Saturday, May 29, 2010

8. Wartortle

I know I talked bad before about the in-betweener forms of starting pokemon, but Wartortle, despite being basically a Squirtle with ear and tail deformities, actually has one of my favorite designs now that I really look at it. His physiology makes no sense—a turtle with feathers and fur—and sort of clashes with his rough and battle-tested character. I think they’re supposed to be extensions of how Squirtle was kind of a turtle-squirrel hybrid. But for me, they give him this elegant and mystical quality. The ears make his head look adorned with Mercury’s wings, and the crazy tail billows and cascades majestically like the Great Wave off Kanagawa.

For a second I thought the Red and Green sprite was supposed to have shoulder pads as well, perhaps to foreshadow his armored Blastoise form. But then I thought, “hey where are his arms” and realized those are his arms. Jeez. And then there’s Red and Blue’s… nevermind its perfectly circular head, I wonder where I’ve seen that arm placement before…


Dance off!

The Winner:
HeartGold and SoulSilver

It seems the same formula was applied to all post-Red/Blue Wartortle sprites: draw it pointing menacingly. That’s just what Wartortle does, I guess. When it starts a fight, it points. When it gets down at the club, it points.

This can work out good or bad. Ruby and Sapphire Wartortle looks like a cackling goblin (bad). Diamond and Pearl Wartortle looks like it’s surfing (good, nay, awesome). That’s a really bold sprite, but I’m not sure anyone wants to be looking at a pokemon’s backside all the time. A third of the sprite is its tail, a third is its shell, and only the last third is Wartortle itself.

I also like Gold’s sprite, whose tail rises right from the level of its feet, as if it were a cloud of dust kicked up by its epic sliding pose. But I’m going with HeartGold and SoulSilver’s here, because… well, it’s got almost the same pose, just executed better. The angle is good. And the pointing is good. That’s a pretty menacing point there.


  1. I have to go with Gold on this one. The cuter proportions, oversized tail, and nicer shade of blue win me over. But both DS games are very good as well.

    Not sure what's up with the ear/feather placement on the Yellow sprite, they're practically on the back of its head.

  2. Wartortle's one of the few pokes that doesn't have any awful sprites, even the R/G one looks kinda okay if you see the stumpy arms as a point of view thing

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