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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon’s Ekans is amazing

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is a remake for the Nintendo Switch with a variety of enhancements, though the most noticeable ones are visual — the game looks like a storybook now. And with this graphical upgrade comes something else, animation updates. Most Pokémon look and move the way you expect them to. And then there’s Ekans, the poison-type reptile.

As originally noted by Twitter user @Pixxyofice, the purple snake has a cartoonish, exaggerated slither:

For those of you who have played the original game, this is not how Ekans used to get around.

I’ve been playing the roguelike over the past few days, and it’s only made me fall more in love with Ekans, a monster I usually do not care for. Mystery Dungeon revolves around “rescue teams,” which band together to help Pokémon in need. Most rescue teams are good-natured, and will simply pitch in because it’s the right thing to do. But there are also bad rescue groups who are only in it for the fame and money.

Ekans is a part of “Team Meanies,” a rescue group that consists of Gengar and Medicham. Your introduction to Team Meanies is the trio barging into your home and stealing your mail, so they can swoop in and get missions they weren’t assigned.

At one point early in the game, the Meanies challenge you to a race to see who can rescue a Metapod faster, and this narrative thread culminates with a high-stakes battle in the middle of a forest. But as much as Team Meanies wants to come off as cool and badass, every single time Ekans does anything, I’m left laughing. It’s hard to take Team Meanies seriously, in the same way it’s hard to take Team Rocket seriously. They’re not evil, they’re just silly and misguided. I even felt bad when the game asked me to battle Team Meanies, because I didn’t want to beat up a gang of kiddish bullies.

But the best part is that Mystery Dungeon is helping me gain an appreciation for creatures I typically ignore in the main games, because they aren’t cool or powerful enough to put on a standard team. Ekans’ animation, along with the adorable characterization, has left me obsessed — I’m never going to look at that Pokémon the same way again.

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