Thursday 25 April 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 3 Part 12 - Spheal line to Beldum line

Seel and Dewgong are some pretty boring Pokémon, so I didn’t – and don’t – mind Game Freak going back to the well when it comes to seals, especially as it results in a lot more memorable, a lot more creative and a damn cute little critter. Though I personally find that the more spherical a little animal becomes the harder it is to dislike them, as proof I present to you Zooballs, Squee-Zoo-Balls and those animals that Patamates used to put in the cuddly cranes, and Wailmer:

See what I mean? Make it spherical people, the public will fall for it. However in lieu of making it spherical, maybe because it’d make it too cute or your mother was killed in a tragic Madball accident when you were five or something you could always make it look like a killer clown, that works too.
So Spheal and Walrein are successes then, Spheal is cute, Walrein is scary and menacing and looks like, according to Universal Studio’s research, the most common fear in Florida, that just leaves Sealo and Sealo is…utterly boring. I like that it just straight-up has a moustache though, there’s a wonderful ‘fuck it’ appeal to that, y’know? Like someone went ‘fuck it, everything thinks of seals as having a moustache so let’s just give it a moustache’? A cutting through the bullshit that I can get behind. However, ruining it’s Dr Robotnik levels of ‘tache: the poor creature is suffering from Gen 3 Undesigned Markings Syndrome, those bubbles stuck onto the sides of it’s chest markings are just…so…fucking…awkward! Their placing is just so…awkward! You’re right that removing them would make Sealo look even more boring, but better boring than annoying.

We’re now a good way through this era of Pokémon and I’m genuinely pleased with how much I’ve grown up and how many Gren 3 Pokémon have grown on me to the point that whole lines that would have got 0 to 1 ball scores as recent at 5 years ago are now getting indifferent scores and fair reviews rather than the stream of all-caps bile I once would have rained down on them, have you spotted the twist yet?
Clamperl is one of the worst Pokémon in this or any other generation if you ask me, it’s just a drawing of a clam with a face on the pearl, every generation we get people going ‘oh they’ve just stuck eyes on X’ and yet that simply isn’t the case for many of the poor buggers that get this thrown at them, Rotom, Vanilluxe, Delmise, Pumpkaboo are all so much more than a face drawn on a thing, but Clamperl really isn’t, it’s just a clam drawn in Ken Sugimori’s style. The only interesting thing about it is that it regularly grows new heads and the old heads become Spoink’s pearl, which makes a great deal of sense when you remember that the pearl enhances Spoink’s psychic powers, of course it does – it’s a head itself.
Huntail meanwhile is easily one of the ugliest Pokémon in this or any other generation if you ask me, before you go ‘it’s supposed to be ugly it’s based on a Gulper Eel and other deep see creatures’ I’m not talking about that. Though it is one of the most Klasky Csupo of the Klasky Csupo-style Pokémon of this generation, like I said for Gurotesu (which Huntail clearly evolved out of) it’s supposed to look weird so I feel bad giving it too much shit for that, no I’m talking about it’s colour scheme and it’s awful, awful markings, the slap-dash, willy-nilly, whatever, placement of which makes me want to hit Huntail in the face with a Bulbasaur. Do you know why Freddy Kruger’s jumper is those shades of red and green? Because the eyes have trouble processing that red and that green together – Huntail’s shades of blue and orange must have the same affect.
Gorebyss is far less offensive and if wasn’t for THAT FUCKING SEASHELL BIKINI I’d say I liked it, it’s apparently based on a very old species of fish called Chimaeras (not to be confused Chimeras, the animals made of multiple different animals) but it also looks like a dolphin someone slammed in a (dolphin sized) book and that’s a good look to have. However THAT FUCKING SEASHELL BIKINI, it’s just so bloody obvious and silly and fuck off, no, this isn’t the last time an alright Pokémon will be effected by the design team’s seemingly collective belief that things that tits go in are apparently funny, how much sex do these people not get?
To wrap this stream of misery up: I did the Clamperl community day on Pokémon Go! recently, I had a lovely time wherein I spent hours doing nothing but catching Clamperl after Clamperl and even this didn’t endear the bloody thing to me.

If you haven’t played Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald or their remakes you might be thinking “Gee there sure were a lot of Water Pokémon introduced this generation”. My response would be a decisively testy ‘YES I KNOW!’. Hoenn as a region was fucking water-logged, half the damn routes were surfing and WE HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN. It was not the most pleasant way to move around a location, though Diamond & Pearl would manage to top it.
Yes I am padding this entry. Relicanth is a cool ‘mon, it looks old and muddy and rocky and while it isn’t an exact likeness of a coelacanth (a order of fish everyone thought was extinct until SURPRISE! They’re not) it’s replicating the feel of that sort of creature, it looks like a living fossil, it’s very cool. But that’s all I got for it. so I needed something to drag this out a bit, shoot me.

I don’t actually dislike Luvdisc. Many do, it’s a complete fandom butt monkey, a punchline and generally ends up in negative countdown lists. It exists in-game to facilitate Gen 3’s heart scale gameplay feature, you see when caught Luvdisc hold a heart scale and you can use them for things, and to facilitate the Beauty Contests gameplay feature that was also introduced in Ruby & Sapphire, Luvdisc are pretty common and do well in them, they’re the Ryu of Pokémon Beauty Contests. 
However if you don’t care about these two things – and it seems many don’t – it’s just an exceptionally simple little pink thing that doesn’t evolve and has rotten stats all ‘round. It’s lazy, useless and girly. So why don’t I like it? Well because it’s not any of those things is it? It clearly shows that design effort was put into it, it’s simply too simplified, to perfected feeling, to have been bashed out; it isn’t useless as it carries heart scales and does well in Beauty Contests; it IS girly I suppose but I don’t give a shit about such gender convention bullshit, my boxes of Care Bears and dolls prove it.
And I would never have thought of turning a heart 25 degrees and making it into a fish, it seems completely obvious now I’ve seen it done, and I’m sure it’s been done before Luvdisc somewhere but I think that’s a cool thing. Fish DO look like hearts if you simplify them, hearts are to fish what ‘v’s are to seagulls.
It could have done with more to its design, they could have made a fish entirely out of hearts, little heart flippers and a little heart tail, or at least given it an evolution that did that, or it could have evolved into a Dolphin or y’know, Gorebyss, the two look pretty damn similar now don’t they? I do agree that Luvdisc could and probably should have had more done with it as people grinding for heart scales would see it a lot, instead it’s functional rather than appealing, overshadowed by its own use. However given that this is Generation III and ‘doing a little more with the design’ meant ‘sticking random markings and extra bits on it willy-nilly’ during this era of the franchise, maybe it’s best Luvdisc didn’t have more done to it.

It’s a fucking meteorite with legs! I just…I just find it so fucking funny and adorable, this little bit of space junk that’s really angry and has little stubby legs. I can just see it running around the house being all feisty and shit and chuckling at it, I’m really not a fan of this line except for Shelgon but Shelgon is just darling and I want one, I want it to try and attack my postman and realise it has no mouth and just kind of ram him (sorry postie, my postman is actually an old mate of my late uncle’s as of this writing, I shouldn’t be wishing comical harm on him, he’s a good bloke). It’s just so silly and likeable, and we’ll thankfully get another meteorite Pokémon in Generation 7 that will far ‘cooler’ and a better fit with Solrock and Lunatone, so I can just enjoy Shelgon without any downside.
The rest of this line just suffer because of their designs, Bagon is a mess of weird proportions that make it stand out even in a generation of so many art styles, it’s weirdly big nose and eyes for its head, it’s weird mullet that looks like Play-Doh, it’s stubby arms and big thighs, it all just doesn’t gel and doesn’t mix and it looks more like something from a particularly uninspired western cartoon, I dunno, Stunt Dawgs or something. Salamence is Generation III through and through, unnecessary markings that finish in weird places (legs and neck), unnecessary bits (it’s head, it’s stomach), a weird and jarring mix of angular and round and two colours in different shades that just look a bit shit. Hoenn Babies are already posting flaming Trubbish through my letter box, they started before I even posted this, they can sense negativity towards Salamence. I will, in an attempt to stop the flaming Trubbish deliveries, admit that Salamence is undoubtedly fearsome, and I do like the general design of its head and face (red bits aside).
For its Mega Form, which of course it was going to get because this thing is basically Gen 3’s Charizard (or always seemed like that to me, probably because I don’t like it very much), Salamence lifts up it’s landing gear and becomes the Blackbird from X-Men, only with Moon Knight’s cape. I mean it could be a coincidence but when Salamence’s wings were already a reference (Bogleech think’s Devilman, he’s probably right given they’re on a fearsome monster but it’s worth pointing out that Mazinga-Z also had these wings and Mazinga is REALLY popular in Japan, and in my house, and my dad’s house) so…
I don’t mind Mega Salamence at all, I like its new head design a lot more than the original’s, I like its constantly undulating tail and it feels like a lot more thought went into it than a lot of Megas, with it having an overall concept beyond just an over-the-top version of a previously existing Pokémon. HOWEVER it’s little harness thing is kind of…silly, it’s just so obviously a harness that it looks like this big bad thing is in fact wearing a harness and that’s funny and adorable, maybe it was a little tribute to Shelgon?


Meanwhile at Game Freak HQ - which I imagine is just Uncle Scrooge’s money pit with lots of MACs in it – someone was listening to Cletus the local nutbag they employ out of charity when it came to Mega Evolutions:
Cletus (Looks up from making sand castles out of dead mice): “you know what needs a Mega Evolution?”
Ken Sugimori: “Flygon! I know already Cletus”
Cletus (eats one of the mice): “Nah, fuck that thing, don’t bother with it, no: Aggron, Salamence, and Metagross!”

Mega Metagross is the epic finale for a really cool set of Pseudo-Legendaries, because if it’s worth doing once it’s worth doing multiple times in the same generation and won’t lessen the specialness of the thing at all, right Pokémon guys? The whole line is basically a monstrous version of the Magnemite line, we start off with one abstract little thing with only one eyeball (Beldum) and those two merge into a bigger thing (Metang) and then two more join the party and it becomes a big-ass metal spider thing (Metagross) and then it gets a mega evolution where Metang and Metagross combine like fucking Voltron into a floating eight armed metal monster of OP badness. Everything about this line is cool, like objectively cool, yeah it’s just ‘Gen III Magnemite’ but it ends with huge metal monstrosities, one of which can fly.
There’s also a weird, possibly accidental consistency running through the ‘merging’ Pokémon – Metang, Mega Metagross, Magnezone, Aegislash – it seems that when Pokémon merge they have a habit of becoming floating torsos that often look like space ships and Metang (my least favourite of the line, there’s nothing particularly wrong with it it’s just suffering form that ‘least interesting midvolution’ problem that crops up every so often where the second ‘mon is nothing much more than a step) started it all! Sadly I don’t have much more to say about these because ‘Beldum is creepy’ ‘Metagross is awesome’ ‘Mega Metagross is Crazy Silly Awesome’ ‘Metang’s alright’ sums up everything neatly.
Oh, they’re Steel/Psychic Types by the way, which means that Mega Metagross can also read your mind – something to think about. Or not, depending on if Mega Metagross is around.


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