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.
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.
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.