Saturday, November 6, 2010

31. Nidoqueen


I—AUUGH

I’m sorry I was just startled by Nidoqueen’s Red and Green sprite. Someone I know posits Rhyhorn’s Red and Blue sprite as the most fucked up and decrepit of early pokemon sprites, but I think the original Nidoqueen takes the cake here. The eyes being too large for its skull, the perturbing attention to detail on its female front bits… we’ll see Nidoking’s version later, but it wasn’t subjected to anything quite so awful. Although I do find the ears on that sprite interesting. There’s a disconnect on their rim, like a chunk of the ear is missing. How abstract!

Nidoqueen understandably gets toned down a bit from there, its design rounded and softened, most notably in the overweight and Barneyesque Yellow sprite. But aside from that, it never really loses a certain aggressive quality. True, there is some confusion about whether it has canine teeth, or a more herbivorous beak (wait… Nidoking always has teeth. Why would the male of a species have teeth while the female is toothless?), and its horn varies in size and sharpness (didn’t that horn disappear in Nidorina’s design? So, its evolutionary progression goes having a horn, not having a horn, having a horn again?), and at times it looks downright elegant, like it’s in a balletic pose or conducting an orchestra. But through all this it’s never given a stereotypically doting, maternal appearance, despite several of its pokedex entries inviting that kind of characterization. Instead, it always looks capable of kicking some manner of ass.

Aquabunny makes it out to be this mortal sin to evolve Nidorina as soon as possible, via moon stone, just to get a more powerful Nidoqueen in the games. But I have to admit, I myself am guilty of this. The appeal of having a fully evolved Stage 2 pokemon before even fighting Misty is too strong to resist. Plus, normally there’s some incentive to hold off on evolving a pokemon; an important move might be learned much later by the evolved form, and some, like Raichu, stop learning moves completely. But there’s no such incentive with Nidorina. Nidoqueen learns Body Slam around level 22 or 23, depending on the game, whereas Nidorina’s best attacks are things like Bite and Fury Swipes, learned 20 levels later. And there’s no way I’m passing up Body Slam so my Nidorina can learn Tail Whip at level 23.

The Winner:
FireRed and LeafGreen

As much as I like the super elegant Nidoqueens (Crystal, B/W), and Gold’s romping quality, and the solid look to all the DS sprites, I guess I’m just such a sucker for FR/LG’s penchant for paws-upturned power poses, that I can’t possibly fail to appreciate one. We saw it earlier with Charizard’s sprite from the same game. They say, quite clearly, “Bring it.” I also like that they left this Nidoqueen her teeth, and I suppose its only real fault is the odd, afterthought stump of a horn, but as mentioned it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me for Nidoqueen to have a big horn in the first place.

9 comments:

  1. A life without regular Pokemon sprite commentary is a life not worth living. Sir, you deprive us unjustly! You tantalize us with delectable verbiage and withdraw your affections abruptly! How villainous! How uncouth!

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  2. You're not allowed to post this infrequently. I'll set fire to your firstborn child if this display continues. >:|

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  3. That R/G Nidoqueen sprite is going to give me nightmares.

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  4. I feel especially bad about my neglect having now been admonished so eloquently, and also threatened.

    Back on the horse I go

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  5. Some guy named PatrickJanuary 5, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Mortal sin? Wait, what? I'll be honest, years ago I may have felt that way, but since I'm all but detached from the series these days I honestly couldn't give two you-know-whats whether anyone evolves anybody or not, heh. Besides, I did it too. I wanted that Body Slam back in the day just as much as anyone else did.

    Actually, that's probably part of some older comment I made, and really it was more about negligence of a character than usage. And I've always been more interested in Pokemon as characters than as battle tools so, a lot of what I end up writing reflects more towards that and less towards gameplay values. I don't even try to pretend like I care really, I'll just redirect people to Bulbagarden for game info.

    Man, I'm terrible.

    I don't have anything to say about Nidoqueen, surpirsingly. She just is what she is. Mew's R/G sprite will always remain the worst IMO, though.

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  6. I believe it's because they had to fit it into a square in R/G.

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  7. WOAH!!!! INFREQUENCY!!!! UH. how about i set these kids on fire for a sec while you post infrequently some more.

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  8. The red green nidoqueen sprite looks like the substitute doll from b/w

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