A Mons series from Nintendo and Red Entertainment,note as of Frontier, Intelligent Systems has taken up RED's role as creatorFossil Fighters (Bokura wa Kaseki Horider, or "We Are Fossil Hunters", in Japan) is a collection Mon RPG/paleontology sim for the DS.On the tropical Vivosaur island, the Richmond archaeological foundation has built a fantastic resort. Using the brilliance of Dr. Diggins, they have developed a process to revive dead animals from fossil fragments. (Sound familiar?) As a side-effect of this process, the dead animals are not complete copies of the creatures they originally were in life—they gain unusual appearances and best of all—superpowers. Vivosaur Island has become a playground for the rich where wealthy young dinosaur fanatics can revive extinct animals in the form of superpowered monsters and fight them against each other for glory and fame.Like most games, this one stars a young boy who aspires To Be a Master. You hunt fossils, battle other fans, and raise in the ranks, with the help of his... er, "friend" Rosie. But the island is lousy with the BB Bandits, a group of fossil thieves and general schemers who, naturally, want to Take Over the World. And who is this strange girl who keeps showing up to assist you...?A sequel called Fossil Fighters: Champions (Super Kaseki Horider, or "Super Fossil Hunters" in Japan) has been released. It features improved, cel-shaded graphics (with FMV cutscenes), a female player character, a revamped movement system, new islands, new villains, and, of course, plenty of new vivosaurs (including the ability to Super Revive certain vivosaurs into evolved forms).A third game in the series has been announced for Nintendo 3DS with a Japanese 2014 release. It was announced for North American and European release as Fossil Fighters: Frontier, with the new feature for this title being the ability to fight wild Vivosaurs and to drive around in customizable vehicles.
Absurdly Low Level Cap: In the first game, it's set surprisingly low at just twelve, and you can get as high as rank eight by fossil cleaning alone (ten if you get a full set of rare red fossils). The second game ups the cap to 20, though viviosaurs gain stats more slowly to go with it.
Acceptable Hobby Targets: In-Universe. The three commanders of the Barebones Brigade? They're a hipster, a hippie, and a metalhead. The game especially has fun taking potshots at Cole, the hipster, and Todd remarks that it's no wonder everyone was so terrified of him.
Agent Peacock: Ryne from the Champions DLC. He wears the only pink Brigade suit in the game and draws attention to himself because of it. But he is also the first character in the franchise to actually make his own Vivosaur, discounting Zongazonga and his purple evil zombiesaurs. Magic shmagic.Booo!
Ambiguously Gay: Cole in Champions. It's hard to tell which parts of his campness just come from his obsession with fashion, and which parts come from... somewhere else.
Announcer Chatter: The two announcers like to prattle on with each other about nonsensical things only tangentally related to the battles taking place.
Returns in the second game, but now the announcers are inexplicably talking dinosaurs.
Art Evolution: Champions featured a much more detailed, and more Animesque, art style than the original's more cartoony look.
Art Shift: Rosie's icon in Champions is in the same style as the first game, making her stand out next to the anime-style characters from the second game.
Fossil Fighters: Frontier seems to have significant change in the design of... just about everything, really.
Author Avatar: The first game's announcers are the game's two creators, and the idea of putting them in the game started out as a joke.
Awesome but Impractical: Many high-level viviosaurs with really high Attack or LP are devastating from the Attack Zone... but if they end up in the Support Zone somehow, they'll turn your attacker into a quivering pile of useless mush. T-Rex is a perfect example—he has the highest attack in the game and can attack all of your enemies at once, but, if he ends up in the support zone, he reduces all your attacker's stats by 30%!
Zino and Centro. Every hit from them will be a critical-but their accuracy is so terrible that the rest of the team needs to be focused around buffing accuracy/evasion stats to get them to even land a hit. In other words: Critical Hit Class meets A-Team Firing.
Bittersweet Ending: Subverted. Guhnash is defeated, but your partner didn't quite make it out of stone sleep. You've saved the world, at a cost, and that's how it has to be... and then the Digadig chieftain shows up and tells you to use the hip-shaker dance!!
Black and Nerdy: Dr. Diggins is a professional-grade blerd. Who's dorky enough to wear shorts and a Hawaiian shirt beneath his lab coat, no less.
Blunt Metaphors Trauma: It's no wonder Nick Nack mangles foreign languages so bad—he barely gets English! "I can have my snacks and feet them too!"
Body Surf: This is how Zongazonga's immortality spell works. His latest victim is actually the owner of the Fossil Park, Joe Wildwest.
Bonus Boss: Sweet Raptor Jesus! After you beat the final boss, almost every character you've fought before becomes a Bonus Boss. Almost all of them have maxed-out teams, some of them you have to fight one right after the other, and the prizes for beating them range from "Bragging Rights Reward" to "Olympus Mons." You can even take on the Final Boss again as often as you like! The most difficult Bonus Boss fight, however, is probably against Dynal, Duna, and Raptinall at once.
There's also an Early BirdBonus Boss named Petey, who requires you fight him with three very specific viviosaurs. If you take the time to max out said three and wait until you're near the end of the game, he's not so tough... But try him without copius Level Grinding, and he proves to be quite the Killer Rabbit.
Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The names have been changed to emphasize that Vivosaurs aren't really dinosaurs, and also to make them more marketable. There's a mode that gives detailed information on the animals that inspired each dinosaur.
Canon Name: The main character of the first doesn't really have one, but Nintendo's guide suggests "Buckland", after an early paleontologist. The official mini-manga gives his name as "Hunter." The second game's protagonists, though, are Dino and Dina.
Frontier has nameable protagonists "Jura" and "Tria". The puns just don't stop.
Collector of the Strange: Since you can't use them to revive viviosaurs, nobody wants dropping fossils. Except Nick Nack...
John Guano replaces him in the sequel. John's even weirder, if that's possible.
Elaboration: John is standing not three feet away from a lady who offers dropping fossils in exchange for fossil cleaning. The only catch is, he'd have to wear the Hare Mask to join the club to do so. Even Geeks Have Standards?
Deconstruction: Rosie can be seen as a deconstruction of The Load/Damsel in Distress. She is those things, but realizes it, and is sorry for the times when you have to save her. After one instance she even asks if you hate her.
Dem Bones: The [BareBones] Brigade's boneysaurs in Champions.
However, it's later played straight with Guhnash—apparently, all you have to do is destroy his brains. Easy-peasy.
In ChampionsThe Final Boss, Zongazonga, is pretty much exactly this. A body-snatching skull that turns into a literally on fire zombie T-Rex with giant, bloody skeleton arms coming out of it? Just send some kid with his pet dinosaurs to beat it up.
Disc One Final Dungeon: Boy, isn't Mt. Lavaflow climactic! The lava! The Heel-Face Turn! The impending epic battle between the opposing forces of Frigisaur and Ignosaur! ...Wait, whaddiya mean half the plot threads still haven't been followed up on?
Disc One Nuke: The Spinax you're given at the beginning of the game is strong enough to last you until endgame.
In Champions the starters are powerful enough to last you the entire game, particularly Dimetro.
The 'Donation Point' dinosaurs also count, particularly Compso in the first game. There's nothing to stop you from grinding all the way to him the moment you get access to your first dig-site, and his support-effects will make you basically unstoppable for the rest of the game. To a lesser degree, Stego - being the cheapest of the DP-dinosaurs, you can, again, fairly easily get all 4 parts of him, in 'red' quality, for an instantly high-level 'Tank' who can solo practically anything up to late-mid-game if needs be.
Giga Raja in Champions, which is created by evolving Raja (available in the first area) with a gold fossil (can be found early with some dedication). Giga Raja's already powerful attacks can be bolstered by his ability to Charge-Up for a turn, causing him to hit like a meteor and deal damage exceeding the highest possible Life Points for anything in the game!
Do Well, but Not Perfect: In Champions, there's a man who wants your help making hard-boiled eggs in the hot springs. They need to be in there for 10 seconds exactly, and hardly a millisecond longer. However, boiling the eggs for 9.9 seconds exactly is the only way to get the elemental chick fossils. Better bring a stopwatch. Or learn how to count to 7-1.
Downloadable Content: The original game briefly featured four of the five Mysterious Egg fossils available for download on the Nintendo Channel, but they were taken down eventually. (They're still available in-game, though; it just takes longer.) Champions features Frigisaur and Ignosaur from the first game, along with sidequests from a... strange character named Ryne, and downloadable fights with Duna, Raptin, and Dynal.
Everything's Better With Princessaurs: Maia (Maiasaurus) is a pink dinosaur with a feminine face and a princess-crown. She's also a support-skill powerhouse, the only one in the game to have both healing and anti-status-ailment skills.
Evolutionary Levels: The Dinaurians have a devolution beam. It turns humans into "triconodonta", a ratlike mammal ancestor.
The three "Transformation-Class" Vivosaurs also transform into later descendants of theirs: Guan turns into T-Rex, and Proto turns into Tricera. Aoptryx is somewhat more confusing—it can turn into any neutral-type Vivosaur. Even those that technically came before it. And even those it could not possibly be related to (Apato isn't even a theropod!).
In Champions, some vivosaurs can "Super Evolve" into stronger forms.
Expy: Pauleen in Champions has a lot in common with Rosie from the first game. In addition to being your designated female hanger-on and being surprisingly powerful for such a young age, both have bright pink Twin Tails... and the same (accidental, in Rosie's case) Verbal Tic.
Genre Savvy: The final boss of Fossil Fighters Champions:
"Yes, well, let's not waste any more time with empty threats or the revealing of plans, mmm?"
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Professor Scatterly in the second game manages to slip a "Sod it" past the radar. Similarly, the game goes to absolutely zero lengths to disguise the fact that Pauleen has a girl crush on the female protagonist. She grabs the female PC's hands, stares deeply into her eyes, and then admits she has no idea why she's blushing.
Global Currency Exception: Redundant fossils are donated to the museum, which gives you donation points based on how good they are. These points are the only currency the cleaning station store accepts.
Good All Along: Don Boneyard and the BareBones Brigade, trying to stop the Caliosteo Cup in order to stop Zongazonga's scheme. Well, the Brigade didn't know Don Boneyard was a good guy, but they don't have a problem with it when they find out.
Green Hill Zone: Greenhorn Plains in the first game, and Treasure Lake in the second.
Harmless Freezing: Frigisaur freezes you and Rosie completely after your first fight with it. But you're still OK.
Harmless Villain: The Barebones Brigade aren't exactly what you'd call menacing at first. Their eeeeevil plans involve such plots as "Pampering girls so they forget to participate in a tournament," and "Fill the hot springs up with powdered gelatin so people get stuck and can't participate."
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Their fourth plan, the one Don comes up with, is to destroy the entire Caliosteo island system. Egads.
It's later justified when you learn that Don Boneyard is, in fact, the real Joe Wildwest in disguise. He didn't want to hurt anybody. When he OKed the third plan, things were getting extremely desperate, and it went slowly enough to give the people plenty of time to evacuate.
Hello, Insert Name Here: Both games actually allow you to change your main character's name at any time! The first game doesn't allow you to name your Mons, strangely, though this was changed in the second.
Even moreso are Duna, Dynal, and Raptin, with their ridiculous support effects, and crazy abilities.
Interspecies Romance: Before the final battle with Guhnash, you can choose to bring either Rosie or Duna with you. Choosing Duna leads to this.
And considering that little mishap with the devolution ray, Rosie technically counts for this too.
Item Get: Every last fossil is one of these. The hero bends over, picks up the rock, faces the camera and thrusts it above his/her head triumphantly. The fanfare plays, and a blurb appears stating the nature of the rock found. It's a thing of beauty.
Joke Character: In the first game, Anato. Its expression can only be described as "derpy," and even the game goes out of its way to point out how stupid it looks. It's a vivosaur who tries to sell itself based solely on the fact that it looks ridiculous. From a gameplay perspective, it also tries to lay claim to having a 100% effective Confusion skill, but said skill also does no damage and costs 240 FP. Similar skills on other vivosaurs not only do damage, they also cost over 100 FP less.
Lethal Joke Character in Champions It gets an upgrade to gold confusion which means that the vivosaur inflicted has a chance of attacking itself or any of its allies. In addition its super evolver form Papygon, is widely accepted as one of the best in the game.note However, it's worth nothing that Papygon's Palette Swap brother Teffla is much more the fan favorite of the two, and can deal heavier direct damage.
Justified Trope: The game goes out of their way to emphasize that Dinosaurs didn't really have superpowers, and a great deal of the Vivosaurs aren't even really revived from Dinosaurs, per se, but are rather other forms of prehistoric life.
Katanas Are Just Better: Mihu, a ceratopsian found in Japan, has katanas for horns. It's also one of the rarest fossils in the game, alongside T-Rex.
Both become easier to find in Champions, yet keep their bruiser status.
King Incognito: During Champions, you're tasked with finding the Princess of Nomadistan, who has quietly entered the tournament; and are shown a picture of a girl and her dog that you ran into earlier. The Princess turns out to be the dog; the girl's her retainer. Both the fact that this would have been good to know earlier and the absurdity of appointing dogs as royalty is lampshaded.
Large Ham Announcer: All the announcers, but special mention must be given to Trip Cera. A couple choice quotes:
Not as excited as me! BOOYAH, GRANDMA!
Trip: Just like my wife with a credit card! Zing! Ty: You're not married, Trip. Trip: I'M SO LONELY!
There is a literal river of sweat running over my laptop! Seriously, I may electrocute myself before the day is over!
Last Lousy Point: The five elemental baby birds, who can only be obtained by getting every other viviosaur in the game and then maxing their levels. Yikes! They used to be downloadable from the Nintendo Channel on the Wii, but have since disappeared, as the aforementioned channel is no longer supported.
More generally, you may find yourself gritting your teeth over the last lousy point of every single fossil you can clean. Properly-cleaned fossils are worth a ton of experience points, way more than you can reasonably give any specific vivosaur through combat. It's not mandatory to get everything perfect, but for perfectionists...
Leaked Experience: Three vivosaurs participate in each fight, but all five that you're carrying get the experience.
Lizard Folk: In the second half of the game a race of dromaeosauridae that evolved into hyper intelligent humanoids become the main antagonists after the BB Gang are defeated. They want to Kill All Humans, naturally.
Pauleen from the second game also wears a mask. She wears it because it's shy, and it helps her feel more confident—but the mask is enchanted to bestow confidence, and evil, so it takes over the wearer's body in a rather literal case of Becoming the Mask.
Mythology Gag: Many visual details of the Vivosaurs are based on facts about their dinos:
Some are name puns (Krona is covered in clock-like Roman numerals, and Coatlus was made to look like its namesake, Quetzalcoatl.)
Others are based on the location of their discovery (U-Raptor (Utahraptor) has feathers that look like a Native American headdress, Carchar has Egyptian details, Chinese Shanshan is designed to look like a Chinese Girl crossed with an Asian dragon.)
The fact that Breme (Bradycneme draculae) is vampiric is both a name and location reference, as it was discovered in Transylvania and and consequently named after Dracula.
Nerf: Support effects were nerfed quite heavily in Champions. In the first game, vivosaurs had their full support effects regardless of their level, making things like Compso incredibly dangerous. In the sequel, support effects grow when your levels do... meaning the game gives you a Compso in the very beginning of the game, and feels no remorse.
But there's also an inversion, as some game mechanics got stronger in the transition from the original game to Champions. In the original game, only the vivosaur in the Attack Zone could have a negative status effect put on them, and switching zones got rid of status effects. This made attacks whose only purpose was to cause a status effect somewhat weak, but this hurt poison attacks especially—you would need to use a chain of either knockback or excite skills to get a poison attack to work, and the extra damage frequently wasn't that spectacular. In the sequel, however, all zones can have status effects and rotating doesn't get rid of them, meaning the extra damage from poison is more likely to stick around.
A similar inversion applies to counterattacks. In the first game, counterattacks only had a 40% chance of working, making them a rather weak and luck-based strategy. In the sequel, counterattacks were upped to a 70% success rate, making them far more dangerous.
Overly Long Name: Avoided. Many dinos have these, but their Vivosaur counterparts have them cut short.
Panspermia: Subverted. The dinaurians seeded the planet with life, but it was Earth's own species that survived instead.
Peninsula of Power Leveling: There's a bonus boss post-game that most people have trouble with. However, with the right team (ex. Seismo, Hoplo, and Compso) you can consistently defeat said bonus boss over and over again in about 6 turns each time by abusing a team skill and how long-range attacks work, making leveling up all your vivosaurs to rank 12 easy.
In the second game, there's the three Barebones Brigade officials. They use teams made up entirely of Boneysaurs; although Boneys have powerful support effects, they're also extreme Glass Cannons, meaning vivosaurs several levels lower of them can take them out with some decent planning. They grant a full 30 points (in a game where level-ups come every 50 points) on defeat, making them great for grinding.
Pop Quiz: The second go through the Secret Tunnels has you correctly answering dinosaur trivia to advance in the maze.
In Champions there's a roaming quiz show sidequest run by Tess Score.
Power Trio: Hunter, Rosie, and Holt become one of these in the mini-manga. In Champions, it's the player, Todd, and Pauleen; with Rupert as Sixth Ranger.
Power-Up Letdown: Getting the upgrade for Dark Fossils lets you find red fossils, which you could already find anyway, jewels, which you could find anyway, and dino droppings, which you couldn't. Also, dark fossils have an outer shell that can only be broken with a hammer. If there's a speck of outer shell covering that perfect red fossil, expect to lose some points smashing it.
Yes, but you don't get challenged for finding Dark Fossils in the original. Meaning you don't have to fight tooth and nail for every Emerald and Diamond that you dig up. In addition, the best jewels are available in Dark Fossils, meaning you can now get those all-important case, sonar, and cleaning tool upgrades without running around swinging a pickaxe like a maniac for hours on end. Boring but Practical.
Punny Name / Meaningful Name: Where to start? We've got name changer Ty Tull, advice giver Tipper, Sam Inaro who teaches seminars... And these are just from the first game.
Rosie: Oh, I can't believe I didn't make the connection before... Knickknacks... Nick Nack. Ugh. Waa ha ha! To think we're out looking for knickknacks for a guy named Nick Nack... It's like some awful joke!
Running Gag: In Champions, every time someone's skull jumps into your pocket, it is always described as "lumpy."
Save Scumming: If you save before you talk to the cleaning robot, you can reload the save until he gives satisfactory results.
Schmuck Bait: The Secret Tunnels of the Mole Brothers contain several treasure chests, but a nearby plaque warns you that "greed is its own setback." Opening them keeps you from advancing in the maze. It's later confirmed that opening these chests is why Lemo and O'Mel got separated in the first place.
Science Marches On: Some dino facts that were considered accurate at the time of the first game have since had evidence against them. Champions does its best to update this information, some of the big changes being microraptor's ability to fly (we now believe they could), styracosaurus' collars (females did turn out to have them) and allosaurus' three claws (original called them "typical", Champions says they're "distinctive").
The most obvious changes are where a dino is now recognized by a different name. Champions retains the old vivosaur names due to the Grandfather Clause, but corrects the actual name in the profiles: Shanshan(osaurus) is a young Tarbosaur, Seismo(saurus) is a diplodocus, Anato(titan) is an edmontonosaurus, and Spinax has gone from an altispinax to a becklespinax.
Set Bonus: Putting three vivosaurs with something in common on the field can unlock a special attack for each.
Shout-Out: One poor nameless NPC is tasked with standing guard over a warehouse, and nothing else. Keep talking to him, and he'll eventually reveal the "deep, philosophical" thoughts he's been having: "What is a man's life worth? Nothing but guarding a miserable pile of secrets?"
All of the Ilium Island digsites in Champions apply. Ilium isn't called "The island where warmth goes to die" for nothing!
The Slow Path: Dr. Diggins after he's sent back to the Jurassic. Thank goodness he manages to find the Stone Sleep device!
Stat Grinding: A mild case in the first game; most stat gains are at levelups but vivosaurs also gain HP gradually between levels. Champions removes this.
Stock Dinosaurs: But also includes any new prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs discovered during the creation of the game.
The sequel appears to be continuing this, including many other prehistoric creatures from before and after the age of dinosaurs.
“Stop Having Fun” Guys: Rupert in Champions. After witnessing Todd take his loss to you in stride, he's baffled as to why Todd's not upset about losing. Though it turns out it's less arrogance that his way is the right one and more ignorance that there are other ways in the first place.
Turns out it comes from his dad, who tried to drive the "have fun" mentality out of him and wanted him to bail out when facing even a 50% chance of failure. This game being high on the idealistic end of the scale, this was just dad trying to protect Rupert from the pain of losing. Or so he says...