I had to delay my progress in the game for a few of days while my daughter was away so I wouldn’t get too far ahead of her. But have been back on the trail in Pokemon Shining Pearl since the holidays.
First up was taking on the the seventh gym up in Snowpoint city.
The Snowpoint city gym isn’t difficult when it comes to the fights. There were more fights getting to Snowpoint City, as you have to run the usual gauntlet of NPC Pokemon trainers eager for battles as well as the usual random encounters. But the maze in the Snowpoint City gym… well, it is probably the most difficult of the bunch and one where, if you mess up, you have leave the gym then come back to start over again.
After a few runs at it I had to look it up. I seem to recall having to do that back with the original as well, though in 2008 I had to go through the book to find out that the key to the whole puzzle was breaking the grid of snowballs in the center of the gym in the right order.
I beat the gym leader which got me the seventh gym badge and unlocked the ability Rock Climb.
Rock Climb unlocks new areas of the map, including the heights of Mt. Coronet. But my first stop was the Team Galactic Headquarters, where I had to find a key, defeat all the grunts, fight one of the bosses, and then release Uxie, Azlef, and Mesprit, three mythical/legendary Pokemon that had been captured by Team Galactic.
That done, I was off to the top of Mt. Coronet to face the leader of Team Galactic.
Up there, in Pokemon Shining Pearl, the boss is holding the Legendary Pokemon Palkia. That is the Pokemon on the cover art for the title, so this is a big part of the story.
The boss, like all Pokemon bad guys, is a bit over the top in his ambitions.
The bad guys in the classic Pokemon titles all have the ambition and budget of a Bond villain… and sometimes even the same goals… well, aside from money, which is the most common Bond villain goal… and yet tend to get overthrown by 10 year olds with neglectful parent. I mean, my mom in the game gave me the thumbs up for this adventure with a pat on the head and an admonition to “stay safe” or some such. I forget at this point, it has been a lot of steps since I left Twinleaf Town.
Before you get to the boss though, you have to fight his two minions… again, because you fought them before. But your rival, I chose the name Barry for him from the list, comes to assist you for a doubles battle.
That battle was pretty quick, as was the fight with the boss. Barry doesn’t join in on the boss fight, but it went by fairly quickly, monologuing aside.
Once the boss has been dispatched… and he is done cataloguing his plans and whatever… it is time to face Palkia. Professor Rowan and Dawn are both there to support you as you go to face the main Pokemon in the game.
This is a tense moment in the game, because you don’t want to blow it. You want to catch Palkia, not defeat it in combat or cause it to run away. This is a point where a lot of people save the game, before they start that fight, in case they screw up. If you do blow it, you power down your game and launch it again to start from the save point.
Unless, of course, you have the master ball that you picked up back at Team Galactic HQ, in which case you just throw that and catch Palkia on the first round.
I mention all the other stuff because there is a school of thought that says you should save the master ball for later catches, but I wasn’t going down that path. I wanted Palkia and got them.
Having caught Palkia, the confrontation on Mt. Coronet is over. Team Galactic has been defeated, their story line has been wrapped up, and you, Dawn, and Professor Rowan are able to head off to other tasks.
From there it is off to Sunyshore City and the eighth and final gym. Getting there had been blocked by a power outage… a reference to the fact that the Sunyshore gym leader is into electric Pokemon… but once you have come down from Mt. Coronet, power has been restored and you can proceed. Yet another content gate.
But I now had Palkia in my party and was planning to make them part of my group to face the Pokemon League.
The other three in that picture… catching them comes later.