I have been desperately searching for a copy of Pokemon Fire Red ever since my cousin had lost my original copy of it that I had owned since I was five years old. My mother hated online shopping and would not let me order anything off the internet and my local GameStop did not carry games made before 2007; so I was not in the best of situations.
Summer had begun and time was wasting away as I was bored to death. At that moment my older sister walked into my room and asked if i would like to go to the mall with her for a bit. I replied with a yes as there might be some cool stuff to buy and there was not much else to do.
The mall was quite boring, mostly clothing stores as expected but something caught my eye and excited me. A classic game store that went by the name of Game Geeks. I rushed over to the store leaving my sister behind completely.
I felt at home as I entered the store. A pretty woman smiled and welcomed me as she walked by. She seemed to be an employee. A man worked the checkout with a kid who appeared to be about six years old. I went into the GameBoy Advance section and picked out Pokemon Fire Red. It was in perfect condition according to the man and I purchased it for only twenty dollars.
I popped the cartridge into my DS right as I got home and started playing. It did seem in perfect condition like the man had said, I named my character Ryan which is my real name and started off with a squirtle.
It all played off normally until I entered Viridian Forest. No bug catchers or other players were in sight upon entrance. “So much for perfect condition” I mumbled to myself as I continued with my journey. I eventually found a in game character but it was hard to make out as its texture was shady. I approached the character and tried to talk to it. A text box appeared saying, “What are you doing here kid? Team Rocket is looking for some easy to catch bug Pokemon!” and a battle initiated.
The text stated, “Rocket Grunt Oswald would like to battle”. I was disappointed yet excited at the same time because this appeared to be a hacked game. I beat the Grunt with my Squirtle and Pidgey quite easily and he took off after a box appeared saying that Team Rocket could use a recruit like me.
I arrived in Pewter city soonly after and decimated the first gym. Brock did what he normally did but told me to watch out for Team Rocket before handing me the Boulder Badge. It appears that Team Rocket is going to have some significance in this game. I walked along the path to Mt. Moon and healed up my Pokemon before entering.
Just a couple steps into the cave and some sort of cutscene triggered. My rival whom I had named Gary originally ran up to me. He shouted to me “Run Ryan this place is crawling with Rocket Grunts! They took my Pokemon and tried to attack me. I barely escaped. We need to hide quick!” As he finished speaking the screen flashed black and there were Rocket members surrounding both Gary and I. “Give up your Pokemon trainers!” a grunt stated. Gary replied with “Please don’t hurt me” with a sobbing animation. A shady looking man appeared stating to bring Gary and I to Rocket HQ.
The screen cut to black once more but for about three seconds. The screen opened with my character waking up to an immense crowd of Rocket crew surrounding Gary and I. A blue haired member who seemed to be an admin said “Ryan, you seem like you could be a great addition to Team Rocket, not that rich snob right there as the camera panned to Gary who seemed to be tied up to a chair. “But to prove you’ll be loyal to us” he said, “You have to dispose of that kid”.
The blue haired man walked up and a text box said “Harry gave Ryan pocketknife”. My character then walked to Gary and an option occured saying “Slit throat?” with a yes or no answer. I chose no and my character said “I can not kill my friend.” Harry then said “Friend? He is not your friend. You two have been rivals since you two were babies according to that old professor. Did they abduct professor Oak? This game was really creeping me out now.
The option of yes or appeared again and it seemed I could not pick no for an answer. I selected yes and my character said “I’m so sorry Gary,” and the screen flashed white this time with the cut move audio playing. When the screen faded back to the game Gary was on the floor with slight traces of blood trickling from his neck.
The Rockets screamed in enjoyment and began some congratulated my character for the murder of Gary saying I am one of them now. I didn’t get it one bit. I thought Team Rocket were Pokemon snatchers and sold them on the black market.
My character was then lead to the rooftop of some building with Harry. It appeared it be the Silph co tower. A new scene played of the terror in Saffron City. Rocket Grunts used Pokemon and weapons to capture or even kill residents of the city.
It became very clear to me what Team Rocket was trying to do now. They were building an army to take over and enslave Kanto. “You can’t do this” my character said. “Send your regards to the boss” Harry replied and a battle sequence began. “Rocket Admin Harry would like to battle” the box stated. Harry had a grim smile on his face. What’s really strange was neither of us had Pokemon with us. I only had one option on screen. Fight.
My options were tackle, punch, kick, and choke. I chose tackle but Harry was faster and used choke. “Ryan cannot breath” the text box stated as my health began dwindling. My moves were replaced with one option, struggle. I selected struggle and the box stated “Ryan knocked Harry off!” “Harry used punch, but it missed.” “Harry lost footing”. My moves were replaced with only one yet again, strangle. I selected it and Harry’s sprite changed to him on the ground with one arm extended as if trying to fight off me. His health slowly dwindled to zero and somber music replaced that of my battle victory.
My character’s face had a reddish hue; that of anger. I walked him to the elevator but I was stopped by Rocket members pouring through it and blocking my exit. Giovanni came out of the elevator shortly after. “Hold fire” Giovanni said. The Grunts made room for him to walk over to me. “What do you think the goal of Team Rocket is young one?” he asked. My character gave no response. “Pokemon battling disgusts us, fighting creatures for prize money. We only take Pokemon from neglective trainers and release them to the wild or sell them to willing care takers. We are cleansing the world of abuse to Pokemon. Your belief of ignorant victims has only told you otherwise.”