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Let me tell you a story. I lost my Blue cartridge and I felt nostalgic, but I didn't want to consult an emulator since the experience wouldn't be the same. Lucky for me, my video game store had a Blue to spare. It looked like any other cartridge, with the label and everything. So I popped the sucker in and was ready to reunite with Squirtle for some old time ass-kicking. The game went as normal; named my rival after a detested Anime character, built my team, earned the Boulder and Cascade badges.

I dug in the grass to look for Abra when Mewtwo appeared. He's level 70, just like he would be in the Unknown Dungeon/Cerulean Cave. Now that was weird; bear in mind I don't have a GameShark. My team was obviously underleveled and I couldn't run, and all it took was several Psychics to knock my team dead. But that's the thing; I blacked out and got back to the Pokémon Center, and I had no Pokémon except for my starter. That's right; my Pokémon didn't just "faint," they were erased from my roster and I couldn't find them in my PC.

Frustrated, I reset the game, starting from my last save. Guess what, I didn't get my Pokémon back. On top of it all, my Wartortle went back to being a Level 5 Squirtle. Since I'm guessing the game dictated I must always have one Pokémon on me after I met Professor Oak and left Pallet Town, it reset my starter after it had been "killed" by Mewtwo. I couldn't believe it. I was tempted to start a New Game, but since I'd gotten so far already and didn't feel like grinding in Viridian Forest and Mt. Moon again, I sucked it up, bought some Pokeballs, and started building my team from scratch.

It must be coincidence I first met Mewtwo above Cerulean. Not only was it close to the Unknown Dungeon, but it's also where you could first perform the Mew glitch with the Youngster's Slowpoke. Randomly, throughout the game, Mewtwo found me and wiped out my team. Again, I had to train my Squirtle and catch back my Pokémon Rinse, lather, repeat. He always went first, no matter what my speed; if I tried using a Pokeball, Mewtwo would kill my Pokémon first, causing me to switch out without having done anything at all. It made me cautious of entering the grass; I caught the mon I needed and ran, stocking myself with Repels wherever I went. Maybe it was useless against an overpowered Mewtwo, but at least it got me through Pokémon infested areas faster. I learned to dread the Wild Battle theme and the idea of the screen criss-crossing to black.

When I got to Lavender Town, the start menu loaded on its own. The Mew glitch happened without me doing anything. Due to my paranoia, I always carried balls on me, so I managed to catch it without a sweat (okay, I actually was sweating that time). Later when I started a new game and tested what happened if you fainted Mew instead of catching it, it'd be right there; no ifs, ands, or buts, Mew will absolutely not go away unless you catch it.

Another odd thing about Mew. Like your Starter, Mewtwo cannot erase it from your party. But instead of going back to Level 5, Mew will be at the exact level you raised it to. Good for me, since grinding gets damn tedious without a partner to bait-and-switch with.

I beat the Elite 4. Now it was on. I got tired of Mewtwo stalking me and I was going to make him my bitch. Up until this point, I haven't been able to try using a Master Ball on him since he always attacked my Pokémon first. But on the final floor, the final showdown, I finally had a chance to fight back. Depending on what I did, the ending changed...

1. If I used the Master Ball, Mewtwo will force himself to be the first Pokémon in my lineup. In battle, he'd act exactly as a Pokémon would if you didn't have all the badges, with a twist. Instead of randomly using a different move on the Pokémon ("Mewtwo instead used SWIFT!"), he used them on other members of my party. ("Mewtwo instead used SWIFT on BLASTOISE!") The only option on the window was "Fight" and the only move my team had was "Struggle."
Not only would he take out my opponent, he set up the Ultimate Middle Finger on me as I could do nothing but watch Mewtwo destroy everything I had. When Mewtwo finished slaughtering my Pokémon my Mew automatically popped out of its ball and challenged him. When Mew or Mewtwo were down to a sliver of HP, Mew used Explosion (which I had never taught), knocking each other out. After it said Mew and Mewtwo fainted, the game blacked out of battle... and stuck there. No buttons worked. I restarted, and my file was still there. Still in shock, I avoided my cartridge for a long time before I was brave enough to try again...
2. A battle to the death. Instead of struggling, my Pokémon retained all their moves, and the battle went as it normally should. Any Pokémon I lost in the fight couldn't be brought back, but at least I was at a high enough level for most of my team to survive. With Mewtwo gone, the game went back to normal. I still had Mew, I still had my starter. I played for hours and Mewtwo never shown up in the grass or caves again. I minded my own business, yet all I could do was think, "What the heck was that about?"
3. What would happen if I don't attack Mewtwo? Crazy thought, but I got curious enough to test it. I used healing items, defensive moves, tried escaping, let my Pokémon faint. I didn't lay a finger on the guy. When my last Pokémon fell to 1 HP, the music disappeared, but not the sound effects.
A "..." appeared, like when a Gym Leader talks to you after battle. I pressed A. Mewtwo said, "What have I become?" Next thing I knew, the box read, "MEWTWO used STRUGGLE on itself!" Bam. I was taken aback, mortified as I watched this creature beat himself to submission. My Pokémon gained no experience and I returned to the overworld. In place of Mewtwo is a Pokeball. I take it and it's an item that didn't exist until G/S/C: Sacred Ash. Credits play. The game starts again and I'm on top of the Pokémon Tower.

I open up my Pokémon and all my team members are there, albeit fainted. I used Sacred Ash and they came back. You could do whatever you want with the Ash actually; if you leave the Tower without reviving your Pokémon, they'll be erased from your team for good and left to rest in peace. The Ash remains in your pocket and cannot be thrown away. But I was touched to have my little guys again, how could I not use it? Next time you go that deep in the Unknown Dungeon, there'll be a tombstone where Mewtwo's sprite used to be. When you interact with it, "Mewww..." will appear in your window with Mew's cry.

Everyone remembers Mewtwo from the R/B/Y days. We remember him as the strongest Pokémon in the world, topped only by Arceus, God Himself. We remember him from the movie, an angsty experiment who questioned his purpose in life. It's because of that incarnate of Mewtwo that we forget an important piece of information from the Pokedex: Mewtwo is a Pokémon that was created by genetic manipulation. However, even though the scientific power of humans created this Pokémon's body, they failed to endow Mewtwo with a compassionate heart.

We take Mewtwo for granted. We brag about how we caught him with a simple Pokeball, and in later generations, we didn't need to chuck the Master Ball at him anymore. Is Mewtwo truly as "savage" as he lives up to be? What happened to him in the last ending? By forgiving Mewtwo of his atrocities upon my Pokémon, did he kill himself to redeem his soul? Or is he still a monster? Did he become weary and bored of the chase and decided to end it? What does Mew play in all this, and what about my starter? Is the latter reborn each time he dies or does a "clone" take his place? What was on this person's mind while this hack got made?

I know better now than to dismiss Mewtwo. For this, though this hacked game terrifies me to this day, I am grateful.


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