Well, well, well… what do we have here? It’s the revival of an old series where me and my faithful companion Munchkin, an EMPOLEON, thoroughly slash and thrash our way through Pokemon Pearl!
Catch up on previous installments here:
- Pokemon Pearl: The Solo Piplup Run – Munchkin’s Journey Begins (part 1)
- Pokemon Pearl: The Solo Run – Ken the Bridge Troll (part 2)
- Pokemon Pearl: The Solo Run – Growing Up (part 3)
In our last update, we claimed badge #4 from PASTORIA CITY and were en route backwards to HEARTHOME CITY, as we were finally able to access the gym.
The initial pick up of Pearl put me right back into the action, as use of the FLY ability allowed us to drop right into HEARTHOME CITY and charge after Fantina for the RELIC BADGE! This was a pretty interesting gym for Munchkin and me, as every floor was locked by a simple math problem, as opposed to having to battle an actual trainer. As I passed second grade math, that earned me the right to skip over every single trainer and jump straight into the Gym Leader battle with Fantina. Honestly, it was a pretty warm welcome back, going straight into the excitement of a trainer battle.
At this point, Munchkin is pretty over-leveled and so there wasn’t too much of a challenge here. Despite her Pokemon being all Ghost-type, my moveset was more than sufficient to overpower them.
Side note – as I was picking up Pokemon Pearl for the first time in over a year, I decided it was worth revisiting my moveset and making sure I didn’t have a sub-optimal set of options. While doing a solo run, it naturally helps you greatly to diversify your moveset, and as Empoleon is of Water/Steel-type, and already had two water moves, I decided to dump the previously learned Brine with Drill Peck, which is a flying type. Looking back, I sorta regret it, as Brine does double-damage when the enemy is at roughly half HP. But, at that point I had been dealing with a lot of Fighting-type Pokemon and Flying does relatively well with them.
This is what I ended up with:
Have I mentioned I’m not great at Pokemon moves?
Anyway, despite all this screwing around with Munchkin’s techniques, we still made short work of Fantina and earned our fifth Badge, and then headed to our next destination: CANALAVE CITY! As a parting gift, Fantina was kind enough to gift me the TM for SHADOW CLAW, which I promptly taught Munchkin to prepare for any Psychic-types coming up. This would prove to have been a good decision in the coming battles.
Naturally, my rival Clint was waiting outside for me afterwards, waiting to brag about how I’m falling behind and how he’s the best, yadda yadda yadda. To which I promptly retaliated by giving him a thorough butt-whooping. He then ran off like a baby to CANALAVE CITY and told me to meet him at the library.
Now one of the hardest things to do when resuming an RPG after a long absence, particularly a Pokemon game, is remembering what the heck you were doing when you stopped, and Pokemon Pearl is no different. Luckily, the Journal feature is quite nice and provides a decent amount of “recap” from your previous play sessions. I also like how, unlike some previous Pokemon installments that can be very vague, Pokemon Diamond/Pearl give you a pretty good idea of where you’re supposed to head next. One thing I never really liked was the map system, which I always found overly simplistic to really be that helpful.
I did recall, however, that there was a certain cave that I was unable to progress through the last time I picked up the game, due to not being able to use the HM move STRENGTH. Finally though, while meandering about and trying to find CANALAVE CITY, I happened to stumble back into this cave: MT. CORONET! But when would I be able to use this move and make it through all the way? Well, I would find out soon enough!
Getting to CANALAVE CITY was simple, as I was now able to use the SURF move from my trusty HM slave PSYDUCK, scooting across the waves westward of JUBILIFE CITY.
Hey, speaking of HM slaves, let’s take a look at the current lineup:
- Bob Chan (Geodude) – Dig, Strength, Rock Smash, Rock Climb (later in the run)
- Pachirisu – Cut, Flash
- Zubat – Fly, Defog
- Psyduck – Surf
Of course, this is a solo run, but it’s still worth mentioning that HM slaves are a-okay, you just can never use them in battle. Losing your main still means reloading your last save!
Going after the Mine Badge in CANALAVE CITY proved to be relatively simple, as Byron’s lineup of ‘mon were ideal going against Munchkin’s new moveset:
- Bronzor (Psychic) – defeated with Shadow Claw (Ghost)
- Steelix (Ground) – defeated with Drill Peck (Flying)
- Bastiodon (Rock) – defeated with BubbleBeam (Water)
I guess I’m not so bad at outfitting my Pokemon after all!
Following the defeat of Byron, I was finally able to use STRENGTH outside of battle, meaning I could finally get through MT. CORONET! …but before I could leave to explore, I met up with Clint in the library and experienced some sort of shaking. There seems to have been an earthquake somewhere?
Munchkin and I headed over to LAKE VALOR to take a look, where we found a dried up lake with poor Magikarps littering the place, flopping about. Clearly, Team Galactic is behind something here. I defeated everyone standing around and then.. kind of wandered back to MT. CORONET, unsure of what to do next. Truth be told, I’m, not sure I was supposed to go over here yet. What will become of LAKE VALOR? Only time will tell!
We made our way back to MT. CORONET and, armed with loads of Super Repels, STRENGTH, and ROCK SMASH, we rushed the cave and appeared on the other side, a gorgeous, snowy environment. Narrowing escaping the gaze of several trainers and getting stuck in the snow repeatedly eventually led us to a place to rest, and then a small hut where a man gave us another HM I was seeking out – ROCK CLIMB! I promptly taught it to my Geodude Bob Chan, making a mental note to return to an earlier place where I recall seeing some grappling points on the side of a rock.
Eventually, after teaching some trainers a lesson, we finally arrived at the destination for badge #7 – beautiful SNOWPOINT CITY!
There’s something mysterious about this place.. but if you know me at all, you know I adore winter levels, so it put a big smile on my face. I quickly found the gym and this is where I decided to pause for the time being. The music here is so nice and calming that I’m listening to it now while I finish up this solo run update. I’m excited to take on the gym, albeit a little concerned as my Empoleon is in no shape to be taking on Ice-type Pokemon!
Will Munchkin’s over-leveled status be enough to thrash Candice out of her Icicle Badge? Or will he find himself buried under a snowy avalanche? Find out in the next update of Pokemon Pearl – the Solo Run!