Editorial: Pokemon Blue Rattata Solo Writeup

As our readers likely remember, last week I gave a brief writeup of my experiences with a challenge run of Final Fantasy. This week, I bring a writeup of one of the challenge runs I did for the first generation of Pokemon games, and the one I thought most interesting: a solo Rattata run. Now, this was not a true solo in the sense that HM slaves were used; they of course are required to finish the game. However, from the moment I was able to catch one, all combat was done by the Rattata and only the Rattata, and the party of Pokemon had to be empty anytime HM slaves were not necessary. The results, much like the challenge discussed last week, proved somewhat surprising.

It's like my Rattata is in the top percentage of Rattata!
A surprisingly tough little rat.

I chose Rattata in particular for two reasons: it was available early and had varied possibilities for moves. The moveset I used for most of the game was Hyper Fang/Bubblebeam/Thunderbolt/Dig, with plans to swap a move out for Blizzard in order to deal with Lance. After catching the Rattata and naming it Joey in honor of the Pokemon franchise’s greatest Rattata, the journey began. Right at the beginning came the only two real roadblocks of the run. The first was getting the Rattata a few levels; it was too evenly matched with the wild Pokemon around it to be of much use. This was to be expected, as getting a new Pokemon up to snuff is always a bit aggravating at first. The next and most expected issue was Brock, since none of the Rock-type countering moves were available at the time. Brock was eventually dealt with, and from then on, the run’s difficulty took a sharp downward turn. Rattata levels quickly, and its relatively low stats meant nothing when it was twenty or thirty levels above its opponent and had a type-countering move. The somewhat broken mechanics and lack of a Special Attack/Special Defense split certainly did not hurt either. After Brock came Mt. Moon, an area made only slightly challenging by the occasional Rock-type. Misty proved very little threat, and the Nugget Bridge fights, while requiring healing often, were not very difficult either.

And even he wasn't really that tough.
The hardest enemy in the game was this guy.

Once the Rattata had Dig and Bubblebeam, getting further became incredibly easy. Remarkably, the playthrough got easier and easier as I progressed through the game. With such a varied moveset, there were no Pokemon types that could give Joey any real trouble. Gym after gym fell to they strangely mighty Rattata By the time the Elite 4 and the Pokemon League Champion had fallen, Joey the Rattata was level eighty and capable of shredding everything in its path on the way to victory. The run was a smashing success, with a miniscule number of deaths and resets occurring over the course of the game. I was not expecting the run to be terribly difficult, but I also certainly did not expect the game to be a cakewalk. I certainly have a newfound appreciation for that infamous little rat. The first generation of Pokemon games are not known for being particularly difficult, and doing this solo run showed me just how easy the games truly were. As readers will discover next week, this was not the case for the run I did of Pokemon Gold. What happened? Read on next week to find out, my dear readers!


  1. This is the only challenge run I have any interest in doing, and then only because Rattata is the best Pokemon ever.

    However, I will never have the time.

  2. As I recall, it didn’t take too much longer than a normal first gen Pokemon run usually does, since there was almost no grinding, with the exception of the very beginning of the game.

  3. I don’t have time for a playthrough of anything at present, largely because all of my free gaming time is going to be consumed with old-school 2D platformers.

  4. @Mel: As you’ll soon see, they are my favourite kind of games as well!

  5. I’m enjoying this series, by the way. I’ve never done a solo run, but the idea vaguely interests me. Now I can do one vicariously through you!

  6. @Ethos: Isn’t it the best? Given my lack of free time, this is ideal.

  7. This is why I love LPs. All those games I know are good, but could never find time for, I can just watch someone play through the more interesting parts.

    Unlike a good movie (who doesn’t have time to watch something for at most a couple hours?), a good game can get passed up simply because of the time investment required. Not to mention one playthough of a game usually isn’t all that game has to offer. Like with this playthrough of Pokemon, you can do things VERY differently each time. No matter how many times I watch MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE it wont get any worse (or better).

  8. @Mel Indeed! I’ve also done a Red Version single-sitting run and a Yellow Version Nuzlocke. The possibilities are endless.

Comments are closed.