Pokémon FireRed Nuzlocke Challenge - Part One

<< Part Zero - Laying Down The LawsBack to the Pokémon CenterPart Two - Rockin' With Brock >>

Good day one and all, and welcome to the first proper part of my Pokémon FireRed Nuzlocke Challenge blog series. Over the coming weeks I'm going to be playing through the Game Boy Advance remake of the original Pokémon Red in a way I've never played Pokémon before - under the strict and unforgiving restrictions of a Nuzlocke challenge. If you're not familiar with the concept of a Nuzlocke run, I've laid out all the rules in Part Zero of this series, which you can find by clicking this link. This first instalment will follow our intrepid hero 'Dan' as he leaves his home in Pallet Town, and embarks on a life-changing quest across the Kanto region...

Part One - It's A Team-Building Exercise

...says Professor Oak, with all the joviality of a man who is blissfully unaware of the concept of a 'Nuzlocke'.

As boring as these game introductions are once you've seen half a dozen of them, they never fail to take me back to my first time playing Pokémon Blue some fifteen years ago. In keeping with personal Pokémon tradition, I name the main character 'Dan', and my rival after one of my good friends - on this occasion, a chap named 'Duncan'. The Red and Blue/Ash and Gary stuff never really washed with me, probably because Pokémon isn't really about the story, it's more about your own journey through this wonderful world. After setting some names and scrolling through more of Oak's inane ramblings, the game plonks me down in Pallet Town, and the Nuzlocke is GO!

Our journey begins. First port of call - that PC in the top-left corner, to withdraw the all-important free Potion!

...well, sort of. There are a couple of things I need to do first. First thing I do is open up the Options menu and switch the battle mode from 'Shift' to 'Set'. This means the game won't give me the choice of switching Pokémon whenever I KO an opposing trainer's Pokémon, making battles just that little bit harder. I also check my Trainer Card to find out my ID number, the last digit of which will determined which starter Pokémon we pick at Oak's Lab.

My Trainer ID number ends in an 8, which means I'll be rolling with Squirtle as our starter. Not a bad result.

With those two things done, I leave my house and set off onto Route 1. As if my magic, Professor Oak appears, and stops me from venturing into the tall grass by offering to give me my first Pokémon. He whisks us away to his lab where Duncan is already waiting impatiently. Not wasting any time, I head straight for the Poké Ball containing Squirtle and make him our first acquisition. It's here that the challenge hits its first minor delay, because according to the Nuzlocke rules, I have to give this guy a nickname. I panic. I become oblivious to the male gender symbol beside my Squirtle's name. I bestow upon him, the nickname:

That's Dame Judi Drench to you, bucko!

It seemed like a good idea at the time - a witty pun to start the Nuzlocke off. In actuality I'm pretty sure all it's achieved is making my Squirtle hate me. But there are no undo buttons on a Nuzlocke, no take-backs - Squirtle is Judi Drench. Duncan picks a Bulbasaur, and predictably challenges me to a battle. It's here that I realise with some worry in my heart that if I don't play it safe here, I could very realistically end up failing this challenge at the very first hurdle. The initial battle is a flurry of Tackles and Tail Whips, strategy abandoned in favour of simple spamming. Thankfully Judi comes out on top, and I don't even have to use my coveted Potion.

Judi, I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship...

With my new compadré in tow, I leave Pallet Town and make through Route 1 heading for Viridian City. On the way I bump into a few Rattata, but due to my current lack of Poké Balls, these encounters don't count for Nuzlocke purposes. Upon arriving at Viridian City I heal Judi at the Pokémon Center, then drop into the Poké Mart in order to pick up a special parcel for Professor Oak (like most other RPGs, Pokémon opens with rat-killing and fetch-quests). I run the parcel back south to Pallet, felling a few more Rattata and Pidgey along the way, and return to Oak's Lab to hand him the parcel. He thanks me by handing me a Pokédex (not hugely important), and also:

Okay guys, shit just got real.

The receipt of these Poké Balls means the Nuzlocke challenge is now officially up and running. I waste no time in running north, back onto Route 1, in search of the first addition to my team. The first Pokémon I encounter is a female Rattata, which thankfully doesn't put up much of a fight against Judi (who's now level 7 and has a Water-type attack at her disposal). The Poké Ball hits its mark first time, and this purple rat becomes the second member of my team.

Meet Bashful Beryl the Rattata. I was kinda hoping for a Pidgey, but I guess you can't win 'em all.

With another Poké Ball set at my belt I return to Viridian City and heal up my team at the Pokémon Center. I also call back into the Poké Mart to purchase some more Poké Balls and a handful of Potions and Antidotes for the likely perilous upcoming journey through Viridian Forest. From here there are two more places I can go to try and add to my team - Route 2 to the north, and Route 22 to the west. I opt to visit Route 22 first, where the first Pokémon I meet is a female Mankey. She too is no match for the raw power of Judi Drench, and joins the team without any trouble.

I was listening to AC/DC when I caught Rosie the Mankey. Hence the name.

I waste no time in heading up to Route 2 and snagging the fourth and final member of my team for this episode - a male Caterpie.

Meet Rufus the Caterpie. Here's hoping in Part Two I can find a Weedle and call it Howard. On a related note, y'all should definitely check out The ManBuyCow Podcast.

With this fantastic four now in my possession, there's one thing left to do before I wrap this part of the challenge up - specifically, I want to hit up Duncan on Route 22 and teach him a lesson (mainly so I can take his money and use it to buy more precious Potions). This means grinding out levels against wild Pokémon in the tall grass nearby. A short stint of grinding takes most of my party up between level 7 and level 9, as well as teaching me a fundamental truth about Nuzlockes - critical hits are to be feared. There were multiple occasions while training up Rosie on Route 22 that she was critically hit and reduced to only 1 or 2 HP. From here on out, I'm going to try and treat every turn as if I could be critically hit, and plan accordingly.

Now that my party seems fairly competitive, I head a little further along Route 22 and confront Duncan for our second rival battle.

It's a confrontation I almost immediately regret when I see his party - a level 9 Pidgey and a level 9 Bulbasaur aren't foes to take lightly at this early stage in the game. Thankfully I'm able to take them down without sustaining any losses, although my party is significantly weakened by the ordeal. Knowing I've got off incredibly lucky up until now, I decide to head back to Viridian City and recuperate at the Pokémon Center. The next destination is the unforgiving Viridian Forest, and I don't expect my luck to keep holding out forever...

Progress Report:

Time - 1:05 --- Location -Viridian City --- Deaths - 0

So here ends Part One of my Pokémon FireRed Nuzlocke Challenge. I apologise that nothing interesting has really happened so far, but I have had a lot of fun putting this blog together. I don't often go for image-heavy formatting, so it's been nice doing something different in that respect, as well. Part Two of the series, covering Viridian Forest, Pewter City and the first gym battle, will probably be on its way this weekend, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Until then, thanks very much for reading, take care, and I'll see you around.



Currently playing - Pokémon FireRed Version (GBA)

<< Part Zero - Laying Down The LawsBack to the Pokémon CenterPart Two - Rockin' With Brock >>
Posted by ThomasMayhew

Fantastic! I cannot wait for part 2. I can feel the tension rising as I type!

Posted by Video_Game_King

With this fantastic four now in my possession, there's one thing left to do before I wrap this part of the challenge up - specifically, I want to hit up Duncan on Route 22 and teach him a lesson (mainly so I can take his money and use it to buy more precious Potions).

Look up.

I don't remember Pokemon being so dark. Is there gang warfare in the Kanto region?