Hours into Detective Pikachu and I’m wondering when we’re going to address the elephant in the room: Pokémon are dangerous. Not playfully dangerous, but like, reaaaally dangerous. Yanmega? It can uproot trees and rupture organs with the beat of its wings. Yveltal? When it dies, it sucks the life from every living thing and turns the planet into a lifeless husk. Glalie? After freezing you solid by…looking at you? It consumes its immobilized pray at an excruciatingly slow pace.
One of these three things happens in Detective Pikachu’s second case, and the ensuing chaos could’ve been solved with a little help from our favorite obligatory technique: Rock Smash. Let’s talk about how we get there first.
Meet Michael Baker. He’s the founder of the Baker Detective Agency and your father’s closest friend. You make some idle chit-chat about how Tim will be commuting to the city to attend Lime City College in the Fall, then you discard that obligatory water-cooler conversation for the real reason you came here: what the hell happened to Harry Goodman? Turns out, even Baker is stumped. Despite a thorough investigation by the police, the trail’s gone cold – as if there was a trail to begin with.
Tim won’t have any of it.
Following a brief admonishment from Baker, Tim promises to avoid getting wrapped up in the case – and then, exchanging heartfelt goodbyes with the office’s secretary, Amanda, continues to Harry’s Goodman’s room where he consequently gets wrapped up in the case.
Here you learn a bit more about Tim’s father – an obsessive, withdrawn man who fully devoted himself to his unique, uh…craft. But the man was never more distant than, say, Ness’ father in EarthBound. In fact, he keeps the jar of candy his family spent hours searching for on the top shelf of his bookcase, front and center. Pikachu elects you to investigate the room since his familiarity with Harry and his tendencies might cause him to overlook something vital. With that, you’re off.
You jumble through some receipts on his desk and discover that Pikachu’s coffee-loving likely came from Harry. You notice a scalding note with a recipe from Harry’s wife pinned to the fridge, but find nothing on its shelves. You scuffle through some dirty dishes, some banal books…ugh! The only thing left to check is the closet – and what do you know, it’s locked. Where might Harry hide his key? Well, one thing a man like this won’t misplace is his candy, so I hop over to the jar and viola! There it is. A key.
Tim pulls a messy looking note out of the closet. While at first Harry’s memo looks like a section of a color-by-numbers paper, but it’s actually a map of sorts. Though it seems to make no geographical sense, a quick note scrawled across the front offers the duo some vague direction: Litwick Cave. Well, it’s better than nothing! Pikachu and Tim decide to follow the clue, and depart for the cave without flashlights, or spelunking gear, or anything else one might need in, say, a giant hole in the earth.
Well, nothing yells “you’re on the right track” like a Drifloon b-lining it to the cave entrance whilst two distinctively human voices are screaming for their lives. While Drifloon did not manage to wander off with these two people’s souls, a Glalie seems to have gotten the better of them – and without help from Tim and Pikachu, it may just finish the job. “Pikachu! Quick! Use Thunderbolt!” an order that Pikachu takes as a personal insult, explaining that he hasn’t been able to use such moves since the accident. So, plan B – rock throw. Er….throw rocks, I mean. Despite the metaphorical type advantage, Tim can’t do much else than distract it.
So, Plan C: luck. Looking up, Pikachu and Tim see a loose rock on the cave ceiling, and lure the Glalie into hitting the cave walls until it incidentally drops right on its head, knocking it out of its frenzy. To finish the job, you roll the unconscious Glalie into the dark depths of the cave. Onto the injured bystanders! Some of that Plan C luck carries over into this chance encounter – who else was attacked by the Glalie than Amelia Christie, an assistant director for GNN (sort of like this world’s version of Japan’s NHK) whom you helped in the Aipom case, visiting the cave with her director, Meiko Okayama.
The two GNN employees came to do a report on the cave after a surge in its popularity. Wasting no time at all, you search for an alternate exit, using light from nearby Litwicks (whose sleep you have interrupted) to see in the pitch black. Bad news: the only exit is a hole in the cave ceiling. Your only chance of getting out is finding a Pokémon big enough to fly everyone through the opening above. More bad news: Glalie’s rage seems to have scared off the other Pokémon in the cave.
Good news: beneath some of the rubble caused by the cave in, you find an extra battery for Meiko’s camera, which holds a video recording of Amelia and Meiko’s report prior to the moment Glalie fell into a merciless rage. You boot up the video. Here’s what you see:
It’s a Drifblim! Of course – if there are Drifloon here, there must be Drifblim! The search is on.
You wander deeper into the cave with the help of a sleepy pair of Litwick, and find a Drifloon encased in ice – a victim of Glalie’s vicious Ice Beam – near the now delirious Glalie you got rid of earlier in the case. Lucky for us, Litwick’s flame does more than just brighten up the cave. The three Litwick near Meiko and Amelia provide enough heat to thaw out the poor wandering spirit, whom you then recruit to speak with Litwick on a high ledge whose light you need to continue further into the cave.
Oh, they’re just Noibats. Pikachu’s help, you ask each of the three Noibats if they’ve seen Drifblim, but they’re only willing to help for a price: Tim’s candy. Recently, the cave has become a popular site for humans to visit, and they have as such been spoiled by human foods. Hmph, more like Annoibats. Anyways, you only have one piece of candy, so you have to solve their stupid bat-riddle by asking around and using the process of elimination in what would otherwise be an entirely obligatory affair. However, they use this time to tell you a bit about the conflict between the Pokémon of the cave in humanity.
The cave has become somewhat of a hot spot – teens escape here to confess their feelings to a fellow student, others come to mess explore and befriend (without any intention of capturing) the local cave dwellers. You get the feeling that this world is one where there actually aren’t trainers, but rather that Pokémon co-exist with humans as animals do with us in the real world. In that sense, they become more natural entities than “pets.” It’s a nice change.
Aaaanyways, you hear from a certain Litwick that the Noibat on the left is guarding one of its friends (also a Litwick), and you hear from Drifloon that he makes his home directly next to the Litwick – which leaves us with the far right cave. You offer the Noibat its piece of candy, and with some coaxing from Pikachu, Drifblim finally reveals itself. It’s time to bust out of here!
…Drifblim, why are you standing there? What? You’ve got to be kidding me. True to its Pokédex entry, Drifblim can only carry itself on strong winds, which means unless you can find some way to propel Drifblim, you’re out of luck. Luckily, Plan C was all about luck. Across the river on the distant side of the cave is a hearty draft. The river is too dangerous to consider fording it, but we know a Pokémon that can use Ice Beam, don’t we?
You walk over to the disoriented Glalie and offer it some water from the river to help clear its mind. You retrieve some water for Glalie, who doesn’t seem to remember a thing about his violent outburst. Hmm. Oh well, onto the river. The water gives him just enough energy to freeze the river, where, at last and once again, we find ourselves in desperate need of HM06 Rock Smash.
This is the final push! Pikachu and Tim decide to forego HMs for crafting a makeshift pickaxe. Luckily for you, a sharp rock, sturdy stick, and…oh, crap. Where’s the rope?
There is no rope, and you’re at the end of yours.
Desperately you talk to everyone you can until at last Amelia offers you her belt. With the pickaxe constructed, you spend god knows how many hours busting the rock into gravel, and finally produce a gust strong enough to have Drifblim carry you out of the Litwick Cave.
…but not before Pikachu finds something on the Cave floor that jogs his recently lost memory: a broken ampoule (okay, let’s just call it a vial because we all know that word). All this fuss for a vial, and what’s more, something is causing Pokémon to run rampant. It’s time to get to the bottom of this – another day.