Video Game / Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team

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The one where it all began, 10 years after it REALLY began.

"Welcome! This is the portal that leads to the world of Pokémon!"

The first entry (or rather, entries) in the roguelike Pokémon spinoff series known as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team were released for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS (respectively) in 2006.

The story concerns the player character who awakens in a world inhabited exclusively by Pokémon, with no memories but their name and the subsequent discovery that they've inexplicably been transformed from a human into a Pokémon. Natural disasters (earthquakes, etc.) have been plaguing the land, and concerned citizens — er, Pokémon — have been banding together in "Rescue Teams" to help out Mons in need. The player quickly allies with another Pokémon to form a two-Mon rescue team of their own, while slowly piecing together clues about how and why they got here.

This installment provides examples of:

  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The "Ruins" friend zone, hinting it may be Humanity's Wake.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Unlike in future games, Pokemon's genders aren't shown when you fight them and most NPCs aren't referred to by gendered pronouns (others either use their name or occasionally use "it" or "they"/"them" instead). This made the move Attract into a very powerful move as Everyone Is Bi.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: At some point in the after game, the player is able to control their team. Anyone you recruited before or will recruit will be playable.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Almost all boss Pokémon found at the end a 99 floor dungeon have a 99.9 percent base rate of being recruited, meaning the player won't have to slog through the hour-long level again just because they got unlucky. The only exception to this is Mewtwo, who can't be recruited on the first battle but has the standard 99.9 chance on subsequent runs.
  • Apocalypse How: Via Colony Drop; something between Class 4 - Class 6 is implied. Or possibly Class X, if Xatu's prophecy is to be taken literally.
  • The Atoner: It's eventually revealed that the Trainer who abandoned his cursed Gardevoir is actually Gengar, and when this comes around, he's ready to try atoning for his sin and reversing Gardevoir's curse. This leads to an Escort Mission that involves taking Gengar to Ninetails to learn how to undo the curse, and then taking Gengar to the Murky Cave to find Gardevoir and prove Gengar's change of heart to undo Gardevoir's curse.
  • Badass Normal: Most rescue teams probably qualify as this, as most of them are "normal" relative to each other.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Jirachi. If you can even manage to get down to him, you've practically already mastered the game.
  • Brick Joke: Upon entering Silent Chasm for the first time, Jumpluff states there is a terrifying monster deep within, which causes your Partner to fake a stomachache. Regardless what you choose, before the next mission, when Alakazam states how dangerous Mt. Thunder is you can fake a stomachache as well, which your Partner jokes to Alakazam, "My friend does this a lot, kind of embarrassing"
  • Bubbly Clouds: Sky Tower.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Medicham of Team Meanies proudly declares that their ultimate goal is World Domination. They're only a rescue team to better their image. Every mission gives them more money and influence in the eyes of society. Your team shuts that down pretty quickly, though—Meanies stops being a threat post Mt. Freeze.
  • Character Portrait: The protagonist and their partner have over a dozen emotive portraits, and most background characters have at least one.
  • Colony Drop: A large meteor is threatening the planet.
  • Covers Always Lie: The covers have the various members of both Team Meanies and Team ACT surrounding what appears to be the main characters. In the game, Team ACT are one of the good guys while Team Meanies are Card Carrying Villains. Except late in the game Team ACT has to hunt you down, so its more of covers always spoil. Also, for some reason, one member is swapped out for the member of the other team on each box-it features Gengar being in Team ACT (which would make it Team AGT) and Charizard in Team Meanies.
  • Death Mountain: Mt. Steel.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The core of the Recruitment mechanic. In the post-game, this turns into Defeat Means Playable.
  • Developers' Foresight: In "The Mystery of the Mirage Pokemon", Spinda will ask what the mirage Pokemon is. If the player has Ho-Oh as the team leader, Spinda will have special dialogue in reaction to finding out that the mirage Pokemon is in front of it.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: If you take the proper steps or insert special passcodes, you can acquire statues of Lucario and Munchlax, who had yet to appear in the main series by the time Red/Blue Rescue Team came out. Alakazam also mentions that Lucario is the greatest Rescue Team leader and heads the best Rescue Team out there, and aspires to become like him.
  • Easter Egg: As shown as the page image, if you stand the two game boxes on top of each-other (GBA being on the bottom respectively) it shows the two images to connect as one large image.
  • Event Flag: Usually major events in the plot are triggered by doing a certain number of missions.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Genders were (largely) missing for some reason. (Your Player Character is still identified as the gender you choose.) Thus, gender-based moves (like Attract) worked on any and every opponent Pokémon.
  • Flat Character: The partner. They mostly serve as a helping hand to the player. Doesn't go through as much Character Development as the partner in Explorers.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: The game almost always avoids referring to you or your partner by gendered pronouns. Usually they use your name instead of a pronoun.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Gengar says "To heck with it" at one point.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Not a requirement, but it is nonetheless possible to recruit every Pokémon in the series up to this point.
  • Green Hill Zone: Tiny Woods.
  • Has Two Mommies: Diglet refers to Dugtrio as a singular "Dad" but also refers to their heads as individuals.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Both your character and partner. And your Rescue Team, obviously.
  • Hub City: Pokémon Square.
  • Humanity's Wake: The game is highly ambiguous about where the humans are (Gardevoir had a trainer once and the other Pokemon understand the concept of humans, but humans are not seen and the story implies the protagonist might be from another universe). Certain areas such as the "Ruins" friend zone implies the series takes place centuries after humans died out.
  • Lost Woods: Sinister Woods, Uproar Forest, Howling Forest, and Purity Forest.
  • Make a Wish: If you beat Jirachi at the bottom of Wish Cave and turn down its recruit request, you can use the Wish Stone to make a wish.
    • Lots of Money: Jirachi gives you 10,000 to 18,000 Poke.
    • Lots of Items: Jirachi gives you a bunch of items from Wish Cave.
    • Friend Area: Jirachi gives you immediate access to a Friend Area you don't already own.
    • More Power: Jirachi gives you a bunch of Joy Seeds and Drinks.
    • Something Good?: Jirachi raises your Rescue Rank, and if not that, gives you a free Pokemon you don't already have, and if you have both, gives you Poke.
  • Marathon Level: Any dungeon with 99 Floors.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: While the possible consequences of this are generally ignored, the game drops a few small hints here and there:
    • The game manual's introduction of the setting intones that not only does the player get turned into a Pokémon, but that their "thoughts and feelings" also become "more like a Pokémon".
    • When first introduced to their rescue team base, the player is excited, but immediately questions whether the feeling is truly theirs, or the results of being turned into a Pokémon.
    • In the postgame, Lombre comments that he doesn't want to evolve into a Ludiculo if it means his personality will change from serious to carefree.
  • Mythology Gag: You may recruit Pokemon that, in the main series, can only evolve by trading. In this case, you can evolve them by offering a Link Cable.
  • Never Say "Die": Many euphemisms are used instead, despite the fact part of the plot has Pokemon trying to kill you.
  • Nintendo Hard: The post-game special dungeons with special restrictions, notably the dungeons that temporarily reset your Level to 1 while you're inside. When applied to a dungeon that also doesn't let you bring anything except a held item, prepare for one hell of a Marathon Luck-Based Mission.
  • Noob Cave: Thunderwave Cave.
  • Not Quite Dead: Despite that flashbacks heavily imply she was killed, the postgame eventually reveals that the Gardevoir from the Ninetales legend is actually sealed within an ancient ruin.
  • Obviously Evil: Team Meanies. Probably invoked; with a lame name like that, who would suspect that world domination was a goal?
  • Oh, Crap!: Your partner's reaction upon learning that a monster supposedly lurks at the bottom of Silent Chasm.
  • Planet Heck: Magma Cavern.
  • Timed Mission: Sort of. Spending too many turns on a floor will cause an ominous message indicating an incoming storm to appear. Spend more turns, and eventually a massive gust of wind will cause your team to get swept out of the dungeon, which has the same effect as fainting.
  • Terrain Sculpting: One of the very last IQ skills lets you walk through anything. This means you can walk straight through walls, which breaks them in the process and carves a path through solid rock.
  • Under the Sea: Stormy Sea, Far-Off Sea, Grand Sea, and Silver Trench.
  • Vague Age: No playable character has their age stated. It's implied the protagonist and their partner are Kid Heroes but that doesn't say much.
  • Wham Line:
    Gengar: Kekeh! And that human is the rotten coward that abandoned Gardevoir, correct? I don't think the human can complain about anything if we get rid of it. Isn't that right, (Player Name)?
  • You Are Worth Hell: In a postgame event, Latios is so desparate to locate his younger sister Latias in Pitfall Valley that he doesn't care if he becomes lost forever in it himself, so long as the two of them are together; bonus points for the place being called Hell Valley in Japanese. About the only thing stopping him is that you tracked down and defeated him in battle first.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: In the main games, evolution is a natural and common part of most Pokemon's lives. Even if it doesn't happen to them, they've likely seen it occur to another Pokemon. In these games however evolution cannot be unlocked until post-game. That would be fine if not for the lack of understanding of the concept by NPCs. The partner and several others have never heard of it (even Metapod, who is a stage two Pokemon).
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Revealed to the player before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, by Gardevoir:
    "Your role is nearing its end."
  • Zerg Rush: Monster Houses drop a whole bunch of hostile Pokemon in the room you're in. Bottlenecking them by walking back the way you came is generally a good idea to clear house, but if you brought a partner with you, expect for them to get hammered on the way back.

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