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Let's Play Pokemon Life Version! Chapter 1

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 2:54 PM by Rainbow Chara X
Updated August 17th, 2016 at 12:31 PM by Rainbow Chara X

The future is bright.

Welcome, one and all, to a little gem known as Pokemon Life Version. So one day after I finished up Dark Rising, I saw this after Munching Orange played it for a bit on his channel. Personally, I didn't know what to expect - I was planning on doing Final Fantasy Tactics Advance because I wanted to take a break from Dark Rising and because that game is pretty good even if it has some flaws.

Enter Pokemon Life Version by Dionen, which looked absolutely dazzling. This looked like it was a genuinely good hack, and I've heard it was just short enough to not be exhausting. (FFTA was going to be a long one if 300 missions are anything to go by, so I'm not going to complain if it gets put on the backburner). It has a lot of ambitious ideas and actually follows on them (to an extent, this is still not finished), so we're in for a real adventure this time.

Let's rock.

Chapter #1 - Birth of a New Era


I love how this is the first message you get when you boot up the game. Nice touch - even for like a warning message, that background looks really cool.

I... uh... let's just ignore this and move on.

[Theme I would use here: A Fleeting Respite]

"Welcome to the world of Pokemon! My name is not important. People think that I am some sort of legend. Maybe I am just a simple character. This life..."

Oh hey, they replaced the professor with a Kimono Girl... and holy crap that background looks amazing. Where even are we?

I like that she tries to be humble even though it's guaranteed that she'll be an important character later on, though.

"For some people, Pokemon are pets. Others use them for battling. But first tell me a little bit about yourself."

It's interesting how this is almost the same dialogue as the original game, yet it feels completely different with that background and the Kimono Girl replacing the Professor.

Alright, I was a girl in the last game so I guess it only makes sense.

The protagonists in this are from Black 2 and White 2, strangely enough. Nate is... okay, but Rosa is a real cutie.

I was thinking of Dark Cloud 2 when I ran through the names, so I stuck with this. We're all set.

"Your very own Pokemon legend is about to unfold! A world of adventures and dreams with Pokemon awaits!"


: "Alright, in a sec!"

The fun thing about this protagonist is that they don't actually talk, so everything they say is my own interpretation. That's a sigh of relief from the last two hacks I've played, to be honest.

Anyway, all of the item balls around our room must be the stuff we have to pack up. Let's see what they are!

Oh snap, these are actually really good! I'm digging that we don't have to talk to a Professor to get any of these.

The funny thing about the Poke Ball is that it actually gives you five, but I don't think anybody was meant to check. Oops. Still, that's really useful.

A bit meta, but yes you could say I go to a famous Poke-forum.

By the way, my laptop is my soul. This is basically my policy for it:

"Something about a crack and stock exchange. Maybe it is a wolf story."

So this is a reference to something called The Wolf of Wall Street. The joke flew over my head, to be honest. Still, it's a pretty neat reference.

Something that's always bugged me about normal Pokemon houses (or even most RPG houses) is that they're usually one/two floors with the second being your room. Like where do your parents sleep?

With that said, this being a full-fledged house is a very nice change of pace.

[Current OST: FireRed Surfing music]

Oh? (By the way, now is an important time to mention that Life Version doesn't usually have custom music - Dionen says that they put in Black/White music, but for the most part we're dealing with the default FireRed soundtrack.)

I like to add a little pizzazz to my playthroughs, so have some custom music.

[Theme I would use instead: Sinful Rose (Instrumental)]

: ("Hello, Max! The queen has arrived!")

: "Oh hey. What took you so long? We're about to leave."

: ("Oh, never mind that. Let's just go.")

[The Flabebe walks over to Max]

Now this is rad. Flabebe is the starter you get, free of charge. Much like my friend, Florges is one of my favorite Gen 6 Pokemon and one of the coolest Fairy-type Pokemon out there.

Leanan, while being a pretty name, is derived from a legendary creature in Irish mythology known as the leanan sídhe - otherwise known as the Fairy-Lover. They appear to artists as beautiful muses and give them inspiration in exchange for their love and devotion. Unfortunately, this ends up driving the artist mad and leads them into an early grave. There's even some interpretations where they have vampiric tendencies.

Hell of a name for our first Pokemon, huh?

Oh, and to top it off, the type is an actual type in this. I can't stop gushing at over the changes in this - just playing this prologue is blowing me away already.

That's all well and good, but let's go -

Oh muk, it's the fuzz!

Wait, never mind, it's just Blaine. The cool thing about this cutscene is that he actually slams his cane against the ground. This looks just as good as one of those RPG Maker Pokemon fangames, yet this is a pure rom hack like Dark Rising or Snakewood.

I'm still in shock from that.

[Theme I would use for him: Red Ringo]

"Inside its Pokeball? Oh my, you're not prepared. Definitely not prepared."

Blaine is our dad? Sweet. This is like the only time after Gen 3 where we even have a dad, which is interesting because it's always our mom instead. I find it weird how we're the Black 2 / White 2 protagonist yet Blaine is our dad. How's that for fanfiction?

I should mention there was a typo here - it said "your not prepared", but honestly I'm willing to forgive it thanks to everything else right this is doing.

Papa Blaine: "It is not safe out there, and you know it. You need to be ready!"

I'm glad that he clearly values our safety but isn't trying to stop us.

: "I'm... positive."

Papa Blaine: "Is there anything I can do right now that might make you change your mind?

: "I... what's the problem, dad?"

Papa Blaine: "What am I doing? It's your own will. This is all you wanted since you were a child."

Overprotective and rightfully so. The world of Pokemon is full of crazy muk.

: "Well yes. I'm old enough now... and I have Leanan. We can take care of each other. Besides, I thought we were okay on me leaving?"

Papa Blaine: "And you will, my son. You will conquer your dreams! You will accomplish what you seek and much much more."

(fun fact: gender choices actually do matter because over in my friend's playthrough, he said "daughter" instead. Good attention to detail.)

[The actual in-game music changes over to the Pokemon Mansion theme. Instead, this is the theme I would use here: Mewt]

"She would have supported you. And this is what I'm going to do. I promise!"

... What happened between Blaine and mom?

: "... Alright, dad."

Papa Blaine: "Please, meet me by the statue. It is a better place for a goodbye. Not here! You know, my peculiarities."

[He slams his cane against the ground and leaves through the front door]

... Well, that was a heavy scene. That's how we're starting things off? This is going to be fun.

But first, some more flavor text:

Oh god damn it. I'm going Gaga over these stupid references now.

[Current OST: Cinnabar Island]

More loot?

"And watch out! The ship is going to arrive today! But no need to worry, they won't set off without you."

Oh jeez, we're really going places. Now I can understand why Papa Blaine was hesitant on us leaving.

: "... Awww, it's not like I'm leaving forever."

Poor guy.

Mailman: "Well, you should take this:

Aww, you shouldn't have!

Mailman: "I'm pretty sure that you might need it. Not that you are weak, it is just that you have no idea of what you may find in this world. A bunch of crazy people, I suppose. You just can't trust anyone nowadays."

Somehow, with just a few lines of dialogue, I manage to feel more emotion for this mailman than the entire cast of Dark Rising. That, and he has a good point - you really have no idea what might be out there, so it's best to be as prepared as possible.

Oh, you cheeky bastard.

[Max and the mailman walk down the path]

Can I just say that this is adorable?

wait, what is that glowing blue thing --

"Some crystals will be able to heal your Pokemon."


That's just insane! No wonder this won an award for most graphical appeal, holy psyduck.

But yes, this is one of the major features that separates Life Version from a normal Pokemon game. Crystals double as both your save spots and your Pokecenters, so if you lose... you lose for real. You don't lose your money, but if you're not careful it could seriously set you back. It's a very harrowing change but interesting nonetheless.

I have confidence that Life Version is relatively balanced, because if this save point thing is utilized improperly... this would be frustrating beyond comprehension.

So we live in the Nendios Regi... wow really? BOY, YOU AIN'T SLICK.

I'm joking. It's still a cool region name.

"Wild Pokemon can attack you if you're not careful. They can be much stronger than the ones we have here in the farm, so take care of your Flabebe!"

You'd think this would lead into a tutorial on how to catch Pokemon, but thankfully it doesn't. I appreciate that both dad and the mailman want to keep Max safe.

"But I saw your father going west... Well, good luck on your journey! Remember that O'Hana will always be your home."

Awwwww. You're so sweet, mailman.

But wait, there's more!

[Current OST: Gym Theme]

What the hell? Who's that?

[He looks over Max]

: "Uh...? Can I help y--"

Oh, you asshole!

[Max runs after the strange kid but hits the ledge from earlier]

Damn. Curse the Pokemon protagonist's inability to climb ledges!

Now that we have full control of our character, though, let's see what we have here.

(You can't go past the tall grass or anywhere where you're not supposed to, by the way - which is good because running into battles without Pokemon can cause some serious shenanigans.)

... WOOPS!

Oh well, at least I have save-states.

They included narrow paths from Black and White? Well, I guess that's where we have to go then.

[Current OST: Mt. Moon]

The music makes this place feel spookier than it actually is.

[Theme I would use for this encounter: Mystery Haze]

"Not as fast as I wanted, though."

: "What's the deal? Why'd you take my Pokemon?"

[Leanan hops around the strange kid]

[He picks up the Pokeball and hands it back to Max]

: "Here, take your Pokeball back."

[Leanan hops back to Max's side]

: "Uh... thanks, but I still want to know why you did this."

: "We should battle. My instincts tell me that. I am not sure if I trust you enough to take care of a Pokemon. You do not seem to be mature enough."

: [Gasps] "Leanan! What the hell?!"

: ("I'm sorry, Max, he's such a charming young boy. You could learn a thing or two from him.")

To be honest, if some kid I don't know took my Flabebe and told me he didn't trust me to take care of Pokemon... yeah, I'd be ultra pissed.

: "Especially when knowing that this amazing little friend is in your hands."

[He steps back and holds both arms out]

: "Show me what you've got!"

[Theme I would use here: Death License]

Holy muk that battle background! Not only that, trainers are fully animated too!

That is one hell of a way to start off your game! I'm impressed at how all out they went with this and, again, this is only the beginning.

Alright, the actual battle. Believe it or not, Tackle is the way to go here thanks to having 10 more base power.

Between Tail Whip and Pound, this is surprisingly difficult for a first fight when it's not just fire-water-grass starters fighting each other.

: ("Hah... it couldn't have killed you to be a little less rough.")

We barely make it, and this is after exhausting the Potion. It's hard to get lucky when your defense is lowered twice in a row.

"Good job training your Flabebe."

: "Thanks, I guess."

: "However, I'll keep an eye on you. Go talk to your father, he is waiting for you."

So he knows our dad? This is getting more intriguing by the minute.

... Oh. For the uninitiated, Benga is the grandson of former Unova champion Alder. Nice use of characters, if I can be honest.

: "At least you're happy."

Anyway, that's all the time for this chapter. Next time on Pokemon Life Version, we say our goodbyes and see the world.

See you then.

Team setup:

(Leanan, level 5, , ) - "It all happened in the blink of an eye, but I enjoyed every moment."
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