06: Rustboro City - Pokemon Emerald
Welcome to Rustboro City - the first large city on our adventure. While this does not really qualify as a metropolis, Rustboro is a major city for the Region, and that is fitting as we have a lot to do here, starting with talking to pretty much everyone outside in the streets -- so let us do that now!
We start by talking to pretty much everybody who is out in the streets -- you never know what you will hear or find doing that. After you finish doing that head back to the south entrance to town and follow the outside black fence until you can slip in behind it. Walk along its inner edge to the back area where you will find a Treasure Ball that contains X-Defend.
Starting with the buildings on the south side of town, head into the large gray one, which is housing for the Devon Corporation. Chat up the people you meet here to obtain a Premier Ball, and learn that the company president collects rare stones.
The brown building to the east to hear some naming philosophy, and the Pokemon Trainer's School above that to learn about misc Pokefacts -- then talk to the teacher at the back of the room to receive a Pokemon Hold Item called a Quick Claw.
The blackboard at the back by the teacher -- actually it is more of a green board, but still -- will teach you everything you need to know about Stat Conditions. In the front left corner is that bloke who insulted you earlier -- turns out that his name is Scott.
To the west of the Poke Center is Cutter's House, where you can obtain your first HM -- HM01, which contains the move Cut! Remember, HM's allow you to teach the move multiple times, whereas TM's only let you teach it one time before self-destructing.
You are likely remembering those funny trees we could not cut down that we saw earlier -- but before you run off to chop-chop-chop you should probably be made aware that we cannot use this move outside of battle until we obtain the Gym Badge!
-- A Smile a Day & Hidden Game Goodness --
In the building to the north of the Poke Center on the second floor there is a concerned father standing by the bed of his little girl -- a little girl who it appears needs to be cheered up. Surrounding her bed is an impressive collection of plush stuffed Pokemon dolls, but as you chat with the father there is nothing here to indicate to you that something quite special is hidden in your interaction with him!
The bloke is Mr. Pepper - and the little girl is named Walda Pepper. She may be ill, or just depressed, who can say? But what she wants and what her Da wants is for her to be cheered up, and to make that happen she needs to hear a funny word.
The hidden part of this is that if you can give them the right words, you can unlock special PC Box Wallpaper! This is not the first time that Game Freak has hidden this sort of thing in one of the games, but it is the first time that it was so discretely placed!
The easiest way for you to take advantage of this opportunity is for you to visit the website at Filb (http://www.filb.de/games/gba/emerald/word?lang=2) where you can find the Pokemon Emerald Secret Word Generator!
On this website you can generate the words that you need, based upon your game and Trainer ID number. Just fill in the requested information and then create your own wallpaper and click the "Generate Secret Word" button. The word is not really a word at all, but a code that is case-sensitive and will create the wallpaper image that you design on that web page -- in your game!
Once you have created the wallpaper you want, go to Rustboro and chat up the Dad, tell him the code, and he will create the wallpaper for you because it makes his daughter laugh! Simple as pie! After you get your new wallpaper, when you use the PC to change the wallpaper for a box simply select the "FRIENDS" option instead of one of the previous ones and voila! You get the new wallpaper! Now how cool is that?
Your first in-game trade: a Ralts for a Seedot
-- First In-Game Trade --
In the small house to the east of the Pokemon Gym is a bloke who will trade you a Seedot for your Ralts -- remember when I said you would need an extra Ralts? Well, this is why! So grab your extra Ralts and put it in your party, then return here to trade it with him. Sure we already have a Seedot, but hey, it is part of the game -- and on the off-chance that you did not capture a Seedot, well, now you have one!
The animation that you just saw during the trade is the same one that you get when you trade Pokemon with another human player -- just an interesting factoid!
The last building save for the Gym is the largest -- the home of the Devon Corporation. I guess you could say that this is a company town, and if it is, well then, this is the company!
Inside you run into a bloke who points out the Running Shoes your mum gave you and tells you that they are a product made by Devon Corp! Sadly the door to the stairs that lead upstairs is blocked, and we cannot get past it right now... Ah well, head outside now then.
-- Preparing for Our First Gym Battle --
Now that we have explored the city and taken care of the extras that are part of that, it is time for our attention to turn to our first Gym Battle and scoring our first Gym Badge. But before we do that, how is your team's condition and level?
Ideally you want to go into this Gym Battle with a minimum of your team at Level 13. You can win it with them leveled to that point, though it will be a battle and you will probably end up with some of your team incapacitated and having to use kit and potions to make it happen.
A smarter approach would be to level your team to Level 15, but that would take some time and effort on your part... But let me tell you why that is not a bad idea...
So far we have largely faced wild Pokemon and trainers with Pokemon that were below the level of those on our team, so the battles that we have been fighting have been rather one-sided (you have to admit that). Ahead of us the wild Pokemon and the trainers will be rapidly increasing in level, and that means that the upcoming battles are not going to be the exercise in just picking the correct move that the past battles have been.
It should be obvious to you that you are going to have to level your team at some point ahead, so why not do it now, when it is convenient to your needs? There is Tall Grass quite close to town, which means that when you need to heal and recharge that is a trivial matter, and the Pokemon here are not so high a level that they will cause you too much trouble, but are high enough so that leveling off of them is actually worth it.
No more 2's and 3's in the Tall Grass, nuh uh! Instead there are 6's and 7's which pay out a bit more XP per match, not to mention that there are some Pokemon that we need to capture on the Routes north and east of town anyway... So what do you say, mate? Up for a bit of batch-leveling? Excellent!
-- Batch-leveling near Rustboro --
As the early parts of this game are partly a challenge of managing resources, trotting out your Pickup Team -- or at least some of it -- to use while you level here is not a bad idea at all. For one thing it will add items to your kit that you can really use, and it will get you items you can sell so that you can stock up on stronger Poke Balls. I call that a win-win, and you should too!
So before you start to level, head back to the Poke Center and drop 3 or 4 of your main team into the A-Team Box, sort out the Pokemon that are in the Incoming Box, and then add in some of your Pickup Team before heading to the northeast Route out of town, Route 116!
-- Route 116 --
One of the two Routes leading out of town in the direction we want to head, Route 116 presents the opportunity to pick up some new Pokemon as well as some Treasure and a chunk of XP from Trainer Battles -- pretty much like any good Route!
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Route 116 Area Pokemon Report
-- #063 Abra (U)
-- #290 Nincada (C)
-- #261 Poochyena (C)
-- #300 Skitty (R)
-- #276 Taillow (C)
-- #293 Whismur (C)
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We need a total of four of these Pokemon for our Dex -- by far the highest new to old ratio in a Route yet! Getting Whismur and Nincada is easy, Abra a bit more difficult, but Skitty requires serious dedication!
Abra may be the one that gives you the most trouble in actually capturing because it flees as soon as you attack! An alternative to that frustration is to simply lob an Ultra Ball at it as soon as it appears -- an almost certain capture!
The treasure ball in the bottom section of Tall Grass contains a Repel -- always a useful item to have, especially in caves!
Nearby is Bug Catcher Jose with his Level 8 Wurmple worth 90XP, and a Level 8 Nincada worth 85 XP and $128.
School Kid Karen is to your east with her Level 9 Shroomish worth 102 XP and $180.
Youngster Joey is to the north with his Level 9 Machop worth 175XP and $144.
The Trainer Tips sign is worth reading, as it teaches you how to halt a Pokemon from evolving by pressing the B-Button during an evolution. You may want to do that if there is an evolutionary move that they only learn at a higher level or, more likely, you want them to retain their current form as is the case with a lot of cute Pokemon.
Head further east now, past Karen to where there is a group of trainers in the open area past the Tall Grass.
Hiker Clark and Youngster Johnson challenge you to a doubles battle -- they bring out their Level 8 Geodude and Shroomish, worth 146XP and 110XP respectively, and a Level 8 Lotad worth 126XP, and $448.
Hiker Devan has a pair of Level 8 Geodude worth 147XP each and $320.
To the north is the Tunneler's Rest House but the entrance is blocked by an out of work Tunneler for now. To the north and west is a raised area that we cannot get to with some Trainers and stuff, but we need to be able to use Cut, so that will have to wait for later. To the east is some ledges -- if we climb up there is a Treasure Ball with an X-Special, and above that is one of the locations that we can create a secret hideout at once that ability is unlocked later in the game.
For now head back to the west, continue leveling and capturing the Pokemon we do not have yet for this Route, and when you are finally ready and your team is at the level that you want for the big Gym Battle, well then, head for the Gym!
-- Rustboro City Gym Battle --
As you enter the Gym you will notice a bloke standing beside one of the statues -- this is the Gym Greeter and there is one in every Gym. It is his job to provide you with information that may be helpful to you in defeating the Gym Leader -- in this case he tells you that Roxanne -- the Gym Leader here -- is a user of Rock Type Pokemon. He adds that Rock Type are vulnerable to Water Type and Grass Type Pokemon, which is very good advice.
Before you can battle the Gym Leader you will have to battle the AGL's -- Assistant Gym Leaders. There are usually several in each Gym, positioned between the door and the Leader. So let us ready ourselves and, when you are good to go, start taking out the AGL's!
Youngster Josh is waiting for you at the entrance to the mini-maze with his Level 10 Geodude, worth 212 XP and $160.
The next battle is a Double with Youngster Tommy and Hiker Marc, who each have a pair of Level 8 Geodude worth 146XP each, and $448.
That battle clears the way to the Gym Leader, Roxanne! If you had to use a lot of PP or took any damage, go ahead and hit the Center to heal up and save, and then return for the Leader Battle!
Your first Gym Leader Battle with Roxanne
-- Gym Leader Roxanne --
She opens with her pair of Level 12 Geodude, worth 220 XP each and follows with her Level 15 Nosepass, which is worth 346 XP and $1500. She awards you with the Stone Badge, which boosts their attacks and allows you to use the move Cut outside of battle. She also gives you TM39, Rock Tomb.
We should cover a few things now... You notice that the Nosepass used a berry to heal itself, and when you lowered its health Roxanne used a Potion on it? Those are common events in Gym Battles, and you need to plan for them as part of your strategy! For example if you know a move will bring the opponent very close to incapacitated, you are better off using a lesser move to reduce their health at the top end, so as not to trigger the use of a potion by the Leader, and then use your killer move to KO the opponent, thus depriving the Gym Leader from having an opportunity to use a Potion!
In addition to the Badge and the cash, it is customary for Gym Leaders to gift you with a TM of one of the moves that their Pokemon knows and that you may have faced in the battle. Remember TM's can only be used one time, so think long and hard about which Pokemon to use it on, or even whether you should use it now or not.
As you leave the Gym following the battle you witness a Team Aqua Grunt running down the street and a Devon Corp employee chasing after him - clearly the Grunt has stolen something! If you chase after them -- they took the eastern road -- you will run into the Devon bloke who turns out to be the same one you helped back in the woods.
He tells you about being robbed and asks for your help -- sort of. It would be an idea to heal up and save at the Pokemon Center before you head off on yet another adventure, mate!