Thursday, 21 February 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 1 Part 11 - Koffing Line to Kangaskhan

What a clever way to do air pollution, which of course is a BIG-ASS thing in Japan. They could have just made an evil cloud but that would have been exceptionally uncreative and far too derivative of Gastly so instead they make a balloon! The balloon that would be the balloon if you filled balloons with smog and car fumes. A delighted, disgusting, bumpy, pock-marked, pore covered balloon that comes with it’s own toxic symbol from birth (hatch). And the it gets bigger, sicker and grows a tumour! Aside from the tumour thing, which is perfect when it comes to a pollution Pokémon’s evolution I’ve always likes how much heavier Weezing has always looked, it’s always made me assume Weezing is not only filled with more gas but that it’s thicker and sturdier to, which, as an evolution, it really should be.
Bogleech went into a lot more detail on these because they’re favourites of his, you should check that out, cos I’ve run out of thoughts for this segment.
Oh, I do have one more thought: Koffing’s name really should have been ‘Koffin’ to be a play on words.

Rhydon was the very first Pokémon ever designed and the very first Pokémon ever coded in, it’s a bit of a shame then that nowadays it’s just the weak-link midvolution, the very first Pokémon has become Combusken and Quiladin.
Ok it’s not as bad as Combusken or Quiladin, it doesn’t look like a giant set of cock and balls, nor is it one of the most awkward designs in the whole series, in fact taken as it was originally meant to be digested – a big standalone kaiju – Rhydon is an impressive beast, not quite up to the same level of ‘impressive beast’ as Nidoking or Kangaskahn but easily beating out Lickitung and Nidoqueen. The problem is that it evolves from Rhyhorn (also one of the original 31 ‘mons btw), who has the nicest armour design of any Pokemon but even if it didn’t - and it really does, that rocky hide is gorgeously flowing and the complete antithesis of that ‘underdesigned’ thing I keep bringing up but fail to properly explain – Rhydon is still going from having spikey armour to no armour and that seems completely contrariwise but also a massive let down. You could argue that, like Primeape’s tail, Rhydon has evolved beyond the need for Rhyhorn’s armour, it’s big enough and tough enough that it no longer needs all that plating because it can just crush opponents heads like grapes (in that dangerous ‘hood that is the Safari Zone) and I can get into that fanwank just fine but the counterargument is ‘while you may be right and it may make sense and even be a sign of power, looking less like War Machine will always be less cool than looking more like War Machine’.
Rhyperior (another Gen 4 evolution no one was expecting) rights a lot of the ‘wrongs’ of Rhydon, bringing back the thicker, highly designed armour plating (though not getting close to the beauty of Rhydon) and the overall craggier, rockier look (I do find that utility belt to be THAT ONE THING about the design though, I can deal with the cup but the belt just sticks out, if they’d only put some gaps between each plate it would hvae looked better, oh well). In fact you could – and I do – see it as the predecessor to the best of the glorious overtop Mega Evolutions coming in Gen 6 with its ridiculously big forearms and boulder tail, it looks like The Shredder mated with an ankylosaur (and he totally would, the slag) then went Super Saijn. But this all leaves the most historically significant Pokémon as the one I put up with until I can find the item to evolve it, and this does genuinely make me a little gloomy. It could all have been avoided by simply not choosing to pair the two designs after they brought in the concept of evolution, I can see why they did because it makes sense to put them together, but they really shouldn’t have.

See those up there? Those adorable pink egg creatures with their little eggs in their little pouches and their smiley eyes and happy faces? BEWARE THEM. Oh they’re not secretly creepy or anything - unless you think that Chansey and Blissey use fertilized eggs but, well, I’m sure they don’t – they’re just bastards to face off against. Chansey and Blissey have magnificently high defence and a moveset that is stocked with healing moves so they’re good by themselves and good as assist characters and utter shits to K.O. 
Chasney was one of my ‘at the time’ favourites, and yes it did stick out alongside the more traditionally badass likes of Electabuzz, Scyther, Haunter, Muk and Mewtwo. I like these sort of characters you see, the cute and kind characters who nevertheless can be totally awesome when needed and Chansey is just that: it’s usually a sweet waddling nurse for the Pokémon world but get it in battle and it’s healing eggs become bombs it throws at opponents and it becomes a Pokémon shield, absorbing anything anyone can throw it, even Dragons, Psychics and Legndaries. And it was very visually appealing, very round, very pleasing colours, very cute, very abstract, very original and yet very comforting.
So I said ‘was’ right, you caught that right? Why am I talking in the past tense? Because Blissey came out and did everything I liked about Chansey but ever so slightly better – it’s pink and white made it nicer to look at and it went from being a figurative badass fairy godmother to being a literal badass fairy godmother! (Why isn’t Blissey Fairy Type? It’s a fairy godmother, why it no Fairy!?!). it did become even ‘girlier’ I suppose but I collect vintage Care Bears so like I care about that. The Space World Demo you’re probably sick of me bringing up by now featured a prototype version of Blissey by the way:

Yeah… we dodged a bullet there methinks, it has an arse for a head and TWO egg pouches, managing to mix ridiculous and uncreative in one design is impressive but this thing sure ain’t. 
But then Generation 4 came along and took one of my favourite evolutionary lines, lined it up and took a massive shit in it. And that turd was called Happiny. A contender for minus scores if ever there was one, a jumbled mess of a design with bits all over the place that should have gone through the redesign phase another four or five times or better yet, just been scrapped because Chansey had no need for a Baby Pokémon and most Baby Pokémon after Gen 2 are completely useless, with nothing to promote and no Tyrogue type uses what’s the point? But at least most of them are cute and ultimately inoffensive as designs, hell I’d even say Budew was a good design, Happiny is a wreck, the worst elements of Gen 3 and 4’s style of design, unnecessary bits, unnatural bits, awkward composition, I’m not sure if it has a scrunchy or if that’s part of it’s flesh, completely inferior to Gens 1 & 2’s designs and directly connected to them to prove the point, it’s everything that fans say about Gen 3 & 4: god I hated it for bringing down my mental (and now real) ‘overall score’ of something but that proves that it propagates unfair stereotypes too - Happiny is EVIL.

There’s a lot of competition – Ditto, Pikachu, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Vulpix, Growlithe, Bellsprout and of course Jynx - but I think Tangela may well be the cutest Pokémon to come from Generation 1 nowadays. I think it was supposed to be mysterious and slightly threatening – like Cloyster and Gastly – and it’s based on an RPG monster of some kind that is, again, supposed to be a threat – but it’s never been anything more than just big eyes staring up at you and adorable little feet wrapped in a load of vines. I can see me just walking around all day, carrying my Tangela and talking to it about whatever trivial shit I’m doing while it stares up at me, loving me but having no bleedin’ idea what the Christ I’m talking about. 
Then Generation 4 came along and it was time to stick as many evolutions on previously existing Pokémon as possible and I was WAY too hard on Tangrowth. I sneered and went ‘it’s just a bigger Tangela’ without stopping to think of all of Tangela’s Gen 1 peers that evolved into just bigger forms of themselves! Tangrowth is probably the most Gen 1 of all the Gen 4 evolutions, and like Grimer and Muk, Tangela just getting bigger actually makes sense to me: Tangela is wrapped in vines, so in order to evolve, to improve, it wraps itself in MORE vines, including ones that can function has hands, something Tangela doesn’t have and something that are in fact very useful really.  I do with Sugimori would draw all of the vines on Tangrowth though, like he does with Tangela. Tangela already looks like he’s made out of Play-Doh rather than plant life and Tangrowth looks even more like that, with all the of the Play-Doh squashed together, and I’m pretty sure that’s not what it’s supposed to be (vines squashed together), so why does all it’s official art and all of it’s in game sprites and models not have all the detail to imply it’s a big mass of vines rather than vines squashed together? I’m guessing the answer is ‘you fucking draw/render that many vines asshole, I’ve got 800 more of these bastards to do!’.

Oh but look what we could have got instead of Tangrowth! Look at Jaranra’s bizarreness, look at how nicely designed it’s vines are to make an easily remembered pattern without them looking too overly like a pattern, look at it’s big shit eating grin, look how creative and original it is yet how much it clearly looks like the Pokemon it’s evolving from. I want it. I want it to be a branched evolution, I want it to be Tangela’s Bellossom, please Game Freak? Bring the Poison Stone into the next Generation and give us Jaranra, Tsubomitto and a Poison Type Eeveelution, you’ve brought in evolutionary items for a smaller number of ‘mons before. I’ll take Monja too please, because Monja is now my favourite Baby Pokémon, it straddles the line between creepy and cute better than most and looks like something you’d see painted on a hotrod, please can we have these Game Freak?

Three questions about this Pokémon:
1)        Why does it not have a Baby Pokémon when it actually has a Baby Pokémon with it at all times and always has?
2)        Gameplay and story segregation yes, but how come it comes out of the egg with a baby? And how come it still doesn’t have a Baby Pokemon despite that
3)        Why is it’s name so impossible to spell?
Bogleech came up with a nice answer to number 2 – “like a number of unusual real-world creatures - most of them insects - a Kangaskhan is born already fertilized. By the time it's old enough to fend for itself, a young Kangaskhan would already have a new joey developing in her own pouch” – the other two remain mysteries.
Anyway, a lot of eople get caught up in the sweetness of Kangaskhan and it’s adorable bubby and froet what an awesome monster it actually is to look at, without the baby it’s as fearsome as the likes of Rhyhorn with what I find to be some very unique and interesting armour plating, especially around it’s shoulders. It was also the third Pokémon ever created. Which explains why it looks like nothing much like anything, although we associate it with kangaroos because of it’s name and pouch it’s really jut a fun spin on a kaiju – kaiju mum! That’s a good gag.
Mega Kangaskhan is equally great but hopefully you know that by now because it got (rightful) praise everywhere it went (until it got banned from competitive for being as overpowered as a hand gun in a water fight). Here the baby in Kangaskhan’s pouch gets the mega evolution, growing plating and fighting alongside it’s mummy, cute, fun, creative, etc etc it’s all been said before and I agree with all of it.


No comments:

Post a Comment