We rejoin Pokemon Yellow as our heroes arrive on some islands. Will there be Pitbull music playing and ethnically-ambiguous women in bikinis dancing? ...no. Once again, no.
Whoa whoa! What kind of game is this? SANTORUM WARNED US!
Oh, right. This is the Surf ability, which lets you travel over water. With that, I have all of the HMs and access to pretty much everything geographically.
These islands have a cave dungeon, and it's the first of several very-similar cave dungeons in the final act of the game. These involve multi-floor puzzles where you have to push boulders. It's similar to the last few dungeons of, say, Dragon Quest II. This game in general has a huge amount in common with that series when you take away the monster collecting.
Near the end of the dungeon is the first Pokemon boss of the game. This isn't a trainer; it's just a single solitary legendary Pokemon. Ladies and Gentlemen...
...Articuno, a level 50 ice-elemental death machine. It's the first of three legendary Pokemon in this game and probably the most powerful of the three overall.
It's very difficult to catch, so much so that you can easily game over while trying to. Heavily advised to save before the fight, especially considering that if you defeat Articuno he's gone from the game forever. So you have to A) Not accidentally win and B) Not lose.
Once he's at critical health, you have something like a 5% chance of even landing a pokeball. The Master Ball will end the fight instantly, but it's better to save that for Mewtwo. This fight takes a few tries, but it's worth it to get it right.
Once I finally captured Articuno, I healed my new feathered friend and set him free to roam outside his pokeball the way Pikachu does. Soar, Articuno! SOAR!
...he then dropped a deuce right on Ambrose's head. This prompted our hero to send Charizard to burn Articuno to a crisp, resulting in the bird's lightly-toasted body thumping to the ground nearby. Later, he'd be the main course. Gotta feed the team.
TAG 'EM AND BAG 'EM, BOYS! TAG 'EM AND BAG 'EM!
At this point, difficult decisions are faced. Some of my team are going to have to be sidelined.
Articuno absolutely one-shots EVERYTHING. Note: Growlithe is a good fire 'mon that plays more of a role in Generation II (when you can get him super-early).
The next step is to explore an abandoned laboratory. It lay in ruins now due to the rampaging Mewtwo.
This place has a creepy vibe to it, like quite a few locations in this game. Journals lay open on desks, telling an FFVII-esque tale of Mewtwo's creation.
The statues here have switches in them that open the way forward, leading to battles with...
...creepy, insane scientists. This is even worse than the Lavender Town tower...
This is all very ominous.
Moving on, the 7th gym looks almost exactly like the laboratory, so dev time must have been running out. This one is home to fire Pokemon, which have been notably absent from gyms up to this point.
Wait...wait a minute. Rollins was here already? Dammit! He's a step ahead of Ambrose every step of the way!
This might be the easiest gym in the game. You have to answer quiz questions to advance from room to room, and the questions aren't difficult at all.
Some of them look like trick questions but aren't. You might think "no, Caterpie evolves into Metapod first", but the game isn't thinking of it that way. Whatever the simplest answer appears to be is the right one. If you get a question wrong you have to fight one of the trainers, but I got through without a single battle.
Blaine himself looks like that bad guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
And the award for "creepiest gym leader" goes to...
Luckily, he only has three Pokemen. Behold, the magnificent Ninetales!
Arcanine is a badass...or would be, but Articuno can one-shot literally all of Blaine's 'mons. It's kinda funny that you get a chance to get Articuno right before the fire-based gym. Pretty much solidifies that it's the easiest gym in the game. An unprepared player with no Articuno and no game knowledge would have significantly more trouble with it though.
And now, it's back to the very beginning of the game for the final gym. The Viridian Gym was closed at the beginning of the game, but now it's open for business.
It's a much-tougher version of the first gym, with rock and ground types. Also lots of fighting types, to the point that you could almost call it a fighting gym. Who is the mysterious ruler of this final gym?
::holds earpiece:: Oh, I already spoiled that in the title.
...identity? Well, WE DO.
COOLTRAINER isn't so cool when he needs a whip to keep his Pokemon in line. What are you, Michael Vick?
This guy, on the other hand, looks about as comfortable as a reformed pedophile at a One Direction concert.
This gym is almost a mini-dungeon, containing such formidable opponents as The Karate King.
And finally...it's Team Rocket's leader, take 3. It's the same fight that it usually is, only with higher-leveled 'mons.
It's Persian Vs. Charizard in a battle of the BIG TEETH AND SHARP CLAWS.
"Rar! I'm Charizard!"
Primeape isn't the destruction-engine that he was earlier but he can still hold his own, even against 'mons ten levels his senior. He's likely to get replaced some time soon though.
Kadabra, on the other hand, hasn't lost a step, and still annihilates pretty much everything with Psychic.
Agreed, it was a close battle. Then again I didn't really break out Articuno on this one.
After losing, Giovanni goes from being a total dick to being the nicest guy ever, apologizing and heaping our hero with items while being soft-spoken and sounding completely different. BEHOLD THE MAGNIFICENT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!
I could go onto the final stages of the game, but first...an optional detour to a side-dungeon. I have Blastoise rejoin the team at this point because Surf is pretty much integral to progress.
This is the Power Plant, yet another creepy, abandoned building on the outskirts of civilization.
Much like the Mewtwo labs, this place is in ruins. It's one of the most out-of-the-way locations in the game, and it's home to...
...another legendary bird. Did this thing destroy the plant?
It's Zapdos, electric-elemental brother to Articuno. It's pretty strong, but not quite as useful as Articuno...especially considering my main (Pikachu is still my main, despite not getting as much work) is electric-themed.
This one was easily the most difficult legendary to catch. I simply could NOT bag 'em until I managed to freeze him in addition to having him at critical. That was a well-earned capture, I'll say that much.
Zapdos is a formidable Pokemon, and could definitely contribute to my team despite not really needing another electric-type. He has some very dangerous physical attacks, as well. Both Articuno and Zapdos are waaaay better than Moltres, the unfortunately-underpowered third legendary. More on that in the next post.
Hey, imagine if the three legendary birds were starters? I bet there's a hack of the game out there with exactly this.
Zapdos also looks pretty cool in battles. I like this guy.
Also available in the Power Plant:
Also available in the Power Plant: