Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 28)

There’s a certain time in every Pokémon game, it might come after about the fifth badge, when your team is fully established and indeed, most of them are fully evolved. It’s around this point of the game that you might begin to encounter the below creatures and ask yourself the classic question of Blackjack: do you stick with the previously reliables, or twist with some of the new shakers below? Well, that’s what I’m here to help you with, innit? Just don’t blame me if you’re left with a load of undeveloped babby Pokémon before the sixth Gym Leader battle.

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Image rights infringement? Shurely shome mishtake

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1990) NOTX

So, have you got any lookalikes? If you do, I hope they’re flattering ones; after all, there’s nothing than someone piping up, “you look like Woody Allen!” as if a resemblance to any celebrity at all is some kind of compliment. Talk about a day-ruiner, especially if you’ve been putting in serious effort at the gym.

It’s slim pickings for me in the lookalikes stakes, I’m afraid, in fact I wouldn’t be too upset about being linked to Slim Pickens at this stage. Probably the worst one I’ve gotten is deadpan “funnyman” Jack Dee, but you can hold on to your giggles because you’re talking about a Celebrity Big Brother winner there.

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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.”

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“Begun, the waifu wars have”

Fire Emblem Fates (Birthright) (2016)

I’m as lazy, uninspired and bone-idle as the next man, but even I suffer from that strange phenomenon of the 2AM jolt of motivation, that moment where you’re lying in bed, nowhere near deep sleep, and you suddenly resolve to learn 2 languages, design a video game, write a book ad lose fifty pounds, and you’re even crazier if you think you’ll do it in that order. This is all forgotten about the following morning of course, when you awake startled, frazzled and you must shamble into school or work. But eventually, through early morning perseverance and more than a little keeping up with the Joneses, there is a change.

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If only panda bears could do it on command

Star Fox Command (2007)

When I was over in Munich, which by a very happy coincidence and completely unbeknownst to us was at the same time as the Oktoberfest, we eventually peeled ourselves away from the dancing tables and found ourselves in a busy park. Not busy with people, but rather there was a WWF display.

It wasn’t HHH versus Stone Cold under the trees, more’s the pity. No, this was the World Wide Fund for Nature, and they were hosting a display of hundreds of little plastic panda bears, which represented the amount of pandas left on earth.

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 26)

Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 26)

We’re just about getting to the halfway point of the Unova Dex, which is traditionally where the Pokémon designs begin to get a little more interesting. You’re far away from the generic birds and rats, and getting into heavy metal crocodiles and ghostly coffins. Mind you, you occasionally get the odd trashbag cropping up in places of the Pokédex where it really shouldn’t be – like Stantler being near Blissey and the Legendary Dogs in Johto, or the many generic Water types taking up residence next to the Regis in Hoenn. This time around though, I fear the trash may be just a bit too literal.

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Well fire my emblems, I didn’t think the Wii could do Hard Mode

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (2008)

Oh God, it’s happened. I have suffered the most ignominious of gaming embarrassments. No, it’s not that I died to the first Goomba in Super Mario Bros; when you think about it, that guy has probably claimed more Marios worldwide and throughout history than any other.

No, I loaned my PS2 and Metal Gear Solid 2 game to my pal, who was wanting to get up to speed up on the Metal Gear lore. No small task trying to make sense of that whole series, of course. I suppose it must be a bit like wanting to get a copy of War & Peace for your bathroom. But in any case, he took a look at the save file I previously had for the game, and there it was, in plain black and white text – the designated difficulty level for my playthrough was ‘Very Easy’.

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I’ll Tiger Uppercut any company who plans to obsolete my hardware

Street Fighter Alpha 2 (1996)

Well, one of my worst fears may be on the verge of being realised – I think I’ll have to go out and buy another laptop. You know I already hate spending money, but this thriftiness brings its own enormous benefits, including one of my greatest skills – I’m a dab hand at getting the maximum use out of knackered old hardware. This laptop I’m typing on is nine years old now, which is old-age pension territory for a little notebook like this.

Even when everyone else was upgrading their tools at the beginning of pandemic lockdown, ready for months, years, even eternities of working from home, I stuck it out with my trusty little laptop. And technology rewards you for your loyalty, you know, and it’ll look after you so long as you look after it – with the obvious exception of the most spiteful hardware of all, the printer.

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 25)

Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 25)

Every Generation starts off with a bit of juice. You’ve got the Starters, some quickly evolving Bugs, and even the common birds have been taking level ups in coolness. Pidgeot and Fearow, classic though they may be, were hardly far removed from real-life birds. But Staraptor and Talonflame? Now we’re talking. Unfortunately, you do eventually have to get to the cave dwellers and fishing fodder. Bottom of the barrel merchants, these guys. You won’t find Zubat in Unova, you’ll be happy to hear. Instead, it’s… Woobat and Swoobat. So that’s tedious and uninspired, then.

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Paper Mario may not be dead and buried just yet

Paper Mario: The Origami King (2020)

I’m going to give you a fair advance warning on this one – this is going to get a bit depressive. Have you ever had to lift a coffin? I’m not sure if I’d go so far as saying that I’d rather be lying in the damn thing than carrying it, but I have to say, with all due respect, it’s one heavy bugger of a burden to bear.

I’ve had to carry a coffin before, although I’m being a bit generous to myself there because I basically contributed nothing to the lift at all, and it ain’t like we were burying Marlon Brando. I’m just wondering why they have to nail those things so firmly shut – I’m as proactive against zombie apocalyptic doom as the next person, but we ain’t expecting Thriller to play out some day, are we?

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