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Let's Play Pokemon Dark Rising! Final Thoughts

Posted August 15th, 2016 at 1:10 AM by Rainbow Chara X
Updated June 14th, 2017 at 7:10 PM by Rainbow Chara X

Final Thoughts

Rating scale:

Excellent (84 – 100)
Average(50 -69)
Bad – also counts as B-Movie So Bad It’s Good in case I happen to enjoy it (35 – 49)
Awful (34 to 0)

Full Title: Pokemon Dark Rising

Originally published: April 28th, 2012 on Pokecommunity

Type: Pokemon rom hack, which qualifies as turn-based RPG

Length: About 44 hours, which can mainly be attributed to the amount of grinding I did in the early parts of the game. Trust me, if I grinded to the levels the team is at now, it would be triple this amount.

Difficulty: It started off slightly difficult but escalated into Literally Impossible Without Cheating territory. That's bad.

  • DarkRisingGirl (Story/Creator)
  • Tajaros (Scripter/Support Banner)
  • Wesley FG (OW Sprites)
  • Kyledove (Tiles)
  • Alienhunterx (Official Walkthrough)
  • Mewmasterifly (2 Evil Fakemon Sprites for Beta)
  • NO_obslayer (Titlescreen)
  • Nightkymz (Tile Inserter)
  • Atif (Mapper for the 1st Half of the Hack)
  • DanielEvans/Pokemon Giratina X/Elite Four Lucian( Banners. If I forgot anyone, please inform me and I'll gladly add you to the list)
  • Evil Arms (Fan-made Titlescreen)
  • PokemonShinySilver (Wii U)
  • Darthatron (Fixed Trainer Card Glitch)
  • Hinkage (Scripting & Mapping)
Overall Plot:
  • You are one of the chosen ones picked by Arceus to help save the planet from the scourge of Darugis. That's pretty much it.
Pros & Cons

·The main hero has genuinely good lines at times

·It cuts down on HM use, which is good. It's also relatively generous with Poke Centers and rare items sometimes.

·There's a ton of neat, ambitious ideas that would be better appreciated in a more well-executed hack.

·It's... relatively short? Can you really say this even if you don't count the grinding?

·Pete is the closest thing to a developed character this story has.

·I do appreciate that they give you legendaries to add to your team, but it's a bit of a... too little, too late situation.

·The eventing and the coding of this game is so bad it transcends reality. It's easily one of the glitchiest games I've ever seen - I'd rank it up with Action 52 and Big Rigs, it's that bad. The sheer lack of care regarding even relatively simple things blows my mind. Like it wouldn't kill you to delete this game-breaking glitch or fix up those repeating legendary events. Not only that, stealing scripts from the vanilla game and not even trying to come up with anything original fails on such a basic level that I can't even get invested on whatever story you might try to tell. It's a good thing I made an entire bonus chapter regarding the glitches, because all of the Con slots would be filled up if I tried talking about them here.

·The maps in this game start off okay, but then they just turn awful. The constant hideous border tiles is one thing, but then there's stuff like the house you can walk through without cheat codes in Pax Town, the "not even trying" Cerulean Cave, and so on.

·Barring Monica (somewhat) and Pete, every single character in this game is an unlikable edgelord, forgettable or flat as cardboard. V, Light and even Darugis himself are major offenders - V has a betrayal backstory that is made moot by his obvious lack of care towards his own children, his petty motives and the fact he made a pact with who is essentially the devil to torture Monica and her father for eternity. Light is bad because he's not only a hypocrite (Screw you Arceus, I'm going with Darugis instead!) but he's pretty much a manchild who thinks his backstory can make up for how he acts in the present.

·Darugis is easily the most despicable character in the entire cast. Not because he's well written - quite the opposite, actually. See, Darugis has practically every power you can think of - he can bring back the dead, create brand new monsters out of nothing, possess people around the world thanks to "negative thoughts" nonsense and his battle stats are so stupidly blown out of proportion that it makes me wonder how DRG expected anybody to actually beat this dope. Oh, and what pisses me off the most is that he goes "THIS ISN'T EVEN HALF OF MY REAL POWER" - like psyduck off, you giant Marty Stu. His backstory can also bite it because it's just the Bible awkwardly pasted onto Pokemon. It's a wonder I even tried to write him into a better character with all of the muk he pulled throughout the game.

·The plot is practically non-existent for 80% of the game - it's just fighting, fighting, and more goddamn fighting. What plot there is can basically summarized as "WHERE'S MY DAD, DARUGIS" and "YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE, MONICA". It reads like the most stereotypical shonen anime I've ever seen, and for the love of god just because Shonen pulls off these kinds of power levels doesn't mean it's a good thing. That's not something you want to emulate, trust me. It also fails on being a more "mature" and "serious" take on the Pokemon series's plot because aside from how V treats his children, nothing that actually happens here is even that interesting or unique.

·I hate how DRG took the blame away from characters like Kaede and Pete when he was possessed. They were set up to be great villains on their own, but oh they were possessed or were wronged by Darugis so it's fine! Like god damn it, you had to go and ruin it.

·The stolen sprites. When I learned this, I immediately wanted to stop playing and dump Dark Rising into the Recycle Bin out of pure spite.

·The connection to Yu-Gi-Oh and Snakewood. So instead of hiding Atem where nobody can see him, he's one of the final required Gym Leader in the game. Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon do not match, and even if he drops out of the plot after we beat him... it still destroys whatever immersion this story could have had because crossovers are rarely done right. Snakewood being mentioned doesn't help either, seeing as that game isn't that good either and the fact DRG wanted to associate herself with it tells me things will only go downhill from here.

·Every sprite in the game barring a few are abysmal, with Wrath, Blazard and Atem being the worst sprites I have ever seen, bar none. Wrath and Atem are so horribly done they don't even look presentable, with Blazard being a victim of pure black shading and screwed up lighting - and that's talking about the newer, better sprite! The worst thing about the palette swap characters is that, even if the story were well written, I'd still not like them because it's failing on a fundamental level. Either contract a good spriter and/or put more effort into your character designs, please.

·The level curve defies logic and common sense on top of making grinding necessary. This muk isn't fun or challenging - it's tedious and takes the player out of the experience. It makes no logical sense because it looks like DRG just kept increasing the levels regardless of context or attention to game balance, which is the complete wrong way to do things. Not only that, don't throw insanely prepared weather teams at the player for their first two badges - you need to ease them in, not get them frustrated.

·The "biting the hand" comedy that she tries is especially vindictive, like the not-Safari Zone and mocking the Team Rocket "button behind a poster" gig. She can't really talk after blatantly stealing so many things from the original FireRed.

·Dark Rising Girl and Hinkage actually appearing in the main story and not as cameos. Holy muk, you guys were both fearless and had absolutely zero humility. Self-inserts are a very bad idea, especially if it's blatantly you putting yourself into the story. Hinkage should have been hidden in like the developer's room or something, not hanging out in front of the Dark Rising base. It doesn't help that if you didn't pick her favorite Pokemon, you get stuck with a less effective one.

·The fake base stat legendaries and the 1010 Base Stat Lugia Darugis. It wasn't enough to have max levels - the game itself had to cheat. This was completely unnecessary and honestly, it's just humiliating that anybody thought this was okay. I'm still steamed that this won an award for gameplay despite all of the stuff we've talked about.

·The ending and how the entire game was built up to lead into Dark Rising 2. You can't build a foundation off of weak material, you know...

Final Thoughts (4/100):

Dark Rising is... inhumanly awful. For what was supposed to be a big passion project, it was pretty obvious that DRG didn't care to fix even the smallest things. There's so many failings of basic rom-hacking knowledge yet this still got rewarded and lavished with attention. Contrast a similarly awful project called Hammer Brother Demo 3 by the Super Mario World guys getting canned and punished for its absolutely hideous difficulty, blatant lack of creativity and lack of care towards what was put into the game. It just doesn't add up.

I wish I could be more witty, but I'm being dead serious in saying that this is probably one of the biggest insults to Pokemon out there. The cheating difficulty, the insufferable cookie-cutter characters, all of the stealing, the incomprehensibly broken gameplay and, worst of all, the boredom.

I recommend nobody play this - it's too banal to even make fun of and the only way I survived was to write my own story out of it. Stick to good games, because nobody really needs something like this.

Still, it's amazing that some of you have managed to hang on with me. I'm infinitely grateful and hey, maybe Dark Rising 2 will... be slightly better? Optimism is hard.

Anyway, thanks for watching.
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