We’ve reached an impasse.
To my knowledge, we’ve taken every possible road in the earlier areas, barring two: Route 46 and the Dark Cave, both for solid reason. Access at the southern end of Route 46 is blocked by cliffs, and the Dark Cave is — well — dark. We can’t see at all to navigate through it.
On the north end of things, we’ve got a branching path — east from Ecruteak stops right at another dark cave (this time, Mt. Mortar) and west goes a little further, but we finally come up against another roadblock after Olivine City, that roadblock being the ocean.
So what now? Obviously I’ve missed something, but it could be absolutely anywhere.
It’s a great big world out there.
I suppose the only way to make the search less maddening is to have a plan. A search pattern. And the most logical seems to be to start all the way back at the beginning and retrace our steps.
It’s going to be a long day.
We do have Cut now, though. Plus Strength (for moving heavy blocks), which we got from a random sailor in Olivine. And Rock Smash, from I have no clue where, but’ll let us smash our way through cracked rocks.
Any of those could get us into a new area along the way, and Surf could be hidden away in any one of them. We can only hope.
Even if it’s not plot-critical, we find a few nice bits of loot here and there.
I’m making a point of going into every single building and talking to every NPC along the way as well. Leave no stone unturned.
That means plenty of rematches with trainers we battled earlier.
And the additional experience doesn’t hurt.
So we start back at New Bark, cut through the woods to Cherrygrove, and then take the long road up to Violet City. That’s when it hits me.
We never even went inside. I was too worried about the rumors of ghosts to risk my four-Pokemon team back when we were first here.
But inside, we don’t find any ghosts. Just tourists and trainers, all hinting at something big at the top.
There’s an HM up there, and we’ve got to battle our way to it.
The tower earns its name right quick.
The one good thing about missing this place earlier is that nothing here can really lay a finger on any of our Pokemon. Edward tears up bellsprout after bellsprout with ease.
When we hit the top–
Aw — look who came all this way to sulk at us!
He’s fresh off an uncharacteristic victory against the tower’s head honcho.
He claims to be the elder, but he’s weak. I’d never lose to fools who babble about being nice to Pokemon.
I’d love to hear all about your cringe-worthy Pokemon training philosophy, but I’m here on business.
And he’s gone like that. Now it’s time for that HM.
Great. Let’s do this.
What a surprise.
Actually, on top of two bellsprouts, the elder shocks everyone present by busting out a hoothoot too. None of them can do much against us.
Once we’ve put them all down, he hands over the HM.
It’s… not Surf.
Flash could be the missing link, though. We know of at least two caves that we couldn’t get through without it, and either one could lead to Surf.
Up first: the Dark Cave.
We step into the darkness and a moment later, Edward does his new magic.
A short hike from the entrance, we come up against another problem — but Leila’s able to keep us moving with one of our other tricks.
Of course, that disturbs someone living underneath…
We tried a capture here ages ago (and failed), otherwise I’d grab this krabby here. Got to kill it instead, sadly.
Another rock and another krabby, and we’re at the exit.
It appears to be.
Not only is that the end of the Dark Cave, all it’s done is taken us a little further up Route 46. We’re past the initial cliffs that had blocked us, but another cliff stops us from going any further north.
South is just a few trainers to battle. Then we hop down the last cliff and we’re back where we started.
That leaves the cave near Ecruteak. Let’s hoof it back up–
WHAT IS THAT.
We run into this level 40 behemoth just… in the grass at the end of Route 46. It can probably one-shot most of our Pokemon — and we can’t run away.
Mercifully, it‘s the one who runs.
Must have been one of those Pokemon you have to catch first turn or it gets away. Geez that was scary.
Now to Mt. Mortar!
First thing we run into inside is a machop, who puts up quite a fight resisting our Pokeballs.
But when we finally nab him, it’s obvious what his name has to be:
The Karate Man himself.
The Mt. Mortar caves turns out to be not quite the maze we’ve been told about. More like a straight line from entrance to exit, with several branches from the main tunnel that lead to optional items and stuff.
Sabin’s Strength move means we’re able to get to all the cool loot and be back in time for breakfast.
In no time, we’re outside again.
Disturbing this guy’s peaceful getaway spot, but whatever. We’ve made it to Route 42, heading east to Mahogany Town. Finally, some good news.
Plus, another new catch on Route 42:
Ricard the spearow has joined the team.
At Mahogany, we find a town full of people preoccupied with one very specific something.
Are you off to see the gyarados rampaging at the Lake?
You should head north and check out Lake of Rage right now.
That’s great but could you stop blocking the door to the gym?
I heard a red gyarados appeared at the lake.
Okay, okay, I get it. I’ll go to the dang lake. Geez. There’s a racketeer preventing any traffic eastward anyway, so it’s our only option.
He’s selling “ragecandybars” (I’m detecting a lot of rage in this town), which I try buying a few of just to see if he’ll let us pass afterward, but no dice.
They’re supposedly a better healing item than potions, though, so hopefully it’s not wasted money. We try it out on someone, uh… expendable. Just to be sure.
Surprisingly, there aren’t any side effects. Ricard doesn’t fly into an uncontrollable rage, or drop dead on the spot, or even get poisoned like I thought he might. Despite the questionable name and the mysterious origins, ragecandy seems totally harmless.
Now let’s head to the lake, where I’m sure we’ll find out that Team Rocket is grinding up gyarados kidneys to make the damn things.
Route 43. And look who we find just two steps into the grass:
I thought you might be coming this way.
Celes? Wow, we’re really getting the band back together.
The road to Lake of Rage has two forks. One is manned by a couple of Rocket goons demanding tolls.
The other is nothing but tall grass and hostile trainers…
…and featuring some truly bizarre new Pokemon.
When we reach the lake, though, it doesn’t seem like we can do anything there.
There’s nothing to be seen from the shore, and nothing of note in any of the buildings built up around the lake. Even a maze of trees and shrubbery at the west end of the lake leads to nothing but a few consumables and TMs.
A whole lot of nothing. It’s a dead end.
We’re in the wrong place. Again.