I Review All the Fighting Type Pokemon: Part 1 Gen I
by, 25th October 2010 at 11:16 PM (3428 Views)
Because Fighting-types rock! And with all the new ones in Gen V, it's time to show them some love with a LIST!
Also, I'm not the most competitive player, so this is more aesthetic like/dislike. Feel free to offer thoughts, comments, etc. rather you like Fighting-type Pokemon or not! Also, in particular, I'm interested in finding out which Fighting-type Pokemon is everyone's favorite!
Mankey and Primeape
The first ever Fighting-type Pokemon in the game, I feel that they aren't exactly the best representatives of the type as a whole. First and foremost, they're rather simple, yet amusing, caricatures of real-life animals with the only standout "fighting" aesthetic being Primeape's metal wristbands and boxing glove hands. Second, they don't really represent any style of fighting, they're just really, really pissed off monkeys, and it almost seems like they could've easily been Normal-type Pokemon. On another note, most people tend to associate the Fighting-type with morally upright Pokemon, pointing to their advantage over the Dark-type as a symbol of this, yet these guys really aren't heroic. They're jerks, and thus I always found that stuff about Fighting-types being heroic simply because they practice martial arts to be bullshit. In fact, Fighting-type Pokemon are commonly used by thugs in the games and anime, and only really Lucario, Gallade, and Kojofu strike me as heroic, but I digress.
Anyway, despite my gripes about them not being the greatest Fighting-type Pokemon around, they're still pretty cool, in part due to their memorable Anime debut. Seriously, I think everyone, even those who hate the show, have seen "Primeape Goes Bananas" and liked it. They aren't my favorite, but they're certainly a nice Pokemon overall. In particular, I think the fact that they lack mouths and use their eyes, and Primeape's veins, in order to express themselves is a very nice design choice. I can't imagine them being as effectively angry if they had giant scowls on their faces, so props to Gamefreak.
On another note, when I was little, the "Pig Monkey" classification confused me, as I thought they were either A) pig/monkey hybrids or B) based off a real life animal called the Pig Monkey. Now I know that it's simply referring to the nose...but...I still don't get it. Just another one of those little design points in a Pokemon that still confounds me.
Score: 6 Fists out of 10
The first dual Fighting-type...and also the only Gen 1 Fighting-type Pokemon that evolves from a non-Fighter, Poliwrath is the, until Keldeo, only Water/Fighting Pokemon there is. Honestly, the type combination isn't incredibly interesting. Neither type really compliments the other type, as Water and Fighting mostly have different weaknesses and resistances, but it's not a hindering type combination either. Anyway, like Primeape, it doesn't seem like the greatest candidate to be a Fighting-type, although I assume it was given that typing to go along with the fact it is a marvelous swimmer. I actually think a Fighting-types based off various sports, not just forms of martial arts and combat, is pretty neat, and I'm surprised they haven't expanded on that with a Football or Soccer Pokemon. Also, like most Fighting-type Pokemon, it wears clothing...in this case, gloves! I rarely see anyone bring up Poliwhirl or Poliwrath when it comes to clothed Pokemon but I guess, like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, the gloves just blend in and seem natural.
Anyway, first of all, you can't mention Poliwrath without bringing up the fact it's a pretty lazy evolution from Poliwhirl. It pretty much represents the common criticism of Gen 1 Evolutions that they just "get bigger", which some people agree with, while others think that was part of the charm compared to the wilder evolutions in latter gens. Personally, I like Poliwrath in itself, but I also wish it changed more from Poliwhirl. I kind of dislike Politoed, so I kind of wish they just had Poliwrath go full-frog, changed it to a green color, and made it more frog-like instead of adding a rather useless evolution. People bash the Gen IV evolutions but, in my opinion, Bellossom and Politoed hold that honor. On another note about Politoed, with the latent hypnotism the polliwogs posses thanks to their swirl, a nice additional motif to the family to make them more than just tadpoles, I kind of think they could've expanded that with Politoed and made it part Psychic to compliment Poliwrath. On the note of changing types, at the very least, disregarding the tiny asthetic change, Poliwrath is one of the few evolutions in Gen I to gain a type. Ice and Ground were gained by the Seel/Shellder and Nidoran lines respectively, and a few gained Flying, so a Pokemon gaining the rather interesting Fighting-type was pretty neat.
Also, fun fact, Poliwhirl is one of Satoshi Tajirii's favorite Pokemon iirc, which explains why it was included in the Cheesy Mac Pokemon-shaped Mac N' Cheese back in the day and why Red started with it in Special. Poliwhirl never really caught on though, and it's rarely given the spotlight now.
Score: 5 Fists out of 10
Machop, Machoke, and Machamp
Oh yeah, here we go, the original Fighting-type line that everyone knows and loves! Honestly, before I checked, I thought they came before Mankey and Poliwag in the 'Dex. Anyway, what can I say, these guys represent everything the Fighting-type is about. They're not entirely human, yet not based off any animal in particular, although I always thought Machop resembled those dinousaurs that ram their heads together, what Cranidos is based off of, which is part of their, and the Fighting-type as a whole for the most part, greatest charm. Some people like all their Pokemon to be animals but for me, I quite like the humanoid Pokemon, and think they accentuate the series rather well. Also, while Primeape's whole gimmick was anger, and Poliwrath was a good swimmer, these guys are all about strength and take on the appearance of new-age wrestlers. When you see these guys, you know they're Fighting-type Pokemon! Also, like pretty much every Fighting-type, they're sporting some kind of clothing, in this case the classic underwear with belt. Although, for some reason, Machamp lost the belt in Crystal and Gen III...but Machoke still had it there. Weird.
Anyway, design wise, they aren't my favorite, but they certainly have a weird abstract charm to them, and I have to wonder how the person who designed them came up with the idea to mix a humanoid, grey lizard with a wrestler. Machop's probably my favorite of the bunch, being rather cute with the little tail and ribcage showing, while Machoke loses out. It just looks odd looking in most of its sprites, and is stuck between the lizard and human aspect of the line to the point of looking a bit disturbing. Especially when it comes to the Gen IV and Gen V sprites. Machamp's four arms are sometimes odd looking depending on what media it is in, and it doesn't quite work all the time in motion, but overall the extra appendages are a nice touch for it. The big lips, on the other hand, look extremely goofy, but I always saw them as a nod out to Kinnikuman. On the same note, I also think the line's ridges atop of their heads might be a nod to the head-spike Kinnikuman has as well, but that's just guesswork.
Either way, I have to give these guys props for being the best representative for the Fighting-type to have, and thus they deserve...
Score: 10 Fists out of 10
Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan
I'm doing them together, as I will do with Tyrouge and Hitmontop in Gen II's write-up, and with Nageki and Dageki in Gen V's write-up, so first off I have to say that when it comes to these two, Hitmonlee probably wins out. Reason 1, its name actually works. I can see Bruce Lee in Hitmonlee, yet Jackie Chan is the last person I think of when I see Hitmonchan. That always bothered me. The Japanese version, incidentally, uses names of famous martial artists as well for these two, but there they use actual practitioners of the art of kick-boxing and boxing, as opposed to choosing the only martial artists most Americans probably know. Reason 2, and I know it's meant to be a tunic, but everyone I talked to when I was a kid thought Hitmonchan was dressed in a ballerina outfit, and thus they laughed at it. People were surprised when it was male-only in Gen II. Its goofy hand-shaped head didn't help either. And finally, Reason 3, Hitmonlee has stretchy arms and legs like Stretch Armstrong.
For TCG enthusiasts, however, the classic Hitmonchan card was awesome in the old Haymaker Deck.
These guys are pretty cool though, truth be told, and it was always fun back in the day choosing which one to use after you fought the Dojo Master. A nice inclusion in the game. Although, why they gave you Fighting-type Pokemon in the town with the Psychic Gym, I never know. Hitmonchan's human clothing is a bit ridiculous, as it looks rather unnatural and unfitting, and I kind of wish they had removed some of it as none of the other members of the Hitmon-line really dress up like it. It's too complex in a bad way, compared to the rather simple, yet effective, mouthless, narrow-eyed scowl of Hitmonlee.
Final note, but I was mad that they gave Hitmonchan an ability that boost Punches, yet there's no corresponding ability for Kicks that Hitmonlee gets. Weird. There's enough kicking attacks for it to work...and, think about it, a boosted Gen V Hi-Jump Kick on Hitmonlee would be crazy.
Score: 8 Fists out of 10
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