I’ve been listening a lot to the psych-infused alt rock band Gengahr in recent weeks since receiving an advance copy of their debut album A Dream Outside for work. It’s not always the most spectacular album but it’s got some very interesting ideas and demonstrates that the London quartet – who, coincidentally, were quite brilliant when I saw them live last year supporting Dry The River – could develop into a fully-blown, even weirder version of Wild Beasts, which is fine by me. Why am I telling you this? In a way, there’s no reason to say any of this. On the other hand, they’ve got a song called Haunter. No plans in the works to name anything Gastly yet, but you never know; perhaps Gengahr are in on their own joke. The only reason I really mention any of this is because Gengahr have subtly reminded me that I am supposed to be about a third of the way through my hardcore Pokémon challenge right now, though work commitments and a ton of other things have meant that progress through Pokémon X has slowed down to a pace even a snail would roll his beady eyes at.
Despite this, I did manage to eventually make it through probably the worst cave in the game this week without any deaths. Reflection Cave has a cool concept and looks purdy – it’s got naturally-formed mirrors on the wall, a lot of crystal stalactites and stalagmites and there’s quite a nice range of different Pokémon trainers inside to stop thee battles getting too boring.
At this point I should also probably point out that I’m now in possession of two particularly powerful Pokémon, thanks to evolution. Braixen is now a Delphox, and Ivysaur has become Venusaur. Venusaur is probably one of my favourite Pokémon, if only because it was my most trusted companion when I first playing Pokémon Blue as a kid. It’s also got some decent moves that help with the despatching of rock and ground Pokémon and, yes, this is a cave, so there’s plenty of those. Delphox is brilliant as he/she combines fire and psychic moves, two types that I’ve always had quite a passion for. Having Delphox on my team gives me a higher chance of being able to take on psychics without too much bother.
Incidentally, this is the first time you encounter psychics and karate girls/ men on mass, and this doesn’t sit too well with me. My Pokémon aren’t too well equipped to deal with the threat of psychic or fighting-types and so entering the cave on this level fills me with a certain amount of dread. The psychics tend to have fairly weak Pokémon, which is nice for me. I remember the days when encountering a psychic could spell instant death, due to the overpowered natured of the Abra line. Luckily, they kind of smoothed that over a little bit. The practisers of karate are a tiny bit more bothersome due to the high attack stats of most fighting Pokémon. I don’t really have anything in my team that can deal with these blows too effectively, and so, before heading into the cave, I made sure to double-back quickly to stock up on potions I can use after battle. This proves to be a good strategy, as there’s a couple of times where critical hits have landed, leaving me in the red.
You’re probably wondering why I think this cave is the worst. I have only two words for that. Roggenrola. Horde. Is there anyone on the planet who encounters a horde of Roggenrola in Reflection Cave and thinks to themselves “oh this is great, an easy battle!” Theoretically, this battle should be extremely easy with either a grass or water Pokémon to hand. Unfortunately, it’s not. At least, not yet. Currently, I don’t have any moves that can wipe out all of the Roggenrola in one fell swoop. This means I have to take them down one by one. This doesn’t seem so bad on the surface, seeing as how individually the Pokémon hardly do any damage. No, the trouble comes when they start lowering your stats en masse as a group. God help us all. I was particularly unlucky in encountering Roggenrola hordes when walking through Reflection Cave; it seemed every random battle I’d be encountering them and it sucked. It sucked hard.
I was so exasperated at one point that I fled from battle. But then I couldn’t remember if fleeing from battle was against the rules. In a fit of panic and guilt, I reset the game and found that I was outside the cave again, and would have to go through the whole process again. Well, at least I can’t be accused of cheating…