We Have To Talk About The Snakes In Pokemon BDSP

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl is… well, it's okay. It's a bit naff by Pokemon standards, but those are incredibly high standards to live up to. It doesn't help that Gen 4 isn't one of the stronger gens to begin with, nor that it's a remake of the original versions, rather than the far superior follow-up Pokemon Platinum. It’s also got more bugs than Viridian Forest – you know, the better version of Eterna Forest featured in Pokemon BDSP. I don't want to talk about any of that though. Instead, I want to talk about snakes.

Pokemon following you around has become the standard in Pokemon games. First introduced in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver and refined in Let's Go Pikachu & Let's Go Eevee, where you could even ride certain 'mons, the popular addition was repeated in Sword & Shield, and will be built upon again in Legends: Arceus. In so many ways, BDSP feels like the forgotten middle child. From Let's Go to Legends, via Sword & Shield and Snap, you can see Pokemon trying to step into the future. It's still relying on an old turn-based system, although even that will get refreshed in Legends: Arceus, and it's trying to showcase the individual personality of each Pokemon a lot more, as well as giving the world a sense of depth, both literally as it moves into the 3D space, and metaphorically as it embraces the Wild Area, roving Pokemon, and a pseudo-open world. You get the sense BDSP feels like it should keep up, but it still wants to be a classic Pokemon game. That's why we have the chibi artstyle, that's why we have the half-baked Grand Underground, and most importantly, that's why we have the snakes.

Related: Ranking All 63 Pokemon Not in Gen 8What snakes, you ask? Well, three that I know of, but presumably all of them. As is now expected in a Pokemon game, you can walk with one member of your party, although for some reason there are a few steps you need to take for this, like getting two badges, saving the owner of the bike shop, and visiting Amity Square for tea and biscuits with Boris Johnson. Only once you've done all this will you have the skills necessary to push a button that says 'walk together'. Once this happens, the Pokemon will walk with you. But what if it's a Pokemon that can't walk? Say, a snake? In that case, something magical happens.

Snakes slither. That's a well known fact. Pokemon, however, is here to disprove that fact. Ekans, one of the most iconic snake Pokemon out there, has a default animation where it's coiled up tight, with just its little snakey head poking out. When you pop it out of its Pokeball, it remains this way, the small rattle at the end of its tail wiggling back and forth. The problem is when you start moving, Ekans does not uncoil itself. Instead, it zips along behind you, still in its coiled formation. It looks like it's a stone ornament for your garden, being pulled along on invisible string.

It looks a little silly, but okay, Ekans isn't exactly the most majestic Pokemon out there. Maybe it's a good thing that it looks so silly – it might meme itself into being a Pokemon I actually give a Mankeys about 25 years after it first appeared. Surely Milotic, beautiful, glorious, Milotic, has the proper animation, right? I think we know where this is going by now.

Milotic is not coiled up like Ekans, but instead has its long, silky body elongated. Unfortunately, when it follows you around, it remains long, thick, and rigid. Sorry, but I don't feel that way about Pokemon.

Rayquaza then. This giant space snake from beyond the moon surely doesn't suffer the same indignity? Surely. Please…

Unfortunately, not only is Rayquaza roughly three feet tall in the game (canon size: 23 feet tall), it acts as a mixture of the two. It is coiled loosely, owing to the fact gravity is Rayquaza's bitch and it can float wherever it wants, and therefore remains both wrapped up and stiff as it drifts after you. It's more like a cheap balloon than one of the most godly Pokemon of all time.

I can understand phoning it in on Ekans, or I could if Pokemon wasn't one of the biggest games on the planet, but why is Rayquaza being phoned in? This is one of the most popular and impressive Pokemon ever, which has lived for millions of years and mediates apocalyptic battles between other Legendaries for fun. And it just… drifts. Justice for the Pokemon snakes.

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