Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
Ahhh, the big city. The big . . . rocky . . . flaky . . . city. Home of Devon Corp., Rustboro City is the first step on your journey to becoming a Pokémon Champion, as it's home to the first Pokémon Gym. (The first you can challenge, anyway. Daddy's doesn't count.) Have you learned enough to bring down the Rock-types in Roxanne's dojo? Or will they flatten you?
- Before entering Rustboro, check the fence to the right of the entrance. You can skim along the outside of the fence to find an X Defense.
- Start with the Poke Mart. A man inside by the desk will give you TM54, False Swipe, if you speak to him. It’s a solid move for catching wild Pokémon, as it will never cause its target to faint.
- Back outside, check one building north of here to find a man who will give you HM01, Cut. Cut will allow you to slice down the conspicuous plants that dot the landscape along your travels, usually allowing you to get at optional (but useful) items. You can’t use it ’til you beat the local gym, however.
- East of here you’ll find the Pokémon Center. Nothing terribly important waits inside, though after the long stretch between Petalburg and Rustboro you’ll probably want to heal your team. (A weird dude in here will let you identify yourself as one of the game’s various trainer types. Huh.)
- North of the Pokémon Center is another apartment building; on the first floor is a Skitty you can ID with DexNav, and on the second floor is a trainer who will give you a Float Stone and a little boy who will give you a Premier Ball.
- On the right side of the main road is a trainer’s school. Here you’ll find a great deal of info on how to conduct battles, both by speaking to the students and checking the chalkboard. Speak to the teacher for a Quick Claw.
- In the north of Rustboro you’ll find three more buildings. On the far left is Devon Corp’s headquarters, which is not currently accessible. On the far right is the home of a trainer who will trade you a Makuhita for a Slakoth; not a bad idea if you want Makuhita’s evolutionary line, as traded Pokémon receive more experience than usual. A Makuhita will also come in handy in the first Pokémon Gym, which is coming up shortly. You can find a Slakoth in Petalburg Woods. And in the middle of these two buildings . . .
Rustboro Pokémon Gym
Woooo! Your first official Pokémon Gym Challenge! Rustboro Gym is an introductory experience, allowing your trainer to acclimate to Gym Challenges before they actually become, y’know, difficult. In each gym, you’ll find a puzzle, a series of gym trainers, and, at the end, a Gym Leader whom you must defeat in battle to receive a Gym Badge. You need eight Gym Badges to begin the final phase of the game.
The Rustboro Gym is both small and obvious. All you have to do is weave through the short path, heading north. It’s quite possible to avoid all three gym trainers on the way to the Gym Leader—simply take any paths they’re not guarding - but fighting them is a good idea, as they’ll give you a preview of the Gym Leader’s power and combat style. They’re all essentially weaker versions of her.
Rustboro Gym is populated by Rock-type Pokémon. All three starters have ways to face Rock-type Pokémon (though you’ll have to evolve Torchic to Combusken to receive a Fighting-type move for taking on rock-types). If you find yourself lacking in a move to take on Rock-types, catch a Shroomish, a Lotad, a Seedot, or a Wingull from previous routes. All four can take on this gym (though Wingull can be hit rather hard by Rock-type attacks).
- Geodude, level 7
- Geodude, level 9
Josh is a good indication of what you’ll face at the end of this gym. Water- and Grass-type moves will take his Geodudes down, and Fighting-type moves will suffice if you chose Torchic as your starter. (You’ll want to make it evolve before getting here, in other words.) Sturdy is a really annoying ability for your Pokémon, as you’ll soon learn, but it’s more an inconvenience than a major hurdle in this gym.
- Geodude, level 10
Another Geodude. Stronger, but no big deal.
- Geodude, level 10
Shrug? You know what to do by now. At least this one doesn't have Sturdy.
- Geodude, level 12
- Nosepass, level 14
Reward: $1,680, TM39
Your first gym leader! Roxanne is pretty tough, as far as trainers go. Her Geodude is just an advanced version of the things you’ve been facing up to this point, but her Nosepass . . . harsh. Its defences will stop even your strongest moves from landing a one-hit kill, especially with Sturdy preventing just such a thing.
Nevertheless, press forward with Water-, Grass-, or Fighting-type moves, heal with Potions as necessary, and lower its defences if you have the option. Roxanne will use Potions for her side if you get a Pokémon into the yellow or red without taking it down; try to waste her Potions on the Geodude. Nosepass is annoying enough without healing.
Defeating Roxanne will earn you the Stone Badge, allowing you to level your Pokémon to 20 without any disobedience. Your Pokémon can now use Cut outside battle. You’ll also receive TM39, Rock Tomb. It's a pretty ho-hum move, but it'll do as a Rock-type move for the moment.