The Let's Play Archive

Pokemon Blue

by Metroixer

Part 19: TAS part 2

From the Fuchsia Pokemon Center, I go directly to the Gym without healing. Healing wastes more time than I'd gain from recovering Hydro Pump's PP.

Koga has unavoidable underlings, but they're easily dealt with. Gyarados finally matches the level of some opponents, rather than being hilariously underlevelled for every fight.

Koga himself is fairly easy to fight, though Gyarados doesn't have a full stock of Hydro Pumps.

I let this Weezing poison Gyarados with Smog.

I'm rather proud of the precision I achieved with this next Safari Glitch.

This time, I actually ventured into the Safari Zone, taking the shortest possible route to reach the Secret House.

When I reach this building, Gyarados has 1 HP.

I faint out to Fuchsia City once again. I found out while experimenting on this run that if poison knocks you out of the Safari Zone, the game keeps counting steps as if you're still in the Safari Zone.

I then get humiliated by a wild Bellsprout in order to bring Gyarados' health down in a hurry. I literally spent several hours trying to run into Weepinbell instead, but had no luck.

Once again, I gain the ability to go through walls.

One again, the sprites in this area are shifted.

This time, I head to Cerulean City, but I don't go to the Gym.

Once again, I go right over an obstructive guard to enter a door. Now that I have Surf, and the Soulbadge to use it, I'm able to catch Mewtwo.

Now Gyarados knows Surf. It takes an annoyingly long time to teach an HM when the subject already has 4 moves. That's why Gyarados is the only Pokemon with a full moveset that I teach anything.

I go through the cave, again ensuring that I don't encounter any wild Pokemon whatsoever.

This is definitely going into the 6th slot in my inventory.

Considered by the game's designers to be the ultimate test of a player's skill, preparedness, and resolve, the battle with Mewtwo is arguably the game's final boss fight. Many players saved the Master Ball for this critical battle, while others were forced to rely on sleep techniques and reducing Mewtwo's health.

I rely on that 1/256 chance that any old Pokeball will act like a Master Ball.

I escape rope out of Cerulean Cave, since leaving normally will trap me. This sends me back to Fuchsia city.

I now follow the normal, non-glitched route.

I heal in Vermillion City, because this Pokemon Center is now closer to my goals. I could have saved time on the run by withdrawing Abra and Charmander here, but there's a glitch I want to show off in Celadon City.

Before fighting Erika, however, I must defeat Misty. Erika is the only Gym Leader that can't be defeated as part of the reverse sequence. You need to use Cut inside her gym, and you need the Cascadebadge to use Cut. To stay fairly close to the correct sequence, I go defeat Misty just before fighting Erika. Note that I can now skip Misty's underlings by using Surf in her gym.

Misty is an easy fight.

The fastest way to Celadon is slightly ridiculous, as I still can't use Fly. I have to bike all the way to Bill's house, the nearest location where I can use the Escape Rope. Again, this would be much faster if I had withdrawn Abra to use Teleport, but I want to demonstrate a glitch.

Now in Vermillion, I head to Celadon City.

This is the Hotel, which apparently serves no purpose whatsoever in the game, other than filling space in this corner. The developers didn't bother making a new map, they just cribbed off the Pokemon Center template.

It seems that when they created this place, they forgot to remove the PC code. This is the glitch that I wanted to show off.

I need to use Abra's Teleport one more time, and I need Charmander to cut down the trees in Erika's Gym.

I can teach Cut very quickly, because level 14 Charmander only knows 3 moves. Charmander leans Leer at level 15. Remember that trick way back in Pewter City, where I backtracked to avoid fighting a trainer with 4 Pokemon.

Finally, that trick speeds up the run slightly. If Charmander had instead fought the guy who uses 4 Pokemon, it would now be level 15 — and teaching Cut would take longer.

This is the tree that makes it impossible to truly beat every Gym in reverse order.

Erika is another very easy fight for Level 70 Mewtwo.

(This is one of the 3 modified screenshots. Because of the way the game renders text, the message originally said "DODUO w", so I removed the w.)

I catch Doduo here because it can learn Fly, it's directly on the way to the woman who gives out the Fly HM, and Doduo only knows 2 moves at level 18. Again, this makes it possible to teach is Fly much faster than a Pokemon with 4 moves.

This reclusive woman reappears near the end of Pokemon Gold/Silver, though in those games she gives out the TM for Steel Wing.

I have to teleport away, because I still can't use Fly. In order to fly around, you need Lt. Surge's badge.

Of course, I teleport directly to Vermillion City. Time to pay The Lightning American a visit.

I had to constantly modify the timing of Abra's teleport to put Lt. Surge's secret switches in favourable locations. The RNG apparently determines the location of the switches based on when you enter Vermillion City. Sometimes it decides that there is no second switch, guaranteeing that you'll need to take multiple tries before you have a non-zero chance of winning.

I teach Doduo Fly here, because the HM02 is at the bottom of my inventory. Entering a battle moves all cursors in the menu all the way to the top, which is where I keep my Bicycle.

Surge is yet another pushover for Mewtwo.

Finally, I'm able to fly directly to a location.

This is the last time I set up this trick to leave the Safari Zone, I swear.

It's time to get that last badge, the first one.

In a proper speedrun, it's possible to skip Brock entirely, because you can avoid the Victory Road guards that ask for the Boulderbadge and Earthbadge, so there's also no need to fight Giovanni. When Primorial#soup made his 1 hour, 18 minute TAS, this fact wasn't known yet. If anyone wants to take the time to make a new Pokemon Blue TAS, it's possible to improve this time by around 2 minutes.

In the time it took you to read that paragraph, Mewtwo mops the floor with Brock's team.

Time to go once more to Viridian city.

If you go to the eastern edge of Cinnabar Island, where you're in water and taking 1 step to the left puts you on dry land, odd things happen. The Pokemon from the last area you were in appear on the ocean, whether or not they can swim. This is because the game automatically resets the encounter tables when you enter a new area. However, because of a programming oversight, the encounter tables aren't reset on the coast of Cinnabar until you swim 1 tile to the right. Some innovator had the clever idea to force a wild encounter by watching this old man catch a Weedle, and then going to Cinnabar Island's glitchy coast.

However, the fact that the old man forces a Weedle encounter is not the cause of Missingno encounters. When you watch the old man catch Weedle, the character name is temporarily changed from Sexxy mn to OLD MAN. To store the character name, it is dumped into the random encounter tables — after all, thought the programmers, these are reset upon entering a new area. However, when you surf on Cinnabar Island's coast, these are not reset, and you encounter Pokemon based on your name. Their levels are determined by the 2nd, 4th, and 6th characters in your name. Their species are determined by the 3rd, 5th, and 7th characters. The name A.D, for example, causes you to encounter level 242 Mewtwo on the coast. For further information, consult the table on TASvideos.

(This is the last of the 3 modified screenshots. I removed the w from "WEEDLE w".)

Executing the Missingno. glitch, it's important to not enter any areas with wild pokemon, as this resets the encounter tables.

This is the strip of the Cinnabar coast that does not properly reset encounter tables.

A battle is beginning! What could it be?

OK, explanation time. There are fewer than 256 Pokemon and Trainers in this game, so their sprites are stored in the same way. Professor Oak is considered a trainer by the code, and he actually has a few teams coded into the game. Professor Oak appears when you have the mn symbol in the 3rd, 5th, or 7th slots of your name. In this case, the game loads his team as though the "level" slot was the number of his team. Oak's "level" is the same as that taken by the space character (127), and he has a nonsense team loaded for "level 127".

Professor Oak's first Pokemon is Drowzee, with a rather frightening level. I don't know why all of his Pokemon are level 111, when you'd expect them to be level 80 if anything. Perhaps most trainers are set to have only 1 level for their team, and Oak doesn't get to be an exception to this rule.

Luck-manipulation is still up to the task of bringing down Oak's Drowzee.

Next is Rhydon, the Pokemon with a number of 1, therefore often considered to be the first coded into the game.

Mewtwo isn't up to the task of taking it down in 1 shot, but 2 Psychic attacks do the trick.

Next up is Pidgey. From this point on, Mewtwo can take down all of Professor Oak's Pokemon with 1 shot.

Critical Psychic.

Super-effective Psychic.

Here comes Missingno, the most iconic and most common glitch Pokemon. The reason it's so common is that it occupies several slots in the Pokemon data, rather than just one. Encountering Missingno. adds 128 to the number of your 6th inventory item. Normally a player will want to get 128 Master Balls, but I skipped so much plot that I never got the chance to acquire that item. As a nod to this strategy, however, I set it up so my 6th item is the Ultra Ball I picked up in Cerulean Cave.

Missingno. has laughable Special, so a single Psychic brings it down.

Finally, Professor Oak sends out this monstrosity. It takes several seconds before I'm able to advance to the next screen, and I need to press the A button twice to make the system notice.

While I'm attacking this glitch, its name sometimes emerges onto the bottom of my screen.

Here, it even intrudes on the text box.

This thing seems to have inherited Grimer's poison type and weak Special stat. Many glitch Pokemon have this unusual trait — they copy the base stats of the last Pokemon they met, and sometimes they also copy their movesets. This glitch did not copy Grimer's moveset — it seems to know Tackle and TM06, which sharply raises Evasion.

Finally, I am rid of this strange glitch and the game returns to "normal". Pokemon Blue's remarkable method of error handling involves treating any data coming its way as "standard", and it keeps going until the game fatally crashes or goes back to a non-glitched state.

For some reason, Oak has the maximum amount of money to give away when he's defeated.

It's time to look at Caterpie's stats to take advantage of that thing where glitch Pokemon copy the stats of the last Pokemon the game loaded. Caterpie are ridiculously easy to catch, and I didn't want to spend an hour trying to catch Missingno. with a 1/256 chance.

This is Aerodactyl-Skeleton-Forme Missingno.. Unlike regular Missingno., it copies the base stats and moveset of the last Pokemon the game loaded normally. The other formes of Missingno. with normal sprites are Kabutops-Skeleton-Forme and Ghost-Forme. This, by the way, is the way to catch Lugia in Pokemon Red/Blue. If you trade Ghost-Forme Missingno. (which looks like the ghosts in Lavender Tower before you have the Silph Scope) to Gold/Silver, it becomes Lugia. There's no "What? Missingno. is evolving!" It simply appears in Gold/Silver as a Lugia, knowing Ghost-Forme Missigno.'s moves.

Furthermore, if you look at the Pokedex data for Ditto before encountering Ghost-Forme Missingno., it will know Transform when you fight it. Any Pokemon using Transform on a Red Gyarados (imported from Gold/Silver) in the first generation copies the bit of code making it shiny. This is how I had a shiny Ditto, Lugia, Mew, and Tyranitar (from Skeleton-Forme Missingno.) in my copy of Gold/Silver. Of course, I had to deal with the game sometimes recognizing that I'm trying to trade Missingno., at which point it refuses to finish the trade.

By the way, this is the real reason I chose the name Sexxy mn. I wanted to have x, y, and mn in the critical slots, so I could encounter Aerodactyl-Skeleton-Forme Missingno., Ghost-Forme Missingno., and Professor Oak.

This thing's cry is amazing. It takes 20 seconds for the whole thing to play out enough for the game to let me exit the Pokedex screen. It starts up the Gym Leader battle theme at some point in the cry, and keeps playing it on a loop if I stay in this screen.

Unfortunately, VBA 19.4 is not a perfect emulator, and this Missingno. becomes a Rhydon when caught. As with many of these glitch corrections, there's a slight chance of this happening on the Gameboy, but it seems to happen every time with this emulator. However, it's still a monster level 164 Rhydon with Rhydon moves and Mewtwo stats — at least, until it levels up, which will send it down to level 100.

Here's a graphical anomaly that stems from this text box popping up while the area is still loading. The old man on the roof stays there until the text box is closed.

I wander around for a little bit here to luck-manipulate this girl so she walks right, allowing me to show off another graphical anomaly.

When I surf into the water, the girl abruptly disappears. This is because the game loads this route, and also loads the edge of Cinnabar Island so the island is visible from water. However, the game's perception of the east side of Cinnabar does not include the girl, who is rather unlikely to walk this far to the right.

With that glitch demonstrated, I fly to Vermillion City. There are more secrets to uncover.

The S.S. Anne has sailed, and this guy won't let you on anymore. Methods exist to leave the S.S. Anne without the ship setting sail — you could faint while on the ship after acquiring HM01, or you could simply trade a Pokemon that knows Cut from a friend.

On the other hand, it's possible to get past the ticket checker when the S.S. Anne has left. You just need to walk to the right while just above him, and then save.

After you reset, a remarkable thing happens. You're still facing right, though normally the character is facing downward after any save. Some of the game still thinks that you're facing downward, while some of the game thinks you're facing right.

The code that checks if you can use Surf disagrees with the code that sends you in a direction when you surf. The Surf check succeeds, but the surfing sends you downward — onto a solid obstacle.

From there, it's possible to walk downwards, past the ticket checker.

The S.S. Anne is still there, apparently because the game automatically assumes that it should be. However, this famous Easter Egg truck is one piece of evidence that the designers knew clever players would find a way to return to the S.S. Anne with Surf.

Here's another piece of evidence — these solid barriers keep you from crashing the game by loading a non-mapped area. If the designers expected that no players could Surf on this water, there'd be no need for the barriers.

My work here is done. I leave this area, with no secret Mew eggs to be found.

Remember when I started the Safari Glitch, but didn't use it for anything. Now, the PA is finally calling me back. Note the guy standing on a rock — that's another graphical anomaly that comes from a text box appearing while the game is still loading the characters in an area.

Here I am in the Safari Building, but for once I'm unable to walk through walls. I exit the door as normal. Normally, the game should happily put me at Exit #4 in the current area — which should be Fuchsia City. However, I'm not in Fuchsia City, and this area has fewer than 4 exits.

The game tries to put me at the nonexistent Exit #4, which results in this glitchy area — Glitch City. Glitch City incorporates elements of the area it's connected to. Glitch City is consistent for a given area, but varies from place to place. Each one could even be mapped. I've tested every Glitch City in the game, and this one is by far the largest.

The geometry is often illogical, with features such as this ledge that lets me jump onto the surface of the water.

I can start using Surf from here while submerged in the water.

There are many doorways in Glitch City, but no-one has ever found a door or cave entrance that leads anywhere. This door simply acts like a piece of walkable ground.

One odd feature is the double ledge — two ledges facing each other, allowing you to hop back and forth forever.

After a moment, I resume surfing.

I jump over another double ledge here.

I land here and the game stops. I have jumped past the edge. On the far right, you can see the game's attempt to render an unmapped area.

First, Sexxy mn's sprite disappears.

For a moment, the screen fills with static. The music dies.

When this screen appears, you're hosed. A GameBoy also freezes completely at this point, with the same glitchy appearance. The emulator doesn't crash at this point (VBA never crashes, in my experience), but it refuses to emulate another frame.

This felt like an appropriate place to end the TAS. I beat the Gyms in (almost) reverse order, learned how to catch Pokemon, fought Professor Oak, and brought the game to a screeching halt.

Let me remind you one more time: Everything here was done without a GameShark, Action Replay, RAM modification, or any cheat code.