What if you took Soul Silver, and changed all of the rules? And what if by changing all of the rules, all I meant was randomizing the Pokemon in the game? That’s what the Soul Swapped Challenge is, because I just made it up. How random is it? Well, Zoey, our trainer (male character, female identity) chose Swalot as her starter. That Swalot has the ability “Cute Charm” which causes infatuation on contact. So this purple blob of a Pokemon that many consider a simple glutton is actually quite the charmer! That’s when I decided to commit to doing a Soul Swapped run.
When that Swalot grew up to Level 6, it had the opportunity to learn Captivate, a move that targets Pokemon of the opposite gender into lowering their Special Attack. Look at this fancy dude, he’s all about stirring up romance! Unfortunately, among Stealth Rock, Softboiled, Poison Jab, and Gastro Acid, I couldn’t find a spot in Swalot’s moveset for Captivate – as funny as it would have been.
I’ve never used a Swalot before, and perhaps I always thought it a second-rate Muk, but only a half hour into my game, I’ve grown to love this guy. Appropriate that Soul Silver is where I fell in love with Muk, that I’d come to like another Poison-type here in Soul Swapped. Swalot just straight-up roars at everything he sees, and hits it with the Poison Jab all ninja-like, despite his amorphous blobby physique.
The man who lives on Route 30 who isn’t Mr.Pokemon is trying way too hard to impress Zoey, giving her a bunch of nonsense about Apricorns and Apricorn Boxes and yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever Mr. Non Pokemon – we have a Togepi Egg to retrieve. Then again… it might not be Togepi in the egg. On next week’s episode: Zoey gets an Egg!
Panda gets a call on her new cellphone from an unregistered number. The caller turns out to be her father, who is totally cool with her sailing across Hoenn with some old sailor called Mr.Briney. She registers her father’s number as “DAD NORMAN.” I mean really, what’s up with that Panda? I see what the game is doing, reminding you that your Dad is Norman the gym leader, but come on. “Registered Dad’s Number” sounds a thousand times more human than “Registered DAD NORMAN.”
Cianwood City in Pokemon Silver established some precedent that carried over into Pokemon Emerald’s Dewford Town, which is to say that if you’re going to cross oceans to find a town full of sailors, there’s going to be a fighting-type gym there… for some reason. Panda needs to deliver a letter to a guy named Steven, but can’t without the badge from Dewford’s gym.
I never realized how sweet Goldeen’s “Peck” was until now, I mean, it was kind of crazy to sweep a fighting type gym with a freaking Goldeen, you know? It’s not an incredible late-game attack to hold onto, but I’m really glad Goldeen knows a flying-type move, I’m not even mad that it doesn’t know any water-attacks yet. Not even mad!
Getting the Knuckle Badge was a bit more difficult than spamming Goldeen’s attacks though; I also had to spam Crobat’s “Screech” to lower the insane defense of Brawly’s Makuhita. I like fighting-type Pokemon, and even though I’m not into the bigger meta-game, I like that in order to beat Brawly, I had to put in a Pokemon just to lower another’s defense, and I think part of that is thanks to the stat-boosting nature of fighting-type moves. I mean, all Pokemon have stat-boost moves available, but for fighting-type Pokemon, it’s like, mandatory.
To conclude this log: the captured Pokemon from Dewford’s caves is Golbat, which means we’ll have a backup plan in case anything ever kills Crobat.
This is my 151st post on this blog, and I thought it would be fitting if the 151st post had something to do with Pokemon. The window in which there were only 151 Pokemon seems so small now, I don’t even know how kids growing up with Pokemon nowadays could keep track of over 700 Pokemon. I can tell you all the names of Pokemon from the first two generations: but everything is a little shaky past that, not that I don’t like new Pokemon. I’m not one of those weird purists that only acknowledge the first generation or two; obviously, because The Nuzlog has covered everything from Generations 1-6.
The current internet phenomenon, Twitch Plays Pokemon Red, has renewed some joy in my heart for Pokemon. Seeing how far Pokemon has come from its goofy black-and-white pixel origins, and seeing the internet spend 90 hours just to get three badges, I don’t know – it just made me happy to sit back and laugh as fifty-thousand people struggled together to navigate blindly through dark caves without flash. I was happy for Pokemon again.
So this is going to be the last Nuzlocke Challenge post written in this style: I’ve decided that coming up with ten meaningful things to say about a Pokemon Emerald Random-Nuzlocke run just isn’t the same after the first time, I’ll stick to how I described my experience with Pokemon Y, with brief journal-like entries about what progress has been made. This a move to keep Pokemon fun; taking the Nuzlocke Challenge super-seriously was fun once, but it’s tiring now. With that being said, here’s the last list-based Panda Progress Report.
- I’m a real freaking risk-taker. Pichu got down to just, 1HP, after getting poisoned and following the walk to the Pokecenter. Really could have died back there. There’s some poor soul in Petalburg Woods who thinks if you bring bug Pokemon to school, you’ll become popular. Keep dreaming, kid. I went to elementary school at the height of Pokemon fever, and if you wanted to be popular, you best have been rolling legendries.
- So, we’re at … Rock-town, and it’s time to take on the Rock-gym and… Goldeen doesn’t know any water moves so… Nuzleaf. The plan is now to teach Nuzleaf Bullet Seed, and train him up a bit.
- On Route 116, a wild Lapras appeared. There is well, basically zero chance of catching him right? Nuzleaf used Bullet Seed, and worked Lapras down to like, 1HP. Then I threw a Great Ball. No dice. Then I threw a Pokeball and what do you know? Team Panda has acquired a freaking Lapras, and before the big fight with Rock-girl, the Rock-gym trainer of Rock-town.
- Lapras is lvl.7, knows Water Gun, Growl, Sing, and Mist. What a dope dude, welcome to Team Panda (now let’s run a train on this first gym).
- Train thoroughly run into that gym; Lapras mostly one-hit ko’d Geodudes for the most part, until Roxanne whipped out Nosepass. Then I remembered that, Lapras, being part-ice, was weak to Rock. This was a pretty tight fight; potions were had, and on a few occasions, health got pretty low. Panda still walked out with her first badge, thanks to Lapras, who she owes about one-fitty. I am a fan of Lapras, and if Goldeen learns a few tricks, I could see myself doing an all-water run.
- What if I did a solo-Lapras run? I guess I’d still need a Pokemon that can learn HM’s, so it couldn’t be a true solo run. Goldeen reached lvl.10 and learned Supersonic (how cool). The guys on Route 116 use bug and fighting type, and since somehow Goldeen only knows a flying-type attack (peck) this works in our favor in kind of a crazy way.
- Other trainers have grass and rock type pokemon, and Crobat & Nuzleaf make a good pair for taking those guys out. Crobat knows bug-type moves, and Nuzleaf knows bullet-seed. Somehow, Panda ended up with a rather well-rounded rag-tag group of random Pokemon.
- Crobat, a flying poison type, proves most useful for knowing his bug-type move (leech life). When it comes to fighting Aqua Grunts (who only use Poochyena at this part of the game) it really doesn’t hurt to have a bug type, or in this case, somebody who has a bug-type move. After defeating an Aqua Grunt in some cave and rescuing a seagull, some crazy old guy offers Panda a ride on his sailboat. Being the smart woman she is, Panda accepts this adventurous offer.
- You know, I fast forward through so much of this game, because it’s just boring chitter-chatter of random NPC’s who don’t matter, and I totally milked Pokemon Emerald the last time I played it, but I really do appreciate how much storytelling can be done with just unanimated pixels and text. Pokemon Y failed so hard at making me care about its story content; and I care about Pokemon Emerald’s story, even if I have seen it too many times by now. I fast forward through it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still like it.
- I will say to Pokemon Y’s strength, I’d feel way more attached to my team if I could see them in 3D, and feed them and pet them and all of that sappy dumb tuff. The more pet-like they are, the better. I appreciated Pokemon SoulSilver’s system where you could turn to talk to your following Pokemon companion, and they’d tell you how they felt, or what they were doing right then. Things that add personality to your Pokemon are great, otherwise, you have to add your own. Even Pokemon Yellow’s Pikachu-emoticon-system was a great first step in the right direction. At this point, I struggle to really care about any one Pokemon besides my starter Goldeen.
This is exactly how I’ve customized Pokemon Emerald for this Nuzlocke Challenge. The starters are random, but all basic Pokemon. I’ve done this because I’d like to have the chance to raise a Pokemon through all stages of evolution, and I have a preference for starting with a basic Pokemon. Also, if a Pokemon normally requires a trade to evolve, that’s no longer the case: any Pokemon can evolve in this game without having to trade (as that’s impossible/difficult to do on an emulator as far as I know). Let’s start.
- Started as a girl, named myself Panda, walked over to Brendan’s house (you remember how much I hate that guy?) well, I forget if I caught this last time but… he says “I heard a gym leader’s kid moved next door, I assumed you’d be a boy.” Stupid boy. Anyways. Let’s move on, I’d rather stick to writing about the experience that is a random starter pick. It’s honestly one of the most exciting things about starting a Nuzlocke.
- My choices were: A Togepi (nope) a Meowth (okay…) and a Goldeen (yes!). I’m going to skip the nicknaming portion of the Nuzlocke; I never thought nicknames got me any more attached to the Pokemon anyways, so my Goldeen will stay, “Goldeen.” Anyways, Panda and Goldeen saved Prof. Birch from none other than an Octillery; a wild Octopus Pokemon known for kidnapping full grown men off of grassy continental roads… obviously, so that was a close one.
- The first wild battle Panda and Goldeen face: a Muk. Pretty dangerous, I mean, Goldeen could be poisoned, or Muk could explode: who knows? Goldeen pecks it to death though, and levels up! Sweet. I forgot where to go to heal Pokemon, and wasted time seeing if Prof. Birch had any way to heal Goldeen. Mom always offers a little rest, way to go Pokemon Emerald mom, allowing naps whenever you please!
- The wild grass right outside of Littleroot Town only has Muks and Crobats. Could you imagine living there? It’d be horrible. Men attacked by Octopi in full daylight? Poisonous bats and globs of toxic waste roaming around 24/7? Littleroot is a nightmare, Oldale town too – unless the Pokemon in the grass north of Oldale are any less dangerous.
- Just so happens? The grass north of Oldale is full of Spindas. That’s not a horrible deal. So if you live in Oldale, yeah you have to deal with the deathtrap grass in the south, but the grass up north is full of harmless – yet creepy – teddy bear Pokemon basically.
- First trainer battle: Panda v. Brendan, Goldeen v. Togepi. Well, that’s not much of a fight actually. Poor Togepi just growled until Goldeen’s peck barely did any damage, but still, it was extremely one-sided. Coincidentally, Goldeen and Togepi are Misty’s Pokemon right? How weird and screwed up would it be for her to pit Togepi against Goldeen? What are you thinking Brendan? This isn’t a Pokemon fit for battle! I feel dirty for even agreeing to that battle. Guh!
- So you know what happens next; a forty-something year old dude allows a bunch of pre-teen children to go out into the world alone to do his research for him, and you’re given Pokeballs to start your adventure. Let’s see if we can catch a Muk, or Crobat – either or would be pretty cool. Whoa, head’s up! There’s a Magnemite in the grass. Using the flying-type move Peck to get it down to low-health takes for-ev-er, but Goldeen hangs in there, and Panda catches her second Pokemon: Magnemite (woo). Route 101: Caught: Magnemite.
- Onto Route 103; the rule of only catching the first Pokemon you encounter holds, and unfortunately, it’s going to be a Spinda on Route 103, or at least, that seems most probable. Whoa, head’s up! There’s a Pichu in the grass. Okay. I’m really underestimating how many types of Pokemon are hiding in the grass here.
- The wild Pichu brings Goldeen down to 12 out of 26 HP, which is to say, near-death. Pretty good for a wild lvl.3 Pokemon. Goldeen still manages to get in the necessary hits, and secure the capture of Panda’s second Pokemon, Pichu. Route 103: Caught: Pichu.
- Panda takes a break at Oldale’s Pokemon center to heal up, reflect on the day’s events, and look forward to the future. Let’s face it, Goldeen is the head of the pack here. The first gym is rock-type, and there’s no way Pichu and Magnemite are going to be in shape for that type of fight. Still, I’m getting ahead of myself. I remember there being a lot of stuff in between Oldale and the first gym: Petalburg? Petaburg? A forest of some sort, and a Devon Corp dude. Team Panda has an endurance run ahead of them, it’s all about keeping Goldeen alive.