Which slime is the ultimate slime, according to a polymer chemist
If you hear the goopy drip or bouncy spring of a nearby enemy, odds are you might have run into a slime. Known by many names — like Chuchu Jelly in Zelda or Flan in Final Fantasy — slimes have long served as the loyal punching bags of video game heroes everywhere. Whether it’s in the caves of Stardew Valley, or on the sprawling plains of Dragon Quest 11, the gelatinous grunts seem to have a place in many a video game environment.
Slimes come in many different forms: goo, jelly, gel, and more. But what makes for a strong slime? If we were to throw all these piles of goop into a colosseum, and have them duke it out battle royale style, which slime would prevail over all? We know that slimes are chumps to warriors like Link or Dragon Quest’s Hero, but what if they were to fight against one another?
We asked a polymer chemist, Dr. Marc Hilmyer, the McKnight Presidential-endowed chair in the department of chemistry at the University of Minnesota and editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Macromolecules, about which slime would win in a fight. Since it’s common for games to have different variations of slime, like electric slime or fire slime, we generally took the standard slimes from each game — except when scientific interest merited further discussion. Here is which slime would win.
Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age
Image: Square Enix/Omega Force/Koei Tecmo
Dragon Quest slimes sure look dopey, but Hilmyer thinks we should take them more seriously. Taking the crown of the strongest slime are the Dragon Quest Slimes. Hilmyer said that they looked like they could be what he called “double network hydrogels.” He observed Hero jump-slashing the Slime and said “A lot of hydrogels are easy to tear apart, but these folks are pretty tough.”
The Dragon Quest Slimes are able to bounce back from many sword slashes. However, what really sold the chemist on the Dragon Quest Slimes was that they can fuse into a larger King Slime. “In our world, you would call that a self healing material. Yeah, it would be pretty powerful.”
Slime strength rating: S+
Image: Monomi Park
We don’t really fight the slimes in Slime Rancher; we vacuum them up. “I’d watch out for these because they seem like they can change direction quickly,” Hilmyer said. There are all kinds of slime in Slime Rancher, but many have tiny appendages, like wings that allow the critters to fly and respond to the environment. “In the polymer world, you might call these kinds of slimes ‘stimulus responsive’ or ‘active materials.’” What’s more, these slime eat food, which likely points to a more complex chemical process. He said, “They may have some kind of chemical reaction that allows them to have this mobility, but then they need to be refueled.” All in all, they make for a sophisticated and tough slime.
Slime strength rating: S+
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Chuchu Jelly in Wind Waker have full bodies where they sort of wobble around on half-shaped legs. “It has some good adhesive qualities there. The other ones are popping around and not very sticky,” Hilmyer said. “These seem quite different. “ He described these as looking “pretty strong,” but also wasn’t sure if the Chuchu jellies in Wind Waker counted as slime. To him it seemed a little too intricate: a pure slime wouldn’t look like that. So while they looked tough, they might not count as slime.
Slime strength rating: S
Plundering the caves of Stardew Valley will bring you into contact with powerful and aggressive slimes. This makes them a little more fearsome. However, beyond that, they also poison your character, causing them to slow down at a certain point. Hilmyer said that when polymers are made, they’re made with molecules of plastic, but you assemble them in water with another reagent. “Maybe there’s some other reagent in here, like a boron-containing reagent that gives you a little bit of a problem if you get hit by one of these.” Overall, it’s poisonous slime with a strong attack mode.
Slime strength rating: A
In Terraria, the general slime seems rather mindless. During the day, slimes will sort of just bounce around. However, some slimes in this game can shoot you. This phenomena stumped Hilmyer, “I don’t know about that slime. That slime has special abilities.” Dr. Hilmyer asked if the slime being able to shoot made it stronger. “I don’t know. That’s the hardest question I’ve been asked as a polymer scientist. I’m not entirely sure.” In respect to the scientific process, and a lack of conclusive evidence, I just put this slime solidly in the middle.
Slime strength rating: B
The Minecraft slime presents a curious case. Like everything in its blocky world, the slime also takes on a cube-like shape, making it unlike any slime. But does it make it stronger? Hilmyer is convinced that it doesn’t. “These don’t seem that vicious to me. First of all, they’re not that believable. And second, they seem to be easily losing bits of themselves.” This puts Minecraft slime on the lower end of the monster ranking.
Slime strength rating: D
Fans of the popular MMORPG MapleStory might be a little disappointed with this particular entry. These slime are just standard droplets that jump around aimlessly. (And there are loads of them.) “They look a little dry. They kind of look like little droplets.” Hilmyer said, “One of the things about slimes that gives them integrity, is how much water versus how much polymer is inside there. Some of them that seemed to be stronger seem to have more polymer. These seem quite weak to me. I don’t like these.” They’re weak, and would likely be slaughtered in the coliseum of slime.
Slime strength rating: D
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It turns out, Link has it easy. According to Hilmyer, there’s a clear loser among the bunch — it’s the Chuchus from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I showed him a clip of Link fighting a blue Chuchu and he noted that the slime appeared to pop with relative ease. “That felt to me like a very low polymer content, very high water content. They’re not going to be that tough.” To him, the general composition puts those slimes solidly at the bottom of this list.
Slime strength rating: F
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