Monday, May 24, 2010

3. Venusaur

Venusaur has a whole tree on its back! Part of me can’t get over that. It also has possibly the widest head in the Pokémon universe.

But there’s another part of me that’s like, what, only a tree? I know the original 151 pokemon are sacred and untoppable and all, but I mean… three generations later, Venusaur gets kind of one-upped by Torterra, who lugs topography around on its shell:

Then again, all pokemon are predated by the fantasy work of Wayne Douglas Barlowe, whose many creations include something called “Grove-backs,” who sleep in the ground long enough for whole ecosystems to grow, flourish, and die on top of them, before emerging like so:

If you haven't read Barlowe's book Expedition, it's really the foremost word on, um. Imagined alien animals.

Anyway, now that I’ve completely undermined the visual impact of Venusaur sprites, let’s get back on topic!

The Winner:
HeartGold and SoulSilver

Ladies and gentlemen, do not be alarmed. This is not a giant, legendary version of Venusaur. This is the size of every Venusaur on the DS. This sprite is huge! And perhaps it’s not fair to judge it as such versus earlier models, which obviously didn’t have the DS’ resolution to work with. But that’s just how it goes sometimes; the DS was able to utilize its technology to best capture how Venusaur is ready to crush us underfoot.

Not that other sprites haven’t been good; I like the ones showing its mouth wide open, lending some action and letting us stare down Venusaur’s massive gullet. But what I don’t dig is Gold and Silver’s neon green and pink color palette, and Ruby/Sapphire’s utter lack of detail on the mouth’s interior. C’mon dudes, even Red and Blue’s artists could draw a tongue. Then there’s Diamond and Pearl’s, which wears altogether too creepy a grin. As a guardian-of-the-forest type, Venusaur should either be stoic or pissed, not… whatever that face is. Let’s call it “hungry hungry hippo with a mean streak.”

In contrast, that’s probably what I like most about this one: it’s angry, but solemn.


  1. The R/G sprite looks awful.

  2. Uh, no. Diamond and Pearl's is awful, Brian.
    Beyond awful.

  3. r/s has a tongue, it's just that all you can see is the tongue!

  4. this is the one entry in which i'm really sad you didn't talk about the crystal sprite, because seriously how could you pass up bum wiggling venusaur. HOW COULD YOU

  5. venusaur doesn't have a tree on its back it's a giant flower

  6. The flower Venusaur has on its back is actually modeled after this:

    1. That's why its half poison type.

    2. That's actually Vileplume.

  7. Pokemon - Emerald - Hack (all pokemons) GBA ROM+SAVE+CHEAT