Smokey Progg

           Pikmin, in some ways, is a very simple game. You play as Captain Olimar, a space traveler whose ship hit an asteroid, sending him crashing down on an alien planet. He must find the 30 missing parts of his ship in 30 days and escape the planet, before he runs out of breathable air. The Pikmin aid him in this, carrying the parts and fighting other wildlife while he gives them commands.
        While the plot may be simple, the world it takes place in is anything but. And a prime example of this is the Smokey Progg, a creature one is not very likely to run into unless they know where to look. It exists in the Distant Spring, the second to last area in the game, and is found on a very odd looking set of islands shaped like the sun, it being on an island in the middle of several others.
        I certainly recall that shape intrigued me when I first saw it, but when I investigated, there was no creature there. You see, to find this creature you must reach this island on or before Day 15. If you do, you will find a very large egg. Now, you might think breaking it open is the way to unleash the creature, but if you do nothing will emerge.
        Instead, you have to damage the egg, but not break it. A few seconds after doing so, it will break open completely, and the Smokey Progg will be born. For those of you who don’t know what it looks like, I’ll try and describe it. It is much larger than Olimar and the Pikmin, roughly the size of the far more common Red Bulborbs that you see throughout the game, or maybe three times your size.
        The entire creature is a sickly green color, with a rotund head, glowing pinkish eyes, and no mouth to speak of. Below that it has tiny, useless arms and, very oddly, no lower body at all. Its body simply ends abruptly, with clumps and pieces falling from under it as it impossibly lurches on, leaving a smoky haze in its wake. Said haze, and the creature itself, are fatally poisonous and any Pikmin touching either will die instantly.
        However, the head doesn’t seem to have this same property, presumably because it isn’t falling apart there. A Pikmin can latch on and attack, so aim for the head. However, as it is always in motion, it’s very possible to miss its head and kill your Pikmin. Compounding the issue is that it can shake the Pikmin attacking it off, and they might fall in its path and be killed.
        Due to its poisonous nature, defeating the Smokey Progg with no Pikmin deaths at all is nearly impossible, though its doable. Now, you might be wondering what you obtain for your victory, and it is a valuable reward; a small seed, light enough to be lifted by three Pikmin, that will produce a hundred more, more than any other enemy in the game.
        However, you might have noticed that there is a detail I’ve left out; the Smokey Progg’s actual behavior. And that too is quite unique to the creature. While most enemies attack your Pikmin or you, this one will completely ignore you. The most attention it will pay you is shaking Pikmin off as they attack.
        But don’t think from this that it means no harm, far from it. The Smokey Progg is ignoring you and your followers because it is heading straight for the Onions, the Pikmin‘s nest. Once it reaches them, it will let out a roar which forcibly uproots any planted Pikmin, and it then proceeds to kill them. After that, it will finally take note of Olimar and his Pikmin squad, and go after them.
        This clearly goes beyond simple predator/prey interactions. The Smokey Progg isn’t even eating the Pikmin, it seems to be targeting their source, yanking them out of the ground and destroying them, then chasing after any active Pikmin, as though it wants them exterminated. But why?
        Well, Olimar speculates that the Smokey Progg may be a malformed Mamuta. What’s a Mamuta? It is a large, somewhat bizarre looking creature that mostly ignores you, unless attacked. It then smashes the ground with its arms, burying Pikmin nearby. This will not harm them; rather, it will allow them to grow into flower Pikmin. So rather than attacking, it seems to be planting the Pikmin.
        So why is the Smokey Progg so different? It’s malformed. It was originally going to grow into a new Mamuta, but by harming the egg it was mutated and forced to hatch too soon, turning it into a toxic monster that hunts Pikmin down, forcing them out of the safety of the soil, and poisons them to death.
        Whether it is doing so because the mutation altered its mind along with its body, or because it is lashing out at the ones who harmed it, the Smokey Progg clearly has a tremendous desire to wipe out Pikmin completely, all because Captain Olimar and his Pikmin couldn’t leave it be.

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