AKA: Penguin
As seen in: Antarctic Adventure (MSX)
Also in: Yume Penguin Monogatari (Famicom)
Distinguishing feature: Conveniently turns blue on black backgrounds.
Strengths: Singlehandedly stealing the avian land speed record from ostriches.
Weaknesses: Totally peng-whipped.

Profile by Nicola Nomali | January 29, 2011

Once every year, the penguins of Antarctica depart from their home in the ocean and suffer a long overland journey back to their ancestral breeding grounds in order to court potential mates and hatch their next generation. The parents must then make repeated expeditions to and from the ocean in order to care for their young and tend to its survival. At constant risk of death at the hands of predators, starvation, and the elements, theirs is an arduous struggle lasting for months on end.

And then there's Penta, who just makes them look lazy.

Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent on Earth, comprising fourteen million square kilometers -- and Penta regularly runs circuits around it for fun. Playing ambassador, he uses the lonesome research outposts of various nations as his checkpoints. Seals who would have any other penguin for lunch are regarded as mere stumbling blocks to making his self-determined time limits. He keeps up his stamina with leaping fish who slide whole down his well-aimed gullet.

The only time Penta ever subjected himself to mortal danger was when Princess Penko was allayed by a mysterious and deadly disease. The only cure was said to be the Golden Apple which grew on the Dream Continent, a vernal, temperate paradise neighboring Antarctica, from which the penguins had been driven in ages past by the monstrous Freezaurus, a species of hulking, fire-breathing lizards. With the life rapidly draining from Penko's downy cheeks, only Penta could speed to the Dream Continent, outwit the Freezauri, and return with a Golden Apple before time ran out.

Penta's feats made him the hero of the Penguin Kingdom and even allowed him to court Penko herself. Sadly, penguins typically don't mate for life, and Penko made him brutally aware of this when she announced that she was leaving him for the pimptastic Guinji. Citing the flab he had accumulated since he'd calmed down and taken on a more sedentary lifestyle, Penta's latest mission wasn't to face death, but his own girth. True to life, each bottle of slimming elixir only shaved an ounce or two off his weight, whereas each morsel of food seemed to inflate his waistline all over again. Temptation was everywhere: Guinji's thugs assaulted his gob with sugary peaches, and either the hunger was making him hallucinate, or volcanoes and stone sculptures erupted with rice balls and onion rings. Penko wasn't exactly making it easy for him when she asked him to meet her in Cake World, either.

Eventually, Penta won out, keeping the weight off and earning Penko's affections once and for all. Together, they hatched a son named Pentaro, who took over his father's cameo duty in the Parodius series (rising to cult stardom alongside a certain conniving octopus). Pentaro soon found his own mate in the lovely Hanako, and the two of them went on to blast mewling feline battleships and giant bunny-eared schoolgirls in space -- proving, if nothing else, that Penta's family reliably hosts much more engaging breeding rituals than just huddling together in a blizzard for half a year.

GameSpite Quarterly 3 | Previous: Pac-Man | Next: Percy