For a lot of Pokémon fans, Red and Blue will always have a special place in our hearts. A couple of notes of that original bleepy-bloopy music are all you need; waves of nostalgic joy come cascading through our happy parts. As with so many series, the game that started it all just has that effect.
Let’s go easy on those rose-tinted glasses though. It’s also a sad fact that these OG titles often feel a little primitive today. Returning to Red and Blue quite recently with the Virtual Console release, I found them a bit of a clunky pain in the ass to play. How did we ever play before our inventory was sorted into a perfect Poké-bag, with different compartments? What the heck was going on with the Sleep status, which just decided to last however long it wanted back in the day?
Over seven generations of games, things have come on in leaps and bounds, and a lot of these bugbears were ironed out long ago. Teething troubles aside, the franchise’sa foundations were generally solid, and there are many elements that remain just the same as ever.
One of these, of course, would be the beautifully bizarre Pokédex entries. We’ve had a look at the best (and darn batcrap weirdest) of Kanto and Johto’s dex entries, and now we’re on our way to Hoenn. Which Pokémon loses its powerful if its super-sensitive nose is pinched? Which species is the Pokémon world’s Evel Knievel? Buckle up and let’s find out.
15Sableye Is ALWAYS WATCHING
Prior to generation three, the Ghost type was criminally underrepresented. Back in Red and Blue, the Gastly evolution line were the only three Ghost types in existence. As perfect and awesome as they are (because let’s not kid ourselves here), that’s just not going to cut it.
Fortunately, when we hit Hoenn, a little more variety was introduced. One of these spangly new ghosts was Sableye, and it was quintessentially creepy in both design and concept. Those sinister, glowing bejewelled eyes, the horrific twitching animation in the later games… what’s not to like?
I’m not entirely down with the whole spirit-stealing thing, though. How does this work? Who’s lurking around deep in haunted caves? What are the connotations of their ‘leading quiet lives?’ Try not to think about this too much.
14Mawile’s Huge, [REDACTED] Jaws
Mawile is a Pokémon who has greatly enjoyed some of the series’ more recent additions and changes. Previously, it was a pure Steel type, and an entirely forgettable one at that. Competitively, it was about as useful in battle as a one-legged arthritic puppy in a coma.
Suddenly, in recent years, it was retconned to be a part Fairy type, and gained a formidable mega evolution to boot. This has done wonders for the little ‘mon, and brought it into some kind of limelight for the first time.
While it’s here in the limelight then, what the heck is this Pokédex entry about? Crunching on that poor Cacnea aside, its ‘huge jaws are actually steel horns that have been transformed?’ You lost me with that last word there, Game Freak.
13Please Feed The Numels (Freaking Carefully)
Speaking of Pokémon that were completely irrelevant before lucking out and bagging themselves a mega evolution, here comes our buddy Numel. Like many of you Pokéfans, I almost entirely forgot that Numel and Camerupt were things until trying out the mega. I do quite like their designs, though (Mega Camerupt aside; it may be a powerhouse but it looks like the magic carpet from Aladdin), so there’s that.
Looking back at Ruby and Sapphire’s dex entries for Numel, there’s a whole heap of weirdness going on here. First up, there’s that classic Fire type its-body-is-implausible-hotter-than-the-surface-of-the-sun implausibility.
In the light of that, the completely extraneous detail about hunger makes it all the odder. Why was that relevant? How is it a thing at all? Someone took the time to put that in there.
12Nuzleaf’s Long, Thin, Dangerous Weapon
By and large, everything seemed to be going quite well with Nuzleaf’s Pokédex entry. Check out Sapphire’s entry, for instance: ‘The sound of Nuzleaf’s flute strikes fear and uncertainty in the hearts of people lost in the forest.’ There’s nothing too wrong there. The thing’s just a typical mischievous forest spirit, and a bit of an a-hole to boot. I’d have been perfectly good with that.
Sadly, with Ruby and Emerald’s entries, the most peculiar and unnecessary extra detail was thrown in. ‘Its long and pointed nose is its weak point. It loses power if the nose is gripped.’
I... just... I can’t even. Why? This gives me visions of the nose glowing bright red, like a boss’s weak spot in a shoot ‘em up.
11When Gulpin Eats Out, It Goes All The Way
As we all know darn well, the Pokédex has a reputation for the bizarre, the entirely illogical, the batcrap crazy implausible. A lot of Fire types, as I say, should be instantly vaporized (along with the entire planet) by their own internal body temperatures. Something as feeble as Stantler can apparently turn your mind to jelly if you stare into its antlers for too long. Yep, that’s a thing, and they can also distort time.
As such, a certain pinch of salt is always necessary. Next up, for instance, we have the harmless-looking Gulpin. This thing is, essentially, just a stomach on legs, without the legs. It can swallow something its own size, like one of those cartoons of a snake with a whole damn brass band inside its body. More importantly, it can effortlessly dissolve anything. Anything.
10Seedot, The Pokémon World’s Evel Knievel
Which is the bravest Pokémon of all? That’s a tough one to answer. If you scour the Pokédex (as I’ve done pretty darn extensively for this series), you’ll come across all sorts of stories. There are Fighting type Pokémon and ballsy little bird ‘mon who will never back down from a fight. They’re highly aggressive, we’re told; will take on opponents much larger than themselves and refuse to retreat.
All of which is, I’m sure you’ll agree, pretty darn brave. However, for my money, Seedot beats them all on that score. Don’t let its humble appearance fool you, this little guy has cajones.
Indistinguishable from an acorn, Seedot spends its days dangling from tree branches. ‘It delights in surprising foraging Pidgey,’ FireRed and LeafGreen report. Natural predators? Screw them, I’m not scared. I’m going to taunt them.
9When Metangs Fuse Together And Fly With Their… Arms?
Like many little urchins among us, I was super inquisitive as a child. Most children reach a certain age and start hitting their parents and teachers with the dreaded why? at every opportunity. I was no different. My biggest question of all was how airplanes fly.
I’m hitting the big 3-0 next year, and I’m still not entirely clear on that concept. Planes stay in the sky through some kind of witchcraft, as far as I’m concerned. Don’t even get me started on how Metang flies. Or even how it exists and functions at all. ‘The brains of the Beldum are joined by a magnetic nervous system,’ Pokémon Ruby tells us. ‘This Pokémon turns its arms to the rear for traveling at high speed,’ adds Sapphire.
I have questions. Many questions.
8Torchic, The Teeny Arsonist Powerhouse
It would be easy to underestimate Torchic. Look at the little guy, it’s one of the most adorable Pokémon ever created. You wouldn’t look at it and spontaneously lose bowel control in terror, would you? It’s hardly a werewolf, it’s a cuddly little chick. If you remember the Friends episode where Joey got two little chicks trapped in his foosball table, you’ll know how impossibly cute these things can be.
Don’t be fooled by its appearance, though. This thing will roast your sorry butt in an instant if it doesn’t like you. ‘This Pokémon breathes fire of up to 1,800 degrees F,' reports Ruby’s dex, ‘including fireballs that leave the foe scorched black.’ So, um… that’s a yikes. On the plus side, though, it’s very huggable, as Sapphire tells us.
7Chucky’s Got Nothing On Banette
As we’ve already seen with Sableye, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire added a fair complement of new Ghost types to the roster. These were sorely needed, as I say, because the undead ranks were pretty darn thin on the ground beforehand.
Another new addition for the Hoenn Pokédex was Banette. This thing was clearly based on the classic old haunted doll trope that horror is so fond of, but that works in its favor. A little hackneyed, maybe, but Banette’s dex entry is certainly one of the most effective.
Take your pick from either Ruby’s ‘Banette generates energy for laying strong curses by sticking pins into its own body. This Pokémon was originally a pitiful plush doll that was thrown away’ or FireRed/LeafGreen’s ‘Strong feelings of hatred turned this puppet into a Pokémon. If it opens its mouth, its cursed energy escapes.’ Either way, a sleepless night it is.
6Electrike: Either Invisible, Or Starting A Huge Eff-Off Dramatic Firework Display
If you’ve ever watched Pete’s Dragon, you’ll know that some mythical creatures just can’t make up their darn minds. The dragon, Elliot, was either making itself invisible to escape humans’ notice or causing a huge, ridiculous, Godzilla-esque scene (leaping on the bridge and burning the asphalt with a long stream of fire). You just never quite knew what you were going to get.
The same’s true of Electrike. According to Pokémon Sapphire, it is capable of running faster than the human eye can see (read: quick, invisible exit). By the same token, though, as Pokémon Emerald tells us, ‘It generates electricity using friction from the atmosphere. In seasons with especially arid air, its entire body blazes with violent showers of sparks.’
I don’t know about you, but sudden, impromptu fireworks displays just don’t say ‘inconspicuous’ to me.
5When Flygon Drops A Little Darude Sandstorm On Our Butts
Poor old Flygon. As Pokémon fans will know, this guy has been playing second fiddle to Garchomp since the pair were first introduced. Flygon was here first, the original Ground and Dragon type, before Garchomp swooped in with Diamond and Pearl and stole its dreams away.
Isn’t it sad when someone much more talented than you comes along, and your existence is instantly more or less cancelled forever? By virtue of being weaker and slower, nobody gave a rat’s behind about Flygon anymore.
Still, though, the guy does have one niche over its otherwise superior cousin. Musical wings are, if nothing else, quite a cool party trick to have up your sleeve. With this in mind, it’s odd that it doesn’t have the Sand Stream ability, but there it is.
4Regirock Shrugs Off Bullets Like The Terminator
Now, granted, it’s not unheard of for living creatures to be able to repair themselves. The scars and grazes on our very own squishy human bodies are testament to that. Think of internal organs that can gradually regenerate themselves, or starfish that can repair and reform lost limbs. Whichever way you slice it, then, this is definitely a thing.
Regirock, however, takes that ball and runs it into the end zone of crazy. According to the Pokédex entries of Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed and LeafGreen, this vast golem is able to repair any damage it takes simply by slapping more rocks over the lost hunks of its body. The issue with this is, there’s also no sign of any internal organs/digestive system/anything else inside its body. What the heck kinds of rocks are all these, then?
3Shuppet, The Mood Ring That Feeds On Malice
Did you have a mood ring back in the nineties? I sure did. This was a ring with a totally garish crystal on the top, the color of which supposedly changed according to the wearer’s moods. The science behind this is super suspect at best, naturally, but it was kind of a cool idea. It was a simpler time, after all, and we were all quite impressionable back then.
Despite my healthy skepticism, barometers for our moods do exist. If you thought the rings were implausible, how about the odd horn on Shuppet’s head? Apparently, it has the capacity to ‘read’ human emotions, and feeds off of negative thoughts like hatred, envy, and malice. These creepers even gather in the eaves of vengeful people’s homes.
2Yes, Bro, Swampert Does Lift
Prior to the first reveal of its mega form, Swampert wasn’t all that remarkable. It was one of many bulky Water types, a crucial element of many teams. It trouble was that many similar Pokémon did its job a little better, and so it struggled to make much of an impression in higher-tier play. It wasn’t much of a damage dealer, but it took hits like a boss and could set Stealth Rock and Roar opponents away handily.
Its super muscle-bound mega form, however, finally took those absurd Pokédex entries literally. Piling up one-ton boulders, swatting opponents away with a swing of its arm… It sounds as crazy as mega Swampert looks, but I guess that was the point of it all. This guy’s living the dream now.
1So How Freaking Old Is Rayquaza?
Sure, most Pokéfans know the story of Rayquaza. They know that legendary trios will generally have a ‘trio master,’ whose job it is to sort out petty squabbles between its employees and keep everyone’s butts in line. Arranging the office secret santa, choosing an employee of the month, all of those kinds of duties.
Snark aside, Rayquaza’s job is to settle conflict between Kyogre and Groudon, and so keep that delicate balance in place. All of this I’m cool with. It’s the whole lived-for-hundreds-of-millions-of-years-in-the-ozone-layer thing that I find tough to get on board with.
This sort of thing is neat when it comes to set pieces, like that battle between Rayquaza and Deoxys in space, but that aside, I’m not convinced. Hundreds of millions, you say?
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