(Not sure if Shining Pearl should be considered Gen 4 or Gen 8 for this, but going with Gen 4 for the moment)
So, new Pokemon game that I'm actually interested in, so I emerge from the shadows once again!
Let's get this started! We shall join our intrepid heroine Lisa as she prepares to leave her mark on Sinnoh.
I'm sitting in my room randomly watching stuff on TV when I get called by local kid Brent to come to a local lake to hunt for a mystery Pokemon that may or may not actually lurk in said lake. We encounter an older fellow and another kid who seem to ignore us, leaving behind a briefcase. Brent does as Brent does and drags me into the grass and of course wild Pokemon attack. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so we raid the briefcase and find three Pokemon. I select the penguin looking one known as Piplup and fight off the wild Pokemon.
Upon departing the lake area, I come across the old man and his companion again, who take back their briefcase and tell us to come to some lab in the next town. Oddly enough they don't confiscate the Pokemon. After a brief pit stop home, I go to the lab when the old guy introduces himself as Rowan (he didn't divulge what university he teaches at) and the kid as Lucas who helps out, hopefully for pay. Rowan allows me to keep the Pokemon and hands me a Pokedex device to index the region's Pokemon.
I nickname Piplup "Kanon" after Kanon Shibuya from Love Live Superstar.
After some more chitchat and having to return home for some reason, I'm finally ready to get this journey started in earnest. I catch several Pokemon on this route, including Kotori the Starly and a Shinx. Because Shinx is male, I really can't name it after a Love Live idol, so (Buick) Century it is!
Also, first trainer battles await, including this cutie who we unfortunately have to make sad:
Jubilife City is a brief pit stop, but I do take a brief trip north to Route 204 to capture a Budew for my team, naming it Chisato.
East of Jublife, Brent is waiting, thinking he can beat me. Let's prove him wrong, shall we?
Well, that was easy. Proceeding East, I capture Honoka the Zubat in Oreburgh Gate.
In Oreburgh City proper, Brent tells me that the Gym Leader has gone to a coal mine in town to conduct the business, but while exploring the town I find a young girl who quotes one of THE most iconic love songs from the 1980's, which I have to give major credit to:
So, in the Oreburgh Mines, I capture Geodude for my party. It's male, but since I don't want to name EVERY male Pokemon after a Buick, it gets named "Olds Cutlass" instead :)
Deep within the mine, I locate the Gym leader who introduces himself as Roark. He heads back to his Gym to prepare for my challenge, and so I prepare - by gaining a few levels before storming his gym and challenging him!
Lisa continues her quest for Gym Badges in this second installment!
So, after getting my first badge, my next goal is Eterna City, but getting there requires a detour and some backtracking. Back in Jubilife, Rowan and Lucas are being harassed by these oddly dressed dudes with bowl cuts who call themselves Team Galactic. They're dispatched fairly easily.
After traversing more routes and a cave, during which Kanon, Kotori, and Century evolve, I enter Floaroma, a small town with some beautiful flowers. But all is not well in this floral paradise, as Team Galactic agents are milling about and making the townspeople nervous. Turns out they've seized the nearby Valley Windworks and are diverting the power produced there to one of their own facilities.
Because I need to prep for this mission, I train a bit in the grass, capturing Hanayo the Pachirisu in the process.
After a bit of Galactic trying to give me the runaround, I obtain the key to enter the building and storm the Windworks. At the back of the facility, I encounter one of the group's higher-ups. Time to battle!
Vs. Galactic Commander Mars
Zubat, Lv 14
Purugly, Lv 16
Since I'm lacking anything that can do massive damage, Purugly proves to be a bit resilient, but it eventually falls. Mars seems to be an... interesting character, like the type of person I could be friends with under other circumstances. But what could be is neither here nor there. Mars and her grunts withdraw, and having done my one good deed for today, I continue on.
Eterna Forest looms ahead, dark and foreboding. A woman dressed in green named Cheryl needs help making it through this place, and since we're both going to the same place, I decide, "why not?"
As we venture through the forest, I capture several Pokemon including Ayumu the Buneary and Riko the Misdreavus.
Later on in the forest, Olds Cutlass and Honoka evolve. Eventually, we make it out of the forest and part ways.
In Eterna, there are two encounters of note. The first is with Cynthia, a woman with a mysterious aura about her. What's her story? Guess I'll find out next time I see her. The second is with an older fellow who gives me the tools to explore the vast underground caverns beneath the regions. I don't spend a lot of time down there... at least not yet. Instead I head to the gym and prepare to gain my second badge! But first, I need to gain a few more levels, and it's during this training exercise that both Chisato and Honoka evolve. Okay, now I'm ready to take on the gym.
The last time we left Lisa, she had finished defeating Gardenia and prepared to storm the Team Galactic facility in Eterna City.
So, I enter this sinister looking facility, and something tells me I'm not welcome here, based on the number of Galactic grunts that confront me. Not that they pose much of a threat, but free experience is free experience. Century evolves into Luxray at this point, so that's a bonus. I finally make my way to the top floor, where this lady with purple hair awaits me.
Vs. Galactic Commander Jupiter
Zubat, Lv 18
Skuntank, Lv 20
Unlike with Mars and her Purugly, Skuntank has a weakness that I can easily exploit - one Bulldoze from Olds Cutlass is enough to end this.
After I send the bowl-cut crew packing, I have a bike foisted upon me. I say this because this thing does NOT handle well. I mean, I've seen massive American sedans from the 1970's that can take a corner easier than this thing.
Anyway, it's a long way to the next gym, so I head down Cycling Road, then cut through a large mountain that may or may not be named after the Dodge Coronet.
Afterward, it's a brief trip to Hearthome City, where I take care of several things. Beating the gym, however, is not among them. One of my detours is to the Contest Hall, where my mom is waiting. IDK man, that seems kinda sus... Contests can wait, however (not the least because I want to train Pokemon specifically for them and my party Pokemon aren't optimized for the contests.)
Here, I did a quick trade-back to evolve Olds Cutlass into Golem.
Gym Leader Fantina doesn't want to face me right now. She's only delaying the inevitable, but whatever. Moving on, Brent thinks he can take me on. Little does he know that I'm packing level 32 Pokemon and I'm not playing games.
Moving on... Routes 209, 210, and 215 provide more chances to capture and raise up my Pokemon, although none of the captures are particularly noteworthy. Solaceon Town, between 209 and 201, doesn't hold anything of interest... at least not yet - I'll get to breeding Pokemon at the daycare later. On Route 210, however, there's a small cafe, where I notice this...
Um... are y'all eating Pokemon? Those are clearly Poke Balls on that serving tray... Yeah, my SUS meter is going crazy, so I better get the hell out of this place...
So, finally I make it to Veilstone City, and the next Gym Leader who's actually willing to take me on. Maylene likes her fighting types, but one is kinda tricky and required some crafty strategy to minimize damage.
Meditite and Machoke were easy targets for Honoka and Riko, respectively. To take down Lucario, however, required a three-Pokemon team. First, Century entered the battle to get an Intimidate off. Then I switched to Chisato to Stun Spore the thing. Finally, I switched to Kanon (purposely raised only to Lv 35 so it wouldn't have Empoleon's Steel-type) to deal damage. Three Bubblebeam attacks did the trick.
After prevailing over Maylene, I leave the gym to be confronted by... Lucas? We'll see what he wants from me next time!
We last left off with Lucas annoying our intrepid heroine Lisa... about... something. Time to find out what he wants from us.
Lucas apparently had his Pokedex stolen by Team Galactic, which has me questioning (a) how he let the thing slip out of his grasp, and (b) what Team Galactic would need it for in the first place. So yeah, we have to beat down the two grunts who stole the thing, and maybe FINALLY I can continue on with this quest.
Routes 214 and 213 are mostly trainers to defeat and maybe two or three new Pokemon to catch? Kinda boring. Also on the way is this weird hotel-resort... thingy? Each room is a separate building which is kinda sus, and a Quality Inn this place is not.
Anyway, onto Pastoria City and its gym which I can enter without doing any additional sidequests, thankfully.
Wake Forest University is a small college in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and their sports teams are the Demon Deacons. I'm reminded of this for some reason, but I can't put my finger on why...
Vs. (Crasher) Wake
Gyarados, Lv 27
Quagsire, Lv 27
Floatzel, Lv 30
Century wipes out Gyarados, and Chisato makes quick work of Quaggy and Floatzel. Wake Forest is doing surprisingly well in football this year, too bad that success doesn't spill over to Crasher Wake...
Hmmm, there's this sussy baka member of Team Galactic lurking about the Great Marsh, who takes off as soon as he notices me eavesdropping.
Wait, did I scare him off, or did Brent with his yelling? Either way, time to throw down.
Um... it's a battle, I guess? Not much of a threat.
Now I have to play "chase the Galactic grunt" back to Valor Lakefront, which is... quite the detour. After finally beating him down, Cynthia approaches and gives me some medicine and cryptic words of wisdom, as well as another sidequest. To Celestic Town, I guess? But not yet.
Route 212 is a horrific mess of mud, sludge, and constant rain and I hope I never have to come back to this route. I spend some major time in the underground for the first time, but it's mostly level grinding and a few captures.
Now it's time to take the detour to Celestic. Once arriving there, I have to fight off a lone Galactic operative who seems to want to blow up the entire town for... some unspecified reason. Afterward, I get the Surf attack from the town elder and an encounter with the enigmatic fellow who introduces himself as Cyrus. Okay, think Fantina's ready? Let's find out.
Fantina's gym "puzzle" is a ridiculously easy math quiz. C'mon, Fantina, if you're gonna throw math into things, at least go with something challenging like calculus, trigonometry, or statistics. Or hell, even algebra. But simple arithmetic? Do better, please.
So, as soon as I leave Byron's gym, Brent is waiting. At least he isn't looking to throw down and get embarrassed again. Instead, he drags me to the library where Rowan and Lucas are waiting. Mid-conversation, there's an earthquake. Rowan suspects it may be connected to the three odd lakes in the region, so he sends each of us to investigate. I get assigned to Lake Valor, and after a brief detour to Iron Island and a meeting with the mysterious Riley, I get ready to head over there.
Well, this is odd... the lake is drained and a bunch of fish are flopping about... Also there's a cavern in the middle, so I head in there and encounter Mr. Blue Hair here:
Anyway, my next destination is Lake Verity since I'm concerned that Lucas isn't holding up his end of the deal... and I'm right. But come on Mars, give me a little bit of credit, my memory ain't THAT bad...
Golbat, Lv 37
Bronzor, Lv 37
Purugly, Lv 39
It's Purugly vs. Purugly, though it only takes two hits for Maki to prevail. I like Mars, but business is business. She pulls her grunts out of the area.
Rowan now tells me to head to Lake Acuity because Brent *may* be in over his head (haha), so I go through Mt. Coronet and up the northern routes of 216 and 217 (which barely edge out 212 as the most annoying routes in the game because of the constant Hail. But wait, there are Galactic grunts guarding the lake entrance and they aren't budging (or battling, which may be smart on their part.) Oh well, there's a city nearby, so might as well see if there's a Gym to beat.
Candice may be my favorite Gym leader in this region, but that doesn't stop me from going all out and securing victory.
Okay, NOW the path to the lake is clear, and, once again, my hunch is correct, as Brent just got bodied by Jupiter. She tells me an interesting tidbit, that I need to head to the group's base in Veilstone, post-haste. So let's not waste any time, shall we?
The Warehouse and HQ are interconnected underground by a dizzying array of hallways, locked doors, and warp panels. But slowly and surely I make my way to the head office, where an old acquaintance is waiting.
Murkrow, Lv 40
Golbat, Lv 40
Sneasel, Lv 43
Unfortunately for Saturn, being angry doesn't mean he fares any better in battle. Saturn steps aside, allows me to free the lake Pokemon, and informs me that Cyrus and the rest of the Galactic crew have headed to Harv's Island to set up shop Mt. Coronet to shackle... something. Suppose I should venture there and find out what that something is... next time!
Shorter update today since today was mostly level grinding and hiking up Mt. Coronet.
I have my next destination in mind: The peak of Mt. Coronet. The path to the summit is covered in snow and littered with Galactic's best agents - "best" being relative since they still don't put up much resistance.
Atop the mountain rests Spear Pillar, the ruins of some ancient structure. Cyrus is here, but between him and me stand Mars and Jupiter. Apparently Saturn isn't high enough on the Galactic pecking order to get an invite here. Sucks to be him.
But first things first, it's finally time to evolve Chisato and Riko. The conflict against Team Galactic is reaching its climax, so might as well power them up here.
Anyway, Cyrus has shackled some massive ancient legendary Pokemon and is trying to bend it to his will. But his two subordinates aren't gonna let me just march up to him.
Mars is tired of losing to me, so she wants to put me down. As the battle is about to commence, Brent rushes in, eager to get vengeance on Jupiter. Enough talk. Let's get this battle started!
Not gonna lie, Brent isn't much help here. His Munchlax just did pitiful amounts of damage to whoever I wasn't focused on attacking at the moment.
After the fight, Brent turns tail and runs off to God knows where.
As Cyrus continues to gloat, the three lake Pokemon suddenly appear and free the giant legendary Pokemon from his shackles. Uh, oh, Cyrus ain't happy about this (though he was the one who gave me permission to set the three free, so he has nobody to blame but himself.)
Honchkrow, Lv 45
Gyarados, Lv 45
Crobat, Lv 46
Weavile, Lv 48
Cyrus puts up a valiant effort (okay, not really) but falls in battle. His plans thwarted, he, Jupiter, and Mars retreat. Now it's up to me to capture the legendary Palkia. Which I do in spite of ineffective Pokeballs.
On to Sunyshore City and my final Gym! After an encounter with a Ronald McDonald wannabe and having to track down the Gym Leader in the local lighthouse, it's finally time to earn my last badge!
After beating Volkner, I prepare to make my way toward my final destination. On Sunyshore's northern beach, a traveling gym leader named Jasmine gives me the Waterfall move, the final obstacle to getting to the Pokemon League proper. Well, there's also a sea route and the misleadingly-titled Victory Road, as it's more of a winding cave than anything resembling an eight lane Interstate highway. Within the cave lurk a number of wannabe Elite Four challengers who are nowhere near ready to take them on. So I do them a favor by beating them first and making them painfully aware of that fact.
Once I make it out of Victory "Road" and doing a bit more training, I enter the Pokemon League building only to be confronted by an old nemesis...
Ah yes, the famous Fire-types, Steelix, Lopunny, and Drifblim. So I have to get a bit creative, and everyone on my squad except for Chisato (not bringing her anywhere near fire) gets a role to play here.
Next up is my favorite of this Elite Four lineup, the dapper and debonair Lucian. He is a self proclaimed master of Psychic types.
Lucian sticks to his preferred type unlike Flint, yet it still takes a team effort to prevail over him. Kanon, in particular, has the fortitude to tank Bronzong (even its super effective Earthquakes) while slowly cutting its HP down. Chisato vs. Medicham was a somewhat risky play, but she had Dazzling Gleam to make quick work of it.
With the Elite Four dealt with, it's time to dethrone the champion! And once again, it's a familiar face.
All of my party members get their chance to shine against Cynthia. Kanon's steel-type gives it some resistance to Roserade and Ice Beam finishes it in two hits. Maki goes up against Gastrodon as I need to save Chisato for a special mission. Olds Cutlass tanks and deals Earthquake damage to Spiritomb, while Riko fortunately finishes off Lucario before it could get off and Nasty Plot boosted attacks. Century is able to use Spark followed by Volt Switch to get rid of Milotic to dance around the effects of Marvel Scale and Mirror Coat.
Garchomp is the sole reason I spent time getting up to Lv. 79. This thing means business. Century goes in first to get an Intimidate off, then I switch into Chisato to Stun Spore it. Earthquake doesn't quite finish her off, so I can stall with Max Potion until it gets fully paralyzed, giving me an opening to Giga Drain it. Rinse and repeat for another opening, then I fire off Dazzling Gleam for the knockout.
And just like that, I'm crowned Champion! Rowan joins Cynthia in inducting me into the Hall of Fame, and that's that. Or is it?
(I haven't had a chance to do any of the postgame content, haven't decided if I'm gonna update this series with it)