Not to leave you in suspense: I like Rotom. I think it was (eventually) a great way to do a poltergeist and I like the fact that it looks like Pulseman, so is in fact a ‘ghost’ of an old Game Freak property and an electric hero, this is a nice touch whether it was intentional or not (and given that Rotom’s regular form was designed by Ken Sugimori, who also designed Pulseman, I’d say it was). Forms me no likey as much, they seem like an unnecessary method to further complicate an already surprisingly complex game though right now I don’t like Forms because I have to cover them all in these reviews and Rotom has six!
The forms that are purely cosmetic (like Vivillon, Flabebe or Basculin) are the ones that irritate me the most, and Rotom - a lil’ ghost found in an excellent haunted house area called The Old Chateau (which did indeed have an Old Gateau in it!) – was initially the worst kind of that kind of form-having Pokémon. It could have a whole bunch of different forms, all of which required you to go back to one certain room in Pokémon Platinum to change and they did nothing, it was all completely for its own sake. But then in Gen 5 each form got its own typing and suddenly the little bugger became awesome, unique and supremely useful.
Rotom itself is actually Digimon levels simple, elevated primarily through it’s call back to the old Pulseman game and by its aura/forcefield/energy/whatthefuckever that makes it seem like there’s way more to it than there is – given that it’s the Pokémon Poltergeist I suppose I should be pleased it has a physical form at all I suppose. It does show up the differences between how Pokémon and Digimon do ridiculously simple though – through little things like it’s unique eyes and it’s unusual shape, Rotom is memorable and forgivable, through generic faces and shapes, most In-Training Digimon feel forgettable and uncreative, not unlike any old generic UFO prize - IMO and all that.
Heat Rotom is a possessed oven that’s Electric/Fire and has oven mits made out of pure ghostly energy! The fact that it looks like more like an Easy Bake Oven than anything else just makes it even more delightful – my only complaint is that it keeps Rotom’s regular mouth (visible between ti’s eyes), why not just make the actual oven bit it’s gob like they’d do with Mow Rotom? Fan Rotom (Electric/Flying) is probably my least favourite because it’s the least mental, looking like a pretty sensible transformation for the regular Rotom to make, what’s the point in that? It’s easily Rotom at it’s cutest though, the new headshape just make sit so adorable! Wash Rotom (Electric/Water) and Frost Rotom (Electric/Ice) are muuuuch better, in fact can we get away with calling them epic? I’m gonna do it. they’re epic. A ghostly washing machine (with a cool tail) and a FUCKING FRIDGE, I have greatly enjoyed sending out a FUCKING FRIDGE to battle for me, every time I do I hear the operatic scream of the living wardrobe from Beauty & The Beast before it drops onto those unsuspecting villagers. Rotom’s so much fun. Then there’s Mow Rotom (Electric/Grass), where Rotom gets metal and really fucking sharp and really… unnerving. A ghostly unmanned lawnmower with a grin like a cartoon shark, Mow Rotom is the Rotom where you remember it’s a ghost and a monster. It should be my favourite, but nothing beats THE FUCKING FRIDGE for me (which is actually surprisingly viable in competitive play too).
Why do people complain about Game Freak ‘just sticking eyes on things’ again? Because when they do you get haunted appliances to drop on bugs and birdies, that’s fantastic and a great, creative and fitting way of incorporating poltergeists and possession - two big things with ghosts - into Pokémon via a standard Pokémon mechanic and yields some fun and funny Pokémon as well. People need to chill out and learn to love THE FUCKING FRIDGE ‘mon,
Oh yeah! Then, in Generation 7, someone decided (during the general slashing of difficulty in those games) that Rotom would be fuse with your Pokédex to make Pokedex Rotom! This gives the player a hint box wherever they go and annoyed some fans because it would never shut up, I think it was a very sensible way of doing what Game Freak wanted to do – Rotom possessing a Pokedex even explain how it could suddenly talk (Pokedexes having a speech function). What ISN’T sensible is that you cannot use this Rotom in battle. You are carrying around a Pokémon that you cannot use at any time, if all your other Pokémon faint you will black out even though you have another Pokémon on hard. I found this all very immersion breaking and it seemed counter-intuitive, they were doing so much to make the games easier and make them different for the sake of it, having a bonus 7th ‘mon on hand at all times would have only helped these goals. It’s not the best Rotom design ever either, looking a bit more like Game Boy Advance Rotom than Pokedex Rotom, but this might be because I always think of Pokedexes as looking like the original version from the anime. I do like that in this form it has ‘solid hands’ rather than energy ones, it’s a nice twist on the design, fits with the ‘fold-out’ design of ‘dexes AND makes sense because it would be rather dangerous to give kids a Pokedex cracking with ghostly energy wouldn’t it?
Oh god, it begins. Generation 4 introduced more Legendary and Mythical Pokémon than any other generation with what-the-fucking fourteen. In-game this is explained as Sinnoh, the region Diamond, Pearl and Platinum is set in, is supposed to be the first place in the Pokémon world to exist, the first land to be created by Arceus and home to the first Pokémon but in in the real world it’s just a side effect of the mentality for Gen 4 which seemed to be ‘do all the things that fans responded well to in previous generations to excess, sour the fanbase on them and then never do things like this again’ – so we had a mass of cross-generation evolutions, a mass of Legendaries, derivative starters and a load of formes – yay. Now I like the Legendary Pokemon, this should be clear by now, I look forward to their reveal/leak more than any other ‘mons per Generation and one of the few things I really liked about Sinnoh as a location was how old it felt and its abundance of myths, legends and ruins, but you can have too much of a good thing especially when a bunch of those good things were event-only Pokémon - some of whom didn’t have an event!
So Generation 4 has two Legendary Trios just like Gen 3 did, the ‘Gen 1-2- style’ trio (made up of three random Legendaries) and a ‘Gen 3 style’ one (made up of the higher profile Box Legendaries), here we have the former and what a fucking let down this lot where. After the simple but effective Legendary Birds, the imposing Legendary Beasts with their wonderful backstory and the sheer designs of the Legendary Golems we get… three discount Mews. People call Pokémon ‘lazy’ way too much but these really do stink of ‘minimal effort’, they are genuinely the same body with three different heads, all with the same typing - at least the Forces of Nature were different colours and different types! Now fair’s fair they do have different stats and different move pools so you can basically pick the knockoff Mew that best suits your battling style of team – high defence (Uxie), high attack (Azelf) or a balance (Mesprit) but I can’t imagine why you would when there are far better and far less fucking ugly and boring Psychic types out there to use, I dunno maybe for some stupid reason like you have a different opinion to me (nonsense).
These are some of my least favourite Legendaries, can you tell? I’ve softened on them a little bit since first meeting them (all of the Legendaries for this Gen were on Bulbapedia before Diamond & Pearl came out in the UK) and I don’t think their heads are QUITE as fuck ugly as I first did, in fact I think Azelf (the blue one) is actually quite cute they are still pretty fuck ugly though and the tails still look rotten to me. I respect however that I have no real argument for this, they’re just the sort of combination and interaction of shapes, colours and lines that I find ugly as shit.
Anyway as legends are pretty important to Legendary Pokémon, the Sinnoh Myths say these three were created by Arceus to give emotion (Mesprit, the pink one), willpower (Uxie, the yellow one) and emotion (Azelf, the cute one) and they WILL take these away from people who fuck with them, which is delightfully dark. Though I’ve always thought that the three’s faces don’t match their expertise: the emotion giver looks the most wilful, the emotional Pokémon looks the most curious and the willpower provider looks the most knowledgeable.
Apparently Arceus is considered their Trio Master, the end.
The Box Legendaries for Diamond, Pearl & Platinum are here and god damn are they impressive. Three monstrous dragons said to be the first ‘mons ever created, born at Spear Pillar when the Pokémon World was ONLY the Spear Pillar (and Arceus), and each completely unique from each other and giving the two fingers to those poxy Lake things that Arceus pooped out a bit later on.
Dialga, the Pokémon given dominion over time, falls the shorted for me of the three design wise (colour-wise he’s gorgeous and nearly as hypnotic as Finneon and Lumineon) - I think it’s the butt-fan and the neck spines – they really stick out as being unnecessary detailing and feel completely stuck on. I’m pretty sure the fan thing is supposed to represent a clock or sun dial but it’s about as worked into the overall design of the animal as it a chicken. Overall poor Dialga could just had welcomed losing one element of its design, I think I’d’ve chosen to drop the Tron lines, and would have looked better - it doesn’t however look silly (to me) but rather quite imposing for such a clusterfuck of design and does certainly feel powerful, like time’s huge armour plated guard dog (I need to name the next one I catch Fluffy, now). However it did put me off buying Diamond.
Palkia is magnificent; the Pokémon given dominion over space it looks like the whole of Space Mountain folded into the shape of a badass dragon! For me it works where Dialga fails, being able to incorporate ‘skin’ ‘armour’ and ‘markings’ without any of it feeling out of place, stuck on or conflicting, it’s also just a gorgeous set of colours: pearlescent and purple? Yes, please. It was totally the decision maker for me and why I bought Pearl, in the end both Diamond AND Pearl aren’t that great but at least I got a space dragon out of it, albeit one whose head sure does look a lot like a cock. Also, have you ever noticed that Palkia’s arms aren’t round? they’re flat on the underside, I noticed that the day I bought Pearl and now it’s the first thing I notice, even more than the dong head, I don’t think it’s a bad design choice or anything but…why? Why does it have arms like rock cakes?
Then there’s Giratina, the bad son, the fallen angel, Pokémon’s Satan. cast into the (amazing) Distortion World for being too violent - yes too violent for a race of animals who do nothing but fight, eat and fuck Dittos – and it has conical spikes on the bottom of its flat wings. Why? Why would you do that to me? Why would you create something this Metal, a dragon this imposing, why would give you give a Ghost/Dragon type, why would you create Pokémon Lucifer and give it THAT ONE THING Syndrome? Why do the concept justice everywhere else and then stick something so illogical, silly and unnecessary onto it in a place where I can notice it every fucking time? I agree that the wings benefit from the red highlights but they could have just been that (like Mega Garchomp) and not…I mean… how do those wings even work with those spikes pulling on them? is ‘Satan magic’ the answer? It is isn’t it. still it is FAR less noticeable than many other cases of THAT ONE THING Syndrome going around the Pokémon world and everything else is so nice, especially that browny-grey/gold/black/red mix of colours and that weird armoured head AND y’know they somehow managed to make a design that says ‘Pokémon Satan’ without it look like a red devil.
But that’s it’s Altered Forme, the Forme that it was given after being banished, it’s Origin Forme is the Midguard Serpent by way of every Iced Earth track ever recorded. I don’t like it as much as the Altered Forme (which debuted first, Origin Forme debuted in Platinum and was in fact the Box Legendary for it), Origin Forme puts the spikes in a far more sensible place but now they bother me more, I think they’re just too straight somehow and while yes, being a massive flying snake covered in spikes each the size of a Buick is still plenty scary it just doesn’t feel as imposing as Altered Forme Giratina, I think it’s because AFG towers, y’know? Still OFG does mean that the trio each represents a different classic dragon design, which is neat.
Heatran’s nowhere near as flash as Legendaries had become by this point but even though he is very much a Gen 4 design this makes him feel closer to the Legendary Birds for me; he’s more a Legendary because of his stats, his size and because Game Freak says so than anything else. But in a generation filled with God, it’s Angels and the Bogeyman the poor larva monster feels a little bit underwhelming, it’s just a very old, powerful Pokémon that dwells inside a volcano and somehow looks exactly like how I’d imagine a larva monster to look, oh and became a dominant force in the good ol’ competitive scene. But taken on its own merits, Heartran’s pretty cool, it feels like an evolution of Muk’s design, with the metal (it’s Fire/Steel) of its body having sort of just ended up where they did because that’s how it flowed down the larva body and where it stopped flowing, it’s very visually pleasing – so yeah, it’s a cool looking Pokémon, a good Pokémon to use in battle and its blood boils as it flows around it’s body (I appreciate knowing shit like that). So, uh, yeah Heatran’s not the flashiest Legendary but it’s certainly a decent one.