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Individual Values: A Pokemon Feature - Week 48: Region Spotlight #6

Jonathan Higgins

Welcome to the forty-eighth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one,

check it out! And hey, I know a took a week off last week, but check out my review of Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon here. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday.


Previous Region Spotlights






Region Spotlight #6



It“s the final month of the year, and it“s the final Region Spotlight! If you check up top, you can see all five previous entrees. It“s certainly been fun to take a quick look at various spots that made each game“s world special to me and all of you.


As many of you are reading this, I“m heading down to Orlando to attend the Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions concert. I wonder if hearing the music will evoke memories of the regions as well! Without further ado:




Pikachu“s Beach


There are allusions to this place in Pokémon Snap and even the anime! But I“ll bet few managed to actually access it without a GameShark or similar cheating device. The legitimate method of getting here involves teaching your Pikachu from Yellow Version how to 'Surf' through Pokémon Stadium. You“ve got to unlock "Round 2," then beat its Master Ball Division with a team that contains your Pikachu.


The only disappointing thing about the Pokémon GB games coming to the 3DS Virtual Console is that there“s no real way to teach Pikachu 'Surf'! This cool minigame will forever be bound to the original cartridges, I think. I know it served no real purpose, but I totally had a blast with it as a kid. Pikachu is one of my favorite Pokémon, and keeping that board straight while performing tricks is actually quite the challenge!


Now, various mini-games are tied to online components like the PGL and Pokémon-Aime. There“s even whole games full of them in PokéPark and its sequel. Every once and awhile, I like to ponder what interesting stuff like this they could bring back to the mainline games, tied to certain moves. Maybe that“s something Nintendo could tie to a Pokémon amiibo, if they wanted.





The Safari Zone


The RNG behind this place is just... cruel. So many exclusive Pokémon were locked behind rock throwing and baiting -- it mesmerized me as a kid. There“s Chansey, Tauros, Scyther/Pinsir, Kangaskhan... even Dratini needed to be captured here. It“s kind of crazy to think about how most, if not all these Pokémon have become fairly common in future generations. While plenty of Safari Zones have cropped up in all the Pokémon games, there“s nothing quite like the one in Fuschia City.


Did anyone ever slightly tap the d-pad back and forth to not waste your steps? What about finding a Shiny Pokémon in FireRed/LeafGreen, only to have it run away? There are plenty of exploits and tragic tales to be told. Heck, two of the original game“s 5 HMs were found here. They definitely wanted it to be a place where players spent a ton of time. And I think they succeeded in all their endeavors.


What Pokémon game has your ideal Safari Zone?





Rock Tunnel


This is showing my age, but… when Pokémon first came around for me, I had extremely limited Internet access. And it was mostly up to me to figure out where HM 05 Flash was. I couldn“t ever find it the first time I ever played through the game… so I went through the Rock Tunnel by hugging walls -- and I came out the other side with my full team 5 levels higher after a few hours of struggling.


By far one of the silliest things I“ve ever done. But then again -- Flash is a rather silly HM. The Rock Tunnel is the only place Flash ever needed to be used in the Kanto region. Even as a kid, I considered that a misstep. Wouldn“t you want to make the Unknown Dungeon where Mewtwo resides super dark and deep? What about the Seafoam Islands where Articuno is? Why make it so a single HM move -- which can“t be deleted (the Move Deleter didn“t exist until Generation II) -- is needed to easily cross through a cave just one time in the entire game?


The Rock Tunnel doesn“t just stand as one of those places every 20-something has a story about struggling through. It stands as a testament that Pokémon level design is pretty archaic if you go back far enough.





Cinnabar Island


Oh, right. The old games aren“t just archaic -- they“re kind of broken. Remember all that struggling I did in the Safari Zone? Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out all you had to do was enter the Safari Zone, encounter a Pokémon, then flee to Cinnabar Island and surf up and down the beach to encounter the same species without the Safari Zone GUI to hold you back. I caught Kangaskhan on Cinnabar Island... before running into a Missingno that freaked me out and duplicated my Master Balls.


Yeah, times sure have changed. So many exploits could happen thanks to that one particular strip of land in the game. It“s no wonder Game Freak decided to have a freaking volcano erupt on the island two years later in Gold & Silver. It“s almost like they wanted to literally bury the most fundamentally broken part of the first game“s history underwater.


Still. Cinnabar Island tells the story of Mew and Mewtwo, as well as being the place where you revive Fossil Pokémon and fight Blaine, too. I almost wonder if the Missingno glitch was first discovered completely by mistake.





The Unknown Dungeon


“You missed the Pokémon!” For being the OG Champion of Champions, Red sure needs to work on his aim. I know Mewtwo is the Pokémon you“re supposed to use your Master Ball on in the original games, but I can“t remember what I did with mine.


The first time I fought Mewtwo, I didn“t have my Master Ball and had to get it the ole fashioned way. It took way more work than necessary. Now that I think about it -- since the RNG is based on a chance percentage value, couldn“t you conceivably create and reload a Restore Point over and over again until the Pokémon you“re after was caught, instead of wasting 50 Ultra Balls? Couldn“t Restore Points be used to roll data back after trading a Pokémon away to a friend“s game? It“ll be interesting to see what happens with that.


When FireRed and LeafGreen introduced Suicune, Entei and Raikou into the mix... well, they became the Pokémon to use your Master Ball on. So, when I refought Mewtwo for the first time, I couldn“t use my Master Ball then either. Not if I wanted to save myself a major headache when fighting Suicune. There was more struggling. And again in HeartGold... except there was no struggling that time. I distinctly remember only hitting HG/SS“s Mewtwo once, then throwing my first Ultra Ball and catching him in a single try. That elated me.


...And that“s a wrap! All six regions of the known Pokémon World have been spotlighted! I do wonder what the Strange Souvenir could entail -- is yet another new region coming sooner than we think? Next week comes a review of the Pokémon concert I“m attending tonight! Look forward to that.




What are your favorite locales from the original Pokémon games? What place will you be most excited to visit if you“re planning on grabbing the games on the 3DS VC next February? Be sure to let us know!

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