Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5. Charmeleon

In the first place, Charmeleon doesn’t exactly have the most inspired character design. Let’s see… take a Charmander, give it longer claws and a lump on its head, and make it look angry. Welp! That should do it! It’s as if they designed each starter pokemon, then the 3rd form for each starter pokemon, then worked backwards to mash each pair together for the in-between form. Hey, players only need to use them for 20 levels, right?

Still, Charmeleon is endearing, partly for his short-lived, disobedient run in the anime (and rarely do things endear themselves to me in the anime; I watched the first season or two before retiring to the games). Finally, here was a pokemon capable of putting Ash in his dopey, overachieving place. The games were hence obliged to try to capture that edge in his sprites. Unfortunately, they might have gone a bit overboard; through the Gameboy Advance era Charmeleon is depicted scowling furiously, eyes dilated with rage. Not quite the cool, self-important competitor fans knew. In fact, they’re really kinda ugly.

So then they go a bit too far the other way; D/P Charmeleon looks so casual you might have caught him in the middle of his morning calisthenics.

The Winner:

I dunno… this one’s a bit of a toss-up for me. I like Yellow’s vivid colors, and piercing gaze/extended claw combo beckoning you to the dark side. The HG/SS one has no real flaws, and captures both Charmeleon’s smugness and capability. Red and Blue’s is pretty good, especially for a Red and Blue sprite, though I’m not sure about the hoedown arms.

But in the end I guess I’m just a sucker for action shots. Charmander finally got his normal-length arms and, instead of striking a “rawr am fierce” pose, assertively puts them to use in Silver. The subdued, rust-red color palette suits him just as well as a brighter one, if not better. And this sprite has one of the longer tail flames of any of them, which is good, and a cool little shaded bit where the tail disappears.

Man, I just realized how cumbersome the name Charmeleon is to type and read to yourself. Seems like almost all pokemon names are three syllables or less. But that’s a topic for another blog. POKEMON NAME GUY: CRITIQUE OF POKEMON NAMES


  1. The Ruby and Sapphire Charmeleon sprite is absolutely hideous. Fire Red and Leaf Green isn't much better.

  2. R/S's Charmeleon reminds me of a grumpy old man. FR/LG's is a bit more bearable, but only a bit. ;x

  3. Well, Charmeleon is a combination of char and chameleon... but we all already knew that...

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