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October 23, 2013

Pokémon FireRed (Part 3)

Part 1 can be read here.
Part 2 can be read here.

Hello again for the third and final part of this review of Pokémon FireRed! Last time, it ended as the protagonist had passed the eight gates and was now at the Victory Road. Well, let's enter this cave!

I hate this place. It's fun, but I still hate it.
So, here goes the final traveling challenge in the game, with lots of Trainers, lots of puzzles, and lots of... trouble. Most Trainers in here have full teams, or almost full teams, with many good Pokémon. You'll also have lots and lots of stones to push around. This place is unnerving, because you can't seem to know when it's gonna end. It seems like you'll be stuck in this cave for a while. However, if you went this far in the game, you're determinate to win, and that means you'll go through this challenge anyway.

When you step out of Victory Road, you finally see the Indigo Plateau. Wow, this place feels like the Heaven of Trainers all around the world. ...Or, well, of Trainers all around Kanto. Inside this building, it's just as beautiful. Everything is handed to you: A Pokémon Center and a Shop with the game's strongest items, and even some infos on the Elite 4 even before you go fight them. Ready? Time to go through the door...

And there you meet Lorelei. Native of Four Island, Lorelei uses Ice-type Pokémon. She knows how to advantage them in battle, to, as she uses Pokémon that can summon a hailstorm. Some of her Pokémon have a secondary type that prevents them from getting damaged too much. Once she's beaten, hop to the next room.

And now, it's Bruno, an expert in the Fighting type! Bizarrely, he also has Onix in his team. His Pokémon hit hard and are fast, but they can't take much hits. If your Pokémon are leveled enough, you can use the type advantage, defeat his Fighting-types with a Pokémon of yours, and the Onix with another. Once beaten you go in the next room...

...to meet up with Agatha, an expert in Ghost-types. Remember that there were only three Ghost-types in the first Generation, and they were all part of the same evolutionary line, therefore the first time you fight her she also uses a few Poison-Types. She also has a small feud against Oak... Hey, it can't be helped. Once she's beaten, you enter the next room, a long hallway...

...and here comes Lance, who specializes in Dragon-type Pokémon! Once again, in the first Generation there was only one evolutionary line of Dragon-types, so he uses Pokémon with other types. Once he is defeated, he says that you have defeated the Elite 4... Except you have another Trainer to battle first. Oh, no... I hope he doesn't mean Douc... Er, Blue! Well, guess what? Yep, he totally meant Blue! As it turns out, Blue is just so “awesome” that he arrived just before you at the Elite 4, and defeated them. And if you want to be crowned as a Pokémon Champion, you must also defeat him!

WHAT?

Yeah... keep smiling. You
favorited jerk.
No, really. Not kidding. He has a strong team and he doesn't specialize in any type, so this is a battle in which you really need to be smart. Or, well, smarter than him. His Pokémon are strong, and he's technically the game's final boss, so you better beat him! That battle is long and difficult, but you'll eventually beat him. It's just so freaking unfair that he's managed to get there before you! He had only the Elite 4 to defeat, and you have to defeat him! That's really unfair!

Though, once he's beaten, you are now crowned Pokémon Champion. Sorta. Anyway, Oak arrives. He said that he came when he heard that you had beaten the Elite 4. (I know the joke, it has reached memetic status, I couldn't not do it. I don't care if it's bawdy, it's just so freaking hilarious.) After scolding his grandson for not taking good care of his Pokémon and only using them for battling, he invites you in the next room. In there, he records the information of your Pokémon team, which puts you in the Elite 4's Hall of Fame. Awesome!

Roll the credits.

So, final thoughts about this game? It's awesome! ...Wait, there's more? What? There's more to do? Really? Oh yeah, if (or once) you've caught 60 different kinds of Pokémon, your Pokédex gets upgraded so that you can gather information about all the species of the second generation! But... why? ...Well, I mean... How? Fairly simple, actually. Your boat ticket has been upgraded so that you can travel to all seven Sevii Islands! So, wait, that means more plot after the plot is over? Oh, goody!

Wow, small places in a sea of... um, water.
The Sevii Islands contain lots of Pokémon from the second Generation, and they're all spread through the islands, so you should have fun exploring the seven islands. Back when the game was released, you could also unlock two special islands that would let you battle – and possibly capture – Lugia, Ho-Oh and Deoxys. However, Deoxys is also the only Third Gen Pokémon you can (technically) catch, as you must get all the others by trading with Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Colosseum and XD: Gale Of Darkness. However, before you can do that, you must pay a visit to Celio on Island One.

He says that he needs a Ruby and a Sapphire in order for his machine to work. However, Team Rocket is also seeking those special stones, so you need to be careful. The Ruby can be found on Mount Ember, which is also home of the legendary bird Moltres. In the original versions, the Legendary bird could be found in the Victory Road. You manage to take the Ruby out of the Rockets' hands. The idiots were fooling around with it, what idiots. Also, look out for the Slugmas around the place.

It's not gonna be easy to find the Sapphire, though; it's hidden on Six Island, in the Dotted Hole, a place that is another little puzzle with braille letters. Oh, cool. However, when you reach the Sapphire, it gets taken away from you... by a Team Rocket scientist, no less! You bastard!

You know what that means: Team Rocket is far from done. Even if you locate their warehouse on Five Island, it's pretty pointless to go there immediately; the door requires a freaking password if you want to enter. As if this game wasn't already long enough. Luckily, Gideon himself tells you one of the passwords, so you just have to look for the other one, at the only other place we can still see Rocket grunts: On Mount Ember.

Alright, the door is opened! You can enter and... Oh no, not another tile puzzle! Is Team Rocket obsessed with those? When you finally reach Gideon, you must battle him in order to win the Sapphire from him. He has a strong team, sure, and he's almost like a post-game boss. However, once his final Pokémon is down, he can do nothing else but give you the Sapphire. Also, he sees your badge, the one Giovanni gave you after you beat him in the eighth Gym, and he realizes Team Rocket has been disbanded in Kanto. Therefore, he, too, disbands Team Rocket, the Sevii Islands quarters anyway.

Now that you have the Ruby and the Sapphire, you can bring them back to Celio... and you can finally trade with all the other Gen 3 games! Awesome, you can complete your Pokédex now! For added challenge, you can go fight the Elite 4 again. All their Pokémon are many levels stronger and they also have new Pokémon from the second Gen in their teams... And YES, Gary is there as well. How the Hell does he do to always be there before you? Why does he keep his title as Elite 4 Champion without beating you, when YOU have to always beat HIM when you want to regain your title? Crap! Last but not least. You also unlocked the Cerulean Cave. What's in there? Nobody less than MEWTWO. And you can catch him, too. I remember the time I caught him. Took me 70 Ultra Balls, but I managed to catch it anyway. Once Mewtwo is caught, and once you have all 386 spots in your Pokédex filled, you can call it a day, save, and turn the game off.

So, how's the game? It's awesome! Pokémon has always been a fun series, combining battling, collecting and puzzles into a single game. You can spend years without actually finishing it. I know; it took me six years to get all the Pokémon. However, it's worth the time spent, as you'll always have fun with it.

If only Jessie, James and Meowth had been around...
It would have made the minor Grunts more interesting.
However, I got to admit, the aspect of the story is... lacking. I know it's a remake of the first Pokémon games, and those were very basic, but even then it was a relatively bland story. Fighting Trainers, collecting all eight badges, defeating the Elite 4... All this has been done in all the games of the main Pokémon series. And it's still being done. That's why the strength of Pokémon should be in the second aspect of the story: The bad guys! In Gen 1 - and Gen 2 - Team Rocket acted as some form of terrorist organization, using their many Grunts to wreak havoc around the regions, stealing Pokémon, killing the species who tried to resist them... But all in all, they were still pretty weak. The Grunts are almost all lame and predictable, considering they mostly use Poison-type Pokémon. All in all, by the end you're even wondering how they can still be a threat. The other villainous teams at least had an idea to achieve world domination: Seizing control of the Legendary Pokémon. With those, the future teams could increase the power of their destruction in order to become very real, powerful threats. Team Rocket pales in comparison. Which is not to say that they weren't dangerous; they were, just... not enough. And their motivation lacked any kind of depth. That's the problem with this game's villains. Giovanni, however, is awesome, even if I suppose he knows that his group is awful. He's got hold of dozens of stupid Grunts who'll do what he wants them to, and he has even infiltrated the very system of Pokémon Training by becoming the eighth Gym Leader. How powerful is that? You gotta admit that this is pretty cool. Again, too bad his underlings all suck.

Oh yeah, by the way, I hate the fact that no matter how often you kick his Pokémon's asses into oblivion, Blue is ALWAYS ahead of you in everything. He is always accepted as the Elite 4's Champion, and you can never tell how long it took him to get there. He'll be there as the Champion EVEN if you defeated the Elite 4 half an hour ago and you're going back to defeat them once more. It's like Blue has someone, a higher authority on Pokémon, to bribe his grandson's way into the Elite 4... And in all seriousness, it's really annoying. I'm happy the second Generation corrected this by giving Kanto's eighth Gym to Blue while Red sits atop Elite 4's throne. Thank you for correcting another major injustice of Pokémon!
The updated graphics are very great. The world of Kanto and the Sevii Islands are beautiful. The world looks nice, and I'm glad they did this. Also, you feel that, as a remake, it was done very well. They made the right changes to ameliorate the original games, changing the locations of a few Pokémon, and giving access to the second generation post-game. My only problem with Pokémon is that you can't really finish the game if you don't know people who have the games you don't own, people who have the tools to trade with you. I calculated at some point the number of catchable Pokémon in those remakes without ever having to trade with another game. It's around 170 on a possibility of 386. I'll post the list someday. Maybe tomorrow. Being able to catch more of them in the wild would have been good. That's at least one of the aspects that the sixth generation did very well: The regional Pokédex has 400-something Pokémon, so you can catch well over 300 without having to trade at any moment.

They've also removed most glitches, though a few of them are still around; luckily, you usually need to use a cheating device in order to find them. It's a good thing they removed MissingNo.

So, do I recomment Pokémon FireRed? Well, if you love Pokémon and you own a Game Boy Advance, try to find this game in a store, and buy it. Yes, buy it. And have hours and hours of fun with it. I truly recommend this game. It's awesome. I don't know what else I can add to this.

All I can say is: Poké-Month is going smoothly, so tune in this Friday for a review of Pokémon Rumble!