I know this may seem odd, but I have to bring up the Pikmin subject again. Ever since I bought that copy from Joe's Video Games, strange occurrences have took place in my life. There were the yellow eyes, as I said before, but I also felt chills around me at random. Why this happened, I may never know. Eventually, I bought a new copy of Pikmin from the same store which actually worked like it was supposed to. This somehow caused my problems to gradually disappear, leading me to live a normal life......until I found the other game.
Pikmin played a huge part in my childhood, and it turned out to be one of my favorite games of all time, as well as the sequel. After the incident with the Black Pikmin, I never dared to get my hands on another Pikmin game. Then, I bought the working edition and my fear went away. I was reluctant about buying Pikmin 2, as I looked upon the past events, but then I remembered what happened after I got Pikmin for the second time, so I thought, why not give it a go?
I strolled down the road towards Joe's Video Games. As I entered the store, Joe greeted me with a friendly smile and a "Hello!" as usual. I searched the aisles for my beloved Pikmin 2, and there it was. Picking up the box, I went up to Joe and asked about it.
"How much will this game cost?
"$39.99, and you're in luck, because it's the last one in stock!"
"Thank you so much!"
"Before you leave, here's something interesting I wanted to notify you about. This game was brought by a man in his mid 20's with curly brown hair, glasses and light skin--what was his name, Chris or something? Anyway, he said he brought this over to remind his friend of what he did. I told you this because I wonder if you're the "friend" he was talking about."
Chris? That was one of my very best friends from my childhood! As we went into our late teens, we started growing more and more distant from each other. The last time I saw him was 2 years ago, and now that Joe told me my friend delivered the game here (complete with a description of his appearance), I felt really exicited to finally see him and tell him about all of the wonderful things I have done!
"Chris? Sounds like one of my friends."
"Is that so? Well, if it is, I hope what he was trying to remind you about was good."
I paid the $40 to Joe and exited the building after we said our goodbyes. When I arrived home, I immediately raced upstairs and eagerly inserted Pikmin 2 into my Gamecube. When the title screen appeared, memories instantly came rushing back, as I remembered the times where I used to show my friends my games and sometimes play them together. Something, however, did not seem right about my past remembrances, but I couldn't quite point it out.
The game began as normal, with the opening cutscene of Olimar and Louie crashing down onto the Valley of Repose. I had the two find the Red Pikmin, take down the enemies, same as usual. The moment I discovered Purple Pikmin was when it began to seem strange. After the ship's comments on the new species, there was a pause for about 10 seconds, and the ship spoke once again:
"Olimar, this type of Pikmin reminds me of an incident you told me about, involving creatures of a similar color. Perhaps they might be dangerous?.....What am I saying? They're Pikmin, how could you imagine a friendly creature like that doing something awful?"
The description also made me recall something else, but more recent this time. I then thought about the yellow eyes, and three words came to mind.
Seize and Survive.
I did not want the terrors of the Black Pikmin to interfere with my life again. As I recollected the experience more clearly, things kept getting more complicated. If this was the supposed sequel to the "Black Pikmin Edition" of the first Pikmin game, then how was Olimar still alive? Was there a clone of him out there somewhere or did this take place in an alternate universe where he survived the attacks? Also, why would my friend own a game that is a sequel of a nightmare-inducing edition of a child-friendly game? I believed that the answers to all but the last question would come at some point in my gaming sessions.
Afterwards, the game continued through its original route, with no sign of any anomalies. One day, Louie was taking down a Cloaking Burrow-nit in the Awakening Wood when all of a sudden the screen froze, warped while changing to the color red, and crashed with a black screen. I figured that this error may have been due to the old condition of the disk, so I took it out, blew on it, and put it back in, thinking it would return to normal, but it did not.
It got worse, so much worse.
First of all, the Pikmin on the title screen were missing their flowers and had leaves instead, but they seemed wilted. Next, the Bulborb that occasionally went by ate all of the Pikmin. Then, over the course of the normal gameplay, figments of an old fear came back to haunt me: the black Pikmin. That's right, the creatures that gave me nightmares for a long period of time were back. At first, they were just small yellow eyes peeking out from tiny holes and crevices, and soon enough, I could start seeing leaves not of my Pikmin and silver flowers. They would also be watching at the end of the day cutscene as they did previously.
One one occasion, Olimar encountered a Black Pikmin in the Citadel of Spiders. It just stood there, watching him, and doing nothing else. When I brought my Pikmin nearby, however, it grew agitated and chased after my group, eating my soldiers up. They did not target the captains at all costs, which was weird since there were the ones who killed Olimar in the "hacked" 1st game. I eventually defeated the Black Pikmin by throwing a purple Pikmin on it, as it could only be defeated while it was stunned (another unusual property). After the incident, they began appearing as regular enemies, and could be defeated with no problem at all.
The Bulblax Kingdom took things a step further. When I entered the final floor, the Emperor Bulblax was not present. All of a sudden, I had a brilliant idea. I could use my white Pikmin to try to find the boss, even though it seemed like a stupid course of action. That's just what i did; my crew dug out the body of the Bulborb king, which appeared to be in awful condition. There were stains all over its shell, the skin was rotting, and part of its face appeared to be chewed off. I wanted to get rid of this horrible sight as soon as possible, so I had my Pikmin carry it back to the ship, which did not accept it, but rather took it in, turned 90 degrees and threw it off into some abyss that I had no idea was there. We were just going to exit the dungeon when suddenly 100 Black Pikmin fell from the ceiling and ate of all my Pikmin in a disturbingly gruesome fashion. Then the cutscene played of the ship exiting the dungeon. Even more strange was that the day just ended right there, with the distraught captains leaving into low orbit once again. None of the Onions were present. I was just saddened as they were; all of the Pikmin were lost due to something I did not know about, and I had to go through all of the work I made that past few days again. Not surprisingly, the death count for my Pikmin was 186, my entire army. They were all lost in battle.
I went to the Awakening Wood once again where something unusual awaited me. All of my Onions were back, and I had received all of my Pikmin back! How could that be possible if they had all died the previous day!? No matter the cause, I was glad I had them again.
The rest of my game was normal up until I reached the Subterranean Complex, where, instead of the regular "dungeon discovered" scene, another scene showed of a group of 30 or so Black Pikmin staring at the screen in front of the dungeon. A text box appeared, reading:
"We know what you did."
Then, the game shut itself off for the second time. I was starting to get unnerved by these events, and I wanted to know more about the game. Unfortunately, there was nobody I could really talk to, as Joe did not know much other than the fact the Chris gave it to home, and speaking of Chris, he got a new phone number just after he left and decided not to share it to me. The only way, I said to myself, to find more about this game was to continue playing it.
When I returned to the game, I could finally enter the Subterranean Complex, but as soon as I entered the cave, something was VERY wrong. No enemies were in sight, and the only things in sight were giant rectangular pillars of different colors. When I approached one, it would topple in the direction the captain was standing in, breaking into shards upon hitting the ground that would soon disappear into nothingness. The treasures were also placed freely in random spots across the floor, and whenever my Pikmin would pick them up, a pillar would suddenly materialize and would kill the creatures if they were not called back on time. For some reason, these new obstacles reminded me of something sealed away in my memory for a very, very long time...……………………….but I could not remember what it was.
I continued through the cave, still with the same conditions of the first floor no sign of any other life until the 7th floor where a single Gatling Groink was patrolling the area and was about to open fire on my Pikmin, only to be defeated by a pillar. Something was strange about that, however. The health bar completely disappeared and the foe did not wake up as usual. A few seconds later, it broke into bits and a bunch of Black Pikmin came out, chasing after not any of the captains, but specifically one of the Pikmin they had.. Having collected all of the treasures, I expeditiously sprinted to the hole leading to the next floor and hopped in, unfortunately losing the Pikmin they targeted. The next floor was the rest floor, unchanged from the original game, and then came the boss floor.
The Man-At-Legs was resting in the same spot it always did, except for an Olimar on top. Yes, there was a duplicate Olimar sitting on top of the mechanical spider, seemingly in control of it (as Louie did to the Titan Dweevil). When I approached the clone, a text box appeared, with it being referred to as "???",
This gave the implications that he knows the captains and the Pikmin, but was never explained. Soon, the Man-At-Legs rose and started to wander around the arena, and when it was attacked, it didn't pull out its gun. It was as if the clone wanted us to survive. Then, when the health reached zero, another text box came up:
"You make me sick..."
The boss blew up, and Olimar's duplicate ran away from the detonation and off the side of the platform, falling to his inevitable doom. What did the characters do in the past to make him so anguished and depressed that he committed suicide? This moment startled me quite a lot, especially when I considered the thought that he might as well be the real Olimar, which I set aside for later in case any other events came up. The Stellar Orb dropped down from the ceiling, and I had my Pikmin carry it to the ship, but when the bulb was examined, the glass of it cracked before the ship said anything. However, it did say something afterward and it was most definitely not in the original game:
"Darkness won't disappear."
Was there something that the ship didn't want to discuss, a dark secret that it was holding back...………….? I exited the dungeon immediately. Over the course of the game, I noticed something that had been absent from the entire game: There we no end-of-day emails at all. It would leave me without information of what was currently happening to the President. After repaying the debt, the game did not play the credits, but rather made the Wistful Wild accessible straightaway! When I landed in the area, Louie was still there, along with no president. I had no idea what was going on, and as disturbing as this version of the game was, I wanted to find out more, and kept playing.
Multiple inexplicable happenings were strewn all along the line of the post-credits gameplay. Bumbling Snitchbugs would not attempt to take the captains away, and the same was true for Swooping Snitchbugs and Pikmin. The Gatling Groinks would also blow themselves up when a captain approached them. At one point, the ship noticed the presence of a dungeon invisible to the naked eye. This is what it claimed to sense:
"There is a hole leading to an underground system of caverns nearby. However, it is very well hidden. Just looking for it won't allow the crevice to show up. Perhaps if you utilized the power of a creature not in your control, the dungeon could be accessible to us."
When the surroundings came back into view, a Gatling Groink that wasn't in the area previously now was ambling around. Thinking strategically, I positioned Olimar into a suspicious-looking spot and led Louie and the Pikmin to safety so the other captain could lure the hybrid creature. When it shot its usual explosive material, nothing happened to the spot. Then, I remembered that they would explode if they had a captain in close proximity of them. I waited for the Groink to edge closer, and then had Olimar charge forward. The monster started shaking, and I took several steps back, anticipating the results. Upon its explosion, a cutscene was triggered of the spot opening up to a reveal a hole, which in turn prompted another response from the ship:
"Fascinating! You have successfully opened the entrance to the chamber! It has allowed me to sense far more objects inside than I was formerly able to. …….? What's this? My sensors seem to indicate that a large beast is inhabiting the bottom floor of this cave system. Something tells me that this creature is far more lethal than any other we have encountered in the past. It appears to produce a noxious gas from a gland in its rear that has been known to make any non-plant organism perish instantly. Only a few species can withstand the danger, which includes certain types of Pikmin. They may as well be the species in your troop. If you think you can face the challenge, give it all you've got and go in there! There doesn't seem to be any loot in the dungeon, but moving into the area may just be for the best."
I have never seen the ship undergo a huge change in personality before. What was once a greedy, sarcastic hunk of metal that mostly cared about treasures now transformed into a well-spoken machine that will do anything to protect the beings he has been with for all this time. With a boost of courage, I made the decision to enter the dungeon, which was named "Dismal Hollow".
Will be continued soon.