Revisiting Kanto – There Is Still Nothing That Compares To Mewtwo
All things must end. All throughout 2022, I have been making my way through Pokemon Blue and cataloguing my findings as a tourist would, trying to see the game, and its world, anew. Catch up on the story here. Last week I reached the endgame of Cerulean Cave, and with it the reward of exploring simply for the joy of it. But from the dark of the shadows came a disconcerting aura, and as I crept closer, I realised my destiny was never to be Pokemon champion, but to achieve the impossible.
Pokemon’s framing of your final battle has always struck me as odd. It only stands out further on a revisit. Though I try to describe the grandeur the game attempts to conjure, the fact is the game relies on you to tell the story in your head in these moments. It feeds breadcrumbs to the mythos of Mewtwo, but it’s the anime and movies doing the heavy lifting when it comes to conveying the importance of the creature in the over arching story of Pokemon.
The setting, at least, is more suitable. Of the four Legendary encounters in Kanto, Mewtwo gets the most respect. Moltres, as I have already written about, is practically given away at the end of an already uninspiring Victory Road. For a lot of people who played the game for the first time as kids, with no online guides, it was likely the first Legendary they ever caught, and is throughly undeserving of the honour.
Zapdos fares a little better – the abandoned Power Plant is thematically suited to being the lair of a terrifying electric bird, but the technological limitations of the Game Boy hold the game from its potential. It’s disappointing that future games, with the ability to push beyond with more detailed graphics, have not taken the opportunity.
Articuno is the only real challenger to Mewtwo, dwelling in the Seafoam Island, lying in wait. You need to complete a puzzle and can opt out of catching it at all, rather than being donated like Moltres. Though the game again relies on you telling your own stories, Articuno provides the leather bound notepad and quill. Moltres offers a scrap of cardboard and one of those chewed up pens you accidentally stole from the bank.
And finally, back to Mewtwo. It is deep in Cerulean Cave, and given the mythology of a mighty being beyond comprehension. Considering the whole aim is to catch it in a little plastic ball so you can command it to do your bidding, the game gets as close to selling this sense as you can reasonably expect. It’s deep in the cave and there are rare and mighty creatures in your path before it. Let’s Go does this even better, having the being guarded by Green, a highly underrated character in Pokemon lore.
Logic dictates that you should use your Master Ball on Mewtwo. It’s the strongest Legendary and, while there’s only one of each bird too, it feels like the rarest of them all. However, my tradition has always been to use the Master Ball on the first Legendary I encounter. The most sensible thing would be to weaken it and use an Ultra Ball over and over until it works, but I choose another strategy. I do not need Mewtwo, and have no plans to continue this game beyond this week, so why disturb the beast. I reach its lair, give it a nod of mutual respect, and go on my way. All things must end.
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