Choosing That Initial Pokemon

I mentioned to my wife that If our daughter was good and finished her homework, perhaps she could be allowed to open up her copy of the new Pokemon game to get started.

With that incentive, it was no surprise to find that my daughter had already gotten her first gym badge in the game and that her main Pokemon was level 14.

Of course I had to jump in immediately.  My daughter has Pokemon HeartGold and I have SoulSilver, having learned the lesson about getting one copy of each back with Diamond and Pearl.

The first important choice you must make in the game is about your initial Pokemon.

You have three to choose from, Chikorita, Cydaquil, and Totodile.

The Three Initial Pokemon

These represent three basic types of Pokemon, grass, fire, and water, which is a rock, paper, scissors arrangement.  Fire burns grass, water puts out fire, grass absorbs water.  And, in reverse, water doesn’t do much harm to grass, fire can’t do much to water, and grass is very weak attacking fire.

Of course, things aren’t that simple over all.  There are other types of Pokemon, like flying, gaseous, rock, psychic, and so on.  So rather than rock, paper, scissors, the game ends up being more like rock, paper, scissors, slide hammer, toilet brush, harmonica, radial tire, pipe wrench, umbrella, and so on, each part of a complex matrix of who hurts who the most.

But initially you get the three way choice.  And whatever you choose, your rival in the game, an NPC you will have to face off with repeatedly, will also end up with one of these three, the one against which your choice is weakest.

My daughter is all about the fire Pokemon, so for her the choice was easy.  She went with Cyndaquil.  She named it Flame.

I, on the other hand, agree with Keen in finding fire Pokemon to be, if not hard mode, at least annoying to play.  I like to have one in my party to burn down any grass Pokemon.  In fact, they tend to be quite powerful on offense.  But they have a glass jaw against too many things.

So my choice, both to avoid a fire Pokemon and to have something different than my daughter, was Totodile which, in a flash of unique vision, I named Toto.

I had been quite successful in Pokemon Diamond with Piplup, the water Pokemon, which helped make my choice.  I had gone with grass in Pokemon Platinum and had found it much less satisfying.

Choice made, I was able to catch up, somewhat, to my daughter.  The first gym badge is less than two hours into the game.  It is also nothing like the epic gym battle fights in Pokemon Diamond where you had to face a half a dozen followers before you got to the gym leader whose full party was quite a challenge.

Of course, having the first gym battle be a bit more manageable might be a good thing.  It is more of an introduction battle than a big effort, a taste of bigger things to come.  And with that first gym badge we can transfer over the Jirachis that we got from the last pre-release download event.  They are level 5 and will fit in nicely.

Over all the game looks great.  The graphics have been nicely updated for openers.

I have no doubt what my daughter and I will be doing this weekend.

7 thoughts on “Choosing That Initial Pokemon

  1. Analogue

    Although I hope we’ll play something that isn’t Pokemon, this post makes me really look forward to when my 1 year old daughter is old enough to teach gaming…

    Hmm, Lego Star Wars is probably ok for a three year old… that’s not too far off…


  2. kaitkami

    I also started out with Piplup in Pearl and he was great, I did find though that in Soul Silver Cyndaquil is the best choice for a starter. Normally I don’t choose the fire types and this was the first time I wanted to try it out (mainly because Typholosion has such good stats). In pretty much all of the gyms I used him because he ended up being such an effective type. Although to counter this, I brought over my Empoleon for the end game in Soul Silver because I grew quite fond of it.


  3. Oakstout

    Being a first time player of Pokemon, I chose the Cyndaquil only by accident. I guess next time I’ll pay more attention. However, so far its paid off. I did get lucky and captured a grass one early on, so now I use his vine attack for most of my tougher creatures.

    I’ve managed to get two of the badges so far and having a blast. The walker is however, the best part in my opinion, since I can grab items and capture more pets while at work.


  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    The Pokewalker is next on my list to figure out.

    As for which Pokemon, the fact that I don’t do well with a fire Pokemon probably says more about me than the game.

    I’m also waiting for a comment about this sentence,

    “So rather than rock, paper, scissors, the game ends up being more like rock, paper, scissors, slide hammer, toilet brush, harmonica, radial tire, pipe wrench, umbrella, and so on, each part of a complex matrix of who hurts who the most.”


  5. DDM

    I usually pick whatever pokemon looks the coolest in it’s end evolution. If it’s a grass type, then that’s what I’m picking. If it’s a fire type, then that’s what I’m picking.


  6. MysticT

    Hey Wil. I don’t know when you’re going to be able to churn out that Pokemon review you keep teasing us with, but if you have a second could you spare some advice?

    I don’t have a DS but I did play Pokemon Gold and Ruby back in the day on my 1st gen GBA that didn’t even have a backlight.

    I’ve been looking at the new DSi XL’s that have come out and I was wondering if this game was worth essentially dropping $250 for.

    I’m quite able to pay that price and it seems as if this is the most innovative installment including the Pokewalker.

    From reading your blog posts I believe we share a similar gaming mindset, and as such, I would really appreciate your opinion.



  7. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Yeah, I have to get something together on that. The game has been great so far, and I never cease to be amazed at how much stuff there is in it.

    Is it worth $250? That might be a tough sell. I’m tempted to get the DSi XL for the bigger screen, but cannot quite get there because my DS Lite is still working just fine.

    After 2 years, we have quite a pile of DS games sitting around the house and I will say that I have spent more time playing Pokemon Diamond than any other DS (or Wii) game we have, and that HeartGold and SoulSilver are even better than Diamond/Pearl so far.


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