Thursday, August 27, 2009

Moves that we need to see

There's over 400 moves in Pokemon, and 92 of them are TMs in addition to the 40 or so move tutors in Platinum. But they're overdue to change the TM list - probably as soon as the next generation - and there's a few moves that need more exposure either as a tutor or TM. Plus, a few moves that I wouldn't mind seeing introduced next time around.

First, the candidates for TM or Tutordom:

Rapid Spin
#1 with a bullet. If Stealth Rock is going to continue to be one of the most commonly available TMs in existence, it needs a check. Making Rapid Spin a common move (and hopefully with the same changes I suggested a few months back) gives Yanmega among others new life.

Power Gem
Rock is primarily a physical type, but there is no 100% accurate physical Rock move. Special Rock has two, and Power Gem is just powerful enough to be possibly useful (70 power, though ideally it would be +10) while picking on a defensive stat that tends to be lower overall for the ones that are weak to it. The only complaint is that a whole 2 Pokemon gets STAB on it (and it's bloody Corsola and Probopass) and the other Pokemon that use it have better things to do.

Although usually following "Yeah, I" it's not as if the flavour of the move prohibits it from being used. In the right hands (something slow and bulky, perhaps) it could provide a great deal of support to allow a switching Pokemon to survive a stray priority move. And it would put a certain pink whore out of a job.

Crush Claw
75/95/20 with 50% chance of making successive hits more powerful? I'll take two. Problem is, it comes from Zangoose first and has to be bred, which gives it a learnset of approximately 8 and all of them have no room for it except comedy Sandshrew sets. This would more than likely be a tutor move, and if it can be, let's make sure it goes to Dunsparce for massive damage. (I'd use a Choice Scarf Crush Claw 'sparce in a heartbeat as long as I could breed one with Serene Grace).


Not just for the theme song for the Joystiq Podcast. Again, this move has a single-digit learnbase (9, yippie) and has so many effects (neuters Flying type and Levitate, makes things vulnerable to Spikes, etc) that bringing this in as a TM or tutor would throw the entire game into chaos. And again, we need to put the fat whore out of a job.

The only major problem this move has is 5 PP, otherwise it's a great counter to things such as Dragon Dance Pokemon provided you can survive a powered-up hit (good luck). Add this to something with Intimidate - or even Bibarel with Unaware? - and shove the Dances right back whence they came.

Aura Sphere
This one has the least odds of happening given that its current learnset is a mascot, Togekiss and a bunch of banned Pokemon. Clearly, they think it's powerful enough to have to hold it back dramatically. Still, if they insist on keeping Double Team in its current form a TM, they're way overdue to bring in a powerful move not affected by evasion mods. Yes, I remember Swift Dancing. I was there. It sucked.

And there's a few moves I'd like to see introduced next time around and used as TMs:

False Swipe with Extremespeed: A 80 power, low PP (15 prefered) Normal move that cannot faint. It's a dual purpose move: It makes catching this less of a pain in the rear, and lets you play some serious mind games in PvP. Speedswipe w/a priority move? Or how about with Whirlwind/Roar and an entry hazard?

Fighting Flamethrower: A 80-100 power physical Fighting move with 100 accuracy, 10-15 PP and no drawback (or a small odds of causing flinch). I went over this before, but the only 100 accuracy Fighting moves with decent power are the ones that lower TWO stats. I know the Fighting type is supposed to be all about power, but certainly something like Medicham (who's part Psychic) at the very least can figure out a way to hit unless evasion is in play without making itself vulnerable?

Breaking The Mold: A field effect move that neutralizes abilities for all Pokemon for 5 turns. There's moves that change abilities, suppress them, change them to Insomnia or let you copy them, but it'd be interesting to see what would happen when we can go back to RBY for a minute. (Only problem is: Use this move and all of a sudden Regifailure can switch in and start beating crap down for three turns before Slow Start kicks in. It'll blow you away []).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Starter Showcase

One of the rules for the Greatest Ingame Monsters post was that I wouldn't include the starting Pokemon because it would've made the list nothing but a ranking of the various starters.

And while on vacation recently, it gave me a chance to sit down and do a full ranking of the starters. All of them.

Red/Blue, Fire Red/Leaf Green
1) Squirtle
2) Bulbasaur
3) Charmander

A lot of this ranking came down to the general usefulness of the Water type over the best of the Grass type. In RBY, Squirtle is favored by all the speedrunners for its ability to learn the two good HMs and to abuse the crap of the $200 Ice Beam TM (look it up). And in Fire Red/Leaf Green, Bulbasaur might've picked up an early Sleep Powder but the old ingame advantage of being able to beat the first two gyms gets beat down thanks to a new Dark-type Bite beating down Starmie. Charmander, for all of its popularity and the FR/LG Metal Claw addition, just had a bad Gym arrangement for the Fire type (it beats 1 and pushes against another).

1) Pikachu

And ironically, it's still better for you than the Eevee you would've gotten otherwise.

Gold/Silver/Crystal, Heart Gold/Soul Silver
1) Totodile
2) Cyndaquil
3) Chikorita

For all intents and purposes, the GSC starters are the worst of the bunch. Totodile has two major advantages over the other two: It has access to an early Ice move (Ice Punch in GSC, Ice Fang in HG/SS assuming natural movesets stay the same) and it hits final form at L30. Cyndaquil has no natutral variability out of Fire moves and Thunderpunch but it can't even pick that up until it hits final form at L36. And Chikorita... worst starter ever. Unquestionably. Sure, it's good for defense, but that's not what you look for in a starter. It can't even Sleep Powder, which if you can't attack is the least you ask for out of a Grass type.

The problem is that Totodile falls to Starmie/Lapras in GSC and the mandatory Red Gyarados in HG/SS.

1) Torchic
2) Mudkip
3) Treecko

The jump to the new stat system brought the toughest decision of the groups. All three are pretty strong, but the only time I ever bothered to do a solo-starter run, it was in Ruby with Torchic (eventually Blaziken). Since they all evolve at the same levels and work out well against the same number of Gyms, the deciding factor was actually how they would fare against the Elite 4 and champion - and Torchic wins that pretty handily.

1) Mudkip
2) Treecko
3) Torchic

Emerald really buggered things up for Torchic though - where it could hold its own against the Water gym, the new additions plus the Champion training Water as well knocks it to last. Mudkip's movepool gives it more variety than Treecko (and hey, STAB Earthquake in the final form - great success!) to give it the edge.

1) Chimchar
2) Turtwig
3) Piplup

The biggest factor in Chimchar's success is the limited Sinnoh Pokedex in DP. Because of it, Chimchar can work well against practically every gym, and the original gym arrangement gives Chimchar the ability to function well against every Gym. Turtwig is a strong number 2 due to the natural Earthquake it gets as soon as it evolves into Torterra...

1) Turtwig
2) Chimchar
3) Piplup

... and it's the natural Quake that gives him the win in Platinum. The Ghost gym going 3rd when he learns Bite in the early 20s works in his favour as well - the only gym he can't really be used in is Candice's, and even then he can still take out Piloswine with a type bonused attack.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Last Sunday, the worst kept secret in Pokemon was officially announced when they announced you would be able to go to Kanto in HG/SS after beating the Elite 4.

Even though this should come as a shock to absolutely nobody considering it's a remake, there was still much rejoicing. (Yaaaaay.) And I really have to ask - why? Haven't we been there enough?

I mentioned this a few entries ago, but just for review (especially since I made posts to this effect on at least three message boards): Kanto has been playable in every generation since the game was made.

1st gen: Duh.
2nd gen: GSC's infamous 16th-assed Kanto
3rd gen: Fire Red/Leaf Green
4th gen: HG/SS's Kanto, hopefully bearing less of a resemblance to a vacuum (please do not suck AND blow simultaneously).

I understand there's a lot of nostalgia for the original games and that they're the best selling Pokemon games ever. But at some point, you have to say enough is enough and quit living in the past.

Rather than remake the same routes for the 5th generation and have to buy 3-5 games again like I've ended up doing the last two gens, I'd do the following:

1) Create a storyline that is big enough to cover the main game plus 4-5 postgame legends, and one of:
2a) Create a tower (Tower of Legends, perhaps) that has access to the old game's starters and offers resetable legends at the end, or...
2b) Offer a downloadable game that acts as a 5th generation Pokemon Box. Although Nintendo hasn't shown Activision levels of dickery yet with download content, the incentive would be that it would be included with a brand new version of the game. Bought your game used? 500 points, please.

Storage would be handled by a SD card, and 4th gen games would have deposit privileges only. 5th gen games could deposit at any time, with withdrawl available upon getting the National Dex. (And that stupid Ranch restriction where they have to return from the file from which they came is ditched with prejudice.)

This eliminates the need for what would have to be a Emerald remake, and hopefully stop the fan whinging for yet another trip to a territory more worn out than a WWE main eventer's welcome.