Robopon (short for Robot Ponkottsu in Japanese) is a series of RPGs produced by Hudson Soft and Red Entertainment and brought to the U.S. by Atlus. Three games in total have been released; three distinct versions for the first, Sun, Star, and Moon (released on the GBC), while the second had Ring and Cross (released on the GBA). There was also one other single-version game, Robopon 64, for the N64.The handheld games chronicle the adventures of a young boy named Cody, and his quest to become a Robopon master. Robopon, as the name implies, are robots, created by either catching them in the wild with magnets or "sparking" two batteries together; practically everyone has one, and uses them to participate in fighting competitions.Sun, Star, and Moon follow Cody's quest to become Legend1 in the Robopon rankings of Porombo Island, while Ring and Cross detail his journeys in the country of Majiko and the tournament there.Gameplay in the first game was similar to Pokémon, but with a robot theme—some status effects, for example, were Fog, Rust, and Crash. You had 4 Robopon in a party and sent them out one by one, using Software to attack and Parts as equipment. Combining software could get you more advanced, powerful moves. Obtaining Robopon was done by catching wild 'Pons with magnets, and evolution was an option if you collected enough Energyballs after battles.In the second game, gameplay was streamlined and less obviously Pokemon-inspired. Your party was out all at once, Robopon had oil types that affected who they could multiheal or multiattack in battle, evolution was an option via leveling, and Robopon were no longer caught—you sparked them by combining two batteries. An overall faster game made for a better-received experience, though both games are well-regarded by fans.
This series provides examples of:
Action Bomb: Riggs Construction members make their exits in...memorably explosive ways. In Riggs' case, though, this isn't so permanent.
An Aesop: The epilogue of 2 has everyone you've met giving a different one, to the point of comedy.
Ambiguous Gender: In the first game, Kamat, the Legend4. The game describes Kamat as male, but Nintendo Power says Kamat is female. His/her sprites, on the overworld and in-battle, do not help in any way whatsoever.
Anti-Grinding/Cap: Robopon 2 does this in an interesting (and infuriating) way. Some Robopon can be enhanced, but when they are, their level drops by half. Also, no matter what their evolutionary stage, they eventually reach a point where their levels increase but their stats do not. The game compensates by making the stats a bit higher than what the Robopon had at that level when it first reached it (i.e., a level 9 Sun-02 has higher stats than a level 9 Sunny), and enhanced Robopon learn more moves than their previous forms.
Cody: Should I put an end to Bisco's goon's treachery?
Art Evolution: In a special version of Moon, the sprites for some Robopon were altered. Some new looks transferred to Robopon 2.
Art Shift: The first game had Pokemon-esque overworld sprites; the second had much more detailed GBA sprites. This had the side effect of making characters two tiles tall. It also made Professor Don and Sam, from the first game, look decidedly inhuman.
Artificial Human: The three Zero cyborgs of Ring and Cross versions, created specifically to hunt down Cody, scrap his Robopon, and kill him.
Avenging the Villain: Subverted in Robopon 2. Dr. Zeke is the previously unseen brother of Dr. Zero, from the first game. Rather than vowing to avenge his death, he goes back in time to save Zero so they can both destroy Cody.
Awesome, yet Impractical: The * (Star) software sort of falls into this. On one hand, the attacks they create can do obscene amounts of damage. On the other, they require a team of Robopon that mutually like each other, eat anywhere from a third to a half of a Robopon's Energy Points, and do pathetic damage if the enemy has appropriate stats.
Bag of Spilling: In the second game; somehow, Cody leaves Porombo Island for the tournament without carrying any of his Robopon, and is shipwrecked in Majiko's Baba Village before he can turn back for them.
Baleful Polymorph: Princess Darcy is imprisoned in a mirror, and her sprite 'becomes' the mirror until she's rescued—though oddly, there are no mirror-based Robopon.
Big Bad: Dr. Zero in the first game; Dr. Zero Sr. in the second.
Big "NO!": "OH NO! I left all my Robopon at home!"
Blessed with Suck, Cursed with Awesome: Mushroom effects in the second game basically fall under one of these two categories. There are three different mushroom colors, and each one has a specific set of spirits that can be summoned from it. Since the spirits are chosen at random, one may get with the spirit that makes stuff cheaper at shop or the spirit that throws stuff out of your inventory for no reason.Save Scumming is a must if you don't like letting the Random Number God screw you over.
Bonus Boss: Several in the second game, including Rena's restored-to-youth mother, the younger version of Nick D., the Robopon in Delica Castle's basement, and the W-King.
In the original, you can rematch the first six Legends in Zero Tower post-credits.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Near the end of the second game, the Marvel Lab where Dr. Don and his assistant Sam take refuge contains a special group of Robopon in a certain room that appear at random. Defeating them may get you a medal that can be used at Play-Land to play extra minigames. The main problem is that the group is highly leveled and will wipe the floor with you the first time you run across them unless you come prepared. There is a Dragon Robopon in the past version of Delica Castle that is the same type of battle.
Com Mons: Romby, Coball, Sumito, and Ramby in the first game.
Contemplate Our Navels: Dr. Zero does this in the second game after you beat him, hilariously listing off every positive virtue in the book as he wonders how Cody was able to defeat him. Then he declares that it doesn't mean anything when you have money and power.
Blaze, the first of Zero's cyborgs, does this, lampshading whether robots have sentience and saying he doesn't want to find out by dying.
Controllable Helplessness: In the second game, on the day Cody is to be executed, all you can do is wait, walking around your cell until the time machine arrives.
Deus ex Machina: In the second game, the day Cody is to be executed, Dr. Don and Sam show up in their time machine. Right inside his cell, too!
Difficulty Spike: Around the fifth or fourth-ranked competitor of both games, things get hard fast.
Disc One Nuke: Pegs in the first game; it is practically one robot that most players will have in their party due to its reliability. It became even better in the sequel with an evolution, PegSS...but sadly wasn't available til near the end of the game due to its rare sparking combination.
Replacing Pegs in the Sequel is Hexbot (Cross), which you can immediately spark after getting all of the batteries from the Cave, including the hidden one. It can use instant death software and has decent growth compared to other Robopon you can spark early on in the game.
Gigapon and its evolutions fill this role in Ring, and is useful even in the endgame.
Disproportionate Retribution: In the second game, Cody accidentally helps flood Delica Kingdom with a fishing rod. The punishment? Death by hanging. If not for a conveniently-placed time machine, the game would end there.
Enemy Scan: Comes default with the battle system in Robopon 2, with the added bonus of not taking up a turn and telling you what the oil type of the scanned Robopon is. If you're packing the right kind of software and have it equipped on the right Robopon, you'll be able to tell how many enemies you can fry at once with one move.
Zero Castle is this too, though with the warp pads, you don't have to climb all the way up.
Fembot: Several Robopon, such as Razor, Meddy, Betty, and Loopy.
Fetch Quest: Talking to Rena of the Elite 8 will start a trading quest with the other Elite 8 members; completing it gets you one of the game's Olympus Mons, Golden Sunny/Silver C-Cell. Thankfully, you don't have to fight them for it.
Searching for the wrench in the Cools Town well.
Fragile Speedster: Most Move-type Robopon lean towards this. Some can compensate by randomly becoming afterimages when you hit them, others reduce the damage that they take occasionally.
Fusion Dance: The three Zero cyborgs in Robopon 2 do this to attack Cody one more time as he leaves the Pond Garden, creating the multi-faced abomination called Insector.
Gag Boobs: A couple girl Robopon have these, such as Uggy, Chubba, and Moon and 2's Razor.
Game Over: Averted in the first game; like Pokémon, losing your Robopon sends you back to town.
Glass Cannon: A couple Move-types, the Gidyup/Pegs/PegSS line in particular.
Gonk: Quite a few Robopons' evolutions, particularly in the first game—Uggy is one example. Even more jarring if they evolved from something cute.
Guide Dang It: In the second game, discovering the battery combinations for some Robopon may necessitate a guide, either because you miss the person that tells you what batteries you need, or the Robopon is not available via sparking and has to be obtained some other way, like giving random and unrevealed passwords to Jasper the dog. What makes this really bad is that some of his passwords are one character long despite there being 5 spaces.
The Pharo Ruins. To save a lot of mindless wandering, you can walk through certain walls, including in the leftmost ruin in the past. Moreover, specific switches need to be hit in the order of center, east, west, or nothing will happen. Aside from Maskman using the word 'correctly' this isn't even hinted at.
Figuring out how to play the Playland minigames in Robopon 2.
When you get the running time machine, it can make things more confusing if you're not sure what time era to be in.
The first game has the Brownie sidequest, regarding where/when to move the rocks around.
Heel-Face Turn: While not exactly a villain, Bisco saves you from Dr. Zero's collapsing tower at the end of the first game.
Heroic BSOD: Prince Tail has one after he loses to both Dr. Zero and Cody, and Princess Darcy is trapped in a mirror as a result.
Heroic Mime: Averted; Cody does talk, just not that often.
Hijacked By Dr. Zero: Prince Tail is known to be the Legend1 and anticipates fighting Cody at the end, but once you hit Legend3 status, Dr. Zero comes in and defeats the prince, bumping him to Legend2 and making Zero the final boss.
In the second game, Dr. Zero, Sr. does this to Zero Jr.
Lethal Joke Character: In the first game, your reward for maxing your company: Teabot. Grandpa Hogle bought it from the shopping network, and its data asserts that it's "useless." It comes equipped with an equipment that can scrap Robopon with its basic attack and other incredibly powerful moves.
Though the first game had this too. To reach the Legend3, Dr. Disc, you had to blow up the floors of his tower with bombs, as well as the cave in Grease Mountain with walls you had to blow up.
Mass Hypnosis: Miss Amron, the Legend6, uses a TV signal to hypnotize a town.
Mind Screw: Illusion Village in the first game is this, purposely.
Mini-Game: The first game had a couple, some of which were really fun. When you go to fight Kamat, these games become mandatory, as each faction of his/her army specializes in one of the various games.
Money for Nothing: Averted in both games; there's lots to spend money on, and increasing equipment prices mean you generally need some cash on hand.
Money Spider: Most of the money you get from battles only comes from fighting against Robopon trainers; wild 'pon don't hold cash. But in the early stage of the first game, there's a little girl with a level 5 Meddy who will rematch you as often as you like, and happily dole out 100G or so every time you beat her. After you beat the first Legend, you'll also gain access to Battle Genesis 5, which you can play over and over again for 100G a win. In the second, if you're lucky, you'll run across a user in a random encounter, sometimes.
Name's the Same: Capri is the name of a town in the first game and the name of a species of orange-like creatures in the second.
Nintendo Hard: Knowing how to beat the system is the key to success; most of the difficulty comes from the fact that enemies can be surprisingly strong in dungeons and the fact that the bosses can be obscenely difficult if you don't come prepared.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: The entire Macroworld/Waffle section of Ring and Cross is chock-full of this. Mr. Waffle is a washed-up computer maker, who was put out of business when a fire consumed his headquarters, Waffle Tower, twenty years ago. Now, his rival Mr. Gait has taken over the market with Macrosoft computers. Things get nasty when you learn that he sabotaged Waffle in order to facilitate his little takeover....
Also note that Gait uses Robopon called X-Dog and I-80. Neither of them are terribly good.
No Export for You: Robopon 64 was never released in America, nor were Moon and Star versions of the first (only Sun came over, causing some confusion along the lines of "what about a Moon Version or something").
Older than They Look: When Rena leaves behind her adoptive parents in the second game, she also leaves behind a sphere that makes them young and healthy again while allowing them to retain their memories. While her father becomes something akin to a cute boy, her mother becomes very, very pretty.
Olympus Mons: Golden Sunny, Silver C-Cell, and Scar in the first game.
One Game for the Price of Two: Much like how Pokémon uses its two versions to limit which mons can be found in which games, Robopon uses its two versions as a way of making sparking every Robopon much more difficult, especially in the second game; certain Robopon can only be created by "Link Sparking" with another person, and certain battery combinations may make different Robopon in different games (Ion+Moon in Ring version creates Sunny, while the same combination in Cross creates Sun-Zero).
Peninsula of Power Leveling: In the first game, the key to grinding is finding an area that gives away more experience points than the norm, and staying there for a while. In particular, the waves in front of Vanza Village can carry you for at least a dozen levels early on, and the well in Cools Town is also useful.
Pet the Dog: At the beginning of Robopon 2, Dr. Zeke finds Cody washed up on the beach and saves him, taking him to his house until he wakes up. Unlike his brother in the previous game and his father, he seems to be an Affably Evil kinda guy.
Plot Coupon: The X-Stones of the second game. Each one is required to challenge a ranked competitor, and people will go to obscene lengths to hide them and keep their rankings.
Powers as Programs: Skills are equipped to Robopon via "software", though most Robopon learn at least one skill on their own. Moreover, by combining specific types of software together, you can teach Robopon new techniques. However, Boot-type Robopon cannot learn techniques from software.
Serious Business: Dr. Zero tries to kill Cody several times throughout the games, usually by siccing robots on him or attempting to blow him up.
Kamat, the Legend4, used his/her influence to build an army.
Dr. Disc was so determined to defend his title of Legend3 in the first game that he kidnapped Cody's love interest, who was Disc's own daughter.
Shoot the Hostage: Mr. Wild uses a Robopon he stole from you, Dosbot, during your match with him. Before the fight, he taunts you by asking if you're going to scrap it. You have to.
Shout-Out: To Mega Man, in all 3 forms of Gigapon. The text for Gigapon describes him as having a strong sense of justice; his evolution, Protopon, has a sword and shield, like Zero and Proto Man; the third form, Soul, is described as the spirit of justice who fights for never-ending peace. All three robots look similar to Mega Man; Soul even has a jewel on his forehead. There's another reference in Negapon, an Expy of Bass. His later evolutions resemble Slash Man from 7, as well. Clearly, someone from Red Entertainment was a Capcom fan.
Dr. Zero's floating fortress of doom, the Death Gaia, bears a resemblance to one of Dr. Wily's castles.
Side Quest: A couple in the first game. There's the Brownie quest with Sam, accessible only at 5 o'clock, rescuing Princess Darcy with the Teardrop of Morris, found by fighting Hunter on Cherry Hill, and the Underwater Creature you give Dream Shells to in order to unlock the Underwater Health Spa.
The Smurfette Principle: In the first game, Miss Amron is the only female Legend out of seven. (Kamat may or may not be a girl.)
Averted with the Elite 8, though. ALL of its members are girls.
So Last Season: Legend1 rankings don't mean much in Majiko; the tournament there is for Legend1s exclusively.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: In the first game. Going from a schoolyard bully and his gang to a brainwashing TV idol, then to an actual gang terrorizing a town, then to a would-be-dictator. Averted with Dr. Disc and Prince Tail, neither of whom are evil, but played straight with Dr. Zero, Mad Scientist and the final boss of the game.
Stable Time Loop: Of a sort. Cody is the one that saves Majiko and the world from Dr. Zero, Sr., in the second game, about twenty years before the events of the first. The younger versions of Zero Sr.'s children, Zero and Zeke, are present to see their father (and the older Zero Jr.) defeated. Dr. Zero Jr., then became an evil scientist to live up to his family name, which in turn is responsible for bringing him into conflict with Cody in the first game. When the end of the second game comes along, Cody fights and defeats Dr. Zero Jr., followed by Dr. Zero Sr. shortly afterwards, with the young Zero and Zeke present. See the pattern?
Standard Status Effects: Played straight, but with a nice thematic twist; the names of the statuses match the kinds of conditions you would expect a robot to suffer from, e.g., Fog = Blind, Crash = Sleep, Rust = Poison, and Virus = Confusion. While they are normally as accurate as status effect spells are in other RPGs, Virus is basically the best way of turning any ranked fight into a rout; most Robopon are surprisingly susceptible to it.
Stuff Blowing Up: Oh God, Robopon 2. Almost everything blows up. Machines, people, floating fortresses, buildings, doors, even an entire town.
Stupidity Is the Only Option: In the finale of 2, you have to listen in on the Zeros' conversation. They know you're there, and drag you off to the Robopon Graveyard for the final battle.
Trippy Finale Syndrome: In the second game, the final battle takes place in the Robopon Graveyard, which is in an unknown location. If Dr. Zero, Sr. is to be believed, it's the place where the souls of scrapped Robopon go. And the graveyard is completely filled.
Vendor Trash: Crysty, a Robopon found within the Shielder tower in Apollo Fortress. It's only found during the evenings, but when it's out, it's surprisingly easy to come by. Its body is made of solid crystal, and while most Robopon sell for about 50-100 G per level, Crysty sells for 250 G a level. The ones you find are between levels 23-27, meaning they go for around 6000 G a pop.
Verbal Tic: The residents of the Capri Colony practically prilight in this, pri! It's absolutely unprilievable!
Video Game Lives: The second of Zero's cyborgs lampshades this, claiming the doctor gave him two lives, so he could continue to hunt down Cody.
Villain with Good Publicity: Played with in the first game. Miss Amron, the Legend6 and a TV idol, uses TV to hypnotize her viewers into loving her. When the broadcast ceases, however, she becomes unpopular.
Woman Behind the Man: Circe apparently kicked the crap out of Knives in a Robopon battle at some point after he got his title as Master. Meaning that SHE'S the one you have to fight to get the rank. And she will NOT just give it to you.