Pokemon DS tips
I've always had a love/hate relationship with the Pokemon video games... On the one hand, they have a tremendous amount of depth and strategy, and, to some extent, customization (pick Pokemon for your party, name them, decide what moves they should have, etc). On the other hand, 90% of the game consists of battling, which can get really old, really fast.
The new Pokemon Pearl and Diamond for Nintendo DS are no exception. They're hardly innovative and follow the same concept introduced in Pokemon Red and Blue for the Gameboy. It puts the dual screen to good use, but the gameplay is largely the same. So if you liked the other Pokemon games, you can't go wrong here... but if you didn't like them, you won't change your mind after seeing Pearl/Diamond.
Anyway, I've been struggling through Pearl for a while now, and thought I'd offer some tips. Nothing too fancy; if you want that, visit Gamefaqs (although those FAQs are likely still under development at this moment).
- Of the starting Pokemon, Turtwig (grass) and Chimchar (fire) are probably your best choices; Puplip (water) is harder, and it takes quite a while before it becomes a decent water Pokemon. (At some point it gets the "Bubble" attack, which isn't very strong, although effective against weak rock and fire Pokemon.)
- Using the Old Rod, catch yourself a Magikarp, then later use the Exp. Share on it, so it grows without having to battle. At around level 20 or so, it will evolve into a Gyarados, which is a Good Thing to have.
- Pokemon acquired through trade grow faster, but will not listen well once they've reached a certain level. Getting more gym badges resolves this situation... temporarily. (For example, there's an Abra you can get, and it grows like kudzu... but you will be very dismayed when it starts ignoring your orders.)
- Avoid the Wayward Cave... it's just not worth it. There's hardly any good stuff in there, and getting out (or just wandering around in it) is a royal pain. If you really must go in, make sure one of your Pokemon has Flash (to illuminate the cave), and make sure you have an Escape Rope (which by the way won't work once you team up with someone else).
- In general, when a new "tool" has been acquired (like Rock Smash, Cut, or the Bicycle), it's often worthwile to go back and explore areas that were unreachable before.
(That's all for now... more will be added as I make progress.)