Mystery Dungeon (part 5)

By Lucario on Tue 28 November 2006

Now, after 46 hours of game play and nearly 300 missions, Team Pika (pathetic, I know, I should have called it something like Rocket… if only I’d have known the context it would have been used in… maybe next time if I get to play Meowth) have reached 15000 rescue points, giving the ultimate in the rescue team ranks, named after our blue friend. And the icon changes from that weird-looking winged egg (I think) that’s used for the rank trophies, to his head. You don’t actually get him in this game, which is a shame.

As for the new dungeons, I’ve tried venturing into Solar Cave but had to leave after the 6th floor, it was getting to me. Maybe I’ll try again now, that my two main characters, the rat and Charmeleon (I evolved him that far), are at level 40. Once Charmeleon learns all of his moves, I’ll evolve him into Charizard.

Most difficult is the top level of Howling Forest, most of the Pokémon are fairly easy. But around the 11th floor and above, Kabigon start appearing. (Sorry, can’t remember Kabigon’s English name at the moment.) He does 60+ points of damage with a headbutt, and a thunderbolt meanwhile only does 20-30 on him. Lethal to meet in a corridor, with only the rat in front. Used 3 reviver seeds, as he’d wiped out the rat twice, and Charmeleon once. Fortunately the next one I encountered was paralysed on its first attack, and stayed paralysed until I’d finished it off.

Will try Solar Cave again, taking in the rat with Scyther and Absol. At least I can change leaders so I can ditch the yellow rodent, but as he and Charmeleon are the only two Pokémon I have at any decent level, the rat is better suited to a dungeon full of water Pokémon.

Went through the Unown cave twice, both times I’d beaten dozens of Unown and failed to recruit a single one. 🙁

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Mystery Dungeon (part 4—endgame)

By Lucario on Mon 27 November 2006

So, after a few more hours of dungeon adventures, by now becoming rather mundane, I’d managed to get the electric rodent up to level 36. Only a couple of levels, I know, but it’s taking about 30000 experience points to go up a level. The Sky Tower was rather tough, but reaching the save point after the 25th floor was a relief. Again, I’d brought more Reviver Seeds and fewer Max Elixirs than I’d wished. However, given the large number of flying Pokémon, having the electric rat as my main character was again advantageous. I had once again taken Absol as my third companion, as the flying-types would make mincemeat out of Scyther.

The final eight floors before Rayquaza were again quite straightforward, and I was able to use normal attacks with the yellow rat. Rayquaza himself with his 600 hit points (I forget where I saw that) was not too difficult, and certainly not compared with some of the monsters on the upper part of the main tower (say, floors 20-25). He proves to be a bit of a pain, and given the nature of the storyline, all the big green flying snake needs to do is look up before the battle to see how close the meteor is. Then again, there would be no big battle if things were so obvious, would there?

The endgame sequence is just annoying. Oh *sniff* my deeds are done here, I’m going back to the human world. — No, if you wish hard enough, you can remain a Pokémon. — Lo and behold, you are reincarnated as your Pokémon. So I’ve saved Poké-world now I can go back to being a human. WRONG! I am back to being a rat.

Anyway now there are more dungeons to explore and Pokémon to capture. Watch this space, as usual.

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Mystery Dungeon (part 3)

By Lucario on Thu 23 November 2006

Now, after an additional eight hours of additional gameplay, carrying out rescue missions, delivery services, and lovebird escorts (ugh!), I’ve levelled up the yellow rat to level 34 and got my rescue team to Diamond level. I’m sick of seeing the inside of Lapis Cave!!! At least, unlike most roleplaying games, the fact that the dungeons randomly regenerate has kept my sanity. (When I got my copy of the GBA Phantasy Star 3-in-one cartridge, I made my way through most of the dungeons from memory, some thirteen years after I played the Genesis/Megadrive version.)

Anyway, with a level 34 RAT, a level 35 Charmander, and a level 29 Absol, I stocked up on Reviver Seeds in the Toolbox, then we went marching on into the Magma Cavern, and came across a lot fewer monsters, like ONE, instead of a long queue as happened before. However, I did find it a bit unsettling, finding the staircase out of floor B10 in a Monster House, to be dumped into another Monster House at the start of floor B11… one of the disadvantages of the randomisation. Then again, for about ten of the 23 levels of the main cavern, I landed either on top of or 1-2 squares away from the stairs to the next level.

Then, there was the first level of the Magma Pit. That was just a huge slaughterfest, with Onix and Steelix queuing up in the corridor to be put down, almost as if I’d wandered into a Monster House in a corridor. And here, Charmander proved his worth, dispatching the Onix with Metal Claw and the Steelix with Ember.

Floor B2F of the Magma Pit was just us encountering a defeated Charizard and Bangirasu. Floor B3F has us getting there just in time to see Alakazam being wiped out by Groudon. Actually, probably because I’d levelled up so much, I’d found Groudon to be easy. The rat did about 50-60 HP damage with Quick Attack and Slam, Charmander doing about 150 with Metal Claw (and 100 with Ember), and Absol about 80-100 with Bite. Not bad. Three rounds put him down. And not even a scratch in return from the big red continent monster. It’d do Archie (from Team Aqua) proud.

Now, onwards and upwards, to the Sky Tower, to meet Rayquaza. I think I’ll do some more levelling up first, as I want to take Scyther instead of Absol, and he’s only at level 23. But I’ve been stuffing him with all the Green Gummis and Sky Gummis I found (especially in the Uproar Forest), so his IQ is up to 11.

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Mystery Dungeon (part 2)

By Lucario on Mon 20 November 2006

Ok, a misspent weekend later takes me nearly to the end of my “role” in the game. And yes, I’d racked up 26 hours of play over the two days. It starts off nice and gently, taking you through a couple of basic adventures with fairly low-level Pokémon. You’re then thrown into deeper dungeon adventures as time goes on. Then, in some plot twist in the middle of the game, you get really dumped into it. Hint: Once you get back from seeing Xatu, do not talk to Whiscash until after you’ve seriously levelled up!

You only have control of your main character; you can only control only the most general of behavioural settings of your other characters. As such, I was fortunate to be playing the yellow rat. This stage of the game lasts from you talking to Whiscash until your meeting with Ninetales. During this time, you have no access to any of your stored items or money (just what you have in your Toolbox). You also have four dungeons to go through, the middle two of which end up in defeating two of the three Legendary Birds (you defeat Zapdos earlier in the game). So, before talking to Whiscash, I’d levelled the rat up to level 26 when he learns Thunderbolt. When facing Moltres, Charmander just looked on, but he threw in a couple of Embers against Articuno. Thanks a lot, buddy…

But now I’m in a bind. Second-last dungeon of the main play mode, and it’s full of ground and fire Pokémon, against an electric rat! Needless to say, at level 28, he can’t even get past the first of the 26 floors of this dungeon! And there are no decent water Pokémon to be had! I’d have to go back and level up a Poliwag (the only one that gets any half-decent water moves) to level 35-40 to have any chance against Groudon at the end of the dungeon!
More to follow…

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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

By Lucario on Fri 17 November 2006

Ok, so it arrived at last yesterday, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon—Blue Rescue Team! There are a couple of differences between Blue and Red, the most obvious being that Red is for the GBA, and Blue is for the DS, to take advantage of the DS’s split screen and touch screen facilities. There is also the usual discrepancy of a dozen or so Pokémon that are available only in Red that aren’t in Blue, and vice versa. Of course, Red and Blue can interact by putting in both in their respective slots in the DS.

Now, the game starts with you being asked a series of inane questions in order to determine your personality. There is a copy of it on the Pokémon website. I was determined to be of an Impish personality type, and being male, I ended up being a certain annoying yellow rat!!!11!! Apparently, if I were of a Quirky type, I would have been Meowth. Strange, as every time I answer the questions on the website, I end up being a Hardy type, thus Charmander. I then had to pick a partner. As Pikachu, my choices were the nine starter Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Chikorita, Hinoarashi, Waninoko, Treecko, Achamo, Mudkip). I chose Charmander, which is just as well, because the first major boss to fight turns out to be Eamudo, its Flying/Steel type making it weak to both Electric and Fire. I suppose if I ended up as Charmander, I’d have picked the rat as my companion anyway.

I should, at this stage, point out that you are a human who is transported into this Pokémon world as the Pokémon determined by the results of your personality quiz. So, I woke up wondering how and why I turned into a yellow rat.

So, at first, you and your partner (Pikachu and Charmander in my case) are met by a Butterfree who is frantic that her baby (a Caterpie) has fallen down a fissure, and naturally we have to go in and rescue it. The combat system is vaguely similar to Sword of Mana. You have a standard physical attack, or you can use your moves (like Ember, Thundershock, etc.). You get more experience for moves than for standard attacks, but they take a LOT longer to set up. But you can create combo moves (Hypnosis-Dream Eater, anyone?)

A few points about dungeons. The dungeon levels are generated randomly each time. Also, once you’re in a dungeon, you can’t get out, unless you complete the mission that you went there for, or you get to the last floor (or you use an Escape Orb), which can be annoying if you went there by accident. Once you go down (or up) a set of stairs, you can’t return to the previous floor. So if you have a mission on, say, the 7th floor, and you go through to the 8th floor without completing the mission, you have to complete the dungeon and the mission remains uncompleted, and you’ll have to go back into the same dungeon. It’s best to wait until you have a few missions in one dungeon before going into it. Also if any of them is an escort mission (they’re usually higher-rank missions), it’s best if that is on the lowest floor in the dungeon that you’ll be visiting.

After a certain point, (Mt Steel, I think), you can start to recruit other Pokémon that you defeat in combat.

More to report soon!…

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Anthropomorphic Pokémon

By Lucario on Mon 13 November 2006

Now with Pokémon Mystery Dungeon now available in the UK, this brings a major paradigm shift in the way we view Pokémon.

Currently, in the Pokémon games, you play the part of a trainer, capturing the creatures we call Pokémon, to battle. They are just creatures, like pets, that you keep with you. They don’t act on their own without action from their human trainers.

In the anime, there is a slight difference. In an effort to enable us to communicate with Pokémon in “Poké-speak”, as it were, we have Meowth, who possesses some human characteristics, such as the ability to talk and stand upright (see the episode Go West, Young Meowth/Nyaasu No AIUEO for more details), but more importantly, the ability to act independently of Jessie and James. That is, Meowth possesses a high degree of anthropomorphism (a display of human characteristics). In the TV series, he is more or less the only one, though in the episode Pikachu’s Goodbye, we see the Annoying Yellow Rat exhibiting some human traits, compared to the wild ones.

Further, in the movies, the main Pokémon featured in the movie usually also possesses varying degrees of human characteristics. Notably, Celebi and Jirachi (and Mew!) seem to fall largely outside of this remit:
Movie 1: Mewtwo
Movie 2: Lugia
Movie 3: Entei
Movie 5: Latias and Latios (though they don’t talk)
Movie 7: Deoxys (and to a lesser extent Rayquaza)
Movie 8: Rukario

Interestingly, with the exception of Rukario (and the ubiquitous Meowth), all of the other anthropomorphic Pokémon are legendary.

However, this is all about to change. Mystery Dungeon has the main protagonists being Pokémon, acting on their own, with no trainer, in their own human-free Poké-land.

My copy is on order and should be here by the end of the week. Guess what I’ll be spending my weekend doing…

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The designers must be running out of ideas…

By Lucario on Wed 1 November 2006

Oh dear, I thought an electric sheep and a fire chicken (self-basting?) were bad enough. And the baby Sudowoodo (Bonsly) and Snorlax (Munchlax) were scraping the bottom of the barrel. Or so I thought. As if baby pokémon weren’t bad enough without being so dreadful. Now we have even more f***ing baby pokémon:
Pinpuku (Happiny), a baby Chansey
Mime Jr, a baby Mr Mime
Tamanta (Mantyke), a baby Mantine
Subomi (Budew), a baby Roselia
Riishan (Chingling), a baby Chimecho, and finally:
Rioru, a baby Rukario (ok so this one isn’t so bad).
What next, a baby Pinsir? A calf-like pokémon that evolves into Tauros or Miltank?

At least the evolutions aren’t so bad:
Magneton (Reakoiru) -> Jibakoiru (Magnezone)
Lickitung (Beroringa) -> Beroberuto (Lickilicky)
Rhydon (Saidon) -> Dosaidon (Rhyperior)
Electabuzz -> Erekiburu (Electivire)
Magmar (Buubaa) -> Buubaan (Magmortar)
Eevee -> Riifia and Gureishia (are we eventually going to get evolutions of Eevee into all seventeen types?) (Leafeon and Glaceon)
Porygon 2 -> Porygon Z (like Dragonball?)
Togetic -> Togekissu (as useless as that crying egg?) (Togekiss)
Aipom -> Etebousu (Ambipom)
Yanyanma -> Megayanma (Yanmega)
Murkrow (Yamikarasu) -> Donkarasu (Honchkrow)
Misdreavus (Muuma) -> Muumaaji (Mismagius)
Gligar -> Guraion (Gliscor)
Sneasel -> Weavile
Piloswine (Urimuu) -> Manmuu (Mamoswine)
Kirlia -> Erureido (an alternate evolution from a male Kirlia only) (Gallade)
Nosepass -> Dainozu (Probopass)
Roselia -> Rozureido (and with Subomii, that makes three in that sequence) (Roserade)
Dusclops -> Yonowaaru (Dusknoir)
Snorunt -> Yukimenoko (an alternate to Glalie) (Froslass)

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