting!"

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The show is also a bit of a gag on slow news periods with some stories like this one where a local Totodile dislocated its jaw while eating but chose to continue eating and the jaw popped back into place. Truly riveting news.

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After watching all of the channels, we can submit a new report and Prof. Oak will reward us with another gift delivered by a Magnemite!

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This is "Smeargle 2". With this item, we can make paintings of screencaps from Pichu Bros. and send them to Prof. Oak who can auction them off to make some extra money! Prof. Oak wants us to give it a try, but first, I want to take some time to look around at the other stuff we have.

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There isn't much to really do around the house at the moment, but we can get Pikachu to interact with various furniture items. 

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Occasionally, certain items will catch Pikachu's interest and he'll get your attention so that he can search the item. Occasionally, when this happens, he'll find something! Other times, PIkachu will just end up disappointed.

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If you check under the bed, though, a cardboard box will catch Pikachu's attention.

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With your permission, Pikachu will search under your bed.

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And he'll soon emerge with a Pokemon mini case you'd previously lost! 

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This Pokemon mini will be stored right next to your Nice Cards binder on top of your desk. Why don't we take a look at this stuff up here now?

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The cards will be organized by series number, but can also be sorted alphabetically. The actual cards you get from a pack will be completely random. I am unaware of whether or not you can get duplicates. Apparently these cards are really popular among both people and pokemon so it could be a potentially interesting mechanic to be able to trade duplicate cards with other pokemon throughout the game. 

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There's really nothing special about these cards. The Single cards are just flat images of the pokemon.

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The motion cards are a little bit more interesting. As you tilt them around, the pokemon will move from one side to another. Other than that, though, there's really nothing going on here. 

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If we go into the Pokemon mini case, we can find that there are slots for 6 games among which we have one!

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This game is Snorlax's Lunch Time! And if we go to play it...

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That's right! Arguably the most exciting feature of this game is that it includes a built-in Pokemon mini emulator! You can play the games at their intended resolution like this or zoom in for a closer view.

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Snorlax's Lunch Time is actually an original Pokemon mini title that's only available to play right here in this game. It's got the makings of a game that would have been packaged with one of those minigame compilation titles. Maybe it was a scrapped concept?

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The goal of the game is pretty simple, as to be expected. A food item will appear on the plate in front of Snorlax and you have to press A to eat it. The faster you press A, the more points you get. The catch? Occasionally, a Pichu will drop instead of food. If you try to eat the Pichu, you will lose. This game is a lot harder than it sounds. It's very easy to get too focused on pressing A quickly and forget to pay attention to what's in front of you. You obviously want to go for those Great scores but the meter only stays in that section for a handful of frames. You've really gotta be on your toes!

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My best score here was 535. I'm sure I could do better but I decided to leave it at that for now.

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Just above the desk is a map of locations around the game's setting of Mintale. Dotted lines are paths you can travel on foot while solid lines longer trips you'll need a bus for. We'll cover some of these locations pretty soon. For now, we'll continue to focus on what we have immediate access to.

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The other poster in our room seems to be a painting of the very same forest on the map. It's actually quite nice, I think. But you can kiss this goodbye because Prof. Oak is holding us prisoner in our own house until we use his stupid Smeargle toy.

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

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The way Smeargle 2 works is that, while you're watching any part of Pichu Bros., you can click on the Smeargle next to the TV and it'll copy the frame on screen into a cute little coloring book!

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This... is a horrible mechanic, honestly. While I recall having a little fun with it as a kid, looking back at it now, it's a complete disaster. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume I'm only having difficulties because of emulation issues, but...

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This... this definitely isn't right. 

Okay, okay, so I messed up. It's fine, I'll just try again!

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Okay, how about this frame? Well, let's take a look here. We don't have a whole lot of colors to work with so we'll have to get creative with how we utilize these colors to create an illusion of shading... wait, that wasn't supposed to fill there... okay, why won't this fill here? Hold on, why isn't the eraser working?? Does the Crayon not work at all???

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...this feature is a disaster.

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...yes, yes it is.

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And it's good to know my old mistake will be put up for auction.

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This truly is a modern masterpiece. And it's going to be haunting our room forever. Get used to it. 

...I promise you, this was not a joke. I genuinely tried my hardest to make something even remotely aesthetically pleasing and it just.. couldn't happen. It's no joke that I actually tried as hard as I could to fill in all the white space but after a while the tools just stopped working and this is what I was left with. I have no clue how you mess up such a simple feature this badly and I'm really hoping I only had so many issues because of emulation and that this isn't just how the game plays. I definitely don't remember it being nearly this janky.

...yeah, I'm pretty sure I could color these images in better with MS Paint and I'm not even joking.

From what I understand, I think the Japanese version of this game actually let you use a special Memory Card with an SD Card slot in it to move these images to your computer so that you could print them off and color them yourself. That would definitely make this feature a lot more fun to use, I think. 

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Um... yes... "well."

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Well, after filing our report, Prof. Oak tells us that new programs are scheduled to begin starting tomorrow morning!

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He also comments on how well things seem to be going with Pikachu. Having a wild pokemon around could be potentially dangerous, after all...

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...well, that just happened.

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Yup, our TV is destroyed so Prof. Oak will have to take it in for repairs. In the meantime, he's sent for a replacement.

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Once again, the Magnemite from before come to deliver a retro TV which, in all honesty, looks kind of nice.

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Once the TV is brought in, Pikachu is excited to see a new one! 

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As it turns on, we notice a pretty strong downside: This TV lacks color! Everything is in Black and White. We can't watch TV like this!! This is an outrage!

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It is kind of funny though that, instead of static like normal, you get these old fashioned test signal screens on channels that aren't available. 

We can still watch all the shows we have unlocked in grayscale, but I think this is a good time to explore a bit more of what the outside world has to offer!

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Yup, you heard me right, outside!! You can leave out the backdoor to explore your yard. There are lots of cute ways for Pikachu to interact with his environment. Honestly, if you just put the controller down and just watch Pikachu, you're bound to get a laugh here and there with some of the weird things he decides to do.

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For example, this happened. 

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That face says it all. His disappointment is immeasurable and his day is ruined.

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Of course, let's not ignore the elephant in the room. There are other pokemon out here! Anytime you see a new pokemon, you'll want to get Pikachu to chat with them.

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If you do, you'll have to answer a question about the pokemon.

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If you get the answer correct, you'll earn a special Nice Card of the pokemon! In this case, the correct answer was "soften it"

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These promotional(?) cards are just like movement cards only when they move, you'll hear the voice of the pokemon as well! It's... honestly a little bit annoying, actually, but they seem to be one-of-a-kind so I'll take 'em!

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There's also a Ledyba here! This question I can actually see being rather tricky for a kid. I imagine most kids would probably immediately answer "mouth," but when you think about Ledyba as a Ladybug, and where Ledyba are usually found, it makes sense that fluid would come from carrying nectar and such around along its feet.

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Pikachu really seemed interested in doing some gardening, so why not head on over?

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All on his own, PIkachu planted a couple of seeds and watered them with the nearby Wailmer Pail! We'll have to water them again tomorrow, for sure.

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

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The yard isn't all we can access, though. We can also walk outside our fence into Springleaf Field!

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Our first priority is to talk to the local pokemon. I guess I forgot to get a screenshot of Volbeat's question but I believe it was something about them gathering under geometric shapes in the stars.

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Duskull's question is simple enough. The morning sun is the only answer that really makes sense. Although perhaps a really young kid might read "comes up" and immediately go for "the rising moon" without giving it a second thought.

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

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One of the first things that'll catch your and Pikachu's eyes is the strange hole in the ground. Pikachu will naturally want to check it out so why not let him?

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Eventually, he'll find a ball!

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Of course, if you give a Pikachu a ball, he's going to want to play catch!

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Just catch the ball when Pikachu throws it at you and throw the ball back at Pikachu and he should catch it! Unfortunately, Pikachu missed the catch pretty early on and seemed to completely lose interest in playing catch, so that dissipated quickly.

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When I tried to get him to play catch again, I was caught off guard by this request instead... why the heck not? Let Pikachu have his fun. Yes, he may eat the ball.

Obviously, this just leads to the notification that the ball wasn't edible and a sad Pikachu, but the fact that this was even an option that I could encourage Pikachu to do was just too great to pass up. To my knowledge, there aren't any actual mechanics requiring you to take good care of Pikachu at all. It is a wild Pikachu, after all!

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

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One more small detail here is the patch of clovers nearby. Pikachu will search the clover patch for a four-leaf clover. It's very rare that he'll find one, but if he does, you'll be able to place it in your room as a decoration!

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

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Last but not least, there is just one more area I want to check out before we finally sign off for the day. That's the front yard!

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Out here is a bus stop, but there are no buses around at the moment. There are, however, two more pokemon nearby!

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Ditto's question is another one that I can see being a little tricky. But with a little bit of critical thinking, you'll know that Ditto would probably have a hard time transforming into air and that it would likely need a Kecleon around in order to transform into one, so a rock is the most likely answer. Sure enough, that's the correct one! But I'll be honest, I think you can make an argument for any one of these answers and I don't think this is in reference to any pokedex entries or anything like that. Maybe an anime reference?

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Cyndaquil's question is simple enough, though. Obviously, the fire on its back burns hottest when it's angry!

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

Well, with all that out of the way, it's time to file our final report for the day and call it a night. Whew. That was a lot to go through in one post. I imagine these posts are gonna get shorter as the game goes on, there was just a lot to cover and get through today. I normally try to divide these games up into sections and do one section per post. In the case of this game, I was originally planning on treating each area like a section, but when I realized the game had a hierarchy of objectives you actually needed to clear, I figured I should probably treat entire days as the individual sections instead. I figured this would be a bit more time consuming, but much better organized.

Next time, we'll get to see what those new programs Prof. Oak announced today will be!

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Remember that painting Prof. Oak put up for auction?

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Well, to my shock, apparently somebody thought it counted as art and decided to buy it!

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For 64p no less! Prof. Oak's sarcasm hurts a bit, but I'll definitely take the free money!

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

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Today we'll be booting up Pokemon Channel once again to see what adventures our second day will bring us! Right away, you'll find that a new option has been added to the title screen: "Special" allows you to jump right into watching Pichu Bros. I think it'll automatically string together all of the parts you have unlocked so that you can watch them one after another without interruption from Pikachu. 

For now, though, we're just going to focus on continuing the story.

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

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As we start the game, the Magnemite are finally delivering our replacement TV!

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Prof. Oak verifies that the delivery has been made and tells you that new programs have been added! In addition, he tells us that Shop 'N Squirtle will now start selling TV's.

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Delibird also came by to deliver some of the goods we'd ordered yesterday.

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We now have the Green Pokemon mini which replaces our default blue one and a Bulbasaur doll which I'm pretty confident is a model ripped straight from My Room in Stadium 2. It's kind of nice to see these models get more use in a more interactive environment!

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The bulbasaur doll will be placed on the shelf. We'll see what he's all about a little bit later.

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

Before we get into watching TV, though, let's take a look at what's going on in the areas we explored yesterday!

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The pokemon you find in each area will vary depending on the time of day and weather. Since it's cloudy right now, Magnemite is here at the yard instead of Ledyba!

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I've read enough Pokedex entries to know this one! Magneton are infamous for causing power outages!

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Pikachu was able to find a coin by pulling a weed! It's only worth 1P but Pikachu certainly seems proud of himself.

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Of course, we also want to make sure we water the plants we planted the day before!

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

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Back in Springleaf Field, the change in weather has also brought in Phanpy!

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Another Pokedex detail to remember! Phanpy love to show their affection by bumping into things and throwing them with its trunk. They're incredibly powerful little ones!

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

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There isn't much else to cover, so back inside so we can get ready to watch TV! If we check our PokePad, we can change our TV just like Prof. Oak says! If you ever want to watch something in Black and White, you can always switch back to the Retro TV!

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Ah! But what's that that's on? Why, it's Pichu Bros. Part 2, of course! We can't watch a new episode in black and white! Let's switch our TV back.

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

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That's right, we now have access to three new shows:

Slowpoke's Weather Report, Smeargle's Art Study, and Pichu Bros. In Party Panic Part 2! Naturally, we're going to have to start with that last one.

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

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If we point out the Bulbasaur Doll to Pikachu, he'll jump at it to knock it down.

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Afterwords, he'll pick it up and carry it around! How cute! He'll even hold it while watching TV with you.

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

Well, I'm incredibly disappointed to say that I absolutely cannot find a video of this anywhere online. This is an issue I kind of expected to run into, but I would have loved to share the experience with you all. I suppose if you want to see this play out, you'll just have to look into the game yourself. I definitely wouldn't at all advise you to pirate this game or anything...

Anyway, I'll be summarizing the events with accompanying screenshots! I think you pretty much understand the vibe of this show so I suppose you can probably imagine what the in between looks like. However, I was a bit more conservative about the screenshots I took this time thinking I'd be able to find a video, so I apologize for that in advance. I'll try to take more screenshots for the future parts.

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

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PIchu Bros. in Party Panic! -- Part 2

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Well, our story begins right where the previous part left off. Magby identifies the mysterious shape drawn by Aipom as a clock in the town.

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The group goes to the clock Magby brought up and find the tall building from the intro of the previous part!

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They sneak their way around the back of the building and find a secret entrance!

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The inside looks like an old warehouse.

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After a bit of poking around, the Pichu Posse discovers a heap of fruit! Excited, they all charge forward but are stopped suddenly by the squirtles. The posse really wants to eat the fruit!

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This is when Cubone steps in and tells the posse that they need an invitation and that these fruit are for guests only! That's what those moon cards were!

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The posse is distressed to know they can't get to the party without an invitation and demand to know how they can get one, but they're all shooed out of the warehouse.

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Teddiursa slips away from the group and reaches the fruit, but is startled by Wobbuffet who pops out from behind the crates!

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The posse is escorted out of the warehouse and the door is shut.

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Everyone in the posse is upset that they can't get join in the party.

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They gather at a nearby stairway and try to think of how they can get the fruit.

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This is when Pichu looks up in the sky and sees, to his surprise, an invitation floating in the breeze!

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This is their chance! The posse immediately jumps up and chases after the invitation!

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Meanwhile, back at the location for the party, Meowth is excited to see how the party is coming along!

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And it's... not. Meowth is shocked to see that there is minimal progress on the party decorations. The Squirtle Squad are found here but they're just lounging and wasting time. Meowth yells at the Squirtle because they need to be rehearsing for their performance for the show, but he's interrupted by a terrible racket from the other side of the room.

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Cubone is banging on all sorts of trash while pretending to play the drums with his bones. Meowth yells at him for the racket he's making but is bothered by Cubone's incredibly sad reaction. He decides to take it easy and just let Cubone have his way. It's pretty clear this party isn't quite going according to plan.

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And that's where Part 2 ends.

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The next channel I wanna take a look at is Smeargle's Art Study

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In this show, Smeargle will critique the paintings you created. 

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It's not quite what I'd call a masterpiece, but it seems like Pikachu is impressed?

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You're not wrong with that one...

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Mmhmm...

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Ah? If... if you say so?

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...I guess Pokemon just have a different sense of art?

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

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The last new show we'll be talking about today is Slowpoke's Weather Report on the Weather Channel.

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This is a bit of an odd one. Slowpoke will appear in a random area. You'll have to watch this channel for a little bit as Slowpoke wanders up and down the screen. It'll feel like you're just wasting your time.

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After a while, however, the weather will be decided and from that point forward, the weather in whatever area was broadcasted will be whatever was forecasted on the channel until the next time!

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Sure enough, if we head outside, we'll find that the clouds have given way to clear skies!

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In fact, if we make our way back to Springleaf Field, we can even see the very same Slowpoke and weather banner right here!

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We can't interact with it, though, and it's not long before Slowpoke wanders off and Magnemite carry the sign away.

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

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Now that we've watched all three new channels, we can submit our report and Prof. Oak will once again promise new programs will be available starting tomorrow. Of course, that's not going to stop our adventures today! This time, why don't we revisit some of the older channels from the day before?

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The first show I went to was Quiz Wobbuffet. I wasn't going to cover this since it's nothing new, but I found out that Pikachu will sometimes try to answer the questions for you and may even screw you over by choosing the wrong answer. Make sure you don't hesitate to answer the questions!

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

Next, I tuned into Shop 'N Squirtle to see what items were in rotation today!

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On Shop 'N Squirtle, two especially valuable items happened to be on sale today: The Cobalt Pass and Viridian Passes! These bus passes are reusable and will allow us free passage to some new areas that we'll be visiting to find new pokemon and other discoveries! What's more, they're delivered immediately!

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I also bought a pack of Nice Cards and a Punchign Wobbuffet.

...did I need these? No, but I never said I was responsible with my money.

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Now that we have some bus passes, we can finally make use fo the bus stop in the front yard!

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If we wait around a little bit, eventually a bus will pull up and take you to the destination printed on the side of the bus.

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If you wait around a little bit longer, the bus will eventually leave and be replaced by a new one. Only busses to destinations that you have the pass for will appear!

I don't think there's any reaason to linger around here, let's head off to Cobalt Coast!

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

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Cobalt Coast

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It's cloudy here now, but there are two pokemon still hanging around the beach even on a cloudy night like this.

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The first of these two is Girafarig! whose tail is attracted by smells!

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The other is Shuckle whose body fluids, naturally, mix with berries to become juice!

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There isn't much else for us to do over here in this area right now, so let's head off into the Secret Cove!

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

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Here we have a simple fishing minigame! Pikachu will handle all the fishing for you, you're really just watching him. There's a jar of... donuts? I actually have absolutely no idea what these are supposed to be, but you have an unlimited supply of them. You can pull a donut out and throw it into the ocean. I guess it's supposed to be bait? It doesn't seem to affect anything, but I guess it might attract pokemon to the lure? Or perhaps there are special circumstances where you'll need to use this to lure a pokemon over from the horizon or something? I'm really not sure at all.

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Anyway, Pikachu will regularly fail to reel in pokemon, but if you're persistent enough, he'll eventually reel one in! The first one I got was naturally this Magikarp. You'll want to talk to it quickly because it'll retreat into the water shortly after being pulled out.

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Magikarp's record for jumping with Splash is only a mere 7 feet. This one took me a few tries because I could have sworn I recalled a pokedex entry somewhere mentioning Magikarp having a really impressive jump height which is fitting given that he's based on the koi japanese myth about a koi fish who jumped over a waterfall and transformed into a dragon. However, if you don't overthink this one and just keep in mind that Magikarp is intentionally an extremely bad pokemon, then the least impressive option is obviously the one you would gravitate toward. 7 feet is also the most realistic and admittedly still rather impressive.

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There's more than just one pokemon available while fishing, so keep going!

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Usually the most impressive feat in questions like this are the correct answers. Certainly enough, Lanturn's light can be seen from over 3 miles deep!

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The last pokemon I reeled in here was Shellder!

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This one is rather simple considering Shellder's design. But its pokedex entry I believe also mentioned that it propels itself through the water by spitting bubbles, which means that it obviously has to be faacing backward! I imagine this one being a little tricky for kids, though. Most would probably simply say Shellder can't sim since he's usually on the seafloor.

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

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On our way out, PIkachu decided he wanted to travel out to the faraway island! I was actually quite intrigued by this. For a brief moment, I thought we were about to get to some unique area!

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Pikachu ran off toward the island in the distance all on is own.

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...and then nearly drowned!

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...He then realized swimming to the island wasn't the brightest idea and that I probably shouldn't have encouraged him to do so, but it was funny so I have no regrets!

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

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After taking the bus back to the house, we could turn in for the day, but there really wasn't a whole lot to do in Cobalt Coast so let's check out the Viridian Forest this time!

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Viridian Forest

There are two pokemon here right now.

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The first is Clefairy! 

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Obviously, Clefairy collects moonlight! He evolves with the Moon Stone and is strongly associated with nightttime after all!

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The other pokemon here is Butterfree

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Another pokedex entry! Its wings repel watter!

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Over here to the right side, there are some Blue Mushrooms

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When Pikachu sees these mushrooms, he's going to want to roast them!

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With a Thunderbolt, he'll roast one of the four mushrooms.

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But he's a little too rough with it and the result is an ashen mess...

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After calling his attention back to the roasted mushroom, Pikachu might decide he wants to eat the mess he's made. Who are we to say no?

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Once again, Pikachu was not very happy about that mushroom.

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This sign over here leads to Camp Starlight which is only available at nighttime. Thankfully, it's nighttime right now! So lets head on out!

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The campsite is a rather small location. It's just a campfire with the three hoenn starters and Togepi gathered around.

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The answer to some of these questions are actually rather tough. Apparently, Treeko has small hooks on his feet as opposed to suction pads like a real lizard.

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Torchic's question once again falls under the typical most impressive rule.

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And I have no clue where it was ever established that Mudkip's fin works like a radar. Maybe it was an anime thing? Or perhaps its pokedex entry did in fact make a reference to this ability but I completely overlooked it?

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Togepi's question is rather easy though! This one is taken from its pokedex entry and his shell is said to be filled with happiness!

If you fail to answer any of the questions right, you'll have to leave and come back to get another chance. Don't worry, you don't have to come back another day or anything like that.

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If we click on the stargazing sign on a night with clear weather, we can look at the starry sky! Unfortunately, the clear weather Slowpoke forecasted only applies to Springleaf Field. It's cloudy here, so no Stargazing can be done, sadly.

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

And that is going to conclude Day 2 of our little adventure. Next time we'll have yet more new programs to enjoy and lots of new stuff in these familiar areas, so it's time to sit back for now!

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Starting up the game today and it seems Pikachu isn't here! Perhaps he wasn't prepared for me to show up so early?

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But where is Pikachu? I think I can hear something...

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Ah! There he is! I think he just woke up, he seems a bit groggy.

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Prof. Oak says that we've grown quite close and even suggests that we give him a nickname! I guess that really makes him my pet Pikachu now, huh?

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Since he tries to eat so many different things, I decided to name him "Nibble." I thought that would be a cute name! From this point forward, Pikachu will now be called Nibble!

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Delibird also came by and delivered our Punching Wobbuffet from before as well as our pack of Nice Cards which came with singles of Chikorita, Heracross, Koffing, and Shuckle as well as a motion card for Jigglypuff! But this comes with a problem, we now have too many cards to fit in our binder! But that's fine because Prof. Oak has a special surprise for us!

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This new binder, the Superior Binder, can hold up to 50 cards. It seems that storage isn't a problem!

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In addition, this new binder came with some special cards for characters from TV! An extra little gift from Prof. Oak for our... "hard work" of watching TV a lot.

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

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A new day means new shows! But I think it's for the best to put these on the backburner for now. Since it's a bit earlier than I've played the last couple of days, I wanna start out by exploring outside. Let's take a peek around!

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In the yard, we can find Oddish in our backyard!

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Oddish is based on a Mandrake, so it makes sense that it cries when it's yanked from the ground! Of course, this one can easily be answered with some simple process of elimination.

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Of course we're going to want to take a moment and water our garden to keep the plants growing nice and healthy.

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In Springleaf Field, there's a Magnemite holding a video camera! If we interact with it...

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The Magnemite will film us and the other locals! The pokemon will each play their animations and make some noise, but not a whole lot of exciting stuff is going to happen. Still, a cute little addition.

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After recording, everything returns to normal. As you can see, there are three pokemon here, but we already have Treecko's card so answering his question so answering it again will only net us 10p.

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Bellossom's question can be answered with the same logic as Clefairy's. You can evolve into it with a SunStone, so it's reasonable to assume there is folklore linking it to the sun!

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Chikorita's leaf is certain to be very sweet! It does grow into a beautiful flower as it evolves!

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

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In the Front Yard, we can find Bulbasaur!

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Bulbasaur's Bulb is said in the pokedex to contain Nutrients. The option of "Mystery" is kind of funny, though, as it arguably shows a bit of a translator's oversight. This I can only assume is a pun based on its Japanese name which is derived from "fushigi" which means "mysterious."

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

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Viridian Forest is our next destination! This time, there's only Clefairy here, but there's also this strange bell in the background?

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If you ring the bell, a group of pokemon will emerge and perform a song! The song they perform is a variation of the bumper song that plays between shows on TV which in turn is a brief variation of the Celadon City theme. This is a really bizarre feature to just have thrown randomly into the forest, but I guess there's not a whole lot going on here during the day.

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At Cobalt Coast, oh boy do we have a lot of new pokemon to go over.

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First off, Natu's question gave me a lot of issues. Apparently they eat Shoots. Like, Bamboo shoots? I'm not sure at all why you would need to jump onto tree branches to do that. Maybe I don't fully understand what a shoot actually is?

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Igglybuff's question is another gimme. These are just word puns that obviously don't work. I imagine the japanese version probably had a much more clever name based pun or something.

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

The main reason Coastal cove has so many new pokemon, though, is because of fishing in the Secret Cove! I didn't realize just how much variety of pokemon there were here! Fishing is a little bit frustrating in this game, though. Not only is it a pretty large time sink, but you only get one chance to answer each pokemon's question and if you don't answer it right, you'll have to keep fishing until you find it again. And some of these pokemon seem to be significantly rarer than others, so if you're trying to complete this game, some of these little guys may prove to be the most obnoxious.

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The first pokemon I found was Goldeen. This one is another Pokedex reference but it can also be figured out pretty easily by process of elimination once again.

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Starmie's is the same story as Goldeen's. Obviously, honey and peanut butter doesn't come out of its core.

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Cloyster's question is actually rather difficult. I'm pretty sure this is another pokedex reference, but I honestly couldn't remember the answer and I think you could make an argument for all three. I ended up getting this question wrong because I guessed "The sea's saltiness."

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Remoraid has a question I got wrong simply because of a misclick. I meant to hit Mantine but picked Octillery! Gah!!

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Horsea, of course, spits ink when it's startled.

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Another question I wasn't able to answer correctly. The sad part is I can't remembe rwhich choice I selected, but I think I clicked "where it hatched."

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Lastly, Staryu can of course regenerate as long as it has its core. Yet another pokedex reference.

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

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Now that we've returned home, I tried to get Nibble to play with the Wobbuffet, but he was pretty determined to know how to turn the TV on. Uh-oh... Well, there's no saying no to that face, so let's get over there and show him.

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We show Pikachu which button turns the TV on and the game leaves us with a foreboding reminder of what mistake we just made.

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While the TV was on, I went ahead and watched some Shop 'N Squirtle. We got ourselves two more dolls to decorate our room and the Snowfall pass!

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Of course, our Snowfall Pass is delivered immediately just like the others, so it's off to explore the new territory!

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