There’s something I have to do. I have to face a rather big, round, sleepy bugger who’s lying in the middle of the road blocking everyone’s path with his gargantuan bulge. Can’t somebody else do it? I’m sure other people need to cross the bridge; I can’t be the only Pokemon trainer on the planet who needs to go west of Camphrier Town. In fact, I know I’m not. There’s at least four other trainers desperately wanting to cross over. Why couldn’t someone have used the Poke Flute to wake this lazy lump up beforehand?
This lazy lump, in case you couldn’t tell, is a rather large Snorlax, who likes to sleep near little Poke babies – that sounds creepy but think about it. He’s napping right next to the Day Care Centre. Someone please think of the children… I’d managed to retrieve the Poke Flute from the mansion and so was ready to wake Snorlax up. This got me thinking: is the Poke Flute kind of like a dog whistle that only Snorlax can hear? Or does it have other uses too? It seems like in all of the Pokemon games all you use this tool for is waking up the same monster and nothing else. Why not call it a Snorlax Flute instead?
I’m digressing because I didn’t really want to fight Snorlax and this was the type of rubbish I went through trying to work out a strategy to beat him. Basically, I didn’t come up with one and had a bunch of random thoughts when I should have been working out what to hit him in the belly with first. So there wasn’t anything else I could do really. I charged in (as best as I could) and sent out my trusty Bulbasaur as the starter.
Snorlax is Level 20. Level. Freaking. 20. Even my Braixen is only a level 17 at this point, and she can one-shot anything in her path with an array of fire and psychic moves. My little Level 15 Bulbasaur was running the risk of being squashed into the ground and being turned into a pressed flower, ready for storing into an old, musty book. He’s also horribly weak; vine whip is not a cool move, even when taking on the occasional fishy fry that crop up. Basically, Bulbasaur is still a little way off being traditionally powerful in any sense, and I begin to panic that this could be where it all goes horribly, horribly wrong for my adventure, which has been curiously easy so far.
Luckily, I had a plan. I want that Snorlax and I can’t kill it. But at this stage in the game I don’t have any fancy balls to throw at it either (I realise that sounds horrifically euphemistic). I had a clutch of Great Balls at my disposal, which I’d bought specifically just for this occasion. This was about the only real prep I’d actually done.
My first move is to bombard Snorlax with an absolute barrage of status effects. I put him to sleep with some fine powder and then paralyze him with Bulbasaur’s spores. Then I sat and looked at the screen for a while. I didn’t want to risk Snorlax waking up and killing Bulbasaur, but I was worried that Braixen would be too strong to take it on; a critical hit could kill it. So Snorlax sat for a while and wobbled around a bit as he dozed away and Bulbasaur stood there watching him. Riveting action. This is what we’ve all come to read about: Pokemon staring at each other on the battlefield.
Eventually I knew I had to make a move, so I did the only thing I could think of doing. I vine whipped his ass. Yes, I realise just a few paragraphs ago I said that vine whip was about as useless as a chocolate teapot (despite having a deceptively powerful-sounding name) but I didn’t have much of a choice. I could have sent my lovely new Honedge out, but the only offensive move he knew was slash. To get a bit technical and nerdy on everyone for a moment, that would have been a disaster. Slash, being a physical move, would have been truly pathetic against Snorlax’s monstrous defence stat. As a special attack, vine whip at least had a bit more effect, even if it felt negligible at times.
After a few vine whips, Snorlax wakes up and I’m terrified that he’ll put himself to sleep again. If he used rest, it could all be over. He’d recover his HP and I wouldn’t have enough skill points left to use enough vine whips to weaken him again. Then I’d risk either killing him with Braixen or fighting an incredibly arduous battle with Honedge. Neither of those were looking like good options. I’m lucky. He doesn’t rest. He smacks me square in the face and my HP goes into the red. Bulbasaur is on the verge of death. Snorlax’s HP is low. What do I do? Do I switch Bulbasaur out and risk bringing in another Pokemon, knowing that he might rest that same turn? Or do I throw a great ball at him and just hope and pray that he doesn’t break free and hit me again? This isn’t a very easy choice. I’ve grown attached to Bulbasaur in his short time on the team and I don’t want to lose him. On the other hand, I need another strong edition to the team. I couldn’t let him go and then run into another Dunsparce.
If this was a television drama, this is the point where there would be a dramatic close up of a bead of a single bead of sweat slowly trickling down the side of my face. But this isn’t and lucky, it’s just a game. On that basis, I do what could be the foolish thing and throw a great ball at the fat lump. One wobble. Two wobbles. And…. Free. I should have expected that.
I prepared to say my final farewells to Bulbasaur and braced myself for my first death of the challenge. But I was lucky. Snorlax seemingly just didn’t want to fight Bulbasaur anymore. He instead curled up into a defensive ball. Buoyed by this turn of fortune, I ordered Bulbasaur to use his sleep powder again and it worked. With another throw of a great ball, I’d gained myself a new sparring partner and my leafy friend had lived to fight another day.
The choice of who to dump into the PC Box this time was obvious. With Snorlax, Bulbasaur, Honedge, Braixen and a newly-evolved Ledian on my side (yes, I grinded a few levels to make the flying bug a bit more worthwhile. Only a bit), that left one last option to throw into the box. It was time to say goodbye to Dunsparce for a while. Hopefully forever. Despite it being only the third Pokemon I’d physically caught on this playthrough, I’d never used Dunsparce a single time in battle. I’d never even bothered to train him up so that he was more powerful. Instead, he’d just been sitting in his poke ball not really doing anything, taking up room and making my team look more powerful that it really was (hey, no one else can tell what I’ve got in those balls).
Still, I felt a bit guilty for the way I’d treated Dunsparce. After all, it’s not his fault he was programmed to be frankly awful at everything. Putting him in a PC seemed a bit cruel and like the final insult to the worm-like creature, so I decided to do the more humane thing. I placed him into the pen in the Day Care Centre. I’d never used the Day Care Centre before and even though it costs a lot to get Pokemon back, I was never really intending to collect Dunsparce again. It was a bit like leaving a small waif on the doorstep of an orphanage, except I didn’t really feel guilty at all. Dunsparce would be happier frolicking with the other Pokemon and playing with the toys. Especially since that pesky, creepy Snorlax was now safe in my possession.