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Hey guys, and welcome to the sixth part of my Pokémon FireRed Nuzlocke Challenge. Once again, I'd like to start by apologising for the delay in bringing you this blog. I was off work last week and had plenty of time to turn out an extra episode or two of this serial blog, but I ended up pouring pretty much all of my Pokémon time into Pokémon Y on my 3DS. I won't go into too much detail here, but I will throw some more information in at the bottom of this blog for anybody who might be interested in my current Poké-happenings. As always, if you're new to the Nuzlocke Challenge, you'd probably be best off starting with Part Zero of this series - it explains what a Nuzlocke is, and outlines which specific rules and caveats I'm using for this run. If you missed the previous episode (which, judging by its reception, may apply to a few of you), you can navigate back to it, along with other blogs in this series, using the handy-dandy navigation links at the top and bottom of this entry. To everyone else, welcome back to The Extended Adventures of Team Judi Drench. Let's pick up where we left off, with the team preparing to backtrack to Route 2 via Diglett's Cave...
Part Six - Tunnels Of Death
Having just beaten Lt. Surge and earned the Thunderbadge with no casualties, Team Judi Drench are riding on a high as they take the next step on their journey - a return visit to Route 2 to pick up a gift from one of Professor Oak's Aides. Because I can't back-track through Mount Moon on account of some annoyingly-configured ledges, the only option is to travel through Diglett Cave. I perceive it not as an inconvenience, but as a good opportunity to earn a bit more experience and boost my blossoming party's levels a little higher. I put Kit-E-Kat, presently my weakest Pokémon, at the front of my party to pull in experience and set off through the cave.
In the last part of this series, Diglett Cave was where I foolishly forgot basic Pokémon type match-ups and sent the Poison-type Monty the Ekans out to his death against a Ground-type Diglett. On this visit to Diglett Cave, I once again overlook one of Diglett's traits, and it's once again to my team's detriment. See, Diglett has a chance of carrying the Arena Trap ability, which prevents the player from switching their Pokémon out. It's not until Kit-E-Kat is trapped by one, utterly helpless, that I realise my mistake. The previously fool-proof 'switch in, switch out' training strategy has been spectacularly turned against me. Kit-E-Kat fights valiantly, but her Bite attacks aren't enough to subdue the Diglett before it issues a high-level Magnitude attack.
For the sake of safety, I put Bird Jesus into the first slot (his Flying type guarantees immunity to both Ground-type attacks and Arena Trap), keeping Judi Drench in reserve, and move through the rest of the tunnel much more cautiously. Sure enough, the other end emerges at Route 2, just south of Pewter City. Not too far from the cave mouth is a small building, and inside I find Professor Oak's Aide. Upon showing him my Pokédex as proof that I've caught ten different kinds of Pokémon, he hands over the gift from the Professor - an HM containing Flash.
Flash is going to be crucial in navigating our next big obstacle - the dark, dangerous depths of Rock Tunnel. I thank the Aide for this handy present, and then head north to Pewter City for a little pit-stop. Kit-E-Kat is laid to rest in the Graveyard, and in her place I withdraw Clownbat, the Zubat I caught in Mount Moon back in Part Three. I'm a little apprehensive about bringing along a level 7 Zubat for the ride, but I've never trained one before, and another Flying type could be a useful asset in the upcoming gym battle in Celadon City. Having lost our Cutter, I re-teach that HM to The Mole, and I give Flash to Uri Geller. I also pay a little visit to the city's museum by way of its back door, and pick up the Old Amber. This gives us the choice of reviving either Kabuto or Aerodactyl when (if?) we finally reach Cinnabar Island, depending on which will better serve our team's needs at that point.
From here I have two choices as to how to proceed - do we go back through Diglett Cave and take the Underground Tunnel north from Vermilion, or head east and revisit Mount Moon? I opt for the latter - it's a good opportunity to start getting Clownbat up to par, and less risky for the team as a whole. Our second time through is wholly uneventful, probably because my team is stronger and there are no longer any trainers looking for battles in these parts. It doesn't take me too long to get back to Cerulean City this way. After another rest stop at the Pokémon Center, it's time to head even further east and onto our next new destination - Route 9.
There aren't any new captures on Route 9, due to us having already caught one of every kind of Pokémon on the route in other places, but there are loads of trainers to fight, and therefore loads of experience to be had. Clownbat laps it up, rocketing up to level 15 by the time we reach the far end of the route, and the rest of the party get their fair share too. At its eastern end, Route 9 merges into Route 10, and here we have an opportunity to catch a new critter. Our encounter for the route is an Electric-type Voltorb, which I manage to capture with a third Poké Ball after it breaks out of the first two I throw.
There's a Pokémon Center on Route 10, located conveniently close to the entrance of our next destination - Rock Tunnel. It's a good opportunity to rest up, and take stock of our party situation. We've got a great spread of types and builds across our team at this point in the Nuzlocke - hard hitting physical attacks from Rosie and The Mole, special attacks from Judi Drench and Uri Geller, and an impressively speedy team all around. I take a quick look at the Pokémon sitting in the PC, but I've no desire to change up this team right now. It's strong, it's fast, and it's proved very reliable up to this point. Happy with things as they are, I leave the safety of the Pokémon Center and take my first step into Rock Tunnel, a place I will soon come to equate with Hell itself.
The inside of Rock Tunnel is pitch black, a situation that calls for the use of Uri Geller's newly-learned Flash. With the cave illuminated, it's a lot easier to navigate, It doesn't take long to run into my first encounter for the area, a male Machop. Again, it manages to break out of a couple of Poké Balls before finally coming to rest in a third, perhaps a sign that I need to think about using Great Balls from here on out. I name him Daniel-San, and he's sent straight to Bill's PC.
So with our capture gained for the area and our party in fine fettle, all that remains to be done is focusing on making it through Rock Tunnel without any major setbacks. Can't be too hard, can it?
...boy, I could not be more wrong.
Initially things are fine. Clownbat continues to pull in a decent chunk of experience from being at the head of the party, and I'm able to switch in party members as necessary to deal with threats in the most efficient manner - Judi Drench to deal with Onix, Rosie for Geodude, Bird Jesus for Machop, and Uri Geller for Zubat. It's logical, and it works. For a while. Then, in a routine encounter with a Geodude, Rosie switches into a strength 10 Magnitude - the most powerful form of that Ground-type attack. As if that wasn't enough, it's also a critical hit. Rosie is knocked to the ground by the strength of the quake, and doesn't get back up.
It's bad luck, pure and simple. Magnitude has just a 5% chance of being at its maximum strength, and only a 1/16th chance of being a critical hit. But however much the odds were in my favour, the outcome wasn't. Rosie, our hard-hitting, fast-moving, all-out-offensive Mankey, is dead.
I try to shake off the shock and focus on pressing on. In the context of Rock Tunnel, Rosie's loss means Judi has to do a little more of the work. He's more than capable, but it's an unnecessary drain on his precious PP for Water Pulse. I check my bag. There's an Ether in there. We should be okay.
There are a lot of trainers in Rock Tunnel, covering several different disciplines - alongside the expected Hikers, there's also an abundance of Campers and PokéManiacs, making it difficult to say with certainty what kinds of Pokémon the team will be up against. One of the trainers I encounter along the way has a Meowth, a Normal-type Pokémon with unremarkable stats and nothing particularly threatening up its sleeve. I send out Uri Geller to quickly dispatch it with a powerful Psybeam attack, but the spoon-bender's move leaves the little cat with a sliver of HP remaining. It's a fatal slip, as the opposing Meowth readies a deadly Dark-type Bite which tears through Uri's feeble defences and turns him into the second casualty of Rock Tunnel.
I'm in denial at this point. This isn't happening, I tell myself. But it is. Rosie is gone, and now so is Uri Geller. Between them their moves offered a huge amount of reliable and impressive coverage - Fighting, Rock, Ground, Psychic and Electric type moves, all but one of which are now nowhere to be found in my team. The strong, versatile party I've spent the last few episodes catching and cultivating is being torn apart by the evil residents of Rock Tunnel, and they're not finished yet.
As we near the end of this hellish mountain pass, our party of six now reduced to just four, it's becoming more and more difficult to deal with the wide variety of types being thrown at me with every new trainer. Flying types in particular are proving really problematic in the absence of Uri Geller's Shock Wave. So it's with great joy that I stumble upon a Move Tutor at the end of the tunnel, who offers to teach The Mole to use Rock Slide. Ecstatic I now have something to hit Flying types with once again, I decide to try it out on a nearby trainer's Pidgey...
For the second time on this journey through Rock Tunnel, the dreaded critical hit claims another victim. The already-speedy Pidgey gets priority over The Mole with its Quick Attack, and the added power boost from the crit slices through our little Diglett's woeful defences with no resistance. We're now down to just three party members, one of which (Clownbat) still isn't really ready for battle. I think it's safe to say that this is the lowest Team Judi Drench has been since the Nuzlocke Challenge began.
Judi Drench and Bird Jesus muscle their way through the remainder of Rock Tunnel, finally emerging into the warm sunlight of southern Route 10. This should be a joyous occasion, but the achievement is deeply tainted by the losses that the party have endured to reach this point.
A short walk to the south brings us to Lavender Town, a long-overdue opportunity to rest and recuperate from the ordeals of Rock Tunnel. While the staff at the local Pokémon Center patch up Judi Drench and Bird Jesus as best they can, I take my three departed companions to the Graveyard, and lay them to rest. Three of our most powerful, most important Pokémon, friends that were instrumental in winning us our first three gym badges. have gone before their time. In an attempt to bolster the ranks, I move our two newest acquisitions, Daniel-San the Machop and SparkyBall the Voltorb, into the party. They are not replacements, but new friends who will hopefully find ways to shine alongside the old guard in the challenges to come. With our new party in place, it's time for Team Judi Drench to start the journey west towards Celadon City, and the fourth gym badge...
So now that today's episode of the Nuzlocke Challenge is done and dusted, here's a little more detail about those delays. Pokémon Y continues to have control over my gaming life at the moment. I was in pretty deep for about a month after its release back in October, but decided to put the game down for a bit until the Pokémon Bank launched and I could move all my Pokémon over from White into Y. That finally happened about eight weeks ago, and since then I've been importing, transferring, breeding and training in pursuit of that Holiest of Poké-Grails - a complete National Pokédex.
Truth be told I'm still a long way from managing that, though, because I've also been caught up in the thrilling, tense world of competitive battling. I've tried my luck online a few times, and while I'm not amazing and am still prone to making stupid mistakes, I'm managing to hold my own in the majority of battles. I'm currently in the process of building my own dedicated competitive team, a wearisome endeavour that's resulted in me abandoning my last bastion of sanity and finally diving into the deepest of the Pokémon breeding holes - breeding for perfect IVs. So far I've managed to breed three of my team of six, all of which have either four or five perfect IVs in relevant stats, and I'm hoping to secure the fourth before this weekend is out. Then I'll hopefully be able to take them online and do a little better against the other competitive battlers.
Anyway, that's enough Poké-rambling from me. Thanks are due once again to your good selves for reading and supporting this blog series. This continues to be a really fun serial blogging experiment for me, and I hope it's proving fairly entertaining for you guys too. I'll try to be a little more punctual in getting these things up from here on out - two per week (one mid-week and one at the weekend) seems like a reasonable schedule to aim for. So with that said, expect Part Seven some time on Tuesday or Wednesday, when I should be covering the Celadon City gym and Rocket Hideout portions of the game. Take care guys, and I'll see you around.
Currently playing - Pokémon FireRed Version (GBA)
|<< Part Five - Grounded Lightning||Back to the Pokémon Center||Part Seven - The End Of The Road...? >>|