Now that I’ve gotten my last day of classes for the term out of the way, I was finally able to catch up on my Black & White playthrough. I left off at the Driftveil Drawbridge, where I was totally excited to be crossing yet another essentially lifeless straightaway. This one did have the added bonus of encounters with some kind of silly duck Pokémon, but there was nary a trainer in sight. What happened to the dangerous Cycling Road type areas of the previous games? Once upon a time getting to new towns was an exercise in endurance, with all kinds of battles between you and your destination.

Of course, all the action I missed before was more than made up for by the immediate introduction of yet another Team Plasma plot. This time they weren’t up to any trouble per se, but they were hiding out someplace in the city – in the Cold Storage units at the southern end of town to be exact. But even here I found some disappointment – there were no wild encounters with Ice-type Pokémon, and the Cold Storage area itself was a rather weak dungeon, even for a Pokémon game. Still, I appreciated the gesture towards accelerating the game’s pace by giving me someplace new to scour for items (especially that infamous Scald TM).

Driftveil’s Gym actually kicked my butt a few times, probably because none of my type-advantaged monsters were very strong at that point. A quick trip to Route 6 and a few battles against the resident creatures hardened them up a bit. Of course, evolving my Pansage with a Leaf Stone helped a bit, too. Clay’s Krokorok gave me some trouble with its Swagger attack, but with a little luck I was able to overcome it with my Palpitoad. His own Palpitoad wasn’t much trouble for my Simisage, but Excadrill was pretty tough given that it being Steel-type means that Simisage lost its all-out type advantage. Again, I got a little lucky as Clay used Hone Claws, giving me more or less a free turn to rack up damage. Hello, Quake Badge.

In Chargestone Cave, the Lucky Egg Professor Juniper gave me was a big help in getting my weaker Pokémon’s levels a bit higher. I was able to evolve my Palpitoad into Seismitoad and my Pignite into Emboar, which gave me a substantial edge against most of the Electric-type creatures there (as well as the Team Plasma members who greeted me deeper into the cave). I think I caught every species of wild Pokémon from the cave, but I’m trying to avoid using external Internet resources so I can’t say for sure.

Events in Mistralton City on the other side of Chargestone Cave led me to the Celestial Tower, a resting place for Pokémon that reminds me of the tower in Lavender in Gen I. I caught a few Pokémon there and fought my way to the top – for once pleased by the number of trainers I met along the way – and rang the mystical bell at the top of the tower. Then I headed to the Mistralton Gym to challenge its leader, Skyla. After Driftveil’s difficult battles I was destined for further disappointment in Mistralton, since my Zebistrika tore through literally every Pokémon in the gym without breaking a sweat. But hey, I got a Gym Badge out of it, didn’t I?

I’m hoping for a sharp increase in difficulty at some point before the next Gym. After all, I’ve only got two left – not much opportunity for the game to get too hard after that, methinks. Still, as I just can’t stop saying, this is probably one of the most interesting Pokémon generations in that every Pokémon is a new discovery. I hope the next generation of games follows this one’s cue. Its unprecedented success should speak for itself.

Play Time: 19:39

Pokédex Rating: 86 seen, 49 caught

My team so far:

  • Simisage, Lv36: Grass Knot, Acrobatics, Leech Seed, Seed Bomb
  • Swoobat, Lv34: Confusion, Heart Stamp, Air Slash, Assurance
  • Seismitoad, Lv36: Muddy Water, Aqua Ring, Supersonic, Mud Shot
  • Boldore, Lv36: Rock Blast, Bulldoze, Rock Slide, Iron Defense
  • Zebstrika, Lv38: Discharge, Thunder Wave, Flame Charge, Pursuit
  • Emboar, Lv36: Flame Charge, Heat Crash, Rock Smash, Strength

My adventures so far:

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