THE STORY OF POKÉMON BLACK
Pokémon Black — so an unnamed author says — starts as Pokémon Red and Blue do, with Professor Oak outlining the practice of capturing, training and battling Pokémon, and with the player character waking in their own bed. But where Red and Blue offer three starter Pokémon to new players — Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur — Pokémon Black adds a fourth: GHOST.
POKÉMON BLACK’S PURPOSE IS TO MAKE YOU KILL, KILL AND KILL AGAIN
Should you select GHOST, you’ll find that unlike the other Pokémon, which start the game at level five, it is level one. Its attacks are different, too. Where Squirtle and friends begin the game with Normal-type moves such as tackle or growl, GHOST is only capable of one move, “curse.”
Battles are simple affairs for players who select GHOST. Opposition Pokémon are “too scared to move” against the creature. But stranger is what the ghoulish Pokémon’s single attack does to its enemies. Tiny Cartridge quotes the nameless author describing the effects:
“When the move ‘Curse’ was used in battle, the screen would cut to black. The cry of the defending Pokémon would be heard, but it was distorted, played at a much lower pitch than normal. The battle screen would then reappear, and the defending Pokémon would be gone. If used in a battle against a trainer, when the Pokéballs representing their Pokémon would appear in the corner, they would have one fewer Pokéball.”
Once all Pokéballs had been removed and the trainer defeated, players had one more selection: they could “run,” leaving the battle as normal, or use curse again. Use curse and the trainer would disappear. Return to that spot again in the future and their sprite would be replaced with a gravestone.
Much later, once you defeat the Elite Four, the game changes. The author describes the shift.
“A box appeared with the words ‘Many years later…’ It then cut to Lavender Tower. An old man was standing, looking at tombstones. You then realized this man was your character. The man moved at only half of your normal walking speed. You no longer had any Pokémon with you, not even GHOST, who up to this point had been impossible to remove from your party through depositing in the PC.”
Pokémon Black‘s post-game world is empty of people. The only signifier that they might’ve once existed is their tombstones, left on the ground where you cursed them. Eventually, you can head back to your home, in Pallet Town.
If you walk back to your house and step onto the tile you began the game on, the screen fades to black. The darkness lifts after a few seconds and Pokémon sprites begin scrolling past. Then trainers appear, Young Boys and Fishermen and Super Nerds materializing on screen for a moment before flashing past.
Every living thing, Pokémon and person, that you had cursed. You and GHOST killed them all.
STRANGER IS WHAT THE GHOULISH POKÉMON’S SINGLE ATTACK DOES TO ITS ENEMIES
Finally, GHOST appears again, this time on the other side of a trainer battle. As an old man you’re limited to one move — struggle — which chips away at your health until it’s down to almost nothing. Once low enough, GHOST uses curse one last time, aiming the attack at the player. The screen fades to black again. On rebooting the Game Boy, your save game is gone.