We all know who Pikachu is, the adorable little yellow mouse who’s been seen as the main mascot of Nintendo’s Pokémon series. With its cute red cheeks, black marble eyes and lightning bolt tail, it’s hard to not find Pikachu likable and just downright adorable. It even got its own game titled “Pokémon Yellow”, the title that actually got me hooked onto the series in the first place.
As a young kid first playing the game, I was interested to have a Pikachu following me along and actually use its real cry from the anime instead of the mechanical noises of the others in the game. But as expected as a child of a young age, I was foolish, as I abandoned the Pikachu in my box due to the fact that it didn’t want to evolve into a Raichu with the use of the thunderstone. I went on to raise up a tough team and take down the elite four with my Vaporeon, named Crystal, as my team leader.
Years passed as I eventually forgot about the game and moved onto more games from the series, including Crystal version, Sapphire version, Emerald version and Platinum version. Little did I know that it wouldn’t be too long before my past actions came back to haunt me. I don’t expect you to believe me, but please, just hear me out. I may not make you believe, but the least I can do is try…
This all started a couple of months back, Nintendo having just announced the new generation of Pokémon games, Pokémon X and Y. Having neglected the series for a bit, the trailer gave me the urge to want to pick up a game and play again, as most new Pokémon games usually did when they were announced. I was still enjoying the latest games of the series, Black 2 and White 2, but I wanted to play some of my older titles that I hadn’t touched in a long period of time. I usually keep my Pokémon games stored in a large case, I having played and owned every game in the franchise aside from a random few including the trading card game and XD: Gale of Darkness.
Rummaging through the case I managed to find my original copy of Pokémon Crystal, but as I picked it up to put into my old Gameboy Advance SP to play, I heard something fall into the bottom of the case. Not wanting to get anything lost or stuck, I reached my hand down into the case and was surprised as to what I pulled out. It was my old Pokémon Yellow! The yellow cartridge was scratched slightly here and there, but the sticker was still perfectly intact on the game cartridge.
I decided that this was going to be the game I played, for I couldn’t wait to see all my old teammates again. I took the game and inserted it into the GBA SP, flipping on the power to see the classic Gameboy title screen. The same happy go-lucky intro played featuring Pikachu running towards the screen, including shots of him surfboarding and riding on balloons, but as I got to the title screen, I noticed something was a little off.
Pikachu at first looked all happy and smiling like usual, but after a second, his expression changed to that of confusion, almost as if he was acknowledging the fact that I was playing the game. After a moment, Pikachu’s face turned into a scowl, almost like he was glaring angrily back at me. I didn’t know what to think of the picture, only to press start and pass the intro screen. Instead of the happy Pikachu cry usually heard, the one I heard sounded rather angry and sour, like the one you’d hear when you first get Pikachu and he hasn’t taken a liking to you yet. This freaked me out even more than the angry Pikachu on the title screen, as it was actually quite distorted and loud. Granted, the quality of the Gameboy color sound always made the Pikachu cries sound somewhat distorted and loud, but this felt…different?
On the main menu there was still an option to continue, start a new game and set your options, just like every other game of the franchise. Curious as to where I actually left off, I clicked continue. My character name was the same as before, my play-time being almost seventy hours and having all the badges, the game loading up and showing that I was currently in the indigo plateau, AKA the Pokemon League. I opened up my menu to see my pokemon, showing that my team was all in the high eighties, including my trusty Vaporeon, Crystal, along with a Venusaur, Butterfree, Ninetails, Dragonite and a Raichu I remember receiving from a cousin since I couldn’t evolve my Pikachu. I decided to make one last run of the elite four with this team before starting a new game once again, just for the nostalgic feel of it all.
I headed to my PC to see if I had any other Pokemon to balance out the typing on my team since I was missing a psychic type and the Mewtwo I caught could’ve made a good substitute for Butterfree. I hadn’t caught many pokemon in the time I played the game, not even having a full box of pokemon at the time. I opened up my box and noticed something…Pikachu wasn’t in the box. For those that’ve played Pokemon Yellow, you know that not only can you not evolve your Pikachu, you weren’t allowed to release it either, which got me questioning…was it possible for the game to erase Pikachu? Did Pikachu escape? I came to the conclusion that it was a glitch in the game’s system, deciding to stick with Butterfree and I headed in to face the first of the Elite Four, The ice-type master Lorelei.
Expecting the awesome gym theme that usually plays on her elite four stage, there was nothing but an ambience as I approached the sprite of Lorelei. She spoke her name and title as the ice master of the elite four, the battle screen then coming on as she sent out her first pokemon, a Dewgong. My first pokemon out was my Raichu, but as Raichu came out onto the field, amongst Raichu’s digitized cry, I could hear what sounded like a low-groaning sound.
It was so low-pitched that I was surprised I even heard it over the loud sound of the battle music and the cry together. I thought it to be nothing more than my mind playing a trick on me or maybe a bugging with the game’s system about not being able to own a Raichu without hacking or trading. Lorelei’s pokemon were no match for Raichu’s thunderbolt attack, sweeping my way to victory over her in under a minute, if you don’t count the loading time between turns and move animations.
The game faded back out into the overworld, there still being no music as Lorelei congratulated me on my victory. She wished me luck and I headed off towards the next room, but was stopped as a text bubble popped up on the bottom of the screen.
“You left him behind…behind to die.”
I froze up as I read the text, it shocked me that such a line would ever be in a game like this. Who was he? Who died? What was it talking about? I had no idea, but I wasn’t going to let some creepy dialogue box stop me from continuing to play through the elite four. I went up to the door to enter Bruno’s stage I saw something out of the corner of my eye on the screen as I traveled through the door, I could see what looked like the overworld sprite of Pikachu, but before I could even acknowledge its presence, the scene changed and I was in Bruno’s stage. Unlike Lorelei’s stage, the unknown dungeon/rocket hideout music played like it usually did, giving me some hope that the creepy atmosphere had died down.
I approached Bruno, taking a few steps toward him before forcefully stopping the screen beginning to shake like that of a falling boulder in Victory Road, but there was no thud sound, but rather the sound made from the move thunderbolt. There was then silence as there was an ellipsis on the screen…something had happened in the previous room…but what? The next two fights went by at first, but like the first room, both Bruno and Agatha had left a text bubble before the player proceeded onto the next room.
“He never did anything wrong, yet you still treated him like he was nothing…”
“How does it feel to know that he died because of you?”
I finally reached the room to challenge Lance, the final of the elite four and the last fight before reaching the champion. The music played in weird intervals of going from very quiet to ear-piercingly loud as I auto-walked up to Lance’s stage, I thinking it was probably just an audio problem with the Gameboy as it was quite old, but after seeing what I did earlier, I wasn’t putting it past that it could have possibly been something else. I approached Lance and he looked at me, but he didn’t have any dialogue, nothing more than a simple ellipsis before the battle began, reminding me of the battle between Red in Gold and Silver.
Lance’s team was tough compared to the other members of the elite four, but I used Crystal’s ice beam to take down his dragons and Raichu to take on his Gyarados, making for an easy fight considering how over-leveled I was. As the battle ended, Lance finally gained dialogue, but his dialogue was along the same lines as the others before him, both dark and brooding.
“Well now he’s going to show you…show us all…what it feels to be rejected by those you care about…”
The screen faded out and lance somehow disappeared from sight, the door to the champion room now open. I entered the room to meet up with my rival, Blue, but rather than the same cocky dialogue he would give about becoming the champion, he just looked away from my character, beginning to speak.
“So even through all this, all that you’ve seen and been told, you’re still pushing forward? You don’t even know what you did do you?”
A choice box popped up with the options yes and no, puzzled, I clicked yes, Blue then turning towards me.
With that, the screen shook as the thunderbolt sound could be heard once again, Blue continuing to speak as the screen settled down.
“Do you hear that? Did you hear another get roasted alive by his anger? Well, now that’s left is to get to me. Once I make you black out, I’ll be able to save myself from the same fate as them!”
The battle began and everything was normal, the battle theme, Blue’s team, all of it. His team was no match for Crystal, the battle ending in an even shorter time than Lance’s. Back on the Overworld, Blue backed away slowly from my player, his dialogue now filled with terror.
“N…No…I’m next…I…I’m not ready to die!”
With that, Blue’s sprite ran towards the exit to the hall of fame, stuck on the door as it wouldn’t open. Suddenly, I could hear a feint noise in the ambience, it was almost impossible to make out at first, but turning up the sound, I could hear it.
Blue’s character looked back towards me and yelled out for help, but there nothing I could do as the screen faded to black.
A huge amount of static shot from the gameboy’s speaker as the screen flashed yellow and white, the thunderbolt noise coming out like that of a loud speaker. I panicked and tossed my Gameboy onto my bed, surprisingly not making it glitch and need a restart. The noise soon died down and I went to pick up the Gameboy, holding it and seeing that Blue’s sprite had disappeared, only what appeared to be black-like burn marks on the ground, almost looking like a shadow. I tried to move my character but the controls wouldn’t respond, then checking on my Pokémon to see if they were alright. To my surprise, only two of my pokemon were still in my party, my Raichu and my Vaporeon, all the other four had somehow vanished. Closing the menu, there was a strange black pixelated object standing in front of my player, causing me to almost jump in shock as a loud cry came from the speaker. I was then thrusted into a battle scenario, the regular pokemon battle music playing instead of the random encounter music.
It was a ghost, a level 255 ghost. The ghost was then identified by use of the Silph Scope, showing that it was none other than my Pikachu! This Pikachu was, like the one on my cover, wearing an incredibly angry face, baring its fangs as it released its angered Pikachu cry through the now-damaged speakers. The first pokemon sent out was my Vaporeon, going into battle and incredibly outmatched. This thing scared me, this ugly, greyish blue ghost Pikachu with hollowed out eyes, nothing but an empty black husk.
I had no choice, I had to try and take it out using both the pokemon I had, and if it followed the same rules as the ones on the coast of Cinnabar Island in Blue and Red, I thought I wouldn’t have a problem. I went to select Hydro Pump to use on the Pikachu, but when the battle scene came up, it stated “Vaporeon is too scared to move”, much like it would with the actual ghosts in the game without the sylph scope. Pikachu used thunder and landed a perfect hit, but was strange was…Vaporeon’s health bar didn’t even go down it just vanished! There wasn’t even a cry to signal that Vaporeon had been knocked out, but like the Sprite of Blue, it just disappeared.
“Crystal has been disintegrated…”
I couldn’t believe the text that came up on the screen as the sprite of Crystal disappeared. The term killed would’ve been graphic enough, but to actually go the extra step to say it literally just vaporized my Pokémon made me almost shed a tear. Crystal was my first main Pokémon team leader; it was a Pokémon that meant a lot to me! There was no choose next Pokémon option as Raichu was then thrown into battle, being even more under-leveled than Crystal was.
Raichu had no moves that could’ve done anything to the Pikachu, its moves not even working as, like Vaporeon, it was too scared to move. Pikachu then used Skull Bash, the attack hitting Raichu and sending its sprite flying off-screen like the moves whirlwind and roar. Like before, there was no cry signify that Raichu had fainted, only a text bubble stating “Raichu has deceased”.
Deceased? This thing had killed my most treasured Pokémon, and there was nothing I could do against it. With all my Pokémon gone, my trainer appeared on screen. Pikachu growled angrily as another text bubble appeared…
“And now that I’ve taken away the two things that denied me my happiness, I’m going to show you what it’s like to be alone.”
The screen faded to black and the sound cut out, my character having fallen into what seemed like an empty void. There was nothing around, I couldn’t move my player, my Pokémon were all gone, I was all alone. After a moment of trying to move, Pikachu’s overworld sprite approached me from the right side of the screen, text popping up as it stood in front of me.
“Do you like it? This is what you left me with when you left me behind to die. An empty darkness that I’ll never be able to escape from…and neither will you. I’m going to make you suffer…suffer for what you did to me, for what I was denied. And when you’re in agony, just remember…this was all your fault…”
The screen then bugged out as the game froze, forcing me to shut off the machine. I sat in silence for a moment at what I had seen, hand over my mouth, almost in tears. It was my fault…I rejected and denied what was supposed to be my best friend in the game. I flipped the game back on and skipped right past the intro to the main menu, my saved game data had been entirely erased; the only option was that of “New Game”. I clicked the new game button and began a new adventure, only hoping that this time, I could make up for the neglect when I was a child. I’m sorry Pikachu…I’m so sorry…