Making a Living Dex: Part 9 - Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl

This part takes us to playing Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl. Exploring a nostalgic remake and bagging a lot of new mythicals for the project.

Making a Living Dex: Part 9 - Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl

My Thoughts

I'll open with a hastily written review to a friend after playing Shining Pearl:

Quick review of BDSP.

Overall I think it was a great nostalgia trip... and that's pretty much it. Things I loved about the game:

  • No HMs! While HMs haven't been a thing for the last couple of generations, this game originally had HMs and the quality is much better without them. I was able to head into the Elite Four with a stacked team without any chaff.
  • More mythicals! Mew, Jirachi, Manaphy, Phione, Shaymin, and Darkrai! Shaymin and Darkrai were fantastic as they were snagged via their original events which I experienced on this Living Dex journey via some hackery in Part 3. But here I got to experience the events for real! I do wish that events were more involved than just Mystery Gift codes. But anyway, four more to the Living Dex pile!
  • Nostalgia. Though this is a point for most of the games during this project, Gen 4 was the last before I feel off Pokémon for a bit. Going back to the quick review above, it was nostalgic to remember things as they happened such as specific fights and story events. Playing at the same time with Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and the internet in general discovering new things, glitches, speedrun paths was a great experience to be a part of again.

Other positives for me:

  • Ramanas Park. Located where Pal Park used to be in the originals, it's basically that "catch all the previous legendaries" area. All in the same vein as Soaring in the Sky, Ultra Wormhole, or Max Lair, but the gimmick here is Slates. Slates are obtained from the Grand Underground by using shards you find when mining. While I didn't care for Ramanas Park, the Slates are so cool because they're designed after their game cartridges!
  • The Grand Underground. This seemed to have a huge applause, but I never found this in interesting in the original or the remake. Neat mining mini game though for the first few times.
  • HMs were in the game, but as regular TMs. Sure Cut is a bad move, but Waterfall is a decent physical water attack.
  • Just needing to see (not catch) the regional dex Pokémon to open up to the national dex.

However, with any look back, some bits weren't as... fun.

  • JANK. The game controls so jankily and it's easy to get caught on walls and objects. The game feels like it's also designed on a tile based grid, meaning if an object is occupying a tile you want to step on, you can't. What this means in this top down 3D environment is you can have an object (like a small pot plant) only take a fraction of it's entire tile meaning it looks like you can walk by it, but you can't and have to take the tiles around it to path by it. See more in these posts: Example 1, example 2.
  • I think the graphics were hella plain. But Pokémon and graphics are never seen in the same room. Professor Rowan's head is MASSIVE.
  • Sure there are no HMs, but the sales pitch was "the player to call wild Pokémon to perform [HMs]". I was expecting this to be cool Pokémon local to the route helping out with things like Cut, Fly, etc. Except what we got was "These wild Pokémon are the same regardless of location: Bidoof for Rock Smash and Cut, Staraptor for Fly and Defog, and Bibarel for Strength, Rock Climb, Surf, and Waterfall.". Kinda disappointing.
  • Waiting six months for Pokémon Home integration.

The Squad

I tried to make a varied group, with Pokémon I don't often play with. And I had an absolute star: Mismagius. Fun coverage with Power Gem (my favourite rock move), Psychic, Shadow Ball, and Thunderbolt, and matching Dusk Ball, I heavily relied on this Pokémon. On the note of the ball, I made an effort to have everyone in different ball types. The whole squad at Elite Four win was:

Finally, a Bronzong

Competitive online Pokémon fights came around in Gen 4. While I was a total wuss at fighting online, I did find early YouTubers recording their fights online. You'd see the usual suspects of Heatran, Scizor, Infernape, Garchomp, etc - strong attackers and with my thoughts at the time, "of course you want strong attacking Pokémon, that's how you win". But I was then introduced to other roles such as clerics and walls, specifically I was weirdly fascinated with how tanky Bronzong was. All throughout this project I've been thinking of using one and finally with BDSP, I await no longer.

Hilariously though, I barely used it.


This is the part I was most looking forward to. Older games had some areas that were unlocked to catch mythical Pokémon and while I never had the chance to experience them at the time, I really enjoyed these secret and rare places during Part 3 of this project, where I hacked in the events to experience.

Mew and Jirachi

I was surprised at this one. In the early game you visit Floaroma Town, a lovely flowery town, and you can run into two elderly denizens which out of the blue will give you a Mew and a Jirachi via the Floaroma Town distribution as long as you have a save file for Let's go P/E and Sword/Shield respectively.

This has been following a trend where exclusive and often mythical Pokémon are handed out based on prior saved games. I'm not sure on my stance on this, because on one hand, it stops timed events from locking future people out, but on the other, you have to keep buying more and more.

Manaphy and Phione

The BDSP Manaphy Egg distribution is a timed event. Manaphy was distributed from November 19, 2021 to February 21, 2022. Manaphy gotten via a simple Mystery Gift redemption and Phione via breeding Manaphy.

It was cool to finally see the different Manaphy Egg in person.

Manaphy Egg via Mystery Gift.


Darkrai is one of the Mystery Gift events that's lead to somewhere new and cool you couldn't get to normally. The nightmare Pokémon is grabbed via the Member Card distribution, however unfortunately it's timed between April 1, 2022 at 6:24 (UTC) and April 30, 2022 at 20:28 (UTC) - which was timed to be between new moons in the real world.

Essentially you're able to now enter the building to the North East in Canalave, the Harbor Inn which is normally locked. Inside a creepy man will get you to sleep in a bed and soon you'll find yourself on New Moon Island.

Unfortunately I don't have any screenshots from New Moon Island, or the fight 🤷‍♀️.

My Darkrai.


Sadly another timed event via the Oak's Letter distribution between February 27 until March 27, 2022, but on the upside, it unlocks:

  1. Seabreak Path
  2. Flower Paradise

Trivia time! Seabreak Path is an extension to Route 224 and as such, makes it the longest route in any core Pokémon game! It even shows up on the map as seen below.

On Route 224 you run into Oak who tells you to write something you're thankful for, then Shaymin runs by and opens up the long flowery path that ultimately leads to Flower Paradise.

My Shaymin.

The Mythical Roundup

With this game alone, I've put in six new mythicals into the bucket. Frustrating that it took six months for Pokémon Home integration, but I'm glad it finally came.

I also got each of the above in my Brilliant Diamond save too.


Let's time skip ahead for a second. Once Pokémon Legends Arceus released, Arceus became available in the Hall of Origin event in BDSP via the weird Pokémon Legends Arceus save condition. I did go back and catch it, but I think I'd like to use the Pokémon Legends Arceus version in my Living Dex. So we'll come back to this Pokémon later on in this post. But for now, enjoy these BDSP screenshots from my experience.

Trainer Card and Pokédex

My Shining Pearl trainer card.

As it turns out, the Pokédex isn't as easy to complete as expected in BDSP. I was thinking I could chuck in all my Home Pokémon and just get it all ticked off. However there are two issues, Nincada and Spinda.

This means I can't just transfer them over. So I'll just catch them, easy right? Nincada is, but Spinda isn't. Spinda uses the Swarm mechanic to spawn which selects one type of Pokémon to spawn each day from a pool of 28.

It took this many days..

  1. Slowpoke
  2. Delibird
  3. Drowzee
  4. Doduo
  5. Delibird
  6. Zigzagoon
  7. Voltorb
  8. Swinub
  9. Skitty
  10. Dunsparce
  11. Doduo
  12. Corsola
  13. Skitty
  14. Farfetch'd
  15. Smoochum
  16. Swinub
  17. Surskit
  18. Corsola
  19. Pidgey
  20. Electrike
  21. Snubbull
  22. Swinubs
  23. Voltorb
  24. Zigzagoon
  25. Snubbull
  26. Magnemite
  27. Smoochum
  28. Absol
  29. 😵 Spinda 😵


29 days later, a Spinda.

I had my diploma.

BDSP Diploma.

And, because I had a friend's Machop from their original Platinum, I could snag the other certificate:

For having a Pokémon from an original gen 4 game.

All in all, a fun romp, I'm glad it happened, but man did this game die off fast, especially with Pokémon Legends Arceus having released shortly afterwards.

See you for the Arceus game wrap up!

  1. Making a Living Dex: Part 1 - A Lifelong Dream
  2. Making a Living Dex: Part 2 - It Begins With Generation Six
  3. Making a Living Dex: Part 3 - Preservation and Generation Five
  4. Making a Living Dex: Part 4 - Generation Seven, ”Alola!”
  5. Making a Living Dex: Part 5 - Generation Eight, Sword and Shield
  6. Making a Living Dex: Part 6 - Odds and Ends
  7. Making a Living Dex: Part 7 - Wrapping up the First 898
  8. Making a Living Dex: Part 8 - Odds and Ends Round 2
  9. Making a Living Dex: Part 9 - Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl
  10. Making a Living Dex: Part 10 - Pokémon Legends Arceus
  11. Making a Living Dex: Appendix A - The Whole Living Dex Roster
  12. Making a Living Dex: Appendix B - Achievement Screenshots
  13. Making a Living Dex: Appendix C - Miscellaneous Numbers