Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 8)
As we make more headway through the Gold and Silver part of our irreverent Pokémon review, we finish off some babies, which sadly isn’t as violent as I’ve made it sound; we take a nature-themed turn and see how a cotton plant, a sunflower and a fake tree hold up in battle; and finally, Pokémon gets an honest-to-God green frog as part of its lineup. Which is great and all, but when’s the quokka Pokémon due?
If you’re going to have baby Pokémon, it’s probably best to model them on Pokémon that are already cute. After all, you couldn’t have Mewtwo’s coolness compromised by a gormless looking baby form, could you? It’s a bit like being ordered by your mother to look after your highly embarrassing, butt-ugly little brother. Pokémon like Clefairy, already noted for their cuteness within the Pokémon universe, are ripe for baby forms. But where do you draw the line? Clefairy’s able to win those creepy baby pageants by itself. So is there really a point in Cleffa?
Even more unnecessary than Cleffa, this ugly wee puffball might as well not exist. Jigglypuff is fine by herself, and can evolve into Wigglytuff to be taken at least a little more seriously in battle. But this hideous looking mess was ill-advised from the start. Honestly, the big eyes are acceptable on a slightly bigger balloon like Jigglypuff, but Iggly looks like some godawful anime mascot that’s been run over by a truck. Kill it.
Notable for being the Pokémon that Misty always carried around in the anime, when it was still in the midst of Generation 1. I’m conscious of the fact that the characters in Pokémon never age, so to express my wish to be held close to Misty’s chest probably wouldn’t go down very well, hence I’ll not express it. Still, it excited new players to be given a Togepi egg of their own in Pokémon Gold & Silver. Pokémon eggs, wow. Something to carry around, just like Misty! Maybe this Togepi of hers would turn out to be a super powerful Pokémon in the games, right? But no, it emerged with Charm. And Growl. And not many moves or high Attack stats after that. But the good news is that Togepi actually had an evolution hidden as well, in the form of…
It might just be me, but I don’t see any kind of cuteness coming out of this thing. In fact, I think it looks a bit ghastly. On top of that, it’s still not able to battle very well. It can be a good Pokémon to dump Fly on, and it did demonstrate the Happiness mechanic of evolution to us, if you were clever enough not to use Golbat. But you’re best off just leaving Togepi as an egg, and having him waddle along behind you in the Generation 4 Johto remakes. Trainers of the opposite sex may then take a little more positive interest in your hapless trainer, instead of trying to knock your pets unconscious and steal half your money.
Now this is more like it! A regal looking quetzal bird from
Central America the Ruins of Alph with psychic powers and eyes on its chest. The fact that it can’t do much in battle will just have to be left to one side – Xatu is the kind of bird that supervillains might keep on hand, if they found Persian a little cliché. Its name was probably chosen so that there would be a Pokémon beginning with ‘X’. Understandable really – pub quizzes are made on the strength of such things.
For an embarrassingly long time, and even considering the clear visual similarities between them, I never knew that Ampharos was the final evolution of Mareep and Flaaffy. I think it was due to the fact that I base potential Pokémon evolution on their cries instead of their looks, because I am a wormbrain. I do hope Ampharos will forgive my ignorance, because he’s a big powerful Electric wrassler, the type that makes you sit up and take notice. He blots his copybook somewhat by falling ill in Pokémon GSC though, preventing the player from battling Gym Leader Jasmine until he’s given medicine to recover. This tedious task of finding and administering the medicine, of course, falls on the player. Jasmine, I say this – if you can’t look after your hulking electro-beasts then you shan’t be allowed to have any.
An evolution of a different kind: instead of turning the post-blowjob-face Gloom into the top-heavy Vileplume, you can shed the Poison type from the evolutionary line and go with the pure Grass-type Bellossom instead. I do like the idea of it resembling a Hawaiian hula dancer, but I think I’d rather stick with the filthy beggar that is Vileplume. I’d personally rather an Irish-dancing Pokémon. You know, one that isn’t Hitmonlee. Bellossom is otherwise notable for its appearance in the Smash Bros. games, where it immediately tries to put opponents to sleep. Thanks for losing me several matches, you swine.
Christ. Cutesy, Pikachu-esque clones are rife in later Generations, starting with this guy’s pre-evolution, Marill. Marill was that little blue Water Pokémon that followed Tracey around in the Orange Island section of the anime. Remember Tracey? He was doomed from the start for ousting Brock out of proceedings for a while. That said, I’m ever hopeful that Brock at least had the consolation of defying the million-to-one odds against him and having his way with the chesty Professor Ivy every night after hours. A Pokémon watcher (drawer) was Tracey, how very kitschy. They allegedly wanted to actually replace Brock with Tracey permanently, in case the guardians of political correctness kicked up fuss over Brock being a racial stereotype as Pokémon’s popularity continued to soar. Bloody hell! Luckily, this was all realised to be a stupid fear, and Tracey was summarily consigned to the shadows. And, as he dropped into obscurity, so too did Azumarill and his pre-evolutions.
Mind-numbing anecdote time once again. Have you ever found yourself suffering through a game with foreign language text because you were just that desperate to play it? It’s a tall order for a Pokémon game, let me tell you. But it didn’t stop my best childhood friend and I from trying it on a dodgy 99-in-1 Game Boy Color cart he had acquired somewhere, one that possessed Pokémon Gold as the flagship title, at least a year before it hit Europe. Remember those wonderful pirate carts? We couldn’t believe that it was actually Pokémon Gold on there (alongside the fabulous Motocross Maniacs, among others) and not some pirate effort called Pokémon Beige. So we suffered through the text as best as we could. The language? It was English letters, not Japanese, but every word appeared to be gibberish. It was like the text went through the old Babelfish website from Japanese to Magyar to Flatulence to Swahili to Whale to Vulgar Latin to English. Changing ‘POTION’ to ‘POTIO’ and ‘SCRATCH’ to ‘PUNCH’ were the strongest translations the game possessed, which says it all. And the Pokémon names were in complete gibberish, so we had to name them mature things like ARSEOWL and HAIRYBALLS. Anyway, where all this spiel is going is that it was Sudowoodo who finally made us give up our joint endeavour to get through the game. Once you beat Whitney in the Goldenrod City Gym, you’ll find your path blocked by a shaking Sudowoodo. We tried just about everything to move the tinker out of our way, but nothing doing. Turns out you’ve to get a SquirtBottle from the nearby florists and drown him, something that seemed to have eluded us totally. So there ended our Pokémon journey – for that day, at least. But as much as I want to hate Sudowoodo for hampering our progress, as much as I want to dismiss him as being an obnoxious roadblock, I just can’t. He’s just a funky, brain-damaged little rock, who desperately wants to be a tree. Let’s cut the guy a break.
I suppose the only reason why Politoed was deemed to be a necessary design for a Pokémon was because Poliwrath had evolved twice, weighed 119 pounds and was still being classified as a tadpole. Plus we needed a frog Pokémon, because frogs are great fun. But you need to trade a Poliwhirl holding the rare King’s Rock to bag a Politoed, and who the hell is gonna do that when you can use the King’s Rock to get Slowking instead? Stick with the fat tadpole and use some of its Fighting moves instead. Has any ingame trainer ever used a Politoed? Any in Gen 2, at least? Actually, I hear it’s picked up the Drizzle ability in Generation V, which makes it rain on command. This makes Politoed’s competitive use skyrocket, apparently. But since competitive Pokémon battling frightens me greatly, I still can’t really advocate using this fella. Sorry.
Yeah, if I had to pick only a maximum of 6 monsters to protect me from being mugged by scurrilous Pokémon trainers for half of my money, I don’t think I’d elect to use a ruddy cotton plant. Use Status-inducing moves with its Speed, but don’t try to attack anyone – not with those stats. Actually, you’re gonna be laughed at for using Jumpluff anyway, so why not go the whole hog and use embarrassing moves as well?
Look at him! Look at Aipom! The poor kid’s not much for battling, or for anything really, but it’s a spaced out purple monkey with a large Alfalfa fringe and a hand for a tail. Let me repeat that, with key words capitalised: it’s a SPACED OUT PURPLE MONKEY with a LARGE ALFALFA FRINGE and a HAND for a TAIL. You might perhaps print that out and use your own florescent highlighter on those words as well. Anyway, if you have any kind of heart that isn’t fully blackened, you’ll let Aipom on your team and have him win you a battle at least once. You can throw him back to the trees after that, he’ll still be beaming with delight.
I’m no Pokémon statistician (even if I can recite every last word on Bulbapedia verbatim, and that’s no lie) but I’m pretty sure Sunkern is deemed the worst Pokémon in history ever. So Sunflora had an awful lot to do to spare the evolution line’s blushes. It failed, of course, and failed badly – it’s as slow as a Snorlax fer chrissakes. And boring as a cake without candles, for that matter. Here’s a hint, dumdum: don’t bring bloody sunflowers into battle when you can bring fire breathing dragons and horned behemoths to fight to the death instead. Actually, there’s your homework: write that mantra out one hundred times.
To Be Continued!