Nintendo DS

Pokémon Black/White Diary Entry 6: The Last And Final Gym


Welcome to Diary Entry 6 of our in-depth coverage of Pokémon Black/White (Japanese version). The aim of this series of weekly articles is to allow readers to understand what new features and changes they can expect to see from Pokémon Black/White without spoiling the experience for them. We hope you enjoy them!


Souryuu City is the city of dragons, which is why we’re told to go there to investigate the legends of Zekrom and Reshiram (the black and white Dragon Legendaries). Well, that just so happens to work out perfectly, since that’s where the last Gym is as well.


Cylinder Bridge is another 3D area, but I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing me extol about the coolness of improved graphics, Pokémon-style (I don’t think I’ll be able to help myself the next time, though, so prepare yourself!). The route right after it actually contains a Department Store, although there’s nothing unusual about it, for all that it’s located in the middle of nowhere, other than a few trainers who, thankfully, give loads of money.


Souryuu is actually different between Black and White versions, with the Black version (the one on the left) being more technologically-driven. The final Gym is here, which actually makes me immeasurably sad. There’s no more puzzle-solving to be done…


The Souryuu Gym involves moving around enormous dragon statues by stepping on switches. For example, you walk forward over a path, which is a dragon’s back. Then you step on a switch, which moves that dragon’s head up or down, allowing you to hop onto another dragon. Other switches move an arm around, and maybe swing the head from left to right.


There are plenty, plenty of trainers here, but there isn’t much variety in their Pokémon choices. Dragon Pokémon have never really had much variety (for the longest time, Dragonite was the sole holder of that title), and while there’s been an influx of Dragon type Pokémon in recent years, most of them are Legendaries. There’s three new species, I believe, and all of them are featured in this Gym — Kibago (Tusk Dragon), Monozu (Dark Dragon), and Crimgan.


However, even with the increase in Dragon types, there’s a serious lack of diversity here, as everyone seems to use one or two of the same three Pokémon — Kibago, Onondo (his evolved form), and Monozu. Occasionally, you’ll face a Crimgan, and you’ll get a surprise from the Gym Leader, but other than that, it’s wailing on the same Pokémon over and over again. Now that I think of the previous generations, Gyms were that way, but it was very obvious in this one. I think it’s because there were so many more trainers…?


The Gym Leader is determined by the version you’re playing as well. Black has Shaga, Iris’ father. For those of you who don’t remember, Iris appeared in Hiun City and is also in the current anime season as Ash’s partner. Shaga — since I’m playing Black — uses Ononokusu, who is amazingly powerful despite his level being the same as my Pokémon. I notice that Gym Leaders are starting to take advantage of the Sweeper-type Pokémon.


To reward your hard work, Professor Araragi presents you with a Master Ball! Oh, whatever could we use it on…?


The next route takes you towards Victory Road, but before that, there are still a few new powerhouse Pokémon one would likely want to catch. This route actually contains the Flying type I was interested in, prior to the release of the game — Wargle, the eagle Pokémon — in the White version. Here in Black, I have Vuljina, the vulture Pokémon, who is much more focused on defense.


More of a threat is that thrice-danged Bufflon, the afro buffalo. Crazy Attack stats in addition to a 120 power Normal attack that takes advantage of its type… I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to run back to the Pokémon Center after a single battle with one of these.The wild Pokémon have seen a jump in level, too, so the battles are far tougher than before.


The lead-up to Victory Road itself is much more exciting than in previous generations; the road leading to the last dungeon is a series of checkpoints, with each room leading up to the gate designed after the Gym you got the badge from. It’s a cool touch, and really got me excited for the Elite Four battle and the end of the game, by making me feel like I’d actually accomplished something with all the badges I’d earned.


That’s all for today. In our next diary entry, it’s on to the Elite Four battle!