Grass types of Generation 1 (Part 2) - winstein's Review
by, 25th November 2010 at 12:27 PM (786 Views)
I like how even the 1st Generation has already display a great variety among Grass-types, to be honest. Without further ado, it's time we finish with the rest of the Grass-types in Generation 1, shall we?
Paras and Parasect
Looking at these Pokemon, one could easily guess that they are part Bug (cicada body) and part Grass (mushroom back), and that type combination was unique at that time. But then, fungi aren't really plant, but are classified as such because they look like plants, I guess. Beyond that novelty, the mounted mushrooms are said to have control over the host bugs, demonstrating parasitism in Pokemon. Even the Dex entries says that the mushroom is gradually taking control of Paras, and had full control as a Parasect. It's even based on the Catepillar fungus. These fungi would infect the host insect, and would both absorb nutrients from it and affect its behaviour to its favour. They also have beneficial properties to non-insects, and in the Pokemon world, it's the same as well (the anime exemplifies this). Similarly, Paras and Parasect's battling style is more of a Grass-type than the Bug-type, so this make sense in the end.
Being a Bug/Grass Pokemon in Generation 1 wasn't a very good thing, because the type chart wasn't in their favour. What are the problems? x4 weakness to Fire, Flying and Poison, the most x4 weaknesses of any type, which are bad, especially Fire. Thankfully, they have, and alway will have a x4 resistance to Ground. On the bright side (again), Both of these mushroom-on-bug Pokemon learn perhaps one of the most powerful moves in Pokemon history: Spore. Back in the day, Spore was pretty much exclusive to them, meaning that they were the only Pokemon who can reliably put the opponent to sleep, which is already a great advantage itself. It's too bad their low Speed isn't helping them, but if a Pokemon has Spore, they will often be dangerous.
When the remakes of Red and Green were released, the feature of hold items on Pokemon were also implemented in those games, and both Paras and Parasect do in fact have a big chance of holding a Tiny Mushroom, and a tiny chance of holding a Big Mushroom (get it?). These are very important items in-game. Do you know why? Because they are practically currency for your move relearners in those games, giving the players a purpose to catch them all (and maybe release them after that). It's nice that they were given a purpose in those games, because they were indeed overlooked.
The first 2 Generations didn't do anything special to Paras and Parasect, but it did establish the fact that he/she was THE Spore user. They did not have much of an attacking option, because they didn't have many Bug moves to use, and not to mention: he/she had to use Growth to have a chance as a Special Attacker. They also have Swords Dance that they actually appreciate as well, due to Parasect's higher Attack. Generation 3 did give them Effect Spore, which was an irritating ability, due to the chances status could be dealt. This is especially evident in-game, when the players attack these mushrooms. However, its competitive value is hard to justify because it's not a surefire effect.
Generation 4 gave the pair Dry Skin. This ability had established both of them as unconventional Grass-types, because now they hate intensified Sunlight! Instead, they thrive better in the Rain. Still, immunity to Water attacks and free recovery in the Rain are qualities that Parasect appreciates. This had made Parasect a decent supporter in Rain because of the amount of recovery he/she gets. In Generation 5, Paras and Parasect has been blessed with Leech Seed, which they cannot learn in previous Generations. Because of this, they are able to utilise the SubSeed strategy like many Grass Pokemon, and because they can heal for a good quantity in Rain, this strategy will be very effective there, especially with the Water immunity from Dry Skin and the fact that the net total when healing is almost always a net advantage even after every use of the Substitute.
The mushroom having a life of its own does exude the feelings of creepiness and pity to the Pokemon itself, because the Pokemon doesn't really have a life of its own, and would end up becoming a zombie themselves. Still, they do look cartoonish enough to not suspect the darker elements of the Pokemon, so it's not all that bad for the young ones (provided they didn't learn its origins, that is!).
7 'shrooms out of 10!
Exeggcute and Exeggutor
At first glance, these eggs don't really have plant-like qualities, and don't look like Psychic-types. But while the Psychic-type is probably understandable due to their synchronised nature, one had to guess that the "eggs" are actually fruits, because eggs like how they look are not plants at all (for example, eggshells are not very susceptible to fire). Personally, I would have never guessed their type if I didn't check their details, but Exeggutor does help in telling me that they are Grass-type Pokemon. Exeggutor, on the other hand, looks like a plant, and in his/her case, a palmtree with less heads than their egg form. Even the "eggs" look more like coconuts, due to the colouration. I am guessing that they have less "eggs" because these eggs represent the tree body on which it holds the other eggs or palms.
To evolve the "egg-plant", you have to use a Leaf Stone, which are conveniently for sale in some of the games. Strangely, its Dex entries mentions how the eggs would undergo the evolution
when cracks start appearing increasingly, like as if you don't need a Leaf Stone to do it, placing a probability that the Leaf Stone is just a catalyst for evolution for this Pokemon. Previous sprites of Exeggcute demonstrates some oddities. Its Red and Blue sprites show the eggs as uneven in size, with one giant egg and two smaller ones, and the Crystal's sprite shows that they can hide their faces and cracks at will. As for Exeggutor, the amount of heads between iterations are not consistent. The standard for Exeggutors according to the recent games are that they each have three heads, but some showed them as having more heads than that, as the first Exeggutor episode showed it having five, and some games seem to show four or five, but never all six. Interestingly, the heads can be detached and dropped, and continues on as an Exeggcute. This matches the reproduction cycle of any palmtree-based plants, but it does make one wonder: does Exeggcutes live forever? It can be argued that way, because if one of the eggs is still and egg, they may drop, and they will still live on if the cycle goes on.
The first appearance of Exeggcute was in the episode where Ash and company met Melvin the magician. This episode featured both Exeggcute and Exeggutor. An Exeggcute belonged to the magician, but in the same episode, there was a forest where it was said that Exeggcute might evolves into Exeggutor involving the radiation of the Leaf Stone. Yes, that's right, those Exeggcutes there evolved without direct exposure of the Leaf Stone. Anyway, when Melvin was in trouble, his Exeggcute evolved into Exeggutor to hypnotise Team Rocket to save him, but in the process, accidentally hypnotising the other Exeggutors as well, which initiated the mayhem of the episode, a literal stampede. The Exeggutor's stampede was even said to be dangerous, because they may Explode as well (they can learn Explosion in the games, by the way), so it's up to Ash and Melvin to save the day by burning them, due to their Fire weakness. Another Exeggutor appeared in the Indigo League, where Ash beat Mandi's Exeggutor with his Krabby, despite the disadvantage in size and type.
In competitive battling, Exeggutor is a very potent Pokemon. Despite possessing a great amount of weaknesses, Exeggutor's stats are actually decent. The 1st Generation was a great time for the palmtree, due to the high Special stat, and not to mention Grass and Psychic were based on that higher Special stat. These elements are combined to make Exeggutor a potent force, especially when Psychic was a great type. Let's not forget the essentially powerful moves Sleep Powder and Explosion, which Exeggutor gets every Generation. While Generation 2's changes weren't much to Exeggutor, he/she was still potent at the right time, given Explosion's boost. Generation 3 gave Exeggutor the ability Chlorophyll, which makes Exeggutor a very fast Pokemon in the Sun, and does make Exeggutor a force to reckon with. Let's not forget that Hidden Power is a great way for some extra coverage, especially Fire, now that it is easier to get the one you want.
Generation 4 had given Exeggutor some extra Physical options. The prominent ones are Seed Bomb, Low Kick, Wood Hammer and Zen Headbutt. With these, Exeggutor is able to be a Physical-minded attacker, as Exeggutor also has Swords Dance too. But still, Exeggutor is better used as a Special Attacker, especially with Leaf Storm being a new move he/she could learn. If you want, Trick Room will take advantage of Exeggutor's low Speed as well. Generation 5 gave the palmtree the Dream World ability Harvest. This ability is more of a Grass-type ability, as the name implies. Any Berry can be reused if it's used before, allowing Exeggutor some interesting combinations, like infinite Chesto Berries for waking up so that he/she can almost immediately wake up from Rest or any Sleeping move, or one of the weakness-mitigating Berries to cover one of Exeggutor's many weaknesses.
Although there is an incongruent relation between eggs and palmtrees beyond appearance, it is still amazing that palmtrees are portrayed more or less the same in the Pokemon world. I would like to say now that while this pair of Pokemon didn't particularly stand out to me, I still like them, because they have some interesting qualities that make them stand out (some mentioned already, some not). To end this, I would like to share an interesting trivia: Exeggutor is Tsunekaz Ishihara's favourite Pokemon. If you don't know, he's the president and CEO of The Pokemon Company. He used the Pokemon during the debugging and testing of Pokemon Red and Green.
8 leaves out of 10!
Tangela is a bunch of vines. It's said that his/her name was going to be "Meduza", and it's not hard to see why. Possessing tangled vines as the exterior, this plant looked like the fabled Medusa, whom had a clump of snakes as her hair, and similarly, Tangela has a clump of vines that resemble snakes. I believe this was left out because the snake comparison is not even close to accurate. However, at least the shiny's better in that respect, due to the green colour vines. Tangela was also the only pure-Grass Pokemon in Generation 1, and was the first standalone Grass Pokemon, which will be the trend in later generations, where there will be a standalone Grass Pokemon without an evolutionary line, as in doesn't seem to have any evolutionary relatives at that time.
The Dex's entries also matches certain aspects of Tangela. Some of them mentions that Tangela's vines can entangle or even tickle his/her target, matching the moves Constrict and Tickle respectively (Tickle wasn't a Generation 2 move, by the way, and it was mentioned there). Some others say that vines re-grow quickly, which matches his/her Dream World ability Regeneration. It is interesting to note that these entries are found in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, which would probably be a hint to some that there will be a Ruby and Sapphire remake. However, while some said that the moving vines unnerve the opponent, the actual Pokemon cannot learn Taunt or Torment. In short, we learn that Tangela specialises in the arts of "vine-fu", a practice not many Pokemon specialises in.
In Kanto, Erika's best Pokemon is Tangela. It's appropriate, because in Generation 1, Tangela's stats were quite good, possessing great Defence and good Special, making the vine-ball hard to take down in one hit (unless you overlevel, of course). However, in future generations, Tangela was given a low Special Defence when the Special stat split came into play, sadly. With Tangela having an exploitable Special weakness, the "ultimate-ness" of Tangela is diminished, no longer giving the same impact he/she had given in the 1st Generation. Still, in the anime, Erika's Tangela was a good battler.
In terms of battling, Tangela was actually a decent Pokemon in Generation 1. Found late in Kanto, when the player has Surf, they can find these tangly friends south of Pallet Town, where they are the only ones in the grass. Because Tangela's Special stat was the higher one, he/she can be quite useful, because he/she have great Defence, but his/her offensive movepool is a bit shallow. Basically, Tangela was meant to be a Pokemon with good stats, decent support movepool (like Ingrain and Sleep Powder) and uninteresting offensive movepool. Generation 2, however, made him/her not as useful because, as mentioned, his/her Special Defence is really low, which means that special attacks will pack a mean punch. Thankfully, Tangela can learn Amnesia through breeding, which he/she gets in every new generation. In case you forgot, Amnesia greatly increases Special Defence.
Generation 3 gave him/her Chlorophyll, which, combined with his/her great Speed when doubled, will make the plant a potent force under the sun. However, Tangela still didn't have much of an offensive movepool. Generation 4 gave Tangela two notable moves. Power Whip is a powerful Grass attack that few Pokemon learns, and Tangela is one of the first to receive that move. Another move is AncientPower, which was an odd addition, but it's for the greater good. Asides extra coverage, it is needed to evolve Tangela, which meant that now Tangela is eligible to compete in Little Cup. This was his/her time to shine, because not only was Tangela's stats quite high for a "little" Pokemon, he/she was a very powerful force, especially under the Sun. Tangela also got Leaf Guard, which could be useful in some cases, but usually Chlorophyll is preferred for the Speed bonus.
Generation 5 did give Tangela the ability to use the Evolution Stone, and Regeneration as well, not to mention Growth's boosted effect. While these are worthwhile additions, Tangela isn't able to compete with the big brothers in competitive battling, because Tangela still didn't have much of an offensive movepool, unlike his/her evolution Tangrowth. However, these boosts made Tangela even more potent in Little Cup, and the easiest way to deal with it was to ban Tangela very early. Speaking of Tangrowth, he/she will be discussed in more detail in the future.
In my opinion, I really like Tangela, because he/she has this mysterious being under the vine shrubbery, where only the eyes can be seen. Also, as a Grass-type, Tangela at least differentiate him/herself by being a non-leafy and non-flowery plant. The eyes of Tangela also makes one wonder how he/she feels, because those eyes are literally like a window to Tangela's feelings. Therefore, I think Tangela's a great Grass-type!
10 vines out of 10!
(Extra point for unique differentiation for a plant)
That's it for the Grass-types of Generation 1. I hope it's not too long for you, and I would also like to hear some feedback that might make future reviews better. In the next entry regarding the Grass-types, I will dive into all of Generation 2's Grass-types, and it will probably be the only one I won't split into parts, due to their relatively small number compared to the others. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing them.
Thanks for reading.
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