01: Littleroot Town
First I want to say -- welcome to Hoenn! Now I admit that the manner by which you arrived was a bit, umm, unorthodox. Your mother is lucky that Child and Family Services did not find out that she had the moving van company pack you in the back of their lorry for the trip, as I am fairly certain that would result in charges!
But no worries about all that! You are here! You are home! At your new home! In Littleroot Town! In... Littleroot... Town... Why am I so excited about that?! Littleroot is the armpit of the universe! Nothing ever happens there! There is nothing to do! Oh man! We live in Littleroot Town! That would be like living in Goomeri in Queensland... Actually now that I think on it, you'd be better off in Goomeri actually, they have shops and restaurants and at least something to do. Well I guess we will just have to make the best of it, mate!
As you climb down off of the back of the truck your mum comes out to greet you, and takes you inside to show you the new digs, and let you see your new room, which she has had the moving Pokemon unpack for you. I swear if one of the Vigoroth broke my Gamecube I am going to be so...
After you check out your room head down stairs where mum will draw your attention to the TV, which has a news crew at the Petalburg Gym, which is the gym your da Norman is the leader for!
Sadly you miss that bit, but mum tells you about your Da's mate who lives in town -- Professor Birch -- and suggests that you pop over and say hello! As you hit the front door to your new home this is the point where your new adventures actually begins. You are about to set out upon on epic adventures full of Pokemon, evil trainers, good mates, and good times. Be happy!
Deciding who to pick
-- The Adventure Begins --
Professor Birch lives right next door, which makes this all a bit convenient, so go ahead and pop over to say hello -- but do not expect to meet the Prof just yet, no no. As you go in you will be greeted by Mrs. Birch, who will send you upstairs to meet their daughter May!
Now, unlike previous games in the series, May is not your rival -- think of her more as a condescending but helpful older kid who tolerates you because she wants to help you learn about her favorite subject in the whole world: Pokemon!
After you have a chat with May and she tells you that she has to go help her da, why not pop in to the Lab to the south end of town and say hello to the Lab Assistant there, and then head to the north path that leads out of town, where there is a little girl waiting.
She tells you that there are scary noises coming from the path and asks you to go and check it out -- when you do (of course you do!) you find the Professor being chased by an angry Pokemon! He calls for help, and directs you to grab a Pokemon from his bag on the ground!
This is where you will be choosing your starter Pokemon -- you can pick from a Treecko, a Torchic, or a Mudkip -- a grass-type, fire-type, and water-type respectively. In the previous games I chose Torchic because they had a decided advantage but in Emerald that has changed. A smarter bet would be to go with Treecko, because they have a slight edge when you get to the Elite 4, but the thing is, I know Torchic really well, and its moves, its abilities, and style -- so even at a slight disadvantage I can make it sing like a Phoenix! So I chose Torchic.
You really need to think this through before you make your choice, because while you will be getting other Pokemon, your starter is always going to be the Captain of your Team, so you should try to pick the one that best fits your style of play.
If you are passive, and prefer to fight middle-of-the-road, Treecko is probably the best choice here. If you are a defensive trainer who prefers to use tactics like xx then Mudkip is the obvious choice, while an aggressive trainer who likes to wade right in and kick butt will find Torchic to be the ideal companion.
Once you have made your choice, you will find yourself facing a wild Zigzagoon for your very first Pokemon Battle! Now obviously the idea here is to defeat it -- you do not have any Poke Balls, and even if you did, you do not know what you are doing anyway, because you are a total noob in the world of Pokemon Trainers at this point in the story, so go ahead and do battle, with the goal being to KO your opponent!
After you win the Prof will thank you and then take you back to his Lab where, after a brief chat, he will gift you with the Pokemon you chose earlier. He then urges you to go and have a chat with his daughter, and effectively dismisses you. That pretty much wraps up your first adventure in Hoenn and Littleroot Town! How about that?
-- The Next Adventure --
Exiting the Lab we may as well head to the Professor's house now and have another chat with May, but between there and the front door to the Lab you will notice that there are three citizens of Littleroot wandering about -- go ahead and have a chat with each to learn something about computer storage and tidbits about Birch.
At the Professor's house, if you have not already done so, chat up his youngest child, who offers you a very friendly greeting. Nice town this Littleroot, has a friendly bunch of people. Sadly when you check upstairs you find that May is not in her room -- so go ahead and leave the house now.
** An Important Bit of Advice **
Before we continue with our adventures in Hoenn I would like to take a moment to have a brief chat with you about your play habits, and in particular making use of the save feature for this title. There is nothing worse than playing for a long time, and then either forgetting to save and turning off the player or worse, running into a string of bad luck that causes something to happen in the game that you would rather had not happened, only to discover that you failed to make checkpoint saves and so cannot easily undo it.
There are no automatic saves in the world of Pokemon. You have to actively develop the habit of making checkpoint saves of your own. What I have done is made it a rule for myself to save whenever I enter or exit a building or change zones. That is an easy to remember prompt, and invariably when something bad happens it happens shortly after exiting a building or changing a zone.
I suggest that you get into the habit of doing the same!
Second, there is the question of hit points (HP). Unlock many games, simply winning a battle does not restore your HP -- to accomplish;ish that you must rest, or partake of the services of a Nurse in a Poke Center in one of the larger towns, who has a machine that can heal up your team of Pokemon while they are still in their balls.
As there is no Poke Center in Littleroot, the developers gave your mm the power to heal -- all that you need to do is enter your house and talk to your mum, and she will automatically put you through the healing process.
If you watched the video you will note that before leaving our room on the grand tour of the new house I removed a potion from the PC storage system. The Potions have the same effect as a healing though they are more limited, as where being healed restores all of your HP, Potions only restore up to the amount that is their maximum.
** End of Useful Chat **
So after leaving the Professor's house, drop in and have a brief chat with your mum if you took any damage at all in the battle earlier -- and even if you did not, since being healed also restores the PP of your Pokemon (think of PP as action points -- you only have so many per move, and when you run out of PP you can no longer use that move until you are healed and thus your action points are restored).
Now that we have taken care of those minor chores, head outside again and then walk north to the path you originally met the Prof on, where you will find Route 101, which connects Littleroot to Oldale Town. In the tall grass on the Route you will meet various trainers who will talk to you, battle you, or offer you pressies depending upon the trainer.
Obviously it is a good idea to talk to any and every trainer that you encounter, because they might offer you useful advice and information, a nice pressie, or the opportunity to pick up a larger chunk of XP than you will receive for wild battles, and maybe some money to help defray your travel expenses if you happen to beat them, which I expect that you will do more often than not.
The Tall Grass is where you find Wild Pokemon
-- Tall Grass --
A word about Tall Grass -- that is where you are going to encounter the wild Pokemon that you battle and capture. The Tall Grass is where most of them live, though some also live in water, and in caves, in magma pools, and other odd places. Still the majority live in Tall Grass, and because of that you should expect to encounter wild Pokemon in Tall Grass. Are we clear on that?
At the moment you have exactly one Pokemon -- your starter -- who is at Level 5, and only knows two moves -- one offensive and one defensive -- and none of those moves are type-moves. If you examine your inventory you should have your daypack (called a "Bag" in this world), which has a number of pockets built into it:
-- Key Items Pocket: will hold all of the Key Items that you collect in your adventures, and there will be a lot of that sort, believe me!
-- Items: A sort of catch-all that contains any items that are not part of the type that the other pockets contain. In this case all that you should have in the entire bag is the Potion that we got from the PC in our house, which should be in the Items Pocket now.
-- Poke Balls: There are actually many different types of Poke Ball, from the bog standard red and white variety to special ones that work on specific Pokemon or under specific conditions. There is also the Master Ball that you will eventually get as a reward, but think long and hard before using that as there is only one of those in the entire game unless you clone it, which though frowned upon is fairly easy to do once you have access to a special area of the game called the Battle Frontier, but more on that subject later!
-- TM's & HM's Pocket: This is where you will store the Technical Machines (TM's) and Hidden Machines (HM's) that you encounter in the world. A TM is a one-time use move teaching device that is destroyed when you use it, but that can teach a useful move to one of your Pokemon. An HM is a more sturdy device that can be used over and over again, but is also much more rare, and only teaches special moves of a sort that you will need to move the story forward, reach special areas in the game, or otherwise perform special functions.
-- Berries Pocket: This is where you will store the many different types of Berry you encounter in the game, berries that are used for a variety of functions, making special items that are used to permanently enhance a Pokemon's abilities for competition, or that have specific temporary effects when they are consumed by your Pokemon. As berries never go bad, and the bag will hold an unlimited amount, you should actively acquire any that you find.
That takes care of your bag -- the only other possession you have that is worth noting is your Trainer Card, also reached through the Pause/Inventory Button, which will eventually contain all sorts of useful information about you, including statistics and the badges you have earned.
At the moment all that it can tell you is your name, the amount of time you have played the game, and how much money is in your wallet. Not that this is not useful information mind you, but later you will find that the ID card is actually useful beyond that.
The Option selection can be used to alter certain aspects of the game, like how fast text messages are displayed on the screen -- I suggest that you change it to the fastest setting -- the borders used in the game interface, and the sound style. Go ahead and change anything there you think needs tweaking but remember to save after leaving that sub-menu or your changes will not be permanent.
The Tall Grass on Route 101
-- Route 101 --
Route 101 links Littleroot with Oldale Town, and contains a number of Tall Grass spots and trainers for you to meet. It is your first Route in the game.
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Route 101 Area Pokemon Report
-- #261 Poochyena (C)
-- #265 Wurmple (C)
-- #263 Zigzagoon (R)
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See that enclosed section above? That is the Pokemon Report for this Route -- you will find one of these at the beginning of each new Route or area in this guide. Its function is to provide you with a list of all of the wild Pokemon that are available in the current area. You will use that information to see which are here that you do not already have both for their Dex Entry and for your collection.
The Report lists the Pokemon alphabetically, staring with their Dex Number (Pokedex Number). You do not have a Pokedex yet -- you will shortly receive one -- but if you are not aware, the Pokedex is an electronic device with an advanced AI that is used to record information about Pokemon you encounter that it does not know about already. Among other things, the Dex will keep track of which you have seem and which you have captured (an important bit of info).
The listings above use the National Pokedex Number for each Pokemon. You will not obtain your National Pokedex until near the end of the game, and many of the Pokemon you encounter will be numbered with the Local Version of the Pokedex instead of the National Version until you acquire the National Version. The reason that we use the National numbers here in place of the Local is simple: you will use these Reports after obtaining the National Dex in the process of completing your Dex in the later stages of the game, so having them listed this way is actually advantageous for you.
Each listing shows the National Dex Number, the proper name of the Pokemon, and in parenthesis its CURL Rating, followed by any notes about it that may be important. The CURL Rating is actually meant to indicate how rare that particular Pokemon is, and is named after the code that is used to indicate that rarity. The full CURL codes are:
(C) -- Common
(U) -- Uncommon
(R) -- Rare
(L) -- Legendary
When a Pokemon is (C) Common, that means you will encounter it a lot. When it is (U) Uncommon, not so much, and when it is (R) Rare, that usually means considerable effort is necessary to find and catch one.
The notes section will contain information like any special method you need to use to capture the Pokemon; for example Pokemon that can only be captured by using the move Surf will be so noted. Pokemon that you must fish for will have the Rod Type you need to use to catch them listed, and so on.
-- Back on Route 101 --
In the Tall Grass on your left you will encounter a trainer who will tell you about the Tall Grass! After your chat with him, if you like you can troll in the Tall Grass for some wild battles in order to pick up some XP. It would not be a bad idea to level your starter to around 7 or 8 now, just to give you a bit of an edge.
When you battle you may take damage. Once the damage gets to a certain point your Pokemon is at risk of getting incap'd (incapacitated) -- which is a bad thing. Before their health gets that low, head back home and have your mum heal you up, then you can return to the Tall Grass and continue leveling.
This sort of leveling activity is something you will be doing a lot as you play the game, between your battles with other trainers (battling other trainers is always preferable to wild battles because it pays out in XP and money), so you may want to get used to the notion. Trolling the Tall Grass is also largely how you will go about finding Pokemon to capture and add to your collection, but you need Poke Balls to do that and we have none at the moment!
One good reason to level up early is that other than TM and HM moves, the primary means for your Pokemon acquiring new moves is through leveling. For example if you chose Torchic (I did), you will find that when they reach Level 7 they will learn the move Focus Energy, a passive move that raises their critical-hit ratio, and at Level 10 they learn Ember, a fire-type that is also the first of their Type-Moves that they learn.
When you have finished leveling to your satisfaction, continue along the Route and you will meet a trainer who tells you what to do when your Pokemon are tired. Past the last patch of Tall Grass is the town of Oldale!