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Bouncing, armored arthropods that can be found living on top of Chozo ruins, in the vast caverns underneath the surface of the Planet SR388, in the Game Boy video game Metroid II: Return of Samus.


1. While Metroid II: Return of Samus isn't a color Game Boy game, it has a pre-programmed color pallette (black and blue backgrounds with red/yellow sprites) built into the hardware of Game Boys that do support color (Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, etc.) that somewhat approximates the look of the original NES Metroid game.

2. Several of the Metroid II enemies have a similar shell design that gives them missile/beam resistance anywhere it covers them. Federation xeno-biologists speculate that these species all shared a common genetic ancestor. Halzyn, Gravitt, Moto, and Ramulken all have this natural armor.

Ramulkens are omnivorous and feed on smaller vertebrates and various lichens/mosses that cover the eroded surfaces of the Chozo ruins they inhabit. Females lay their eggs in shallow, stagnant pools of water. Hatchlings resemble small adults, except their shells are smooth. The shell acquires barbs as the Ramulken matures--the age of these organisms can be estimated based on the number of spikes adorning their carapaces. Federation scientists and industrialists are both interested in the composition of Ramulken shells, as their extreme sturdiness makes them a potentially valuable commodity. It has been speculated that the Chozo may have used pieces of the shells as armor or as a component in the cement used to build their structures. Of course, this hypothesis pre-supposes that the Chozo had a way to cut/process the adamantine shells.

A Ramulken's crystalline shell is incredibly hard and dense, even potent energy beams and explosives cannot penetrate it (although a weapon with a large enough blast radius could potentially cause collateral damage to the Ramulken's soft tissue, even if it did detonate on the shell). The spiked surface serves as an additional deterrent to slow learners who get too close. A Ramulken's leg muscles are powerful, allowing it to jump 2 meters (6.6 feet) vertically into the air, which is its preferred mode of locomotion.

The legs and eye are a Ramulken's only weak points, otherwise, for all intents and purposes, its shell is invincible to anything Samus Aran can throw at it. Unfortunately, a Ramulken's spiked carapace provides absolutely no protection from SR388's dominant life form: The Metroid.

Tissue paper, newsprint, thin cardboard from a cereal box, white glue, hot glue, wire twist ties, and acrylic paint.

(*The dimensions of this figure are variable, depending on how the articulated legs are positioned. The numbers given below are for the figure posed with its legs extended to their maximum length downward.)
11.2 cm/4.4 in. x 7.2 cm/2.8 in. (highest point x widest point)

Eight points. Each of the four legs has two joints, one at the 'knee' and one where it joins the body.

Approximately one day. Construction began in the afternoon on March 18, 2007 and concluded in the evening the following day.

Below are a few pictures with the shell unattached. It wasn't necessary to glue then together, as I designed the figure so that the body would pop into place inside the shell with a tight fit. However, after several days of playing/posing the completed figure, the thin, white, five-pronged element above the eye developed some stress fractures as the pressure applied when moving the legs also acted on the body, moving it slightly, which in turned moved the prongs, causing the cracks. So, I decided to permanently glue the body into the shell, but before that, I thought I'd take some photos of what the figure looks like unassembled.

For comparison purposes, below is the Game Boy 'Metroid II: Return of Samus' instruction manual entry for Ramulken. Please not that said booklet is printed in only black and red inks, so it's difficult to say if the colors are 'true' or not, as many colors are impossible to reproduce under those limited conditions.

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