There are so many ROM hacks out there that we’ve had to start categorizing them. Today, we’re looking at a ‘difficulty ROM hack’ which turns the Hoenn region into a brutal gauntlet for only the strongest pokemon trainers to overcome. If you think you have what it takes, keep reading to find out what makes Pokemon Inclement Emerald such an impressive and challenging ROM hack.
Pokemon Inclement Emerald Overview
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pokemon Inclement Emerald is a ROM hack of Pokemon Emerald. We’ve already mentioned that it is a ‘difficulty ROM hack’, but what does that mean? Well, a difficulty ROM hack or challenge ROM hack is a fan-made version of an existing Pokemon game that increases the difficulty.
Pokemon Inclement Emerald is a game that introduces several challenge modes, or difficulty settings, into Pokemon Emerald. The three difficulties in this game are Normal, Hard, and Challenge Mode.
NormalMode provides all of the basic quality-of-life improvements, battle AI, and stat changes that make this game what it is. Even in normal mode, you’ll likely still find yourself underprepared for the challenges you’re faced with.
Hard Mode largely enhances the difficulty by EV providing AI training to the trainers you face throughout the game. This is in addition to reworked stats and battle AI, so you’ll need to take any strategies you apply to normal mode and really enhance them if you want to make it through this.
Challenge mode is the final option, and its title is definitely an understatement. On top of all the other versions, this eliminates your ability to use items in battle and disables the shift battle option.
The modes you choose are only a portion of the complexity added to this game. Aside from the story, almost none of the game goes untouched. There are plenty of new features or modifications in Pokemon Inclement Emerald, including:
New Abilities, Stats, Moves, and Typings for Pokemon
Weather, Item, and Ability Changes in Battle
New Evolution Methods
New and Modified NPCs
Pokemon Through Generation 7
Of course, all of this serves to use Pokemon Emerald as a template for a challenging game where you can craft the perfect team and truly become a pokemon master.
Pokemon Inclement Emerald GBA Feature Breakdown
There’s a lot that goes into making a pokemon ROM hack with greater difficulty than a normal playthrough of Pokemon Emerald would have. Still, through the application of new systems and quality-of-life improvements, Pokemon Inclement Emerald has managed to make itself feel like a new game.
Of course, if you’re interested in conquering this challenge, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting into. This isn’t a full-blown guide telling you where to find certain pokemon, what base stats pokémon have, or how to evolve every pokémon you come across.
Instead, we’ll be giving you a bit of a survey of the features you can expect to benefit from once you actually download the game.
If you do want a beat-for-beat breakdown of the game, that’s 100% accessible. When you get the official Pokemon Inclement Emerald download patch, you’ll see loads of files in the ‘Release’ folder that have information on every significant change.
For now, though, let’s give you an overview of what to expect when you download the Pokemon Inclement Emerald GBA ROM.
Probably the most important part of this game is the challenge that has been introduced, largely through the use of improved AI. Now, Artificial Intelligence isn’t really to play here, it’s just the term modders tend to use when they change how enemy trainers fight.
Without getting too deep into the coding information, trainer battles work off of a preset combination of responsiveness and randomness. The moves used by pokemon are decided in part by the moves you choose and in part by some random number generator in the game’s code.
Difficulty hacks like the Pokemon Inclement Emerald GBA ROM change the coding so the responses are less forgiving. For example, instead of always starting off with a setup move like Swords Dance, an opposing pokemon might use a super effective STAB move when they see the opportunity.
There is a lot of back-end coding that goes into this. You just need to know that the trainer battles in this game are significantly harder, and it’s not just because pokemon have EVs or are trained to a higher level.
Of course, those factors are in here too. Gym leaders have more pokemon, levels of trainers, and wild pokemon scale based on very different metrics than the original version of Pokemon Emerald, and there are many more elements of battling that make this a more challenging game.
This isn’t one of those fakemon ROMs you might’ve encountered. When we say new pokemon, we mean that pokemon up through generation seven have been added to this game.
Adding new pokemon to the game is a huge undertaking, but Pokemon Inclement Emerald has gone above and beyond at making these pokemon obtainable without making the game feel overcrowded.
From pokemon showing up in sand mounds to increased variety in caves and water areas, Pokemon Inclement Emerald does a lot to freshen things up.
There have also been changes to the pokemon themselves. Simple things like adjusting old pokemon who have since been given the fairy type and the inclusion of mega evolution mean you’re already looking at a very different Pokedex from the start of the game, but there’s more at play here.
Many pokemon have received significant changes that work towards making every pokemon competitively viable. Type changes, new or modified abilities, new movesets, alternate evolution methods, and much more this into a genuinely new experience.
Luckily, every single change is well documented in the ‘Pokemon Changes’ document that will be inside your Pokemon Inclement Emerald download folder.
Here’s an example of some of those changes:
As you can see, Golduck has been given the secondary typing of Psychic, and it has had both its Attack and Special Attack stats boosted to make it more viable. It’s now able to learn Swords Dance via TM and it has traded out the Damp ability for Tough Claws (changes made to abilities are noted in bold).
Quality-of-life improvements are a huge part of this game. This is what makes it a quality ROM hack and not just some deadly version of Pokemon Emerald. A large part of those improvements is making more use of any empty space in the Hoenn region.
The biggest reason we get new locations is to allow us to comfortably encounter the four extra generations of pokemon that are included in this game. There are plenty of expanded wild areas, the Petalburg Woods have plenty of extra space for example, and there are also entirely new areas.
These aren’t just scattered patches of grass either. New locations like the Seaspray Cave north of Rustboro City are included to give you useful solutions for the gym leaders’ teams. New levels to caves and ruins are opened up so you can encounter more legendary pokemon.
There are even new systems in place that spawn encounters you might not expect. For example, added into the berry system is an opportunity for a wild encounter whenever you pluck from berry trees, something that is heavily inspired by the rock smash encounters already popular in this game.
Keep your eyes open as you make your way through the game and you’ll find plenty of new areas to wander into and catch new pokemon. Of course, if there’s a pokemon you’re deadset on finding, you can always check the Pokemon Locations document in your Pokemon Inclement Emerald download folder.
New and Modified NPCs
A big improvement to this game is the characters that fill the world. Since this game aims to help you in creating your perfect team, there are plenty of new or modified NPCs that are there to make that process easier.
The first example of this you’ll notice is how Pokemon Centers are laid out. Inside, you’ll find Pokemon Centers now include a built-in Pokemart and what we’ll call the ‘Move NPC’.
The Move NPC is a character that combines the Move Reminder, Move Deleter, Name Rater, and Move Tutor. This means that walking into the Pokemon Center will allow you to buy items, heal your pokemon, and change a lot of the important aspects of your pokemon with ease.
You’ll also be given a PokeVial the first time you enter a Pokemon Center. This item acts as a portable method to heal your entire team and it’s a way to avoid running back to town every time your team gets low on HP or PP.
There are plenty of other NPCs and areas that continue this pattern of making your life easier. A great example of this is that IVs and EVs can now be changed simply by talking to new NPCs named Ivy and Evie, who can be found in Fallarbor Town.
Like many other ROM hacks, Pokemon Inclement Emerald has created a version of the Hoenn region where it’s actually important to talk to NPCs again.
More Work to Come
Perhaps one of the most exciting features of this game is that it’s not done yet. Sure, you can play up through the Elite Four and become the Hoenn region champion, but every young trainer knows there’s plenty more to be done with your pokémon training.
The creator of this game is still actively working on improvements, so if you enjoy the game as it is, keep an eye out for a new update that will allow you to take on the Battle Frontier and catch pokemon from Gen 8.
As time goes on, we can expect to see improved opportunities to streamline pokémon training, more exciting balance decisions, and, overall, an even better pokémon game.
Pokemon Inclement Emerald is an impressive difficulty-based ROM hack that provides a genuinely new and exciting experience for fans of Pokemon Emerald and the Pokemon franchise as a whole. This isn’t just about mega evolution or new pokemon, this is a game that sets out to give trainers the challenging pokemon game they deserve.
Dane started off gaming at the tender age of 3 with the first Atari console. His favorite video game genres are turn-based RPGs (can I get a shout out for Tactics Ogre?) and fighting games. Read more...