This post also brought to you by the Original Super Glue!

No, I didn't glue my hands together again, but the tiny unexplained chip that came out of my DS Lite's case magically transformed into a full-blown broken hinge. Two days of struggling with it, and with that blasted glue, finally has the thing back in almost one piece again; given this and several other problems I've been having with it lately, I think it's time I started saving up for a DSi to replace it. >>;

It still plays okay, though, so for now I can continue to move on through HeartGold (and if all else fails I do still have another DS I can use). I meant to have this post up yesterday, but... yeah... DS broke.


A few more trips to the PokéWalker have netted me a Doduo and a Magby (which, despite being only level 9, knows Sunny Day; Magby don't normally get that move until level 43), both of which I'll be hanging onto for now: amazingly enough I have somehow managed to avoid using Dodrio and Magmar/Magmortar in any of my teams in my eleven-year history of mainstream Pokémon games, so I'd actually like to give them a shot. Not being able to give them nicknames yet is a tad annoying, but eh. I can't think of anything good/stupid enough right now anyway.

Since I first started playing HeartGold at night I missed out on some of the diurnal species, so I doubled back to catch some Sentret and the like before moving on. The Togepi egg hatches shortly after I make my way back to Violet City, presumably helped along by Magby and his Flame Body ability, and Prof. Elm gives me a call as soon as it does. I didn't pick up automatically, so apparently I *can* screen some of Elm's calls after all. Of course, what I really want to know is how he managed to call exactly when the egg hatched, but eh, I'll worry about my stalker problems later. I put the Togepi, which knows Extrasensory, into the PC and then hit the Ruins of Alph.

I enter the main ruins themselves first to have a look around before flooding the place with Unown. There are large statues that actually look like Rhydon dotting the place (why Rhydon? In the originals it was that generic bipedal monster thing that I guess was supposed to be a Rhydon, and now it actually is a Rhydon... which has absolutely nothing to do with Unown... hmm, I think I just hatched some plotbunnies). In GSC the walls had an Unown motif, but here, interestingly enough, they seem to have abandoned it—the walls are now covered with indecipherable scrawls.

There is, of course, nothing of any real interest in the ruins right now, so I head back up into the sunlight and make my way into the first puzzle chamber. You have to walk through two empty buildings to get to it, although you don't actually go "inside" them like you'd go inside a Pokémon center or house or cave; they're just part of the same overworld map as the rest of the area. The Kabuto puzzle has changed from the old sliding panels game it was before. Most of the Kabuto picture is completed now, with only four missing pieces lying on its side. You can drag and drop the pieces into place, but they won't fit at first; instead you have to tap the pieces until they're rotated to the right position, and then you can drag them into the holes. Successful completion of the puzzle opens a hole in the floor, and Njord and I drop right down into the ruins. A researcher greets us as soon as we hit the ground, but rather than help us up he hands me the new Unown Dex, or "Unown Notebook" as it's apparently called now. After I catch an Unown A I can view it and the word it represents ("Angry") on this key item. (Anyone else find it interesting that they use English words for the Unown in the Japanese games? And then, in the back of the Kabuto puzzle room, the second part of the puzzle—the part that has you using certain moves or items in front of the wall in order to reach hidden items—has instructions written in Unown romaji, not English. I mean, I suppose they don't have enough words that start with certain letters of the English alphabet to justify romaji "words" for each letter of Unown, but it's still kind of funny.) I leave after that, though. I've never bothered trying to collect all of the Unown before and figure I might this time, and in alphabetical order no less, but there is no Unown B here to follow my Unown A and I'd like to get to Azalea sometime within the next week. I'll be back to check out the other three puzzles, though.

I collect a Miracle Seed from the man who previously blocked my progress down Route 32 and then head south toward Union Cave, beating people up for their money and telephone numbers. About halfway there I see what looks like a huge, gray wall blocking my path. Confused, I look a little closer; it turns out that it's some sort of bridge or overpass that I know totally wasn't there in GSC. After a few minutes of thought it occurred to me that it was probably the track for the Magnet Train. After a few more minutes of thought, I wondered where the train was supposed to have gone back in GSC. I guess maybe I thought it was a subway, but then again the bullet train that it's based on isn't a subway, either. :P Lol, continuity error (though I don't think I ever would've questioned it if I hadn't seen the track in the new games). Anyway, the magical flying train now has a proper track, and it's cool to see how Game Freak's paying attention and fixing/sprucing up little details like that.

The obese man in front of the Route 32 Pokémon Center offers to sell me a Slowpoketail for 100P; I turn him down, wondering why the price seems to have dropped so drastically from the intentionally unbuyable 1,000,000P of the originals. The Old Rod a fisherman gives me inside the Pokémon Center is both free and morally acceptable to take, on the other hand, so I grab that and head back to the water for some quick Magikarp fishing. Union Cave is about as exciting as said Magikarp-fishing jaunt, the only noticeable change being a slightly different layout and a few repositioned trainers. Route 33 is raining, interestingly enough, and the rain stops when I approach Azalea Town. Not sure why they bothered adding permanent rain to such a tiny route, but I don't dwell on it for too long—when I get closer to the Slowpoke Well I see a Rocket grunt yelling at an old, balding man and scaring him back into town. The grunt then takes up his post in front of the well and I can continue into town.

I drop in on the Charcoal Maker's house before going to see Kurt. I could've sworn I remembered getting a free Charcoal from him, and Magby would probably appreciate one, but either I remembered it wrong or he only gives it to you later because I came up with nothing but a peek at the two Farfetch'd (two?) running around his house and amazement at the fact that they even animated little wisps of smoke coming from his house's chimney. Kurt, when I speak to him, rushes out to stop Team Rocket as before. I follow him down the well, which has its own transition image complete with little Slowpoke (I think they may have put little Pokémon cameos in all of the transition images, actually; they're fun to find :) ) and a tileset that actually makes it look like a well, not just a random cave. Well, okay, there *is* a cave, but you access it through a hole in the side of the well wall, which makes a lot more sense IMO. I dispatch the Rocket grunts and their leader, Lance (who is definitely going to need a new English name), one of the new non-faceless Rocket execs. He has a VS graphic but doesn't seem to have an animation, which strikes me as a little odd. He has a level 8 Zubat and a level 12 Koffing, neither of which is too difficult to defeat even after Koffing poisons Njord. "Lance" and the other Rockets skip town, Kurt and I check the Slowpoke trapped in the well and then we head back to his house, where I get a free Fast Ball and where Kurt offers to take several of my apricorns to turn into more free goodies. He can now take multiple balls to work on at once instead of just once at a time, although they all have to be the same color. Kurt's granddaughter gives me his phone number, presumably so he can call me when he's finished with the apricorns.

Next on the agenda is a battle with my rival, Kamon, so I heal up, save the game and then edge toward Ilex Forest. The first thing I notice is that his team is two levels higher than normal—where in Gold and Silver his team would've been Gastly lv12, Zubat lv14, Bayleef lv16, now Gastly is 14, Zubat is 16 and Bayleef is 18. I guess this fixes the continuity issue with him having a level 16 Croconaw should you choose Cyndaquil, but I wasn't expecting the level jump and as a result my team struggled with Bayleef. It took several tries, a few Thunder Waves, a slew of Growls and fifteen minutes of waiting out Reflect after Reflect and Synthesis after Synthesis before Njord, the last Pokémon standing, was able to Bite the horrid thing into submission. DIE BAYLEEF I mean it was an exhilirating challenge, very entertaining, yes.

When I took the team to the Pokémon Center to get them patched up after the fight, the screen blacked out after the healing chime finished and the nurse said something about Kiley. Without being able to read the Japanese, for all I knew she'd come down with Pokérus; I checked her status screen and the status of all of my other Pokémon, however, and saw nothing that looked like a Pokérus infection. After a further twenty minutes scouring the internet for information about this mysterious strain of invisible Pokérus my Rattata seemed to have contracted, I found out that when the first Pokémon in your party is knocked out (Kiley in this case), the nurse tells you something about how that Pokémon is okay to travel with you again. Sure enough Kiley springs down from the counter perfectly chipper, not unconscious and invisible Pokérus-free, so she and I head for the entrance to Ilex Forest.

The Charcoal Maker's son sits near the forest's cuttable tree, and he asks for my help in retrieving his runaway Farfetch'd. I thought I remembered having to go deep into the woods to find the Farfetch'd, but I see it after venturing only a short distance away from the boy. On the ground there are several piles of branches and twigs that crunch when you step on them; if the Farfetch'd is nearby when you step on the twigs it will jump and look in your direction. You need to approach the Farfetch'd from behind before talking to it in order to catch it, as trying to talk to it when you're facing its side will cause it to run away. The idea is to get the Farfetch'd's attention with the twigs and so change the direction that it's facing, then sneak around to its back and grab it. Catching the renegade duck is no trouble at all, and so I return it to the kid; rather than reward me with the Cut HM, however, he says something with the number "2" in it and then just sits there. Wait... weren't there two Farfetch'd in the Charcoal Maker's house? Crap. Ah, well, I'd figured that grabbing the Farfetch'd was too easy. Guess it only makes sense that there would be a second, more difficult part to the puzzle. And so there is—after going as far as I can into the woods I spot the second Farfetch'd, more stick piles and a more complicated loop to chase the thing around. Figuring out how to position the Farfetch'd so that its back is to me takes longer than last time, but I do manage it at length and return the bird to its owner. The Charcoal Maker appears and gives me the Cut HM I was looking for, and I teach it to an Oddish that I carry around since I have a free space on my team.

The Cut HM is, of course, useless without the Hive Badge, and so I trudge back through the woods and the snapping sticks until I reach Bugsy's gym. The simple forest "maze" with Bugsy in its center is gone, two massive pits in its place. Three Spinarak-like robots sit on the near edge of the first pit, each connected to a web of ropes that stretch across it to the other side. When you step on a Spinarak it starts to move, following the ropes and taking the first turn it comes to until it reaches the other side. One of the Spinarak will give you access to a trainer and the second pit, one has just a trainer and one leads to a dead end. The second pit only has one Spinarak-thing, and two of the ropes that make up its potential track are colored: one red and one blue. Several blue levers and a red lever are accessible by riding the Spinarak in different directions, and pulling a lever will cause the rope of the same color to go slack or tighten up; the Spinarak will not travel on slackened rope, obviously, so that cuts off one of the possible tracks. Causing both ropes to go slack will leave a path that leads to Bugsy. It isn't a terribly difficult puzzle (the Farfetch'd puzzle was a bit more entertaining IMO), but the fact that there's a puzzle at all is a nice change.

I challenged Bugsy expecting to breeze through Metapod and Kakuna before having to deal with Scyther, but to my surprise the big bug (level 17 now, not 16) appeared first. It holds an oran berry and U-Turns out of battle before Magby can defeat or even burn it, KOing him in the process—after going through almost all of my other teammates first. Thankfully the Metapod that switches is in easy enough for Njord to deal with, and when Scyther comes back she (all of his Pokémon are female now, huh) is weak enough for him to finish off; some Bite flinchhax sorts Kakuna out shortly afterward, and I finally manage to scrape a win together. Bugsy gives me U-Turn, I adjust the levers to fix the Spinarak track, head for the Pokémon Center and call it a night.

The gang and their delicious radish-shaped slave:

Totodile Rattata Mareep Doduo Magby Oddish
Njord (M) Kiley (F) Lambo (F) Doduo (F) Magby (M) Oddit (M)
L17, Naughty, Torrent L14, Lax, Run Away L14, Adamant, Static L13, Lax, Early Bird L13, Rash, Flame Body L6, Calm, Chlorophyll
-Water Gun
-Quick Attack
-Tail Whip
-Focus Energy
-Thunder Wave
-Quick Attack
-Sunny Day
-Sweet Scent

I've still been playing and so should have the next post ready tomorrow; things are about to get really busy with school starting back up on Monday, but at least I only have two hours of class on that day. Hm... I may try to stick to a three day a week update schedule and see if that's manageable.