Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 27)

Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 27)

Ice creams and gears, we’re at the heart of Generation V now. The last great Pokémon Generation, I called it. But listen, these things are always cyclical. I’m only denouncing later Generations now, the ones that younger players love today, in the same way that people probably dumped all over Generation II when it was the most gobsmacking thing I’d ever experienced, at the time. And if you go still further back, older folks would have looked at me memorising all of the original 151 Pokémon, their types, their moves, their cries, and said “put that down, you fool. Go out and get yourself a girlfriend.”


Now don’t worry, I’m not going to go all whackjob conspiracy theorist on you, but I have to believe that there are some pretty nasty, perhaps humanity threatening viruses and substances being held in laboratories out there, for what purpose God only knows. I imagine that, in the Pokémon world (which, incidentally, is flat), Reuniclus is one of those virus monster thingies. You get the impression that direct contact with this thing, cute though it is, would have you collapsing to the floor, convulsing and choking up a substance that never before existed in your body, like you’d been hit by the worst nerve gas. You won’t find Nerve Gas as a move within the games, more’s the pity, so why not pack Reuniclus in your team and inflict opponents with the next best thing?


We humans like to luxuriate at the top of the food chain, comfortable apex predators. But I bet when you’re on your afternoon walk near the lake and you draw near to a collection of swans, your bum closes up a bit – I know mine does. They’ll be lurking menacingly there, waiting for you to trip over so that they can start nipping at you, or whack you with their necks or something. Swans aren’t as aggressive as geese in this regard, but you wouldn’t want to get complacent around one. The same goes for Swanna here, whose stats aren’t the best in the world, but if you want to say that to its particularly mean looking face, then you go right ahead, mate.


I do like an ice cream, even though I don’t always have much room for it after dinner. But I hardly have much use for these ice cream cone Pokémons, do I? Let alone three evolutions’ worth of ice cream. Despite this snooty concern, I actually quite like Vanilluxe. Its design is funny, cute almost, and not in a godawful way. I always like an Ice-type as well. This conehead could use Sheer Cold on opposition Pokémon to kill them instantly. But even more painful than that, it could use the new Brain Freeze move I’ve just invented to give your head a good kicking. All Vanilluxe is missing is a Flake bar sticking out to make it a full 99; perhaps a chocolate Sudowoodo of some sort could suffice. That would have been an infinitely more appealing and inventive evolution design, you know. It could even gain the newly discovered Chocolate type upon evolution. I wonder how many glaring weaknesses 99mon would have? Don’t laugh, I’m doing my best to make this goofy ice cream cone viable.


A gimmick in Gen 5, as it happens, is that there are seasons in the game, based on whatever month it is in real life. The powers of the Nintendo DS clock, you see? Though it was only recently brought to my attention that the way we organise seasons in Ireland is a bit backwards. For us, Spring begins on February 1st, even though it’s still bitterly cold. Then, we don’t count August as part of our Summer. We don’t really have Summer at all, actually. And in the Irish language, the word for October means ‘end of the harvest’. So, you would have thought with all of this seasonal trickularity, that Sawsbuck here, whose appearance changes based on the ingame season, would avoid Ireland like the plague. Its head would be fried, surely. And yet, we’ve got deer everywhere. Do you see now why I’m confused all the time?


This year’s Pikachu model can fly, but it can’t evolve, like Marill, or do a scintillating tag-team performance like Plusle and Minun. You’re left with a flying squirrel that your daughter might treasure, before it gets devoured by a passing snake and you’re both left brokenhearted. I imagine Emolga would fly about the house, chewing and gnawing its way through the electrical wires looking for a thunderous top-up, a shocking snack. That’s another reason for dads everywhere to hate it. And to pile on with the hatred… doesn’t it just look small, irritating and boring? There’ll be people out there who played Black & White as their first Pokémon game who are now old enough to drink, even in the United States of Unova. A new player would be forgiven for naively choosing Emolga in that case. But you and I have a bit more to us than that, don’t we? We know to stomp any and all squirrels on sight.


Well, I’m not quite sure how this thing stays upright, but a jouster who has no need of a horse isn’t a bad prospect. But you’ll find it tricky to lay your hands on one – you have to do a very specific trade with Escavalier’s pre-evolution and Shellmet, during which time both Pokémon will steal clothes from each other and evolve. I’m not sure how they do that, exactly, but it reminds me of a particularly stupid boy in the playground, observing an old Pokémon Red & Blue trade in progress, who wondered aloud if the Pokémon were actually inside the Link Cable. He actually thought you could cut the wire open and Gengar would pop out. That moment and his outburst fascinated me. It must be great to be that ignorant. But perhaps he was bang on the money? Perhaps the data travelling between two cartridges could be manipulated and compromised? I can’t find another explanation as to how Escavalier could exist. To be honest with you though, and this isn’t just because I’ve dabbled in French, but I can only look at him and wonder what he tastes like. I bet Hydreigon thinks that way as well.


I think there was a popular online game called Amoonguss, but it had nothing to do with this fungus. You can run afoul of this thing in the wild in Unova by picking what appears to be a regular mushroom, only to find it spring to life and attack you. And that’s always the peril of course, picking the wrong mushrooms. And given how well those more magical mushrooms grow in Ireland, there’s always a good chance that you’ll be getting more than you bargained for. I would have liked if Amoonguss leaned into the realm of the psychedelic a bit more – in a PEGI-friendly way of course – but in the end it was just a bit too generic, not to mention vulnerable to Fire.


I’m certain I saw a jellyfish in the Mediterranean sea once, though that could have been a fever dream brought on by an overlarge helping of Estrella Galicia. Or, maybe my conscience was playing tricks on me after I’d gone to see Finding Nemo and, mere hours later, threw its moral out the window in exchange for a tasty fish supper. Fish are friends, not food, is that right? Then how come my goldfish never talked back to me when I needed them most? You won’t keep jellyfish in your tank, but the one that I probably-didn’t-see looked lithe, agile and dangerous. Jellicent here is… well, it’d probably give you the stinging of a lifetime, maybe even fatally. But how unaware would you have to be to be caught by this fat lump of gelatin? It’d have to be a bit like those movies where attack helicopters somehow sneak up on the hero out of nowhere. I’m sorry, but never mind being uncompetitive in battle – I could only see this thing becoming extinct.


It’s not the Luvdisc evolution I was expecting, which might have made it somewhat interesting. Instead it’s one of those strange Water-type fish creatures that just seems to exist – except in battle, where its existence is a true rarity, not yet glimpsed by mankind. Boy, I wonder why. I’m a sucker for a Water type, it’s probably my favourite type if we can’t have the overpowered Psychic types of Gen I, but I can’t really advocate using this. Alomomola looks more to me like a piece of the Great Barrier Reef that broke off and started swimming away by itself. Wouldn’t you rather try to do your bit for the environment and bring it back?


While normally the sight of a giant spider would have me running for the hills, or more likely just hit me with an overwhelming heart attack killing me instantly on the spot, I can admit that there is something to love and even find cute about Galvantula. That said, I’d have preferred it to stay in its wee yellow fuzzball pre-evolution form Joltik, but you can’t have everything. These are like those cute Pixar-esque spiders you sometimes see who are all eyes, not like the wretched hairy yokes you get in your cupbaord. It’s an Electric type, so it’ll shock you to the touch, but what sort of mad freak goes around touching spiders anyway? It’s a shame you don’t get this thing until late into your Unova journey, but that only ever adds to a Pokémon’s prestige. Galvantula may be the first spider I ever actually liked. Well, that, and the villain’s mechanical spider contraption in Wild Wild West.


So this is one of those tropical fruits you encounter in wild countries where you take a bite into them and, at best, you’re confronted with a load of horrendous seeds in your mouth that tastes nothing like you’ve ever had the misfortune of tasting before. But at worst, your first bite of the fruit goes a bit like what it must be like to bite into Ferrothorn – you expect a nice snack and suddenly a thousand metallic spikes explode in your gob like shrapnel. You’re pretty dead if that happens, so better to turn Ferrothorn on an enemy instead and watch them turn into a pincushion. Ferrothorn is pretty damn strong, I have to say, and it resists an awful lot of attacks. Well, not Fire of course, but you’ve seen what that stuff does to entire forests.


I’m not an engineer, an electrician or any other kind of manly job, but I think even I could build something like Klinklang. There are some wonderfully ornate feats of engineering in our world, you know. There’s even some bloody nice bridges in Unova, and we all like a bridge. The best aesthetic this thing can muster is a few gear and bolts thrown together, just like its pre-evolutions only with a few more moving parts this time. Low effort name, low effort design, and I have to imagine it’d make a low effort to keep out of the way of a rusting Hydro Pump, courtesy of a slightly less slow Blastoise. Or maybe it’d get mangled by some a wire-cutters attack from Scizor. You’re better than this.


I recently bought a new mobile phone, finally. It takes me a while – you won’t believe how long I keep them around, like my last one which would only be charged via some kind of wireless charging platform. Or my last phone before that, which literally would not work in cold weather. This new one has all sorts of cameras and lights on the back, which seems to be the modern design. Some people say it triggers an uncomfortable feeling of trypophobia in them, a fear of holes (as opposed to a love of holes?) and I have to say, I can see where they’re coming from. So, I just pretend the rounded holes aren’t there. When it comes to large, sucking creatures like Eelektross, I get a similar kind of discomfort and I actually shudder. A Pokémon that makes its owner shudder isn’t automatically a bad thing. And I like how Eelektross has two pre-evolutions. That always makes a Pokémon seem stronger. But I just can’t stomach using it.

.To Be Continued!

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