Over a year ago, I covered five of the most offensive sprites in the history of Pokémon games - but I had only scratched the surface of what is undoubtedly a horrifying visual ordeal.
Playing the VC download of Pokémon Blue reminded me once again just how abysmal some of the sprites were back in the day; so, without further ado, we must have a browse at some more stinkers.
To those not already aware, I also mention Pokémon Red and Green in this post, which were the original versions that were localised to Red and Blue when released in Western countries. So keep that in mind!
And so we begin...
#5 - Gastly in Pokémon Red and Blue Versions
Pokémon Red and Blue, and Green even more so, were known for cocking up many of the sprites of the original critters - be it due to ridiculous scaling, confused, deranged postures, or downright bizarre changes in shape. For the most part, they were just poorly drawn versions of Ken Sugimori's original designs - but Gastly's sprite is something else entirely.
I don't look at this sprite and dwell on any horrendous drawing or proportions, I just look at it and think - what is this? This is Gastly? Not one bit of it gives me any indication that the creators even looked at the original artwork. Where is the black body? Why are it's fangs so huge? It just looks like the brushstroke tool from Microsoft Paint with a creepy face attached.
#4 - Golbat in Pokémon Red and Blue Versions
That's just gross. Forget how badly drawn this atrocity is, just look how repulsive that is. Look at the icky saliva drizzling off it's slimy tongue - speaking of which, how does Golbat even fit a tongue that bit inside that minuscule head/body? Who knows. You can give it credit for actually depicting Golbat in a unique way compared to the sprites that succeeded it, but with how poorly drawn it is, you can't really say the good outweighs the bad.
I get that he's opening his gob to stretch his tongue out for reasons unknown, but it's a little too wide open, don't you think? It's like he could eat his own wings; Golbat's mouth may be permanently wide open, which I'm sure causes some serious lifestyle issues, but never this much. Also, what's with the eyes? They're not even properly attached to him, instead floating above the mouth - the iris' are even hanging off the edges of his head! Couple that with some pathetically tiny feet and you have a sprite that simply stopped caring about sensible scaling.
#3 - Moltres in Pokémon Red and Green Versions
Red and Blue's drawing of Moltres was bad enough, but this is something else - this is like something drawn by a toddler. We can of course immediately pick up on the fact that it doesn't look like Moltres whatsoever - why is the body shaped like an upside down heart? Why are it's wings pure fire instead of having fire attached to a feathery surface? Not to mention that the tail is absolutely pathetic as it quickly fizzles out into nothingness just inches after it leaves the body.
But what on Earth is wrong with the neck? Moltres' head is disjointed in some way, clicked to one side, permanently facing a downward left angle with no way out. It almost looks like it's splatted against a window in some classic cartoon gag. Man this sucks.
#2 - Machamp in Pokémon Red and Green Versions
|Begone, foul creature!|
Machamp is far from my favourite Pokémon, but he can still look badass in some postures - however, his laughably bad sprite from Pokémon Red and Green is certainly not one of them.
Just...wow. Whoever drew this evidently had no concept of proportions and measurements of the character - I mean seriously, his head is almost bigger than his actual body! His hands are bigger than his entire legs! It just makes absolutely no sense how they could be okay with passing off this laughable mess as a legitimate representation of the character.
One of the worst sprites the franchise has seen. Also, let's not forget the face; oh god, that face. That's one deranged smile.
#1 - Ekans in Pokémon Red and Blue AND Red and Green Versions
Meet Ekans. A pretty wide eyed, chubby fellow that evolves into a badass cobra, whose name is also craftily derived from a backwards spelling. Now, take a look at it's sprites from both Red and Blue (left) and Red and Green (right). Where is Ekans? All I see are two weird looking snakes. What went wrong?
Red and Blue, much as with Gastly, just depicted Ekans with a decently drawn sprite that was just annoyingly incorrect - essentially, it's too thin and the face is completely wrong. The only thing done right is the striped pattern across it's body and the rattlesnake tail. Not offensive when it comes to the overall drawing, but quite so when it comes to a comparison of Sugimori's original design.
But the Red and Green sprite? It looks the same, except this time, Ekans' face has been gruesomely fused with that of Bellsprout. I just don't see how they could've possibly derived such an image from Sugimori's artwork. Yes, Ekans is often shown looking gormless as it hangs it's gob wide open with it's weird, perplexing stare, but never so much that it looks like a trumpet. It makes you wonder how much effort goes into these games, how much checks they do, how much time they put into it - and at no point did someone question that maybe this wasn't very accurate?
Thanks for reading!