Sunday, January 2, 2011

33. Nidorino


Nidorino has the pretty rad distinction of being the first pokemon you ever see, in both the handheld game intros and in the first episode of the anime (unless you count Gengar's backside). This is why the two also comprise the intro to FireRed and LeafGreen; to the uninitiated, it seems like an arbitrary choice, but those who remember the Old Days can chuckle raspingly to themselves and say, “Oh, those old battling chums are at it again!” Which... actually is still pretty arbitrary, because it's not like Gengar vs. Nidorino is the most enthralling of possible iconic pokemon battles. I'm pretty sure Nidorino would never, ever win that.

Yeah, Nidorino! Use HORN ATTACK on that Ghost pokem-- wait.

But oh yeah, that brings me to the history lesson. Nidorino and Gengar's feud goes back farther than that; all the way to Capsule Monsters, the first version of Pokemon Satoshi Tajiri originally presented to Nintendo. They were right on the cover!

I guess... that fairly resembles Nidorino! He's missing a few legs, but you can sort of see it!

Other pokemon are said to originate from this work too. It would be something to be able to read it, but the only copy that I know of is on display in a Tokyo museum, and there's probably a copy in Satoshi's mom's basement or something, collecting dust and insane monetary value.

Anyway, what I'm getting at is Nidorino is practically the original mascot for Pokemon. HISTORY LESSON OVER

The Winner:

So what's strange about all this significance Nidorino has is... it's actually not an especially good design, really. It's the point where the rabbit-rhinocerous hybridism that seemed so oddly cute in Nidoran♂ now just seems odd. Those giant ears look cumbersome, the back spikes extraneous, and you're not really sure what Nidorino is designed to do, exactly. Add in more poison liver spots (which were less prevalent in Nidoran♂ and aren't there at all in Nidoking), and you have something that looks more like a severely mutated amphibian than anything.

But hey, it's got that famous leaping pose tailor-made for it, so it should at least look interesting more often then not. Except when they decide to make it face completely in the wrong direction. Honestly, I'll never understand the apparent temptation to make sprites like that. Hello, D/P Nidorino, the fight's over this way. What are you even looking at.

HG/SS's is better, but a little too heavy and toadlike. In general the recent sprites have a problem with rounding off Nidorino's edges too much. Check out the tips of B/W's ears. Don't they look a bit uncomfortably like... lips? The Gameboy Advance sprites get the leaping right, but there's something I don't like about their muzzles. It's especially deformed looking in R/S, and there's still a hint of it in FR/LG. With Gold, its cranium is maybe a bit too big, but otherwise it looks just about right.


  1. I actually like the Red/Green and Red/Blue sprites the best. As time goes on, he seems to become bigger, slower, and less pointy. The original Game Boy sprites still have a lot of the Nidoran cuteness and agility in them, while looking much tougher. To me, middle-level pokemon are at their best when they resemble bigger, meaner versions of their original forms.

  2. maybe that's not horn attack, could've been peck, thief or even POISON STING

  3. Do you know where I can find high-quality scans of that Capsule Monsters thing?

    1. They're tough to find. I don't think the whole thing is on the internet anywhere. Bulbapedia's page has the best ones I know of.

  4. You know, in the blue version, it's a Jigglypuff instead of a Nidorino.

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