Regional variants and alternate forms have been hit or miss for me over the years, as the Pokemon series finds new ways to riff on old monsters. There have been some pretty cool ones like Galarian Rapidash, who was a mainstay in my Pokemon Shield party. Then there’s Alolan Raichu, which has become the bane of my existence in the Pokemon world. But Pokemon Legends: Arceus now brings a new form that has dethroned the surfing rat as the absolute goddamn worst thing I’ve ever been emotionally subjected to in Pokemon.
Spoilers for Pokemon Legends: Arceus follow.
Palkia, the mascot of Pokemon Pearl and the god of space, is one of my favorite Pokemon. I added it to my imaginary “canon” party of six that I carry with me in my heart as my favorites, even if I can’t have them all together in every game. I even fixated on Palkia before Pearl was released in the States, so there was a brief window where I called it Parukia before the English name was public. This big ol’ water dragon space god has been precious to me for a long time.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus, which is out now on Nintendo Switch, takes place in a historic version of the Sinnoh region, where Palkia is based. As a result, I was expecting both Palkia and its mascot counterpart Dialga to play some role. But boy, I wasn’t prepared to see its new form in the game.
Folks, feast your eyes on Palkia’s “Origin” form.
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This is my new sleep paralysis demon. The intimidating space dragon has been turned into an absolute doofus of a centaur who looks like it’s mid-transformation since its arms are just…nowhere to be seen. But it still has shoulder pads. Does it even lift? No, because this big ol’ gallopy pal is skipping arm day on the daily; it’s got no arms to curl. The only “sea” this water/dragon-type Pokemon is thinking about is the 2003 Tobey Maguire film Seabiscuit. Give me a bottle of Old Spice body wash because I’m on a horse.
The Origin forms look kind of like the aforementioned space and time gods fused with Actual God and title character Arceus, resulting in the equine appearance. I haven’t made it through to the game’s final ending, so I don’t know if this is actually explained or just tacitly understood. But holy goddamn shit, my friend looks like it’s in actual pain. They say god builds his creations in his image, and here we have a dragon who now can’t even hold a spoon to eat its cereal with. It’s just got hooves. Have you ever tried to use an eating utensil without opposable thumbs? Me neither! Because it’s inefficient. Spacial Rend, Palkia’s signature move, is often characterized by the god of space slashing through its opponents. What’s it gonna do now? Stomp on them really hard?
Palkia and I have both been collectively traumatized by this. It has had its bones rearranged into the form of a horse, and I have had to watch it happen and have it ingrained into my psyche for the rest of my life. And now, so do you. Join us in our collective suffering.