Video Game: Pokémon Ranger
Quirky spin-off from the main Pokémon
video game franchise.
Instead of the series's norm of becoming a Pokémon "Trainer" who collects and battles the Mons
, the player becomes a Pokémon "Ranger", a defender of the natural environment, friend to Mons and people everywhere
. Rangers are armed with "Capture Stylers" rather than Poké Balls, and the player subdues Pokémon by drawing loops around it with the Nintendo DS
's stylus and touch screen. Subdued ("friend") Pokémon can't be taken out of their natural environment (i.e. the area they were found in), but may be called upon (usually once) to clear obstacles in the level or to assist in capturing another Pokémon before being released. (The exception is the player's one "partner" Pokémon, who remains with them the entire game. Also, the former restriction is lifted after the end of the main storyline in the first game, and is completely done away with starting with the second game.)
In the third game, this is tweaked somewhat and you only lose a Pokémon you capture if you use it to clear a target or it gets hit by a Pokémon attack.
There are currently three games in the series available in English: Pokémon Ranger
, its sequel, Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia
, and the third installment, Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs
In the first game, nicknamed The Road To Diamond And Pearl
, you battle the Go-Rock Squad. In the second game, Shadows of Almia
, you battle Team Dim Sun. In the third game, Guardian Signs
, you battle The Pokémon Pinchers.
The games provide examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Underneath Fall City in the first game.
- Accidental Misnaming: Rhythmi is annoyed by the fact that Professor Hastings seems to think that her name is "Misery".
- Actually Four Mooks: Generally averted; the number of Pokemon you see on the field is exactly how many will appear in battle, even the ones that the villains summon to fight you. It starts to show up near the end of Shadows of Almia, though, when Dim Sun summons one Pokemon and you wind up fighting two or three.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Sinis Trio and Wheeler's raid on the Ranger Union near the end of the second game.
- Amazon Brigade: Team Dim Sun's Crimson Unit in the second game.
- Apathetic Citizens: Very much so in the first game, a little better in the second. Seriously, we'll leave the world saving to that thirteen/fourteen year old over there, it'll be all right...
- To their credit, said thirteen/fourteen year old happens to be a professional ranger working for the government.
- A little girl on the third floor of the apartment in Fall City lampshades this several times.
- In the third game in particular, the most you get when you befriend one of the three legendary beasts is an occasional reference to Oblivia's Hero of the past. Nobody else even notices that you're riding around on a chief figure from their legends.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can recruit up to three (eventually upgraded to seven; this is your starting capacity in Guardian Signs) wild Pokemon at a time; after that you are required to release Pokemon to stay within the limit.
- In Shadows Of Almia, you can acquire many Partner Pokemon (one per element), but can only take with you one of them at a time.
- Artifact of Doom: The Shadow Crystal in Shadows of Almia, and the Golden Armor in Guardian Signs.
- Auto-Pilot Tutorial: Unfortunately present in all three games, and worse, if you accidentally hit the wrong button, you have to sit through explanations more than once.
- Or if your styler breaks!
- In the third game, though, you are allowed to skip any tutorials that would have appeared in the first two games. But only those ones.
- Battle Theme Music: Different themes for various battle types.
- Beam Spam: Metagross, in all three games.
- Metagross has nothing on Past Arceus, who puts Hyper Beam to use in all kinds of ways that Metagross would only dream of using, as well as having the same type of purple beams that Mewtwo uses.
- Kangaskhan spams nothing but Hyper Beam as well.
- Big "NO!": Edward, when Purple Eyes sics Mewtwo on him.
- This may be what you get when you translate Ukulele Pichu's long, terrified cry as it witnesses the sudden destruction of his home, Dolce Island, and possibly the deaths of all his friends that were living there (actually, all the inhabitants of the tiny island were rescued, but still!).
- Bonus Boss: Snorlax, Regigigas, and Lugia, respectively, for the three games. All of them only become available after getting everything else. However, the first has no real plot significance (and hardly qualifies as a boss,) and the second is little more than a footnote; only the third gets to play any real role in the plot (and it still doesn't enter the story until well after the credits have rolled!)
- Guardian Signs also gets an Extra Bonus Boss in the form of Arceus, for its "present" storyline. The "past" storyline has Deoxys as a Bonus Boss (calling it a True Final Boss would be unfitting), and Arceus plays the role of standard Final Boss.
- Boss Rush: The Capture Arena features rematches against many of the bosses. The first floor is Damage-Sponge Boss-ified versions of Toxicroak, Spiritomb, and the Gem Guardians. The second floor is mostly Dim Sun bosses armed with flunkies or a partner. The third has a battle against Magmortar and Electivire, and a battle against the final forms of the Sinnoh starters. Finally, the roof features a battle against Charizard, Salamence, and Flygon.
- Guardian Signs features a place to rematch previous bosses, including late-game boss Ditto, which transforms into each of the legendary beasts over the course of the battle.
- Boss Subtitles: Major bosses get a Roar Before Beating starting with the second game, before the battle actually starts.
- Versus Character Splash: Additionally, in at least second game, since Drapion plot-important bosses (such as Froslassnote ) get also shown their close shot with name.
- Brawn Hilda - Big Bertha, who is huge and about as strong as eight full-grown men! And she beat Barlow in Arm-wrestling!
- Breaking the Fourth Wall - In the first game, Professor Hastings says, "By options, I don't mean fooling with some text settings, I mean consider what we might do!"
- Broken Bridge: Subverted in Guardian Signs, where Red Eyes literally breaks a bridge, and you can simply ride Raikou over it a very short time later.
- Snorlax from the first game appears blocking various passages to higher-level areas; it's impossible to wake or move it, but it will move on of its own accord when the plot needs you to reach that area later.
- Bullet Hell: The third game's Shaymin mission has an aerial chase with one of the nastiest bullet spreads around.
- But Thou Must - This is used to an anvilicious degree in the first and second games, to the point where virtually any decision that is in any way plot-crucial (basically anything that isn't saving the game or releasing Pokémon) refuses to let you go on until you say Yes. Less so in the third, where there are less yes/no questions, and most of them simply give you different dialogue for choosing a "wrong" answer.
- Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp" - The energy used to power your capture styler. If it falls to zero, it's Game Over.
- Likewise, from the second game onwards, Pokémon have a "Friendship Meter" that effectively serves as a health bar — it's even labelled "HP".
- Card-Carrying Villain / Punch Clock Villain - Most of the lower-level Dim Sun mooks are either one of these two types. At least the Go-Rock Squad and Pokemon Pinchers know how to get serious. (Sort of.)
- Cerebus Syndrome - In the third game, you have to dodge these weird energy balls flying at you while you're in the sky. If you get hit, your health bar goes down. But what is it really? In the anime special, they're literally balls of energy that can electrocute you (demonstration on Ben's part). You'd think they're actually trying to kill you.
- And also, you get knocked out by a big chunk of debris falling on your head for a moment, too. And it's not played for laughs.
- Steelheads are suits of armor that can capture Pokemon via bad feelings. The Pokemon Pinchers wear these things. The armor takes control of the wearer's mind.
- The whole story is genuinely darker than the other two. Discussion of mortality, partial aversion of Never Say "Die", direct attacks against the player character, the complete obliteration of Dolce Island, and Purple Eyes' new philosophy in the Arceus mission.
- Charged Attack - After a certain point in the second game, you can charge your Styler by holding it in position, making it more powerful and easier to "damage" the opponent.
- Many Poké Assists work like this as well, where the longer you hold the Styler in place before attacking, the stronger its effect will be.
- Chekhov's Gun: In the beginning of Guardian Signs, the player has to dive deep into the ocean to retrieve their Styler, and recovers it from a Mantine above some underwater ruins. It's the Rainbow Dais, which nobody in Oblivia knows the whereabouts of.
- Chekhov's Gunman - Also in Guardian Signs, you meet all of the members of the Societea early in the game, far before their true identities are revealed. (If you want a hint, all of them have a signature pose, but only one actually uses it before The Reveal.)
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: What stops you from getting to Mt. Layuda. You can't fly there on a Staraptor because it's too stormy, but the Pinchers on their Z.Z. Flyers get there relatively unscathed. You need to get Latios/Latias to reach the mountain. But the thing is, you can go there later on Staraptor. Also, it's revealed post-game that even with Latios/Latias, it's deadly to go flying through those clouds, so the only reason you could get there at all is because you're the hero.
- Climbing Climax: The final mission in Shadows of Almia is a raid on the "Incredible Machine" tower atop Altru Inc. that is going to be used to hypnotize all of Almia's Pokemon.
- Climax Boss: The first battle against Entei in the first game, Drapion in the second game, and Metagross in the third game.
- Collision Damage: For the most part, the Styler only sustains damage if the Pokémon actually attacks the Capture Line (normal contact still breaks the line, but without harm); but certain Pokemon (like Steelix) can inflict damage from their mere contact alone.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Heatran from second game will summon the lava pool ignoring the Paused condition, meaning you can't be careless even with the Shieldon.
- Continuity Nod: At one point in Guardian Signs, Murph attempts to do a human "target clear" to bust open a locked gate. (He fails.) Afterwards, he says he knows a ranger who can do that (Barlow).
- The same game also mentions Kellyn and Wendy in passing.
- Also, in the same game, one of the plot missions is called Liberate the Wireless Tower, which is a reference to one of the Downloadable Content missions in the second game, Liberate the Tower.
- Barlow's identical ancestor in the Past missions.
- Spencer's and others' names can be found etched on the Pledge Stone in the second game.
- The Go-Rock Quads appear a few times in Shadows of Almia. Following the goal they set of becoming Musicians.
- Apparently they achieved this goal by Guardian Signs, as they are touring in Oblivia in the last quest of the game.
- Convection Schmonvection - the first game had a couple of missions situated in a Lethal Lava Land.
- The second game also had a few missions and quests inside the volcano on Boyleland. You even get to ride a Pokemon across lava!
- The third game once again has you walking about three inches above the boiling magma of Faldera island.
- Corridor Cubbyhole Run: In Guardian Signs, avalanches periodically occur on the slopes of Mount Sorbet and you have to take refuge from them behind large rocks. You also have to cross large ponds of water in Mount Layuda between periodic lightning strikes.
- Critical Status Buff: An ability unlocked late in Shadows of Almia gives the Styler a power boost when low on HP. The player in Guardian Signs also gets this unlocked as a Styler modification upgrade.
- Custom Uniform - Aria, from the first game, has one, which some of the other characters comment on. Sven and Wendy from the second game may possibly have this as well. And apparently, you, the player character have one in the third game, as everyone comments on your goggles and yellow scarf.
- Cutscene Incompetence - Seriously, do the player character and his/her entourage always have to let the bad guys run right past them?!?
- Dark World: What the Big Bad is trying to bring about in the second game.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ice tends to be one of these.
- Defeat Means Friendship
- Disc One Final Boss: Drapion in the second game.
- Disc One Nuke: In Guardian Signs, Ursaring, obtainable during the tutorial, is pretty much the only Pokemon you'll need for captures up until Metagross.
- The Dog Bites Back: After Plusle and Minun wreck Gordor's super styler, the now-free Entei immediately attacks Gordor. Also in the third game, Purple Eyes shows up at the last second and lays the smack down on Edward.
- Doomed Hometown: Pichu in the third game. All of them. Everyone gets out OK, though, thanks to Booker.
- Downloadable Content: Ranger Net, in the second and third gamenote . Some of them reward you with rare or unique Pokemon for your main series games, while others are just for fun/extra story. Incidentally, the data is actually already on the cartridge, making it on-cartridge DLC, but thankfully it's free.
- Dual Boss: After defeating Ice's Pokemon in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of Shadows Of Almia, he asks for Lavana and Heath to lend him their Mons, and you have to fight all three at once. (Fortunately, they're not quite so aggressive the second time around.)
- Easing Into the Adventure - In the first game, your first mission involves helping a man find a missing pet Pokémon. In the second, you actually go to Ranger school for the first bit. For the third game, you get launched directly into the adventure, as the programmers expect you to have played the first two.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower - The Vatonage Styler in the second game, which allows the player to break the Incredible Machine's Mass Hypnosis of Pokemon in the final chapter.
- Elite Mooks - Steelhead-armored Pinchers in the third game.
- Admins in the first and second games. Also in the first, they're "commanders" and they spend the whole game pissing and moaning that they can't be real Executives, since they're not related to the leader.
- Escort Mission - In the first game, you have to escort a mechanic terrified of bug Pokémon through a jungle infested with said Pokémon. If you encounter one, instead of going into battle, the mechanic freaks out and you have to start over from the entrance.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin - Before their team's name is revealed in the second game, four of Team Dim Sun's minions are known as "Very Shady Guy", "Terribly Shifty Guy", "Pretty Sneaky Guy", and "Seriously Sketchy Guy".
- Experience Points
- Exposed to the Elements: There's always a stage in the game where you have to go to the mountains, really high up in the mountains. Considering that the uniforms are pretty short to begin with, one wonders how the characters even survive the mountains without frostbite. Summer even lampshades it.
- In Guardian Signs, it's stated that Ranger uniforms are made out of a special, very durable fabric that's capable of taking whatever the elements throw at it and has very good insulation. Still, Ranger uniforms don't cover all of a Ranger's skin...
- Exposition Fairy: Ben or Summer in Guardian Signs - whichever one you don't pick. Once rescued, they happily follow along, not contributing anything, but mainly interacting with the cast in place of the character, who by Pokemon law must remain a Silent Protagonist.
- Even Evil Has Standards - In Shadows, one of the Side Quests has you run from one end of the then-available map to the other to capture a Nosepass and back again. Why? Because the quest-giver thinks they look funny. A Dim Sun minion immediately shows up out of nowhere and chews him out for his selfish request.
- Evil Teacher - Mr. Kincaid is The Dragon for Team Dim Sun.
- Fake Difficulty: Attempting to play Guardian Signs' multiplayer mode alone (Which you likely will have to unless you know more people with the game) is just brutal, but not in a way that's fun or challenging. There's simply not enough time to deplete the boss's massive health reserves unless you grind a ton, and even at max level it can be too difficult. If you have friends to play with it can be a blast, though.
- Fetch Quest - Various people will ask you to go find certain Pokémon for them in all three games. Also, the search for various gems in the second game.
- Final Boss: Entei in the first game, Darkrai in the second, and Mewtwo in the third.
- Five-Bad Band:
- Go-Rock Squad in Pokemon Ranger:
- Team Dim Sun and Altru Inc. in Shadows of Almia:
- The Societea in Guardian Signs:
- Five-Man Band:
- In Pokemon Ranger:
- In the first half of Shadows of Almia:
- In the second half of Shadows of Almia:
- In Guardian Signs:
- Flawless Victory - The second and third games rank your capture performance and give you bonus points for not taking damage.
- Flunky Boss: Murkrow and the four Spinaraks that accompany it are probably the best example, though Muk, Tyranitar, and some of the Capture Arena bosses count as well.
- Foreboding Architecture - Altru Inc.'s Altru Tower in the second game. Also the Sky Fortress in Guardian Signs.
- Foreshadowing: Of the many mysterious books in Amun's library, a book about how to deep-sea dive seems really out of place. One of the relics to summon Lati@s is at the bottom of the Eastern Sea — Amun went to the trouble to mark all of them.
- Sillyness of "Keith"'s mail and that it didn't start with HIS name means something went wrong at temple.
- Frictionless Ice - And God help you if there happens to be a drop after the edge. Thankfully averted in the sequels, where the ice in Almia Castle and on Mt. Sorbet behaves more realistically. It behaved realistically in the rest of the cave.
- Get on the Boat - Or the Lapras. Or the Wailord. Or an actual boat, The Union, in Guardian Signs!
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The final boss of the third game, Mewtwo, which the Big Bad uses to fight you, really has no explanation. Finding it in a preservation chamber as scenery just a few minutes ago doesn't count as an explanation.
- Part of this is because the third game focuses less on the actual Pokemon being used, and more on the ones using them. Think of it as less "Battle against Mewtwo" and more "Battle against Dr. Edward and Purple Eyes."
- The Goomba: Bidoof are almost entirely harmless — their Browser entry even describes them as "sometimes it pretends to attack".
- In the second game, none of their "attacks" even do damage, except for the Bidoof that you have to rescue Little Tim from - at the beginning of the game.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All - Nowhere near as intense as in the main Pokémon games, but there still is a browser to fill if you feel so inclined!
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: In the third game, during the siege of the Sky Fortress, you run out of a window and keep going for a short distance before you start running in place. Then you just stand there until your character realizes what happened; only then do you fall.
- Hannibal Lecture: Murph apparently gets one from Blue Eyes.
- Another quest in that game has a girl ask you to go look for a Dim Sun Mook whom she felt sorry for inside the Boyleland volcano. After you bring him back to the girl's house, he decides to give up on Team Dim Sun and becomes a fisherman instead.
- High-Altitude Battle: In Guardian Signs. Several bosses are fought like this too.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The Darkrai battle in Shadows of Almia is like this initially (no amount of loops will affect its lifebar), before a story event kicks in and you can take him down for real.
- Arceus is also like this in the "Pledge to Arceus" downloadable mission in Guardian Signs - however, the game doesn't let you try to fight it while it's in its "can't touch this" mode. The legendary dragons Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina just immediately show up and smack Arceus out of its invincible state for you.
- Hostage for MacGuffin - In exchange for your rival in the second game. The hostage taker won't take no for an answer, the douche, even as the hostage tells you not to make the trade.
- Humanity on Trial: The last Extra Mission of the third game involves Arceus passing judgment on humankind.
- 100% Completion - You get a little sticker on your Ranger Card! And the characters congratulate you!
- Ice Palace: Almia Castle, which is frozen over, making all the floors slippery. It's where the King of Almia and his youngest son, both from the region's legend, were said to live.
- Idiot Hero - Not so much idiot hero as idiot rival.
- Spoofed in Guardian Signs: After you fall out of a window in the Sky Fortress, you eventually rejoin your friend, who proceeds to spring a couple of spike traps and push you onto a switch that brings down a wall that must be smashed to proceed. Turns out the whole thing was Kasa in disguise trying to hinder you; your actual partner was trapped after you fell... by Kasa disguising herself as you. Needless to say, this almost leads to a Let's You and Him Fight situation, averted only by Kasa's Ditto picking an extremely inopportune moment to reveal its true identity.
- Immortality Inducer: In Guardian Signs, The Societea become immortal by wearing pieces of the Golden Armor. This seems to be of the "stop the aging process and survive mortal blows" kind, but we never actually see them suffer any direct physical harm until after they lose their armor to Purple Eyes, so we can't be sure about the latter. After Purple Eyes is defeated, the armor disappears, thus making sure no one remains immortal.
- In Medias Res: Guardians Signs begins in the middle of a pursuit of the Pinchers.
- Interface Screw - Only present in the original, which is Type A: several Pokémon release oddly colored waves as their attack in the field, Zubat being one of them.
- Jynx's kiss will do this too.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: You can only have up to 7 Pokemon at a time. Several quests make use of this, such as retrieving the 7 Eeveelutions, all but two of which need other Pokemon to be reached. Getting to the Regis in the first game also tended to be like this.
- Involuntary Group Split: Early in the first game, you escort Professor Hastings through a cave and are separated from him by a rockfall.
- It's Personal: In Guardian Signs, you can tell that Ukulele Pichu seems to have this attitude towards the Pokemon Pinchers after they kidnap its friends. It joins up with the player character in order to get its friends back.
- I Always Wanted to Say That: Early in Guardian Signs, when Booker is about to take you to Renbow Island:
Booker: Well then, now our long voyage shall begin!... Well, actually, it's over in a flash. I've just always been wantin' to say that.
- Kick the Dog: The villains in all three games just love to do this, to a ridiculous extent. In particular, the Societea blowing Dolce Islands to smithereens in the third game ''has'' to win some sort of trophy for sheer pooch-punting panache.
- Kid Hero
- Level Grinding - You can bring your styler to ludicrous levels if you run around and capture enough Pokémon instead of actually progressing in the game. This makes the second and third games ridiculously easy.
- Load-Bearing Boss: After defeating Purple Eyes in the Sky Fortress, the Golden Armor disappears and the now-defunct Sky Fortress begins falling toward the sea.
- Locked Door - Averted by Barlow in the second game. TARGET CLEAR!
- Look Behind You: The third game has a really odd one.
Pincher: Hey, look! A flying pizza!
Burkhart: Really!? Does it have onions?
(The Pinchers run away.)
Burkhart: I hope it does. I like onions. Hey, get back here! Like pizzas could fly! You tricked me!
- Lost Forever: While certain Pokémon can be re-fought later on in the game, there are some that can only be fought once (usually for plot purposes). The games also feature entire sidequests that are only accessible if you downloaded them from Ranger Net when they were available for download.
- In the first game, each cartridge has one chance to get the Manaphy egg and have it sent to your DS Pokemon game. Not each game, each cartridge.
- Luck-Based Mission: Getting the boss Heart Slabs in past missions. For bosses, you must complete the temple with at least 5 minutes remaining, at which point you have a 1/10 chance of getting it as a partner. Mew, however, requires you to clear the final mission with 5 minutes left for a 1/50 chance! Unless you're extremely lucky, you're gonna be doing that mission again and again and again...
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Heath of Dim Sun's elite Sinis Trio pulls this on you in Shadows Of Almia, with a Hostage for MacGuffin for backup.
- The Man Behind the Man: In the third game, Purple Eyes to Red and Blue Eyes... then a Man Behind The Man Behind The Man with The Societea to Purple Eyes!
- And of course, Purple Eyes ends up betraying them all in the end.
- Metal Slime: In the past missions, Delibird give a huge amount of AP when captured, but good luck finding one. They're easy to capture if you ''do'', however.
- Mind Control / Mass Hypnosis: The villains' ultimate goal in all three games, and the means of achieving it.
- Mind Screw: Hocus's way of messing with you. He even supersizes himself and his Crobat at one point.
- Monster Compendium: The Pokemon Ranger "Browser" is similar to the main series's Pokedex in function, but less difficult to complete because it logs full entries for all Pokemon captured in any battle (whereas in the main series, only wild Pokemon can be captured and fully logged), and doesn't require trading between games for rare Mons to complete.
- Mook Bouncer: Weepinbells in Ringford forest will bounce you to the entrance of their area if they catch you. Dusclops and Claydol in Guardian Signs also perform this as part of the stealth-based missions that occur in their territory.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Somewhat subverted, as Guardian Signs's Edward is a real doctor alright. He's also the Big Bad. One of them...
- Musical Theme Naming: The islands in the third game; Dolce, Renbow, Mitonga, Faldera, Sophian, Layuda, Tilikule.
- Lampshaded early in the post-game with Ben/Summer (whoever you didn't pick) trying to decide on a dime what island to patrol:
Ben/Summer: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So... I'll do So.
- Mundane Utility: The third game is full of this, often players use signs to summon a pokemon needed for an assist or just to move quicker.
- My New Gift Is Lame: In the first game, Cameron is said to have a habit of giving people lame gifts. At one point, he gives the player a broken little submarine. Subverted when said submarine is later fixed and used to travel to another area through an underwater cave.
- One of the things Cameron can tell you post-game is that he has something for you and then ask why you're backing away.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the first game, you nearly cause a volcano to explode.
- Not so much you as Lunick/Solana, he/she won't let you LEAVE THE TEMPLE.
- Nintendo Hard: The past missions in Guardian Signs, especially in single-player. Enough so as to make you hurl your DS against the wall. The Deoxys one can't even be done in single-player.
- Much of the first game qualifies as well, especially towards the end; whereas the second and third games end up losing much of their challenge towards the end, unless the player is trying to do a Low Level Run.
- Namedar: The oil-soaked character responsible for causing the Vien Forest fire? He's given a Line-of-Sight Name by the Rangers, but even his own mother calls him by it.
- It is possible that, against all odds, the name he was given for smelling like oil just happened to be his actual name.
- Nominal Importance: Given a Lampshade Hanging by two Team Dim Sun admins, who comment on how their names are just "Admin" and not, for example, "Admin A" and "Admin B".
- Also lampshaded by a student in the Ranger School at the beginning of Shadows of Almia.
Female Student: My name is "Female Student." I think not!
- Obviously Evil: Gordor from the first game can't stop laughing maniacally when he's posing as a perfectly good person, and Blake Hall in Shadows of Almia is pretty much instantly recognizable as a villain as soon as you set eyes on him (evil shiny sunglasses, all black suit, evil mustache, and a businessman). To a lesser extent, Dr. Edward will probably set off alarm bells for any Genre Savvy player as soon as you meet him for having a unique sprite and name but no early plot importance, as well as a hairstyle that can only be described as "Mad scientist hair", plus a creepy facial expression.
- One Steve Limit: Ranger Keith of Fall City and Ranger Keith (Your idiot rival from the second game), who was transferred to Fiore.
- Optional Stealth: In Guardian Signs, at one point you have to navigate a forest of wandering Dusclops; if they spot you you get warped back to the entrance and have to try again. On the other hand, you can wait for one to turn its back and then attack it from behind to take it out. In fact, defeating all of them will cause a Dusknoir to appear.
- No such luck with the Claydol later on, which have 360-degree vision.
- Out-Gambitted: One quest in Guardian Signs involves a rock climber being ambushed by a pair of Pokemon Pinchers who claim to have his "special somebody". The climber exclaims that it's his brother. The Pinchers confirm this, only for the climber to reveal that he doesn't have a brother.
Rock Climber: Trying to trick me, only to be tricked by me!
- Overly Long Name: Played with as a joke in a Quest in Guardian Signs; a simple bridge with a name so long that it took three signposts to completely name!
Signpost 1: "The Over the Creek in the Green Forest, the Red-and-White-Striped..."
"...Wonderfully Crafted, Raikou-Safe
with No Creaking..."
- Papa Wolf: Rand in Guardian Signs when he knocks down a Steelhead, while wounded, to save his daughter!
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: After Isaac realizes that Kincaid was just using him for his evil plans, he decides to tell everything about his research to the rangers, including that the password they need is "Melody", the name of his younger sister. Later on, when Keith and the player character are in an elevator and need to guess the password, Keith eventually guesses that the password Isaac programmed in is once again "Melody" and comments that Isaac must really care about his sister a lot.
- Also, in the first game, the player and Professor Hastings try to get into one of the Go-Rock squads buildings, and discover that the password to entering one is only two digits long. Hastings correctly guesses that the password is "60", after the "Go" in "Go-Rock Squad".
- Police Are Useless: Averted — Pokemon Rangers effectively ARE the police in these games.
- Power Armor: The Golden Armor grants its wearer immortality as well as the ability to control Pokemon.
- Power-Up Mount: Wild Doduo in the second game, the legendary beasts in the third.
- Prisoner Exchange: Blue Eyes for your friend in Guardian Signs.
- Product Promotion Parade: Happens around the time of each game's release, with the anime having at least one episode with one of the protagonists of the then-current ranger game included. Went even further with the first game, to the point where the 9th Pokemon Movie advertised the game and its sidequest to obtain the Legendary Pokemon Manaphy with its content and story.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: Gameplay is the same whether you are a boy or girl.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Go-Rock Quads in the first game. The sequel has the Sinis Trio. The third game has the Pincher Admin trio of Blue Eyes, Red Eyes, and Purple Eyes.
- The Go-Rock Quads do a Heel-Face Turn between the first and second games, and don't do a very good job of hiding their disgust at the abuses Team Dim Sun and Altru Inc. are perpetrating on the Pokemon in the Almia region.
- Recurring Traveller: The un-catchable sleeping Snorlax that appears throughout the first game. Mostly just a Funny Background Event, with the Snorlax showing up in increasingly bizarre or inconvenient locations, sleeping the whole time. After you catch every other Pokemon in the game, it finally wakes up and serves as the True Final Boss.
- Dr. Edward, as well, who shows up in various places while making his rounds.
- The Remnant: In all the games, usually serving as the antagonists in the Ranger Net missions or Quests. They never pose an actual threat, though some did manage to make certain legendary Pokemon angry...
- Running Gag: Tying people up a smidgen on the tight side.
- Save Point: Unlike the main Pokémon games, you cannot save anywhere, only at odd little flying machines (in the second and third game) or strange talking statues with glowing orbs on them (the original). They're typically located at the start of a dungeon, and just before the boss/exit — often with an Electric-type nearby so you can recharge your Styler.
- Saving the World
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: Palkia's powers cause this effect in one of the extra missions of the second game. Hilarity Ensues, with fishermen fishing in sand and lava, among other displacements. Including the fridge in the house to change what it says each time.
- Segmented Serpent: Steelix. Gyarados too to a lesser extent, but it is partially underwater, making it much shorter than Steelix.
- Sequel Difficulty Drop: Shadows of Almia. While in original you had to complete all loops without failing, Shadows instead have a bar which fills with every loop, and slowly empties after a while of not doing loops.
- Ship Tease: Between Solana and Lunick in the first game, after you complete the Groudon mission.
- One of the quests in the second game has you bringing Ollie a Dragonair to show Elaine. They get married in one of the downloadable missions.
- Nema teases Ben and Summer that they are going on a date when out on patrol. Whichever one is not the player character begins talking quickly and getting flustered. Sort of a Brick Joke, because an old man NPC asks a similar question in Ringtown.
- Sidequest - Loads of 'em. Literally referred to as "Quests".
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Castle Almia, for one. Not all floors are frozen over, though, but the ones that are include one room with Temporary Platforms.
- Shout-Out - In Shadows of Almia Hastings comments: "Technology is incredible!"
- Spoiler Opening: The pre-title screen cinema in Guardian Signs has Lugia's silhouette in the underwater background. Also, the Ranger Sign shown at the title screen is Mewtwo's.
- Standard Status Effects: Subverted; in the first game, the player can become temporarily "Poisoned" (slower movement speed) or "Confused" (altered movement directions) if hit by a Pokemon's attack on the field, but this has no effect on the Styler itself in battle. Starting from the second game, getting hit on the field incurs normal damage.
- The second and third games do have certain status effects that can be inflicted on enemy Pokemon via Poke Assists, such as "Paused" (the Pokemon can't attack), "Slowed" ([[Exactly What It Says on the Tin the Pokemon moves more slowly) and "Tired" (the Pokemon's HP bar won't drop).
- Status Buff: For the most part, Poke Assists in the first two games provide secondary effects on top of normal capture lines. By the third game, Poke Assists are basically Summon Magic.
- The "Recharge" assist works inversely; in the first two games it instantly restores some Styler HP, but in the third game it provides a "Regenerate" status buff when used mid-battle.
- Stealth-Based Mission - In the second game, if you screw it up enough, the game has mercy on you and starts removing obstacles...
- The third one has parts where you must sneak by Dusclops or Claydol. No mercy if you mess up here though, but at least their field of vision is clearly marked for you, and you can get rid of the Dusclops by sneaking up behind them.
- Stealth Pun - After helping put out a fire in the second game, you are promoted to Rank 2. What new Poke-Assists are available? Fighting and Fire.
- Storming the Castle: The finale of the third game. And it's epic.
- The finale of the second game is very similar.
- Summon Magic: The third game lets the player draw Ranger Signs (essentially magic runes) to summon various Pokemon to their aid, such as the legendary Raikou, Entei, Suicune, and Latios who serve as mounts.
- Likewise, Guardian Signs' normal Poke Assists cause the Pokemon to appear in battle and perform its attack rather than the Status Buff effect they had in the previous two games.
- Surprisingly Easy Mini-Quest - Lampshaded in Shadows with the mission given to you by your mom. All she asks you to do is read a recipe out loud, and says that after all the hard work you've done, you deserve a bit of a break.
- Surpassed the Teacher: After Barlow's Styler breaks after facing Kincaid's Drapion in Shadows of Almia, you step in and succeed in his place. A few scenes later, and you're a Top Ranger.
- Suspicious Video Game Generosity: In the second and third games, you will often be warned by a character and given a chance to turn back when you're about to enter a boss area, sometimes without any reason to suspect a boss battle.
- Cargo Ship. Better get these 4 Drowzee (enough to fill your slots) for Drapion's) second phase. The fact base exp for that battle is 1k (much more than you ever got before) says something.
- Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors - (Almost) all the typical Pokémon strengths and weaknesses still apply when using Poké Assists; if it's super-effective, its effect will last longer; if it's not very effective, its effect will be reduced (or may not work whatsoever).
- Take Over the World: The Big Bad's motivation in each game, though not necessarily the only motivation.
- Take That: Probably unintentional, but the main villains of Guardian Signs are called the Tea Party. The name was changed to Societea in the English release, likely for this very reason.
- Techno Wizard - Ice, Isaac, and Kincaid from Shadows and Nema from Guardian Signs.
- Temporary Platform: Ice platforms in Almia Castle break shortly after standing upon them. And they're slippery slidey... There are also timed platforms in Hippowdon Temple that fade in and out in various patterns.
- Terrible Trio - The Sinis Trio, minus the comedy (except in Ice's case) in Shadows. Red, Blue, and Purple Eyes in Guardian Signs.
- Timed Mission: Starting with Shadows of Almia. Every Temple mission in Guardian Signs is also timed.
- Turns Red: Gliscor plays this as straight as possible in Shadows of Almia, acquiring an energy aura that boosts its attacks. Almost all bosses in Guardian Signs enter a "rage mode" after a certain threshold, with a temporary power boost, new attacks, and being drastically less effected by Capture lines (and more effected by Poke Assists.)
- The Unfought: Lapras and either Minun or Plusle from the first game, Wailord from the second. In both cases, you don't get to capture them, but get their Browser Entry during the game anyway. Wailord is definitely justified — it fills the entire screen and its Browser entry outright states that it's "too big to capture".
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: One in each game:
- Fiore Temple in the original Ranger — an ancient temple built at the very top of a six and a half thousand foot mountain range.
- Altru Tower in Shadows of Almia — an Evil Tower of Ominousness that is secretly a giant mind control device for controlling all the Pokémon in Almia.
- The Sky Fortress in Guardian Signs.
- Victory Pose: Lampshaded in the second game: Every Ranger is required to develop their own.
- And again in the third, where one of your enemies requests that you strike your pose, and then comments on how cool it is.
- Even villains have them! So it's more of a signature pose.
- Warp Whistle: Staraptor's "Fly" move lets you revisit any place you've been to before.
- Guardian Signs also adds some Global Airship elements, allowing you to freely fly all over Oblivia's sky to encounter various wild Pokemon, even though you can only land in previously-visited areas (or places where the story needs you to go.)
- What Happened to the Mouse?: That Staraptor you were flying on when you get shot down at the beginning of Guardian Signs? What happened to it?
- After Murph quit being a Ranger to work for the Union, what became of his partner Pokemon Slowpoke?
- After the end of Shadows of Almia, where did the Sinis Trio go?
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Discussed in Guardian Signs. Wearing any part of the Golden Armour will grant the wearer immortality, as legends say.
- Wolverine Publicity: Pikachu on the cover of Shadows of Almia. While there are actual Pikachus in the game, they are merely a regular Pokemon, and get outclassed by both Raichu and Magneton in effectiveness.
- World Domination and Immortality: Edward and the Societea's goals in Guardian Signs.
- X Meets Y: Pokémon + The Legend of Zelda + Beyblade.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: The second game, with the Yellow Gem. In the third game, you never manage to stop Red Eyes or Edward from awakening each of the legendary birds. Inverted in the beginning, though: Blue Eyes (and Red Eyes, before he starts catching birds) just keeps getting beaten at every turn.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Come on. Did you REALLY think that the game would end after you haven't even been to two of the islands?
- Zettai Ryouiki: Solana.