Saturday, 23 February 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 1 Round-Up

Generation 1 was the most iconic set of Pokémon and this was entirely because they were the only ones out when the franchise blew up into a world-wide fad of shockingly huge proportions buuuuut it was easily a strong enough generation to deserve their iconic status on their own.

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 1 Part 16 - Legendaries and Pseudo-Legendaries!

Note: just to clarify, these Pokemon don’t evolve into each other, they’re the first instance of a ‘Legendary Trio’, a group of three Legendary ‘mons who are connected but not by evolution (usually they’re connected by their story or by their region).  

I like me some Legendaries. Some don’t, they’re use in competitive play often makes them not worth the effort for people who care about that, while others (like Bogleech) are just apathetic to them or have become overdosed on them. Not me though, I was all in on them from the start. I like old things, half-understood and half-remembered remnants of the past, I like derelict buildings, old stories, old heroes coming back for one last battle, old toys and I like things with legends and stories behind them and the Legendaries generally have the most lore for me to get my teeth into and to build them up, making them seem ‘more’ even if Aegislash can kick all their arses with its shield tied behind it’s back.
Funnily enough that isn’t true of the Legendary Birds – Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres – it was Mewto and Mew that got all the lore while the birds really got little more than ‘they’re old, powerful, and birds – you know you want ‘em’ but it still got them across as big, powerful, revered, rare and this all rubbed off on me and made me think more of them. Them being in the best Pokémon Film (Pokémon: The Power of One) - which gave them some (non-cannon in the game universe) more lore and tied them to the awesome Lugia - just made me like ‘em more.  My favourite has always been Zapdos, not only because it looks the coolest and is, in retrospect, the most original execution of the concept of ‘element + bird’, I mean it’s clearly lightning bird but not a bird that’s just lighting coloured or has lightning on it like the other two are, but I feel it was the best presented. This old monster perched in the dark of the Power Plant, old meets new, an ancient creature lurking in modern technology.
Moltres’ home is also really appropriate - it’s a phoenix that lives in Victory Road – but it’s probably the least creative, it’s literally a bird that’s on fire and it’s a Fire Type bird, it’s cool, but it’s not that creative. Articuno, who I’d like to thank for being awesome in Stadium is completely different again; a cute, fluffier songbird type whose only overt ties to it’s element (Ice) are its colouring, it’s a very ‘pretty’ design, something you’d find on an expensive Christmas card – the one start have the glitter don’t fall off or silver or gold ink. This leaves us with a very diverse Legendary Trio which frankly is no bad thing, as the Lake Trio and Kami Trio would go on to prove. Each one is an elemental bird but each one a different take on executing that idea.
I got quite serious in this one, um…farts!

Friday, 22 February 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 1 Part 15 - Porygon Line to Snorlax Line

Porygon might be the most misunderstood Pokémon, certainly from Generation 1: with Jynx there is a good possibility that some of the claims of racism are true, Kadabra really is poking a little fun at Uri Geller and while not satanic, is a psychic and if your religion says that makes you the devil’s child then the Abra line is guilty as charged, but Porygon did NOT give anyone a seizure. Oh children definitely had some kind of fits from the Pokémon episode Electric Soldier Porygon but the offending clip had nothing to do with the first artificially created Pokémon, it was that little shit Pikachu and his lighting that caused the kids harm. But Porygon being the titular star of the episode has left it mislabelled as a thing that causes kids to froth at the mouth and Game Freak and Nintendo aren’t helping by keeping the Porygon line out of the anime, it makes good sense from a public relations standpoint but it doesn’t help my poor baby get a better rep. 
I LOVE Porygon, it made so much sense to me as a kid, that a computer-made Pokémon look like it had a Vitura Fighter low polygon count - however I never saw Porygon as a duck, and I still can’t, I always saw it as a dinosaur and to me it still looks more lizard-like than duck-like, it’s head-shape and tail being the main things. This of course made me like it more, I’m a dinosaur man, combined with how rare and special it felt (you could only get as the top prize from the game corner, making Silph Co – the company behind Porygon as well as Pokéballs and the Silph Scope – look seriously dodgy as that whole place was run by the Pokémon world’s Mafia) and it being a rare shiny in the TCG (which you may have guessed I was WELL into) with Sugimori art no less and I end up a fan for life.
Porygon2 just made me like the line even more, as it continued on the ‘makes complete sense’ appeal, giving Porygon a graphical upgrade through a device. Though it did make it more ducklike and take away some of the uniqueness of it’s predecessor, no matter how much sense it made. Porygon-Z however is something else, a brilliant concept that leaves us with a deranged duck thing that looks like a cross between a balloon animal and the logo for Alton Tower’s The Smiler. If you never figured it out, Porygon-Z is an unofficial upgrade for Porygon 2, it’s accessed by using a ‘Dubious Disc’ not obtained from Silph Co, it’s a dodgy third-party mod - something that actually a history of happening in video games – Ms. Pac-Man was just a sped-up unofficial upgrade for Pac-Man, fan mods are all over the place in the PC gaming scene and a lot of them are glitchy and fucked up as Porygon-Z. This is brilliant! What a concept for a multi-generation evolutionary line of artificial computer-born things! A next-gen update that perfects the concept, then an unofficial mod years later!
Oh yeah, Bogleech poses the question as to why no more artificial Pokémon have been produced, I think I have a fanwank answer: it’s too expensive and not worth the money. Porygons are the chronologically first obtained as a prize in the Kanto Game Corner where they’re the top prize, you have to win a LOT of coins to get one, that would imply that they have a high value, but Porygon can breed (with a Ditto if nothing else) so once you have enough Porygon out there they can be produced for free. It’s simply not a good use of Silph Co. resources to do anything other than put out the presumably far more inexpensive Up-Grade items.

SPACEWORLD: Porygon2: I’m looking at this separately because it’s so different. This lion is Porygon 2 in the Space World ’97 demo, apparently it’s based on the logo a Japanese company had at the time so it could just have been a placeholder but it has a back sprite and it does fulfil the same purpose as the Porygon 2 we got: enhancing Porygon’s graphics to be able to accomplish round things, hell this lion is ALL round things so it does a fine job of showing this off but, I feel, the change in species takes the focus away from this concept, the reaction is ‘holy sit it’s a lion now’ not ‘oh look it’s got improved graphics’ which would have made Lion!Porygon2 a bit of a failure and meant that the Porygon evolutionary progression would have been less than perfect, so I’m happier with what we got. I’d be ok with it as a stand-alone Pokémon though - maybe a new company inventing their own Porygon as a marketplace rival?

So for the casual or confused (though god knows why anyone but Pokémon fans would be looking for Pokémon species reviews) there are a lot of ‘sub-sets’ of Pokemon beyond their Elemental Types. There are Legendaries – powerful legendary Pokémon tied into legends of the Pokémon World that commonly come at the end of each region’s Pokedex (i.e. Lugia, Ho-Oh); Pseudo-Legendaries that are very powerful and quite rare but still considered regular Pokemon (i.e. Dragonite or Tyrannitar); Mythicals who are very rare – usually only given out special Nintendo events – but not as powerful as Legendaries who are often bonus ‘mons listed AFTER the end of the Pokedex (i.e. Mew or Jirachi); Starters – the set of three Pokémon that you choose from at the start and can only be obtained that way and in this case Fossil Pokémon. Fossil Pokémon are extinct in the Pokémon world and are not catchable in the wild but instead have to be brought back to life from items found somewhere in the game. Gen 1 introduced five of these.
Omanyte and Omastar are my least favourite of that five, but given how much I like the others that’s not saying much, also some fans worship it as a god so I’ll tread carefully. I’m just not that into  ammonites and never have been, their section was the big I’d skip at the Natural History Museum on the way to the gift shop but further Omanyte and Omastar are just more of the ‘small cute thing becomes bigger fiercer thing’ style of Pokémon evolutionary lines, which is fine but compared to what we get with Kabuto, well it DOESN’T compare. On it’s own though the two are ok, Omanyte is cute, Omastar is menacing and feelings like a definite upgrade.

God damn is Kabutops awesome, a blade handed bipedal trilobite monster, an armoured Scyther.
Fun fact: when I was a kid I used to make fan comics about a Scyther and a Kabutops that travelled the Pokémon World – it was a mix of World’s Finest Comics, The Seven Samurai and Arthurian legend, I wish I still had them.
Kabutops is excessively cool, it’s objectively cool, it’s fucking awesome.
I like Kabuto though too, I like the more abstract Pokemon and Kabuto really isn’t’ anything but a realisation of the idea of what would come from a Dome Fossil, an original creature that looks enough like real-world creatures to not seem completely preposterous (see also Clefairy, Scyther…). It’s also deliciously creepy while still being cute, it’s red eyes glowing amidst the blackness and it’s false face on it’s shell, all very cool but you still wanna hug it.
I didn’t think this segment out, I just wanted to rave about Kabutops, I apologize for how disjointed this was.

I really don’t look forward to doing the segments for Pokémon I really like because I have to explain why I like something and that’s way harder than explaining why you dislike something and way, way less entertaining, especially as I usually just want to type ‘SQUEEEEE LOOOOOK AT IT SO AWESOOOME!!’ over and over again and then pass out.
Aerodactyl is a SLAISA Pokémon, spoilers: it’s getting a gold six ranking.
I love me some Petrosaurs (they’re not dinosaurs) but Aerodactyl isn’t a simple Pterodactyl, it’s a mix of Pteronodon and dragon as designed by Todd McFarlane, it looks as tough as it is and is as tough as it looks. It’s just a damn good monster AND it’s got a reference to Jurassic Park involved in it all as well.
Which brings us to Mega Aerodactyl, which is ridiculous but then it’s a Mega Evolution and it sure does look awesome, it’s such a Rock Type that rocks are bursting rrom it’s skin and it makes it look like being hit by even the most basic of physical attacks – Tackle or Fly say – would really, REALLY hurt. But I find the rocks thing a bit odd, it IS a Rock Type sure enough but it’s the only fossil Pokemon that doesn’t come from a rock fossil, it comes from the Old Amber, and amber’s tree sap (Mr DNA told me so) so shouldn’t it really have either trees or better yet, amber bursting out of it? I mean it’s not incorrect this way but those would make much more sense right? Right? Guys?

Snorlax spend their time alone, either asleep or eating and making sure to strategically block Trainers’ paths while they do, but they only evolve from Munchlax through friendship. How does this work? How do we get wild Snorlax? We know they’re a thing, how do they come about? Snorlax didn’t need a Baby Pokémon in the first place, but it certainly didn’t need one that makes no bloody sense.
Snorlax is lovely. A big squishy harmless bear thing, I bet they’re great to hug and even better to sleep on. They’re also certainly a good way of doing the standard RPG element of a roadblock in a game about catching and taming monsters. That’s about all I got though. Munchlax is ok, very much a Gen 4 design with all it’s triangles and ‘not a lot of thought put into these’ markings, it’s completely unnecessary and kind of ruins a bit of Snorlax’s mystique for me I think, knowing anything about how or where Snorlaxs come from before they block a road (other than ‘from an egg, duh’) takes more away than it adds, plus they were an absolute tosser to catch in Gen 4 despite being used to promote Diamond & Pearl ala Marril. That’s about all I got there too, actually
Oh well