When I first bought it, I played SoulSilver obsessively for weeks. I loved everything; the Pokemon, the people, and the storyline. My beloved team consisted of Meganium, Espeon, Misdreavus, Ampharos, Vulpix, and Poliwhirl. I loved them all dearly, and thanks to my Pokewalker, I leveled them all up easily. Another source of amusement for me was the Pokegear. I loved that people you had met could ring you up and request a battle, or just rattle on about nothing. My favorite of the regular callers was, of course, the infamous Joey.
“Hey, you know my super-cool RATTATA? My RATTATA is different from regular RATTATA. It’s like my RATTATA is in the top percentage of all RATTATA, you know what I’m saying?” he’d always say.
Then, one day, he called me for a battle. Well this was new. He’d never asked for a rematch before. As I remembered, he only had his Rattata. Suspecting that his Rattata had maybe risen a few levels, I traveled back to where Joey stood.
“I’ve been waiting,” the text read. “Wait until you see how much RATTATA has changed!”
The battle music started and the screen split. To my surprise, Rattata had become a Raticate! I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something different about its claws. They were yellowish and had a brick pattern, like they belonged to another Pokemon, but at the time I didn’t give it much thought.
As I expected, Joey’s Raticate had grown to level 30. I sent out Espeon. Raticate attacked first, and used Dig. That was strange, I didn’t think Raticate could learn Dig. Anyway, it was no match for my Espeon, who creamed him with Psychic. Raticate fell with a scrambled cry that was different to how I remembered it, but again, I didn’t think much of it. The screen returned to the overworld.
“Oh, all right,” Joey’s text read. “But I won’t lose to you again! RATTATA will be stronger next time we meet!” and handed me an Iron.
I giggled. Joey was still calling his Raticate a Rattata.
It was a few days later, and I had beaten the final gym before the Elite Four. I was about to head into Victory Road when I got a call from Joey. He wanted to battle again. I thought it’d be some okay EXP, so I flew back to route 30 and talked to Joey.
The battle started and this time, I knew something was horribly wrong. Raticate was sporting an orange, fiery tail, like that of a Rapidash. In addition, the area around its new tail was a purplish-red color, like it was bruised or bleeding, and I could see grotesque stitches holding the tail on. What had Joey done to it? It was like he’d sewn a Rapidash’s tail onto Raticate.
When the Raticate used Flamethrower, I realized with horror that that was exactly what he’d done. Raticate let out a scrambled noise. It sounded like it was in pain. "RATICATE was hurt!" the text read. Raticate’s health went down by a quarter. Flamethrower didn’t affect the user, so I was confused until I realized that Raticate was not used to using fire attacks, and its body was being damaged by the foreign attack type.
I didn’t want to hurt the Raticate further, but I had to. I sent out Poliwhirl and used Surf. It was super-effective, and Raticate fainted. When we returned to the overworld, Joey said, “And yet another loss…no doubt about it - you’re tough! Being beaten this often actually feels good now! Still, I sure wish RATTATA was stronger!”
"It’s a Raticate!” I screamed at the DS. “Stop calling it that! Stop hurting it!"
Joey, of course, didn’t hear me. Instead, he gave me an Iron.
I promised myself that I would never battle Joey again, even if he called me. A couple of weeks passed, and I had entered the Kanto region. I had almost forgotten about Joey when I received his call, inviting me to battle. I ignored it and continued down Route 5. After a few steps, however, he called me again. This time, when I picked up, I heard Raticate’s cry. “WhEre are YoU goIng? ROutE 30 iS the oTHer waY!”
I shrieked and threw my DS away from me. It clattered onto the floor and stayed there. Afraid I had broken it, I picked it up again after a few minutes. It hadn’t, so I continued playing. No matter where I tried to go, I would only go a few steps before Joey called me with the same freaky massage. I decided to face the music and battle him. Steeling myself for what I might see, I entered the battle.
Raticate had a pair of white-blue wings attached to his sides as well as the Rapidash tail. Maybe from a Pelipper. The area around where the wings were stitched on was horribly messy and red. Raticate went first and used Water Pulse. It hardly harmed my Misdreavus, but the words "RATICATE was hurt!" flashed across the screen and took a third of its health. I took the rest with Psybeam.
I got called back two more times during that month. And each time, the attacks it used (Electric Shock and Razor Leaf) would take off more of its health until I knew the next time we fought, I wouldn’t have to attack at all. When he did call me, I knew I couldn’t escape so I just went along with it. By now, Raticate was so gory and full of stitches that I could hardly recognize it. I felt like crying. Raticate now wore an obi-like sash around its waist and its eyes were blue and had a purplish hue around them. I had no idea what new Pokemon had died to disfigure the damned Raticate further, but I decided it didn’t matter. Raticate used Ice Beam. This did a surprising amount of damage to my Ampharos, but as I suspected, the damage Raticate took depleted its health bar completely.
Raticate let out an anguished yowl and disappeared from the screen. Expecting to see the words "RATICATE fainted," I was shocked and horrified to read the words "RATICATE has died!" instead. I stared at the screen. Dead? Raticate can’t be dead. You can’t die in a Pokemon game. That’s not how it worked. Joey said something different too. “RatTaTA? WhAT's WrOnG?” When I tried talking to him again, nothing happened.
Thoroughly spooked, I left for Kanto again. I wanted nothing more than to forget this incident. I was convinced that I would never have to battle Joey again, his only Pokemon having apparently…died.
I was wrong.
I was just about to enter Mt Silver when I got the call. I swore when I saw it was Joey. What more could he do with a dead Raticate? Knowing it was useless to ignore the call, I flew all the way back to where he stood. For some reason, his sprite had changed. I couldn’t see what it was because the sprite was too small. I also noticed that the trainer that used to stand next to Joey was nowhere to be seen. I talked to Joey. The text read, "I’Ve BeCoMe OnE WIth RATTATA aNd BEcomE MucH STrOnGeR! ArE YOu REadY?" The battle began.
I almost threw up.
Joey, or what was left of him, stood in the place where his Raticate once stood. His hair was matted with blood and his face horribly disfigured by his new buckteeth, furry body, and mangled claws. The stitches holding his body together were badly sewed, and every time his nose twitched, a fresh drop of blood fell from the tip of his snout.
Joey had sewn the parts he had hacked off Raticate onto himself. The image was so terrifying, so horrible, that I could barely look at him. Joey used Hyper Fang. The attack hit my Ampharos, but did shit-all damage. Joey’s health went down one fifth. It was my turn to attack. I used Thunder, hoping I’d get lucky on my first try. However, a text box appeared on the screen. "AMPHAROS is too terrified to move!" I cursed. Joey attacked again, this time with Crunch. This did a lot more damage; more than half of Ampharos’ health was gone now. Joey’s health depleted a little more. When I tried to attack, Ampharos was again too terrified to move. Hoping I could wait it out until he killed himself, I mashed the A button.
Joey used Crunch again. Ampharos’ health bar ran out and he fainted. I brought out Misdreavus so that it wouldn’t be affected by any normal moves. This turned out to be a good move, as Joey used Double-Edge.
"MISDREAVUS was unaffected! JOEY was hurt!"
There was an ungodly cry as Joey fell from the screen.
"JOEY has died!"
My player was sent back to the overworld. Joey’s mangled sprite was in front of me, Raticate features still visible. I realized that I was silently crying, my tears splattering onto the touchscreen. In a state of shock, I stood there, not moving, for a full five minutes. I was unable to draw a coherent thought in my mind.
Eventually, I brought my Ampharos to the Pokemon Center. When the nurse gave him back, she said, “Whatever happened to this Pokemon, don’t let it happen again.” From then on, Ampharos could never fight a Raticate again. He would always be too terrified to move.
I don’t know why I headed back to where Joey once stood. I just felt I had to do it. When I arrived, Joey was nowhere to be seen. In his place was an item. I picked it up.
It was an Iron.