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Live Blog The stars are bright over a localized Pokémon Vega playthrough!
Hashil2015-12-30 18:34:32

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Options, Observations, and the Mos.

A few years ago, a youtube link relating to modifying data in the Generation 3 Pokemon games drew my attention to an ambitious little Japanese mod of Pokémon FireRed, the eponymous Pokémon Vega, the 2nd in a series of 3 sets of modified Generation 3 games.

Interested by the elaborate and almost professionally done Fakemon - or fan made Pokémon designed to emulate the kind seen in official releases - the promise of mechanics imported directly from future generations, new maps... essentially, an entirely new experience to play through, I got everything together and gave the game a whirl.

... Despite everything being in largely impenetrable Japanese. This, coupled with the game's increased difficulty compared to the official titles and an entire collection of exclusive attacks and Pokémon led to my making notes, cross referencing wikias and memorizing Japanese characters to make it through (alongside referencing google translated walkthroughs for some of the more asanine methods of advancing the story), but eventually, I persevered.

With the game's English translation hitting the web on December 15th, 2015, I figured I'd run through things again and liveblog it for the curious.

What's interesting about this game? As the translation team's page describes, there are over a 181 new Pokemon, 56 canonical Pokemon imported from Generations 4 and 5, 70 new moves, and 87 imported moves, alongside balancing factors like the infamous Physical/Special split.

And it all happens in the Tohoak region, an entirely original location unlike the hardly edited Altair and Sirius's Hoenn with its own share of secrets, gym leaders, villains, and more.

So without further ado....

I swear to god this is game is not entirely a joke.

In the beginning of our journey we are greeted by our father, Professor Holly. Turns out, we're already a hot shot trainer fresh off the end of a journey in the Hoenn region, though things were a little different there than what many of you might be familiar with.

For one, meteors striking the surface of the planet led to a massive shift in the world's ecosystems, explaining all the new Pokémon that exist in the games. Also one time Hoenn Champion Wallace was a villain and an entire side quest dedicated to the 5th Pokémon movie... but all that's included in a plot summary for Altair and Sirius, two earlier, less ambitious mods, you can find in the same folder that has your patch.

Case in point, dear old dad wants us to do some research for him here in Tohoak this time, and he'll be providing your standard choice of 3 Pokémon with which to do it!

The cute little blue creature's a Glachild, an exclusively female Ice type available very early on the game. It carries its weight surprisingly well for such an infamously frail type.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Of course we've our choice of male or female hero, as we've had for decades now. And as has also been the case for over a decade, the naturally cold weather of the Tohoak region means nothing to the fashion sense of a female trainer. Pants be damned! I like this girl's spirit! She'll be who we play as. I don't know if they've canon names or not, but this one's Hashil, as well.

After the requisite overworldification of our sprite, we take a little time out to grab our PC Potion and mess around with both the consoles in our room. We like it old school, so of course the good ol' NES is hooked up.

... And Mosmero apparently hooked us up with the game in the SNES. We'll be meeting him soon.

Mom gives us the Running Shoes and Town Map right off, the former upgraded with the latest and greatest in in-door sprinting material, and, as we step out into the peaceful, snow covered streets of Porcelia Town, Professor Holly greets us at the door to drag us over to the lab.

I didn't show him off earlier, but our rival this time around is actually an up and coming Pokemon Ranger, rather than a traditional trainer. Given this is a mod of a mainline Generation 3 game, however... mechanically that doesn't mean much to us. The other well dressed fellow in the hat is good ol' Mosmero, the loony that helped the hero out last game and continues to do so in this one. Sort of.

He brings up the aforementioned ecological changes brought about by the meteors, and provides the necessary handwave for why the Pokemon we apparently caught in Altair or Sirius won't be joining us, while also name dropping a certain Jackie Walker from elsewhere in the franchise.

After the one man comic routine that is Mosmero concludes, it's time to pick a starter! And our choices are very distinct.

The shy little guy with the iron tastebuds
First up on the table is by far the most popular choice, if for no other reason than the fact that it's the most conventionally attractive option. Nimbleaf, the Sprout Pokémon, is a pure Grass type... thing... who apparently hauls its leaf about as an emergency ration. It's surprisingly fast for a Grass type, owing in part to its eventual secondary type, and its stats skew it towards special moves. Like the other 2 starters, and unlike their canonical counterparts, you can also pick up one with a secondary ability if you're lucky - in this case it's Thick Fat, an extremely handy passive skill that reduces the damage taken from Fire and Ice moves by half. That's shaving off 2 of Grass's 5 weaknesses right there!

Flubber's distant cousin
Next to it is the Water type, Liquiput, the... Liquid Pokémon. I've actually warmed up to this amorphous little dude over time, though it's hardly a looker compared to the sheepish Nimbleaf. As a pure Water type, it's the "balanced" starter, favoring no particular offensive or defensive stats. Sadly, it's also a little on the slow side, and its secondary ability, Liquid Ooze - a passive skill that causes all attacks that would drain Hit Points to restore the attacker's to instead cause them damage - is situational at best. It has a better movepool than either of its fellows, though, so don't count it out altogether.

A rough childhood made it firmly defensive about many things.
Finally, we move on to the Fire type, Peyero, the Gunpowder Pokémon. And... um... Well. It's a thing, for sure. A thing that is far away one of the ugliest and least appealing starter Pokemon I've ever seen. As a pure Fire type, this little nearly cyclopean monstrosity is actually balanced with defense in mind. Strange as that may sound, it gains an eventual secondary type that serves it quite well in the role, and has the potential to possess Clear Body, which prevents its stats from being lowered by the enemy.

I'm taking it slow for this first installment, so if anyone's interested, I'll let you guys vote on the starter chosen. All three are decent mons and neither make the game especially more or less difficult thanks to how balanced each gym and major boss is. Until next time.


Dec 20th 2015 at 3:05:30 PM
Ew. Those three starting Pokemon are ugly looking. I can hardly see those as official.

I don't know Pokemone that well and have never played them, but I'd go with Nimbleaf.
Dec 20th 2015 at 7:58:34 PM
Liquiput reminds me of a certain baddie from Sonic.

I'd like to see more of Nimbleaf. Looks kinda cute.
Dec 20th 2015 at 9:41:39 PM
Nimbleaf is actually cute. It gets my vote.