Monday, May 31, 2010

10. Caterpie






Hell yeah Caterpie! Phew, boy am I glad to be done looking at all those boring, generic, and uninspired cannon-fodder starter pokemon families—you know, the vegetation-toting beasts, dragons, sea creatures, ho hum—and moving on to the real power players like Caterpie, Pidgey and Rattata. Really, my excitement is palpable.

I know it’s tough in the games when you realize that some pokemon, no matter how hard you train them, will just never be very powerful. You may not be ready to give up on that Charmander, your very first pokemon, no matter how limited it may be. But then you see your freshly caught Caterpie’s stats and Spiderman-themed abilities, and find you just don’t have a choice. Bigger and better things lie ahead.

And in all seriousness—where would Pokémon be without Caterpie? Satoshi Tajiri’s whole inspiration for the series came from his experiences looking for bugs near his home as a child. So bug pokemon represent so much: objects of inherent childhood curiosity, enthusiasm, and independence. Next time you’re beating up on Bug Catchers in a game, consider this. The game’s god crafted them in his image.

The Winner:
Silver




Because Caterpie has such a fundamental role in the games, Game Freak can be excused for not trying to do anything wild and crazy with its artwork. Eye spots, check, tail, check, forehead thing, check. All through the second generation, and their remakes, Caterpie doesn’t really change. And why should it? It’s a worm, it’s not about making cool poses. The games in which it doesn’t appear in the wild show it doing some kind of curled up thing, that’s cool, nothing to write home about.

But Gold and Silver always pushed the envelope. Why just make one sprite for a pokemon, when we can make two? By issuing themselves that challenge the artists stumbled upon some of the best poses for otherwise unposed pokemon, like Caterpie here. Just by portraying it from a different angle, it comes across as somehow sturdier, and actually capable of action, instead of just dimly offering itself to the pokemon battle slaughter like its brethren.

Of course, it’s still outrageously weak, but y’know, it tries.

5 comments:

  1. Caterpie is one of my favourites and I have no idea why. I've just always loved that creepy circle it has for an eye, that never changes at all between games. :D

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  2. Personally I don't think Caterpie is weak... okay, Caterpie is weak, but what I mean is, it evolves quickly, and Butterfree is BOSS. At least, in Red and Blue, with Confusion, and all those status moves it learns, Butterfree was always one of my strongest Pokemon.

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