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Ten Pokemon Who Are Fighting Fit and Would Fit Right into Pokken



After a long wait, Pokken Tournament is finally out and I couldn’t be more pleased with the game. Gorgeous visuals, a unique blend of mechanics, smooth online play, engaging single player, and a strong cast of fighters all ensure that I won’t be putting my controller down anytime soon. With such a well-balanced, fun roster of Pokémon to battle with, however, it’s hard not to crave more. While the Big N has remained pretty zip-lipped about downloadable content since release, a fan can still hope that more unique fighters will make their way into the game, especially with such an enormous library to choose from! Tasked with coming up with five fighters I’d like to see, with so many amazing selections, I couldn’t help but double the order. Here are my top ten hopes for DLC fighters in Pokken Tournament.

10. Poliwrath


While the first generation of Pokémon is overrepresented in Pokken, and rightfully so, this Pokémon rarely gets any attention. Poliwrath was the first choice of my co-host on the Game Boys Podcast over at Quad Nine, and since he mentioned it, the choice seems both fitting and resolves the issue of their only being one water-type Pokémon in the game. With ranged water moves but the capable of fierce close combat combos (fitting in consideration of his fighting type), Poliwrath could be a unique, well-rounded Pokémon rarely featured elsewhere, and with a unique move set to round out the character.

9. Zoroark


In many ways the focal point of the underrepresented fifth generation, Zoroark was to generation five what Lucario was to generation four: a powerful, non-legendary Pokémon heavily featured both in and out of games, with a killer design and a whole lot of potential. My only hesitation with this choice is that his signature ability, Illusion, which makes Zoroark appear like a different Pokémon from the player’s party, seems like it couldn’t be left out. Even if ignored, Zoroark boasts some nasty dark attacks not featured before the fifth generation, and could keep Chandelure company as another Unova region Pokémon. It still feels weird that I am promoting a different Pokémon, and not Chandelure, which would’ve certainly been a choice of mine had it not already been featured in the game. Crazy awesome turn of events!  But Chandelure thankfully made it into the game, and here’s to hoping Zoroark does as well.

8. Pinsir

Mega Pinsir

I promise some of this list will get more obvious the further you go down, but hear me out on this one. While (again) over a fourth of Pokken‘s characters are from the Kanto Region, their popularity and brilliant design make this choice only appropriate, and the addition of this particular one could be quite ensnaring. Pinsir would be a fascinating choice not only because of his bug type, representing an unrepresented type in the main roster thus far but also because of his signature pincers. It would be fun to see this Pokémon fight with his head and see a Pokémon that emphasizes grabs. Plus, with an amazing Mega Evolution that looks like a Godzilla villain, it’s hard not to want to see this bug in a new light!

7. Ampharos


Speaking of lights! With only one-second generation Pokémon in the game and two electric types, both of which are Pikachu, Ampharos could cure a couple of glitches in the game. His unique design would be fascinating to see in a fight. Plus, Ampharos, classified as the “light Pokémon,” while being statistically fierce and fleecy, now has a new Mega Evolution to make him even more vicious. Sure, he might seem a little sheepish, but I’m sure that given the right treatment, Ampharos could be Ampherocious.

6. Toxicroak


The second (but not final) frog on my list is Toxicroak. While the fourth generation is pretty well represented, Toxicroak’s design and typing make it an ideal fit for the game. Not only is Toxicroak a poison-type, as the name might suggest, but also a fighting type, of which there can’t be enough of in Pokken. With poison barbs on its fists and a deadly point on its head, Toxicroak could be a prickly opponent, especially when spitting poison at players from range. Toxicroak is an incredibly cool, well-liked Pokémon, and one very deserving of a spot within Pokken Tournament‘s ranks. In my opinion, its inclusion would be totally awesome.

5. Greninja


For being the most common type of Pokémon, water-type get their single representation in Pokken in the form of Suicune, which is weird, to say the least, especially since Greninja seems like such an obvious fit for this game. Sure, that Pokémon is featured pretty prominently, but for good reason, as Greninja is considered by many sources to be the most popular Pokémon of the sixth generation. Not only could Greninja bring another water fighter to the game, but provide another exciting character from Pokémon X and Y, of which Braixen is the only main fighter so far. Someone needs to hop on this! Greninja and his Water Shuriken would undoubtedly fit right into Pokken Tournament.

4. Scizor


The second generation of Pokémon is criminally under-represented in Pokken Tournament, with one representative in Suicune (again)! Scizor seems like a logical remedy to that, with his notable defense all the more notable by the punch he packs. It’s easy to imagine the bug/steel type Pokémon joining the Pokken ranks, and his Synergy Burst practically writes itself as Scizor comes complete with a Mega Evolution. If you ask me, Scizor seems up to the task of both providing another Johto Region Pokémon to the roster of Pokken and demonstrating to the world what bug Pokémon are all about.

3. Aegislash


Between Gengar and Chandelure, there are actually more ghost-type Pokémon in the game than I anticipated, which is really cool since it’s my favorite type. There aren’t, however, enough sixth-generation Pokémon. That’s where Aegislash comes in. What’s unique about Aegislash is that its form changes as it battles as a result of its ability, Stance Change. It begins in its defensive stance, shield forward, and then switches to attack stance when on the offensive. This could be a fascinating factor in a fighting game, and it would be exciting to see the way this ability could be used in a fighting game. Perhaps a certain combo could switch its stance, or a certain button and direction could implement a form change rather than a move. Plus, watching the way the Pokémon moves in Pokémon X and leads me to believe that seeing it in action in a game like Pokken Tournament would be remarkable, and creating a character with another level of strategy, like a form change, could give players a true (hon)edge over the competition!

2. Hawlucha


This choice absolutely speaks for itself.  If Hawlucha was the evolution of Combusken, Blaziken’s pre-evolution, I would spend a lot less time making fun of the character for being a weird man-chicken and way more time using him. As it stands, Hawlucha is a brilliant, one of a kind, ever-basic work of art. I absolutely love his design, and the fact that he didn’t make it into the game when the likes of Pikachu Libre did is severely disappointing, especially in consideration of the fact that there is, again, only one sixth-generation Pokémon in the game, that being Braixen. Hawlucha’s flying/fighting typing would add another combatant to the flying team at this point comprised of only Charizard while simultaneously representing some of the best designs Kalos Region has to offer, especially since I don’t think too much of Braixen in terms of character design (sorry). If any Pokémon belongs in a fighting game, it’s the guy classified as the wrestling Pokémon: Hawlucha.

1. Darkrai


With Weavile the only dark-type Pokémon in the game, the type could use another representative, one who could give Mewtwo a run for his money and be a real nightmare to all of the rest of the competition too. I am of course talking about Darkrai, which comes as no surprise to those who know me, as Darkrai is my favorite Pokémon. However, I don’t list Darkrai at number one because he is my favorite, but because I fervently believe he belongs in the game. Darkrai is statistically one of the fastest Pokémon in the franchise, with a special attack stat that should make opponents tremble. His signature move, Dark Void, and ability, Bad Dreams, just begs to be made into a Synergy Burst. Imagine a cross between Gengar and Weavile and you have a pretty solid idea of how a character like this should play: quick, relentless, and with a design cool enough to rival Shadow Mewtwo. Nintendo, make my dreams come true and add Darkrai to Pokken Tournament.


That’s my list, and let me just say that with 708 choices outside of those included in the game, the competition was incredibly fierce. Some honorable mentions are due, so trying to fight there way on to my list were Feraligatr, Gallade, Genesect, and Pangoro. It’s worth mentioning again that this list attempts to further represent Pokémon types and generations underrepresented by Pokken Tournament. But that’s just my list; what’s yours look like? Think your list could crush mine in a fight? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in Ferrum, Poke-fans!

Tim is not the droids you are looking for. He resides quietly in the Emerald City where he can often be found writing, reading, watching movies, or playing video games. He is the Xbox editor for Goomba Stomp and the site's official Pokémon Master.

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This Heart’s on Fire: ‘Death Stranding’ and Heartman

‘Death Stranding’ has no shortage of your standard Kojima weirdos but one that almost no one is talking about is the eccentric Heartman.



Death Stranding Heartman

*This article contains spoilers up to and including Chapter 8 of Death Stranding*

Over the course of Hideo Kojima’s wildly ambitious Death Stranding there are a whole cavalcade of intriguing and intoxicating characters for players to meet and acquaint themselves with. From the guy with the weird goalie mask to the lady with the magical umbrella, there is no shortage here of your standard Kojima weirdos but one that almost no one is talking about is Heartman.

Portrayed by writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn, best known for Drive, Heartman brings the game to a dead halt when you finally meet him face to face in chapter 8 but the reprieve comes as a welcome comfort to the player. Having just crossed a treacherous mountain range and survived a second trip to Clifford Unger’s war-torn beach, most players will welcome a little down time, and Heartman is there to provide it.

Death Stranding
It’s immediately clear that Heartman’s home is something special from the moment Sam walks through the door. Lit with a ring of holographic fire, the foyer of the mansion is immediately welcoming in the hostile environment of the snowy mountains. However, it also has a sort of clinical detachment to it. This is by design, as reality for Heartman is merely a distraction — downtime to be filled.

Yes, Heartman comes with the tragic backstory players will no doubt be expecting but, like most of them in Death Stranding, his is a real treat. Delivered partly through voiceover and partly through flashback, Heartman reveals how he lost his family to a terrorist attack while in the hospital for a heart operation. When he flatlined during the operation, though, he was able to find them on the beach before being whisked away back to reality.

Obsessed with finding them again and joining them, Heartman now spends his life in 24 minute intervals: 21 minutes of life, 3 minutes of death. Every 21 minutes Heartman journeys to the beach by flatlining himself with a personal AED, only to be resurrected 3 minutes later. During those 3 minutes though, where time is altered by the elastic effect of the Death Stranding, he seeks out his family and makes observations on how the beaches and the after life work.

Death Stranding
Bizarre as all of this is, it makes Heartman a truly fascinating character. Since his life is mainly confined to 21 minutes at a time, he has collected hundreds of books, movies, and albums which can be experienced during that tiny window of time. His study is brimming with them, stacked on the ceiling high bookshelves that surround his work area. Also in the study are eerie recreations of frozen corpses, old family photos, and a host of other curiosities, each of which will earn the player likes from Heartman for noticing them.

Of course, this is the most interesting part of the meeting. As Heartman continues to explain his theories, a counter occasionally appears in the bottom corner of the screen, showing how long Heartman has before he will flatline again. When the moment of truth finally comes, he lays himself down on a chaise lounge, turns over a golden hourglass and dies before your eyes. As the Funeral March begins playing from an old record player, Sam must keep himself busy for 3 minutes while he waits for Heartman to return to the land of the living. It’s a truly brilliant moment, as a counter appears in the bottom corner again, and the player must simply take in Heartman’s eccentric home from a first person perspective for 3 minutes uninterrupted.

What would be boring as sin under the wrong direction becomes a welcome moment for the player to just sit and absorb this strange, yet comforting, place. Then, after three minutes have elapsed, Heartman reawakens and picks up from where he left off as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. He even breaks the 4th wall as he continues to talk, swatting away the timer when it appears on screen again and adding likes to your counter in real time.

There’s really nothing like the meeting with Heartman in all of Death Stranding — but then, there’s nothing like Death Stranding really in the realm of gaming either. With its long periods of walking between haunted destinations and its deliberately cryptic mythology, the game is like a series of tone poems and intellectual treatises mashed together into a post-apocalyptic courier sim.

Heartman then, with his heart-shaped lake and pink-lit study, is just one more piece of Kojima’s mad puzzle here but what a piece he is. Who would have thought the most normal looking member of Death Stranding‘s bewildering cast would end up also being one of its most interesting? Certainly not this writer. Still, Heartman and his eerie, purgatorial existence make for one of the nicest surprises in the game.

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Five Best New Pokémon Designs from ‘Pokémon Sword and Shield’



Much like Pokémon Sun and Moon before, Pokémon Sword and Shield is an adventure full of fascinating surprises. Some of those many surprises across the Galar region are the new pokémon you will come up against. While many of the designs in the eighth generation were a sorry sight to behold, here are five that should stand the test of time as welcome additions to the ever-growing franchise.


When I first encountered an Applin, there was a stark realization across my mind that Pokémon had ran out of ideas. Here I was, with my then Sobble, about to fight an apple with eyes. It was about as baffling as the ice cream cone back in Black and White, which looked as if it was designed by a child. But for not the first time, I was wrong, and instead of becoming three apples or a pear, Applin actually has a fantastic evolutionary journey.

Throw a sweet apple at Applin, and it’ll evolve into a Appletun, which is an interesting evolution in its own right. But when you throw a tart apple in its direction, it evolves into something so much better, with the result becoming the Flapple we see above. A tiny dragon using the broken apple it burst out of to flap around in the air is a creative concept to say the least, and certainly helped to change my early judgement on the apple core pokémon.


Farfetch’d has been an unfortunate pokémon ever since its illustrious debut on Pokémon Red and Blue. A weak pokémon that was rare by virtue of being delicious, Farfetch’d has been a pokédex filler ever since. Luckily, in the Galar region, the Farfetch’d are a little more feisty, with a new typing to match.

With a little patience and a shovel of goof fortune, you can evolve your Galarian form Farfetch’d into Sirfetch’d if you manage to deal three critical hits in one battle. The odds are increased if you catch a Farfetch’d holding a leek, and then further increased at level 55 when your Farfetch’d learns leaf blade. For what it’s worth, the hard work does pay off. Sirfetch’d is a fantastic design and suits the theme of Pokémon Sword and Shield honorably. The evolution that Farfetch’d always needed has been worth the two decade wait.

Galarian Corsola

For all the demonic ghost pokédex entries and back stories, the Galarian form Corsola hits most close to home. While the change is largely a new colour and a sad face, the reasoning can be a little more tragic.

There are no secrets about the destruction of the coral reefs across the world due to climate change. It only takes a change of a degree in temperature for the coral to expel the algae that gives them their unique colouring and become the bleached white. While the coral isn’t dead immediately, if left in that state, it does eventually starve to death. Hence Galarian form Corsola represents more than the sum of its parts, and its a clever message Game Freak has left in Pokémon Sword and Shield about the destruction of our ocean ecosystems.


Ever since Hawlucha, I have a bias towards Mexican wrestling pokémon. They’re fantastic. Clobbopus and Grapploct are no exception, and the only reason I’ve chosen Grapploct over Clobbopus is because of way Grapploct swam like a hungry Olympic swimmer to announce my destruction.

While its base stats are actually average, the confidence it showed to pursue me on my journey across the sea certainly left a stain. The design of Grapploct itself is so consistent with fighting type pokémon that it’s one of the least lazy designs in Pokémon Sword and Shield, and for all the prayers to Arceus, there are some hopelessly lazy designs in this generation.


This is going to be huge statement that might rile up a number of pokémon fans, but for me, Corviknight is the best designed bird pokémon. The whole concept fits the brief, from the armour on its head, to its seamless fit into the inspiration behind the region.

It’s no secret that the Galar region was inspired by England, from the train system to the architecture, there are pieces of Ol’ Blighty everywhere in Pokémon Sword and Shield. Some of those influences are seen in the pokémon themselves, and none express that more than Corviknight. The raven has a lot of folklore behind it, particularly its presence in the Tower of London. It is said that if the ravens were to leave the tower, then the destruction of England is imminent. As such, not only does Corviknight look like a formidable bird pokémon, it actually has a clever reason behind its design.

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Game Reviews

‘Donkey Kong Country’ – Still as Difficult, Demanding and Amazing to This Day



Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country: 25 Years Later

Back in 1994, Nintendo was struggling with their 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which wasn’t selling as well as they’d hoped it would. With the release of the Saturn and Playstation on the horizon, the Super Nintendo needed a visually impressive and original title to reinforce its market dominance. After three years of intense competition and heated rivalries, Nintendo desperately needed a hit that could prove the Super NES could output graphics on the same level as the forthcoming 32-bit consoles. They teamed up with Rare to produce Donkey Kong Country, a Mario-style platformer, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Donkey Kong Country is a game held in high regard and with reason. Monumental! Monstrous! Magnificent! Use any term you want, there’s no denying how important this game was for Nintendo and Rare. The graphics for the time were above and beyond anything anyone would imagine possible for the 16-bit system. For a two-dimensional side-scroller, Donkey Kong Country conveys a three-dimensional sense of dept. The characters are fluidly animated and the rich tropical environments make use of every visual effect in the Super NES’s armory. Each stage has its own theme, forcing players to swim underwater, navigate through a misty swamp, swing from vines, or transport DK using a set of barrels (cannons) to advance. And let’s not forget the mine cart stages where you ride on rails and use your quick reflexes to successfully reach the end. Every level has little nooks and crannies too, hiding secret areas and passageways that lead to bonus games where you can earn bananas and balloons, which you can trade in for additional lives. And in Donkey Kong Country, you’re not alone; your simian sidekick Diddy tags along for the adventure. You control one character at a time, and each has his own unique strengths. Donkey Kong can dispatch larger enemies with his giant fists, while Diddy can jump a little higher than his bulky cousin. It isn’t the most original platforming feature, but it works. The two heroes can also rely on various animal friends to help guide them through their adventure. Predating Super Mario World: Yoshi’s Island, Diddy and DK can also ride on the backs of Rambi the Rhino, Winky the Frog, Enguarde the Swordfish and more!

What’s really impressive about Donkey Kong Country is how it has withstood the passage of time. In 1994, Donkey Kong Country’s visuals were spectacular with its rendered 3D models, lively character animations, detailed backgrounds, and a lush jungle setting, and while some would argue the game is dated, in my eyes it still looks great to this day. Kong has heart, and he’s willing to show it in a game made with wit, excitement and moments of visionary beauty. Meanwhile, the soundtrack by David Wise is guaranteed to win listener’s over. Practically every piece on the soundtrack exudes a certain lyricism that has become a staple of Rare’s games – from its upbeat tropical introduction to the unforgettable climax which secures its place as one of the Super Nintendo’s most memorable boss fights. The result is an apt accompaniment to the colorful characters, tropical landscape, and tomfoolery that proceeds.

What really stands out the most about Donkey Kong Country after all of these years is just how challenging this game is.

But what really stands out the most after all of these years is just how challenging this game is. Donkey Kong Country is a platformer you can only finish through persistence and with a lot of patience. Right from the start, you’re in for one hell of a ride. In fact, some of the hardest levels come early on. There are constant pitfalls and Donkey Kong can only take a single hit before he loses a life. If your companion Diddy is following you he will take over but then if he takes a single hit you lose a life and it’s back to the start of a level. Needless to say, the game is unforgiving and requires quick reflexes and precise pattern memorization to continue. This game requires so much fine precision that it will definitely appeal to hardcore platforming veterans looking for a challenge and those that do are in for one hundred eighty minutes of mesmerization, astonishment, thrills, chills, spills, kills and ills. The only real downfall of Donkey Kong Country is the boss battles. Yes, Donkey Kong Country gave us some memorable villains such as Dumb Drum (a giant Oil Drum that spawns enemies after it hits the floor), and The Kremling King (who is responsible for stealing Donkey Kong’s Banana Hoard), but these enemies have very basic attack patterns and far too easy to defeat.

It’s one of the rare, great works of art that stands up endlessly despite repeated playthroughs, each time revealing something new.

Donkey Kong Country

Along with its two SNES sequels, Donkey Kong Country is one of the defining platformers for the SNES. The game looks great and sounds great and the platforming, while incredibly difficult, is still very fun. Rare did the unexpected by recasting a classic Nintendo villain as the titular hero and it paid off in spades. It’s one of the rare, great works of art that stands up endlessly despite repeated playthroughs, each time revealing something new.

The beauty of the original is that there’s more to it than the oversized gorilla. Donkey Kong Country is truly amazing!

– Ricky D

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