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Pokemon BDSP Has Ruined Snowpoint Gym

If you’ve been playing Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl since launch, you’ve likely made your way to or even passed Snowpoint Gym by now. This is the Ice-type gym led by Candice, who randomly decides to become Candfighting-psychic with a rogue Medicham in her team. Months ago, I wrote about how Candice was the trainer I was most looking forward to battling in BDSP. She’s the best Gen 4 gym leader, although Crasher Wake is the only serious competition there, and she has a fantastic gym. Not only is its design brilliant, it’s perfectly suited for the 3D chibi glow-up that would surely arrive with BDSP. Surely it would. Surely. Right?

If you have indeed made your way to Snowpoint, you’ll know that this is not the case at all. My boy has been massacred. You might have seen that there’s a bug in the gym. I know Pokemon fans will be astounded to hear that one bug escaped the butterfly net of an otherwise pristine launch, but I promise it’s true. This bug allows you to skip the complex puzzle entirely – usually, you need to slide around Snowpoint Gym on the icy tiles, using snowballs to block your path, taking strategic routes to eventually reach Candice all while battling her underlings as you make a circuitous trip around the gym. In BDSP, you don’t need to bother.

Related: We Have To Talk About The Snakes In Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining PearlAll you need to do is walk forwards. This, as always, leaves you missing Candice’s steps by just one tile, forced to slip and slide the long way around to get back to where you started. This, without bugs, is part of the gym’s genius – you start practically at the end, which is why it’s so frustrating to have to make the long and complex mathematical journey around the rest of the gym. With the bug, you simply have to spam the diagonal direction button and watch your chibi avatar stumble into the stairs over and over again before eventually jumping up them, bypassing the whole thing.

You might think, as a fully paid-up member of the Snowpoint Gym Is Great fanclub, I would be outraged by this idea. An exploit that lets you skip one of the best gyms in Pokemon history? Blasphemy! Only, I'm not. You have my full support. Please use this exploit – I insist. This is not Snowpoint Gym. This is a bastardisation. It's a zombie Snowpoint, shuffling around while its icy skin sloughs off its frozen bones. I've never been a fan of the chibi aesthetic since it was first revealed, but I had always hoped that Snowpoint would be able to justify it. As a physical puzzle that you solve by sliding your avatar around like a curling stone, it seems to suit this artstyle more than, say, Cyrus. Unfortunately, it's all a bit shit.

Let's say you don't use the exploit, and instead, like a mug, decide to waste your time slipping around the ice. You will find the whole thing exactly the same as you did in 2006. I don't mean the solution is the same, I mean everything about the gym is the same. It looks the same, it has everything in the same place… they might as well have not remade it at all. I'm all for faithful remakes, but there's a limit. Look at how Let's Go reinvented Sabrina's gym. It's the same, but it's completely different and modernised. Snowpoint was pretty much the best you could get a gym looking in 2006. It had some spots of detail, it had an inventive design, it made use of Pokemon's mechanics, and if you squinted a little, you could see what it was meant to be. The gyms have always been better in the anime, but this was an attempt to capture the creativity and scope the anime offers. Roark's gym at the start of BDSP is still just a cavern with a wooden bridge, but that's all it's meant to be. Snowpoint is supposed to be a diabolical ice lair, and instead it's just four people standing around in the snow. It has that 2006 look, but it doesn't have the 2006 feeling.

Snowpoint was Gen 4's best gym and a dark horse in the race for best gym ever. Now, it's just a big room with a bit of snow in it, and with one simple trick, you don't even need to bother with the snow. Take it from me, a long-time Snowpoint enjoyer – please use the exploit and get out of here as fast as you can.

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