You’re probably reading this because you like Creepypasta stories – I know I, in particular, love Pokémon-related ones. My favourite so far has to be the one about Silver’s point of view in the games: Tarnished Gold, I think it was called. I’ve read many of them, but most (if not all) all seem to have something in common: they are about a previously owned game that they found or bought through some method, whether or not these stories are true.
I haven’t had the luck to stumble upon any of these supposedly hacked games (even though I collect the old Game Boy cartridges, and many of them were used), the closest I’ve come to playing one for real is the fan-created Lost Silver.
While browsing through /x/ I noticed someone made the comment about how all the Pokémon Creepypasta are about the old games, and none of them are third or fourth gen. So I had an idea.
I have a college friend who is studying game programming in hopes to make his own games someday, but he’s also an excellent hacker. He’s been able to come up with many Action Replay codes that do unusual and generally useless things, but I find it all to be very interesting. What with walking through walls to get to Full Moon / New Moon island, and cheating to get to places. It's all just really fun to experience.
He’s even created a few for Pokémon, although mostly for his own benefit. After I got the idea, I called him and wondered if he’d be able to make a hack for my HeartGold game (I had a copy of both HG and SS, but SoulSilver was my “main” game and so I had no useful Pokémon or items on the HG cartridge). I also mentioned it would be a sickly humorous way to pass the time until the English release of Black and White. He wasn’t sure how long it would take, but he told me he would love to try such a challenge.
Since I had no other means of reaching him (he lives on campus several hours away), I mailed him my HeartGold cartridge.
About three months later, I received it back in the mail, along with a letter which basically stated that he was sorry it took so long because he was busy with college work, and creating a hack for the game was time-consuming. He also advised me to stop playing the game if I was too freaked out to continue, and also left a little note of all the events which were supposed to take place in the game if curiosity bested me.
I was both eager and nervous to start the game.
After loading it into my Nintendo DS and starting up the power, I noticed something odd. Rather than the usual “Pokémon HeartGold, Nintendo” on the select menu, it said “Pokémon Plague” with “…” as the publisher rather than Nintendo. I didn’t know why it was called “Plague” at the time, but it was definitely something eerie.
The game started up as normal, with no changes to the opening animated sequence, except when the three legendary beasts were supposed to appear, there was simply blackness. Even the very end where Suicune was supposed to be looking up at the sky, Suicune was missing. I checked the trainer’s profile. The character’s name was Gold (no suspicion there, as I had actually named my character that) but the number of hours played was 000:00 and the number of Pokémon in the Pokédex were 0. It said I had 16 badges.
When I loaded the game, Gold was standing in his room, with a Raikou standing beside him as all Pokémon in the first slot of the party do in this game.
There was no music. The room looked normal save for the various spots of black on the wall. The whole room, in fact, seemed darker as if it was nighttime. The Raikou had some black patches on him that weren’t his stripes. I checked my party. The unnamed Raikou was poisoned with 4 HP and was accompanied by a genderless Murkrow and a fainted Haunter named GHOST. When I checked their summaries, there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with them, appearance-wise. This didn’t explain Raikou’s strange overworld sprite.
I walked from the center of the room to the stairs in the top-left corner. All the while the screen was flickering and making that strange buzzing sound, indicating my poisoned Pokémon. Before I went downstairs, I checked my bag. No items whatsoever.
Just as I went down the stairs, the screen went black and there was a loud crashing noise, like a stone falling. Some text appeared that said “…you took one step too many…” After pressing A, the text vanished, and Gold’s sprite faded in. I took a few steps and a dark grey outline appeared behind me. It took me a few moments to realize this was Raikou’s sprite, but entirely black or transparent. I checked my Pokémon again. Raikou’s sprite was normal, but had black patches all over him like the overworld sprite in my room. Murkrow still looked normal, but Ghost’s sprite had been changed to look like the ghosts from the original Lavender Town.
Either a sick joke or my friend was paying homage to whoever wrote Creepy Black. I wandered around aimlessly for only a few moments before I decided to check my map. I was in Johto (because apparently Kanto wasn’t available yet) but my trainer’s sprite indicating where I was wasn’t there. In addition, the routes looked corrupted or decayed, with holes and scratches in them, and the map’s colours had been doused in reds and browns. There was also a demented-looking Entei sprite in the middle of Violet City: it was the sprite that appeared on the map after the beasts were released from the Brass Tower, but the eyes were pools of black and Entei’s face was just as scabby as the map roads. Upon returning to the overworld, I was surprised to see my location had changed (or appeared, I wasn’t sure).
I was now on a linear route, only two squares tall and was heading east. To the west was a steep cliff which I obviously couldn’t get by. There were no trees – the route was enclosed by rocks. The “grass” was dark reddish brown. I began to walk a little, and every few steps the screen would shudder from poison. Raikou was still walking behind me, and had appearance-wise returned to normal (although he did seem to look a little darker). After about 50 steps I was confused. Shouldn’t Raikou have fainted already, with only 4 HP?
When I checked Raikou’s status again, he was ‘fainted’ and his battle sprite’s body had turned brown. The
re were black patches all over, and a few places that looked corroded. His head was lowered and there was purple slime dripping from his jaws and scattered all over his feet. His eyes were missing, and he was left with two perfectly round holes. There was no information on him; all his information was blank save for his Attacks section. He knew Toxic, Crunch, Spit Up, and Slash, and I knew most of those aren’t moves this Pokémon could learn naturally.
I immediately switched to Murkrow, who still looked normal at this point. I really didn’t want to look at that horrible Raikou. I switched back, but only for a moment, just to listen to its cry. The cry was a normal Raikou cry slowed down, with an ugly gurgling sound added in.
Raikou still followed me. I decided, for the heck of it, to turn around and talk to him. The Raikou made no noise, and a speech balloon appeared with some purple bubbles. Text appeared, and it read “RAIKOU is ill with the effects of the Plague…” I didn’t know what this plague was, but with an off feeling I knew that it was the reason why Raikou was so awful. I continued walking for a minute longer or two, with no major changes in the environment.
Although, I could hear some music playing faintly, and it seemed to be gradually increasing in volume with every few steps. I didn’t recognize the tune at the time, but it freaked me out. The poison shuddering was still happening. I finally reached the “end” of the road, which was a hole in the ground in front of another cliff face. With nothing to lose I stepped into the hole, where my character immediately vanished rather than comically running in place before falling, as what would usually happen. Raikou stayed outside and didn’t appear to be following me into the hole.
I landed on a single square of cave tile, with rocks scattered around the black void. I checked the map. Gold’s sprite was again missing, but the Entei was there, this time in the very middle of the map. The map itself was styled the same as before, but there were random corrupted routes everywhere, and no cities. I stood on this square for a few minutes, unable to move. The music was gradually getting louder still, and I could finally recognize it as the 8-bit theme from Ecruteak City.
It was being played at a much lower pitch, and the notes were being played as horribly clashing chords.
(“Chords” is the best word I can describe it as, since I have little musical knowledge.) After a minute or two, the music stopped abruptly with a single, deep bell chime, and the screen began to warp in ways I cannot even describe. There were occasional flashes of bright light, until the screen turned black and normal battle music started.
Gold’s back sprite slid into battle, but there was no opponent.
Then suddenly, a very macabre Entei sprite appeared with a screech and that gurgling noise. There was no text announcing that a wild Entei appeared, but there was a box that stated “…free yourself while you can…” Entei’s fur was mangled with dark patches of blood, and in several places there were broken bones stabbing from
his body. His paws and chest were corroded like Raikou’s body was. There were two round eyeballs sitting in his sockets, brown and shriveled, not looking like they should fit in his head.
Gold sent out Murkrow (since apparently Raikou was gone) and a battle initiated. I had no items, and it wouldn’t let me switch out Murkrow for Ghost. “Run” wasn’t even an available option. I could only attack, and Murkrow had one: Fly. Entei was at level 99 and so he attacked before my level 5 Murkrow could.
“ENTEI used Toxic!” which poisoned my Murkrow.
After that attack, the screen flashed black for half a second before the battle screen appeared again. Murkrow’s back sprite was now splotched black, and as I recognized the situation I began to feel shaken. “MURKROW flew up high!” The animation was normal, except the background was brown instead of blue when Murkrow vanished.
It skipped my turn, and then “ENTEI used Roar!” I expected the attack to miss, but it didn’t; instead, the running away sound played, and the text read “MURKROW has fled!” The battle didn’t end, though. Instead, Gold said, “Go for it, RAIKOU!” and a poisoned Raikou was sent out. I tried not to question how he ended up back on my team. Raikou’s back sprite matched his front one, and I almost felt bad because of how ill he looked.
Out of Raikou’s four attacks which I previously mentioned, I chose Crunch since it seemed to be the only one that would do much damage. “ENTEI used Toxic!” But it failed, since Raikou was already poisoned. “RAIKOU used Crunch!” Rather than the fangs appearing for the attack animation, several patches of blood appeared on Entei’s arm, with the Crunch sound playing every time one appeared. Entei’s health dwindled about a quarter.
The turn ended, and Raikou was “hurt by poison” even though his health was already at 0. I was about to use Crunch again, but apparently it had lost all its PP in that one move. I chose Slash, which went first. It was apparently “super effective” and knocked Entei’s health down to less than half. The Entei sprite then changed: his head lowered, and there were several deep red scratches across his neck. “ENTEI used Mirror Move!” which caused Entei to use Slash. But rather than hurting Raikou, the attack happened to Entei, and his health dropped to be very low.
The sprite changed again, and this time his head was lowered to the ground. The eyeballs had rolled into Entei’s head, and some purple slime was beginning to dribble from his jaws.
Raikou was hurt by poison again, as was Entei (even though he didn’t have any status effects). Entei’s health bar vanished, and his cry played at a lower pitch, which normally would have indicated that he fainted.
But the battle still continued, even though I didn’t pick a move. “RAIKOU used Spit Up!” Which did nothing, aside from adding a bit more purple slime to stream from his mouth. “ENTEI used Last Resort!” The screen went black, and the music stopped. The previous warped Ecruteak theme played, and I was returned to the overworld, where a single line of grey bricks lead me north through the black void and rocks.
As I began to move north, I could see that the Pokémon following me was an overworld sprite for Ghost, which confused me because I thought Raikou was in my party and Ghost couldn’t even have been selected for battle. Something odd I also noticed was that my trainer’s sprite seemed darker, somehow. A chill went down my spine when I made the connection that it looked similar to Raikou’s darkened sprite at the beginning.
By now, the screen had stopped shuddering, and I wasn’t sure if this was scary or relieving. I checked my Trainer Card to see if there were any changes to Gold’s image.
As I suspected, his skin was splotched black, but there was something different. Half of his face was corroded away, revealing muscle melting into skull. The Gym leaders’ sprites were all replaced by black squares. I closed that menu and checked my Pokémon.
Ghost was not in my party. Instead, I now had a poisoned Raikou and a seemingly normal Suicune. I checked their sprites. In addition to Raikou’s previous rotting figure, his bones were visible and in places there were muscles and tendons dangling from his body. All his muscle appeared to be brown and rotten, and there still appeared to be poison vomit at his mouth. Suicune was shiny, and nothing seemed to be wrong with him except that he was frozen. Level 100 with full health, as well.
I decided to switch Suicune to be first in my party, and upon returning to the overworld I had shiny Suicune following me.
After walking north for a while, the screen began to shudder. There was a black out, followed by a “run away” sound. When the light returned, I started. Gold was standing on the Mt Silver where Red usually is, but the snow was soaked in a cruel-looking crimson. At the base of the stairs appeared a static overworld sprite for Suicune, coloured completely black. The screen flashed black, and when visibility returned, Raikou and Entei were on either side, still looking ill. My character suddenly jumped back, as if he’d been pushed by my rival. He stood just in front of the three dogs, looking up at Red’s pedestal, and there was a horrid squelching noise.
The screen darkened gradually until there was no more visibility, just the demented Ecruteak theme and that bloody noise. The sound for the attack “Crunch” began to play multiple times. Every time it sounded, there was a gasping noise, followed by gurgling. The screen remained black, but during the noise sequence I swear I saw very quick flashes of images: one of Suicune’s face with his eyes bleeding and savage teeth, one of a mask-less Entei (whose face had been replaced by torn, bleeding muscle) and one of Raikou, whose empty eyes seemed to captivate me for the moment I saw them.
A text box appeared.
“Gold used Last Resort!”
A long scream started, but it was interrupted and the sound stuttered as if the game froze. It was a continuous awful shriek, and suddenly both screens messed up.
The bottom screen was a jumble of pixels, but the top one clearly resembled a face—it was a warped version of Gold’s, enlarged to fit the screen, but hat-less and his hair was all over the place. His face looked horrific, and his eyes were round sockets with shriveled brown orbs inside. His mouth was twisting off his face in a grin, and the jaw looked to be falling off. The back of his throat was jammed with purple ooze which was slowly dribbling past his teeth. The skin was corroded in several places.
After this I immediately closed the DS, and the sound stopped. The green light blinked normally, which was a relieving reminder that it was all not real. I shut off the power and took the game out, stuffing it back in the mail pouch it came in. It was the last time I ever loaded up that copy of HeartGold, or “Plague” as the game called it.
A few days later I called my friend, telling him that the hack was impressive but scared the crap out of me. He felt bad about frightening me but at the same time, I was happy he made such an effective game. I then asked him how he made the very last sprite of the trainer’s face, which was very well done even though it disturbed me to no end. He immediately freaked out and told me that the sprite wasn’t supposed to be in the hack: he apparently made it a while ago for a different project that was scrapped (that project’s main focus bore several similarities with this hack, as I later learned), and it wasn’t the trainer’s face at all.
Somehow it got mixed in with the coding of the game, and my friend claimed that he played the hack through several times and that last part never happened. (Later on, I checked the note he left me of the hack’s events, and supposedly after Gold used Last Resort, he was supposed to fall to the ground like Raikou did and the game would reset, disallowing anyone to save.)
The last glitch bit is what set this game off for me, so I sent it back to my friend and told him he could keep it if he wanted to play around with the coding of HeartGold at any time.
As far as I know he still has the codes for the “plague” hack, but it’s so complex that it’s hard for regular gamers to use on AR. Who knows, he may end up showing other people the hack someday, but for now he’s keeping it a secret.