Galarian Slowking Is Pokemon Sword and Shield's Take On Half-Life's Headcrab Zombies

Galarian Slowking Is Pokemon Sword and Shield's Take On Half-Life's Headcrab Zombies

Oh sweet mother of Arceus, someone get a crowbar.

There are myriad symbiotic and parasitic relationships between animal and plant species in nature, and the line dividing them is razor thin. Pokemon Sword and Shield's Galar region likewise has instances of problematic relationships between Pokemon, with the Galarian Slowking being a prime example.

Galarian Slowking was unveiled on the official Pokemon website shortly after The Pokemon Company dropped some news about the Crown Tundra expansion for Pokemon Sword and Shield. Crown Tundra is available on Oct. 22, and that's when you'll be able to shake hands Galarian Slowking.

I don't recommend touching him, though. When we caught an obscured glimpse of Galarian Slowking early this year, I assumed its design would reference Dracula or Erik from Phantom of the Opera. I expected something cute and fun. Instead, Galarian Slowking is a bit of a horror show. Its head has been gobbled up by an evil-eyed Shellder, which seemingly controls its Slowking host using a powerful poison.

In turn, Shellder amplifies Slowking's psychic prowess, making it a powerful Poison/Psychic type with unique abilities that are new to the Pokemon series. "Eerie Spell" hits opponents with a bolt of Psychic power and shaves 3 PP off the last move it used. "Curious Medicine" wipes away any status changes ally Pokemon were afflicted with before Slowking enters the field. The competitive scene is already thinking about how these abilities will change up fights.

Oh, by the way, Galarian Slowkings speak to one another through unholy words and incantations. From the official Pokemon website: "Galarian Slowking have been observed uttering incantations in order to communicate with each other. They also appear to chant mysterious spells when using moves in battle. Exactly what these Slowking are saying has yet to be fully understood."

That's cool. Very 2020.

"Now I'm radioactive. That can't be good." | Game Freak/The Pokemon Company

Pokemon's lore is surprisingly dark. This is not news. But Galarian Slowking unsettles me for reasons beyond its Half-Life headcrab motif. If you look at Galarian Slowbro's official art, you suddenly understand why the poor fellah looks apprehensive—almost defeated. The blank-eyed Shellder latched on its arm makes for an effective weapon, yes, but Galarian Slowbro seems to understand it's entered a biological pact that can only end in its ruin. You can even see blue patches on Galarian Slowbro's skin, which indicates the Shellder's mind-numbing poison is already working on it.

Well, it sucks to be Galarian Slowking. It might also suck to fight against Galarian Slowking, given its powerful new abilities. We'll come up against the beast face-to-face-to-face when the Crown Tundra DLC arrives on Oct. 22. You should also look forward to Pokemon Go's link-up with Pokemon Home, which will happen later this year.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve,, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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