I played Pokemon Ruby in April of 2003, picking Ruby over Sapphire simply because my favorite color is red. That was my first mistake! Not only is Groudon one of the ugliest Pokemon ever, but the much prettier Latias is in Sapphire. The battle system is different enough that all of your post-champion battles are going to be in single, pair, or trio battles. That means you have to make sets of three that work well together as well as hard hitting pairs. While still far from perfect, the animations for the moves were improved significantly, as was Pokemon type balance, and two player battles were added, which I think is a step in the right direction. The addition of the Battle Tower and Pokemon Contests are also features that help extend game play and keep the game from getting to repetitious after you beat the champion. A huge leap forward was the vastly improved Pokemon storage system. In Gold/Silver it was as if the train of bad planning and the train of bad design collided and when the dust cleared the Gold/Silver box storage system was all that was left. The new system was easy to use and browse, not to mention all of the adorable Pokemon icons. The combination of it all lead to me wanting to catch and store one of every single Pokemon in the game in my meticulously numbered boxes.
I did a lot better in Ruby than I did in Silver, though I did get a male Torchic not knowing all eggs Pokemon laid were the female Pokemon, then I gave it HM moves not knowing they couldn’t be deleted before realizing it was one of the best fire-types in the game – d’oh! Other than that I didn’t louse things up too much, though I stupidly did NOT get the Master Ball because I left the area it was in and then it was sealed off. I have a near-complete Pokedex (though I am missing Latias and Kingdra) and I’ve won Master Rank Contests in Beauty, Tough, and Cute categories. I also beat trainers in the battle tower, which was a lot of fun. Because of my missing Latias I played through a game of Sapphire, but sadly I still haven’t seen her after searching for an unhealthy amount of time.
The original Pokemon who debuted in this game are some of my absolute favorites and I had a very hard time not building a massive team because of it. The fossil Pokemon, which before had been solidly prehistoric but personally unappealing, turned into to the southwestern Mexican folk art inspired Anorith/Armaldo and Lileep/Cradily. There seems to be a real Mexican folk favor the the new character design on the whole, Ludicolo, Masquerain, Cacnea/Cacturne, Kecleon, Duskull, and Snorunt are all great examples of the trend. There were also a lot of great hard-hitting Pokemon added like the beauteous Milotic, Altaria, Flygon, Delcatty (which is this game’s Persian), and Gardevior. The other new Pokemon in the game are interesting as well. The Linoone is pretty much useless to fight with, but it can be loaded with HMs and keeping it on the team means its Pickup auto ability will land you a lot of great items. Without a Linoone, Rare Candy is scarce, but if you fight enough on Route 119 with one on your team you’ll get all the RC you want. The addition of auto abilities is very much welcome because it adds an interesting balancing element to your strategy. Another Pokemon addition is the existence of ideal pairs, such as Plusle and Minun, as well as Volbeat and Illumise, Pokemon that seemingly exist only to battle in tandem with the other. For example, Castform alone is fairly weak, but it’s ability to adapt to weather as well as alter it make it the ideal teammate for any Pokemon that benefits from a weather condition. The only troubling thing about the Pokemon design in the game is the persistence of painfully outdated Pokemon from Red/Blue such as Grimer/Muk, the Machamp set, the Golem set, Pinsir, Rhyhorn/Rhydon, Koffing/Weezing, Magnemite/Magneton, Voltorb/Electrode, three of the four Zubat evolutions, and Goldeen/Seaking. This persistance of crap Pokemon is aggravated by the fact that they were chosen over such great Pokemon as the Dragonite set, the Chansey set, and the entire Evee set. In my opinion the choices were so bad I half expected to see Tangela in the game.
The starting Pokemon are also some of the best to come along, as well as being some of the best of their type in the game, and the design is very unique for each of them. My Blaziken remains one of my favorite Pokemon in the game, even if it’s Combusken stage was a bit awkward looking. The legendary Pokemon in this game were done in a most satisfactory manner as well, even though Groudon and Kyogre are not my kind of Pokemon they are part of a much larger legendary set. Diverging from the standard 2 static, 3 dynamic, 1 from Nintendo only strategy is a huge step forward in my opinion. In this game set a third static legendary Pokemon, Rayquaza, was added, hinting at Pokemon Emerald. While I don’t like the aesthetic of the set it at least looks like a solid set, unlike Lugia and Ho-oh. For the dynamic or roaming legendary Pokemon this game features the siblings Latios and Latias, which are highly stylized and well balanced. I was somewhat saddened that the roaming Pokemon aren’t a trio like the cats or birds, a three dragon set would have been nice. The Regis made up for that, in my opinion, they’re not easy to get, they’re unique types, have solid design, and they kick butt. Finally, the Nintendo exclusive Pokemon, Jirachi and Dioxys, are actually available. Jirachi was given away when you reserved Pokemon Stadium, which I did, and Dioxys is featured in the Fire Red and Leaf Green remakes. Jirachi is a Steel Psychic type, which continues the long tradition of Nintendo only legendary Pokemon being Psychic.
Since you can pick being a female trainer in this game my only major gender concern from the previous Pokemon games has been fixed. Overall I’m hoping the improvements made between Gold/Silver and Ruby/Sapphire are indication that the next set of Pokemon games will be much improved. Now the part you’ve all been waiting for, my stats!
ID Number: 37934
Pokemon Seen: 199
Pokemon Caught: 199
Time Played: 191:42
My Pokemon Team
Adore the Flygon (Female)
Stats: Lv 100, HP 296, Attack 256, Defense 196, SpAttack 209, SpDefense 214, Speed 255
Moves: Earthquake, Flamethrower, Crunch, Dragon Claw
Oiseaux the Altaria (Female)
Stats: Lv 100, HP 290, Attack 177, Defense 207, SpAttack 209, SpDefense 240, Speed 210
Moves: Fly, Sky Attack, Ice Beam, Perish Song
Mildred the Milotic (Female)
Stats: Lv 85, HP 275, Attack 149, Defense 166, SpAttack 198, SpDefense 212, Speed 165
Moves: Rain Dance, Waterfall, Hydro Pump, Recover
Fleur the Bellossom (Female)
Stats: Lv 72, HP 213, Attack 169, Defence 160, SpAttack 138, SpDefense 160, Speed 111
Moves: Petal Dance, Sleep Powder, Moonlight, Solarbeam
Jirachi the Jirachi (N/A)
Stats: Lv 84, HP 309, Attack 247, Defense 192, SpAttack 178, SpDefense 209, Speed 209
Moves: Confusion, Psychic, Wish, Cosmic Power
The last spot on my team had been filled by so many Pokemon that I can’t put a definitive sixth Pokemon down. Some of the ones I rotated in and out of that slot are Absol, Skitty, Gardevoir, and Castform, but I never did decide who would be the final Pokemon on team Brigitte Rocks ^_^