“You said you have a dream… That dream.. Make it come true! Make your wonderful dream a reality, and it will become your truth! If anyone can, it’s you!”
N, Pokémon Black/White
Get the Show on the Road!
So this is my third Top 5 (plus bonus entry cos I’m an idiot who can’t count) in regards to one of the greatest game series of all time and if that wasn’t already completely obvious, that series is Pokémon! So what will follow, after a lot of rambling, will be my Top 5 favourite Pokémon from the Generation 3 games.
Generation 3 was an interesting period for Pokémon games, it made a lot of steps forward and a few strange ones back. After jumping from the Game Boy / Colour to the Game Boy Advanced it was always gonna be a slightly bumpy road. With Pokémon fever in sharp decline at the same time there was a lot riding on this generation and the repercussions can still be seen in the fan community today.
There seems to be five distinct camps in the Pokémon fandom:
- Camp 1: Played the first games and hold them in the highest regard and claim the series never reached this peak again (and sales figures really back them up). This camp is usually referred to as “Genwunners”.
- Camp 2: Stayed with Pokémon through Gen 2 but either lost interest or didn’t buy the further devices to carry on with the series.
- Camp 3: People who played up until Gen 3 and consider this the pinnacle of the series and either lost interest in Gen 4 or didn’t see the need to by a DS.
- Camp 4: This camp carried on with the DS and considers Black & White the best in the series as this was the first real shake up in what to expect from the series.
- Camp 5: This camp embraces all the games and see new Pokémon games as an excuse to keep playing Pokémon. I consider myself a member of this group although I have seen a lot of rose tintedness that ignores a lot of the flaws in the series as it goes forward.
As you can see the main divide between the camps seems to be a switch between handheld devices. The more the devices went on, the smaller the fan base got. Again the sales figures really back this up. With Pokémon currently seeing a bit of a resurgence with Pokémon Go becoming a huge phenomenon, you can maybe see why the sales of Gen 7 were the best for a long time. And now with the Nintendo Switch being incredibly popular and the home of the next Generation, I think it’s fair to say the new games have a good chance to be the best selling games since Red, Blue & Yellow.
Anyway, let’s get back on track. Generation 3 takes place in the Hoenn region across Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. It is also the first generation to make the jump to a new device. It introduced another 135 Pokémon, double battles, abilities, natures and started the (some might say bad) trend of the games revolving around the world ending or being drastically changed in some way. It also bizarrely was missing the day/night cycle introduced in the previous games, it was constantly day time and it felt weird.
It was also missing a feature that many considered semi-vital, you could no longer transfer your Pokémon forward as you could with Gold & Silver. This was because of the amount of new features attached to each Pokémon.
I believe the main offender here is the Nature system, to sum it up quickly this system added a kind of personality trait to Pokémon to subtly change their stats. This was all to make each Pokémon feel more unique but it had the strange/bad side effect of pretty much being the opposite, it just added another way to Min-Max a Pokémon’s stats. A quick example would be the Nature “Adamant”, it lowers a Pokémon’s Special Attack and raises its regular Attack. So if you had a Pokémon that didn’t need/want Special Attack moves, you would aim for this Nature to get the best out of that Pokémon’s stats.
With Hoenn being an island not connected to the continent that contained Kanto and Johto, it also disappointed some fans by not including previous regions like Gold & Silver did. Sometimes when you give people some bonuses I guess it sets their expectations to high?
This Generation got a remake on the 3DS in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. They stayed true to the originals and added some welcome features as well, including Mega Evolution that was released in X & Y. Despite them getting some bad responses from the community I really enjoyed the remakes and they filled a nice spot while we were waiting for Sun & Moon, but more on all that in a later post.
So anyway, here is my list of my Top 5 favourite Pokémon from Generation 3 (Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald). As always my list may differ from yours and that’s ok, if you can be bothered why not leave an angry comment and tell me why I’m wrong and hit me with your best homophobic insult.
6. Nuzleaf (Bonus Entry)
So this bonus entry is probably the most meta one I will do, Nuzleaf doesn’t have a major impact on the games per se. Nuzleaf has had a great effect on the real world fan community and after this entry you may understand why that is oddly appropriate.
The Nuzlocke Challenge is a way to play the Pokémon games that in some cases makes them better and some other terrible ways makes them horrifying. Named after the comics by Nick Franco the challenge universally agrees to the following rules as these are the ones introduced explicitly in the comics:
- Any Pokémon that faints is considered dead, and must be released.
- The player may only catch the first Pokémon encountered in each area/route, and none else.
- If the first Pokémon encountered faints or flees, there are no second chances.
- You must give each Pokémon you catch a nickname.
Giving the Pokémon a nickname is perhaps the most important and most cruel rule. Giving them a nickname gives them a greater sense of identity and makes it all the harder when they “die”. Here are some optional, nearly universally accepted rules:
- A Black/White out is a game over and you have failed.
- No Trading, Mystery Gifts etc. You can only use Pokémon you’ve caught yourself.
Here are some less accepted optional rules:
- The last/first digit of your Trainer ID determines which starter you choose. 1-3 is Grass, 4-6 is Fire, 7-9 is Water and 0 lets the player choose freely.
- Trading for evolution (ala Graveler) can be allowed.
- Species/Duplicates rule. If the first Pokémon you encounter in an area is one you’ve already encountered/caught then you can consider the encounter void.
- You must replace your starter as soon as possible without making the game unplayable. Usually this is before the first Gym is completed.
- Ban healing items to prevent potion spamming.
- No fleeing from battles.
- Turn off Exp.Share to increase grind.
- You can store your dead Pokémon in the final box of the storage system as a ‘Graveyard’, which is horrible.
It is referred to as the Nuzlocke challenge because the protagonist of the comics nicknames his Nuzleaf “Locke” and drew him with John Locke’s face (from the TV show Lost). The writer also weaves a story clearly heavily influenced by the TV show. So a reality bending show influenced a reality bending comic which has changed the way people enjoy their old games. Told you it was an appropriate name.
So yeh, Nuzleaf may not be that impressive in the games but it has had a profound effect on the games community. If you have the time I highly suggest doing a Nuzlocke run of the games, it makes the journey worth replaying just one more time.
Aggron is a metal armor-plated Triceratops looking monster, need I say anymore? Yes? Okay fine.
Aggron is one of those Pokémon that takes forever to level it up. What a lot of people didn’t/don’t realise is that not all Pokémon level up at the same rate and Aggron and his previous forms come under the category of “Slow” which I think you can figure out is the slowest of the regular groups (Erratic and Fluctuating are weird). Taking 1,250,000 experience to reach level 100. Whereas “Fast” only takes 800,000. It took a while to get Aggron fighting fit but if you did, boy was it worth it.
With a whopping Defence stat of 180, Aggron has the 5th highest defence of ALL Pokémon to date making it a great physical tank for your team. Couple this with its ability “Rock Head” that removes all recoil damage and Aggron can fling himself about and not worry about hurting itself. Oh and remember I mentioned Mega Evolution earlier? Aggron was one of the lucky few to be chosen and we got this.
Pushing its defence to a stupidly high 230, which makes it joint top in defence by the way, and with its new ability “Filter” which reduces the damage super effective moves do by 25% Aggron can be nothing short of unstoppable. The only real downside is its lackluster speed, but who needs to be fast when you can take a nuke to the face and laugh it off?
Shark-Torpedo, sorry I mean Sharpedo is the main Pokémon of Team Aqua leader Archie and it’s not difficult to see why. If you are trying to rule the sea then of course you would have an awesome shark as a loyal pet/victim eater.
It is a pretty fast Pokémon to begin with at base speed 95. Couple that with its hidden ability “Speed Boost” which increases its speed at the end of every turn, then you have a fast torpedo made of teeth on your side.
Sharpedo might not be one of the cutest Pokémon but by god is it one of the more badass ones. And just like Aggron up there, when the remakes were dishing out Mega forms to Pokémon, Sharpedo was one of the lucky few.
Increasing all the stats that matter and getting a somehow even more badass look to boot, Mega Sharpedo is a good choice for your offensive team. With its new ability “Strong Jaw” all of its bite based moves have their damage increased by 50% making some of the more useless biting moves be a bit scary.
So it’s a torpedo, submarine shark that has bites that can kill pretty much anything with its great type coverage. I hope it’s not to difficult to see why this monster makes my top 5.
When I first got the idea to do these lists, I generally accepted/decided that there weren’t gonna be many (if any) Legendary Pokémon included. I’m more of a fan of the little guys who can rise up against gods in these types of games and it’s very rare for me to even consider using one in a team.
In fact one of the things I love doing while playing Pokémon competitively online is to take a team of regular Pokémon and take them into “No Restrictions” matches. It’s a great way to test out a team, since in that format you will consistently find yourselves up against the best of the best Legendary Pokémon.
However, I have decided to make an exception for Deoxys. Boasting the four forms you can see up there, Deoxys is already pretty unique and can fill any spot in a team.
- All Round – top left
- Attack – top right
- Defence – bottom left
- Speed – bottom right
But the thing that I think really makes Deoxys special is its background/origin. You see Deoxys is not from Earth (or whatever planet Pokémon takes place on), there have been vague mentions of alien Pokémon before (like Clefairy apparently being an alien in the anime) but Deoxys is a full-blown extra terrestrial Pokémon.
It is said that Deoxys is the result of a mutation in a “virus from space” and in the remakes of Gen 3 you literally fight it in the upper atmosphere as it arrives exploding out of a meteor. In the animated shorts “Pokémon Generations” which sum up the events of the games in bite sized animated chunks, it replays these events and you can watch it below.
So yeh, for me that makes Deoxys truly special is the world it opens up for future use. There could be other worlds out there with their own Pokémon and who knows, maybe we will get to see them some day. At the moment we have the Ultra Beasts who kind of fill this gap, but they are inter-dimensional rather than actually from space which I suppose is kind of the same thing.
But I would argue that they are more Lovecraftian than Alien, they are from worlds beyond our understanding, not from our universe. Part of me will always wish they had stuck with the space idea and explored that a bit more.
Flygon is a missed opportunity as far as I’m concerned, it is based on the adult stage of an Antlion which as it says in that Wikipedia article is often mistaken for a Dragonfly. Both of these things are insects and the usual translation of this is “Bug” type in Pokémon.
So why it is a “Ground/Dragon” in Pokémon is anyones guess. We haven’t had a Bug/Dragon combo in Pokémon yet (early 2019) and it should’ve been dealt with back when these games were released in 2002. Hopefully Sword/Shield can fix this travesty.
Oh, and do you want to know what the real icing on this disappointing cake is? Check this out, look under “Egg Group”.
Now let me calm down and we can carry on… AAARRRGGHHH!!!
I’m all better now.
I think Flygon is a great looking Pokémon Not only is it clear that it swoops through the skies at high-speed and picks off lesser Pokémon whilst doing so, but it comes with its own cool goggles to do it with.
Like Aggron up there Flygon was a bitch to level up but again it was worth it, plus you have the benefit of knowing you picked the right dragon for this Gen. Fuck you Salamance! They got a Mega when Flygon didn’t and that makes me sad 😦 .
Look I don’t know why, but Metagross isn’t just my favourite Pokémon from Gen 3. It is quite possible one of my favourite Pokémon ever, it could even be my favourite EVER but I’ll have to think about that another day.
During this entry now I’ve explained that Aggron and Flygon are difficult to level up, well let me tell you they ain’t got shit on Metagross. Metagross starts out life as a Beldum, you only can get one at level 5 as a gift from the previous champion of the region Steven Stone. You can also get one at level 1 from breeding if you’re looking for good stats and possibly a shiny.
Beldum also has the “Slow” category of experience gain I talked about earlier but that’s not so bad right? So it takes it a while so what?
Well the thing is Beldum evolves into its next form at level 20 and the only move it knows along the way is “Take Down”, a move that hurts the user every time it uses it. So you always have to be careful not to accident knock out your Beldom by its own hand, claws… things.
With a good defence and a very good offence Metagross can be a powerhouse of your team. With its Steel (what else was a chunk of metal gonna be?) and Psychic typing Metagross even has the pesky Fairy type covered in future Gens (Fairy is weak to Steel… for some reason).
Quick bonus tip, Metagross is a pretty slow Pokémon but it can learn “Bullet Punch” (Steel type move) which is a move that always goes first so it can take out a Fairy/Rock/Ice type before it has a chance to fight back.
Only taking half damage from all but three types (Fight, Fire and Ground) plus immunity to Poison there really isn’t a lot out there that can knock out a Metagross in one hit and whatever doesn’t kill Metagross, had better start running.
But that’s not all my guy can do, he was also given a Mega form in Gen 6.
With powered up attacks and its new ability “Tough Claws” that powers up any moves that make contact (which by the way, are all the best ones it can learn), Mega Metagross not only looks cool as fuck but it is a force to be reckoned with to boot.
I have begun to notice that I focus on stats a lot and would just like to point out that I am choosing these Pokémon because they are my favourites for either the way they look or their background and place in the world they inhabit. The fact that my tastes also happen to cover some of the best Pokémon is a coincidence I’m sure.
So another of my Top 5 Pokémon lists comes to an end. My aim is to get all 7 Gens (as of time of writing) all done before Gen 8 comes out later this year (2018) but knowing me you’ll be waiting for Gen 5 as Gen 16 is due out.
If you have any favourites from Gen 3 that I missed then pop down to the comments and let me know how wrong I was for not including it.
As always thanks for reading and hopefully I’ll see you soon.
A great cover of “Unbeatable”, the theme of the “Advanced Battle” series of the Gen 3 anime.