Pokemon’s Cerulean City Is Surprisingly Soulless

Thank you, intrepid travelers, for once again joining my journey through Kanto as a tourist, visiting the first Pokémon region, and soaking up all it has to offer. Or, if you’ve just joined me, hello and welcome to Cerulean City. It took me two months to reach Cerulean, a journey that used to take a few hours and even these days would only take a few evenings if I played the game as intended, but I already feel richer from the experience.

Cerulean is the first place in the game that I could count among my favorites. I’ve gained a new appreciation for Viridian City, Pewter City, and Mt. Moon so far, though I still hate Viridian Forest. Cerulean might have been the first town I ended up souring on once I looked under the veneer. Sadly, that turned out to be the case, and the whole experience has me a bit wary of some places to come. Never mind for now – onward, adventurers, to The Floral Lagoon City. Yes, that’s his name. No, that doesn’t really make sense.


Related: Revisiting Kanto: Why Pallet Town Is The Perfect Start To A Pokemon Adventure

For the purposes of this travel diary, I will stick specifically to Cerulean City, not the surrounding roads. Next time I’ll explore the Nugget Bridge and Bill’s House, before taking the underground path. It feels a bit like a filler step in Pokemon’s journey to greatness, but remember, it’s not about becoming the best like no one has ever been. It is simply a consequence of this travel guide. When exploring the area as a region and not as a battlefield, these overlooked filler stages might prove to be the most glorious. Or it could be a week of garbage filling. Find out in just seven days!

Either way, the focal point of Cerulean City, like most Kanto towns, is its gym. I’ve complained before that Misty’s gym doesn’t live up to its showiness in the anime, and while technical limitations are obviously a factor, that doesn’t stop the gym from continuing to disappoint. There’s also a bike shop you can’t buy anything from, a cave you can’t reach (and even if you could, you can’t enter), a house with a trade you can’t do, and another house that you can’t enter yet. There’s also a house you can walk into and invade the back garden, but typical of the Cerulean Void, this garden is fully paved.

This might seem a little unfair and fragmented – for most people, the bridge and the path to Bill are part of Cerulean, after all. But I played just before the Underground Path, and they feel deliberately distinct. The parts of the journey I’ll write about next time are battle-heavy and provide a serious test, while Cerulean itself is more of a narrative stage. While Pewter City does a lot with little and manages to have a flower garden representing Pewter’s warm ideals, Cerulean wastes a lot of space and feels empty. Even the broken-in house, which feels like it could hold a lot of stories, ends up being a “Team Rocket did it!” when the abuser is waiting for you next for some reason.

The surrounding areas, as I’ll get to next week, help elevate this part of the game when you play it as a video game, but when you’re looking to explore it as a place, Cerulean City is surprisingly empty. The first major misstep in my Pokemon journey so far – I never liked Viridian anyway – has me worried that for as many places I’ve overlooked, there are others I wonder about. remember with pink tinted pixels. Cerulean is soulless, and hopefully that’s not a sign of more things to come.

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