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October 21, 2013

Pokémon FireRed (Part 2)

You can read Part 1 here.

Okay, I'm back for more Pokémon! Last time, we went through 4 Gyms and we also uncovered some nasty scheme caused by Team Rocket. So, last time we ended at the casino, I think it was to get enough cash to get a Porygon... Oh, right, it was to visit the Rocket hideout!

Waste all your money at Rocket Game Corner!
Our Porygon are worth more than your social life!
Yeah, talk about a wise way to hide your secret organization: Inside a casino owned by it. Seriously, it's as if the mafia's headquarters were also a casino- er, never mind. Anyway, as you go through this underground base, you meet a lot of Grunts, and even a few scientists. I think. Whatever the case, those are working for Team Rocket, so you just better defeat them too, teach them a lesson. After a short search through the floors, you find an escalator – except you need a card to use it, so back you go to explore the base again to find that damn card, and then go back to the elevator. Phew! Luckily, this escalator leads to the lowest floor of the base, and near Giovanni's room. Hurray! So, I guess we'll have to beat him if we want to go up the Pokémon Tower, right? ...Well... yep. You know, I always found it weird that he uses Ground-type Pokémon when most of his Grunts use Poison-types. ...Maybe it's because he wants to have a type advantage over them in case they try a mutiny. Eh, what do I know.

Holy cow, this would make
a pretty radio tower!
So, you FINALLY get the Silph Scope, that precious item that lets you see through the ghosts' disguises. I guess it's time to go back to Lavender Town and into Pokémon Tower. Alright, let's enter... And barely one floor higher, we meet up with Blue, who seems bitter about something. He says that we have no reason to be here, as none of or Pokémon has died. ...Wait.... does that mean...? As competitive as ever, your rival still decides to challenge you to a match. It's a good one, though I wonder where his Raticate went. Did he switch it to another Pokémon? Did he... … … Did he overwork it? Did it... Is it the reason you're in the Pokémon Tower today, Blue? ...Is your Raticate dead? ...Man, I'm sorry. I, um... I hope it's not because of our battle on the S.S. Anne... Damn, I feel sorry for my rival right now. I'll have to mourn later, I've got to scale this tower.

You go up the floors, and things get stranger as the later floors are shrouded in mist and there's a lot of channelers walking around. Except... they don't seem well. And they challenge you to battle. And their speech is weird. And they have red eyes. And they use Ghost Pokémon. Smells like a demonic possession right there. There's also a number of Ghost-type Pokémon that show up on the later floors too. Okay, just Gastly and Haunter, but still. As you nearly reach the roof, you have to fight the deceased spirit of a Marowak. Oh... Darn... Team Rocket killed that Marowak? They're real bastards! Get that spirit to its eternal rest, then go up to the Tower's roof. Defeat the Grunts that are placed up there, and you'll save Mr. Fuji. As it turns out, Mr. Fuji really likes to take care of Pokémon, and owns a Poké Flute. Team Rocket is annoyed by his love of Pokémon and tried to hold him hostage. Well, good thing you took two hours to go save him! ...Anyway, he hands you the Poké Flute. We can go wake the sleeping Snorlax!

Gosh, this tower is even prettier! Really!
Too bad it's all gangrened by the Rocket
disease when you see it for the first time.
Once you wake up (and hopefully, catch) one of the two Snorlax in this game, you can head to Fuschia City, or you could go get the Tea in Celadon City from a nice woman in a building, and give it to the guards around Saffron City. However, when you enter Saffron for the first time, you see that the city is filled with MORE damn Rocket Grunts! Where must we go, then? Well, there's the big Silph Co building, but before you go there you must wait for the guard to fall asleep. You tiptoe around the guard and enter the place. I hope you got strong Pokémon, because this place has more Rocket Grunts than a Team Rocket meeting. You're also gonna curse a lot, because there are two problems with this place. In order to move around the building, you must use warp pads located on all the floors. It takes a lot of memory to know which pads lead where. Also, there's a lot of zones that are inaccessible because you need a card key to unlock the doors. And that thing is HARD to find! There's eleven freaking floors in this place! Once you FINALLY lay your hands on that card key, you can access more warp pads, including one that leads to a closed-off room... in which you can get a free Lapras. Nice! Using the warp pad at the other end of the room, you meet with... Blue, you again? Dammit! How the Hell do you keep reaching all the places before me? Of course, he challenges you to a battle. He really likes those, doesn't he? ...Anyway, once he's beaten, you can then reach Giovanni, who is occupying the Silph Co President's seat when you enter. Giovanni, screw you. And of course, if you want to free Silph from Rocket's grip, you gotta defeat him again. Once that's done, he escapes, and the owner of Silph Co thanks you with a special gift: A Master Ball! Freaking epic! So, I guess Team Rocket is defeated now?

Awesome, now you can just take care of getting the last 4 badges. You can go to the Gym in Saffron and defeat Sabrina. That's very easy, you can reach her without even fighting any other Trainer in the Gym. After you defeat Sabrina, you can leave and go to the dojo next door; in there, you can fight some Trainers with Fighting-type Pokémon, and then battle the dojo's master. If you beat him, you gain access to either Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan. How nice! ...I guess it's time to go to Fuchsia City now, huh? You wanna take the Cycling Road or the Seaside Routes? You reach the city faster with the former, but the opponents are bikers with strong Fighting and Poison Pokémon; the latter is a very long road passing by the Silence Bridge, but you'll meet LOTS of Trainers, which makes this Route an excellent way to increase your beasts' Levels prior to the Poison Gym in Fuchsia. Also, near the Cycling Road you can find a person hidden in the guardhouse, who'll hand you HM02, Fly, if you keep silent about his hiding location.

Did I hear right? A Poison Gym? Yep. In Fuchsia's Gym, you fight against Poison-types. And the walls are invisible. You know, I really wonder how that works. How the Hell can the walls be entirely invisible? Even if they were glass walls, you'd see light being reflected on them, right? Or you'd notice the structure that keeps the glass vertically, right? Koga is reached eventually. I hope you got Antidotes, because his Pokémon will love to Poison yours. So, I guess that finishes your business in Fuchsia, right? Well, not really. In order to reach the next Gym, you need Pokémon who can carry you over the water. Oh, damn, I don't have Surf! Well, you can find it at the far end of the... Safari Zone!

Yep, its that moment! You all know the (famous or infamous, depends on your point of view) Safari Zone. This place lets you catch all sorts of Pokémon you can't find anywhere else, and you can even catch ultra-rare ones like Tauros or Chansey! ...You just need a lot of luck, as you can't use your Pokémon and must instead use the awful Safari Balls, as well as tricks to Bait the wild Pokémon or toss a rock at it. It's a nice change in gameplay that adds a bit of a challenge. It can be really hard, though, to get the rarer Pokémon in this zone. However, when you reach the final building in the Safari Zone, you gain HM03, known as Surf! Yaay!

So... I suppose your best bet is to Fly to Pallet Town and Surf down towards Cinnabar Island. Best bet? Well, surfing to Cinnabar from Fuchsia is very, very difficult. There's the Seafoam Islands, home of the legendary bird Articuno. It's very difficult to go from one entrance to the other on this island, and you also risk meeting Articuno. Anyway, at Cinnabar you can finally revive your fossils (Thus gaining either a Kabuto or an Omanyte, as well as an Aerodactyl). Thanks for two more spots filled on the Pokédex! You can go to the Gym, but the door is locked! Turns out the key is in the mansion on the island, a mysterious place in which studies were conducted about the legendary Pokémon Mew. Personally, I hated this place. I'm all for puzzles, but I dunno, I never liked being in that abandoned mansion, with those poisonous Pokémon so close to fire Pokémon. Think about that for a moment. Anyway, after a long search, you end up finding the key and leaving. Seventh Gym, here we come!

Ooh, I like this one. You must speak to each Trainer in order to fight him, and if you win the door unlocks to the next one, but you can also choose to answer a trivia question... which, if you fail, you must battle the Trainer. Deal. That means it's possible to reach Blaine without fighting a single Trainer, but where's the fun in that? Once Blaine is taken down thanks to your team, you get the seventh badge. Wait a second, where's the eighth badge? Oh, it's in Viridian City? Really? ...Well, it's not so far away from Cinnabar! Look, it takes just a minute or two to get there!

However, before you do that, Bill comes to visit you on Cinnabar. He invites you to visit the first three Sevii Islands. As a Poké-maniac, Bill wants to discover more Pokémon species. He gets the help of Celio to build a machine that would let Trainers from Kanto trade with people in other regions. Hoenn, actually. You are also given the chance to visit One Island, Two Island and Three Island. You'll have to find the daughter of Two Island's Joyful Game Corner owner's daughter, Lostelle, who has been abducted. She's trapped in Three Island's Berry Forest. Anyway, once this mini-mission is complete, you can come back to Kanto, and head to the eighth Gym. Like I said before, it takes just a minute or two to get there!

Sophisticated as Hell.
Evil as mafiosi.
Oh, that's a Ground-type Gym, too! Well, that's all fine, after all we've battled only one major Trainer who has Ground-types this far. I hope you kept your Poison-types at home... well, in your PC. So, you make your way through the Gym, battling some powerful opponents, until you finally find the way to reach the Gym Leader thanks to the directional panels (the same as those you saw in Rocket's Casino hideout)... and you end up in front of... GIOVANNI. ….WHOA, DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING!

No, actually, I lied. I totally saw that coming. Giovanni being the eighth Gym Leader of the First Gen has become as much a secret as Rosebud being Charles Foster Kane's sled in Citizen Kane, or Bruce Willis being dead all along in The Sixth Sense. I listed all the other hints in the preceding paragraph. Plus, the Gym was closed, because the Gym Leader was too busy... busy leading a criminal organization, yeah! It's a twist that must have surprised quite a few when it happened in the days of Pokémon Red and Blue, but nowadays, it's something every Pokémon fan knows. Luckily, you can kick his butt a final time, and see him officially retire from wrongdoing and Gym Leading.

That means just one thing: Road to the Indigo Plateau! You make your way through the eight guards asking for the badges. And as you go through those eight gates, you meet stronger Pokémon. After you pass the final gate, you can now enter Victory Road. I hope you've loaded your bag with healing items. This is the final cave before the Elite 4. And lots of Trainers in there are powerful. Very powerful. I hope you're ready. No, wait, take a break, we'll see the last part in two days.