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Are Team Rocket Actually Bad?

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Nintendo

Team Rocket’s Jessie and James have clashed with Ash in the Pokémon anime for decades. But are team Rocket bad? Or is there more to them?

Here’s three reasons why we think Team Rocket might not be as bad as you think.

Ash Ketchum has faced many enemies throughout the Pokémon anime, but none are quite so familiar as the Team Rocket trio: Jessie, James and Meowth.

Yet, despite Team Rocket’s persistence, they’ve gained a reputation of being fairly unsuccessful bad guys. Is this purely for comedic effect? Are Team Rocket actually bad? Or is there more to this bumbling trio?

Here are 3 reasons why we think Team Rocket may not be the villains they’re made out to be:

3. They never ever mistreat Pokémon

One of the biggest characteristics of a villain is their total lack of empathy. But despite being portrayed as the bad guys, Team Rocket have this quality in spades.

One thing Jessie and James never do is mistreat their Pokémon. On the contrary, they always try to act in their best interests.

Think back to when James leaves his Chimecho with relatives who end up caring for the sick Pokémon, or when Jessie forcibly releases her Dustox – all so it wouldn’t make the same mistake of missing out on love, like she had.

Plus, back in Season 6 when they encounter poachers keeping a heavily injured Ekans caged, they are appalled – branding it “sickening”.

Jessie, James and Meowth all risk their necks to see off the poachers and free the injured Pokémon. But that’s not all. Not only do they set it free, but they also order their own Arbok and Weezing to lead it to safety: releasing their own Pokémon to help the injured Arbok survive.

And this isn’t just a one-way street. In Pokémon XY: Kalos Quest’s “Facing the Grand Design!”, after James and his Inkay actually help to stop the planet from becoming a hugely uninhabitable wasteland, James once again displays the unselfish love he has for his Pokémon. He offers to release Inkay so it can stay with the good Malamar of the forest (who clearly like it). But Inkay flatly refuses, showing that this love was clearly reciprocated; definitely something you wouldn’t see if a trainer was inherently evil.

2. They help save Ash – and the world – from destruction

Another point to contemplate when considering the question “are Team Rocket actually bad?” is their habit of saving the planet – not just once, but several times.

One of these instances was in Pokémon The Movie 2000: The Power of One. Team Rocket leave their villainous tendencies behind to actually help Ash and save the world.

The movie centres around an ancient prophecy that the world will be destroyed – and Team Rocket can’t help but stay true to their motto and “protect the world from devastation.”

When Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres’ battle makes it impossible for Ash to get to the final orb he needs to set the world right, Team Rocket uses their mech skills to jerry-rig a lifeboat into an airboat by attaching a broken helicopter propeller.

Couple this with them helping free the legendary birds earlier in the movie (and their sacrifice when they let go of Lugia so that they wouldn’t slow it down) and it’s easy to see how Team Rocket were not the villains here: they were the heroes.

But you may think: this is all well and good but, saving the world benefits them too, so it doesn’t really prove that they’re actually good. Yet it’s not the just planet they’ve saved – they’ve also saved Ash’s life too.

In Pokémon 3: The Movie – Spell Of The Unown, Ash almost falls to his death when Entei’s attack sends Charizard hurtling towards him. Fortunately though, Brock, Misty, Pikachu and Team Rocket have time to jump in and pull Ash back from the brink.

Are Team Rocket actually bad? This uncharacteristically good act suggests otherwise.

1. Their shared trauma forges an unparalleled loyalty

Jessie and James both had a difficult start in life. Jessie’s mother went missing when she was a child, leaving her in a foster home to grow up in poverty. On the other hand, despite James being born into wealth, he grew up feeling restricted and miserable.

They both joined Pokémon’s Team Rocket in an attempt to prove themselves, and they constantly battle for the approval of Team Rocket’s leader, Giovanni. Their goal is to gain his praise and acceptance – likely as a result of them feeling inadequate to their caregivers.

But this difficult start in life has also created a deep sense of loyalty. Not only do Jessie and James show loyalty to Team Rocket, but also to one another and their Pokémon.

Take what happened in the Pokémon Chronicles episode, “We’re No Angels!” when Team Rocket blast off and land in a small village. Unexpectedly, they’re immediately lauded as heroes (much to their dismay) and even (accidentally) save the town from a rampaging robot whilst trying to prove their villainy.

Whilst trying to think of ways to exploit the unfamiliar ‘hero’ status they’ve been bestowed with, one of their new-found fans – Kate – swiftly develops feelings for James; feelings which he clearly reciprocates.

Ever loyal, Jessie and Meowth are willing to stay – and even change their villainous tendencies at James’ request – until an accidental button press sends them flying back to Ash.

And it’s these displays of unselfish loyalty that really throw doubt to the question of ‘are Team Rocket actually bad?’

You see, Jessie and James weren’t born into a family: they made their own. And although they’ve each had their own separate chances to leave the world of villainy behind, they never do. Because they’re evil? Perhaps. But maybe also because neither of them wants to abandon the only true family they ever had.


So, are Pokémon’s Team Rocket actually bad? Or are they just misunderstood? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Read about 7 Nintendo Switch games to be excited about, including Pokémon snap HERE.

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Every Command & Conquer PC Game Ranked

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EA Games

Here’s our list of every Command and Conquer RTS PC game ranked from worst to best. The Real-Time Strategy (RTS) genre hit big time with the release of Command & Conquer in 1995. The series was a major influence of the RTS genre along with Blizzard’s Starcraft.

Command & Conquer’s creators Westwood Studios applied their RTS formula to Dune II in 1992. It wasn’t the first RTS game but laid the foundations for what was to follow.

Our rules

When ranking Command & Conquer games we’ll only be focusing on the PC RTS releases. Not included are Console ports, exclusives, remakes/releases, and mobile games.

Expansion pack reviews are combined into the game’s average score.

Review scores will be the main focus of how we rank the C&C games on this list. If two games have a close average review score the number of reviews for a game is taken into account. The game receiving the most reviews ranking higher. Rankings aren’t based on technical aspects of the games as some are more modern than others on the list.

So welcome, Commander!

8. Command & Conquer 4: Tiberium Twilight

Released: 2010

Developer: EA Los Angeles

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Average Review Score: 66.4%

We start off with the lowest-ranked C&C RTS game in the series by a long way. Command & Conquer 4: Tiberium Twilight was the nail in the coffin for the series. Its main sin was removing the base building, abandoning the cornerstone of RTS gameplay.

Instead, you control a unit called the Crawler that spawns your units. One good feature was the ability to play as Defence, Offence, or Support. If base building survived, these three branches could have made for great multiplayer gameplay.

It didn’t help back then that EA demanded every game needed a constant internet connection to play. (Oh how we all loved that!)

The response was a game that received mixed to panned reviews. Billed as the end to the Tiberium and Kane saga, it went out on a whimper. The series deserved a far better finale.

Eurogamer’s Alec Meer summed it up best by saying “The entire game has been rebuilt, leaving something that’s both back-to-basics and completely unrecognisable” Command & Conquer 4 was too much of a departure from the classic gameplay formula and C&C fans were left alienated as a result.

7. Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and Firestorm

Released: 1999

Developer: Westwood Studios

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Average Review Score: 80.4%

Tiberian Sun is by no means a bad game; the margins for ranking this list are very close. Set in a dystopian 2030 where Tiberium has ravaged the world. The Brotherhood of Nod and the GDI (Global Defence Initiative) embark on the Second Tiberium War. Kane Lives and returns. The gameplay is faster than the first games in the series and the units reflect a sci-fi look to match. GDI has swapped its tanks for walkers and Nod has cyborgs at their disposal with the AI Cabal overseeing them. (What could possibly go wrong!)

The game introduces mutants called the “Forgotten”. Nod tries to manipulate them whereas GDI seeks to help them. A big departure of Tiberian Sun is the lack of the GDI Commando, a fan favourite from the first game. In their place, GDI has the mutant Ghoststalker and Nod the Cyborg Commando.

The Firestorm expansion forces GDI and Nod to team up against the rogue psychopath of an AI Cabal, who wages war on humanity.

IGN’s Stephen Butts praised the game giving it a 8/10 “Tiberian Sun delivers phenomenal gameplay within an exciting context and that’s more than enough for me

Tiberian Sun is still a lot of fun to play today.

6. Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and Kane’s Wrath

Released: 2007

Developer: EA Los Angeles/Breakaway Games

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Average Score: 80.2%

EA isn’t Westwood Studios, but for a time they actually put the effort in. Command & Conquer 3 fits into this category. The Nod and GDI campaigns are still worth a play through today. Tiberium Wars takes place where the green substance has further eroded the planet.

The Populous live in great disparity from one another. The rich in the safer blue zones and the poor in the dangerous yellow and inhospitable red zones. NOD sow uprising to the disenfranchised leading to the third war. We even get treated to a full-blown alien invasion.

Gamespot’s Kevin VanOrd gave Command & Conquer 3 a 9 out of 10 “The missions themselves are incredibly varied and involve a lot more than destroying an enemy base or defending a particular structure. You’ll have to do these things, of course, but you have both primary and secondary objectives to complete”

The attention to detail and care were present in this game, they even included the best version of the GDI Commando. The guy is an army of one. (He has a freaking jetpack, railgun, and C4 charges for crying out loud).

Rare to say this, but good job EA!

5. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and Uprising

Released: 2008

Developer: EA Los Angeles

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Average Score: 82.5%

The Soviets time travel to prevent their loss to the Allies. The cheesy acting is at its strongest here. JK Simmons is the US President, Tim Curry is the Soviet Premiere and George Takei is the Emperor of The Rising Sun. Expect more outlandish ways to wage war, with attack bears, psychic school girls and the ability to drop satellites on your enemies.

In a first for the series, the vast majority of buildings can be built on water. This allows for naval and amphibious combat like never before. Red Alert 3 is packed with colourful visuals when other games of the time were going for that murky overtone.

IGN’s Jason Ocampo claimed “Red Alert 3 feels like a bubblegum version of real-time strategy. It’s silly and campy, yes, and it’s also fun” and it’s hard to disagree, it’s bonkers but a good time.

4. Command & Conquer: Generals and Zero Hour

Released: 2003

Developer: EA Pacific & EA Los Angeles

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Average Score: 86%

Generals was the first EA-made C&C game. Set in a modern setting with players choosing from the USA, China, and the GLA, the latter being a terrorist faction.

The story and FMV cut scenes are gone, though some would return in the expansion pack. A big change was using workers or bulldozers to construct buildings instead of the Mobile Construction Vehicle. The downside is buildings took longer to build and the bulldozers had all the strength of paper.

The game relied too heavily on superweapons at times. It’s an interesting play-through. It was the first 3D game in the series. On release, Germany banned it for the glorification of terrorism. China also banned it as it angered the Chinese Communist Party,

Zero Hour added the hugely entertaining Generals Challenge. Where you chose a general whose forces had a modified faction of the USA, China or The GLA. Some of the generals to choose from were Airforce, Nuke, Tank and Toxic each with different and unique units.

3. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 & Yuri’s Revenge

Released: 2000

Developer: Westwood Studios & Westwood Pacific

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Average Review Score: 85.8%

Red Alert 2 gets so many things right, great gameplay a myriad of units, and a B Movie story featuring mind control. The Soviet Union launch an all-out invasion of the USA and the second war is on!

The gameplay was fast balanced and the maps need exploring as every corner could be hiding some very welcome surprises. Red Alert 2 lets you wage war without holding your hand. The mass variety of mad and wonderful units makes this game a joy to play even 20 years on from its release. (Providing you can get around the compatibility issues on modern PCs)

The evil psychic known only as Yuri is by far an underrated villain of the series, taunting you during battles.

Ben from Eurogamer said “My personal favourite is ‘Crazy Ivan‘, the Russian demolitions expert who can put explosives on anything. Yes, anything – buildings, vehicles, people, and even dogs and cows aren’t safe! This leads to some interesting tactics, such as building a pack of dogs, attaching bombs to them, and then running them into enemy units”

There are massive airships, squids, and units that can remove the enemy from time itself. Oh didn’t I mention mind control? It’s a blast to play even today. The multiplayer servers are still available through fan mods and downloads. EA can we get a remaster, please?

2. Command & Conquer: Red Alert

Released: 1996

Developer: Westwood Studios

Publisher: Virgin Interactive Entertainment

Average Review Score: 88.2%

Red Alert the popular spin-off that became its own series within Command & Conquer. Hitler has been removed from history and the Allies now face an invasion from Stalin’s Soviet Union.

The game added a faster and more refined experience than the original and the much-loved Skirmish mode made its debut.

Much like the original, the soundtrack was composed by Frank Klepacki, with the game’s main title track becoming the iconic Hell March. Which has since featured as the main theme of every Red Alert game in newer and remixed versions.

“When Red Alert came out though, and even more fan letters and demand for the soundtrack and winning awards was happening, it was even more of an eye-opener and really solidified that this is bigger than I think it is. The fact that Hell March has been considered an all-time iconic track in our industry is quite a blessing. That is really the publics’ choice. So I’m very thankful for that.” Frank Klepacki.

Red Alert also introduced the over-the-top B movie-style cut scenes that would become a staple of the Red Alert games.

1. Command & Conquer

Released: 1995

Developer: Westwood Studios

Publisher: Virgin Interactive Entertainment

Average Review Score: 94%

The original Command & Conquer takes the top spot on this list and why not? It built on gameplay elements from Dune 2 and influenced games across the whole RTS genre.

GDI and Nod do battle for the first time and deadly alien substance Tiberium is plunging the earth into disaster. The Brotherhood of Nod’s cult-like leader Kane made his debut by shooting a disgruntled underling in the head. One of the best ways to introduce a character in gaming to this day.

Frank Klepacki who created the soundtracks for the Command & Conquer games made by Westwood Studios was part of the original team working on C&C “Working on the first C&C was the wild west of game development. We were putting new technologies to use at the time and if something didn’t work right or didn’t exist the coders created it. Full motion video in games was a new thing.”

Command & Conquer was to build your base and crush the enemy. On release, it was met with near-universal praise from publications ranging from PC Gamer, EGM and even Entertainment Weekly’s Bob Strauss praising the game “If you liked playing with toy soldiers as a kid, you’ll think you’ve stepped on a land mine and gone to heaven”

“When the first C&C came out the reaction was overwhelming and I didn’t quite grasp it. We knew we had something special but didn’t know that it would gain the traction it did” Frank Klepacki.

It’s hard to imagine the RTS genre without the release of the original Command & Conquer which helped to define the genre.


And that’s our list of Command & Conquer PC games ranked. Did we miss any? Do you agree with our order? Let us know in the comments below.


A big thank you to Frank Klepacki from Petroglyph Games for his contribution to this article.

Read about 7 XBox games to get excited about HERE.

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