Pokemon Diamond has been the official weekend activity for my daughter and I for the last couple of weekends.
Both of us managed to free Uxie, Azelf and Mesprit from the clutches of the evil, arrogant, and oddly dressed Team Galactic, defeat their leader Cyrus, and capture Dialga, the legendary Pokemon. That done, we were able to proceed to Sunnyshore City, defeat the gym leader there and obtain the last of the eight gym badges from the Sinnoh Gym Leaders.
That done, it was left to us to face the elite four plus the Pokemon League champion.
This was a bit different that the challenges so far in the game, as you have to defeat all five of them, one after the other, without returning to a Pokemon Center for healing or a shop for fresh supplies.
I figured this out the hard way after I barely defeated the first of the four, Aaron, only to find myself up for the next battle with three Pokemon fainted and not much in the way of healing. I let myself lose on the next round then went to prepare.
I spent a couple of evenings getting a few more levels in for my six best Pokemon.
Then I piled up the hyper potions, the revive potions, the status healers and decided to take a stab at it again. I still felt I was on the low side of the level range for this, but the experience from these battles was pretty good, so I figured it would be at least as fruitful as spending the same about of time grinding a couple more levels.
Having faced the first two of the elite four already, Aaron and Bertha, I was ready for them and got through without too much pain. The next guy, Flint, was focused on fire, so my water guys were quite a help. Lucian was quite a battle by comparison as I had nothing that was very effective against his Bronzong. It was a tough, slow fight and I had to dip into my bag for some heals and a revive or two before it was over. Still, in the end, I won.
Which brought me to Cynthia the Pokemon League champion for the Sinnoh region. I spent some potions before I started the battle with her so my Pokemon were all set, but things went poorly almost from the start. He six Pokemon were, on average, 8-10 levels higher up than mine. I had four Pokemon down before I finished off her first one, so out came the revive potions as I juggled my guys against hers.
At one point I went four rounds where I had one Pokemon left. I would revive one and the current one in the battle would faint, so I would revive him and the other would be down. I thought I was done for.
Then I finally caught a break and one of my guys lasted three rounds, which let me revive a couple more and actually get in some attacks of my own. Finally Cynthia was down to her last Pokemon, but I was in the hole again myself, with only two injured Pokemon left. I finally decided to use my max revive potions and was able to power through.
Victory was mine.
I went through the awards ceremony and my team was inducted into the hall of fame:
Pipi – Level 54 Empoleon
Slinky – Level 58 Luxray
Alfie – Level 54 Azelf
Pops – Level 48 Drifblim
Medichop – Level 51 Medicham
Dallas – Level 54 Dialga
The credits for the game rolled.
After many high-fives from my daughter, she suddenly looked sad and said, “But I haven’t won yet.”
So we had to get her rolling, which was tough. As previously mentioned, she tends to focus on just one or two Pokemon, so while she had a level 68 Luxray ready to lead off, her next highest level was Dialga at level 50, then a few in the mid-to-low 40s.
That and she spent all her money on stuff at the various shops. She had 84 luxury balls in her bag for openers. So we had to go on a strict, nightly effort to earn some money for potions before her battle.
And then her first run failed.
Finally I traded her a couple of my guys, including a level 100 Palika I got in trade for a level 39 Ditto I put up on the Global Trade Station, to shore up her team and she was able to power through and claim victory herself with her own hall of fame entry:
Deedee – Trainer
Palkia – Level 100 Palkia
Fifi – Level 74 Luxray
Garcon – Level 54 Gastradon
Dallas – Level 54 Dialga
Alfie – Level 54 Azelf
Chimpee – Level 52 Infernape
Game over, right?
Only, the game is not at all over. There is still a ton of stuff left to do. There are contests to win, trainers to battle, a few more places to explore, and then there is the whole National Pokedex to fill out.
I have to hand it to Nintendo and their partners. I have been totally blown away by both the breadth and depth of the game.
I am also cynically envious of how deep they get their hooks in you. To complete the National Pokedex, to see all 493 Pokemon, you have to jump through some serious hoops. Some only show up during “mass outbreak” events in the game. Others only show up at certain times. And a group of them require you to put past GameBoy Advanced versions of the game in the front slot of the DS, and only then will they appear in the game.
Towards that end I picked up a copy of Pokemon FireRed off of eBay, which my daughter immediately took over. It had a game in progress and some Pokemon already caught. So she has been hunting in that game for Pokemon we need, which we can transfer over to Diamond at the rate of six a day, while I have been playing a bit after she goes to bed with the FireRed cartridge inserted so different Pokemon will spawn in Diamond.
We have also been very active with the Wi-Fi Global Trade Station in game that lets you trade Pokemon with people around the world. I was farming Growlithes with FireRed inserted to trade for Eevees, as my daughter wants all the various Pokemon that evolve from Eevee.
One fun thing. I have gotten a couple of trades from people in Japan, and their Pokemon come through with names in Japanese characters.
And, this weekend, there is a special event at Toys R Us, at least here in Northern California, where you can go into the store and download an exclusive Darkrai Pokemon.
Needless to say, that is a big part of our Saturday plans.
All of this Pokemon talk and play is driving my wife up the wall. We had to have a Pokemon quite period this week, as I think my daughter and I did very little besides play Pokemon over the Memorial Day weekend.
I have to say, two thumbs up to Nintendo and GameFreak for a surprisingly great game. I had no idea what all the fuss was about. Now I do.
And Pokemon Platinum is coming!