Sunday, July 11, 2010

24. Arbok

Well this is more like it.

…By which I mean, Arbok is actually still underpowered and rather useless, especially compared to its version-exclusive counterpart, Sandslash (I mean why would anyone want to play Pokémon Red with that in mind), however, at least it looks cool. And if a pokemon has that going for it, it’s gotten ahead, because no one chooses their party pokemon by looking at an Excel spreadsheet on base stats and learnsets! By which I mean, a lot of people do actually, but no one I know personally? If it looks good doing battle for you, it makes you feel good! Apologies for that Avon line of thinking, but there has to be some reason Ekans and Arbok ever get trained, assuming they do.

Y’know what the problem is? Wrap is such a lousy attack. That’s supposed to be a giant snake’s bread and butter: crushing things to death. Well, good luck when it’s only doing like 10 damage each turn. And it doesn’t even stop the opponent from attacking anymore! It hasn’t since generation one; probably because it slowed the game down way too much; but as a result it’s just not an attack worth using, ever. Generation four tries to make amends by gift-wrapping Arbok with three nice elemental attacks: Fire Fang, Ice Fang, and Thunder Fang. But besides these not making any sense… who plays Generation four games so they can get an Arbok?

Anyway, there’s one thing I really like about these sprites. Several of Arbok’s pokedex entries mention how many different patterns have been identified on its hood thing. And if you observe its sprites over the years, lo and behold, they’re almost all slightly different! This is probably just a result of poor design consistency, but I’m going to pretend it’s an excellent harmony of art and lore.

The Winner:
FireRed and LeafGreen

I was leaning towards the Gold and Silver ones because they’re darkest and their fake faces actually stand out more than their real ones. If you had never seen an Arbok before, there would be a moment when you’d think you’re looking at some kind crazy ghost monster, before spotting the physical head and going “oh it’s a snake”

But later ones are just better and more powerfully drawn. HG/SS is out because Arbok looks slightly more coiled and well-defended when it’s tail appears in front of it, rather than behind. D/P’s is heavy and bruising, but just not as long as this one. They’re both in basically the same position, only FR/LG’s tail folds multiple times behind it. That’s a big deal for the intimidation factor of snakes. It’s hood doesn’t have the unsettling pupil spots of some others, but it’s probably better to get a snake’s overall structure right than just its flashy, deceptive bit.


  1. Very nifty, I look forward to seeing future posts!

  2. R/S has super creepy fake face

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