Part II: I Did Say You Needed A Rock Type
Route 32 Revisited, Ruins of Alph, Union Cave, & Route 33
Recommended Level: 7-10
Head down Route 32 past the roadblock that was there before and beat up some trainers. There’s a Pokémon Center here too. One of the guys in here gives you an Old Rod. If you have a burning desire to add a Poliwag or Krabby to your team, now is a good time to go back to Violet or Cherrygrove respectively. If you are content with either a Magikarp or Tentacool, feel free to just fish off the Route 32 dock. If you want nothing to do with any of these bad early-game Water-types, move on to Union Cave.
Union cave is pretty awful. The only true new Pokémon here are Sandshrew and Goldeen (via fishing), although this is the first place to catch wild Onix as well. Anyway, Sandshrew isn’t a Rock-type, so he gets overshadowed by Onix and Geodude, but is otherwise alright. Goldeen is yet another early-game Water-type, that does exactly the same thing as the other five so far (plus Totodile).
Eventually you dump onto Route 33, which is very short and contains no new Pokémon. Next!
Oh, I forgot the Ruins of Alph. Go there if you want an Unown. Not sure why you would though…
Recommended Level: 10-16
Yay, a new town! Azalea Town contains a bunch of stuff, none of which matters besides the Gym, well, and Apricorn Ball maker (exclusively using these Poké Balls is encouraged to improve style points). There isn’t even a pond to fish in!
There’s a rival battle here as well, which is triggered by trying to exit town to the west after defeating Team Rocket here. The level recommendation above is NOT a typo. Silver (or whatever you named him) has a Gastly, Zubat, and the evolved form of his starter at levels 12, 14, and 16 respectively. If you are too weak, train up in the Slowpoke Well. It might force you to do that before hand anyway.
As for his Pokémon, Gastly is weak to Ground (he doesn’t have Levitate in this gen), Ghost, Psychic, and Dark. Zubat is weak to all the things his fellow birds were weak to in the last chapter, plus Psychic. If you picked Chikorita, your best way to deal with Quilava is to throw rocks or water at it. If you picked picked Totodile, a bird should remove Bayleef quickly. If you picked Cyndaquil and actually listened to me, you should have a Mareep or Flaaffy to zap Croconaw with.
Azalea Town does give us two new capture-ready areas to look at. Shall we do so?
Slowpoke Well & Ilex Forest
Recommended Level: 10-16
As the name not-so-subtly implies, Slowpoke Well contains Slowpoke, which is the only way you’re getting a Psychic-type before facing Silver. Due to the nature of it being a dark area in a Pokémon game, it also contains a large quantity of bats. Of course, if you want to capture these Slowpokes and Zubat you must contend with the vile Team Rocket, which in this game is even less competent than in Gen 1. Slowpoke is alright, but if you want to evolve into Slowking you need to trade with a King’s Rock.
You only have access to a small portion of Ilex Forest (located past Silver to the west of town) right now. However, this is enough to get us access to more caterpillars and their evolutions (depending on your version)! It also gives us access to the Grass and Bug-type Paras, who can actually be surprisingly decent with its ability to learn way more TMs than you expect. Plus, it has Spore, arguably the best move in the game, and a bunch of other condition-inducing moves that don’t actually matter. Pro Tip to using Paras: It evolves at Lv24, but decline the first time it tries to evolve by pushing B. Paras learns Spore at level 25, and Parasect doesn’t until 28. We also get to see Oddish for the first time here, which is almost always good in the Trading Card Game for some reason and an excellent Petal Dance spammer, but not my first pick of Grass-types.
Here you also encounter your first puzzle of the game, which you can read about in bobandbill’s general tips guide. Just get it over with now. It is mandatory to proceed, as it grants the HM Cut when completed. Of course, you would need a second badge to use it. Let’s see if we can fix that.
Recommended Level: 12-16
As the leader’s name outright states, Bugsy uses Bug-types. Specifically, this is a Metapod and Kakuna at level 14 and his only competent Pokémon, a Lv16 Scyther.
Let’s talk strategy. Metapod and Kakuna both have Harden and String Shot, with their attacking move being Tackle or Poison Sting respectively. Just try not to get your Speed lowered too much before Scyther, and remember that Special attacks will be far more effective. Scyther is really tough. It has ridiculously high stats for this point of the game, and a moveset of Quick Attack, Swords Dance, and Fury Cutter. If Scyther gets up a couple Swords Dances, you probably lose, so try to defeat it quickly. Remember that Fury Cutter gets stronger with each consecutive use as well.
If you have a Lv16 Quilava, literally just spam the Fire-type STAB of your choice for glorious profit. Equipping the Charcoal you got from completing the puzzle in Ilex Forest (you did do that, right?) makes it even easier. Otherwise, Scyther is particularly weak to Rock (4x to be specific), so that Geodude or Onix that you probably have can just throw rocks at him. Rock also resists Bug, so Scyther can’t really damage either of them at all. If you didn’t feel like catching one of the above, Mareep/Flaaffy can zap it repeatedly until it faints or the Flying-type that you caught in the early game if you were listening to me can Peck/Gust/Wing Attack it as well. The cocoons are both also weak to Rock and Flying, but both of those are Physical types and both Metapod and Kakuna just love to spam Harden. Prepare a backup plan as such.
Badge get! Let’s get out of this place already. Bugs are creepy.