Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 16)
Back to our trip of Hoenn, and we’re at that stage of the Pokédex that’s usually the most obscure: the beginning of the Dex is your starters, the common bird, the Rattata equivalent, and maybe a cute Pikaclone or two. The last section of the Regional Dex is where the mascot Legendaries, the Dragonite, and maybe some evolutions from previous Generations live. You don’t tend to forget about those guys.
Right before the heaps of Legendary Pokémon that Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald foisted on us is the likely lads below, with some of them quite a bit more forgettable than others. We’re talking chameleons, ghosties, and giant ice heads today. You can’t knock Hoenn for its variety, can you?
I don’t like trying to see objects where there aren’t any. I’m certainly not your man for interpreting the hidden meaning of paintings. But you don’t need to be on first name terms with Picasso to realise that Cradily has a phallus necklace. Honestly, what can those be, if not floppy parts? And Cradily evolves from a goblet of willies as well in Lileep. I don’t know how they got away with this one, or how there hasn’t been some sort of outrage over it. I’ve seen even more blatant penis monsters in the Persona games, but by playing those games you’re already half-admitting that you cannot be trusted around children. But Pokémon is meant to be for those very children, and Game Freak want to give them a Cradily to use… it’s pretty disturbing.
If you were expecting the other fossil of Gen 3 to be a Vaginasaurus Rex, then hard luck – Armaldo has a bit of a rubbish name, rubbish design, and I have to guess here, rubbish stats as well. Even its colouring puts me off. If you want a fossil that looks mean and can do some serious work, go for Kabutops. If you want an ancient two-legged furious beast, go for Groudon. If you want something blue, go for… I don’t know, Poliwrath maybe. If you want a Pokémon that looks like lady bits, go and hand yourself in to the authorities, you dirty bugger.
Hard to beat, harder to catch. The beautiful Milotic’s story is that of the Ugly Duckling’s: its pre-evolution, Feebas, is a right horrible brute, not an ideal companion for a swanky Pokemon dinnerparty. But you’ll need to catch one, and then maximise its Beauty rating (Beauty? Wasn’t Happiness enough?) before it evolves into Milotic. The problem? Feebas appears in only one Route, and the player must fish it out. But it doesn’t appear in every square of water on that Route – oh no, it only shows up in a handful random tiles per day. Worse still, even when you have the tile (and you’ll never know if you do until the bugger shows up) it only appears rarely, so get used to seeing even more Tentacools. It’s a little easier to catch and evolve in later Generations, but what type of a Pokemon Master does things the easy way? You could take a few shortcuts to get a Feebas, but you’ll know you’re only kidding yourself if you do. Whatever course you take, you’ll take a sadistic glee in Thunderbolting enemy Milotics to bits whenever you get the chance.
You get these gimmick Pokémon in every Generation, designed solely to show off new features from that line of games. Plusle and Minun were made to showcase Doubles Battling, whereas little driphead Castform here is intended to be a demo for the weather system in Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. It doesn’t really come off, though, because only a few Routes have different climates and having Castform turn into a rainy droplet when Rain Dance gets used is just opening it up to get hit by Thunder. And anyway, it doesn’t quite make up for the fact that Gen 3 no longer has a day/night system for whatever bizarre reason. In one swift stroke, there goes Castform’s relevance.
As one of the first Pokémon revealed for Gen 3, you’d think Kecleon would have guaranteed itself some sort of notability. As it turned out, the bipedal chameleon turned invisible and went completely out of our memories. This isn’t some sort of lizardy evolutionary offshoot of Eevee, but rather an independent chameleon that blocks your way a few times on one of RSE’s routes, before you get the ability to see invisible monsters and you vaporise them with Hyper Beam. Maybe if this thing evolved into an invisible Godzilla type creature, it’d get some use. But Japan gets funny about things like that.
Not all the ghosts up to this point are creepy, although there haven’t been many. Gastly, Haunter and Gengar look like they’d be a right laugh to have around. Their Pokédex entries would sort of suggest otherwise – in one instance, you’re told that if Gengar is coming after you then you might as well just give up – but otherwise, they seem like affable ghosties. Banette here, however, I reckon could take an entire straight-to-DVD horror B-movie franchise on its back. As a doll possessed by hatred, it already draws comparisons with Chucky, and you’d easily get enough mileage out of its attempts to track down the child who threw Banette away (played by Fred Savage). I don’t know how Banette does in a battle with rules, but when the lights go out, this thing is terrifying.
I was a bit sad about Duskull evolving into this fella, however. Quite honestly my only reason for that is because Duskull, with the way it floats about slowly with its hands behind its back, always reminded me of a gentle though slightly creepy old man. Think Herbert the Pervert from Family Guy. Dusclops eventually found itself as a middle child of evolution, and although it’d obviously be frightful to run into this thing in a blind alley, I get the feeling that you’d just be able to put your foot through Clopsy’s body and he’d wilt into a load of crumpled tissue paper, ghost or not.
Only one evolution, but that’s all this Swiss Armysaur needs. If Armaldo was Dolph Lundgren (tall, hulking gigas that doesn’t seem to say much) then Tropius is Snake Plissken – resourceful enough to improvise and learn (many HMs), plus the added ability to grow a banana beard. I travelled to Greece just to get this guy in Pokémon Go. Well, I went for hefty drinks at knockdown prices, plus all the moussaka you can eat, but Tropie was a nice bonus. Catch this thing immediately and use it to cause everlasting trauma to Bug Catchers and Youngsters.
Nobody remembers this thing. There are an awful lot of forgettable Pokémon, but some Pokémon come right back around to being memorable because they’re so forgettable. Nobody forgets Lumineon anymore, because it gets mentioned all the time. To be truly forgettable, you’ve got to be the lowest of the low, completely obscure even in the Generation you debuted in. And Chimecho almost achieves that – in Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, it appeared in only one small area, and that at a 2% rate. So who could ever have caught this thing randomly? And then it turns out to be less than useless in battle. Fantastic.
A bit of a tragic case, really: called the Disaster Pokemon, Absol’s rare presence prior to disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, Godzilla) actually occurs because he’s trying to warn humans about the danger. Unfortunately, this behaviour tends to see him cop the blame for causing the catastrophes and he’s made to sit outside in the hurricane or something as punishment. If only Pokémon could say things beyond their own names, eh? Absol reminds me somewhat of that scientist in bad horror films who warns everyone about the impending zombie apocalypse, but who either gets ignored completely or even gets the entire party turned against them by the hunky leading jock. Either way, that poor fool’s always the first to be eaten. Unfortunate news for Absol, but if you can look past his gloomy reputation, you could have him as a staple in your classy and elegant teams alongside Ninetales, Persian, Mienfoo and… that new cup of tea Pokémon from Sword and Shield, maybe?
Rarely is the question asked ‘why?’ when we could ask ‘why not?’ You can hardly fail to love Wynaut’s big derpy, happy head. If you didn’t know, this little fella wants to be a Wobbuffet when he grows up. Now I never quite understood what Wobbuffet was all about, I don’t think we ever got any explanation on that thing. But to see its child form is just bizarre. Jarring, in fact. It’d be a bit like seeing Stalin or Hitler as a precocious, rosy-cheeked child. You can never in a million years imagine them having any kind of childhood, let alone a happy one. I love the sight of Wynaut, but he was pretty unnecessary, and his presence ruins some of the Wobbuffet mystique. And someone, somewhere, cares deeply about that.
Need you even ask? It’s a massive, stern head that obviously takes no messing, and it’s the size of a small house. It would be guaranteed a spot on any team in the world. Even a cute team – you start off with your Pichus, Togepis and Alolan Vulpixes, and then throw a sneaky one in at the end by sending out Glalie. That’ll get shivers running down your opponent’s back. But really, I just like using it because it then means I no longer have the biggest head in the room.
I think we’re all guilty of turning into walruses and sea-lions around the Christmas break – fat, slimy animals that will move at a fast rate only for food. Walruses can weigh a metric ton or more, and I imagine those tusks can do some damage – they might make some good piano keys as well. By the time we’d gotten round to Generation 3, there weren’t a whole load of very well-known animals left that needed to be made into Pokémon, but Game Freak got it right with their first Walrusmon. Walrein’s a fearsome beast, and he’s just got that unique aura that select few Ice Pokémon have – that idea of being resilient, incredibly difficult to lay a punch on, while also being capable of downing you in one with Sheer Cold. Lapras and Articuno have that aura, and Walrein’s got it too.
To Be Continued!