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October 16, 2015

Pokémon HeartGold (Part 3)

InPart 1, we began our journey, found a rival and went through 5 Gyms. In Part 2, we defeated Team Rocket, went through the remaining Gyms, and then we fought the Elite 4. Today, we’re visiting Kanto! The ship takes us to Vermillion City, where Lt. Surge, the Electric-type champion, can be fought. It’s rather simple, really; in Kanto, your mission is to fight the eight Gym Leaders of the first Generation, obliterate the remaining shreds of Rockets that are still around, and catch whichever Legendary Pokémon are still in the wild. Actually, there's a LOT of Legendary Pokémon here.

I would have put a chart with all the Legendary Pokémon, but then I
remembered that this game ended at the fourth Gen.
In fact, I’ll talk about that right now, and then I'll discuss Kanto. If you haven’t caught Entei and Raikou, they’re still roaming Johto. Suicune is going around, chased by Eusine. You can, however, corner Suicune on Route 25, and then battle and catch the third legendary dog. …Taking away Eusine’s reason to live. Good, maybe he’ll finally get a life. The legendary birds are there as well, but they appear only after you've collected Kanto's eight badges; Articuno is still in the Seafoam Islands. Zapdos can be found outside of Route 10’s power plant. Moltres can be found and fought in Mt. Silver, which is also accessible only once all 16 badges are in your possession. Same for the Cerulean Cave, where Mewtwo rests. In Pewter City (which is still pretty far in Kanto), a guy will offer the player the special wing we didn’t get in Johto (Silver Wing in HeartGold, Rainbow Wing in SoulSilver). This gives access to the other legendary bird, which is found in Johto; Lugia will bewaiting in the Whirl Islands, and Ho-Oh will appear at the top of the Bell Tower. Latias will be roaming Kanto in Pokémon HeartGold; in SoulSilver, it’s Latios. In both cases, catching it is difficult to do. Thankfully, once you catch the roaming member of the Eon duo, you can go get the second one at Pewter City, given that you have an… event-exclusive… item… Goddammit! I hate event-exclusives like that! Though, if you really wish to know, the other event-exclusive Pokémon of note in this game is the Pikachu-colored Pichu, which is exactly what is said on the tin. Bringing this one to the Ilex Forest gives the player access to a spiky-eared Pichu from the shrine of Celebi. That Pichu cannot evolve, which means it stays sucky all the way to Level 100. Oh yeah, and there’s also a Celebi that could be obtained as an event; with Celebi in the party, it was possible to find, fight and defeat Giovanni in this game. The Team Rocket ex-leader had heard the radio transmission from his team and was decided to go back, but then gets defeated by the HG/SS protagonist and changes his mind once again. Oh, also, depending on the version, you can catch Kyogre or Groudon; the Mr. Pokémon guy will offer the player character a colored orb that will make said Legendary Pokémon appear in the Embedded Tower, an odd place near the Johto Safari Zone. Once you catch that one, you can make a trade to get the other, and then you can go back to Mr. Pokémon; he’ll give a Jade Orb, after which you can go back to the Embedded Tower and catch Rayquaza! I think I’m forgetting a few other Legendary Pokémon that can be caught in this game through events, event items, trades, etc., and I know I’m leaving out a number of Legendary Pokémon-only items that allow some of them to change forms, but this paragraph has already been long enough.

One moment... I can feel the memories coming back...

Dammit Snorlax! I know I like you more
than your pre-evolution, but still, dammit!
Alright, let’s move on. You could wish to beat the Gym Leaders in the original Kanto order, but that’s extremely difficult, as there are several roadblocks on the way. A Snorlax fell asleep right in front of the Diglett Cave, for instance. The fat-assed won’t wake unless you find a Poké Flute or something similar. Oh well, we can still challenge Lt. Surge in Vermillion City, and then Sabrina in Saffron City. As for what else there is to see in Saffron… well, Silph Co.’s headquarters now have more security, so you can’t go to the higher floors, but in the basement you can find appliances to change Rotom’s forms, and once you have defeated the true final boss of the game (ooh, more secrets!), Steven from Gen 3 will appear there and give you a Hoenn starter Pokémon.

You want a true challenge? Try to beat
all 16 without stopping to heal!
The Fighting Dojo closed down due to its Master training in Mt. Mortar; however, it’s now the place for a great side-quest. See, on different days of the week, and in certain places, around Johto and Kanto, you can meet again with the Gym Leaders you have defeated thus far. They may give you their phone number. At clear moments of the week (one day, one timespan *morning, afternoon, evening*), you can call them; they will Fly to Kanto’s Fighting Dojo, where they can be fought again. They have full teams of Pokémon, all between levels 45 to 65, and they even added a couple of Gen 3 and 4 Pokémon! They’re perfect opponents to fight for Experience. The hardest one in the bunch is Blue, with a team of Pokémon between Level 67 and 72. He’s also the one whose phone number is the most complicated to get.

In Saffron, we can help the little Copycat girl retrieve her doll, after which she gives Nicolas a pass for the Magnet Train, which goes from Saffron to Goldenrod City. However, the train isn’t working for now.

That's one complex
hedge maze...
But enough of that. We go to Celadon City and battle Erika and her Grass-type team, then we head to the Kanto Power Plant, where an important part of the machine working the Magnet Train was stolen and must be retrieved for the Magnet Train to work. I sense some Rocket-powered shenanigans here… Time to head up to Cerulean City. When Nicolas gets there, he hears that a Rocket Grunt with a weird accent was seen hanging around… Nicolas encounters the Grunt on Route 24, defeats him, and takes the machine part back. Well, gee, those were some quickly-resolved shenanigans…

Oak just announced a swarm of Clamperl!
Quick, go catch a few! But you'll still
need to look for the Deepsea items.
We go through the Rock Tunnel and reach Lavender Town, where the Pokémon Tower (in which people would go and mourn their deceased Mons) has been turned into a radio tower. Well gee, that’s just great, where are we gonna mourn now? Sigh. On the other hand, we get to listen to the radio stations from Johto now. You see, there’s another way to catch Pokémon in this game: The Pokégear. That’s basically a radio and a cellphone, so you use it to call the Gym Leaders so that they’ll appear in the Fighting Dojo. You can also tune in on the radio to listen to Professor Oak; he’ll announce where swarms of special Pokémon appear around both regions. That way, you can find and catch Pokémon of the third and fourth Generations. Of course, that means you need to listen to the radio… and you also need a bit of luck, as the swarm Pokémon for a day is randomized, and when there’s only one left to get, it can be long before it finally shows up. However, one of the channels plays the Poké Flute, so Nicolas can go back to awaken the sleeping Snorlax and catch it.

The layout of the Pal Park.
It looks troublesome.
Nicolas then goes across Routes 13, 14 and 15, and reaches Fuschia City, where Janine the Poison-type expert – well, Koga’s daughter anyway – awaits. Fuschia City also used to have the Safari Zone, but here it has been replaced by the Pal Park, in which you can send 6 Pokémon from your Gen 3 games, search for them in the Park and catch them. That’s a quick way to get a lot of the missing Pokémon from Gens 1, 2 and 3 into HG/SS. Sadly, I couldn’t use it because it requires that the two games are in the same language. My copy of FireRed was in English, my copy of HeartGold was in French. So goddamn it. The upside is that, since the Nintendo DS had a DS slot and a GBA slot, you needed only one console to do these trades. Whatever, now is the time to defeat Janine.

An empty Gym? Hah! Too easy!
*breaks nose on an invisible wall*

Afterwards, we can go back to Cerulean City; Misty is not yet at her Gym, but she can be found on Route 25, after which she’ll return to the Gym and you can properly fight her. With the Diglett Cave now freed from the adipose buttocks of the sleepy Snorlax, we can make our way to Pewter City. Brock is there, ready to have his team demolished by yours. After Pewter City, we can go down Route 2, through Viridian Forest, then Viridian City, Route 1 and Pallet Town (where we can chat with Prof. Oak), then to Cinnabar Island. The place is now a desolate wasteland due to a volcano eruption that covered the place in stone. Farewell mysterious Mew mansion! Farewell fossil revival lab! Good thing the Pewter City Museum has this feature too! Blaine has moved his Fire gym to the Seafoam Islands. A Fire-type Gym in an ice cave. That’s asking for trouble. Either you’re going to cause great damage to the environment, or the place will crumble and fall apart while you’re still in it. Don’t count on Articuno to freeze the place, it’s gonna be mine soon.

Oh wait, wait, it's fine, he has found a proper cave in the Seafoam Islands!
Even though there wasn't one in the original games...

We head back to Viridian City and face off against Blue, Red’s old rival. He’s changed since the last Generation. Maybe not enough. Though, since Giovanni left, Blue has earned a spot as a Gym Leader. Except he doesn’t specialize in any type… But hey, at least he’s a tough foe. Once Blue is defeated, Nicolas has earned all 16 badges. We can go back to Professor Oak, who will finally allow entrance to Mount Silver.

There are some mighty Pokémon in there, so it would be wise to train for a moment before going. The Elite 4 is available, once again, and they’ve got much stronger Pokémon. And species from the third and fourth Generations, too. That’s some good training. Okay, are you ready now for Mount Silver? Let’s go, then!

I won’t lie, it’s a tough exploration. Moltres can be found in there, but there’s also quite a number of rare and powerful Pokémon you can catch inside Mount Silver. Reach the end, however, and you’ll face off against a familiar face, one you may have seen years prior… Red himself awaits at the top of Mount Silver! And oh my, what a team. A LV88 Pikachu, officially the highest-leveled NPC Trainer-owned Pokémon in the entire franchise. A LV80 Lapras (earned when he was freeing Silph Co. from Team Rocket), a LV82 Snorlax (he caught the other one in Gen 1), and the final forms of all three Starters, at LV84.

If you're not careful, a Pikachu can defeat you and your entire team.

Beat this opponent, and you have beaten the game. All that’s left is completing the Pokédex; and what helps is that, after beating Red, you can get a Gen 3 starter from Steven in Silph Co., and a Gen 1 starter from Oak in Pallet Town. But wait, that’s not all there is to this game… now that the whole Story Mode has been beaten, all that’s left is to complete the Pokédex! Something I never achieved… but in Part 4, I’ll tell you more about the Pokémon you can catch in this game through… special means. Don’t miss that!