Wait, didn't I finish Pokemon before the New Year? Not quite. I've got Pokemon FireRed videos on the way, plus there's one more thing to do in Pokemon Emerald. That's right, I'm going after the former champion. It's time to take on the deadliest Pokemon trainer in Hoenn: Steven.
Loading up your save after beating the game leads to some new scenes. The professor summons Renee and Brendan (ew) for some important info.
That's right, I'm now gifted with the National Pokedex. With this thing I can theoretically catch every Pokemon from Kanto and Johto as well as the Hoenn 'mons. Just a matter of trading with the Gen 1 remakes, I think.
I won't be catching 'em all, though. I'm going to focus on building up The Four Horse-Pokemon of the Apocalypse: Aggron, Blaziken, Kadabra, and Rayquaza. This means lots and lots of grinding in Victory Road.
Enemies here vary wildly in the amounts of experience they dole out. Some, like Zubat, give a measily 300ish exp. Others, like Hariyama here, can give around 1200. Considering you're likely to be one-shotting all of them regardless, it helps if the RNG gives you lots of high-yield targets.
Aside from excessive amounts of grinding on random Pokemen, there are a couple of other ways to level up quickly: Fight Wally repeatedly, or...if you're really feeling froggy, fight the Elite Four (and lose to the champion) repeatedly. That last method is fast, but difficult. I tended to alternate between random fights and Wally. Wait, you ask...Wally?
That's right Wally shows up in Victory Road during the postgame for one final fight. The interesting thing about this fight is that it's repeatable...resting at a Pokecenter usually resets him to being fightable. Sometimes it doesn't. Not sure what the deal is. Either way, he levels with you (minus five-ish), so this fight is consistently great exp.
Wally (of Wally Bear and the No! Gang fame) is hampered by being consistently just a little weaker than our hero. He's the weirdest rival ever. He's more like a mini-rival.
He dishes out the same Pokemon every time you fight him here, so once you figure out the fight it's easy to farm it. I'm becoming a big fan of Aggron; it's slow and has some bad weaknesses going on, but it can obliterate foes with Earthquake and Iron Tail if it gets a chance.
Several hours of level-grinding later...I have my four Horse-Pokemen ready for battle. Steven's Pokemon are all in the 70's, so I figure having mine at at least 70 is the way to go. We're still battling with a 4-on-6 handicap, since my two HM mules aren't going to be any help. Well, almost. They can last one turn to let me revive or heal a more useful Pokemon while taking a hit for the team.
Speaking of HMs...you need pretty much all of them to get to the top of Meteor Falls. This is an area from much earlier in the game, but you could only access some of it at that point. Now, in the postgame, it's the lair of Steven.
It's also a maze. I got lost in here for a little while. There are only a couple of trainer fights in the entire dungeon, oddly enough.
For one of the trainer fights, this creepy couple tries to talk our hero into a three-way.
"We do everything together!" they say while smoking homeopathic herbal remedies.
If that weren't disturbing enough, in the depths of Meteor Falls we find Steven...doing something in the corner there.
"Well done! My masturbation nook was well-camoflaged!"
All jokes aside, THIS is the real final battle of the game. Steven makes Wallace (the final boss of this version's main story) look weak in comparison.
He may not be the Pokemon Champion, but I can't continue to call myself that until I beat the best that Hoenn has to offer.
His Pokemon are all fully armored and very tough. Luckily, Skarmory here gets one-shotted by Blaziken's devastating Blaze Kick.
Next, it's Aggron Vs. Aggron in a battle of behemoths. Of course, his Aggron HAD to be one level higher than mine, so it always goes first...
Luckily I've got obsolete HM mules to step in when we do a Pokemon switch, throwing a potion to my more fearsome fighters in the process.
Unfortunately, the speed advantage did me in here. In these old Pokemon games, speed is everything. Whoever consistently goes first has a massive advantage. Case in point: Fighting Misty in Gen 1 with Pikachu. You're weak to each other, so victory becomes a question of speed.
The group is taking a pounding, so Jay Leno flaps in to help out next. Everyone's contributing! ...except Kadabra. All the time I just spent grinding his levels up feels a bit like a waste now; Psychic moves don't affect some of Steven's Pokemon, and Kadabra has a tendency of getting one-shotted here.
I don't know what Metagross is, but it looks like something that'd attack you in a Metroid Prime game. Poor Jay Leno is about to take one right on the chin.
Rayquaza may be a ringer in most of the game, but he's merely normal in this fight. All of Steven's Pokemon can defeat Rayquaza under the right circumstances. It's still probably my most useful card to play.
...at least, until this Psychic/Ground type nightmare manages to bring it down. Things are getting tight now...
Blaziken is out again to dish out fire punishment against Steven's mutant piranha plant. Another one down.
Finally, Steven's ultimate 'mon is Armaldo (of Mega Man X fame).
What will Tentacool do? Panic.
Aggron is back up! ...and it's gone. Enemies with higher speed (most of them) are absolutely the bane of Aggron's existence.
Blaziken is the last best hope for victory, and just BARELY finishes off Armored Armadillo.
To a different Pokemon game, because even though there are legendaries and dozens more Pokemon to catch, I'm good with this gen now. Defeated the uberboss of the game, and I'm good from here. I gotta say, I like all three of the first three Pokemon gens, but this is probably my least favorite of them.
"Welp, I had to leave the masturbation nook sooner or later" he says before heading out to...who knows where.
Here's my team after the fight. That...was rough.
YO MISTY! I DID IT!