I planned on doing this while Twitch Plays Pokemon was still on Red, but the real catalyst was the fact that I got a Game Boy emulator on my mobile phone, and I decided to load Pokemon Crystal on it. I never did a Nuzlocke before, so I decided to try my own flavor on it: the Rankalocke.
Rankalocke is named after Ranka from Bardass! It’s a modified Nuzlocke, obviously. Here are the rules:
1. No save scumming.
2. Nickname all your Pokemon.
3. You cannot capture a Pokemon species you have already captured / evolved before. Outside of this, there are no limitations on capture attempts.
4. If a Pokemon faints, you must release it.
5. You are limited only to Pokemon that has at least partial Poison typing. The only exception is you are allowed one Dragon-type in your party slot. If you lose your Dragon-type, you may not use another.
6. The only items you can use in battle are Berries. Potions and the like can only be used outside of battle.
7. You MUST choose Chikorita so your rival chooses Cyndaquil. Once you can use Poke Balls, capture a Weedle and store Cyndaquil.
8. Choosing a female trainer and naming her Ranka, and subsequently naming your rival Balken are completely optional (but they did make for some interesting results).
There were more rules, but they made no sense to employ and only made it pointlessly challenging or extended the length of the playthrough.
I chose Pokemon Crystal because I wasn’t nearly as familiar with Gen II as I was with Gen I, and Gen I had both terrible bugs I didn’t want to deal with and a clear, overwhelming dominance of the psychic type. Besides, Bulbasaur is part Poison, and that kind of makes the first two gyms easy mode. Having Weedle as a pseudo starter is surprisingly fun.
I have already tried this three times before. The first one ended in failure at the first gym. As it turns out, having a majority of your Pokemon being part-grass or part-insect makes it easy for the bird-themed first gym to destroy you.
The second attempt worked out better… until I fought my rival (Balken) at the Slowpoke town. Under my limitations, I had mostly grass and insect Pokemon, with Gastly being the only one not weak against fire. And since I was forced to pick Chikorita, my rival had a Quilava. Quilava swept the hell out of my team with Ember. It was a terrible, fiery massacre.
The third event was actually pretty damned successful. I beat the second gym and made it to Goldenrod City. Then I loaded an old save state and lost all my progress.
I’ve heard the point of a Nuzlocke isn’t so much the challenge as it is the attachment you have to your Pokemon. Because of the rule modifications I made for the Rankalocke, this isn’t quite the case. But what it did do for me is force myself to become more strategic in order to put my limited party to use. I always used to avoid using poison Pokemon at all, keeping to a well-developed and balanced team. Well, there’s gonna be none of that with the Rankalocke. With a Nuzlocke you’re not sure what you’re going to end up with, but you can still plan ahead and play the odds. With a Rankalocke you’ll always have a good idea of what you have to work with, and what you have to work with is guaranteed to suck until you learn to overcome its limitations.
Here’s a rundown of the Pokemon I used in my first three runs:
Weedle is probably the most important Pokemon you can get. You can get it early, and it evolves into Beedrill at level 10. It has a great Attack stat and learns Fury Attack right after evolving, which is important due to the fact that its power isn’t terrible, and it’s a normal type move so it’s useful against other poison-types and Pokemon resistant to insect and poison (and for most of the beginning of the game, that’s pretty much all your offense can consist of). Once you beat Bugsy, it can be taught Fury Cutter, which is AWESOME.
Zubat is one of the most important Pokemon you can get for this kind of run as it is NOT weak against fire and flying. However, it’s a pain to train because it starts out with Leech Life, one of the weakest attacks in the game. It’s also a bug type move, so there is no STAB. The only way to level it is to switch out for a tougher Pokemon until Zubat learns Supersonic. Once Supersonic is learned, Zubat is capable of beating wild Pokemon on its own… if it’s lucky. But once Zubat hits level 12, it learns Bite, which is overall one of the best moves in the game.
Spinarak is depressingly useless. Its speed stat is one of the lowest, and it sucks at both offense AND defense. Outside of the Poison Sting it starts off with, its early attacks are all speed-reducers. About the only thing it has going for it is its ability to use Flash. True, it can learn some good moves MUCH later on, but it will be worse than mediocre for a vast majority of the game. Pass it up.
Gastly is a weird but useful Pokemon. Many early Pokemon can only use normal type moves, and Gastly is immune to them. Unfortunately, the first gym’s birds are all partially normal types, so Gastly can’t damage them either since its only offense is Lick. It’s a source of sleep (Hypnosis) early on though, so it’s a great clutch switcher.
Tentacool is a must-have due to its ability to use water HMs, and much to my surprise, you can get it as soon as you pick up an Old Rod. Unfortunately, it can’t use Waterfall, and Qwilfish can’t be obtained until Kanto. Luckily, that’s where your optional dragon slot comes in handy. Tentacool starts off with a Zubat-esque moveset (Poison Sting and Supersonic) and soon learns Constrict, which is also weak as hell. It’ll take Tentacool MUCH longer before it learns a good move, but it’s still useful for its resistance to fire attacks. Also, its ability to confuse and poison a Pokemon does make for some entertainment. Tentacool can learn Cut, which makes up for its otherwise crappy moves early on, but there might be some regret if you want to free up some space for Bubblebeam or Acid.
Ekans is the first pure-poison type Pokemon you can capture. It starts off pretty mediocre and doesn’t get much better. It’s similar to Tentacool in that it has a weak starting moveset: Wrap and Leer. It later learns Poison Sting, which at least has STAB. At that point you can have some lulz from poison and Wrap doing double duty damage-over-time. It learns Bite at level 15 so it should be easier to level up at that point, but its main selling points are probably going to be Glare and Screech, which are some devastating status effects. Ekans/Arbok can also learn Strength, so there’s that.
Bellsprout. Well… It learns grass type moves, which is surprisingly useful for leveling up in Onix and Geodude-infested caves. Because of that ability, it can level up surprisingly quickly. And up against Pokemon it’s normally not very effective against, a few Growths can make it a serious powerhouse. Wrap is rather terrible however. Teach it Cut.
As you might imagine, you can’t really afford to lose ANY of your major players, ESPECIALLY Tentacool, and you’ll have to overlevel before entering unfamiliar territory in case typing screws you over. The inevitable psychic type encounters are especially going to be painful, I’m sure.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to recently. Still working on that next chapter. If it takes too long, I’ll probably do a quickie review just so I have a new feature up.